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How to earn miles when using your mobile abroad, with ‘Travelling Connect’

Travelling Connect is a nifty mileage earning opportunity for – primarily – the travelling business person who uses their phone heavily outside the UK.

It is, if nothing else, genius in its simplicity. All you need to do is register your mobile number and then forget about it. If you ever make a call over a participating mobile network whilst travelling, your points will be sent over automatically.

Travelling Connect

‘Travelling Connect’ has an impressive range of partners. BA and Virgin do not take part, but many other airlines do, including American, Etihad, Qatar, Air France / KLM, Singapore and others.  Some hotel schemes are also partners – Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards and IHG Rewards Club. You can see the full list here.

Joining is simple:

Visit the Travelling Connect home page and click on the logo of your chosen loyalty programme

Fill in your name, address, e-mail, the numbers of all the mobile phones you own and your loyalty programme membership number

That’s it!

You then have two options. You can either forget about it entirely, and leave it to chance as to whether your phone picks up any of the participating networks whilst travelling.

Alternatively, you can download the Travelling Connect app and use it to look up participating networks. You can then manually alter the carrier used by your mobile device.

The biggest snag at the moment is the lack of coverage.  It currently only works when you are travelling to:

Africa – Algeria, Sudan, Seychelles

Europe – Armenia, Montenegro, Turkey

Middle East and Asia – Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, India, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Maldives, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam

Oceania – Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu

The earnings rate varies by country and by programme. Taking Hong Kong as an example, you’d get 4 Hilton points, 2 American Airlines miles etc per minute of call when using the 3 network. In Indonesia, you’d get 10 Hilton points, 4 AA miles etc when using Indosat.

None of these earnings rates are going to be life-changing, but as you don’t need to do much to earn I don’t think that’s an issue! It takes a couple of months for the points to make their way into your account, but for such a small amount I doubt you’d be in a rush anyway.

Since I doubt that the company can match your name to your mobile phone, it may be possible to register mobile numbers belonging to different family members under one account.  The company allows up to four mobile numbers to be linked to every profile.

One benefit of using Travelling Connect is that it can stop your airline miles from expiring.  American Airlines requires some account activity every 18 months, for example.  Even earning the odd mile or two via Travelling Connect is enough to reset the expiry date.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. It works well, I am using this to keep my AA miles alive (an account I don’t use often). It is indeed ‘fire and forget’.

  2. Sign-up not working on mobile for me – keeps telling to complete all the fields but I am completing all visible fields…

    Will register on the desktop

    Looks good if it does work

    I am going abroad within the next few days so will report back

  3. Would this work with 3 “Feel At Home”?

    • Very limited overlap between Feel at Home countries and Travelling Connect.

      • Limited, but still some overlap? My Vodafone contract comes with unlimited minutes in most of Europe, including Turkey. Presumably I could connect to Turkcell and then spend all day on the phone to my own landline back in London, and pick up 240 miles or points per hour.

        Sadly don’t have any trips to Turkey planned though, and not sure it’s worth the effort for a novelty mileage run…

  4. Felix Flyer says:

    Damn! Just returning from India so probably too late for me.

    • Hi Felix, sorry for OT question but I’m going to India for first time in March and will be traveling around a bit. Could I please ask…

      How many places out and about take card? If is mostly a cash society, how many ATMs do you stumble across or am I best to get all my spending money (in cash) lined up before I travel?? Many thanks

      • Nick Burch says:

        In cities, most bigger places take cards, and a fair number of smaller ones, though they don’t always want to. Cash machines are fairly easy to find in cities and towns, but you may have to visit a few to find one that likes your card / have a few cards to try with at the first one you find.

        Note that there are restrictions on bringing INR in or out of the country, so I’m not sure you’d want to get lots before arrival for that reason + bad rates. You’ll find cash machines in the airport, just get some out on arrival!

        • Lovely. Many thanks. All the talk about foreign use cards etc on HFP got me thinking about pending India trip.

          Just so I feel part of the travel gang, I’m currently writing this while enjoying my breakfast at Holiday Inn Express Bradford before driving home to London for the weekend :-)

          • Felix Flyer says:

            Hi Si. Only just landed so just seen your question. I didn’t get out and about much as I was there for business. The place I was at was not a well known city but my curve card worked fine at the hotel. Delhi metro and I’m guessing smaller restaurants and shops will all be cash. Enjoy your trip and the HiEx Bradford!

  5. Morning Rob, I have membership with Qatar, Etihad and Hilton Honors. All are crediting 4 miles per minute but which is the best programme to credit to?

  6. Maybe I’m being slow, what with it being Saturday morning – but what’s the business model here?

    What is Traveling Connect getting out of the deal, that they can pass points on to users?

    • I think the business model is that there is a huge profit margin on the high charges made for using your mobile outside the EU. Travelling Connect charges a fee to the overseas networks in return for persuading networks that they will persuade heavy business travellers to actively switch to their networks.

      In our house, we never proactively seek out TC networks but occasionally my wife ends up logged onto one by coincidence and a few IHG points arrive.

  7. Does it have to be only British mobile numbers? If not, I will register my Swiss phone.

  8. Or you can just buy a local sim card and save lots of money

  9. RogerWilco says:

    I have used them for a long time, here’s my 2ȼ

    – you can register quite a few numbers, no matter if they’re yours, family’s, friends’, co-workers’
    – I haven’t seen any limitation on where the SIM must be issued – can be probably any country
    – they have usually 1 partner network per country, so you might have to manually pick your foreign roaming carrier – and those might very well be someone else then your home carrier’s local partner (ie free roaming is off the table)
    – in the age of very cheap local prepaid SIMs + VOIP this seems to me to be a thing of the past. Still a few points/miles here and there might help to keep an account active. I’m always surprised when 10-15 points hit my HH account.

  10. Rob hutch says:

    Like it. Holiday to Hong Kong and vietnam coming up.

  11. Natalia S says:

    I wonder if it works in Russia as well according to this http://moskva.beeline.ru/en-us/welcome/bonuses-and-special-offers/ Travelling Connect (4 miles or points per min) and Miles-and-More (5 miles per min) are both mentioned, but I couldn’t find a working link to register. I earned thousands of miles with Miles-and-More / Beeline this way in 2008 in Russia. The calls cost was a fortune though.

    • Natalia S says:

      Asked Beeline (Russian mobile operator) on facebook:

      For Miles-and-More earning opportunity, you need to register by sending sms with Miles-and-more number to +7 903 797 6 161 (sms to be sent from anywhere, not necessarily from Russia). If you are already in Russia and connected to Beeline network you can dial *161* miles-and-more-card-number #

      I do remember that back in 2008, I only registered once, and the miles kept coming on my following trips as well.

      Re Travelling Connect – Beeline kind of ignored this part of my question. May be they’ll check and clarify later.

      • Travelling Connect says:

        Hi Natalia,

        The link you found is a very old link and Beeline needs to update it. We don’t have a partner network with Beeline for more than 3 years now. Unfortunately, we don’t have a partner network in Russia.

        Regards,
        Sonia
        Travelling Connect representative

  12. UAE is mentioned in the post, but I couldn’t seem to see any partner networks on their website – could this be clarified? Thanks.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Its odd because I definitely earned some after a trip a few months back but its not shown on the partner page.

      this new article on the site shows it used to have one atleast “Visit Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and earn miles with our latest partner in UAE – du. Whether it is for business or pleasure, simply connect by manually switching to du’s network when visiting UAE. You can earn miles not only for your roaming calls but also when browsing the internet or checking your emails.”

      • TGLoyalty says:

        *news not new – the article was from Nov ’14

        • Travelling Connect says:

          Hi Daniel and TGLoyalty,

          Unfortunately, you can’t earn miles when roaming in UAE anymore. Starting from 1st October 2016, we don’t have a partner network in UAE.

          Apologies for the inconvenience and we are trying our best to get more partner networks on board.

          Regards,
          Sonia
          Travelling Connect representative

  13. When this scheme was launched they had much more European partners (as you see no EU countries participate any more). I know the Netherlands was in the list and I think Belgium and Italy were there too. It was handy when I was in Amsterdam quite frequently and had a company BlackBerry!

    The main aim was to encourage people to manually set their phones to their roaming partners but as roaming is no longer a lucrative business in the EU the partners list is lacking in this part of the world.

  14. Will this work with packages like Vodafone world traveller?