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Hilton Honors drops ‘Travelling Connect’ but you can still earn points with your mobile abroad

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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 contacted members this week to tell them that Hilton Honors will cease to be a partner from 1st July.  The good news is that there are still a wide range of partners you can collect with.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic do not take part, but many other airlines do, including American, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Air France / KLM, Singapore Airlines and MANY others.  Two hotel schemes are also partners – Marriott Rewards and IHG Rewards Club.

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.  The list is also on their website.  You can then manually alter the carrier used by your mobile device.

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

Africa – Algeria, Sudan, Seychelles, Tanzania

Europe – Armenia, Montenegro, Turkey

Middle East and Asia – Bahrain, Kuwait, India, Maldives, South Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Vietnam

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

The earnings rate varies by country and by programme. Taking India as an example, you’d get – when using Vodafone – 0.5 American miles, 2 IHG points, 2 Marriott points etc per minute.

None of these earnings rates are going to be life-changing, but as you don’t need to do much 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.

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick Burch says:

    It even works if you’re in a country where you have inclusive or free minutes, which is excellent!

    I’m on an old, short lived EE plan which has free calls and texts in Turkey (amongst a bunch of other places), and after each trip I’m always momentarily surprised to find a handful of IHG points turn up a month or so later. I think I’d hit the EE fair use cap long before I got any meaningful amount of miles/points, but if you do have a phone plan with free calls from one of the countries, maybe give a family member a ring for a nice long chat towards the end of your trip? Make sure you’re really on the right network first though! 🙂

  • VK says:

    Does it have to be on roaming?
    If I have a SIM card in one of the countries listed, will I earn points?

  • the_real_a says:

    It goes without saying that these days you can usually pick up a “tourist” sim that give you substantial data and minutes in the country you are visiting. In vietnam i paid $10 for 12gb of data good for 1 month. All setup on my phone before leaving the airport. Very similar across other countries in Asia.

  • Roger says:

    OT_ posting here due to flood on IB post

    I have an Amex Travel booking on Qatar Airways for flights to Asia later in the year.
    Just realised that my daughter might have her secondary school entrance exam (second round, hopefully she will pass first).
    Is there anyway to cancel or delay our travel.
    It was booked using Amex Travel (£200 off £600 spend – Total spend over £3k) and on my Platinum card which is still live.

    As a worse case scenario can I use Amex Travel Insurance?

    • E says:

      Roger, it should tell you what the conditions are on the fare rules. We have ex-Oslo flights to Australia on Qatar for later this year but the fee to change is not much less than the cost of the flights. You may have a better situation.

      I’m not an insurance expert but I doubt insurance would cover you for that situation.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Rog just step up your preparation for her first exam and the problem is solved. They’re really not that difficult to get through if your kid is of average intelligence and well prepared.

        My daughter came 15th out of 380 girls in her entrance exam & she’s no Einstein but was well prepared by mum & dad (no tutors)

    • BillB says:

      Amex Travel Insurance via Plat (Axa) has “repeat of exams” as a reason amongst a list others for cancelation/amendment of travel plans. Try a dummy claim online to see your options?

      • Roger says:

        Good Idea there.
        I need to give it some more thinking before taking any actions.

        Thanks all.

        • Roger says:

          For dummy claim, It seems I need to create new AXA online account.

        • BillB says:

          You will need to create an account if you have to make a claim anyway. I have made 4 claims this year due to an ankle break and one was for a Amex £200 off deal with Qatar like you. Qatar have a decent cancellation/refund policy, full amount less $900 (two persons) refunded. Amex insurance covered the shortfall. (less £50 excess) Very smooth process once you have the documents required.

  • BS says:

    OT but mobile related:

    I’m on EE and currently roaming using my mobile in Russia. For some reason I’m getting 20GB free data monthly over here, even though their website suggests I should be paying for an add-on at £5 per 50MB.

    I’m 99% certain I’m not being charged as EE pre-charge for foreign data to avoid bill shock. I would just feel that 1% better if anyone knew what was going on, or why EE were being so generous! (Not that I’m complaining…)

    • nick says:

      hey! be careful! roaming is NOT included in Russia

      Your account will get hit with the Roaming charges at some stage.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Also, bringing the discussion back to travelling connect but staying with Russia: I remember for definite that Russia WAS on the list for TC (it was actually the reason why I joined the scheme a few years ago) but it’s no longer the case. Dropped conveniently before the World Cup?

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