This post kicks off the 1st post of the 4 part series, Side Hustle Secrets.
I’ll show you step-by-step how you can plan your next vacation with little out of pocket expense by getting paid to write evaluations of your vacation activities.
(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Check out the full disclosure policy here.)
Ahhh, vacations. We all want them. We all need them.
But vacations aren’t cheap, are they? Unless you have a stockpile of frequent flyer miles, planning for a vacation usually means saving up months in advance, especially if you are traveling with family.
Between airfare, lodging, and food, Americans spend an average of $1800 per vacation. Not everyone has $1800 sitting around in savings, so travelers are always looking for new ways to save money.
This brings me to my next point: Mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping is a side hustle I’ve had in my back pocket for the past 11 years, and while I don’t think it comes close to replacing a full-time income, it can be a great resource to save money on fun activities and put some extra cash in your wallet.
These days, I primarily use mystery shopping as a way to fund expensive dinners around town, which has been especially handy since I quit my corporate job several months ago.
You’re probably wondering, What does mystery shopping have to do with this? Just tell me how I can save 50% on flights!
Bear with me here…
After looking at the various types of mystery shop assignments (hotels, restaurants, high-end retail, apartment shops, entertainment, etc…), the proverbial light bulb clicked on.
I realized that mystery shopping could almost pay for an entire vacation if planned correctly.
If you’re taking a vacation, I assume you’re trying to get as far away from home as possible. Am I right? And to get as far away as possible, you’re probably catching a flight to get there.
Let’s face it, airfare is expensive, especially if you’re flying during peak season.
BUT, I’ll let you in on a little secret…
You can save 50% on airfare if you’re willing to do an in-flight evaluation.
In this post, I’ll show you:
- An introduction to Sensors Quality Management (SQM)
- The benefits of signing up
- How to sign up as a mystery shopper with SQM to get reduced airfare
INTRO to SQM
Sensors Quality Management is a mystery shopping company based out of Toronto, Canada. Though they’re in Canada, they work exclusively with a few US based companies for mystery shopping services, including a very popular US airline.
(Because I’m signed up as a Mystery Shopper with SQM, I’m not allowed to divulge the name of the airline in this blog post, but once you sign up with SQM and browse their open mystery shops, they’ll provide you with the airline details.)
BENEFITS OF SIGNING UP WITH SQM
Drumroll: You receive 50% off your flight in exchange for a well-written flight evaluation.
A few important items to note:
- Discount only applies to the traveler writing the evaluation. (Only one evaluation per traveling party)
- 50% off discount applies to airfare only (In-flight amenities like food or cocktails not included)
- A frequent flyer number cannot be used on the reservation
- Traveler must be 18 or older to participate
HOW TO SIGN UP:
- Fill out application to become a mystery shopper with SQM
- Once approved, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link to SQM’s shopper portal along with your login information. Log in.
- Select “Available Assignments”
- Select “Discount Assignments”.
5. Next, select: Air Transportation –> Country –> State
Then, choose the airport closest to you and click on the dated link.
In my example, it appears that SQM lists the available travel dates for the current month.
BOOKING YOUR DISCOUNTED FLIGHT
IMPORTANT: YOU MUST BOOK YOUR AIRFARE DIRECTLY WITH SQM.
- Review available flight dates/times on the airline’s website.
- E-mail the SQM Travel Coordinator with your desired flight information and a flight agreement will be drafted.
- You will initially be charged for the full amount of the airfare, but you’ll receive your 50% credit within a few days of submitting your flight evaluation.
This should be enough information to get you started!
Head on over to SQM’s site to sign up and get the full details.
(In case you’re wondering, I haven’t completed a flight evaluation with SQM because I’m loyal to Alaska Airlines and earn all my miles through Alaska, or else I’d be all over this! #iFlyAlaska)
If you’re new to mystery shopping, you might want to check out this post on Mystery Shopping 101.
More Side Hustle Secrets
Part 2: How to Get Free Hotel Rooms
Part 3: How to Get Paid to Eat
This post was proofread by Grammarly
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