Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

When I’m not changing diapers

on February 15, 2012

When I’m not on Daddy Duty, working, eating, working out, or sleeping, I’m hooked on my latest hobby: airline miles. Ask my wife. She thought it was the weirdest thing ever until we started taking business/first class to China. Suddenly, after the first flight, she now helps me with our points/miles hauls.

Growing up, my sister and I felt privileged being able to criss-cross the US in coach as kids. I’d sit in a domestic first class seat every once in a blue moon if I got upgraded, but that was it. It was hard to justify paying more to sit on the same plane to arrive at the same place my parents and I reasoned.

Eating in the Clubhouse

London Clubhouse Lodge

London Heathrow Clubhouse

This all changed a few tears ago after the company I was working for at the time paid for my first business class trip to London in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. It was a $10,000 ticket and I was floored by the free pajamas, amenity kit, personalized service, tasty food, airport limo service, and hair cut/massage/lounge experience on arrival.  It’s truly an experience!

After that flight, I knew this was the only way to fly, especially internationally. Unfortunately, after I switched companies, I no longer travelled as much and needed to pay for trips again. Any middle to upper middle class person would feel these prices to be prohibitively expensive for a flight (First class from the US to Hong Kong is about $20,000), so I knew there had to be a better way and that’s when I discovered the world of flyertalk and blogs like View From the Wing, Frugal Travel Guy, and One Mile at a Time. By reading these blogs, I learned how to accumulate millions of miles without actually flying. Some ways I’ve earned miles: flying, shopping, credit card sign-ups, giving my email, getting a free Lasik consultation, sweepstakes, etc

I started digesting the knowledge by reading, asking questions, and learning the in’s and out’s of earning and more importantly burning miles. You hear all the time about how someone saved their miles for 10 years and wanted to take a trip to X only to find out there was no availability or a fuel surcharge and taxes etc.  I’m personally glad this mentality is out there as the longer people shy away from points programs and redemptions, the more availability and opportunity myself and others like me will have.

Today, I’m still a novice at best, but this hobby has fortunately allowed my wife and me to have taken some incredible flights (think 1st class on Singapore, Asiana, Thai, the new United, etc) to amazing places (Seoul, Hawaii, Madrid, Dubai, etc) at prices we all can afford.

I bring this up today because I’ve been banking miles in anticipation of JJ’s birth. I look forward to taking him around the world with us and his grandparents from an early age.  If we had to buy the tickets, we probably wouldn’t go to many places due to the high costs associated with travel. However, miles have opened up the globe to us. We could literally go anywhere in the utmost comfort tomorrow.

I thought of the idea for this post because I just helped one of my wife’s best friends book tickets to come to the US for the first time from the UK. They originally contacted a travel agent and were put off by the prohibitively high fares and travel taxes (the UK is the highest I’ve seen). They planned to be in the states for a while to take in both Coasts and see the major sites.  Long story short, I  was able to use the power of miles to include both coasts in one reservation for an absurdly low amount of points as a mileage award. They’re getting about 70% off the retail of the tickets had they booked directly with the airline.

I’m often asked, what’s the catch?  There isn’t one.  This isn’t a pyramid travel agent scheme or coupon codes on an airline web site.  It’s as simple as earning miles as cheaply as possible (sometimes free) to use them on the most expensive/useful/desirable air tickets/hotel rooms/cruises available. In case you’re interested in learning more about it, let me know as I’d be happy to help.  Many have taken me under their wing as I learned this game and I’m happy to pay the knowledge forward! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about my plan to make today My Most Expensive Valentine’s Day ever!

P.S. Here’s a peek at the 10 Best First Class Cabins available!


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