|by Jason Steele|
I spend a lot of time reading and writing about credit cards and loyalty programs. Some times I wonder if I have been spending too much time. This week, I am watching it all pay off.
Time For Barbecue
First, I booked an award flight on Southwest airlines to Austin Texas. Sure, I only had one free ticket for my family of three, the other two were paid. We will be going on President’s Day weekend in February, which strikes me as great time to be somewhere warmer than in Denver. The slopes are also way too crowded that weekend as well. I am looking forward to sampling the world famous food on the Austin-San Antonio barbecue trail, as well as some Tex-Mex for variety. The actual value was a mere $75, perhaps not the best use of the miles, but have you had Texas barbecue?
Free Tickets To The Caribbean
Next, I booked three tickets from Denver to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands for next May using some American Airlines Miles. The coach price for the seats would have been $600 each, first class would have been $1,800 each. We chose first class since it was a longer flight with connections. We also do not have to pay bag fees, which would have been necessary for our scuba equipment. Kudos to American Airlines for having a reasonable number of seats at the “saaver” award level. In the past, booking 7 months in advance would have been easy, but it no longer is on most airlines. Boo to American for making us stop in both Puerto Rico and Miami on the way back to avoid an prohibited “stopover” of more than 4 hours in Miami until the next flight. I will follow up with them to see if they will make an exception, but I am not holding my breath.
Super Seats Across The Ocean
What put me in a really good mood yesterday was when I checked my Delta itinerary for my “falafel run” to Tel Aviv coming up on Christmas. Regular readers will recall that I had gotten these tickets in large part due obtaining Delta Amex credit cards after a Delta promotion that was subsequently withdrawn. Later, I got in a small conflict with Delta after they repeatedly rescheduled my flights. Since that was resolved, I have been rechecking my reservation periodically. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the aircraft on my ATL-TLV flight and my return were both changed to the 777LR. For those of you who are airline geeks, you will recognize that this is the longest range commercial aircraft in the world, and the flagship of the Delta fleet. You don’t have to be an aviation expert to appreciate the new, lie flat seats that Delta has installed in these newer 777 aircraft. Here are some photos of the new aircraft and the business class seat. Here is a picture of the old style for comparison. The flight from Tel Aviv to Atlanta will be the longest flight I have ever been on at over 13 hours against the wind.
A Movie About Miles
Later this year, a new movie called Up In The Air is coming out about the pursuit of frequent flier miles. This is a major release starring George Clooney and Jason Bateman. For me, accumulating miles is not something I really am able to do through travel, as I no longer have a day job that allows me to do so. Accumulating miles is also not about gaining status or hoarding points. This week, I actually made several reservation that will put those miles to use, and I can’t wait to be “Up In The Air” myself.