|Temple of Heaven|
Here is an example of KJ using multiple techniques to cut his travel costs:
I wanted to take a moment and write about my recent success getting three award tickets.
I started this mileage game approximately one and a half years back. I started with close to 10K or 20K AA/UA accounts initially. The miles were hard to come by, but together with some mistake fares and some card sign-ups, I have made up my mileage accounts close to one million.
Today I redeemed 480K US Air DM miles for three first class awards to Del, India, for my family of four (two adults, one child, plus an infant in my lap). My family has been traveling back and forth for the last 10 years in economy. This was my chance to take everyone in the front cabin. Getting award tickets to Southeast Asia, and that too in December, and returning in January is a pain since you never see three award seats open up. For the last month, I have just been looking at various sites (CO/ANA/UA/Aeroplan) for availability. Getting to Europe is not an issue. Getting a business or first class seat from Europe to India is the biggest challenge as everything seems sold out. We are flying Swiss outbound in business and Lufthansa inbound in first class. We have an option to upgrade to first class on the outbound segment if it opens up anytime from now until December.
I will break this into various sections.
How I collected 480K US Air miles:
- I participated in a grand slam in 2010 wherein I got 125K US Air frequent flier miles. Cost to me was $273. Please note: It’s not easy to get 100K bonus miles. But there are lots of people on the grand slam thread on Flyer Talk who made it easier for first-timers by being so helpful.
- I bought 192K Wyndham Reward points through a Discover America promo in May of 2011. Cost to me was $490. I redeemed 180K Wyndham reward points for 72,000 US Air miles via a US Air Hotel transfer promo. 72K became 126K with 75% promo. I also bought silver status with US Air for $215.
- I transferred 80K Starwood Preferred Guest points into US Air, which became 100K with 5K bonus for each 20K transfer + 75K bonus for 75% hotel transfer promo, or 175K US Air miles.
- Bought 10K US Air miles on June 30th with a double promo. Cost to me: $295.63
- 34K US Air frequent flier miles I already had in my US Air account.
Total 480,000 (125+126+175+20+34) US Air frequent flier miles.
Cost to me ($273+$490+$215+$295.63 + 80K SPG points) – $1273.63 + 80K SPG points.
Cost of Buying the Three Awards:
- 150 booking fees for 3 tickets charged by US Air
- 254.97 taxes ($84.99 per person)
- 901.30 ticket for infant in lap (10% of base fare + taxes). This tells me my award cost was $8163 (901.3 – 84.99)
Total cost of three awards = $150 + $254.97 + $901.3 = $1306.27
Final number is (1274 + 1306) $2580 + 80K Starpoints.
I am not sure how I should value my 80K Starpoints (note to all: If you have Starpoints, they are valuable). But I got those relatively easily (new card signup + 30K spend).
Bottomline: I got $25K worth of travel award for $2600.
Jury is out and people can comment if what I did was great or not.
We can do this. We can travel the world at prices we all can afford. Congrats, KJ, on your successful redemption.
Two Free Flights Southwest Airlines $800 Value.