Want to know more about the Faces of FlyerTalk?
Jenni, (flirtatiousflyer) is an IT Consultant based in the US Capital area. She’s a self-taught “geek” that pays it forward by educating others with meet-ups and organized seminars. She’s unique in that when her phone rings at 3am its quite likely a friend calling to let her know about a great fare somewhere. She just came back from a trip to Montana where the fare for her and her husband from DC was under $250 total. Jenni, we’re thrilled to have you be a part of “Faces of FlyerTalk” and look forward to learning a few things from you.
When did you find FlyerTalk and how did you find it?
In November of 2008 I was searching the web for airline discounts while planning an upcoming leisure trip to Paris (my first trip to Europe), and I stumbled across Flyertalk. I started reading the various forums right away. About a month later, after earning silver status with DL (on the departing leg of the Paris trip on Christmas Day!) I received an op’up from AirFrance on the return leg on New Year’s Eve. The GA advised me I was given the op’up as a valuable silver medallion member. I was so excited about my shiny new status and I returned to Flyertalk to peruse the forums again and learn more about the status levels on Delta. When I did so I dropped into the mile running forums and instantly identified with the passion for flying and the thirst for the game of status climbing. I decided then and there that I was going to go for the top- Delta platinum status. Playing the “game” would satisfy my goal to travel more as well as my competitive itch to be the best and climb to the top tier. My thrill at reaching the status summit in August of that year with Delta was short lived as the company announced a new, higher tier – Diamond- later that quarter. I put on my big girl pants, pulled out my wallet, and booked more trips to make the new goal. Pretty good for a girl who had never flown more than 10k miles prior to the year before.
Do you consider yourself an infrequent, fairly regular, or miles and points addicted reader?
Read Flyertalk daily.
How often are you on FlyerTalk, and what forums do you typically visit?
Check the Mile run deals forum 1-2x daily, the trick-it thread in the mile running discussion forum 1-2x a week, the Delta forum 1x a week, and the coupon connection and community (looking for the next DO) forums 2-3x a month.
Do you travel for business, leisure, or both?
Always and only leisure. I do not travel at all for work
What credit cards are you carrying in your wallet right now, and which ones do you recommend to friends?
Delta Amex Plat (one personal, one business), HiltonHonors Amex, HiltonHonors Visa, Chase Amazon, Chase Freedom, Citibank (corp card issued by work), various dept store cards. I don’t make a habit of discussing or recommending credit cards to friends.
What’s the single most successful thing you’ve done to acquire points and miles?
Delta had two relevant promotions going at once in 2010 – triple RDM miles for AMEX purchased itineraries and double MQM miles for LAX-SYD flights. In addition, there was a mistake fare (or amazing promotional fare?) to SYD published that summer. It was a perfect storm for mile running! Landed about 80k+ rdm miles with our Diamond bonuses included and 40k+ MQM. In effect it translated to a round trip to SYD from IAD, plus a round trip to Europe in biz (on award ticket using the miles earned on the SYD trip) for the cost of a typical summer economy fare IAD-LAX. Amazing!
That same year, Hyatt offered an amazing deal for rooms at their Sunset Strip location in Hollywood. I booked a couple of weekends, and when it was announced that the pricing was a mistake, Hyatt cancelled the reservations and refunded the money but provided me with over 120k points as compensation for the error. I was very pleased and have used the points to reserve beautiful weekend stays in London and other European cities.
How many miles / points have you accumulated in the past year? In your lifetime?
Typically I barely squeak by Diamond status on Delta each year- earning approx 126k-130k annually on Skyteam, plus an additional 10k-20k on other alliances (will only book other alliances to take advantage of an amazing sale or mistake fare or when the destination is not serviced by Skyteam. Lifetime miles are at 476k and counting. Going to throw a party when I hit 500k and again when I hit 1 million of course.
Do you use a tracking program to keep track of your miles / points? Which one?
Nope. I rely on FlyingFish to calculate and estimate miles when planning trip routes using ITA Software, and I verify my estimates against the Delta Skymiles Statements online, but I do not track miles cumulatively outside of the Delta website.
How does your spouse / partner / family / friends feel about this hobby?
While my spouse has always encouraged my hobbies, he was not particularly interested in mile running himself until the second or third time we flew somewhere together and I was upgraded due to my status while he remained sad and alone in coach. That got him interested in playing the game with me. Now he is knee deep into mile running as well. We often mile run together but typically do at least one or two trips independently as well. Still, I do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to planning the miles runs for both of us. I’m well versed on using ITA Software, route codes, routing rules, etc.
What’s your most memorable trip(s)?
Switzerland, Labor Day Weekend 2009. First time renting a car in Europe, first time in Switzerland. It was incredibly beautiful. At the airport, dropping off the rental car the day before our return to the States, my travel bag with all my money, identification, etc was stolen. I was pretty scared and there was a lot of crying. Delta earned my lifetime loyalty by allowing me to reschedule my non-refundable tickets, waiving the change fee entirely. It was especially notable as I was flying on a mistake fare (approx $300) and they had every right to force me into a walk-up fare which would have been over a thousand dollars. Marriott was kind enough to honor the priceline fare I was booked on for the previous night (I had to stay in Switzerland two additional days to rent another car and drive to Bern to get a new passport) and upgrading my room to the club floor so I could save on dining expenses by using the club lounge.Finally, my fellow flyertalkers came through for me with words of encouragement, practical help (I was having trouble reaching the US embassy emergency line which wasn’t picking up the phone that evening), and offers to meet and great in Switzerland if needed. I will never forget the trip to Switzerland. You can read the full details of the fateful trip – including my strong praise for Flyertalk – here: http://songsofgratitude.blogspot.com/2010/04/switzerland-trip-report-weekend-of-joys.html
What suggestions can you give to rookies and newbies on FlyerTalk?
Learn to use the tools like ITA Software, Flying Fish, Seat Guru, and Expert Flyer as soon as you can so that you can actively work all avenues for planning affordable and exciting trips. Become comfortable with risk and adventure (especially when running on mistake fares and visiting new countries). Be flexible. Be kind. Also, no matter how many hours you give to following and understanding the Trick It thread, it’s still going to confound you at times – don’t give up! When you have the opportunity, make time to attend a Flyertalk DO and meet your fellow mile runners. They’re generally fabulous.
Are there any particular fellow FlyerTalk members whose advice you follow?
I have many Flyertalk ‘friends’ but I wouldn’t say I have a Flyertalk Mentor at this time. Raffles tends to find some pretty good fares, so lets give him credit for that.
What’s the one thing you’d like to see change on FlyerTalk?
TrickIt thread hidden for members until after 250+ posts.
Have you attended or are you planning on attending any FlyerTalk related events?
Attended BooDO in 2009, Brooklyn DO in 2010, and DC Flyertalk Happy Hours from time to time.
Any other comments / questions / suggestions / advice?
-I blog all of my trip reports on Testament to Grace
-I keep a facebook photo album called Brides and Pigeons where I collect pics of those items taken on my mile runs around the world. One day I hope to get a bride AND pigeon in the same shot. Or perhaps pigeons getting married.
Jenni, bravo for all your success and thanks for sharing a few tips for the rookies! We’ll be changing your FlyerTalk membership to premium service; in addition your avatar will now show you, as one of the Faces of FlyerTalk for years to come.
Additionally, Jenni has shared with us some pictures … take a look:
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day Gogo is donating 10 one-time use passes (up to $17.95 value each) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (make sure to include your first name, last inital, and home airport) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.