Flying Free...sort of

Over the years, I've learned how to maximize earning frequent flier miles. Conventional wisdom dictates accruing miles by flying. But not only that. There are hotel stays, car rentals, vacations, cruises, e-shopping, dining - airline partners with which anyone can earn more miles. In the US, what makes earning miles  really more exciting - without even stepping inside an airplane - are the huge credit card bonuses.

Two cards I have been offered last year gave me more than goose bumps - British Airways Visa Signature card with 100,000 miles and American Express Premier Rewards with 75,000 points. Since my credit history is very good so far, I was approved on both cards. Meeting the required spending wasn't a problem as I merely charged everything, including utilities and groceries, to the cards and more importantly, paying them each month.

When I finally got the miles and points deposited on my accounts, I immediately sprang into action. Knowing that British Airways was devaluing their miles soon, I booked a business class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Asia this March using all 100,000 miles I earned. Had I waited, it would have increased to 140,000 miles! Tax was $375. Not bad for a ticket that would cost $10,471!

One good thing to look forward to on this trip is finally experiencing the revamped business class on Cathay.

The next ticket is a first for me and my best redemption ever: a mini-RTW on 4 different airlines, all on business class. When I heard that Aeroplan (Air Canada's frequent flier program) was throwing a promo on premium redemption including Star Alliance partners, I just couldn't sleep that December evening. It was an unbelievable 75,000 miles for trips from North America to Asia. Normally, that's 125,000 miles.

So I moved 75,000 American Express membership rewards points to Aeroplan the next day and booked it right away. What's great is that Aeroplan's redemption rules allow trans-Atlantic routes to and trans-Pacific routes from Asia. In other words, a mini-round-the-world trip. I will be flying Lufthansa (A380!), Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Asiana - all on business class for a grand total of $451. Again, not bad considering this routing would have cost me $12,779. (Just before New Year, Aeroplan hastily cut the promo and now it's back to 125,000 miles for the same route!)

Before I embark on this "premium" journeys however, I shall be enjoying my time flying coach. I redeemed my last 30,000 miles on Cathay Pacific for an economy class ticket to Mexico City tomorrow.  That's just $64 in tax.

Hasta la vista amigos!


  1. Damn, you're traveling again! Awesome news! I guess we're sort of close by. I am in Guatemala at the moment, and having a blast!

  2. How I wish I could also experience flying business class and first class even just once. I'm such a cheapskate when it comes to accommodation and transportation :)

  3. Good for you! Enjoy amigo.

  4. dennis, you proved again that "the best things in life are free!"

    you're one such intelligent traveler!
    way to go, man! :D

  5. You made out like a bandit on your deals! Keep on traveling.

  6. Wish I could fly business class someday too! I'm asking the hubby to consider cards like such, but doesn't wanna look into it :( He does the cards decision thing. LOL.


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