Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Month: May 2014

Earning Miles Has Never Been Easier: Why We Love OneWorld

Elite status keeps flying enjoyable. In our first post on miles and flights on this blog, we tried to drive home what a difference elite status can make in your flying experience.  First class upgrades when available. Priority screening through airport security and the ability to be one of the first people to board the airplane. Double miles earned on every flight, which means award tickets to keep traveling! When I’m not in first class, I’m always in the emergency exit row. And when I call American Airlines, I never wait more than 30 seconds to talk to an agent. When I called Delta yesterday as a regular member and was on hold for 42 minutes, I realized how special that is. You want to get elite status, end of story. And here’s the good news: Not only has earning airline miles never been easier, it’s also never been easier to earn elite status on American Airlines thanks to the OneWorld Alliance they are part of!

And so I’m excited to say that in less than 5 months, I’ve re-qualified for Platinum with American Airlines. It usually takes me all year, as I get the final few miles needed in the last week of the calendar year.

But here’s the crazy thing: I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines this year.

Despite only flying 3,611 miles on American Airlines, I have managed to re-qualify for Platinum, which requires 50,000 miles. How?

It takes 50,000 miles to re-qualify for platinum. But I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines… The numbers don’t compute, right? That’s where the OneWorld Alliance comes in.

Turns out the first half of this year has been a busy year full of international travel for me. And so the other 46,389 miles flown have been on LAN Airlines and British Airways. When you fly these airlines, as well as a host of others that you can find here, you earn miles for American. Think about that for a moment. If you’re taking a trip to Europe this summer, or Asia or parts of South America, one trip alone, whether it is on American or not, can get you half way to low tier “gold” elite status. One trip gets you half way to priority security screening, extra miles, preferred seats, and more! Now for the crazy thing: Most people don’t even bother to understand how alliances work, and so those miles go unclaimed!

As great as airline alliances are, the benefits are slowly disappearing. United now requires that you not only fly 50,000 miles to reach their AAdvantage Platinum equivalent Gold Premier, but you have to spend $5,000 “premier qualifying dollars”. This is just a fancy way to say, you need to spend 5k with United, United Express, or Copa. Tricky, tricky! To reach Delta Gold, the same scheme is in place: 50,000 miles AND $5,000 on Delta flights.

So will American change? Sadly, someday, yes. But for now, the ease with which you can earn elite status is but one of the many reasons we find ourselves loyal to American Airlines and the OneWorld Alliance! And if you fly Delta or United, you may be surprised how easily you can still earn status, and if nothing else, you can still earn miles on Delta or United when flying their partner airlines which again adds up to more chances to redeem miles for free flights. As for me, American need not worry: The rest of the year is exclusively on American Airlines, hopefully with several upgrades to first class throughout!

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One Night in Bangkok- A Story of Getting Scammed While Traveling

Whenever anyone asks for travel advice on trips to Thailand, we typically start with “don’t spend more time in Bangkok than you have to.” To be fair, there are some beautiful, travel-worthy places in Bangkok. We climbed the steep steps to the top of Wat Arun for a beautiful view of the city, posed with the elephant statues at the grand palace, got our daily dose of cheap massages, and tasted some of the best street food we had ever had (until we got to Malaysia, of course).

The stairs were steep!

The stairs were steep!

But when we were sitting on uncomfortable benches at a train station in Surat Thani at 2am, leafing through our Let’s Go Trael Guide for Thailand, waiting for a train that was over an hour late, we couldn’t help but curse Bangkok. You see, we had spent the obligatory two days in the city. And, yes, it had been hot (95 degrees) and humid (80% humidity), but we had made every effort to explore the city. But what we’ll remember most about the city is not the view from the top of Wat Arun or the sounds of the prayer coins dropping into the buckets next to the reclining Buddha statue. We’ll remember that this was the place where we let ourselves get duped.

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