Note: The posts here have been a lot less frequent as of late. You may have noticed. What can I say, being a new dad is at once exhausting as well as awesome, and I find myself putting more and more of my time to hanging out with the little homie, or sleeping. Somehow, the two of those loves have yet to go hand in hand. But soon enough, we’ll increase the posts, and we’ve got a few good ones on our front burner:

1. A review of the Avianca LifeMiles program, for people looking to ditch United’s program. 

2. How to survive a LOOOONG delay with an infant. A recent trip to Chicago where we were delayed 2 hours from boarding and then on the tarmac an additional 4 hours has really helped us hone in our skills on that one.

3. We’ll have hotel reviews from two places we loved, and a few tools for beginners features coming out.

So thanks for kicking it with us and letting us enjoy time being a new family! Stay tuned for more. 

Flyer Talk Furlong. Of all the sometimes questionable nicknames I’ve been given by friends and loved ones in life, this is perhaps my favorite. Not long after college, I got into the idea of traveling on the cheap. When the coupon clipper in me met the miles and points game, there was no turning back. I was hooked on the large savings, and the chance to really take advantage of certain luxuries I would never ever dare pay for.

Over the years, I’ve gotten in on some pretty great deals. I’ve flown across the world on mistake fares. I’ve stayed in luxurious hotels people like me have no business being in. And I’ve transformed from a twenty year old who had visited two countries to someone who in his early 30’s stopped counting after visiting 40_+ countries. And yet, in my many travels and with my many tricks, I’ve never, ever achieved one of the things I desired most. Until now!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of the perks that come with elite status. On a recent stay in Miami, I was upgraded from the cheapest room and rate to a suite with an ocean view.

Not bad for the cheapest rate in the hotel.

Not bad for the cheapest rate in the hotel.

In D.C., I (again) found a mistake rate and quickly nabbed it, this time $65 a night at a hotel going for $200. And yet again, because of elite status, I found myself upgraded to a suite, with sweeping views of the Pentagon and D.C.

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But try as I might, I’ve never been able to achieve the top status of airline travel. Though I easily travel more than 100,000 miles in a typical year, much of my travel is for work, which means I’m at the mercy of the cheapest rate, not my preferable airline. And so as an American Airlines frequent flyer, I had resigned myself to the inevitable: With the changing winds of airline loyalty (read: Programs becoming crappy unless you travel on expensive fares) I felt my opportunity to ever reach such status slip away.

But the challenges were many this past year, not the least of which a new dilemma: With a pregnant wife for the first half of the year and then a young child for the rest of the year, if ever there was a year I wish I had traveled less, this was it. And instead, I found myself more and more on planes going here and there. I quickly requalified for platinum status, in March. I racked up some Delta miles and United miles. And then in October, when I booked what I hoped would be my last travel of the year, it hit me. I grabbed a calculator, ran the numbers, and ran them again. On my DC to LA flight, I was going to pass 100,000 miles!

And so 2016 is off to a great start. My first flight as an Executive Platinum member I was upgraded. I expect more of that in the big trips ahead. The flight after that I wasn’t upgraded, but there’s a pretty awesome touch for those times you don’t get upgraded. The flight attendant walked up to me, thanked me for my loyalty, and asked which alcoholic beverage and meal I’d like- on the house. 😉

So this year should be interesting. I’ll be traveling a lot thanks to my job. Family travel won’t be as frequent, though we do have a trip to Portugal already booked. But my work will take me on routes not often serviced by AA or OneWorld, so I’ve decided to try out a new frequent flyer program, given my strong dislike of Delta and United. So I’ll report back in a few months on what it’s like to be part of Avianca’s LifeMiles program!

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