Ten Things I’ve Learned Being *Married* To A Miles & Points Geek

As my husband was reading over Ford’s notes on things he’s learned dating a miles and points geek a slow smirk started to spread across his face.

“What are you laughing at?”
“Ford’s post. He. Has. No. Idea.”
“He’s learning honey! It’s sweet!”
“Oh, not that. They’re adorable. But he has no idea what he’s getting into. The flotilla of rubber duckies is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Apparently being married to someone in this game is not all free nights and upgrades. Who knew? So he wanted to share the things he’s learned along the way (for better or for worse), though this is admittedly more tongue-in-cheek than Ford’s list of actually useful info.


10. Be prepared to learn a new language

LAX. NRT. 77W. MCE. Bonus Categories. Minimum Spend.

You can forget whatever romance language you learned in high school because it will get you nowhere with this crowd. Apparently there’s some difference between EQMs, MQMs, and PQMs but damned if I know what it is.

Maybe someday Rosetta Stone will come out with a frequent flyer edition.

9. Trust but verify

ALWAYS CLARIFY THE ROUTING when your spouse suggests a fun weekend trip.

Wanna go to Argentina? Sure!

We’ll stop by there on our way through SEA, LGA, DFW, MIA, and oh, yeah, it’ll be on some airline you’ve never heard of. (Seriously, this happened).

Yet another reason to be super aggressive about #10.

8. Have a clue…

Sometimes, your spouse will be SO EXCITED about the AMAZING REDEMPTION they managed for a beautiful hotel room in Paris, that they’ll forget some of the small details.

Park-Hyatt-Vendome-Orchids

Like where said hotel is in Paris. (Seriously, this happened too).

My best advice here is to find a bookstore. They’ll probably have a map.

7. …But it’s okay if you don’t get it

Go ahead, tell people all your reasons why KLM is your favorite airline or that American Main Cabin Extra and Emirates First were both GREAT flights.

You’ll also learn to love the crestfallen look on your spouse’s face every time you try and use your Amex Everyday Preferred to pay for dinner. (I mean, it’s in the freakin’ name, every day and preferred, how can it be the wrong card?)

6. It’s totally normal to not have tickets the night before

You’re in Cambodia, with food poisoning, and the love of your life asks you what country you want to visit next.

Cambodia-Food-Bad-Idea

You’d think getting home would be higher on the list of priorities.

The good news is, you’ll never have to worry about travel insurance because absolutely nothing will be booked in advance, ever.

5. Learn to pack strategically

…because your three nights in London will somehow be spread across five hotels. And dragging your suitcase through Piccadilly Circus in the rain will be a memory you cherish for years.

London-Big-Ben

4. You are bad at airports

The important thing to remember here is that, in the eyes of a miles and points geek, you will never be as good at airports as a miles and points geek.

Airport-TSA-Chaos

Yes, you will be walking past numerous lounges, bars, and Auntie Anne’s Pretzel shops. It’s not your sweetheart’s fault the airport wasn’t designed around Pre Check and Priority Pass (see #10).

Those options are all bad anyway; the one you really want has a $5 bar credit and Snack Towers of Sadness.

Feel free to do it “wrong” when you’re travelling by yourself. Just don’t tell your spouse, otherwise you’ll be scolded for going to the wrong lounge in Minneapolis because apparently the other one has better beer. Which matters at 8AM.

And when you get to the end of security holding your belt, shoes, and someone else’s 3-1-1 bag, do NOT look to your spouse for adulation hoping you’ve just set a personal record TSA time, because you haven’t.

And you never will. Because you’re just bad at airports.

3. People are probably going to think you’re a jackwagon…

When presented with the to-be-expected question of “what did you do this weekend?” your options for answers will rapidly deteriorate to consisting of:

  • Flew to Boston for clam chowder
  • Stopped for dinner in Paris on the way to Hong Kong
  • Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express

Kowloon-tower

Similarly, your mother-in-law will always resent that time you said, “We might be in Johannesburg for Thanksgiving… we’re really not sure yet.” (HINT: They think you’re avoiding them! Which might be true, but you shouldn’t EVER tell them that under any circumstances.)

Either way, they’ll never understand why Taipei is cheaper than Topeka, so you’re better off just pretending you stayed home.

2. …Or else they’ll just think you’re crazy

Your friends/family/coworkers will wonder how on Earth you afford to travel so much.

Don’t try to explain it, because in truth, you don’t know either and you’ll only confuse them more.

Al-Maha-pool-view

If you bring your spouse on outings with friends or to work parties, have a code word or a cover story or something. Otherwise your spouse will be all up in everyone’s wallets, throwing Capital One cards across the room faster than you can say “maximum permitted mileage.” Whatever that means.

1. It’s totally worth it

If somebody told pre-miles-and-points me that I’d see so much of the world in so little time and so comfortably, I would have laughed so hard in their face that I’d have dislocated a few ribs.

Seriously. We never would have been able to make any of these adventures happen, much less with so many of our friends and family. This game has been unbelievably worth it, and I’m so glad we play.

Even when it’s time to pay bills and I’m trying to remember the passwords to a dozen credit card websites.

Edinburgh-sunset

How about you? What does your partner-in-crime think of our hobby?

Comments

  1. What the hell is happening on this blog? Has lucky run out of ideas so he’s just asking his mates to churn out crap? Seriously, this used to be a decent blog about avaiation news – when did it change??

  2. @Bill – Go find another blog to read!
    Tiffany (and now husband) have been great for this blog. Just because you can’t relate to this post doesn’t mean it’s a bad post. Lucky is a busy guy so having more content has been great. This was a fun morning read and I am sure many people got a good laugh. Tiffany’s husband wasn’t trying to change the world, just post his thoughts.

  3. This is much better than Ford’s list. Or at least clearly comes from a position of much more experience.

  4. Best. Post. of. the. Day!
    This seriously will
    Go down as one of my most favorite posts ever. Absolutely classic. Makes me want to have me and my husband have dinner with you both. In Paris. Or even Hong Kong.
    Loved this!!

  5. Well done. Any space left for my wife in the Miles Geek Significant Others Anonymous meetings?

    The trick to keeping the habit is to surprise them with a trip every time they are about to stage an intervention. Buys me another few months depending on distance / quality.

  6. Loved this!! Unfortunately my spouse has already learned to check the routing before agreeing on a trip. He also refuses to stay in more than one hotel in a city…can you believe it??

  7. Tiffany, your posts are always so spot on as well as so entertaining to read. And now I find out you have the best husband in the world to boot. I think I hate you. 🙂

  8. This is one great post.

    Tiffany, you and your husband seem to share the same (dry-but-keeping-it-real-at-all-times) wonderful senses of humor.

    Terrific job, Tiffany’s husband!

  9. I totally love it. I am huge on manufactured spending. Whenever I make my ‘trips’ my wife comes along with me. Somehow she doesn’t regret it. May be because of the fact that we flew in Business Class from India and right after that she flew UA economy domestic. That is when she realized the difference and appreciated my efforts.
    Whenever she is making a large purchase, she will text me “Vch Card?” Haha.
    She is not in to av-lingo yet but I bet she will be there soon.

    Cheers!

  10. Great post. Alright…now that you’ve teased us, we need to hear some of these back stories…

    Peace out.

  11. Great post!!!

    Especially the “I know better than you do at any airports”…

    I reminded me when my partner proudly showed me a new lawn mower he got for free by redeeming his Amex platinum points for Home Depot gift card……….there was silence..and horror in my eyes..(maybe I turned green)…and held myself back from screaming…..my only comment..oh…great…awesome lawnmower…….. (tears…………………..)

  12. lol this is so great because it’s so true. My wife doesnt even pretend to get it but she never complains when it comes time to not pay money for a hotel.

  13. Thanks everyone! He likely won’t reply directly, but says “I should have taken PTO today, I’m going to wear out my F5 key reading comments.”

    And I promise I’m not that horrible to travel with! 😉

  14. Enjoy your posts Tiffany! I’ll be sure to give this to my husband to read. He’ll get a chuckle. We only stayed at a mere three hotels our last trip to London (but he loved them all, and the bills of $0 when we checked out.)

  15. omg, reading this with my long-suffering spouse and we are both laughing so hard, thanks for the great post. The spouses/significant others need their own support group. 😉

  16. Thanks for this post! Hilarious!

    Like the majority, I love the extra posters and points of view. I appreciate the levity and multiple perspectives.

  17. “throwing Capital One cards across the room ” LOL

    Sound like there is a story behind that one, want to share with us Tiffany?

  18. +1 for the spousal support group.

    Although, my bf has been a fast learner. It took less than a year to go from “WOW! first class to Boston?” to “honey, it was an angle seat! what did you do wrong?” (last-minute equipment swap on JL, btw. I did nothing).

  19. Love it. I just forwarded this to my wife. I’m going to wait until she’s finished reading it, then tell her that it’s mainly thanks to Tiffany’s suggestions we’re flying business class to and from Australia next year, but the return routing is via Bangkok and Tokyo!

  20. This blog has single-handily changed the way my husband and I travel. We’ve used the “cheap flights from Cairo” to regain miles used after completely a trip to Kenya. Now this year we scored killer fares again from CMB after a cruise in SIN. i can’t wait to see my moms face when I take her In F on EK to a safari for her 30th( she was a Pan Am flight attendant)

  21. @ No Name — Hah! Nothing in particular, just my in-laws and SO MANY PEOPLE use those darn cards and then complain about how THEY can’t go to Europe in business class for 90k points round-trip.

  22. I enjoyed reading this post and Ford’s post! Thx guys! I do wonder whether it’s possible for both spouses to be miles/points hobbyists… Or is it better in your scenario where one person is into the hobby and the other is new or apathetic to the hobby.

  23. @joey. If you can get your spouse (or family) to use the right cards at the right stores in the right quarters, then be happy. If they can get this right at least 80% of the time, be even happier.

  24. Ummmm…I kind of want to double date with you guys. Is that weird???

    My wife put a halt to my crazy travel planning after this trip (all in business class, all using miles):

    EWR-OSL (overnight)
    OSL-BRU-PRG (overnight)
    PRG-IST (3 nights)
    IST-PEK (overnight)
    PEK-KUL (3 nights there plus another in Singapore)
    SIN-PEK (overnight)
    PEK-NRT (overnight)
    NRT-JFK

    We’re actually staying a solid week in the same Airbnb in France next month…and I am kind of excited…

    Thanks for the terrific post!!!

  25. @ Joey — I think some balance is good, but maybe it depends on the couple? Travis and his wife are probably equally deep into the game, which has resulted in some pretty cool life experiences for them. But not everyone wants that!

  26. @ Nolan Snoeyink — 🙂 Thanks! Explained #9 a bit above, but for #8…took the RER into the city, connected to the right Metro line, got off at the right stop, climbed a couple flights of gross stairs, exited the subway, and was feeling pretty good about my travel prowess.

    Then looked at the street, cursed in my head, and turned to start explaining to my patient husband that I had no idea where the hotel was in relation to the metro station. This was in the days before smartphones, so we just found a nearby bookstore — they had books with maps (though oddly no normal maps for sale), so we were able to figure it out from there.

    I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but apparently…

  27. @ Nick E — Oh goodness! I wouldn’t even try and drag a spouse along on something like that! But sounds fun to me 🙂

  28. Enjoyed this post very much – it definitely has the ring of truth to it. My partner also keeps me in check regarding routes and number of hotels etc. and reminds me that travelling also needs to keep the holiday element!

  29. It is a constant struggle between enjoying the occasional free night and my wanting to stay at the same hotel for the duration of a stay at any given city. Of course my husband usually prefers to split things up to make the most out of our available nights. Even if I hold out for one trip it inevitably is split up in another trip. “Oh come on you wouldn’t let me use the free night during that trip and or the other one so we have to use it now.” And then the other night is at an airbnb that is not anywhere near the first night.

    The craziest thing was our few days in Tokyo split in between two different hotels for four days, which wouldn’t have been too crazy except we had a large checked bag to lug around the subway (full of things for friends at our next stop) and he didn’t want to pay extra for a taxi. (Otherwise what is the point of getting all those deals in the first place?) Getting that bag up and down the subway stairs each time was completely ridiculous. After that I refuse to let him bring along a massive checked bag even if he has a good reason.

    It is always fun to watch the reactions of people when I tell them “Oh yeah this two week trip I’m spending two days in this country, three days in that country, and four days in that country.” They always respond with “What? How could that possibly be enough time in any one place?” Thankfully 2 days was more than enough for Bangkok.

  30. I am pretty new to this game but #2 is the one most familiar to me! I finally stopped telling my friends and family that I flew to ________ this weekend because I wanted to try out a new plane or check out a new airport. I kept getting the question “But why?!”

    Now I’m just quietly racking up miles and points so I can travel around the world someday. My goal is to hit every continent on the same trip.

    Call me crazy but I love traveling and planes and airports and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.

    I really enjoyed this post @Tiffany and hope someday to visit as many places as you and your husband.

  31. Tiffany’s husband: YOUR mother-in-law doesn’t care where you spend Thanksgiving or any other holiday. She’s just very thankful you and her daughter have such a great marriage. Stay safe and enjoy the world! … Your Mother-in-Law.

  32. This has to be the funniest post that I have ever read. I am still laughing! Seriously the language point is spot on. I can’t count the number of times I have had to stop and explain what I am saying to someone.

  33. Super cute!!! Love these kinds of stories!! I’m fairly new to the game, but getting better. My husband has taken some convincing, but he’s getting there!!!

  34. I always love Tiffany’s posts. Sending this one off to the hubs now.
    “The trick to keeping the habit is to surprise them with a trip every time they are about to stage an intervention. Buys me another few months depending on distance / quality.”

    Can completely agree with this statement! We spent this morning looking at the Award Wallet account, dividing up points for family Christmas presents. (i.e the 70K HA miles for 2 round trips for the inlaws, TY points for Christmas flights to see my mom, and more TY points or Avios for a domestic trip to see our son.)

    And the Capital One Cards and dozen credit card websites…. CLASSIC!

  35. I try to keep routings and hotel changes within reason. So far, my partner has not complained about taking Southwest connecting flights to leverage “Companion Pass” when other carriers have nonstops, and put up with the “Club Carlson trudge” across Leicester Square in London to change hotels every 2 nights (when BOGO was still around). Don’t want to push her too far, though….

  36. Wonderful post Nick and Tiffany! You two have travelled to so many wonderful places as a result of all your organization skills, talent and flexibility. Thanks for a glimpse into the goings on behind the scenes.

    Safe travels. Have the time of your lives!

    Love to you both,
    Judy/Mom

    P.S. Nicholas, did you eat any snakes in #6?

  37. My long suffering wife loved the article then sheepishly asked….. “So what’s wrong with Capitol One again?????” Sweet girl.

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