About

Hi, my name is Lucky, and this is my blog.

Oy, that was awkward. I’m pretty bad at introductions, and not great at talking about myself in general. Let me try again.

My name is Ben Schlappig, and I am obsessed with aviation, travel, and more specifically, using airline miles and credit card points to elevate the travel experience.

I also go by Lucky, and occasionally Coins (that’s a long story for another day though).

I love airports.

Seriously, one of the main things I enjoy about traveling is the sense of possibility an international departures board inspires. I could spend all day watching people come and go, wondering where they are coming from, what their story is, and what their final destination might be.

And it’s a good thing that I like airports, because I fly an average of 400,000 miles a year nowadays. That’s more than 16 times around the globe, and the bulk of that is in international first and business class.

I’ve been traveling from a very young age – my family is from Germany, so I’ve been flying back and forth between the US and Germany since I was a child. As it is for most families traveling internationally with children our flights were far from glamorous (we typically flew Condor from Tampa, back when they still had a smoking section), but I still loved the journey, and seeing new places, and most especially – the airport.

I have a soft spot for the old “flip style” Departures board in Frankfurt for that reason.

The summer I was 14 I received a flyer from United in the mail. They were running an outrageous promotion which offered 5,000 extra miles for every segment flown, with a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles. Now, even if you knew nothing about miles and points this would sound like a pretty amazing deal, so I started researching, which led me to FlyerTalk, and my entire world perspective changed.

I did the math, and convinced my parents that allowing their youngest child to fly back and forth across the country all summer was not only a great idea, but would mean our next trip to Europe would be in Lufthansa First Class.

They went for it, and a few months later I was a 14-year-old with top-tier airline elite status, and had spent almost the entire summer in airports.

And I was hooked.

I’ve been chronicling my thoughts and travels here at One Mile at a Time since early 2008. Prior to that I spent a great deal of time doing the same on FlyerTalk, and served on the TalkBoard for four years (including a stint as Vice President, which I mention mainly because it was one of the few things I’ve done in this hobby that my dad could appreciate). I’ve also written articles for TravelSort and other publications, and have reviewed countless products along the way.

I’ve flown over four million miles since that first summer, visiting more than fifty countries on six continents and spending thousands of nights in hotels.

I never set out to be a writer, but am beyond thrilled to have made a career of blogging and writing about the travel industry. My favorite part of my day is literally interacting with people here on the blog, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with others.

I believe that anyone can elevate their travel experience by leveraging their resources. I’m never going to try and sell the idea that travel is free, because it certainly isn’t, but there are so many opportunities to enjoy truly amazing experiences while spending significantly less than you might think.

So welcome! Make yourself at home.

If you’re new to miles and points, you’ll want to check out the Beginner’s Guide, and if you’re looking for my reviews of the best airlines, hotels, and airport lounges, you can find those in the Trip Report Index. If you need help redeeming your miles, you might want to check out my award consulting service, PointsPros.

If you have a travel-related question that you can’t find an answer to otherwise, check out the Ask Lucky page, and I’ll do my best to answer!

You can stay updated on the latest in the travel industry, from promotions to program changes to mergers, by subscribing to my free daily newsletter.

You can also like One Mile at a Time on Facebook, or follow my travels on Twitter and Instagram.

Meet my contributors

One of the amazing things about this hobby is how many fun people I’ve met along the way, and the friendships I’ve developed over the years. Some of these folks contribute occasionally here on the blog as well, and add an interesting contrast to my travel and perspectives.

These are not professional writers-for-pay, but rather truly passionate people in the hobby that might not have a background in blogging, but do have a background in obsessing over miles & points 24/7. ;)

Thanks for reading, and maybe our paths will cross in an airport sometime.

Best,
Ben

Comments

  1. Great blog. Been reading your FT posts for over a year now, and just found the blog today. Take care.

  2. Hi, tnx for ur replies to my Qs. I would like some help on Seatcounter if u have time. Flight is from BOS to IAD (we dont plan to use upgrades for this segment) , IAD to FCO on June 7 and return is from MUC to BOS on July10. Thanks a lot.
    P.S. I apologize for having to do this here. Somehow I cannot log on to FlyerTalk.

  3. I was glad to (belatedly) find your blog! As an avid Flyer Talker (but less often poster), I have always found your comments on the UA board to be about the best there is out there.

  4. Ben:

    You attributed the quote to ALPA when the quote was lifted from a company (United) letter…..re-check the link and don’t blame ALPA (your last line below):

    Just when I was starting to trust ALPA a little bit…
    As I posted about just yesterday, United sent out an email to some of their frequent flyers encouraging them to approach pilots in airports. Being the natural skeptic I am I questioned how the unions would feel about this, and not surprisingly they responded. How they responded, though, is beyond disgusting in my opinion. Here’s their press release. Please read it. Read the whole thing. Every filthy last word of it.

    Let’s look at some of this together:

    “Now when you see our flight crew in the concourse or at the gate area, ask them about our airline, the plane, the flight in general, or even questions regarding their own travel experiences and adventures as pilots.”

    If our customers engage you, here’s a good ice-breaker: Remind them that if they can see a pilot, then that pilot is not being paid.

    Please tell me you’re kidding. The union’s trying to be funny here, right? No human would ever say this to someone paying their salary, would they?

    Please correct it,

    Dan Gradwohl
    Mooresville, IN

  5. Thanks for the message Dan. All I was doing was quoting the press release which was quoting United. As you can see it was in quotes while the rest wasn’t. I’ll go ahead and clarify it further though.

  6. Was recommended to your blog via Google’s RSS reader. I’m looking through your blog now, looks interesting!!

    I also see that you’re interested in travel promos, I’ve currently got one going, let me know if you’re you’d like to participate. Not the reason I dropped by though.

  7. Ben,
    I for one would love to see a detailed post about why you like ICH/Priority club and why you have chosen then to be your primary hotel chain. I am looking to expand my hotel points and am looking at PC and Marriott rewards.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks for the comment! That’s an interesting topic which I’ll post about in the next couple of days at the latest.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. Hey Ben,
    The “Next page” link at the bottom is not working. It’s giving a “file not found error.” I am really enjoying the blog!
    -Quinn

  10. Hi Ben

    Great Blog you have opened.

    I would love to write some experience from my travels with Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. (www.swiss.com) Could you open a new category?

    Would be great.

    Greetings from Europe

    pete

  11. Big fan of your website – the question begs, what are you going to do when you graduate college and have to get a real job? 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  12. Thanks Stevie. Well, hopefully I’ll either get a job in the travel industry, get a job that requires a lot of travel, or get a job that leaves a lot of time for travel. 😀

  13. I have been enjoying your blog, I travel a pretty good amount myself and enjoy your persoective.

    I will say this college must have changed alot over the last 20 years, when I was in college and Law school I had to roll pennies for gas I was so broke couldn’t have imagined shelling out the dough for 200K miles of flights . Of course it was all about the beer and girls in those days .

  14. You probably get this a lot..but seriously as a college student where do u get your funding for the 200,000 miles you travel each year. I’ve seen your posts on FT…thus how i found your blog.

    You obviously take advantage of MR’s and bonuses…but im still dumbfounded by how you can do it!!

    I am also a fellow college student and an avid traveler. I do a lot of traveling…so much i even worked at an airline one summer..fun times of free unlimited standby..

    any tips that can help a fellow student out that would be awesome.

    thanks

  15. Thanks for checking out my blog, Aaron, I appreciate it. You might find this post interesting, which I think should answer your basic question:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2008/07/29/how-i-find-the-timeresources-to-travel/

    Long story short, with the amount I pay to travel, I can’t afford not to! I’m literally paying less to fly those 200,000 miles than I’d pay to fly the few miles I really have to fly every year. ‘Tis true!

    If that post doesn’t answer any questions, feel free to let me know.

    –Ben

  16. Hi Lucky,

    First thing first, I just love your blog!

    It’s filled with interesting insights, great photos, and excellent tips especially on the Priority Club/IC Ambassador…

    Anyway can you send me the info on how one become a Royal Ambassador? And by that I mean the hard way…and not using some form of referral from a active RA…

    thanks in advance…

  17. Hey katya,

    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! As for how to earn Royal Ambassador — it’s “invitation only,” so technically they don’t publish the requirements. That being said, common wisdom says that it takes 50 nights at Priority Club properties, including stay at three separate IC hotels. Also (and most importantly), they only start “counting” after you join Ambassador.

    Hope that helps.

  18. Hello,

    Love your blog. Fantastic information on it.

    By the way, do you know what is the hilton hhonors latest eadvantage promotion? I am hoping that there are bringing back double points.

  19. Thanks subzero! The current promo is weird, since it seems to be 1,000 points per stay. Looking at my account right now, it seems like I’ve only received 1,000 points on my most recent stay, though, which seems odd. 1,000 points works well for me, since most of my (revenue) stays are below or around $100/night.

  20. Hi Lucky!

    Greetings from the new IC Singapore club lounge.

    So stupid of me, didn’t think you would reply my comment here, so I never checked back after leaving my comment last time.

    Anyway, would, say, 25 nights at IC properties alone (including meeting the 3 different IC requirements) in a year can propel me to become RA?

    Because those cities that I plan to visit in the next 12 months all have IC properties and I just don’t see the point of dowgrading myself to the mediocrity of HI or CP when I can be treated like a princess in IC properties.

    I guess I’ve become too spoiled ever since I became Ambassador.

    Looking forward to seeing more of those fantastic hotel stay reports.

    katya

  21. I am 7200 miles from becoming 1k on United. What is your advice for getting those miles? The promotion pages show las vegas-paris before year end, but then can’t find the flight when i try to get it. Anyway to get the miles somehow without flying? Do they extend the qualifying period at any time?

  22. Hello Sally,

    You have two real options for getting to 1K. The first option is having a Chase Platinum Mileage Plus Visa, and redeeming 80,000 “choices” for 8,000 EQM’s. If it were earlier in the year and you didn’t have Platinum Mileage Plus Visa I would suggest getting one, since you earn 5,000 EQM’s+ for signing up for it and using it. In general I would say that’s not a very good use of “choices,” which are basically the same thing as miles.

    Unfortunately the only other option is to fly, so do a quick mileage run! If you tell me where you’re located I’d be happy to try and help find a suitable mileage run that’s easy and not too expensive. Considering the benefits of 1K, you’re too close to let it slip!

  23. Dear Lucky:

    Congratulations on your entertaining AND informative blog. I found it last month and have been addicted ever since. I have a question for you please. My mother has 250,000 points with American Express, and my husband and I have approximately 500,000 miles with United, most of them have been accrued through credit card use and his previous job. We have found it nearly impossible to use our United miles (our sole personal travel takes place between SFO and ATH during the peak summer months), and I’d like to close out my mother’s American Express card. Based on information you previously provided, I am thinking of opening an ANA mileage account and transferring her miles over there. What do you think of this idea? Of all your entries, my personal favorite has been your Lufthansa First Class travel with your brother. Happy trails!

    Best,
    Despina

  24. Thanks for reading my blog, Despina!

    As far as your question goes, I’m happy you wrote me first. ANA is great if you’re flying from the east coast to western Europe, but since it’s distance based it’s not that great for traveling beyond that. An award from SFO to ATH would cost you something like 140,000-160,000 miles, depending on your routing with ANA.

    You want to transfer miles to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program. It costs 120,000 miles per person, and if you mix in several Star Alliance carriers, you won’t pay any fuel surcharges, which means each ticket should be about $100 in taxes and nothing else (unlike ANA, where you’d pay around $400).

    They don’t block partner award inventory, so you should find plenty of availability.

    Happy travels and enjoy Greece! 🙂

  25. Good Morning Lucky, Thanks very much for your response. I signed up for both Air Canada and ANA’s mileage programs and spent a few days entering different routes (SFO-JFK and SFO-ATH) and different dates. The thing I found is that ANA has greater availability. While the Air Canada tickets are much cheaper in terms of miles domestically, ANA wins on the international side. A business class ticket to Greece is 90,000 miles on ANA versus 100,000 on Air Canada and 105,000 on United. I am dipping my feet in the ANA pool by transferring a few miles from AmEx and will continue to research. I did note that ANA doesn’t allow ANY changes once a ticket is booked, but I am going to call them for clarification and also look further into Air Canada. Thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    Best,
    Despina

  26. Despina,

    There are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, ANA will charge you pretty high taxes on the award which will probably come out to around $350 per person, while they’ll be around $100 per person with Aeroplan. Second of all, Aeroplan’s availability is actually identical to what ANA has. Their website isn’t nearly as good, though, and doesn’t show all the availability, but you’ll see it’s there when you call.

    In your shoes I would go for a first class award, given the small premium. With Aeroplan that would cost you 120,000 miles, and with ANA it would cost you 140,000 miles.

    Just my two cents….

  27. Hi Lucky,

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to think about my predicament, let alone posting about it. After I wrote to you, I spoke to ANA and did a little further investigating, and saw that you were right. I cancelled the AmEx transfer and am heading over to Aeroplan. Thanks again!

    Best,
    Despina

  28. Sounds like a wise decision, Despina. If you need any further assistance, let me know.

    Regards,
    Ben

  29. Hi Ben,

    I needed to book last minute travel to Istanbul, took your advice and transferred 120,000 points to Aeroplan and got a first class ticket. I’ve never been in First Class internationally and am very excited. If you wouldn’t mind would you please offer me a couple of pieces of advise.

    1. Thus far I am booked on Lufthansa and Turkish. I’m not crazy about my arrival time in SF on the return and have a chance to move to an earlier flight. One of them will be United through Frankfurt (currently I am on Lufthansa through Munich on the way home). Is there a discernible difference between Lufthansa and United in F?
    2. There are two First Class lounges in Terminal 1 in Frankfurt. Is one better than the other?

    I hope you enjoyed your SF visit even though we had crummy weather this weekend.

    Best,
    Despina

  30. Hi Despina,

    I had a great stay in SF, thanks! I found the weather to be beautiful, given that it has been 90 degrees in Tampa forever now. Unfortunately I forgot a jacket, which made the stay a bit rough due to the wind.

    As far as your first question goes, yes, there’s a HUGE difference between Lufthansa and United in first. On Lufthansa you’ll be driven to the plane from the fantastic First Class Lounge (FCL) in Munich, and the service aboard should be excellent. The food and drinks will be miles better than you’d get on United. The seat itself will likely be better on United, but everything else is much better on Lufthansa. Since this is your first time in international first, I would definitely go with Lufthansa.

    As far as your second question goes, are you connecting on Lufthansa or another airline? If you’re connecting on Lufthansa and have a long connection, you can actually use the First Class Terminal, which I’m betting you’ve heard of. They keep changing their access policy, and they actually changed it back to allowing connecting passengers access.

    The other two lounges are quite similar, so I wouldn’t say there’s any discernable difference in quality.

    Enjoy your trip!

    — Ben

  31. Hi Ben:

    Thanks so much for the advice. I have short layovers both ways. Just 1 hour and 45 minutes over and 1 and a half hours on the way back. Not much time to do anything it seems.

    Best,
    Despina

  32. I purchased a united flight on continental.com using my Chase continental credit card. When I did it a few months ago, they said that I will not get my checked first bag free b/c it is not a continental flight. On flyer talk, the UA rep sounded like I now would get that bag for free based on the merger. Is that true for future tickets as well as tickets that have been purchased in the past?

    Thanks Ben!

  33. I have met many a ‘traveler’ who hops from country to country in a rush to accumulate passport stamps and claim large numbers of countries visited ( or mileage? ). Most of these ‘travelers’ visit one small section of a country ( usually touristy ) and claim they have ‘been there’. To each his own I guess, but I can’t help think it is a shame to travel with your own ego or bragging rights in mind. Seeing the inside of an airport, a hotel next to the airport, or spending a day or two in a country is barley worth mentioning let alone caliming as a country visited.

  34. I think its great that you have the opportunity and ability to travel so much. My daughter has a passion for Asia and works in south Korea. She has travel to numerous locations in Asia. Good luck with your continued travels and your blog looks great.
    Best regards.
    Jimmy

  35. Hello from Austria,

    nice Blogs you written every time, i am also a Pointcollecter in most frequent flyers and frequent stays program. Please post more informations of good programms and where i get free points in europe.

    Thanks a lot, german-austria guy

    Sven

  36. Here’s a tip.

    While its true that Apple is giving 10x Ultimate Rewards points on 11/28 they are having a cash sale on 11/25. But that is the same day that Best Buy is giving 10x UR points.

    So buy your Apple products from Best Buy via the portal then ask for a price match and stack the discounts.

  37. Ben,

    This is a follow-up to confirm that you received the e-mail and I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks for the opportunity!

  38. Northern Lights a good show if you can track it down”joanna Lumley in The land of the Northern Lights” how to find them and a joy to watch

  39. Dear Lucky,
    So you’re off to Ireland and this may be arriving in your inbox too late but – you really, really ought to spend at least one night at an Irish B&B. So many ladies/families “do” B&B to supplement their income (if you go to any local supermarket, there’s often an aisle marked “catering” for these homemakers to buy their baked beans and other necessities in bulk for their B&B guests). Any guidebook can lead you to a winner and, to me, staying in someone’s daintily appointed guest room and being served a heart Full Irish at their kitchen table – always with a proud array of jams, jellies, marmalades and sauces arranged in a pleasing manner before you – is a quintessential Ireland experience. Plus, I don’t know that I’ve seen you write about something like this. You might find yourself hooked!

  40. Hi Lucky! I received an email today from Citi offering 30K AA miles for opening a Citi checking account after 1 or more direct deposits and a minimum debit card spend of $750. Last I heard, and all I can find online, says that Citi discontinued its debit card in the fall. Have you heard about this offer and what are your thoughts? Thanks!

  41. When we check in at AA, how do we go about getting the first bag checked free?? And how do we find explanations to the “benefits” on your brochure “Love the Journey with all new travel benefits.”?

    Thanks.

  42. Looking to fly from BKK to IAD on an award ticket. Since I am late getting these tickets only two airlines are left. Would you chose Thai Airways or Air China?

  43. Note, today is the first day you can transfer your BMI points to BA, before you lose them all in December.

  44. I have been reading your blog for over 1 year and it has been very entertaining and helpful.
    I have just booked a one-way JFK-HKG business ticket thanks to Avios points + $167.
    Without all your posts, I would have never done it.
    Cheers

  45. Happy New Year Ben,

    Great tricks and blog posts. I wished I had found this blog earlier before I used all my miles traveling around Asia. I’ll keep an eye for future posts.

    Salva

  46. @lucky – Ben! MR’ing to SEA in Feb; lunch? staying at the PH & Conrad Tokyo just a few days before…war stories (1%’ers) need to be told =-)

  47. Dear Ben,
    I enjoyed your article on Aer Lingus.Do you happen to know if BA Avios changed their policy on the 50,000/rt b-class? When I clicked on other partners,it says the pricing/miles would be the same.I’m trying to avoid the BA taxes and fees and not go on IB.The Aer Lingus deal seemed perfect.

  48. @ Jeff A — Send me an email!

    @ maryjane — Nope, nothing has changed. You should still be able to book it through the Executive Club call center.

  49. I know that you have spent over 100 million miles for award travel. When did you start racking up miles and does it have to do with where you were born and grew up? Speaking of which, where were you born and where did you grow up? It says in your Singapore for the Weekend report that your family is from Frankfurt, Germany? Does that answer part of my second question or what?

  50. Given that I have traveled almost as much in such little time and iven I was born in 1999 with so much opportunity, I respect that you have a blog to show people what you experience. Good work and more to come I sure.

  51. @ AidanAhearn — I’m from New York originally though both of my parents are from Frankfurt, so that’s where much of my family still lives. I started racking up miles at the age of 14 or so, and have been obsessed every since.

  52. Awesome. I’ve been racking up miles since I was five and I’m already Star Alliance gold from United lifetime 1K, OneWorld Sapphire from American lifetime platinum and Skyteam Elite Plus from Delta Lifetime Platinum. I’m also US Airways Silver, BA Silver, Lufthansa Senator and Qantas Gold. I’ve racked up I think 6 million miles already. If you tell me how many flights you’ve taken overall and how many in first and business class, I’ll tell you the same for me.

  53. I love reading your blogs, it really does help me think about which airline I should fly with. I really want to try Singapore Airlines – what would be the best way to collect miles for that?

  54. Ben,

    Just want to share with you that your blog has been a huge guidance in getting me into points, miles, award travel and just smarter travel. Right now I am sitting in the Priority Access lounge (HNL) watching flights take off, although while it’s not a stupendous lounge by any means, it is the first “perk” I have used in this little lifetime endeavor since first suiting up in November. Oh, and the reason I’m in HNL (living on Maui) is to finalize my Global Entry app (done, BTW). So, I’m buzzed on Jack ‘n Coke and stale Famous Amos cookies. But it’s just a start! Emirates A380 Shower … here I come!!!!

    Aloha, bro.

  55. @ Matthew — Fixed, thanks!

    @ Jeff — So happy to hear! Enjoy the Famous Amos cookies, and let me know if there’s anything I can ever do to help. Safe travels.

  56. Hi Ben,

    How in the heck are you able to afford all these trips?

    I must know how your lifestyle is possible!?,

  57. Lucky –

    Is it still true that ANA is not imposing fuel surcharges on united redemptions?

  58. @ DC MOMO — They seem to not be imposing the fuel surcharges online, though they are via the call center last I checked.

  59. Hi Ben! Just sent you an email as well, but was hoping to get you on board to help us make hotel video reviews for HotelConfidential.com! Please check us out, and if you’re interested in our idea, perhaps we can talk about collaborating together–or at the very least, you can help us make video reviews of the hotels you stay in!

    Thanks a lot!

  60. Hi Lucky,

    I have an itinerary booked as follow;
    cx 543 HND to HKG leaving 8/30 at 10.35am
    cx 880 HKG to LAX leaving 8/320 at 23:40

    I was told by the exec platinum desk that this takes a 40,000 miles and a 67,500 miles , two separate awards

    My thought is that this is a 62,500 miles award since it is leaving from Japan, and there is no stop over in HKG (within 24 hours). What do you think?

  61. @ yvrjames — The agent is unfortunately correct. Japan is in “Asia 1” and Hong Kong is in “Asia 2,” and American doesn’t let you route from Asia 1 to the US via Asia 2 on a single award.

  62. I plan on traveling in September 2014 and getting close to booking! A couple of questions:

    #1 If I use US Airways miles and star alliance carriers, what happens to my ticket and travels in late 2014 when I travel IF the merger goes through and USAirways is no longer Star Alliance?

    #2. If I use United Miles and many trip has much of the flight legs on US Airways planes as well as other Star Alliance Carriers?

    We like to book our flights as soon as flight availability shows . . . Is this the best way to get what you want . . . AND in this case should I wait until after this goes to court? I have my full itinerary ready to book!!!A

  63. @ BFD — Whatever you confirm will be honored regardless of which airline belongs to which alliance when you actually travel. So I wouldn’t be concerned about the merger at all as far as that’s concerned.

    I’d absolutely suggest locking in the itinerary as soon as the schedule opens up.

  64. Wife and I will be returning from Tokyo in Business on a saver ticket to Chicago and then continuing to Houston. Neither of us have status and I have the United credit card. Houston is currently only available in Economy and we are booked on the 615pm flight on 6/27. I see availability when logged in on the 12pm flight due to having the credit card, but can’t get my wife on the same flight since we booked her trip with her miles. What would be our best option to try to avoid a 10hr. layover in Chicago after a long return which will begin from HKT?

    I can think of a few options:
    1. Hope for availability for 2 and pay to fly standy-by on the day of travel for a $75 fee.
    2. Cross my fingers and hope for a schedule change between now and date of travel and then hope that United allows us to change our flight to a more convenient time and avoid the 10 hour layover.
    3. Change my flight time to 1200pm now and hope that something comes up later for my wife (at the risk of straining our marriage!)

    Thanks for any help. I just booked this morning and have until tomorrow morning to cancel/change with no penalty.

  65. @ Shawn — I’d probably do one of two things:
    1) Hope for a schedule change so you can change to your desired flight later.
    2) Wait until there are two award seats on the flight you want, as it’s risky to split you and your wife up since another seat may not open up.

    My two cents, at least…

  66. Ben-

    Ok for starters big fan and please keep up the good work. I have to hear the story about United Airlines….Can you email me?

  67. Hey Lucky!

    Assuming that you’ll be in Tampa around the holiday, any chance of doing a meetup? I’m sure we have more than a few folks here who’d love to get together.

    Thanks for all the stories, reports, etc.

  68. @ FlyingTPA — Still finalizing my holiday plans as we may head down to South Florida for Christmas, but once everything is set in stone I’d love to plan something like that if I’ll make it to Tampa. Thanks for your interest!

  69. @ Gary — It was an error on my part. I thought the sale was next Friday, not this past Friday. That’s why I deleted it, since I realized after the fact I got the dates wrong. Sorry.

  70. Lucky, you’re super good looking. 🙂

    Anyway… Instead of living out of hotels for a year, you should move to San Francisco. SF/Norcal are awesome and you can get lots of great award flights out of here (believe me!) Awesome blog btw even though you’re pretty crazy sometimes.

  71. Hi Ben,
    I was just meeting Scott from HackMyTrip this morning and he mentioned that you are based in Seattle. Was wondering if you would be open for a coffee tomorrow or Saturday?
    Thanks,
    -Srikanth.

  72. Hi Ben,

    Just curious, how many credit cards do you open/close each year? I’m looking at applying for some credit cards but no excited about the annual fee that kicks in after the first year. I’m not sure how much it would damage my credit score to close them in the same year. Any advice you have would be great!

  73. @ Kelly — Thanks for reading! If you check the top of the “Best Credit Card Offers” page you’ll see an explanation of how applying for credit cards can actually improve your score:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/best-current-credit-card-offers/

    Here’s the most recent post on which cards I have right now:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/11/27/credit-cards/

    On average I apply for at least a dozen cards a year, I’d say, and probably cancel at least a handful. Hope that helps!

  74. Hi Lucky,

    I am considering doing the Hyatt Diamond Challenge assuming this is still available (12 nights within 60 days). I have a couple of question:
    1) Do you know whether the 4 suite upgrade is available during the trial?
    2) Is award stay eligbile for the suite upgrade?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

  75. @ jamesyvr — Yes, I believe you do get the four Diamond suite upgrades up front. Suite upgrades can only be applied on revenue and Points + Cash bookings — outright award stays don’t qualify.

  76. Hi Ben, traveling SIN-TPE-HKG. All on BR. Only have 1 hr 20 min connection in TPE. Will that be enough time? Do we need to clear immigration in TPE for a connecting flight to HKG?

  77. Not so much a question but a heads-up on another Tumi sale that you might want to share with readers. I’m not enough of a luggage savant to know if these are good prices or not. Got this lead through a daily deals site – Brad’s Deals – http://www.bradsdeals.com/deals/tumi-bags-accessories-from-36-p157324.html?tid=32856-2014-03-06-12-00-p-157324-email-3953913&emailid=3953913&d=030614&utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=20140306-7233

  78. Hi Ben,

    I am writing from Daresalaam, Tanzania where my hotels’ wifi connection doesn’t allow streaming videos, so instead I devoured your trip reports.

    I am a frequent flyer myself, but as I am working in the NGO sector – coach it is for me. Every now and then I get my op-up due to Skywards Gold.

    As I am mostly travelling to Africa, I found your report on Manila and your view on the airport procedures quite funny:-) – you should check out Bujumbura Airport in Burundi once. They close for lunch.

    I would pick that airport any day over NBO, EBB, DAR, KGL or BJM where I spend way too much time.

    I certainly understand your desire to travel in as much style and as hassle free as possible and to be perfectly honest, I am wee bit jealous.

    However,if you’re ever interested in exploring the other side of the air travel spectrum let me know 😉

    All the best Ben,

    Andre

  79. Thank you for your very helpful blog. I saved a bunch of points for my family and we will be travelling Royal Laurel YYZ-TPE next year. I am soon going to select my seats, and noticed that you said the rear section of Royal Laurel is quieter. Mine are pretty good kids, but since they are still 4 and 8 years old, I am wondering if we should choose seats in the smaller rear section of Royal Laurel rather than the front larger section, so as to disturb less people, if they are having trouble sleeping. On the other hand if it is a small section, any noise they make will be easily heard. Thoughts?

  80. @ Hershel — I think you’d be fine either way, but the rear section is closer to Economy, which might make things easier if you’re going to get up and walk around with them.

  81. Hi @lucky, I was inspired by your trip reports to do one for my recent first trip to Hong Kong:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1569635-trip-report-cx-j-ba-gold-perspective.html

    It was a long-haul CX J trip from the US, that arrived at HKG the day before the monsoon hit that delayed that flight from New York for 34 hours. I notice that you’ve never done a report for CX J in long-haul, so it was interesting to contrast things a bit with your experiences in F.

  82. Hi Lucky, I have a US Airways award redemption to ICN via NRT in first class. The NRT-ICN portions are on Asiana both ways. They are on the new A380 that Asiana is taking delivery of. Just talked to Asiana and they are saying that I have been moved to business. Even though I actually had seat assignments on that flight in 2E,2F,3E,3F confirmed by Asiana a couple of weeks ago.

    They are saying there is no first class on that flight. Can they just move my class of service? Second, they are also saying I need US Airways to “re-issue” that leg of the award ticket to reflect a business class ticket. I don’t think any of this is right, but, I have had issues with US Airways award tickets and them saying they can’t “re-issue” without canceling the entire award. Can US Airways re-issue just that portion of the trip? Is Asiana telling me the correct thing? Thanks!! Your blog is great! Keep up the great work!!

  83. @ Terry K — I would suggest contacting US Airways and trying to get connected to an Alliance Liaison (it may take a few calls). They should be able to resolve this for you.

  84. That’s so cool, you get to experience all these cultures and places but…what exactly does a travel consultant do? Do you fly around to tell people about flying around or do you fly because you have to meet the people your consulting in person?

  85. Great to meet you at FTU! I didn’t realize actually that you were so young – it must have been crazy while most kids were playing video games and chasing boys/girls, you are chasing miles on the weekend! Excellent sessions and I learned a lot about award booking.

  86. Hi Ben,
    Weighing up if I should take up the Qantas or Citibank Rewards offer on the Visa Signature card. Current promotion is 80,000 bonus point for Qantas with an earning rate of 1:1 and with Citi Rewards, 60,000 bonus points with an earning rate of 1:2 and bonus points with selected merchants. Citi Rewards have Asia Miles, KrisFlyer and Velocity program but their conversion rate is 2:1, 1.5:1 and 2:1 respectively.
    Thought?

  87. @ Lance — Of those options I would go with the latter, because I’d rather earn one KrisFlyer or AsiaMile per dollar spent on a credit card than one Qantas mile.

  88. Dear Ben,

    We are a group of students from the IE Business School, currently consulting an airline company as the final project for our Master in Corporate Communication. At the moment we are analysing the perception and behavior of First/Business Class as well as frequent flyers living in Spain.

    In order to collect relevant data we are conducting a survey and would greatly appreciate it if you could help us by filling out the following questionnaire (The information provided will be confidential and used for research purposes only):

    https://ie.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dj80KT07vV3PxRz

    If you believe you have any contacts that could assist us with this project, it would be wonderful if you could forward this questionnaire to them.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any further questions regarding the questionnaire or our final project.

    We would like to thank you in advance for your time.

    Best regards,
    Carolin

  89. Lucky,

    I’m wondering if you’ll consider a blog on unique (and normally annoying) airline safety rules. I’ve ran across a couple of (to me) strange ones.

    1. SYD – PER on QF I was told by the gate agebt that I could not board with coffee. It was in my personal cup and sealed so it could not spill.

    2. CDG-SUB (East Java) on QZ (Air Asia) doesn’t allow headphones during taxi take off and landing even when they are unplugged and don’t use power.

    3. CX no hot beverages when the seat belt sign is on. So annoying!

    Anyway, I’d love to hear some of the strange and unique rules you run accross.

  90. Awesome. I just got off UA NRT SFO this morning and was reminded of thier rediculous shoulder strap in Global First. Add that to the list 🙂

  91. Your story is wonderful but it makes me jealous. I have been dreaming of the day when I will have the courage to quit my job, take a leap of faith and travel the world. My brain, however, is telling me it’s a bad idea. I don’t think I have the guts to do it without knowing where my next meal will come from or how I will pay for it. I am happy for you and where your life has taken you. I’m glad I came across your blog and it has opened up my mind. Happy travels.

  92. not sure if you ever did a follow up blog post detailing that first UA promo that got you hooked. would love to hear about that story, incld what and how many flights you took? what status did you gain? cost breakdown and what did 50k UA miles buy back in the day? how did you get your fam to EU on LH F with just 50k (+ whatever miles generated from taking the flights for the promo?) … inquiring minds wanna know. if you’ve already covered this, a link would be much appreciated!

  93. Regarding th 50k story- I took it to mean 50k was the max per TRIP. I.e. An 8 segment trip would add 40k.

  94. You have so much knowledge in this points and miles industry. I have heard you in a couple of others’ podcast interviews, have you ever considered starting a podcast? I love listening to podcasts and the topics you could cover in this point and miles area are endless. Anywho, keep the great content coming!

  95. Hi Ben

    Just want to say I love your blog, I too love the buzz you get in airports and love hotels my next trip wont be as glamorous though, flying Easyjet 🙁 to Egypt but I think I am most looking forward to the Airport lounge at Gatwick.

    Am currently half way thru reading your trip reports, love the blog keep up the good work.

  96. Hi, I just read your TAM first class report and wanted you to know that the 1st class interior was designed by priestmangoode and my eldest son was the head designer for the project. He travelled to Brazil many times whilst designing went on, and I am sure he would be pleased with your positive comments.

  97. Hi Ben, just a quick thanks for those informative presentations you gave at FTU Advance this past weekend, and for the hearty laughs over drinks. Love the genuine passion that you have for this ‘hobby’ and the energy that you radiate every time someone asks for your help or advice. Keep up the good work, safe travels and IF you ever have a decent transit time thru IAH, let me know, for the G&Ts will be on me. Es hat Spaß gemacht mit dich zu sprechen, kümmern!

  98. Given Ben’s recent interest in GA, I figured I’d share that I went to the Garuda training centre for its pilots and flight attendants as a school trip today and saw all the various stuff like Flight Simulators and mock up cabins for evacuation and stuff. It was pretty cool, I have to say.

  99. I have flown 8 times round the world on AA one world , 3 in business, one first.
    Do you know what is the cheapest city to start from outside Khartoum (or top 3 cities ) in the mid east and Europe. I could also possibly start in JNB or a place like Tanzania ,for 4 continents . I want cheap business ,to try for executive platinum this year ! I have 3.5 million miles lifetime,only about a million of that on credit cards.
    Daniel

  100. THANKS – This is just a follow up to a couple questions I had last year when I was interested in booking a 90K Asia trip with USAir miles. Based on your advice, we travelled EVA to Shanghai, and then ANA on the return. Both amazing products. ANA definitely has the better food and service, but I even slightly preferred their business class seating. I had the window seat (A), and felt like I had my own private suite.

    Working on a first class trip next. Thanks for all the great work you do. I really enjoy your blog. And I love the way it helps make my friends green with envy. (I TELL them the “secret” is to read your blog, but they never follow through.)

  101. @ elteetrav — Hah, thanks for the kind words and for reading, I really appreciate it! Happy you’ve been able to take some great trips! 🙂

  102. There is something wrong with your RSS and integrating in to Outlook Express. Other feeds (Gary, Pizza and multiple others I follow) work just fine but yours is busted where it doesn’t pull any new posts. Not a major deal since there is so much overlap between the people I follow but I suppose you may be missing some followers.

  103. On a recent blog you mentioned the $150 AT&T American Express Promotion. The fine print says for business and wireless bills. However, I have a combined AT&T bill which includes both business and personal & combines landlines (some of us still use them), my DSL and 2 wireless phones; again all charges combined within the same monthly statements. My AT&T combined statement is on autopay from Chase Ink Bold per your past suggestions. When I look at the Chase statement, it says” AT&T*CONS PHONE PMT”. My questions are (1) whether I will still get the credit if I use my AMX Business Starwood (the offer was there for my account) to pay the $150 to AT&T if my Account is not clearly identified as wireless only and (2) With a coding of “CONS” it sounds like a Consumer account instead of Business or Consumer and Business? Ben, you always seem to know the right answers, so any help you can provide so I can take advantage of this special offer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!

  104. @ Old Flyer — I wish I had an answer, but unfortunately I’m not sure. If I had to speculate, I would guess that it would qualify, though I can’t guarantee it. Definitely worth a try, in my opinion, as worst case scenario you’ll miss out on some Ultimate Rewards points.

  105. I am 6’7″ and hate to fly. I can’t ever get comfortable on a airplane. I want to go to Europe from Los Angeles but can’t afford first class. La Compagnie airlines seems like it might work on the leg from Newark to Paris. Seats have more leg room and cost is reasonable. Do the exit row seats have more leg room than the regular seats? What about the bulkhead seats? Any recommendation on flights from Los Angeles to Newark? Any recommendation getting from Paris to Lisbon? Lisbon to London and London to Paris for the return trip to Newark? That’s a lot. Thanks.

  106. @ Tom — Yes, the exit row seats on La Compagnie do have even more legroom. Within Europe legroom is always abysmal, so not much that can be done there. If you book a paid ticket from Los Angeles to Newark, I would pay extra for exit row seating.

  107. Hi Ben,
    I work in hotels and I am looking to enhance our in-room amenity menu. During your travels, what has been your favorite welcome amenity?

    Cheers,
    AC

  108. @ AC — I’m pretty easy to please. I think anything customized to the guest is ideal. For example, I love Diet Coke with lime, so anytime a hotel customizes the amenity in such a way it makes me smile. I realize that’s tough to do on a larger scale. In general I think anything other than the generic red wine/fruit plate is good.

    Love that you’re taking that initiative! Hah, and from the looks of it, I’ll be at your property tonight. 😀

  109. Hi Ben, love your blog. I’m a longtime listener, first timer caller. I notice occasionally you post general aviation enthusiast material here and I came across a link that might interest you and your readers:

    http://cameras.reviewed.com/news/watch-airbus-risk-15-billion-in-a-wild-airplane-stunt

    It’s a shame that Airbus is going through some choppy times right now but it’s good to see they haven’t lost their passion for flying. Anyhow, keep up the great work!

  110. Hey Ben,

    I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the environmental costs of flying, on whether that is or should be a criteria in the decisions that we all make about travel. Climate change and all that. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this stuff, as it’s something I wrestle with a lot when I’m making decisions about traveling somewhere.

    Thanks!

    john

  111. Dear Ben:

    First of all thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise through your website.

    Second, I am planning to fly to Australia (Brisbane & Sydney) from Los Angeles in about two weeks for work and study. I also intend to travel in Asia-Pacific region and possibly to Europe during this year while based in Australia. So I would like to develop a strategy to utilize all these trips in terms of airline loyalty program(s), points and miles.
    The airlines which I’ll most likely to use are Air Tahiti Nui, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Qantas and Hawaiian Airlines. My priority is to have a program which will give me maximum and the easiest access to most, if not all, of these airlines, if possible. What would you recommend?

    Thank you in advance for your ideas and suggestions.

    Alex

  112. @ Alex — There’s not a program where you can credit all those flights, but Alaska is a great option for Fiji and Qantas. Then I’d consider American for Air Tahiti Nui and Hawaiian. Enjoy the trip!

  113. Hi Lucky, have an interesting scenario today I wonder if you might be able to share some insight w/me on. I was originally ticketed on a US Airways flight to be operated by AA. However, with the crazy delays in Chicago today, I was eventually rebooked by an AA agent, on an Air Canada flight that I’m about to get on. I realize AC and US stopped their partnership last year, so was surprised that they rebooked me on AC. I’m wonderg if there is any way still to earn miles? Thanks in advance.

  114. @ Wayne — Yes, you may even be able to double dip. You can credit your Air Canada flight to one of their partners, and then later you can request original routing credit from AAdvantage or Dividend Miles.

  115. Hey Lucky,

    Wasn’t sure where I could post this so I chose here! Hopefully not a problem.

    I read Boardingarea and your blog all the time (yours is the best imo 🙂 ) but I was wondering if there are any Asia specific blogs out there? Specifically for HK possibly? As much as I love reading about all these awesome US credit cards and such deals catering to North America, I’d like to see any Asia specific deals that could possibly benefit the crappy Amex rewards I have at my disposal in HK.

    Thanks!

  116. @ Jimmy — If there are I don’t know about them, sorry! Keep in mind lots of deals also work for those outside the US, though I realize that’s not the case for credit cards.

  117. Very frustrating that I don’t have access to the credit cards! Haha

    Do you have any suggestions on how I could obtain them? I am a Canadian citizen but with no current US accounts.

  118. Just discovered your blog! What ever happened to Janesis? Still have frequent contact or are your both somewhere different in the skies of the world?

  119. I found your blog and I liked so much! I Brazilian Blog mentioned you blog many times. You must be a reference for that guys.
    Now I have a lot of interesting things to read here.
    I am from São Paulo and I saw that you took some flights to here. Do you work in São Paulo?
    By the way…Congratulations for you Blog.

  120. @ Gabriel — Thanks! I’ve only been to Sao Paulo once, though hope to visit again at some point.

  121. Ben – I’ve been a follower of your blog for a few years. A few months ago – something changed in the auto-email (technically). I use Microsoft Windows Live Mail (and Hotmail).

    Since then, each time I try to open the mail in Live Mail it crashes…iPhone/iPad works ok. Is there something you could do to fix this? Not sure, if it’s just me or other readers too…

    Thanks for the terrific insights!

  122. Hello Ben (Lucky),

    I’ve been searching around for a way to contact you directly but alas, can’t find one. I’m curious to know if you do all of your traveling AS your job or as part of another job? Your bio is very similar to mine having caught the “travel bug” quite early in life and I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a career that kept me on the road often weekly. I loved the chance to interact with people I’d meet along the way, experience new cultures and, of course, the magic of flight itself. I’ve traveled the globe with many different airlines in various classes of service (some incredible, some not so much) and had the opportunity to stay in some outstanding hotels (again some were, some were not).

    My question is how does one make a sustainable career out of being a travel blogger? Do you often just take trips to experience a new hard/soft product and are those typically just a “there and back” trip? I am a former travel agent too and have been looking to do something more exciting, or that I find exciting anyway, after leaving “Corporate America” after nearly 20 years of being someone else’s pawn. What did it for me was realizing that I was enjoying the act of traveling (i.e. getting there and back, the thrill of experiencing new planes, hard/soft products, etc.) more than doing my actual job once I arrived somewhere. I couldn’t wait to be done so I could get on that plane and travel home…and of course maximize my travel to earn as many miles as possible in the process.

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful information and your very interesting reads on various things. I love all of your blogs and look forward to hearing from you soon.

  123. Hi Ben.

    I’m having a lot of trouble flying as a vegan/vegetarian. Can you help direct me to airline choices based on food. Europe is a common destination leaving from Austin.

    (I’ll be in Dallas this weekend and hope to meet you)

    –Sherry

  124. @ sherry — Look forward to meeting you! To clarify, what issues have you been having? With the quality, or just being able to get vegetarian food? Because most airlines should let you pre-order vegetarian meals.

  125. Hi Ben/Lucky! I was just wondering a few things. Well, I’m only 14 (I know what your thinking, “why is a 14 year old so obsessed with aviation.) I’ve been reading you blog a lot because my family is planning a vacation to Europe next summer and your blog was very helpful. Anyway, this summer (or next) I really want to do want to do what you did when you were my age. To start, did you have an adult with you that summer? I know that United’s unaccompanied minor age is 12, however, the issue with checking into a hotel is also what I was confused about. Also, did you fly to a destination and back or did you stay the night? And the last question I have is if you had any problems over the course of that summer? (i.e. TSA, check-in, hotels, boarding, etc. ) Thank you for your time!

  126. @ Jack — Thanks for reading! Certainly no explanation required for being 14 and loving planes, as I was the same. I started flying alone when I was 15 (or so), though only flew somewhere and then straight back, since I wasn’t old enough to stay in a hotel alone. Can’t say I really had much trouble flying, though didn’t do anything especially crazy. Good luck. 🙂

  127. Hello

    I read your blog often as you have some great information and great reviews of travel products. I came across something yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. Marriott Rewards started a program called Marriott Insiders that encouraged their members to be more participatory so you can earn badges by answering poll questions, answering other travelers questions, and before you could write a review of the Marriott property. The reviews that you see when you click on a Marriott property come from these Insider reviews.

    I was going through the site the other day and noticed that the ‘review’ function was no longer there so I contacted Marriott.com customer service and this is the reply I received:

    Thank you for contacting Marriott. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information.

    Please accept our apology, the Marriott Rewards Insider site no longer allows hotel reviews. Hotel surveys are sent on a random basis and may not always be sent after every stay. If you have
    specific comments, questions or concerns regarding your recent stay, you may
    respond to this email. We will then send your questions, comments or concerns to
    the hotel directly.

    I have never heard of a company taking away reviews – I know Starwood vets their reviews so there is always a delay in the posting of the review but in the end they allow all posts. And do you think that the ‘random surveys’ sent will include anything negative?

    Seems odd

  128. @ 0504Traveller — Hmm, interesting indeed. Yeah, there has been a trend lately whereby hotel chains have added the ability to write reviews, and not taken it away. So that kind of counters the trend. Not sur eI have an explanation.

  129. Hi Lucky! I was wondering if you would help me with something. I am going to visit friends in Frankfurt in October. I am based out of RSW and I was wondering what my best option is. I currently have 142k American Miles and I was wondering if I should take Air Berlin from RSW-DUS-FRA in business class or use my miles to connect to one of American’s hubs and then on to Frankfurt. Another possible option is to drive to MIA, FLL, or TPA and fly on BA and connect through London. I was hoping to fly business or first class but I’m not sure what is the best option. I also want to take in lounges into consideration. Thanks for your help and I hope to meet you some day!

  130. @ Jack — If there’s award availability then I’d say the airberlin option is ideal. They have a fantastic business class product with fully flat seats which you can book for 50,000 miles each way if there’s award availability.

  131. I was looking at your reviews of AA 767-300 J flights, and I noticed you have only reviewed the old angle-flat seats. Maybe they have similar seats on other equipment, but I’m not sure. I’m currently booked in V, so it would be 25K miles plus a $350 copay to upgrade from BCN-JFK. How would you rate American’s flat-bed business? Thank you.

  132. @ BigRedEngr — Their new product is definitely a solid hard product, though food won’t be amazing and service is hit or miss, generally.

  133. My goals are: Singapore Air anywhere ,
    shower at 35,000

    Marriott stay fly deal is coming to fruition. I’m torn between 120,000 Alaska miles versus 142,000 United miles. Help.

  134. @ Paul — You can redeem Alaska miles for travel in Emirates first class, while you can’t redeem United miles for Singapore first class. So if the above are the goals, then Alaska would be a better option.

  135. Hi Lucky

    I have a query regarding the Pre clearance facility at ABUDABHI…I shall be travelling to Houston by AIR FRANCE which has layovers at ABUDABHI and PARIS.

    My question is would I also go through the preclearance at ABUDABHI or is it only for those passengers using ETIHAD Airways.

    Thank you for response. Have a nice day.

  136. Hey Ben,

    I have been following your blog since quite sometime now and I got really excited to see a segment on you in one of the episodes of a show on Frankfurt Airport! Kudos! That was really fascinating to see how you work with miles/credit cards and also pack your bags! Haha.. Congratulations on the interview 🙂
    Would love to myself travel once day like you do

  137. Lucky, I’m really enjoying this blog. I have the opportunity to fly LH F from FRA to PHL on the 340-600 or to EWR on the 747-800. I have to go to central new jersey and its not much of a difference in distance. If they are both available, which one would you suggest? I don’t think I will have the chance to do this again for a while…….

  138. @ steve — Definitely the 747-8, in my opinion, as I prefer the first class product and it will definitely be the new product, which it may not be on the A340-600. Enjoy the flight!

  139. wow, thank you for the quick response… as of now there is only seats available on the a340 to PHL, do you think if I’d ask nicely they’d allow me to change it in the airport… is it a ymmv or not even?

  140. Hi Lucky, my mom and I recently stayed at Hampton by Hilton London Waterloo and I was considering writing a review. I have plenty of videos available, too. Would you be interested in me providing a review of this property? Thanks. Andreas.

  141. Hey Ben, do you happen to know if Etihad has changed it’s aircraft for flight EY24, DUS->AUH? I have a trip booked for early 2016 and am on that flight for one leg. It was a 787 at least as late as May 22 (when I screen printed my itinerary), but now shows 333. I’m so bummed. I was going to fly on their 787 and then their A380 on that trip.

  142. Lucky, I just booked the 747-800 from FRA to EWR most seats are available, which would you suggest

  143. @ STEVE — In first class, or what cabin? If in first class I would do a seat in row two.

  144. Lucky, Yeah I booked the First Class. Seated in seat 2k. 2a is the only other seat taken in F on my flight.
    thanks you for making me wanna do it and showing us how attainable it is …

  145. Ben
    I read the article about you. Considering you invited the writer to fly with you ( no mention if you paid for the trip) I think he did not portray you in a good light. I think you come across as a lonely spoiled heavy drinker instead of the globe trotting living a dream nerd you portray yourself.
    Looking back do you regret giving the writer access to you and your friends/ co workers?

  146. @ Jerry — Sorry about that. The forum software doesn’t like hotmail, and we don’t know how to fix it 🙁 Your registration should be active now though!

  147. Ben;
    I get this is your blog and you can write whatever you want.
    I always have the option to read it or not.
    But you are a “public persona”, like it or not; I think “public people” are held to a higher standard and as one of your followers I am entitled to ask questions.
    I wrote a question regarding the article. You have chosen not to answer.
    I think, I deserve at least a “no comment”.
    Respectfully,

  148. @ Rami — Respectfully I get literally hundreds (often close to a thousand) emails, comments, etc., per day. I can’t reasonably get to them all, and while you’re absolutely entitled to ask whatever you’d like, sometimes I just won’t be able to get to it. That’s just a reality of doing what I do, and hopefully you can respect that. At some point I’ll have a post discussing the piece.

  149. Please approve my registration. The email is not coming to me. Just came across this blog Looking forward to participating. Thanks for all the advise.

  150. Dear Ben/Lucky,

    I would like to discuss a proposal for you regarding travel that I hope you will find of interest. I have been living out of suitcases and airports since 2006.

    I’m not sure how to contact you directly.

    Love reading your blog and checking out your site!

    Regards, Urmila

  151. Hi Ben/Lucky,

    I occasionally found an article about you through local social network app (i.e.: sina weibo, say Chinese Facebook) and browsed your blog:) In late May of this year, we had a good journey in Germany. This was the first time that we travelled in Europe, and Germany was our first destination. We were luckily to be there and experienced different culture as well as driving without restricted speed on expressway.

    Looking forward to your update and safe travels…

    Aurora

  152. Hi Lucky,

    Congrats on your “Sunrise” appearance(s) in Australia! Was eating my bowl of cereal when quite surprised to hear Sam and Koche announce you’d be up next on the morning show!

    Cheers,
    Paul

  153. Last year I flew from Nashville-Chicago-Hong Kong-Manila-Bangalore-Nice-Paris-Bangalore-Colombo-Bangalore-Frankfurt-New York-Nashville. Also flew my lady friend over to France and then recently round trip to LA, twice. I found United, American & British Airways to be the most useful. British Airways is great for short segments, as you mentioned. One of my favorites is also US Bank FlexPerks because not only are the flights entirely free, but you get the points added back to your frequent flier rewards. I also used my Chase Sapphire bonus to stay for 2 free nights at the W in Beverly Hills in addition to cashing the rest out to rent a car (better value). I admire what you’ve been able to do…but I encourage you to step out into the countries that you’re visiting and learn more about them 🙂

  154. Hi Ben/Travis/Tiffany/Nick,

    As someone who began reading the blogs a few weeks ago and would like to get a little more information on the practice I have a few questions I hope someone can answer. I do not travel much at this point (I have a lot in the past and hope to again in the future), but two young kids keep me grounded for now. That being said, I would like to accumulate points/miles to make the most of travel opportunities in the future. I think I understand the basic valuation concepts being laid out on the blog and certainly the largest advantages are the upfront bonuses for new credit cards so my main question is how long do you keep each card and when can you go back to that particular well. For example I have (and I am reading this right off each card) a Citi AAdvantage card and it seems to denote “Gold” status on it. I have had this card for a number of years, but can I apply for the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard and those 75,000 miles? If yes, do I cancel the old card and just keep the new one? Also, I have a Citi thankyou preferred MC from when I was in college and I do not think I have used it in years. It has no annual fee (not sure if I am grandfathered in or not as I would have cancelled it if I was being charged a fee) but can/should I apply for the CITI ThankYou® Premier Card or the CITI Prestige® Card? I understand I will still need to meet the minimum spend requirements to spacing out the applications will have some need, but just looking for some suggestions.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  155. Hi Lucky,

    Curveball for you, do you know any tricks/tips on getting refunds for airline tickets? A doctor’s note? A lawyer’s note? Anything? I made a trip for 4 on Japan Airlines and paid cash since it was a good deal, no miles used, but circumstances changed and was considering cancelling. Any ideas? Thanks so much and I love the blog!

  156. I am trying to get out to Colorado Springs sometime in the next month or two. My friend lives out there and I was hoping to get to see him but airfare is just to costly. What should I do to get a ticket at a decent price? The lowest they ever seem to go from my area (NC) is 350$.

  157. Also what is the best way to search for a flight to a specific location but without set dates in mind? Thanks so much if you can help me out in any way!! Your story is awesome btw. Keep it up!

  158. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a couple of years now and I particularly enjoy your trip reports. Just noticed that you are in my hometown of Stockholm and wanted to wish you a good and happy visit! If you have any questions about the city, let me know!

    Best regards,

    Ian

  159. Lucky –

    Several times when I click on a link in your daily email that it appears that your site has been compromised. While I get to “One Mile At a Time” web page, a pop-up ad overlays it telling me to immediately call an 800 number (purporting to be Microsoft) to avoid having a virus infect my pc. This appears to be a phishing scam.

    You might want to check into this, or at least warn your readers.

    BTW, I run two anti-virus programs, and sweep my hard drive regularly.

    Kaj

  160. Hi Lucky,

    I’m writing a story for Men’s Health magazine and would love to tap into your travel expertise for an interview. What’s the best way to connect?

    Thanks,
    Moira

  161. Hi Lucky,
    I enjoyed your travel reports especially about Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. I understand you booked through Virtuoso. I contacted Bon Vivant travel who is alligned with Virtuoso and their rate was quite high $ 440 p/d (yours was much lower). Could you perhaps let me know your Virtuoso travel advisor so I can contact them to request a ‘better’ offer?

    Thanks,
    Geneviva

  162. Dear Ben,

    I’m an editor for a travel magazine in Jakarta called DestinAsian Indonesia. we want to feature you in our Airlines section in an interview about you and your habit of flying around the world. do you have any personal email i can contact? so i can send you the question and enquiries regarding my magazine.

    Thank you & looking forward for your reply.

    Best regards,

  163. Hi! Its my first time to be here. I am from Hong Kong and I knew you from a newspaper article.
    I used to study in Mexico and I met my Venezuelan girlfriend there.
    My question is:
    What is the best way for us to meet up? HK and Venezuela are so far away from each other…
    Do you have any suggestions for us?

    Thank you.

  164. hey ben,
    how can i find out about resorts and hotels at the point when they are just opening or right directly before? You know, that sweet spot when they offer incredible price deals just to get people in the door to populate the place and get word of mouth going?
    Is there some central place to sign up to get notified?
    does one have to be a travel agent? or on some mailing list? or maybe be a blogger with a known following? Would love any guidance you can give about this….about 30 years ago when people actually used travel agents, i had one who always knew and would hook me up with some crazy good deals…now i am ready to travel and would like to find out without having to use an agent.

    thanks in advance for your help!

  165. What a crock. You’d have to be wealthy to even fly as much as you do even getting points at a “discount”

  166. Ben/Tiffany/Travis/Nick/Matt/Mike,
    Thanks so much for your informational reviews, tips, tricks, and contributions to this blog. Ben, I’m especially thankful for your recent trip/report which includes Cathay flights and a stay in Hong Kong. I will be reading each post with extreme interest. In just a few weeks my family will be going to Hong Kong on Cathay first out of LAX, staying in the Grand Hyatt for New Years celebration, and then returning to ORD in Cathay Business. I check your page at least twice a day and if it weren’t for people like you and your team, my wife and I wouldn’t be able to experience things like the look on a family member’s face when they turn left and enter a first class cabin for the first time in their 60’s. Thank you Ben. Can’t tell you how much the travel community appreciates what you do. We all know there are those that don’t “get” the concept of what you’re doing and I have always been impressed by how patient, and accepting you are of those opinions. Keep on doing what you do.

  167. I know this may come across as creepy…..but I think I have just found a whole heap of soulmates…..

  168. Hi all. Like many, we are just starting to get familiar with all of this, and your website has been a great resource! There’s a point that I can’t seem to find a clear answer to, so I thought I’d ask here. I see most strategies from the point of view of only one person applying for credit cards and utilizing rewards programs. Is it reasonable for both a husband and wife to apply for cards separately and follow the same strategy side-by-side (we both have great credit), or do the banks and bank rules (i.e., 5/24) prevent that from working? Basically, can we both be earning simultaneously and both get things like the Southwest Companion Pass by applying for the two Chase cards separately? If there’s a better place on the site to ask questions like this, please let me know. Thanks so much!

  169. Hi Ben,

    Love your Blog, very informative and entertaining. You are doing a great job and we appreciate it very much! Keep up the great work and thank you!

  170. hi all! Been using this awesome app called MySwipe on the iOS app store that has been helping me get a ton of the points I was missing out on by using the wrong credit card. You should definitely check it out- http://www.myswipecard.com.

    Thanks as always for the advice Lucky!

  171. Can we move away from USA based analysis for a moment? Has anyone done an analysis of which carriers within the Big Three alliances afford the best value in their respective alliances, not simply the US carrier member? Thanks

  172. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for the past couple years and really enjoy the reports and info. I saw that you will be in Cape Town sometime soon, and as I will be there for a conference 16-20 May, I thought that maybe the dates might cross? If you do have a moment it would be a pleasure for meet up for a quick coffee / drink to chat travel. My wife is flying in on 20th morning, but other than that I’m pretty flexible on time/location.

    Either way, looking forward to your next round of trip reports.

    Cheers,

    Tim

  173. Hi Lucky. I will be traveling to Beijing soon and would like to know how to find a guide and what I should expect to pay. I will be there 6 days and plan to visit the great wall. I would like to know more about what that entails. Thanks

  174. Ran afoul of an apparently new rule on AA this morning. I missed my BDL – MIA flight early this morning. Since it was entirely my own fault, I have lost my Exec Platinum status during the stand-by process until I get to Miami or purchase a new ticket or 24 hours pass. Even the very nice and helpful people atvthe gates and in the Admiral’s Club were surprised when I would keep appearing in 6th or 7th place on the stand-by lists.
    After not clearing 2 BDL – CLT flights, in a row I have made it to PHL and am now standing by in 8th place for a flight to MIA.
    A humbling experience. I feel like I got rapped on the nose with a newspaper !

  175. @ Mike — Hmm, nothing has changed on our end, and it looks like it’s still going through. Maybe check in your Spam folder? Worst case, you may want to resubscribe. Sorry about that!

  176. Hi Lucky and Contributors,

    Like yourselves,I am obsessed with flying but,unlike yourselves,I have only just started learning about the process of maximising opportunities and miles to enhance the whole experience.Thank you for putting all the info out there so people can make the most of what’s available.You are doing a fantastic job and your advice is invaluable.

    Regards

    Amin
    London,UK

  177. I’m looking for advice for something very esoteric.
    The good news: I booked Alaska Air before the devaluation on Emirates.
    Los Angeles to Dubai , a 3 day stay in Dubai and then on to the Maldives.
    Flying first class LAX to Dubai. Business class from Dubai to Maldives.
    When I booked it there were no 1st class seats available for the Dubai to Maldives leg.
    There now appear to be seats.
    But, Alaska air cannot give me those seats. I’d have to rebook the entire award.
    There are no seats showing as available at this time for the 1st class flight from LAX to Dubai, so they can’t make a change. They tell me they have to change out the entire ticket and because there is no inventory on the LAX to Dubai leg it’s no can do. Alaska does tell me that they will allow a one time change to my reservations and even add in the additional miles necessary due to the increase cost of the transaction.
    I’ve spoken to Emirates and they say there’s nothing they can do either.

    I know I can wait and hope that space opens up. I’d really like to make this 4:15a.m. flight out of Dubai in 1st class if at all possible. I know I’m being a bit greedy because I’ve got a fabulous deal. My wife and I are circumnavigating the globe to celebrate our 60th birthdays and I wanted this to be all the way over the top. We’ve got Singapore Suites from Singapore to LAX on the return.

    Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions on how to approach this would be appreciated.

    thanks

  178. Hey Ben: Another LH First fan here. Great equipment, beautiful cabins, superb service and lounges. So why does premium boarding at many airports (EWR, BOS, MUC) remain such a hassle? LH has it figured out fr the FC lounge at FRA. Why not provide similar escort service directly to the plane everywhere?

  179. I learn a lot from you. your blog is really great and simple understanding how to get mileage and points. My friend and I discussed about our future blog for deaf community because many deaf people asked me. I travel a lot and I am thinking about becoming a blogger and reviewers like what you did.

  180. lucky

    do you think using the costco visa to buy hyatt stay certificates is a good idea

  181. Hi Ben. Have been a reader of your reports for a number of years.

    Happen to be in Colombo myself for 2 nights. Would love to say hello if you were staying close bye. I’m at the Hilton. Flying on to HK tomorrow night with CX.

    Regards.

  182. Hi Lucky & Team,

    Been reading your reports for a year, all to be factual and real. Unlike the other site ‘thepointsguy’ where is all about scoring upgrades, miles, cheapskates that finding a fare mistake is a high five. For a guy with the name Brian Kelly ,Irish name, trying to be a hot shot, well us Irish have a name for this ‘ wanna bee’s’ he seems to lead brat pack, white privilege kids ,whom think blogging is big time. . .. For Mr Kelly and his Brat Pack, go charter a Global Express from NY to Australia return, pay for it in cash then come back then i give some credit .

    Good of you Lucky and Team keeping it real…

  183. Hi! I am soooo frustrated with BA as I have tried and tried to use Avios for domestic USA flights and just can’t get the web site to work. Can you give me step by step instructions on how to use them on American Airlines in the USA? I can’t seem to even find available flights to redeem! Please help a struggling traveler…Thanks in advance.

  184. Hey Ben,

    I’m doing a followup story for our USATODAY’s 10Best Miles/Points Blogger Awards, and I’m interviewing some of our top travel bloggers for some complimentary content. If you have a few minutes, I was hoping you could respond to the following questions:

    What’s the Craziest thing you have done for points? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve heard of someone doing for points?
    What’s the most luxurious/extravagant experience you’ve ever gotten free(ish) through miles/points?
    What is your favorite “hidden gem” for miles/points redemptions?

    Thanks much,
    Brad Cohen

  185. Hello Ben,
    I am new to your blog and have been spending time going back and reading past entries. I see you were hoping to visit St John’s NL a few years ago. Did you go? Did you go out and check out the airport at Gander?
    If you did, have you heard of a new musical called Come From Away? It is about what happened in Gander, NL on Sept 11, when US airspace was closed down forcing 38 commercial airliners to divert and land in Gander. In 6 hours the population doubled and what happened in the following week makes for an amazing little show. It has been travelling around America and Canada for a couple of years (afraid to open in New York because of the subject matter, until now) and is currently playing in Toronto.
    As an airport lover like yourself I was totally taken by Come From Away. Maybe you have already seen it? Here is clip abot one of the characters, Capt Beverly Bass, the first female captain for AA, who was forced to land in Gander on that terrible day. All of the characters in Come From Away are real people.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIU7wDyTwuc
    enjoy.

    Brian

  186. Ben,

    I just read the article about you on Rolling Stone from 2015. If you ever still feel lonely in Guangzhou, China or Hong Kong, I am available!

  187. MU5699/5700 is a very bizarre China Eastern flight (NGB-PVG-URC) and having some cool destinations. Never personally been on that flight but been to the cities. Great place to visit.

  188. Ben, I am a Junior High student doing a project on world traveling and was intrigued by your biography, I have been in love with traveling since I was a child. I was wondering of you had any suggestions on places I should research.

  189. In one discussion you mention that we can email you to request the contact info for your travel agent, but I am having a hard time finding your e-mail address. I think I remember seeing it, but cannot find it now that I want it… This is in regards to the ex-CMB flights.

    Regards

  190. Hi Ben,

    Congrats for the reviews, it has been awsome to read all if it. I’d like to ask you what kind of app/programme you use to map your flights. I’ve been checking online because I’d like to map mine but wasn’t able to find it.

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers

  191. Hi Ben,

    I have been a subscriber for a couple months and enjoyed the articles. But I don’t know how to submit an inquiry at this site, so I am just commenting —

    Has American Airlines started rolling carrier-imposed fees into the base fare for some of its code-share seats? I have noted that over the past month AA codes on Qantas show up with CIF of $0, and did so on my last week’s booking. Things don’t appear to have changed with BA flights much, but I had an interesting experience with an early Jan. booking — the ticket was issued with base fare, taxes and CI fees spelled out, the e-ticket (of course) combined the CI fees and taxes amounts, but a couple of weeks later the entry on “My Trips” at aa.com showed the same amount as Taxes (a staggering $1571.82, leading to potential loss of 15K+ award miles). The base fare was unchanged, with CI fees explicitly noted as $0. I pointed out the matter to AA Customer Service, and they responded with a non-response (wait to complain until after completing your trip). That was more than a month ago and a check today shows that the CI fees are back to normal, with Taxes at a proper $145. Clearly corrective action has been taken, but it occurred to me: in the interim, some AAdvantage folks may have flown flights, unknowingly lost award miles to an inflated taxes amount and will now have to “work” to earn back their miles — who knows!

    Cheers!

  192. Hi@LCSinTexas I am of Sri Lankan origin but reside in Sydney Australia. I have been doing the Ex-CMB flights for a few years now, I also happen to know a good Sri Lankan travel agent that I have been using for many years let me know if you need the details if Ben has not been able to assist.

    I tend to mainly use Qatar Website for most west bound flights from Sri Lanka flights, I tend to book to Europe once a year when they have have their 35/45/50% off promotions, though I have not seen the 50% (2-1) offer for a little while now. Most of the OTA’s can also be utilised to book the ex Colombo fares.

  193. Hi Lucky

    I am working on Xiamen Air’s Wechat platform, I just come across on your review on our business class. We are very impressed by your detailed and excellent work and we valued your opinions highly. It is very important for our Chinese passengers to know our service quality from a different perspectives and how we compare with international standards.
    May I ask your permission to translate your review into Chinese and publish it on our Wechat platform?

    Best Regards

  194. Hy Ben , I would like you a something. Yesterday I had a very long flight from DXB to KBP with Ukrainian airlines, and it was my worst flight ever. We where the 3 of us , myself + wife and my daughter of 12 , behind us where 3 ladies who got trash talked us the whole flight because we reclined our chairs , I am myself a big guy 1,90 m so I don’t understand what did I do wrong , I never said something to them because I didn’t want things to escalate, but do you thing I should it say something to the employes of to her , there where nasty thinks they talked about me and my family. Thank You

  195. Hi Ben!
    I’ve been reading your reviews over the years and it is the one thing I really look forward to in the mornings when I reach the office 🙂
    Overall, I feel your reports take everything into consideration and they are non bias and trustworthy.

    Thank you for providing a little joy in everyday life.

  196. Hi – I read your article on Air Canada’s plan to create a new loyalty program in 2020. It was good coverage although I find it sad the way AC and Aeroplan have handled the announcement – it created as much uncertainty as anything else. I noted in your article, which is referenced on the AC Loyalty site, that in speaking with AC you asked about their aeroplan surcharges or service charges and asked would they continue and AC said they have certainly heard loud and clear from their members, but no definite position. I find that very ingenuous on their part as surcharges started as fuel surcharges and then when that became impossible to defend, became airline service charges. However, those charges are levied directly by AC when you buy an Aeroplan ticket – Aeroplan just facilitates the charge. It shows up on your credit card as an AC charge and it can take forever for AC to refund the charge if you cancel. So if AC has heard loud and clear about the surcharges it levies through Aeroplan, why are they still there. I would love to get an answer to that question.

  197. That is amazing Lucky! Flying seems to be an integral part of your life, and see how the dots in your life connect to make you what you are!

    Amazing story. Stay up, Stay good!

  198. I really appreciated the story about United Airlines New and illegal Basic Fares.
    How can they get away with it. I am trying to look and see if anyone is suing regarding this horrible fare that is being forced on customers

  199. Hi Lucky.

    I don’t understand nothing of how you are doing your traveling and how can I do what you do but i don’t understand how you do it? I have 3 small kids from 2 to seven. We are Europeans but we live in the US now but I want to go back often to see my family. How can I do what you do without using credit cards? : (

  200. Hi Lucky.

    Very interesting Reviews from a passenger Point of view. Apart from your Contents I like the writing style. You probably read this many times. Boring!

    What about the future? Would you and your Team mates dare to predict future travel experiences? Don’t you think that classic Airline operations are vintage experiences? What would you recommend to Airlines and the ones that actually deliver future Solutions?

    With Imagination we can shape the future. Will you?

    Best regards

    Tom

  201. I am also a very experienced traveler and turn to your blog for recommendations but do question some of your reviews. I was disappointed to read your reviews of Air france business class when we both know they have 4 classes. Some of your other posts are in first class on middle eastern airlines and their suites. Can you honestly compare business class to some first class airlines? I would only suggest you compare business class to business class and exclude your first class experiences on other airlines to give an honest review.

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