Miles Rookie : Why get into collecting Miles & Points?

This is a question that has been asked to me for a long long time. Ever since I got into the Miles & Points world in the late 2000’s, I’ve been fascinated by the kind of things that you could do with the power of travel loyalty by your side.

Most people are always wondering how I travel so much, and I’m out and about exploring new places.

There are a few considerations I’d like you to take into account for this. First, I travel for work. Those trips are usually the ones where I fly over, get my work done and get out. Then, there are the leisure trips. Weekend getaways where I get out to see a destination with my family. And then, there are the long trips where I spend time away from home for a while.

So, while a part of my travel expenses are company reimbursed, a lot of it comes out of my own pocket. And we consciously work towards reducing our travel bill, while taking in the experience a to a whole different level sometimes. All that by exploring the tips and tricks of travel loyalty, and their associated gear. You can too!

Welcome to the world of miles and points

Last year, I got married. It was a busy year. To spend quality time together, me and my wife decided to take a few weeks off and travel to another corner of the world. We travelled First Class from Mumbai to Los Angeles without breaking the bank. We got back from New York to Mumbai in the classiest First Class product in the world right now as well. While it retails at USD 13000, it only costed me USD 5.6 per passenger in taxes, only! All that, and tons more.

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Etihad’s Apartments, their newest First Class product on the Airbus A380 operated services.

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All that was made possible by the strategic use of airline miles, hotel reward points and credit card benefits, due to which, we could spend more money out of pocket on making our experiences count (such as dining at a Michelin Star restaurant) rather than travel in economy class and pay out of pocket for hotel rooms all over the place.

By indulging yourself in the habit of collecting miles and points, you are not going to obviate the need for cash, but you’ll certainly be able to use less of it towards the basic necessities of travel: tickets and stay costs. Much less I’d say. You could use that money towards more experiences or just use it towards another trip at a later date.

How to do it?

You don’t have to be a consultant to be waking up in a different city every day to earn miles and hotel points. (Consultants, take it easy please!). There are so many opportunities these days to earn miles and points, without travelling. You could do so with organizing your spending better, for instance. There are tonnes of credit cards which earn you credit card rewards which can be transferred to various mileage programs. There are tonnes of opportunities to earn miles and points even without business travel.

In the coming days, we’ll try and cover a few aspects of miles and points which will bring you up to speed for travelling better, without breaking the bank!

Which means, you could get out more often, or get out more luxuriously, or perhaps both!

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. Can we join a airline programme , transfer points from Diners Club or other to that programme and redeem , without taking a flight on the airline before redeeming.

    • Different programs have different rules in this regard. Jet airways for instance needs 3500 miles and two activities before you can even search on their award website. Air india has different rules, other programs have been known to sometimes close accounts which were new and only created to do mileage transfers.

  2. Awesome series! I would love to read your thoughts on this series 🙂

    Quick question – how many miles did it take for the US trip you spoke of with your wife and how long did that take you to accumulate?

    • @Gaurav, the US trip would have been a lot of miles. I don’t have the number handy, but we spent 180K AA miles on Etihad, 210K SQ miles on SQ F, 150K AA miles to and fro French Polynesia, 200K IHG points for stay in bora bora, and 190K IHG points for stay in New York. Everywhere we stayed with Hyatt, we paid and upgraded using our Diamond Suite Upgrades. As for accumulating them, I’ve been accumulating points since 2008 or so, so this came from that kitty.

  3. Will the red carpet trip reports be completed? Was looking forward to it but it stopped after the Andaz LA entry 🙁

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