FIRE and playing the miles game
TLDR: Collecting frequent flyer miles and FIRE, do they even make sense? Find out below
Let me paint a picture.
You are special. Your Limo is waiting at your door step to pick you up , and whisk you away to the airport. You look at the maddening crowd of poor souls that are queuing up in economy to check their bags in.
You ignore the queue and head to the empty “Business Class” counter and check in at leisure. Buzz through immigration, but don’t head to the gate. You use your lounge access to head to a nice and swanky seating (sleeping) area to enjoy the view of the tarmac while sipping the bubbly. Grab your light snack or heavy meal browsing on your phone using the complimentary WiFi.
Head to the gate and skip the queue all over again and head to the first of the boarding queue and take the first entrance to the business class seating. Enjoy your pre-departure beverage of choice before the cattle class even gets a chance to board.
All this even before the flight even takes off.
It sounds good doesn’t it? But isn’t this site all about FIRE and saving more and not spending foolish amounts of money on unnecessary expenses? Yes, it is.
But who ever said that you need to spend your hard earned money on all of these creature comforts? Let me tell you how.
Playing the miles game
I should start this off by stating that, you should only start playing the miles game if you have the financial discipline to manage your money well especially credit cards. Given that you are on this site, I would assume you are.
Choose your alliance - Star alliance and one world are the really two airline alliances worth getting into in the first place
Choose your home base - I am blessed to be in Singapore with Singapore airlines being one of the best airlines there is and Changi airport being the best airport and it is part of star alliance, that makes my decision easier. You might want to choose a home base / airport that is close to you which has a good number of airlines flying in and out and which is reasonably close to you
Choose your credit cards - Singapore is not US, the land of the credit card largesses. But if you are someone based in the US with a decent income, you have already hit the credit card lottery. Insane sign-up bonuses, spend bonuses and tie-ups with airlines, cobranded credit cards all of these are at your door step. (But US airlines are deplorable compared to Asian carriers. You win some, lose some, don’t you?)
Spend wisely - Keep an eye out for ongoing promotions and opportunities to gain extra miles. Use and label cards by maximising miles based on spend patterns. Travel cards, dining cards, grocery cards, online spend cards, etc. use them to your advantage.
Follow a few blogs - There are tons of miles and points blog that do the heavy lifting for you with regards to deals and offers. Follow them to keep yourself current
Enjoy your flight - Depending on your income, spend pattern and vacation plans, you could potentially do 2 to 3 almost free trips every year by just redeeming miles and paying the taxes alone.
I am a newbie when it comes to the miles game. I started less than a year ago, but I had managed to redeem business class tickets for a family of four on my last vacation to India. I only had to pay taxes which was half of a single economy class ticket for all 4 people. I was super careful with regards to which cards I used and how I used them. I never carried any balances and always paid the due amount in full. All it takes is less than 1 hour of effort each week to not only travel for free, but to travel in business class comfort.
My card of choice - Citibank Prestige
Complimentary limo service for airport pick up and drop
4th night free for hotel stays if you book through them
Miles bonus on every year renewal
Complimentary Priority Pass access for you and a guest
Ability to transfer miles to more than 10 different airline partners
Points that never expire
I do use various other cards based on the on-going promotions to maximise miles.
Singapore travel blogs to follow
US focused blogs to follow
Happy and safe travels