Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Miles to go...

I’m headed east.

I’ve just booked my tickets for a two-week trip to Japan. I’ll spend part of it with friends in Okinawa, and then I’m heading out on my own to Tokyo.

My hope is for a Lost In Translation sort of meeting there. If all goes according to my wishes, a Scarlett Johanssen-type woman will be at my hotel, without all of the strings that Scarlett had in the movie, and of course, we’d be closer in age… but you know what I mean.

If that doesn’t work out (but I know it will) I’ll go touristy in Tokyo. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing I can get some good sushi there.

In the meantime, I’m trying to make the most out of my jazillion frequent flier, driver, stayer, buyer miles. I travel a lot for work and have been a member of every customer club. This seemed like a great trip to start getting something back.

The first thing I’ve gotten so far is a sense of marvel over the way the programs work. For years, I have had a US Airways Dividend Miles card. Even when I fly with United, they’ve told me, no problem, you can get US Airways miles with a United flight. And they’ve been right. So most of my jazillion miles are with US Airways.

Ah HA! Here’s the funny part.

Even if you earned those miles on United… you can’t USE those miles on United. They’re only good on US Airways. I have enough for an upgrade to business class, to and from Japan. But those miles might as well be dollars from Zimbabwe because on United they're worth nothing. (just a joke explainer... 1 Zimbabwe dollar = .3 american cents)

Oh well. Screw United… I booked on All Nippon. It and US Airways are members of Star Alliance.

Star Alliance - the airline network for Earth was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers worldwide reach and a smooth travel experience.


Whatever.

It appears that US Airways is the only airline in Star Alliance that doesn’t transfer its miles for upgrade on other Star Alliance airlines. I know I'm crazy here, but I was thinking that transferring miles is the whole point of such an alliance… but clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about.

So I'm preparing my 6’1” frame to be crammed into steerage next to the goats and chickens. That’s where bird flu comes from, by the way.

I am close to finagling a couple of free nights at my hotel in Tokyo, but even that has tested my logic skills.

Come to think of it, that would be a good part of the SATs. Give students 100,000 miles in an airline account and tell them to figure out how to parlay them into a 5,000 mile car rental upgrade. If they do it, they get to go straight to Wharton.

1 comment:

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