We really envy Gilbert Ott for the amount of savings he made on travel. Oh how we identify with him, concentrating all our “fire power” of spending on a few carefully selected credit cards to accumulate the most points.
The only thing we had not done is to sign up for new credit cards every year or two. One thing that we did learn is that it can be a good idea to sign on as a frequent flyer for airlines that you do not fly with. Sometimes there are just promotions that may find this membership useful. We are still researching how to buy miles on the cheap as suggested. Perhaps that may add to the firepower we train on accumulation of miles.
Our own experience so far has been rather gratifying. So far this year, we have booked a pair of tickets for Suan to fly with Mel to San Francisco (from Singapore) and from JFK back home (to Singapore). We paid for airport taxes that came to almost S$750. Yeah it cost the same as the SFO-JFK flight (for two), but we saved the S$2000++ on the intercontinental airfare.
Even more so was the redemption we made in February for a pair of tickets to Tokyo with economy on the way up and first class in the suites on the way home! The marketed price for that would have set us back by more than S$10,000 in total. Granted that was because we had not redeemed any tickets in 2014 and only redeemed one short haul flight in 2015.
Accumulation of air miles does take time.
In the month of May, our concentrated use of a specific credit card landed us 12,000+ miles, along with Mel’s business travels netted a total of ~90,000 air miles earned so far this year. Even after “spending” 61,000 miles redeeming the flight to the US for Suan, we still have a balance in excess of 120,000 miles! If we keep this focus on the use of a single card for the rest of this year, it will be sufficient to redeem an intercontinental flight and two Asia-bound flights in 2017. So far so good indeed!
It’s true that what you read about flying for free is not true. You at least have to pay the taxes and many other fees. But it is also true that twice or even thrice a year you can accumulate enough miles in the prior year to redeem flights for the journeys of your dreams. Our experience tells us this is a reality.
The trick is perseverance.