It’s My Birthday, But You’re Getting The Presents!

Filed Under: Contests

Well, technically it’s the blog’s birthday… 😉

I started the blog seven years ago next Wednesday, which is incredible to me on so many levels.

For starters, I didn’t know a thing about internet technology, or blogging for that matter. I wasn’t (and still am not) a great writer. But I was crazy passionate about miles, points, and travel, so it seemed worth trying.

I didn’t expect to make it a month.

I certainly didn’t expect it to be something I did well at, much less something I could do full-time.

So seven years is pretty significant, and I feel it’s worth celebrating somehow.


One of the most humbling things to me is how much the readership has grown over the years, and the different ways I get to interact with people each day.

Some people like to engage on Twitter and Facebook, other people stick to Instagram, and still others read the daily newsletter, and even more of you comment here on the blog, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be giving away a different prize each day for the next seven days. Some contests will be on the blog, others will be on different social media platforms.

All of them will be awesome.

Each contest will only run until 11:59PM Pacific on the given day, so make sure you’re following along every day this week!

And again, thank you for reading! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! 😉

  1. I’m enjoying all your comments re: Emirates 1st Class flights; leave in 3 weeks! Thanks for your posts!

  2. My favorite mileage redemption was the one I took 10 years ago on Continental to Buenos Aires. It may have been only in coach, but it inspired me to travel internationally every year since then.

  3. Congratulations and thank you! Your blog changed my travelling life. I discovered it two years ago, but it would have been much better if it were sooner. And you are a great writer! Is that a FCT duck?
    BTW, when is your real birthday?

  4. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve only had the pleasure of reading your blog since last year. Having only found out about this website at the same time. But since then, your blog has always been one of my main reads.
    I’ve learned so much from you in regards to all thing travel and credit cards. Thanks for all you do. And being so gracious with your time to answer my questions as they come up. My hope is that you’ll continue to provide us with valuable travel info for many years to come.

  5. i think our style and sense in travel evolve over time. it wasn’t until i was about 25 that my thirst for international travel hit its peak. and then my personal travel style really increased exponentially once i found this blog. it’s amazing how it has helped elevate my experiences around the world — and spoiled me on Y for eternity. congrats!

  6. I cannot mention any faborite mileage redemption as I have not tried any. But i just really enjoyed reading your blog!

  7. Mine was definitely united pre devaluation last year. Lufthansa first class to Asia via Europe and the FCT for 140k!

  8. My favourite mileage redemption was BKK to LAX (business class) which was the longest flight i’ve ever taken. Just realised that you started the blog on my birthday.

  9. One of my favorites I have to say is SW with my companion pass. ability to make changes without penalties is great too.

  10. Happy Birthday, OMAAT! It’s been a pleasure reading your blog over the past few years and keep up the great work.

  11. Congratulations, Lucky! As a longtime reader, I’m grateful for all the information you’ve passed on over the years. I enjoy your trip reports, your humor, and, perhaps most of all, the occasional apoplectic hater that shows up in the comments. Keep up the good work.

  12. Happy Bday Lucky!

    UA 17.5k South Asia award. DPS-BKK-SIN-HKG-HKT-BKK-RGN

    All in one ticket! Spent one night in each city.

    Also UA F award on ORD-MUC(LH F) – ICN (LH F) – NRT (UA J) – BKK (TG F ) – DPS (TG J) // DPS- BKK (TG J ) – CDG (TG F) // CDG-FRA-ORD (LH F). Thanks to you, Lucky.

  13. Ben, that is an marvelous achievement fueled by just your passion for miles and travel. You have done so much of educating and entertaining us with your writing. I look forward to many more years of reading your blog. Thank you Ben, oops Lucky.

  14. hmm my favourite redemption by far will have to be the one to Europe from New Zealand several years ago USDM. This was during the small window where SQ systems were updating and 77W/380 J was available for redemption. Open jaw akl-sin-fra//vie-cdg-sin-akl best trip ever. Unfortunately that was also start of my demise where I struggled to not to left when I boarded a plane……crap

  15. Lucky,

    I stumbled upon your blog not too long ago…and thanks to you I was able to fly first class for a steal!! Its been great reading your blog, I hope there are more information to come! Congrats on your 7 year!!

  16. My best Mileage redemption was for my parents to come visit us. MCO – FRA (Lufthansa biz) – BKK (in TG first on A380).

  17. Great Blog & Glad it has been around so long!
    Best redemption is/was 70K United miles in ANA first class to Asia….sadly gone now.

  18. Thank you for a interesting and educational 7 years. Here’s to 7 more
    I would like to use my AA miles for a front cabin European trip without having to pay outrageous $ for .BA fees.
    Or, a return Australian Quantas First Class trip w/ AA miles

  19. Congrats, Ben! 🙂

    If in fact the celebration has begun, my favorite mileage redemption thus far was Europe – Asia in F one-way for 30k AA miles. It felt like I was in a private jet with two attendants that knew what I wanted before I wanted it. The experience was almost too much and I might be better suited in J. Almost.

    Congrats again! 7 is a great lucky number. Here’s to 70 more!

  20. Congrats. There are only a handful of blogs I read regularly ( There are a few gems out there), yours is one of them.

    Did you make the cake yourself?

  21. I am 15 years old, and I stumbled upon this blog several months ago when looking for advise on award travel. Nowadays I tend to read more trip reports than mileage tips, but It’s all good. I travel to Germany with my parents each year (they are from Hamburg) on Lufthansa in economy. I have only flown a premium product once before (using my own accumulated miles) and crave it. This blog gives me hope that one day, soon, I will be flying in a premium cabin.

    Thank you for this blog Lucky and Happy Birthday!

    Noah Sprenger

  22. Happy Birthday Ben and Happy 7th!

    I recently found out about your blog and read a bunch of your extensive reviews. So thorough, and detail oriented, just how reviews should be! Keep it, up it’s amazing!

  23. My favorite redemption is using AA miles to fly on Cathay Pacofic to HKG!

    Thanks Lucky for writing an amazing blog, and Happy Birthday!

  24. Gratulation! My best mileage trip was 3 years ago from LAX to Puerto Rico (stayed 6 night) from there to Madrid (7 hours time to see my friend) from there to Berlin. Return from Paris to LAX for ONLY 40K AA miles. Well, as we all know rules changed and this will never happen again.

  25. Happy Bday Lucky! Thanks to you (and some others) we leave for our 12th free trip to Hawaii in 5 hours and tomorrow is in first class. Wishing you the best

  26. Hey Lucky,

    I just want to say congrats to you and your success!
    Thanks for the advice over the years also!


  27. Happy bday! I read it every day.
    Fav redemption: 72500 miles for the (then) longest flight on SG all business from EWR to SIN back in 2012

  28. Thanks for the advice and entertainment! Congratulations on making your passion your life’s work. Favorite redemption: our trip to NZ flying RTW in First in Asiana Suites and Thai A380 and business on Air NZ as highlights. Using 140,000 US Airways miles and help from PointsPros! Thanks!

  29. Hi Lucky,

    Favorite Redemption for me has got to be ORD to HKG in First, HKG to BKK in Business. All on Cathay. Then same on the return. All for 130K. Such a great deal. As you have reported many times in the past. Thanks again for the blogs on this.


  30. Favorite redeption is United Airlines Business First SFO- Tokyo. Then Starwood Rewards for Tokyo Westin.

  31. Thank you Lucky! I am a newbie here but I am hooked big time! Plus it appears your blog and I share the same birthday :p thoday is my birthday!!

    My favourite redemption was 5 and half years ago when we redeemed BMI miles for two first class tickets on UA from LHR to SFO then LAS with 7 day stopover in SFO! Shame the good’ol days of BMI is long gone 🙁

  32. My favorite mileage redemption would be using AAdvantage miles for SFO – HKG on Cathay Pacific’s First class!

  33. Favorite mileage redemption in recent time has been our AAdvantage Miles redemption to three countries in Europe and back to the USA!

    Been lovin’ the blog, Ben!

    Happy BBirthday (Blog Birthday)

  34. Thank you for writing this blog.

    My favourite redemption was a few years ago for about 50’000 M&M miles Business with SWISS ZRH-PVG-ZRH

  35. Congrats Lucky !!
    Fav redemption…….ah just before the merger with CO/UNITED …..when we had booked PHX-LAX-AUC-NAN ( fiji) 2011 and they neglected to tell us they had stopped part of the route……we were getting married and luckily a pilot friend told us 3 weeks before our wedding they had stopped that leg, so we or I was left scrambling and crying etc ……as everything else was full…….but AIR NEW ZEALAND and Co came thru for us and we ended up with better flights for the same mileage ……hats off to Air NZ they even upgraded us on mileage tix !!!

  36. Favorite redemption is aspirational…I want to fly Qantas 1st class to Australia with my “bride” of 33 years!

  37. My favorite mileage use us any use that makes me feel like I just won the lottery because I booked at great trip for nearly nothing! I’m fairly new to this so I haven’t used a ton of miles yet… But I’m spring to this year! Congrats on 7 years!!

  38. My favorite mileage redemption would have to be going home this September for my wedding. It will be on American Airlines business class coming from Seoul, South Korea with a 10 hour layover in Hawaii!!! For me being a rookie, this is the best! 😀

  39. My best redemption was definitely buying breakfast on a SAS morning flight to Barcelona! I came straight from club and my credit card had been stolen. Hungry, broke and on the edge between drunk and hung over, my eurobonus points totally saves my morning as I devoured two trays!

  40. I’m not sure why everyone is posting their favorite redemption, as that’s not mentioned in the article. But since they are, my best ones are still to come this year:

    Feb 2015: SQ Suites LAX-NRT-SIN, CX J to BKK, CX J to HKG, CX J to NRT, AA 777 FC to LAX

    July 2015: AA FC 777 DFW to CDG, LH 747-8 seats 1-A and 2A, FRA to LAX, leaving at 15:20, so quite a few hours in the FCT before the flight.

    Without this blog, would never have been inspired to do any of that. 🙂

  41. Great Read, every time. best redemption when I went to visit my FAMILY in Asia.

  42. Happy Birthday Lucky… Love your blog!

    Favorite redemption to date (haven’t managed the international first yet) is BOS – DUB on Aer Lingus J using avios

  43. Congrats Ben and thank you for the many great posts, learned a lot from you. My favorite redemption is GRU-BCN in SQ F for 58k each way.

  44. My favorite mileage redemption was on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin… one you alerted me too! Thanks!

  45. Ok, this is my favorite use of miles but the situation definitely wasn’t cool. I booked a one way day-of saver award from GIG-ORD on UA the day my grandpa suddenly passed. It allowed me to pay my respects to the man and stay as long as necessary without having to fork over 4 g’s the airline wanted which I wouldn’t have been able to do. Sorry for getting too serious on the blog, ha! Congrats lucky!

  46. Congratulations on your success!
    My favorite redemption? Richmond VA to Jacksonville Fl -with British Airways Avios on American. The most beautiful place in the world – is wherever family is. This award allows us to see children and grandchildren as often as we like, as we easily got hundreds of thousands of points through well timed credit card signups. Thanks for your help Lucky!

  47. Happy Birthday Lucky! BEST Mileage redemption ever! I still have the original Continental Airlines e-mal to prove this one! I worked hard for it! This was only 70,000 Points! Ahhh the good ole days.

    SFO-JFK First Class United PS
    EWR – YUL Continental Express
    YUL -ZRH – Swiss First
    ZRH – FRA – Lufthansa Business
    FRA – NRT – Lufthansa First (My first A380 experience and Lufthansa FC Terminal)
    NRT – PVG – ANA Business
    PVG – SIN – Singapore Business (My first ever experience on this wonderful airline)
    SIN – BKK – Singapore Business
    BKK – HKT – Thai Airways Business (Sat in First Class section on 747-400)

    9 Flights, 6 nights including sleeping on planes. Almost a week of free food. It was kind of like a cruise meets flying meets backpacking! But in style!

    I am proud of that one, not possible on one aware anymore!

  48. Hi Ben,

    Congrats on your anniversary! I’m only following now for just a year but I still love it.
    Unfortunately I’m living in Europe, so all those creditcard signup bonusses don’t count for me.

    My best redemption was using my expiring skywards miles to upgrade to business on Emirates. It was an awesome experience!!

    Thanks for writing and this competition! Safe travels!!

  49. Taking my family to London this month…4 roundtrip coach tickets for 50,000 each. It’s off-season but still, what a deal! ;>)

  50. Happy Birthday!:) Your blog has forever change the way I travel! Thank you for all your work!

    My favorite redemption is/was US Airways miles to South Pacific via Asia.

  51. Like a few others have commented, January 31 is my birthday, too! I knew there was a reason I liked this blog. Congrats, and hope you have many more of these anniversaries.

  52. My favorite redemption was in 2013 when my husband and I flew F from OAK to OGG on AS using Icelandair miles. To this day it still feels as if we got by with something – even if it was all perfectly legit.

  53. FAVE redemption? Amex miles for last-minute First Class tix on Lufthansa–with a long enough layover in Frankfurt to indulge in the First Class Terminal. Heaven on earth, just as Ben promised it would be. Happy Seven Herr Lucky!

  54. Congrats on 7 years with the blog! Favorite redemption has to be using Avios on short hauls for less miles!

  55. The recent trip you booked for us to Italy! We were sitting in business class, after never having flown business and my husband kept saying… how did you do this? I’m ruined forever 🙂

  56. Congrats Lucky!! My all-time favorite was the US Airways Europe First redemptions with a stopover via Asia for 120k but sadly that is no more…

  57. Congratulations, Ben! Thanks for all your valuable advice. Here’s to the next seven, fourteen, twenty-one etc years!
    Mach’s gut,



    …and here’s to you Ben “Lucky” Schlappig! I read a lot of travel blogs and yours is definitely one of the best!!

    You live a lifestyle that most of us can only dream of, but you show us how you do it. (In case we might want to give it a try.) I find it fascinating that you rub shoulders with the wealthy elite in far flung and exotic places or at 30,000 feet, but you write about it with the enthusiasm of a star struck kid who accidentally won tickets to the Super Bowl.

    Congratulations and may you have many more years of high flying success!!


  59. My favorite recurring redemption is using AA miles to fly on HA from PHX to whichever Hawaiian island I want to go to. Most often it is for only 17.5k miles each way, which is often cheaper than using HA miles.

  60. My favorite mileage redemption is using BA Avios for short flights, especially Hawaii-California for just 12,500.

  61. Congratulations on your blog 🙂

    I use Aeroplan points to fly to Europe and Asia. Trying to work my way to other mileage options.

  62. My favorite redemption is with AS Miles! Plenty of opportunities with all their international airline partners!!!

    Happy 7th to your blog! Keep this up for the years to come!!!

  63. My favorite redemption ever was a business class from DC to Sydney some years back, it definitely inspired more travel and possibly a little mileage earning addiction.

  64. I’ve only redeemed Southwest miles, but they all resulted in some great trips. The Club Carlson Visa redemption is awesome though for the free night I’ve used in NYC and Chicago

  65. Favorite mileage redemption… hmmmm…. even though I have been lucky enough to have flown several first class awards, I think my favorite redemption was my very first flight in first… on Turkish Airways on one of their leased 777’s. It is a flight I will never, never forget!

  66. Favorite mileage redemption… hmmmm…. even though I have been lucky enough to have flown several first class awards, I think my favorite redemption was my very first flight in first… on Turkish Airways on one of their leased 777’s. It is a flight I will never, never forget! (and you booked it for me!)

  67. Please delete (this) and the one of the ones above ^ – don’t know how they posted twice… your site was acting a little strange.

  68. I’m not a heavy traveler but I’d still like to participate in this (: My favorite mileage redemption was on WN, from San Antonio to Chicago RT for my girlfriend and I about a year ago. I can’t remember how many points it was but I recall it being a great deal for us!

  69. Favorite mileage redemption was 120K Skymiles Business class from DTW to BOM on Air France, Virgin Atlantic and Delta.

  70. Congratulations on your birthday! My favourite redemption is PER-AKL-PPT for 35k Krisflyer miles in business. It’s by far the best value redemption we can get in this party of the world.

  71. My favorite mileage redemption will be on a domestic trip I’m taking – Austin, TX to Seattle, WA. I know it’s not as sexy as others, but it’s the first free flight I’m booking!

  72. Lucky, would you please give Noah (see comments above) an award ticket so he can travel to germany in premium class? That would be my favorite redemption. I think the kid deserves it.

    Speaking of deserving it, before you go giving away first class amenity kits to people like us that really don’t need them, you might want to consider donating them to a shelter. They are perfect for people who check in to shelters for a night and may not have tooth brush, toothpaste etc. I’m sure the earplugs and eye mask also come in handy. I think they’d really appreciate it.

  73. Singapore Suites AKL-SIN-HKG thanks to you writing about this new route and that it had excellent availability. And it was only 63,750 miles!

  74. Favorite redemption was taking my girlfriend to Cabo for our anniversary on SW Rapid Rewards and using free nights for IHGs all inclusive resort!

  75. Long time reader, first time commenter. Favorite redemption was pre UA devaluation to Brussels and Amsterdam on LH in First!

  76. My favorite redemption was 4-2014 using 960K US Airways miles with StarAlliance finding 4 1st class routings at the last minute (~3 wks prior) for LAS to HKG w/ 5 nites at the Ctyd HK then HKG to Beijing w/ a 2 nite Beijing stopover at the Doubletree which massively consumed marriott, hilton, AND US Airways miles/points. There were many glitches, problems, & obstacles but giving my elderly parents a 1st class trip [& with my husband] is still a treat to be remembered. Ahhh the caviar service!!!!

  77. My favorite redemption was FC LAX-HKG RT on Cathay using AA miles, and using the Wing in HKG – I would have never known the possibilities were it not for you and your blog- thank you!

  78. I’m lucky I found you! Now my horizons are higher and I am learning the details for always flying with miles — thank you. Miles for international travel in business/first class is a must. Can’t recall when i started flying with miles, but my next one is my favorite: SFO/ICN/SGN and return from REP/ICN/NRT/SFO in first class.

  79. My favorite mileage redemption was about 5 years ago on AA into Rome and return from Barcelona for a cruise in celebration of my ’round” (OK, my 60th) birthday. It was in business class – a first for my husband and me. Even though they were the angled lie-flats, it was a very special experience – because I was diagnosed with cancer 4 months prior and wasn’t sure I’d be able to go, so I was just thrilled to finish up my radiation treatments 2 weeks before departure. We had an amazing time and miles helped make it happen.

  80. My favorite redemption was first class on CX from JFK to HKG on AA Miles. It was my first time on first class and have never looked back since.

  81. AA Miles from LAX to HKG, earned from the Citi Promotion last year! Time flies and it is another year! Keep up with the good blog!!

  82. My favorite redemption was a RT on Delta to HI from NC for 14 days immediately followed by a 45 day cross country roadie from Wilmington NC to LA with 14 free hotel stays through Hilton and Marriott and a reward ticket on the Amtrak Southwest Chief from LA to Chicago. I love your blog!

  83. I think my favorite redemption would be one of your “sweet spot” ones. Now if I only had the points in the right place…

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