The (not so) glorious life of a points addict…

International first class, champagne, and caviar. That’s a points addict’s life, isn’t it? Well, kind of. More like chronic exhaustion, sleep deprivation, a lot of that snack mix out of the dispenser in the Red Carpet Club, champagne, and caviar. Being a points addict is a lifestyle, not a hobby… and at times an unfortunate one!

It’s 2AM, which is all fine and dandy, other than the fact that I have a flight at 6AM. I take a 6AM flight at least once or twice a week, and I’ve developed a habit of not sleeping the night before. It’s absolute torture. I’m a night owl to begin with, which I’m fine with, though it doesn’t bode well with my pattern of taking early morning flights. While my all nighters before flying allow me to get a lot of work done, unfortunately the following days are quite miserable. I usually dread redeyes, but I’ve developed a reverse redeye of my own by pulling all nighters before days where I head west, which are already longer days due to the time change.

I do feel like I need to share last week’s travels. I had a commitment in both Boston and San Francisco late last week, though as usual, wanted to maximize my miles while getting there. I left for Boston on Thursday, though only needed to be there on Friday morning. In other words, I could have had a perfectly leisurely Thursday, slept in, and taken an afternoon flight. What do I do instead? Take a 6AM United flight through Chicago, getting me to Boston on United. Why? 569 elite qualifying miles (and 1,138 redeemable miles) that I really didn’t need! I could have easily taken a flight through Washington Dulles later in the day, but that would’ve meant losing out on a little over a thousand redeemable miles. Conservatively those are worth $15. So why on earth would I lose a night of sleep over that? Well, I guess it gets me 569 miles closer towards million miler status, which makes it all worthwhile (or so I tell myself).

I made it to Boston in the afternoon. I got only a couple of hours of sleep that night, as I had a commitment early the next morning. Instead of being rational and taking JetBlue back to Tampa (nonstop), I took United through Washington Dulles. Great, another 1,380 miles towards million miler status. Unfortunately that only got me into Tampa around 1AM. That’s fine and dandy yet again, except for the fact that my flight to San Francisco was just after 7AM. I needed a Priority Club stay, so schlepped over to the InterContinental (on a AAA rate of $69), checking in right around 2AM. The guy checking me in asked if I needed a wake up call. I said, “yes, I’d like one for five, please.” He said “in the afternoon, right?” Oh, I wish!

I had some work to do, so made it to bed at around 3AM, only to get up two hours later. Then it was off to San Francisco. I landed in the afternoon and managed to get in a stay at the InterContinental San Francisco. While I was tired as heck, I had an amazing stay as usual. The guest relations folks at this hotel couldn’t be better, and the views from the hotel are breathtaking. I even got an upgrade to the incredible bay suite, which I hardly had the time to enjoy!

But since I try to avoid redeyes, I instead opted for an early morning flight, since I needed to be back in Tampa Sunday evening. The only reasonably priced flight was at 5:40AM. After going to bed around midnight, I had to get up once again at 3:30AM.

I’m not complaining, because I do this to myself. Being addicted to points and getting the most “bang for your travel buck” is quite possibly worthy of professional help. But you’d think I would learn from this, but I don’t.

Like I said, I’m doing the same thing yet again. I have a flight in a few hours, and I’m again not getting any sleep. I only have to be in Chicago by 7PM (for a FlyerTalk dinner with four United pilots and 25+ FlyerTalkers), though the only reasonably priced flight was the 6AM. Sold.

It doesn’t end there, though. I have an 8AM flight on Saturday, hopping around the east coast before catching my evening flight from Chicago to Los Angeles with Captain Denny. Then on Sunday I have a 6AM flight out of Los Angeles to get back home.

Yes, then I’ll be back home on Sunday night, only to catch a flight to Europe on Monday morning (in this case, an award ticket in a premium cabin… details will remain a mystery).

A glorious life indeed! There’s one lesson I’ve learned from this lifestyle: never hit the snooze button!

Filed Under: Mileage Runs, Travel
  1. Enjoy the lifestyle while it still remains fun and you’re doing it on your own terms. In a few years when you probably have to maintain that kind of schedule as a work commitment, you’ll be wishing for nothing more than a few days at home!

  2. You are a machine at this, and I hope you continue to find the joy in it during the years to come. I thoroughly enjoy reading about all your trips, so keep it coming, please!

    One thing, though… are you certain you couldn’t get a cat nap in the night before your 6am-ers? Granted, you’re young, but one day your mind & body might refuse to allow you to continue that pattern.

  3. You really should change your name from lucky to crazy šŸ™‚

    At tend orchid year, tally up how much time you spent

    – flying
    – in hotel rooms
    – in school
    – at home (o you have one, or is it IC TPA?)

    Would be interesting to see those numbers.

  4. Ah, yes. The life of a mileage runner. You’re wise to do it while you can – as one gets older the body will give you more and more resistance! Thanks for sharing your travels and travails. Have fun in Europe. Frohe Weihnachten!

  5. If your in college don’t you have exams this time of year?

    May I suggest you build a metal tube in your basement and periodically lock yourself in it for 5 hours at a time. Much cheaper than flying.

  6. I admit, I have never followed PC/IC much at all, and they have had some interesting promotions lately.

    How are you finding these uber-cheap $69/$89 rates at ICs? Are they not the high end ICs I think they are?


  7. I am almost in the same boat. Instead of flying EWR-PEK last Friday that would leave around noon and got me into Beijing around 3pm. I did JFK-SFO-NRT-PEK that got me in at 10 pm…..and I was up at 3 am (less than 2 hours of sleep) packing and left from Time Square Marriott.

    All for earning a few more miles to hit 350k for the year.

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