Trip Reports

All OMAAT travel reviews are grouped into series, so you can read about each trip we take from inception, to planning, to the journey itself.

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TRAVEL REVIEW

MINTroduction: Flying To London Via Puerto Rico

Welcome to my next trip report, which I’m very excited about, as I had the chance to fly JetBlue’s new Mint product to London! I was going to title the series ”Despacito, flying to London via Puerto Rico,” but Ford…

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  • June 24, 2008
  • Ben Schlappig
17
OpenSkies to Paris

How do I take these trips?

All of my travel, unless explicitly otherwise stated, is self-funded. Yes, I’ve taken some sponsored trips. For example, a few years ago I participated in the “Amex Stars” program, whereby I got access to some awesome events courtesy of Starwood, with corresponding stays at Starwood properties. I clearly disclosed my relationship with Starwood with each post, and I think most would agree my hotel reviews were fair and balanced (I didn’t leave out the empty box of condoms I found in my room at W Union Square or my frustration with the valet at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, for example).

And one of the main reasons I took part in the program is because there was something in it for you guys. With each trip I took I could give away enough Starpoints for a similar hotel stay, so I was able to give away around 200,000 Starpoints. I figured that’s a win-win, and frankly, I’m not sure I would have participated without that, as I’ve turned down plenty of comp trips when there was nothing in it for you guys and I didn’t think you guys would find the content interesting.

Beyond that, I disclose how my trips were paid for even when they’re self-funded. In the introduction post to each trip report, I provide an exact breakdown of how many miles each award ticket costs.

So where do I earn all my miles?

Much like most savvy mileage nuts, through a combination of credit cards, flying, strategically purchasing miles, and taking advantage of every promotion out there.I earn well over a million miles a year, which I don’t think is really unattainable for most.

I probably fly about 200,000 miles per year on American, and as an Executive Platinum member I get a 100% bonus on miles, so that’s 400,000 miles right there.

I earn another 500,000 or so miles per year (at a minimum) from credit cards.

And then I try to maximize miles on everyday spend, which can add up to another couple of hundred thousand miles per year if done properly.

Lastly, I strategically purchase miles when it’s a good value.

But more than anything else I look at these trips as an investment in what I do

The two things I do for a living are blogging and travel consulting. My goal is to review as many products as possible so that I can dish out the most useful/educated advice. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the flexibility to not be limited in the amount of time I can spend traveling, so my hope is that by sampling as many different products as possible, I can help those of you with limited vacation time make the most of your trips.

And while many may not like my writing style, I hope the fact that I compare so many airlines is useful to you guys. One of my struggles with online reviews is that you usually don’t know enough about the person making them to know whether they’re credible or not.

For example, you can read a review of a Four Seasons that gets five stars because everything was amazing, while the next review gives it one star because they were angry the hotel charged for Wi-Fi and parking, and that it should be free at such an expensive hotel. Hopefully, the fact that I review dozens of airlines and hotels in a similar fashion makes it easier to actually get something out of my reviews, since you can judge them based on what you value most.

New to One Mile at a Time? Check out these guides to get started earning and redeeming miles and points:
Meet Ben, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

I’ve flown all of the major (and many minor) airlines, including every international first class cabin.

25,807,500 Words Written

I write all my own content; no ghostwriters at OMAAT!

28,675 Posts Published

14 years (and counting) of daily blogging add up.