January 9th, 2013
Airlines hate the spontaneous. Need to fly last minute to an engagement party, for a business meeting, or even for a funeral (G-d forbid) and they’ll charge you up the wazoo.
A last minute trip nonstop between Cleveland and NYC, say from 01/09-01/10, is $1,172. I used 9,000 BA Avios (7,000 AMEX, or 13 cents value per point) last month instead.
Sure, it’s not quite the same value as using 57,000 miles for a $10,000 suite on an airplane (17.5 cents value per mile) but both are great uses of miles. And they both are prime examples of why I love miles and hate proprietary points programs like those from Capital One or Citibank. Capital One would’ve wanted 111,000 points to get to NYC and a whopping 1 million points for my suite.
In short, real airline miles give me the ability to take trips I could otherwise never afford.
Last Friday at 12:30pm I told my wife about an airfare sale between Cleveland and Kansas City. She asked if it was available for travel that day and I chuckled saying it was for February.
But she piqued my interest, so I pulled up United.com and lo and behold there was a 1:55pm flight nonstop to Kansas City. I asked if she could pack in 10 minutes and we were at the airport by 1:09pm, just seconds before the United’s 45 minute checked luggage cutoff time at their hub airports. The fact that the flight was so perfectly timed (10 minutes earlier or 20 minutes later and it wouldn’t have worked) seemed to be a sign from above
This was Rafi’s 40th flight, so we’ve got the security thing with an infant down to a science and we were at the gate with time to spare for a diaper change before boarding. The only shame is that in just 6 months we’ll have to start buying him his own seat, but for now he sat free in any empty seat in his awesome lightweight Cosco Scenara convertible carseat.
And just like that, by 2:40pm central we were in Kansas City, more than 2 hours before shabbos. It felt very strange flying so late on a Friday, but if things were delayed in Cleveland we could have easily just gone home before shabbos. Plus the weather was good in both cities. Still, it’s not something I’d try on a Friday afternoon flying to the delay prone NYC corridor airports.
A paid ticket would have been over $800. But the round-trip flight was just 20,000 United miles. And we were able to catch the final 3 days of Sheva Brochos with Mimi’s newly married brother and sister-in-law and give quite the surprise to my delighted in-laws.
For a city without a kosher restaurant Kansas City has always impressed me. I wrote about the best ribs I’ve had in my life as well as insane internet speeds back in August. This time I got to try Pizza from Johnny Brusco, a non-kosher Pizza shop that has occasional kosher days, a chinese buffet that was so well attended I can’t believe they don’t do it more often (and how many chinese buffets have you been to that come with free Glenfidich Single Malt? ), and mouth-watering fried chicken tenders and sushi at Hen House.
Anyway I just got home yesterday. In the past month I’ve been in Miami, New York (twice), Paris, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. I’m actually looking forward to spending some time at home in good ole’ Cleveland for a little while now