So, how did you become an addict?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by NYC_Gal, Mar 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    We're all miles addicts (come on, you're on this board). So how did that happen? When and how did you discover FT or MP?

    Me first. I was smart enough to sign up FFP back in the days, but I didn't really do anything about it. I had my first op-up on NWA, and that got me hooked. Back when there is no internet, I'd called their 800# to check my miles. And poured over the monthly account statements. But I had no idea about alliances, or redemption or elite status. I thought I'd never flew enough to redeem a coach ticket [​IMG].

    One day in late 90s, I clicked around to look for flight bonus. And I found WebFlyer. Then clicked onto their MR forum. I had to do a double-take, re-reading it over and over. I can't believe people will fly solely for miles. I can't believe there are so many people like me who loved miles. I can't believe I can get miles while not flying. I can't believe I can actually fly F for free. And I still can't believe this is legal.

    As Charlie Sheen said, "Winning, duh!". [​IMG]
     
  2. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    In the mid-to-late 80's, I took my first few international trips, realized I loved to travel, and that airlines would actully give me a free trip if I played my cards right. I was living in Orlando at the time, and got a lot of x3 & x4 promotions from Eastern Airlines when it was in its death throes. The rest is history (or maybe imfamy!). For folks like us, the sky is truly NOT the limit!!!
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I moved to the US on 16th April 1981 and began travel worldwide from SFO. A few months later I began to fly American Airlines. A colleague told me about a thing called AAdvantage which I joined on 21st october 1981. Soon after everyone else had programs and I was deeply hooked. For the first few years i sold my miles because the revenue came in handy and the last thing I needed was more travel.

    A couple of years ago I ran into a reference to FlyerTalk and joined. I really did nothing with it until a year ago when I became addicted to the idea of helping other people where I could and learning more about how to solve problems myself.

    milepoint happened when I understood what was happening nine days ago. I love the atmosphere here, even though at the beginning we are content-light. The resources are here, so it is just a matter of attracting more questions and interaction IMO.
     
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  4. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    Who me, an addict??? Why would you say that just because I have milepoint on flyertalk up every night and have been know to churn a credit card now and then. All my friends do that (people who don't don't stay friends long[​IMG]). BUT I don't buy coins --- yet!!!
     
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  5. sc801
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    sc801 Gold Member

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    I have always loved to travel. My first flight was when I was 15 years old and met a very nice looking 18 year old in Miami and he took me flying in a little single engine plane over the Everglades. I loved it. After that, it was the odd flight on Eastern Airlines and later Delta and US Airways.
    In the mid-90's I flew my first TATL flight and knew there was definitely more world out there that I wanted to see. At that point in time, I typically looked for the most affordable flight but did know enough to join the FF programs of any and everyone I flew - even Aer Lingus! After being stung by Delta on more than one occasion, I aligned my loyalty with US Airways. I would comfortably make Silver every year through a few flights and a miles earning credit card. After receiving a few 'free' bumps up to Envoy (and before US pretty much put the clamps on that), I decided that up front was where I liked to fly. I then began to save and redeem my miles for TATL upgrades. This worked just fine for me for about eight years or so.
    Then two things happened - first I read the article in Conde Naste Traveler about a group of people who not only liked to fly and accumulate miles, but that there was an entire forum full of people who liked to do the same thing. Secondly, I joined that forum and the rest is history. Through that forum and the help of its members - along with strategic promotions and credit card use - I am now Chairman's with US Airways, have accumulated over half a million total miles, have learned how to get award stays at hotels from 'working' promotions .... and so much more. I have booked my first ever First Class award flight for this summer (US-TK-LH) for Istanbul and the Prague Do. I am on my way to seeing more of this wonderful world!

    Most importantly, however, I have made some wonderful friends along the way. They are the reason I am enjoying this trip so very much.
     
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  6. Graduate school program was going to China and a coach ticket from Newark-Beijing was a $1500 option in the price. I had miles from work travel. In lieu of the long coach ticket I used 90k FF miles for an all business class CLT-IAD-PEK-HKG-BKK-CDG-MUC-CLT itinerary that allowed stop-overs in BKK and CDG on the way home. Ever since then I have been concentrated on maximizing miles/dollar spent....
     
  7. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    I haven't really been traveling a lot for all that long. Hunki used to travel quite quite frequently when the kids were little, but we didn't take our first serious flight together until 1996 when we flew to Hawaii for our anniversary on Northwest. As I walked longingly past the beautiful business class seats, on our way to coach, I began to wonder how we could snag ourselves some of those good seats. ;)

    We had accumulated quite a few miles from our business which we had previously used mostly to fly my Mom out from Florida to help with the kids during the summer and, of course, to fly our family down to Florida to visit her in the winter. In 1998 we were planning a family trip to Spain and, while doing my internet research, I stumbled on WebFlyer, which by some circuitous route, ended up on what eventually became www.flyertalk.com. I met a wild and crazy bunch of wonderful people, some of whom remain dear friends today. I think it was in November of 1998 that we first started dreaming/planning the original PIP which started November 4, 1999, and I was hooked.

    By this time, we were old enough to as least think about retirement, so we started building the stash a/k/a our FL-IRA. ;) Since then we have both become UA MMs, had amazing experiences traveling in luxury all over the world, and, worked on building the stash. Everyone has warned us that our miles/points will devalue over time, and they have/will, but we will still be left with a healthy stash to enhance our golden years. If the economy keeps recovering, we might eve be able to retire and concentrate on constant play one of these days. ;) It has been a very good ride.
     
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  8. marathon man
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    marathon man Silver Member

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    I always liked deals.
    things that, well, let you do more than one thing. Like... if you have a coupon to a store AND that same item is half off AND this other coupon works, AND if you buy on Tuesdays you can use this credit card and... in the end it gives YOU back money. Stuff like that. It is in my blood I guess.

    I signed up for miles just a couple years after they first came out with the concept. But the lofty goals in those days WERE only really attainable by those with CCs or, well, travel and hotel and rental car use back then.I mean, Ok if you bought some fancy overpriced luggage from some partner company you'd never see in a store, you could earn some there as well, but that's about it.

    Well, I was able to get a CC and so I was able to get an AMEX and it partnered with I think NW at the time. My brother was going to be going to Moscow to work for an extended period and he was informed he could use an AMEX of all things over there and his company would cut him a check each month to pay his bills. But he somehow could not get one at the time so I made him an auth user. He said, thanks! For that, you can have whatever reward you said it comes with it.

    Well, he spent a lot of money--it takes a lot to live, doesnt it?
    I now had like $50+k in spending on that thing--some of it my own of course from life back in the states, but yeah, that was cool.

    My dad needed to go see family when his mom died. We were all going to go but with school and all, well, we had already recently seen Nana and knew old age was the best way to go, so he went alone. I told him I could book him a ticket for free using miles. He said, "good! because they charge a lot to fly to this part of Canada!" (where he grew up)

    I remember getting a certificate in the mail for 25k
    I remember going with him to the airport and he redeemed it.

    Later in that same year I redeemed 25k more and flew to ski somewhere with friends. I remember standing in the airport wishing to possibly change my flight and the desk agent said, "well sir that's a FF ticket. Just pick a flight and go get on it. Anything you need"

    HOOKED.

    Years later, having collected miles from various airlines for this or that--and now the options were expanding, as were the CCs and the means for which you could earn miles--I recall having minimal balances on some but sizable balances on others. I am sure I redeemed at least another award somewhere and I recall even getting 5,000 miles just for signing up with CO!

    Sadly, I also recall the first time airlines started to expire miles and how I messed up and lost 18k UA. Despite fighting to get it back I never did. My only loss of a mile to date.(have more than made it up with coins even! lol)

    Then I started finding how horrid customer service was getting in the airline business.
    And then 9/11 happened.
    Father was a victim on AA #11
    He had been traveling on what would have been one of his last business trips to LAX as a consultant before coming home to take my mother to Maui for a wedding anniv. He had done a ton of SPG stays and had gotten into that game, and I hadn't even really paid much attention to them.

    Well, I recall one of my angst's with things at that time was that I thought there was a hidden connection with poor customer service and poor management, which could have possibly led to poor communication, which could have possibly led to some of how 9/11 went down. That the terrorists exploited this sort of thing and that's how they pulled off some of the whole thing. After all, didn't a flight attendant try to call a tower and the tower thought her call was a joke, and this call cost at least 20 minutes in crucial time during one of the fated flights? Thinking through things like that in some heighten stress at the time made me believe that airlines needed to really revamp everything. Some they have, some still needs work. And strangely enough, the flight part is fine. It's all the crap you gotta do to get on and off a plane that bothers me! But we wont go into that. Point is, I got into this stuff. Big time. And I darn well sure wasn't going to let 'them' pull a fast one on me/my family anymore. I found myself collecting my miles and points and being 100% on top of it all. I found myself ramping up balances so if I needed to redeem--because God knows, I wasn't going to PAY for a flight after that happened!--then I needed my balances to be at redeemable levels. And I needed to find out ways to do that.

    The addiction grows. It happens when there's a need mixed with a bit of obsession and passion, and a proven, added result that can show others that what you are doing is valid. But it also stemmed from and further fostered my already existing passion for finding a way, finding a loophole, a workaround, a way to get X to take place when everyone else thought it was impossible.

    At some of my jobs--then in the graphic design field using a MAC, I was king of finding a workaround for how things can be produced or imaged. In that business, design was part of it of course, but how things are produced and how they actually print is something entirely different! It's kinda like... seeing the color red on your monitor and trying to find a way to get that exact color to print on paper. It's not often as easy as people think! My job was to do that sort of thing every day.

    As well, in my own life, aside from just airlines, I have always been one to try to get to the bottom of stuff involving customer service. It does, therefore, lend itself to how we process things or try to 'get' things like an extra chocolate here, or an upgrade there... And my theory had always been, if you write them a well thought through, thorough letter, then the ball becomes in their court and they have to reply. If they do not, blast em! Most reply. You win.

    I found a small forum online called Frequent Flier Forum.it covered travel and other CS issues and of course, ways to get miles.
    Some of the people in this site and in FT are from there.
    This was in I think 2001 and I think my nic was Pro Moe (lol)
    Someone there mentioned FT and I joined it...
    My wife and I ran the NYC Marathon and I was on this huge long runner's high when I joined FT and picked the name Marathon Man.

    By now I had earned and redeemed some respectable miles and I watched as deals came and went.
    Since my wife is from overseas, I don't just like or want FF miles... I NEED them. We see family there as often as we can, and we have helped some of them fly here for less. So it's like business sometimes, not just pleasure travel. And oh what an interesting thing it is to be able to justify an addition! Why, the only real way to date/marry a girl from overseas is to: be in the military where you are both stationed, work at a company that has business there, have a ton of money, work for an airline, have her have a small or no family so she just moves here and that's it (once you get the residence visa sorted out) or move there too. The only other ways are to NOT meet someone from overseas or have a ton of FF miles!

    But you gotta talk about it with like-minded souls. And that's why I am glad to be able to do that in here with all you fine people.

    We shall see where the future takes all of us, eh?
    :)MM
     
  9. baccarat_guy
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    baccarat_guy Silver Member

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    Teenager + Triple Miles + figuring out how to game Triple Miles on TWA + first class TATL on TWA (on 3 class L1011s and 747s)

    Basically started when I was around 12 years old. Yes, I have some of my original TWA statements. I guess, that first OP-UP on AA (DC10 EWR-LAX, definitely an EWR departure, pretty sure it was LAX); and also that first trip to Caesars (late 1970's, barely 10 years old, blue velvet smoking jacket and bow-tie to match); sort of set me up for life with regard to the 'luxury' aspect of travel. I was the only 9 year old I knew that requested escargot for this birthday dinner, but I digress.

    TWA was running a triple miles promotion (as all the majors were, at the time), and at that time 50K got you a free first class (3 class) ticket + and upgrade (any fare) for a companion. Was able to use these 50K first class tickets JFK-CDG-CAI (YES, I know, *CRAZY!*).

    In the 80's you could get your boarding passes in advance at TWA city ticket offices; one of which was right by my parents store in Manhattan... and being the very friendly teenager, also would become friends with the ticket agent at this (very small) ticket office location.

    You could purchase PHX-LAS-PHX (was basically a 'dead' segment on the TWA L1011 service JFK-PHX-LAS) for $38 roundtrip (all-in), this yielded 750x6 = 4,500 miles (at that time TWA gave you a minimum of 750 miles). So, basically 12 roundtrips yielded 54K miles for $38x12 = 456. But, the real beauty was that I NEVER HAD TO FLY THESE SEGMENTS. I just got boarding passes from the city ticket office for all the flights, and was able to mail in these original boarding passes for flight credit. :D

    * note, I might be off a 'bit' --- possibly, it was $58 roundtrip (my mind is getting fuzzy with age, but in any case, you get the point.... ;) )

    Needless to say, my family was able to take quite a few transatlantic/trips to the middle east on TWA in First Class. They eventually did audit one of our accounts (NOT mine), but it was too late.

    So, this began the quest to spend the majority of my adult life flying in First Class.

    I've always been 'addicted' to First Class, and luxury..... met my wife at 19; and well, she knew nothing of this.... sort of funny seeing her expression the first time she got to fly First Class. Splurged on a surprise QE2 party cruise form New York City to celebrate being 20 (or something like that).....

    Basically, it's been a fun ride.... and I've introduced my kids to it at an early age.... fun fun! :D
     
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  10. Gtitan
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    Gtitan Gold Member

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    Addict? Me? Nope, I can quit any time. Yep, I can stop. I just need to fly 100,000 miles by the end of April so I can have status as Plat/1K on CO-UA, so over the last 5 years, I will have had "non-revenue" top tier status on all the legacies (sans US). Yes, no problem here ......[​IMG]
     
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  11. stu52
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    stu52 Silver Member

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    I've come to this rather late in the game compared to others. My father was a FF way back before there were real FF programs. He would fly out every week on Sunday and come back on Friday...mostly on UA. I remember his UA luggage tag with 100,000 miles marked on it.

    I got a consulting job in late 2007 with a company near Boston that required me to fly all over the country. I remember a good friend of mine giving me and others in the company the advice to "stick with one airline and one hotel chain and you will be surprised at how the loyalty points will build up" (he's over 2MM with AA and several hundred thousand points with Hilton).

    Well I started with "dirt level" on AA, then did a PLT challenge in 2008, but I missed the opportunity to sign up for the Double Miles promo that started in June 2008. (My AA email was going to my home address instead of my business address and being on the road most of the time didn't help.) I found FT just AFTER the deadline for signing up for that promo. I missed out on EXP for 2009 because of that!

    As it turned out it didn't much matter because I got laid off in Jan of 2009 and didn't get back to flying a lot until August of 2009 when I got my job in Houston. I found out about the DEQM promo in August and thought "Hey....I can qualify for EXP by the end of the year." I set up a spreadsheet and was on my way. I hit EXP in December and re-qual'd for EXP on segments in 2010 before also hitting over 100K miles.

    Now, I have mixed emotions as I will have a job that is MUCH closer to home, but will leave me with very little opportunity to travel for business. So, I will be dropping to PLT on 3/1/2012 <sigh>. Oh well, at least the miles have given my wife and I two trips to Italy in business class during that time.

    I'll be doing CC spending and dining out to get miles, it'll just take longer to accumulate them after this. So, yeah, I'm addicted (and spoiled with the free upgrades).
     
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  12. babyshark31
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    babyshark31 Active Member

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    I'm very new to the game (Jan. 11) and I became very interested in it when I read the article on Gizmodo about a guy flying around the world and only spending ~$500 for something like 16 flights across 5 continents. When I realized that I could literally do nothing but sign up for some CCs to get a ton of miles, I became hooked. Being in college though as limited me considerably. I was denied even a Macys card since I have no income, but my dad was nice enough to cosign on the Chase 50,000 CO card to get me started. Considering, I've been using a CC as an authorized user for my dad's Gold Amex for several years he was confident that I would rack up a huge bill and not pay (which I know I won't either). Hopefully everything works out and I can start flying to some truly incredible places for free :)
     
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  13. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    My father was an AA frequent flyer back in the earliest days of their program. When I started traveling for job interviews and then for business, I signed up for a few programs. Other folks at work were reasonably savvy about maximizing miles so I learned a lot from them.

    I found FT from rec.travel.air as it was dying and MP from FT.
     
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  14. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    It's becoming more apparent that I perhaps shouldn't be on this board. I actually care less about the points and more about the travel in itself. While I have status due to work I'll fly, drive, train, walk, bike just about anywhere for a new travel experience. Was Affaires nice on AF? Yes. Would I pay out of pocket for it? In a heart beat. When we fly to Asia we'll likely be paying for our business class seats.

    I like deals and will fly anytime anywhere on a great deal, but I could care less the airline and I especially loathe the YQ dump game. So I guess I'm not a miles addict as much as I am a travel addict. All in all I'm okay with that. Or at least that is what the cold medicated imps in my head are saying today [​IMG].
     
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  15. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    Don't worry, we'll convert you. Miles fuel travel. [​IMG]
     
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  16. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    It's something I'm dealing with slowly as my new job doesn't involve as much company travel. (He types as he searches for last minute DEN-SEA tickets [​IMG])
     
  17. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    I cosigned for my son on a Chase PC Visa and a Citi AAdvantage Visa to get him started in the game as well. Since I was paying the bill on a card he was using as an authorized user, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone: get his credit established & get him in the miles and points game.
     
  18. babyshark31
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    babyshark31 Active Member

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    I didn't think an authorized user could establish credit? I was under the impression that I had to be an actual joint account holder, but I could be mistaken.

    I should add, however, that another event that really sparked my interest in FF programs was the movie Up in the Air. I know that it isn't completely factual, but just the idea that people had such high goals really got me intrigued with the whole concept.
     
  19. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Are we related? [​IMG]

    I have loved travel since I was in college. Even back then I always signed up for the FF program whenever I flew on an airline, but I didn't build many miles in any one program because I was always looking for the bottom line price for any given trip. I did the same with hotels. Later I started developing preferences for specific airlines and hotel chains, so I focused my travel on those, and I started getting the occasional free domestic ticket out of it.

    So far, so good -- but then in about 2001 I discovered FlyerTalk. I think the first thing that brought me there was a deal where you got an upgrade to Hilton Hhonors Gold with 4 stays. I learned a LOT in a short time. Within a couple of months I was doing this elaborate AAdvantage miles deal (my husband called it a "scam" but it was 100% legal and allowed by the rules of the promotion) that involved buying Kellogg's cereal with coupons and rebates. I got 50k AA miles for about $60 with that one.

    Then in 2002 I got in on a deal where I was able to buy tickets SEA-HEL-SEA and SEA-CDG-SEA for $20 each (about $100 with tax) in BA World Traveler Plus (Economy Plus)... and we got upgraded to Club World (Business Class) on our final leg of the Paris trip.

    Needless to say, I've been hooked ever since!
     
  20. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    You are correct. I guess my post was not clear. To clarify: my son was previously an authorized user on a card I pay for. To get his credit established and to get him started in the points and miles game, I cosigned/guaranteed two card that were issued in his name and under his SSN.
     
  21. marathon man
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    marathon man Silver Member

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    omg the kelloggs deals! I so remember those! I recall the waffles not being the exact ones we liked to eat but you HAD to get the miles over taste so it was totally worth it hahahahaha
    yah we are totally related. I am convinced there are only so many 'tribes' of humans in the world and well, we are all but one of them.


    ***

    The other thing that gets me about miles/promos/customer service is that whole thing you often can get into when you do a certain promo and it fails to post. Well I am huge on getting that to get fixed and have advocated for it on many threads in FT for years now. It kills me that so many companies perform a basic rebate scam on us, and yet we are the ones considered the scammers just because we want a deal here or there! So you have to keep good records and be on top of this stuff. Of course, in so doing, you get kinda focused on it. And that makes you an addict hehehe.
     
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  22. Mark Allen Jackson
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    Mark Allen Jackson Silver Member

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    the internet made me an addict.
     
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  23. goodandclassy
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    goodandclassy Silver Member

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    I kind of grew up on an airplane. with both parents working in the airlines, it was typical for me to miss a week of school to go to you know, Algiers, or the US, or CMB - form a tiny tiny eastern european place.

    then the move to the US occurred - and parents kept employment in the industry. The annual trips east were non-revved and in a premium cabin. then (right around 9/11, and record-low-loads), I started flying for fun around the country and europe... you know, for the weekend... until college graduation.

    [there was a delta add form back in the day that read something like 'because saying i got this in europe never gets old' - yeah, describes me]

    So, i got hooked. Once I was too old for the benefits, I knew i had to do something to keep myself ahead of the damn curtain... so i started accumulating miles... somehow, the status floodgates opened when i made silver mid-year due to some cheapo SEA and LHR flights... first op-up on AF received that same summer - and the rest is history...
     
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  24. lunettes noires
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    lunettes noires Silver Member

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    I'm not an addict! I can stop anytime I want! I just don't want to....[​IMG]
     
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  25. Camino Cielo

    Camino Cielo Silver Member

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    Oh, when I was about four, and Grandpa took me on my first ride on a "super deluxe" airplane, SFO-SEA. But it's funny -- that was the only "super deluxe" one we ever flew on again, because "only super deluxe airplanes have bathrooms." (My fascination.) [​IMG]
     

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