Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Frequent Flier Victory

The (frequent flier) life of a (when I’m smart) budget traveler is hard. You don’t have as much loyalty. You fly the cheapest to save a few bucks. You fly the red eye to spend those extra hours on vacation. When you travel with a group, you fly the airline they choose.

For example, I never choose Delta. Not that Delta has done anything to me. But they aren’t a big presence in Denver. There are other options that will get me where I’m going non-stop. Then last year I get a little care package from Delta. Somehow I achieved silver medallion status, complete with personalized luggage tags and a chance to check a bag for free. Why? Long distance group travel to Tanzania and Israel. I haven’t had a chance to fly Delta since to use these benefits. I’ve probably already dropped back to average Jenni loser who gets herded to the back of the plane.

Moving to Denver opened up two new airlines that fly non-stop almost everywhere I might go (in the US at least): Frontier and Southwest. Once Frontier started charging for bags my loyalty shifted a little more to Southwest. If the fares are about the same, why not go for the snacks (hello “plane crackers”), friendly service and free luggage?

*side note: at work we constantly talk about service setting our company apart if prices are the same…funny how it works for me as a consumer too*

Next month I’m traveling to amazing, exotic, colorful….


As my sister and I were pricing fares for the family wedding in Illinois, Wisconsin sister time and the State Fair Eating Extravaganza we actually looked at our frequent flier mileage on Frontier and Southwest. Without me knowing or planning or plotting, I had enough miles.

To fly one way, that is.

Good enough. It’s a short trip, so I’m not going to check a bag. Fly out to Milwaukee on Frontier. 12,500 miles plus $2.50 for tax. Return to Denver on Southwest. 6,000 or so points plus $2.50 for tax.

$5 for my trip. Wow! Gives me much more spending money for all the new foods at the fair.

Deep fried bacon wrapped tater tots on a stick anyone?

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