When you need it most
We've talked about travel hacking before on the blog. It's a great way to travel for free, or (my preference) to travel in luxury for about the same price.
It's also useful when you absolutely need to get a ticket, but the prices are ridiculous.
My grandmother passed away last week, so my wife and I needed to get tickets back to the UK at short notice during Golden Week in Japan.
I had a quick look at our options.
There were relatively reasonable flights on Air China or the middle eastern carriers, but they all involved three or more changes and journeys of 30+ hours. As we were only able to go for five days this was less than ideal.
There were also direct flights, but less reasonable. ANA wanted 450,000 yen per person. In economy!
So I tried with air miles. My ANA miles were close to expiring, so I looked there first. Almost immediately I ran into a problem. ANA requires mileage bookings to be done at least four days in advance, so I had already missed the window for the morning flight.
However I did find seats on an afternoon Lufthansa flight to Manchester via Frankfurt, and on Swiss coming back via Zurich, all in business. Total cost?
95,000 miles and 50,000 yen per person.
Booked and done. We got back yesterday. Exhausted but much less so than if we'd done the 30 hour trip on Air China in economy :)
This is why I think everyone living in Japan and taking trips abroad should have a basic understanding of how air miles work and how to acquire and use them. It just gives you more options when you are planning travel.
I wrote a short ebook about this a few years ago. It's slightly out of date now, but should give you a good idea of the basics. I'm also really happy to answer questions here.
Anyone else a fan of air miles? Any tips?