Neil Offen: Miles to go before I fly

Feb. 09, 2014 @ 03:24 PM

I have a lot of miles on me, and that’s not even taking into account how the knees are pretty much shot and the back regularly gets stiff after bowling.  Actually, it gets stiff before bowling, too.

Anyway, what I mean is I have platinum miles on me, diamond miles, gold miles and even some rollover medallion qualification miles, although I’m not sure if that’s longer or shorter than a kilometer.
What I have, in fact, is a lot of frequent flier miles and recently I wanted to take them for a trip. I mean, what was the point of leaving them at home and asking a neighbor to check on them periodically while I’m gone?
So I logged into my frequent flier account.  As soon as I found out which airline it was and whether that airline had already merged with another airline and now was only flying the Korea to Kannapolis route.
And then I had to find my frequent flier number. And my user name. And my password. And the answer to the question, “What was the name of your favorite pet’s first-grade teacher’s car?”
That’s when I realized that frequent flier miles are naturally designed for people who actually don’t fly very frequently.
I wanted to fly, not frequently but just once, to Boston. According to the frequent flier chart, a round-trip flight to Boston would require 65,000 miles, three qualifying medallions, two sacrificial offerings and a reference from my college adviser.
Then I looked at the even finer print. That was 65,000 peak miles, not standard miles nor saver miles nor miles to go before I sleep. And the flight had to fly between March 7 at 6:30 p.m. and April 14 at 2:15 a.m., on a Tuesday where the barometer was above 30.6, as long as I was willing to accept a seat next to a screaming baby.
I chose the baby, but, of course, I then realized I only had 64,753 miles.
Not a problem, I thought. The airline, surely, would let me round up.
After the airline said it wouldn’t let me round up, I thought: not a problem. I could easily buy the extra miles since I was so close.
After the airline said I could easily buy the extra miles if I would easily pay an extra $25 per mile and commit to sitting with screaming twins, I thought: not a problem. I could easily transfer miles from my wife’s frequent flier account, on the same airline, to my account.
After the airline said I could easily transfer the miles from my wife’s frequent flier account, as long as I easily was willing to pay an extra $50 per mile for those miles and was willing to commit to triplets and forego my free bag of peanuts, I thought: not a problem. I could easily stay home. 
Neil Offen can be reached at theneiloffencolumn@yahoo.com.