Saturday, 13 October 2012


So, anyone following the blog will remember I signed off the last entry with the whole enterprise possibly being in at risk due to some health issues.  I *did* need major surgery, which took place a few months ago, the surgery went fine.  However a side effect of the surgery is that it has a long recovery process, and it puts into severe doubt my ability to undertake an extensive holiday requiring multiple long haul flights within the next year. 

My original plan was for this holiday to happen some time in the summer of 2013, around 2 years after I started this challenge. That is starting to look unlikely (but not entirely impossible). I have a 2-4-1 BA voucher that expires in Feb 2014, and it may be that this will not be usable for my mega trip, and will have to be used up on something more doable given my state of health.

The better news

Whilst I have been in immediate recover, I have continued to operate under the basis that this holiday will happen at some time, and have been busy collecting away at the various loyalty programs. The following summarises my current war chest as of the 12th of Oct 2012. Many of these are spread over two accounts , one for myself and one for my partner, and are rounded to the nearest 1000.

  1. Americian Express membership rewards......406,000
  2. British Airways Avios (both from BAEC and Avios)....360,000 (plus a 2-4-1 voucher)
  3. Virgin Atlantic flying club miles....72,000
  4. Priority Club (holiday inn etc)....290,000
  5. Starwoods (Meridien, Sheraton,Westin etc)...40,000
  6. Club Carlson (Raddison etc).......70,000
  7. Tesco Clubcard....£72, equal to about 17,000 Ba miles

Remember, all of these accounts started at zero whn I started this in March 2011. I havn't kept at exact expenses list, but a good guess is that I've spent about £1600 in gettin to this stage. I'll agree its not an insignificant amount, but if I remind you that for 125K of my BA miles and around £1100 in cash (plus using my 2-4-1 voucher), I'll get over £12,000 of flights, without putting much of a dent in my warchest, I think you can see the value.

A good trick to remember is to keep any Tesco points and American Express rewards in their respective accounts until you actually need to convert them. The reason is that from time to time, both these companies run offers giving bonus points if you transfer during a certain timeframe. For example, American Express has in the last 12 months run an offer giving a 100% bonus on transfers to BA, and at a separate time an offer giving 40% bonus on transfers to Virgin or BA. So if you don't convert un-necessarily, then you leave yourself available to take advantage of any such offers, should you be targetted.

My next post, which will be within 1 week, will imagine that I am still going on my original journey in OCT 2013, and will give my exact itinery, how much it costs me, and how much it would cost if paying for it all in cash.

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