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There are two sides to airline miles. First, and foremost (at least for me), they enable you to do things that you would have hoped to find a way to do anyway, but just do them either more frequently or via a much more cost effective manner. This includes things like visiting family, going on occasional family vacations, etc.
Then there is the other side. The alluring, mysterious, and tempting side of airline miles. Yes, miles have a tempting or almost dark side.
This quality of airline miles makes you consider doing things that otherwise would never pop into your head, or at the very least would be immediately ushered out as momentary insanity. For example, you can use American Airlines miles to fly from the US to Abu Dhabi on the gotta-see-it-to-believe it Etihad First Class Apartments or Business Class Studios for just 90,000 and 67,500 miles respectively, at least until the big DevaluAAtion strikes on March 22nd.
This an insane deal on many levels given the cash price of the ticket and the cost to fly in international first class via other programs, or even via AAdvantage miles beginning on March 22nd. I’m sure flying the A380 in your own “apartment” or “suite” for 12+ hours would be a very memorable experience for many of our otherwise pleasant but “normal” lives, so it is absolutely tempting to spend those miles to add that experience to the “whoda-thunk-it” chamber of my mind.
I mean, really tempting. How exciting to skip packing lunches, midnight feedings, laundry, yoga pants, grocery store runs and more for a few days and instead fly across the ocean using miles in your own apartment while sipping champagne, and then experience a new-to-you part of the world before heading home and transforming back into
Even just browsing for award availability is even pretty exciting – look for Guest availability on Etihad’s site if you want to use AAdvantage miles, then call American to book the award over the phone if you are so inclined.
However, then there is the hard landing of reality. Yes, I have a very healthy six figure balance of AAdvantage miles, so I could burn 135,000 – 180,000 of them to fly round trip in business or first on Etihad without being in the mileage poor house, but that doesn’t change that those 135,000 – 180,000 miles are enough to take the four of us on a trip within the US, the Caribbean, and beyond on a “real” trip instead of just taking myself on a fancy flight. It also doesn’t change that it isn’t always as easy to replenish accounts as it was to earn the miles in the first place.
Then there are the also realities of life and the fact that those lunches, school pick-ups, middle of the night feedings, and more would still have to be done by someone if you weren’t there. Unless of course you just brought the little(s) and let the Etihad Nannies do their thing.
So is it wrong to burn some miles and indulge yourself at 35,000 feet? No, absolutely not, at least from time to time. But, is it also right to keep the dreams of indulgence as dreams in your mind because the time isn’t right to pack up and fly away? I think that is also a totally valid call….even if these first class seats will cost 28% more AAdvantage miles beginning in five days.
My feet are staying on the ground for now, but my head will remain in the mileage dreaming clouds. Have you booked an award flight for yourself just because you can or are you staying on the more pragmatic track with me for a bit?