Thursday 31 May 2012

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My Kids Plans for Their Frequent Flyer Miles

Alaska MVP Gold
One of my pet peeves about frequent flyer programs is that the miles are credited to the person who does the flying. As a Dad I'd be much more amenable to crediting the miles to the person who does the paying, but that's not how these programs work, so while our family travels around, my kids are racking up frequent flyer points in their account. Quite a lot of miles actually. In fact at this moment, each of my three kids has more points in their frequent flyer account than I do (Our frequent flying stuffed animals would too, if they were eligible.). I suppose I could cash the points in for a flight somewhere, but let's face it: My kids aren't very likely to inherit much from Lori and myself, so if I can leave them a few points to get them started on the road to independent traveling, it seems like the least I can do.

The question of course, is what are they going to do with these points? I have visions of them jetting off to Europe or Australia in first class. Maybe a leisurely round-the-world trip after graduation to get a more worldly perspective on things, or perhaps they'd like to use the points to pursue missions trips, helping out people in need all around the globe. There's so many possibilities, and the world is just waiting for them to arrive.

The kids however, are young, and have a slightly less globe-oriented view of their future travels. They know that they have points stored up and that at some point I'll most likely just turn their accounts over to them, but I think I'm going to have to work a little harder to inspire them because at the moment, their plans for these points lack a little grandeur.

Griffiths Observatory view
The boy is the oldest, and as such he probably has the best grasp of the value of airline miles. When I asked him what his plans were for this future haul of frequent flyer points that was going to inherit, he said that he would probably use the points to fund his honeymoon trip. A great plan to be sure, but I wanted a few more details. I pushed further, asking him where he thought he might go on his honeymoon, and his response was "Wherever my wife tells me we're going to go."

Seriously ladies, this one is well trained. You might want to snap him up soon.

My older daughter kind of has the right idea, in that at least she's looking to go somewhere warm, although heading to Hawaii again when you have the entire world to choose from might qualify as less than visionary. Still, it was a step in the
Rio Casino Pool Chairright direction so I congratulated her on her choice. She then turned around and asked me how many hotel points she had saved up. I was caught a little off guard, but I explained to her that the rules for hotel programs and airline programs were very different, and that she wouldn't be allowed to accumulate hotel points until she was 18. She began a rant about the unfairness of this rule, so I stopped her and asked why she thought she would need enough points to be checking in to a hotel on her own before her 18th birthday?

She suddenly remembered some math homework she had to do.

Finally there's my youngest daughter. This is the one that still has me shaking my head. Her big plans for her points are that she wants to go to.....Edmonton. Seriously Edmonton? Nothing against the place, but I'm pretty sure we earn enough miles to get to Edmonton and back every time we park the car. Besides, it's something like a $59 ticket from here to there. I get it...she's her mother's daughter and there's that whole "Largest mall in North America" thing, but if my daughter uses miles to fly to Edmonton, then I've failed as a frequent flyer father.

Fortunately there's still quite a bit of time before my kids get their hands on their mileage accounts. I've got time to show them some of the amazing places in the world they haven't been yet. I might be able to convince them to explore other cultures, countries, and even continents. There's still a chance that they might become true citizens of the world!

Failing that, I can at least remind them why they shouldn't use their miles for flights to Edmonton.

Written by Steve Pratt