Anatomy of a Trip

Having been actively “travel hacking” for the past few years, I have learned many things. First and foremost of these is the principle of “earn and burn” aka “your airline frequent flier miles and credit card points will not be worth more tomorrow”. I have also learned that the best way to maximize the value of your points or miles is to redeem them for first and business class international airline tickets at the “saver level”. After all, are your 150K miles more valuable when you exchange them for a $500 television set or a $12,000 first class round trip ticket from the USA to Hong Kong? Nothing against the television set for a non-traveler, just not a good value proposition!

With that in mind, I just booked the following business class itinerary:

New York to Montreal (connection) one hour flight in economy class, possibly will be upgraded
Montreal to Istanbul (business class flat bed seat), 9.5 hour flight
Istanbul to Lisbon (connection) business class seat, 5 hour flight
Lisbon to Marrakech (economy only plane) 2.5 hour flight
Barcelona to New York (business class flight) 8 hour flight

I will be responsible for filling in the blanks, i.e., getting from Marrakech to Barcelona and any other side trips but my point is this: the above award is a single award redemption, making use of a stopover in Istanbul for as long as I want and my destination as Marrakech. As a result, I am taking 3 trips instead of one, seeing Turkey, Marrakech and Barcelona (Asia, Europe and Africa). My international business class itinerary cost me 140K points plus about $50 in taxes. Compare this to a 2 hour flight in domestic (peanuts and a Coke) business class from New York to Chicago at the standard award level- 100k miles and $24.

Again-it’s all about the value proposition!

Gringo with the lingo- our first post!!!

As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart.” And according to Saint Augustine, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Languages and travel-the perfect combination. While there are plenty of blogs on either, there are hardly any which focus on both. This is the purpose of Gringo with the lingo-to teach you to travel in comfort and style in a smarter, better way while appreciating, learning some words and phrases in, or even studying, the languages of your destination. This will only make your trips much more authentic, worthwhile and rewarding! And just maybe, it will ignite a life-long desire (as it has for me) to make travel and language not only a destination, but a journey.