I can’t claim to being the World’s Greatest Husband. The first thing I do when I wake up at 6 is check my email. I go to my day job until 5. I work again on the blog until 11. Megan makes most of my meals and does a fair amount of the cleaning. When we became engaged, my future mother-in-law insisted I read a hokey booked called The Five Love Languages. It was not as bad as I expected, and I definitely identify as a provider. Megan understands that, even if she doesn’t always like it.
Some people view points and miles as an opportunity to take luxurious vacations at a bargain price. I’m fortunate that I could afford some of those vacations without miles, though maybe not as frequently or in such style. Instead, I use them as an opportunity to treat my family and friends to trips they would otherwise rule out. My standard line is, “I’ll take care of it.”
When my groomsmen needed help flying out to Las Vegas for the bachelor party, I took care of it with miles, even rebooking my brother’s flight at the last minute when he had to be in Virginia — not Florida — on a business trip the day before.
When the guy who gave me a break at my first job forgot about his business trip to Barcelona and booked an expensive flight on United the day before, I sucked up a bit and redeemed a GPU so he could at least fly up front.
When my sister told me she was planning to slum it in Europe for a couple weeks after graduating, I told her I’d treat her to a first-class tour of Asia — even though I generally hate being gone from home for more than a few days.
And when my wife missed her flight to her friend’s baby shower in Houston three weeks ago, she called me in tears wondering what to do. Her trip appeared ruined. My response: “I’ll take care of it.”
Megan excels at many things, including a stressful and complicated career, so I don’t mean to disparage her too much, but I generally do a better job keeping my wits about me when we travel. It’s the same thing when we’re in the car. I do the driving, and she’s along for the ride. We both get what we want out of that arrangement. But somehow she misremembered her departure time and didn’t leave the office until her flight had already begun boarding.
Unsure what to do, she called in a panic. I gave her some instructions for invoking the “flat tire rule,” which is an unwritten rule that generally means an airline will do what it can to help a late passenger fly standby on the next departure. Unfortunately, American Airlines doesn’t have many flights to Dallas (and connecting onward to Houston). The agent would not budge on demanding $440 for a later flight requiring an overnight at DFW.
I kept my calm. Megan was quickly rebooked on a nonstop to Houston with United Airlines for 12,500 miles. There were no fees thanks to my elite status, and she even got a window seat in Economy Plus. Had she called back with a better story, I could have cancelled it for free. But she didn’t because for whatever reason the American agent was giving her a hard time. In a few more minutes I had her rental car rebooked and arranged for a late arrival at the hotel. It all worked out pretty well despite the lack of sleep on a redeye.
Was I pissed? Sure. I wanted her on that redeye to begin with since it was so much cheaper. Now I was not only redeeming some hard-earned miles but we’d lost what we paid on the first ticket. Still, miles and points and elite status meant we could address the situation much more calmly and inexpensively than your average traveler. Hassle is my number one enemy, and when I think of all the things I’ve gained from this hobby, reducing hassle at the airport or hotel is probably more valuable than any free Champagne.