Okay, first, lets get this out of the way - I'm sure someone has touched on this, as that's the kind of crowd you are, but I missed it if you did, so please enlighten me: if the new gas tax that was added last Monday was 2.5c/litre, why did all the gas prices go up 2.SIX cents??? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Now, I am nowhere near the caliber of these guys, who took extreme advantage of a program that American Airlines offered, getting millions of dollars in value out of a one time, albeit fairly hefty, investment. I also can't believe that they seemed to earn points in the loyalty reward program on top of unlimited "free" first class flights. For those of you that think flying is a chore and who would want to do that anyway, let me tell ya, as someone who has been lucky enough to fly just Business Class (not First) it no longer really becomes a chore. The ability to check in basically as late as possible, then any of that pesky waiting time is spent in a room with any amenity you might want for free (no $15 bland sandwiches here folks) and especially now as airlines are reconfiguring their planes, any long haul flight will almost certainly have a lay flat bed to rest your pretty little head. Oh and bad airline food? Not really - first class folks get food that you can identify, and as much of it as they want. -->This girl<-- got real Haagen Dazs ice cream bars when the good folk at Cathay Pacific were good enough to bump me up. The only real downside to this whole thing was that they were flying a North American airline rather than and Asian one. Seriously, if ever given a chance always fly an Asian airline, the stewardesses and counter staff are actually kind of... what's that word... oh yes, FRIENDLY (note, this is more a slag at United and Air Canada rather than WestJet, who are generally quite pleasant, however have limited international destinations).
One last side note before I get to my real point, I've added flying "Upper Class" on Virgin Atlantic to my bucket list, ideally departing London Heathrow. They send a car to pick you up, you check in from the car, you get a separate security channel to whisk you behind security to their Clubhouse. Their Clubhouse offers anything you could possibly want, a fully stocked bar with real cocktails not just ________ and Coke. Hungry? Order whatever you want to eat, no cold buffet here like in the Star Alliance lounge. What's that? Need a haircut? Manicure? Maybe a massage is more your style? Seriously, check out all the wonderful things on offer. If I have any mysterious benefactors out there who would like to help me indulge in this I would be forever grateful. Maybe Richard Branson needs a Canadian reviewer???
So moving on to things that are attainable. The Aeroplan Star Challenge. I was sent a nifty little email telling me that up to 16,500 Aeroplan miles were up for grabs this month. After reading the fine print (someone please feel free to read it and break my heart or confirm my dreams) it seems that all I need to do is make 33 purchases over the next month to get my 66 stars (I have an Aeroplan Visa so I get an automatic 5 stars). Now, further to that, it seems as though there is no minimum purchase required for any of these transactions. Which means that I could buy 33 one dollar items at Rexall, go to Sobeys 33 times and spend two bucks (Sobeys points convert at two to one) or as part of my goal, purchase, ahem, 23 separate 45's off eBay, signing in through the eStore first. So basically, if I didn't have the financial card, I would need to make 35 purchases, which in theory means that for $39.92 ($35 plus taxes, the dollar needs to be pre-tax I think at Rexall) I could get 16,500 Aeroplan points, which is enough for a flight to Toronto!
See. Evil Genius.
If I paid half as much attention to the stock market as I do customer loyalty programs I would be a very very wealthy woman. Over the years I have taken 15 free flights, including Business Class to South America and tickets to London and Central America all with Airmiles and Aeroplan.