Sunday, February 21, 2016

Long Hauls, Cheap Tix

Tomorrow, Monday, I get on a plane.

I've been getting on a plane several Mondays in January and February. A plane to take me to work in Portland, Oregon.

This Monday is no exception, except this time I'm flying on a one-way ticket. I'll work for my client for the last time, then cross the Pacific to Japan via Hawaii Big Island. I'll arrive back home from my adventure in April.

"Free" Travel

This is inexpensive travel.

My client paid for the flight from Minneapolis to Portland.

I used frequent flyer miles to fly United and its codeshare partner, ANA,  I took advantage of a 60,000 frequent flyer miles bonus for signing up for a United-affiliated credit card.

There's small buckets of seats from Honolulu to Kagoshima for 25,000 miles and Tokyo to Minneapolis for 35,000 miles. I booked the flights 11 months in advance, as soon as seats became available.

Incidental Costs

To be fair, the infographic at the top of this post does not show all my costs.

Originally, I planned to fly directly from Minneapolis to Hawaii. It took $200 to cancel that segment and re-bank the frequent flyer miles.

I compromised on routings so I could burn United frequent flyer miles. That introduced these costs:
A hotel ($83) near Tokyo Haneda (HND) because I arrive after the last Kagoshima flight has left for the day.
A hotel ($195) near San Francisco Airport because I arrive in the evening, and don't want to take a red-eye to Minneapolis. A nonstop from Tokyo to Minneapolis, would've cost me Delta miles.
These layovers are all part of the adventure. I'll have fun riding the Keikyu Airport Line to the hotel near HND, and the BART to the hotel near SFO. I prefer to figure out public transport than wait around for hotel shuttles.

Flying cheap is a game I like to play.

Keikyu Airport Line, Haneda Airport Station (March 2015)