Ramy Wahby, a blogger, was able to to fly first class from Hong Kong to New York for just $70, thereby saving $17,500. The flight, aboard Cathay Pacific Airlines to JFK Airport in 2017, was possible thanks to the 70,000 air miles from credit cards he had accumulated.
Whaby, 32, was greeted aboard the Cathay Pacific flight with a glass of champagne and caviar, which was followed by a gourmet meal. To sleep, he was afforded a fully flat bed, which was an additional $75.
Wahby, who works as an engineer, posted a clip of his adventure on YouTube, as he settled into a free room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hong Kong. He explained that he was leaving his six-month pregnant wife to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
Wahby even enjoyed his own private cabana with a full bath in one of the airport lounges. He arrived at the airport early in order to make the most of all the first class luxuries available, such as a relaxing bath, followed by a glass of wine. He then sampled some champagne and caviar, as well two meals before his flight.
“Flying first class with Cathay Pacific Airlines was my favorite experience - from the multiple different lounges to the amount of private space you're provided with, I was blown away,” Wahby said. “The service on board was great - the flight attendants really go above and beyond to make your flight as comfortable and as pleasant as possible.”
The flight to New York lasted 16 hours, though Wahby was in the lap of luxury the entire time. “The seat on board was as comfortable as my bed at home!” he commented.
On his blog, Wahby encourages travelers to learn as much as they can about air miles when they apply for credit cards.
Frequent flyers began accruing miles in the 1970s when United Airlines started awarding points to encourage consumer loyalty. Nowadays, airlines also award points that can be used for lounge access and early seat selection.
Experts recommend maximizing your credit card purchases and paying off the entire balance each month since any interest accrued will negate frequent flyer points. Also, if merchants charge a 3% fee for using a credit card, it may not be worth it. The highest-rated airlines in terms of reward availability are Southwest, Air Canada, Turkish Airlines, Jet Blue and Lufthansa.
A recent study by IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler revealed that Southwest was awarded the top score since testers were able to obtain a good seat 100 percent of the times with frequent flyer miles. Southwest was followed by Air Canada, which was awarded a score of 96.4 percent when booking with Aeroplan points.