It’s no secret that I some day plan to visit Italy. I’ve been talking about it for years now.
In 2000, a friend shared with me that if could find an airline that flew to Italy I could sign up for their mileage card. I could use this credit card to make every day purchases and let the mileage points accumulate.
As I was just getting ready to remodel my home, it sounded like a good plan. I don’t like credit cards or the damage they can do, so I planned it all very carefully.
With mortgage interest rates dropping to new lows, I refinanced my mortgage, getting not only a lower interest rate, but some of the equity in the form of cash. Enough cash for what I was planning in my remodel. I put the money in the bank, and used my “going to Italy someday” credit card for all the purchases I could. The points accumulated.
I then used the credit card to pay all my monthly expenses. It was great. All my bills got paid on time. I just paid one bill each month; the credit card. As long as I used the card each month, the mileage wouldn’t expire.
The mileage grew, but my dream trip never got planned. I was going to go for my 40th birthday, but that came and went and I put my dream trip on hold. When I was awarded my 4th week of vacation for years of service in Corporate America, I was going to go. Take the month of October off, and travel through Europe. I got laid off 5 months before my intended trip. I had a dilemma—take the severance package and spend it somewhere in Europe, or save it for a rainy day. Rainy days are hard to get through, so again, my dream trip was put on hold.
In the meantime, more miles accumulated. I hardly paid attention. I didn’t know how many miles I had, or how many would be needed to visit Italy. There was always something else to worry about.
In September, a friend called. He was going to Sicily for a month. If I was serious about going, now was the time for me to go. He’d be there with the Navy Reserves and he’d be available when his schedule permitted.
Was this it? Was this the chance of a lifetime?
I called my airline and asked how many miles I had. “141,000”, they said.
How many would I need to get to Sicily? “20,000”, they said.
Suppose I wanted to stop in Germany and visit some friends there? “80,000 more”, they said.
So for 100,000 miles I could fly from Los Angeles to Munich to Sicily? “Yep”, they said.
I started to plan. What dates would I go? Where would I stay? What would I see? I had to coordinate with my Navy friend in one country, and my friends now living in another country.
Los Angeles to Dulles to Munich to Sicily. Sicily to Munich to Dulles to Los Angles return. 100,000 standard miles. Arrive in Munich this day, leave that day. The plan was set. I called the airline back to book.
And discovered a glitch. Always a glitch!
My airline told me they do not fly from Munich to Sicily. Drat! They do fly to Naples, however. Okay, good, that would work.
My airline told me they do not fly from Munich to Naples on the day I needed to leave. Nor any of the 5 days following. Drat! What to do?!!? I had friends to visit!
I started to pace, and pull my hair out. All my dreams, all my plans, poof! Drat!
My airline told me if I wanted to leave 9 hours earlier and was able to fly straight through with no time spent in Munich on the arriving trip, I could spend time in Munich on the return trip AND HAVE IT ALL FOR 50,000 MILES!
Los Angeles to Chicago to London to Munich to Naples –> Naples to Munich –> Munich to Los Angeles
I’m going to Italy!