Back in December, we put out a call for passionate points and miles collectors who wanted to share their knowledge and become writers for Frugal Flyer. We know the value of surrounding ourselves with like-minded and ambitious people in this hobby and wanted to see if we could find individuals who are willing to always learn and push the boundaries of the miles and points space.
With that, we would like to announce the newest addition to the Frugal Flyer team: Daniel Burkett.
Welcome to Frugal Flyer, Daniel!
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years traveling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travelers to prevent the same mistakes he made.
We had a few important questions for Daniel to learn more about him:
What got you into Miles & Points?
It started after my wife and I returned from a west coast swing to take in a Seattle Seahawks game in December 2021 (My father and I’s favorite NFL team).
We had used a stash of TD Rewards points that accumulated from my First Class Travel card during the pandemic. Like any good husband, I will admit when my wife is correct, and she was bang on this time. She was actually the one that suggested we needed a different rewards card. We started one evening by looking at Amex Cobalt vs Amex Gold videos on YouTube, and I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. Simply put, I was hooked.
The realization that Miles and Points could add so much to my lifestyle was jaw-dropping. It takes some leg work, but every consumer should take advantage of the return you receive for money that will be spent anyway.
Do you have any redemptions you are looking forward to in 2023?
Quite a few! My wife and I travel together for our vacations and have unsurprisingly gotten used to being spoiled in business class! Finding flight award space for two people can be challenging, but we’ve managed to travel everywhere we want in premium cabins.
Our first big trip this year is to the Formula 1 Monaco Gran Prix in May! Initially, we planned to fly there on United Polaris with 60,000 Aeroplan points per person. But we had to change our schedule about two weeks ago, and it was a challenge to find an alternative. The best deal I could find “last-minute” was Montreal to Milan for 65,000 Aeroplan Points and 11 eUpgrades per person using the Latitude Attitude instant upgrade method. I am hoping for no last-minute demotions to our original booking class.
For our way home, we used a transfer bonus from US Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic to book two business seats on Air France for a meager 37,500 points per person! Remember that the taxes and fees on this route were about $400 CAD per person, but with the savings in miles, I was happy to lay out some cash.
Next, in October, we head overseas again on some aspirational travel. Leaving from Atlanta to Frankfurt on Lufthansa’s business class, we will connect to Munich to take in the last few days of Oktoberfest. After checking out some of what Germany has to offer, we will take advantage of Aeroplan’s 5,000-point stopover policy, and ten days later, we will carry on to the Maldives!
For the second part of our journey, I found award availability on a unique product in Gulf Air’s Narrow Body lie-flat business class A321neo. We will connect through Bahrain and have the chance to experience their lavish flagship lounge. This has been the most expensive and complicated award I’ve booked, at 115,000 Aeroplan points per person.
While in the Maldives, we used 200,000 Marriott points for five nights at Le Meridian. However, we’re constantly monitoring award prices to jump on any good deals at the W or St Regis, where our Platinum Elite benefits will still be recognized.
For our flight home, I had to book an economy segment on Etihad from Male to Abu Dhabi as there was no business class availability direct from MLE. This was a surprisingly great redemption as cash tickets in economy class were selling for $550 CAD, and we paid 12,500 Aeroplan points per person.
The last leg of our journey continues the next day, with Etihad on a 15-hour luxury experience aboard their brand-new A350-1000. This was also an expensive award at 90,000 Aeroplan points per person, but I’ll take that as a deal when the cash price is around $12,000!
What areas of travel hacking interest you most? What do you plan to write about on Frugal Flyer?
As I had a poor travel style when I was on the road for 30+ weeks of the year, my goal with travel hacking has been to maximize everything. Whether using Hilton Free Night Certificates for nothing less than a Waldorf Astoria property or stretching my Amex Membership Rewards points to their max value with transfer bonuses, you get the idea! I plan to share my knowledge about maximizing these awards and the process I used to get there.
What do you do in your free time?
In my first career, I was pursuing a future as a professional driver in motorsports, and I’m still somewhat connected to that world! My father and I enjoy racing our vintage Formula Ford race cars from the late 1960s at various tracks around North America.
I am also an avid skier, but not an overly adventurous one, as I’ll take a Blue groomed run over a Black mogul run every day of the week. We also have two young cats who manage to keep normal days interesting. And, of course, I spend way too much time reading terms and conditions looking for any arbitrage opportunities!
We are very excited to welcome Daniel to the Frugal Flyer team and look forward to his contributions!
Keep an eye out for Daniel’s first article tomorrow to learn how you can be more effective when planning your next award flight redemption.
Latest posts by Hugh Campbell (see all)
- WestJet Companion Voucher: Everything You Need to Know - Jan 30, 2023
- Welcome to the Frugal Flyer Team, Daniel! - Jan 25, 2023
- Review: RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard - Jan 23, 2023
- 5 Things to Do on the Las Vegas Strip - Jan 20, 2023
- Review: The DOUGLAS, Autograph Collection - Jan 13, 2023