I remember when I first starting flying and tracking my own frequent flier miles. I remember thinking that if I could only get to 15,000 miles, I could go anywhere in the continental U.S. for free. As I flew more and edged closer to that once elusive number, the minimum number of miles went up to 20,000 and then 25,000. And now, even if you have enough miles, you-are-never-going-to-find-a-seat-with-those-miles. I mean, sure, someone gets the seat on the plane but it’s probably not going to be you, unless you want to stay in whatever place you are flying to for free for three weeks or just need to get there and stay there forever – lovely one-way ticket dreams.

It’s not a surprise that the whole system is rigged toward those with the luxury (or the corporate credit card) of booking flights on the same airline all the time. Since I go with whatever is cheapest, I have nine frequent flier accounts. The only “good” thing about it is when one of my trusty airlines gets purchased by another one and WHAM!, my miles get added together. I know it’s not really the point to earn free flights, but it sure is fun and the sense of accomplishment you get isn’t bad either. What is bad, is the nightmare you then have trying to book your reward ticket. However, if you fly Southwest, the trips add up pretty quickly and the tickets are super easy to book. Let’s just not get started on expiration dates…

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