Well dear readers, it has been an interesting few months here at Points Envy. The harsh reality is that we have spent most of the last hundred days or so in a not-quite-first class prison camp somewhere outside of Pyongyang, Korea. Thankfully, it seems we have not missed anything exciting in the points world, with the exception of another unexciting cash back card from Barclays that has the usual suspects in the blogosphere all hot between the loins.
By way of background, we point you to a revolutionary points-earning strategy we pioneered in December of last year. Given how well this method was working in “the States,” we decided to expand our operation overseas, confident that human physiology and DNA everywhere dictate that drugs are awesome. Coincidentally, we had been eager to try Asiana’s new first class suites, so we decided on Korea as our first stop and booked a ticket from ORD to ICN in late December.
Asiana’s new suite, with some gibberish.
Given that it was our inaugural trip, we kept things simple and only took along five pounds of “points.” The flight was predictably luxurious and boring, aside from a few nice views of Siberia. Maybe it’s just us, but we find few things in life more comforting than sipping a nice Scotch in a cozy suite while peering down on an icy wasteland.
The only Scotch on the rocks we tolerate.
Upon arrival in Seoul we grabbed our bags and headed towards the Priority Lane at customs. On the way, we stopped by the Priority Information Desk and asked the agent where we might find the Koreans most in need of medicine. She mentioned a place in northern Korea called Pyongyang, so we began to look into flights while still at Incheon. We quickly found space in Air Koryo’s premium cabin direct to Pyongyang, and we were even able to redeem some old Cubana miles we had lying around from our “Hemingway years.”
Our flight was strange in that it lacked champagne and had only a single channel of IFE starring a pudgy but likeable Chinese man, but ultimately it was rather uneventful. Upon arrival in Pyongyang we searched for the Priority Lane for roughly an hour before finally relegating ourselves to waiting behind a couple people in the normal customs line. Although the customs official did address us as “sir,” he did not seem to otherwise recognize that we were first class passengers and people. More importantly, it seems they have never heard of The Constitution in Korea, as these corrupt officials felt free to invade our G-d-given privacy rights by searching through our designer luggage.
Unlike in most other world countries, Korean officials apparently cannot be bribed with points, and we were summarily sentenced to thirty years in prison because of our desire to help the sick and needy. With our one phone call we naturally dialed the American Express Platinum Card Concierge line. Apparently Platinum Card benefits are not limited to just getting reimbursed for airline gift certificates and replacing “broken” electronics, because within a few months our new best friend Jennifer had secured our release and also booked us a return flight in Cathay first class via Hong Kong. We would have been home sooner, but there was no first class award space available, and while we have yet to experience economy class, we imagine it to be a far worse place than prison.
The Korean prison’s kimchi was surprisingly delicate and fragrant.
The flight home was slightly less pleasant than the flight to Seoul, but we were overjoyed to be back in our natural element, and particularly pleased to see our favorite Cathay purser onboard (shout out to Grace!). After our awful experience, we realized we should focus our efforts in areas where people better understand service, so our next expansion will be to Singapore. In the meantime, we hope to be more productive here on the site, though that is probably too much to ask.