points envy

Tokyo Trip Report Part One: The Initial Introduction

Part One: The Initial Introduction
Part Two: V Gates?
Part Three: The Hajj on Lufthansa First
Part Four: There’s No Place Like Home (When Home is the First Class Terminal)
Part Five: Axis to Axis, Busts to Busts
Part Six: The Rising Sun, The Setting Fun
Part Seven: Turning Japanese in JAL First
Part Eight: Mormon-ey, More Party (at the SkyClub)
Part Nine: What’s Next?

Despite having travelled around the world for more than twenty years, we don’t generally like to leave the comfort of our first class cabin, lounge or hotel suite. Having lost our parents to the dangers of the “outside world” at a very young age, we remain wary of taking too many risks with foreign cultures, particularly those that various IFE programs have shown to be threatening, namely Russians, Sicilians, Chinese, Iranians, Arabians, most types of Africans, Asians, the Welsh, Hindoos, North Vietnamese, Kali-worshippers, Colombians, Ukrainians, Mongols, Jews, Cubans, Eastern Germans, Mexicans/Aztecs, the French, Moslems, the Gypsies, Hispanics, Nazis, Palestinians, Catholics, the Romans, Egyptians, the Visigoths, people from certain parts of New Jersey, Vikings, the Polish, Algerian youths, 16th-century Dutchmen, most Christians, Persians, Martians, Apaches, Spaniards, (British) Columbians, the British, Israelis, Somalians, those assholes who killed Gandhi, and the North Irishmen. Also Greeks and Turks; almost forgot about them.

Our well-warranted fears notwithstanding, we decided after a recent incident that it was time to see more of the world. Not quite sure where to start, we settled on Japan, as in the past we have enjoyed said country’s delicious noodles, sushi, and pornographic movies with the nasty parts blurred out (as G-d intended). Like the Chinese of Old, we hoped the Land of the Rising Sun would serve as a stepping stone to further worldly conquests.

In terms of trip planning, we decided to do a classic “Axis of Greatness” tour, booking Lufthansa First Class from New York to Osaka (via Frankfurt), with a return flight from Tokyo to Chicago on Japan Airlines. We still aren’t quite sure how we got from Osaka to Tokyo; we initially thought they were the same place. Perhaps we will figure that out as we dive back into our pictures for this report.


Planes at JFK. Some people swear by DO&CO, but we’ve never tried that Business Class garbage.

Needless to say, we were a bit under the influence when we booked our trip and throughout its entirety, so we can’t remember much about the booking process, other than the surliness of several phone agents. In any case, we’ll assume we used 70,000 United miles for the outbound and 62,500 American miles for the return. So, a mere drop in the metaphorical champagne bucket that is our actual swimming pool full of miles, points and champagne.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which we will detail the trials and tribulations faced and overcome while visiting Lufthansa’s “First Class” lounge at JFK. Auf Wiedersehen!


Reader Question: Advanced Champagne Techniques?

Yesterday was apparently Sunday, which means nothing to us, but some bloggers tend to field reader questions on said day of the week. One of our confused followers, who for some reason thought we cared about our dear readers, posed to us this important query:

Sometimes I get so drunk and/or lazy, that I don’t even feel like lifting and tilting back my champagne glass, even though I want to keep drinking. Do you have any suggestions?

Anonymous Points Envy fan, you came to the right place. This question comes up constantly, and it breaks our heart to hear that people aren’t better informed in this area. Thankfully, we have a tried-and-true solution to your woes, the key to which is literally right at your fingertips.

In our experience, all airlines outside of North America have modern, motorized seats in their first class cabins. For our method, simply bring the champagne to your lips and use the seat controls to lean back and cause the champagne to pour into your mouth. Unfortunately, this only eliminates the tilting portion of drinking champagne, but we are currently at work on a method that will also allow you to avoid having to lift the glass to your lips.

One of our longtime readers, DeShawndre Chen, submitted this video to us a few weeks ago to see if he was doing it correctly. Have a look:

While he is doing fairly well, he clearly should have consumed more champagne in a single sip. We therefore rate his performance 4/10, as he seems to be missing much of the point.

So there you have it! With a little practice you can perfect this method as we have; all you need is a first class seat. If you find that you do not have a motorized seat, make sure there has not been a terrible mistake (as has happened to us) or immediately switch to hard liquor in the hope that you will not have to remember the sad excuse for a flight you are on.

We hope all of our readers will make good use of this technique, as it makes us feel better about ourselves to know that we are improving others’ lives. Please send more reader questions our way at info@pointsenvy.com or hit us up on Twitter.

BREAKING NEWS: Points Envy Fails Suicide Attempt

As it turns out, crafting a proper noose is rather difficult. The parents we never had never taught us things like how to tie knots or even shoelaces, though the latter skill is of course useless when all you ever wear are airline slippers. Really, the only knots we’re familiar with are those in the pretzels in Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal. And so with suicide, as with all things in life, we simply gave up after our first couple attempts failed.

The only knots we know

Since the “incident,” we’ve had a lot of time to reflect. Last night, as we gazed at the sky through what is now a giant hole where we tried to hang ourselves from our trailer’s roof vent, we realized that this was G-d’s way of telling us that we should choose life. So what if we aren’t the only game in town when it comes to blogging about points and miles? We are clearly the best. And maybe it’s not so bad to spend our days flying around the world in first class and writing a trip report every year or so.

We’ve made mistakes along the way, perhaps a billion of them. But there is still some good in this world, like the new quarter of Chase Freedom bonuses that will net us at least 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points. We also recently realized that the oft-shat-upon United devaluation was really a blessing in disguise, as it will mean less riff-raff crowding our Star Alliance first class cabins, unsure of when exactly to change into their pajamas or whether it is appropriate to hit the call button before you even finish your current glass of champagne.

With eyes reopened and liver miraculously intact, our intention is to move forward with the vigor of a GE90. We may not always have fodder for posts or be sober enough to write, but our work here is patently bigger than us; it just might save the world.

After all, this is Points Envy, motherfuckers. Time to get some new assistants.

P.S. We are currently accepting applications for new assistants. Anyone ready to apply should be aware that virtually all qualified current Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Korean Air, Emirates, Etihad, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Asiana, and ANA stewardesses have already submitted applications.

Goodbye Cruel World

Dear Dear Readers,

When we previously wrote that we were back, we truly believed it. But we now have a confession to make: for once, we were wrong. We have been out of the blogosphere for months, and this time it’s not because we were in prison or too busy flying first class (although there was a lot of that). Instead, we simply ran out of stuff to write about. It surprises us and crushes the soul a little to admit this, but writing about drinking champagne in first class and drinking champagne in lounges and fancy suites eventually gets old. Of course, not having anything original to contribute doesn’t stop some people, or others, or others, but we have always held ourselves to a higher standard.

So, entirely lacking in productivity, our lives became worthless. What would you have us do – get a job? That sounds dreadful and is simply not feasible for classics majors at any rate. As any reasonable person can see, our only remaining option is to leave this world. We still have a few hundred Home Improvement Gift Cards, which we believe should be enough to buy sufficient rope for a noose. We also believe that getting stuck with these gift cards was not a coincidence but a sign from G-d that it is time to go, particularly when seen in combination with the United devaluation.

And so dear friends, after all the ups and downs we have faced together, we bid you farewell. We tried to bequeath our points to our friend Ronnie, but it turns out we don’t technically own them. When we’re gone, those billions will vanish into thin air, like so many legacy carriers. Yet we prefer to just look at it like we are redeeming these final points for a one-way award ticket to heaven. Hopefully the first class arrival lounge up there meets our standards.

Yours truly,

Points Envy

Points Envy Returns (Again)

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.

Points Envy Sells Out

Points Envy is proud to announce today that Points Envy has officially sold out! We’ve been waiting for this day for years, specifically since sometime in 1996, and now we’ve finally made it!

Allow us to explain. Not too long ago we got drunk and ended up on an Air Tahiti Nui flight. We woke up on a sublime beach, pleased to see that our superb decisionmaking skills had come through yet again. As we scanned the beach for a bar, specifically one selling those coconut cocktails with cute umbrellas in them, we noticed a gentleman wearing nothing but a swimsuit, glasses, and a bowtie. We quickly realized it was Daraius from Million Mile Secrets, and we knew what we had to do.

We followed Daraius back to his overwater villa and ran surveillance on him and Emily for several hours. Eventually they left for dinner, and we seized the opportunity to take a saw to the posts supporting their villa. Unfortunately, Tahitian saws are not the sharpest and we also have no idea how to properly wield tools, so we only got about halfway through one of the posts before the Dubash Duo returned.

We tried.

Daraius immediately recognized us from the most recent Frequent Traveler University and calmly asked us inside. After hearing a long, convincing speech that started with the threat of having us arrested, continued with a proposal that we write for Million Mile Secrets, and ended with the phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” we laughed. Clearly we could beat ’em. But we were also in a tight spot.

Then we got to thinking that joining forces might not be such a terrible idea after all. If this pattern held, there would soon be only one points and miles blog remaining, presumably named something like “Frequent Million Mile at a Time Envy View from the Frugal Mommy Points Guy.” If we got in now, we could ensure that Points Envy would play a huge role in that domination. After several bottles of champagne, Billion Mile Secrets was conceived.

bms logo

To celebrate, we’re holding a contest in which our cleverest readers can win a United Club pass or a $50 American Express gift card! All you have to do is let us know what you love most about Points Envy by commenting on the inaugural Billion Mile Secrets post, tweeting at us with the hashtag #BillionMileSecrets, and/or sleeping with us.

We’re very excited about this joint, and even more excited about the party we’re throwing in Air France first class tomorrow to celebrate it. Vive la Points Envy! And vive les Billion Mile Secrets!

The New One Card To Rule Them All

For those of you who live in a state with medical marijuana, which should be all of you, Points Envy has uncovered a new method for manufacturing points that, to state it bluntly, puts everything Frequent Miler has ever written to shame. 2013 ICECDIAC’s here we come!

The plan is almost too easy:
1) Obtain a prescription for medical marijuana*
2) Find a dispensary that accepts credit cards
3) Purchase large quantities of medical marijuana using any credit card, gift card, or prepaid card
4) Sell the medical marijuana for cash
20) Use the cash to pay off your credit card bill

For those of you who need a little hand-holding, we explain each of the steps in further detail below.

Step 1: Obtain a Medical Marijuana Prescription

Finding a marijuana-prescribing doctor is almost as easy as finding a credit card affiliate link on a points blog. Simply pick up any free local paper and look through the ads near the back to find a doctor near you. Schedule an appointment, show up, and explain to the doctor that you have anxiety due to your low points balances and inability to find Vanilla Reload cards. Or you can mention back pain, nausea, idiocy, or just about any other ailment. Remember, if it’s an ailment, marijuana can cure it. Your cost for this prescription will likely be around $40, provided that you shop around and look for subtle keywords like, “GET YOUR CARD NOW – WE’LL BEAT ANY PRICE!”

Typical marijuana doctor advertisement