The last few weeks I’ve been getting emails from readers, many younger than me asking how I got into miles and points and can travel at my age. This post is the story of how I first got into aviation then into miles and points.
How it all started…
I first flew when I was about two years old, mostly domestic flights on Dash 8’s to see my aunt and uncle in Emerald which is a small country town in Queensland. I took my first international flight in 2005 when I was 5 to Fiji; I don’t remember much, but I probably loved it. As I grew older, I started to get more and more interested in these incredible machines. By the time I was 10 I knew what I wanted to be when I was older, a commercial pilot. Through primary school, that’s all I wanted to talk about, and I’m sure the teachers wanted to stop hearing about it 😉 I took my first big trip to the US when I was 12, and at that time I was absolutely in love with the A380.
Being invited and sitting in the flight deck was just incredible, to this day I still keep in contact with the pilots from the flight. I also fell in love with Qantas at that time.
From then on I was hooked on flying and traveling. I wanted to start flying lessons and travel more but as a 12-year-old that’s pretty difficult, so I had to wait three years until I could fly.
Time passed by and I finally turned 15, I’m sure you know where I’d be that day. Taking my first flight lesson.
That lesson made me want to fly more and more and more so a few weeks after that flight I started flying lessons at the Sunshine Coast Aero Club. Mum and Dad were a little scared with the decision at first but they knew how much I loved to fly and it would be an amazing thing to do.
Every Saturday morning we’d all wake up and drive to the Sunshine Coast, and I’d get to fly. Every lesson was different, and I loved the challenge that came with it. My Instructor Ivan was awesome, and I want to get back up In the air. At the time I was flying I also started to fall in love with photography and plane spotting.
Every time I’d go flying I’d take my camera and take photo’s of the commercial flights landing, I loved it. As I started to do It more and more, Brisbane airport got boring, and I wanted to see different airports. So one day after school I convinced my parents to let me fly down to Sydney and take photos. At first, they were a little concerned but were fine with it after explaining it all. I loved going down to Sydney, I met some amazing people, and it was always interesting, so I started to fly down once a month, then once a week, even sometimes twice a week! I ended up getting platinum at 14 with Virgin Australia; I was so excited when the card came in the mail.
That’s where I fell in love with traveling as a passenger. From there I was planning trips to Melbourne, Perth, wherever there were planes to take photos of. I also had high school to attend. I won’t go into too much detail, but I never liked going to school, my brain was somewhere else, and I wanted to be somewhere else or on a plane. I would often get distracted and read Ben’s posts in the middle of class as they were 1 million times more interesting to me. I wanted to be flying, and I often took Fridays off and flew around, quite a few times I flew to Perth on Virgin’s new business. Damn those were good days.
It got to the point where I hated being there that much, so I quit. I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done and I haven’t looked back.
When I first left, I wasn’t sure what to do. I applied for some travel courses and started them. Some were good some were. It was at this time where I first emailed Ben from One Mile At a Time. To me, Ben is like a celebrity, one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I would read his posts all the time, and I thought I should start using miles and points to travel. So I bought AAdvantage miles when they had a huge bonus, and this was pre-devaluation, so they were incredible value.
My first ever redemption was actually Qantas 93 from Melbourne to Los Angeles in First, but sadly I had to cancel as the times didn’t match up. Then I got an idea to look at going to the Middle East; somewhere I hadn’t been before. I looked up availability on Etihad, and to my surprise the apartments were available and only 60,000 points each way. But I couldn’t go myself, so I took my Grandma in business class.
From there I decided to start a blog and write about all of my experiences. Sorry for the very long post but this is how I got into miles, points, and travel.