We love to hear stories from our readers about how our passion for collecting miles and points has affected their lives. Honeymoon plans in the works, a gift to their parents, a vacation to Srinagar or Singapore or just that premium airline seat that they secured on redemption. We’ve heard many such stories, and this year, we will try and bring more of these stories to you.
This Sunday, I want to share a story that is an excellent example of how miles and points can help us achieve once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This is Jeet’s success story who surprised his wife, starting with his Flying First Class Honeymoon all the way to Paris.
I have been a long-standing reader of this blog and Ajay has always been a huge inspiration. Whether it is the way that he has found a great way to use American Express Membership Rewards or the way to make sure mileage runs can be done on a budget.
My work as a MICE travel consultant and tradeshow planner makes sure that I get to travel a lot. More than that what matters is that I can expense it to the cards that I want.
Though I never made it to any of the Mileage Mentor classes conducted by Ajay and Shipra, I had always been interacting with them over social media. Over the past three years I have collected in my Jet Airways card stable the following cards:
- Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card (Amex & Visa)
- Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card
- Jet Airways IndusInd Bank Odyssey Credit Card (Amex & Visa)
- JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Platinum Credit Card (Visa)
- JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Debit Card (Mastercard)
While the specifics for all of these cards can be found on their respective web pages, all of them have given me an average return of 8 JP miles for INR 100 spent on them.
This is how I break up my expenses on these cards:
- Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card and Jet Airways IndusInd Odyssey Credit Cards are used for my company expenses ranging from subscriptions, Uber and F&B bills.
- Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card for buying tickets from Jet Airways as mileage-earning on revenue tickets is 16 JPMiles per INR 150. I also put my hotel stays on this card.
- JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Platinum Credit Card for everyday household expenses such as ordering items off Amazon and BigBasket as well as fuel expenses.
- JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Debit Card is used only in case I have to use a debit card only, but it’s good to have one since I want to ensure that I do not lose miles on any transaction.
My American Express proprietary cards are another stable. All-in-all that is six credit cards and one debit card to earn towards the loyalty program of India’s premier full-service carrier, Jet Airways. I earned and collected JPMiles over the last six years.
In mid-2018, when the dates for my marriage were fixed, I could not help but think that it would be a good opportunity to use my miles for a trip of a lifetime. I knew that my then-fiancee had a thing for Paris. Hence I decided to honeymoon in the most romantic city in the world. Since Jet Airways has direct flights from India to Paris and I had tons of miles, it was the obvious choice.
The Booking Process
For international air ticketing for many guests for my MICE solutions are routed through our travel desk. I spoke to my go-to-person at that corporate travel desk. I requested him to book a Mumbai – Paris roundtrip ticket with the outbound journey in Premiere and return in Economy.
The return ticket cost me ~1,00,000 INR per person. I then contacted JetPrivilege for what was going to be my biggest JPMiles redemption so far.
I gave JP my proposed travel dates and asked him to confirm if two seats were available for a First Class redemption for the outbound and Premiere redemption for the return.
While JP was initially non-committal about the seat availability in F, they came around. JP also instantly confirmed that on the return seats were available in D class. I immediately got the PNR ticketed and shared the PNR number with JetPrivilege.
I had to pay 55,000 JPMiles for each one of us for the inbound sector to upgrade us from economy to business class. The upgrade from business to first class on the Mumbai – Paris sector cost me between 33,000 to 36,000 JPMiles per person.
Finally, after spending thirty-two minutes on the phone, I had upgraded my itinerary to fly to Paris in First Class and come back in Business Class. The honeymoon to my wife’s dream destination was topped with a hint of a surprise for her.
For information, our outbound itinerary was initially booked in “I” class, which is a lower business class fare and on the return, we were booked in V class which is an upgradable economy class.
All in all, for the two of us I spent approximately 1,80,000 JPMiles and 2,00,000 INR to fly out in First Class and return in Business Class. There was a small difference between mine and the wife’s upgrades miles as she was a Blue Plus and me, a Platinum in the program. I booked the tickets and managed the upgrades three and a half months before our honeymoon travel.
The Jet Airways First Class Experience
This was my wife’s maiden trip abroad, and the occasion was special. Therefore, I wanted everything to be extra special. I used another 20,000 JPMiles to book us both from Pune to Mumbai in Business Class. The airport duty manager in Pune confirmed my request for a meet & assist service at Mumbai. This is a perquisite reserved for guests of their airline flying First Class.
Our flight to Mumbai was a smooth one and my wife, who having operated as a cabin crew for years was enamoured by the attention showered during a twenty-minute trip. What she did not expect was the attention showered by the Pranaam GVK services upon her arrival in Mumbai. This was a paid service and a honeymoon gift from one of our friends. The Pranaam GVK associate and two porters along with Jet Airways staff met us on the jetty as we deplaned.
I had dinner as well as spa appointment booked at the JW Marriott Sahar whose concierge had us whisked away from the gate. They ensured we were back at the airport well in time for our Mumbai – Paris flight so that we could enjoy the airport experience.
Again, we had the Pranaam GVK as well as Jet Airways entourage waiting for us. We breezed through security and cleared immigration in under three minutes. The Pranaam GVK team surprised us with flowers and a cake in the lounge along with a lovely handwritten card.
We headed up to the GVK Lounge’s First Class section. Ajay had written in detail about the beautiful a -la- carte dining experience along with the “real” champagne that is served in the lounge. Therefore I knew exactly what to expect in the lounge.
Soon it was time for boarding and the wife’s first long-haul flight. Jet Airways staff were there to pick us up. There was a buggy waiting for us. Jet Airways staff accompanied us to the aircraft door and left us in the care of the cabin manager, Sonika. The Jet Airways ground staff also clicked a picture with us, and we were pleased about that.
Sonika came around five minutes later with the menus, and the purser followed her with a tray loaded with welcome drinks. We were occupying the First Class cabin of eight between the both of us.
The expression on my wife’s face was worth capturing. She was intrigued with luxurious seat and equally perplexed with all the seat controls, while I knew it all, having flown this product 4 times before.
The cabin manager suggested that it was best to start with a light meal after take off. Our third dinner that night was a choice between a lamb burger and a vegetarian pasta. But what the heck, we were just kick-starting our pamper trip that only started with a nice meal up in the air.
After dinner, the crew laid out pyjama sets for each one of us in the lavatory. When we made it back to our seats, we had slippers waiting for us along with a luxurious amenity kit. They hung our clothes in the small wardrobe that comes with each suite in the First Class.
Our beds were prepared, and we woke up just in time for breakfast. Before we dozed off, the crew surprised us with a cake. About ten days before our flights, I had mentioned it in my meal choice, it was her favourite flavour and the cake served was precisely that. My wife was in tears, and I’d like to imagine they were tears of joy.
Since the cabin was empty, the crew set up breakfast on another window side seat. We both had a breakfast date in the clouds.
After spending ten days in Europe and travelling through Paris, Chamonix, Geneva and Zurich we were back in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport for our return flight to India.
We checked in through the priority queues and used the priority lanes to breeze through security and immigration. Since we had upgraded our economy seats to business class, we were invited to use the Etihad Lounge that is open for all Jet Airways Premiere guests.
We had a fantastic flight back in business which can be seen by the five-course lunch that they took us through in the pictures below. Even though the pyjamas and an amenity kit were not present since it was a day time flight, but the crew did offer the turndown service upon request.
Upon arrival at Mumbai, Jet Airways were kind enough to have a porter waiting for us along with an executive from their meet and greet department.
Using my miles for fly in luxury for my honeymoon is by far the best use of miles I have made to date, and this is a trip me and my better half will treasure forever.
For sharing his story, we are sending Jeet an INR 1,000 Gift Card. You can follow him on Instagram at @travelingsethji.
Also, we would love to hear more from you, our readers. Tell us about your success stories with scoring a great redemption, a fantastic hotel deal and everything in between, please share it with us, on ajay @ livefromalounge.com and shipra @ livefromalounge.com and we will pick the best stories and publish them for everyone to read. Also, you get a prize to share your stories from our side as well.
Have you used your miles for a dream vacation? Tell us the best use of your miles.
surprised that upgrade from business to first required only 36K miles. seems pretty low. is that a regular redemption rate?
Wonderfully curated article with base knowledge for the frequent flyers