Mileage Madness


Outside’s Annual Travel Guide, 1999/2000 Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Mileage Madness
Judging by what I’ve been reading of late, we seem to be turning into a nation of airline mileage junkies. This past spring the New York Times reported that well-heeled American Express customers are paying the IRS via credit card to rack up mileage points, and similarly cash-flush parents are doing the same with their kids’
tuition bills. But for those of us who find paying off five- and six-figure credit-card bills in one fell swoop rather gauche, corporate America has designed a few more intriguing ways to earn that trip to Maui. —Lisa Twyman Bessone

Fly This Way The Faustian Bargain Maui or Bust Carriers
Talk ’til you drop Earn five miles for every dollar you spend yakking via MCI WorldCom long-distance service. Sign up for MCI’s Internet Service and receive an additional 1,000 miles; sign up for either service online and score yet another 1,000 miles. After the initial 5,000 sign-up points kick in, stock up on throat lozenges—you’ll need to spend 9,000 hours chatting with your friends in remote foreign countries to accrue the roughly 140,000 miles needed to wing a family of four from L.A. to Kahului. United, Continental, U.S. Airways, Delta, American; Northwest has a similar arrangement with Sprint
Refinance your home Earn 1,000 miles for each $10,000 you borrow from Countrywide Home Loans. A home-equity loan or line of credit bags you 2,500 free miles; buying or selling your house earns 1,500 miles per $10,000 of purchase or sale price. This one’s a cinch: Simply borrow $1.5 million to buy that fixer-upper in Bel Air. U.S. Airways, American; Delta has a similar program with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Services
Fuel up Earn 50 points for every five-pound bag of coffee from Mountainview Roastery Coffee Company; score an additional 500 free miles with your third order of beans. Are 2,790 five-pound bags really that much coffee? I-start-talking-real-fast-just-thinking-about-all-that-joe. American, TWA
Spike your cholesterol count Subscribe to one year of International Gourmet’s Cheese-of-the-Month Club ($16.95 per month) and get 500 free miles. One year=500 miles, ergo 280 years=140,000 miles. How much cheese are we talking about here? Stand back and man the defibrillators! At 3,360 pounds, you’ll have enough fondue to coat most of Switzerland. TWA
Give your windows the royal treatment For every Express Blinds window treatment order over $200, you are awarded 500 miles. This deal is perfect for Martha Stewart’s East Hampton home. At $41 a pop, she’ll need to treat 1,366 windows—which will provide just enough shade for those Italian oregano seedlings germinating in the window boxes. TWA
Prepare your palate for airline food In a new twist on physics, the more you eat, the quicker you fly. Through December 31, you’ll receive a 500-mile frequent-flyer certificate for every ten UPCs from Healthy Choice frozen meals you submit. A Healthy Choice a day for the next 400 weeks puts you at your hula lesson just after that layover at your gastroenterologist’s office in Los Angeles. American, Northwest, United, Delta, TWA, U.S. Airways

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