Sipping on champagne at 33,000ft having just tucked into a roast dinner (on proper china) and now reclining back for a nap, I mean, this is the life. Take note; WiFi included as well!
Whilst I count myself a very lucky human, my family took me to LA, all the European summer holiday destinations and Lapland as a child, I’ve never flown business class until now. For anyone familiar with it, you’ll probably just switch off now as it’s the norm, and why wouldn’t you, it’s amazing! I’m sure standards have slipped over the years as well; now it’s acceptable to rock up in a pair of trainers and trackie bottoms rather than a tailored suit, but the level of service is still considerably different and better than what Tom and I are now only calling cattle class (sorry, snobby now). Call me pretentious, but I can see how once you try something more elaborate, and usually more expensive, it’s hard to bring yourself to go back… we had it with the Bodyholiday (google it!) and now with this. All I can say it we’ll be working damn hard to ensure we can do this every holiday in the long term.
A lot of people have asked me how do we afford to do it. All these extravagant holidays. Well, this year we’ve actually only been to St Lucia and soon to be, Chicago. We’re very lucky people to be able to even afford to do one of those, but I’m sure we’d have done more travelling if a) Toms holiday allowance had allowed (literally) and b) my foot hadn’t put me off spending money going to essentially ‘sit’ in another country.
Truth be told, St Lucia / The Bodyholiday was a holiday we’d always dreamed of and perfect for us. Beach front, all the water sports, every fitness class you could imagine (bar aerial silks or hoop, they just need that and it literally would be perfect), daily hour long massages and as much food and drink as you could want. We came across it about 2 years ago whilst searching for a cheap all inclusive Caribbean getaway. Obviously we ended up spending our life savings to go on it and in reality there’s nothing savvy about how we afforded it, it’s just a treat we use our bonuses for, because why the f not. #yolo.
For Chicago though, the story’s a little different. Two years ago I applied for a British Airways American Express credit card (currently a blue one, the free one…we’ve since upgraded to the platinum but that’ll take another blog to explain). When you spend a certain amount (£20k in our instance), you get a 2-4-1 (aka companion voucher. 20k is a lot of money, but surprisingly we actually spent it. The reason: moving house, renovating & buying a car. We hit the 20k just within the 1 year period you have to get to that figure and so our companion voucher arrived and with it, lots of debates over where we would go.
I won’t bore you with the small print, you can read about it here, or here, but essentially we had accrued enough Avios points (miles) to fly long haul. We only had 12 months to use the voucher so we had to fly before Jan 4th 2018 hence it narrowed down the dates. To go to New York for New Year was insanely expensive, and after a lot of searching we landed on Chicago which looks to be a pretty epic place itself.
All you have to do with the companion voucher is pay for your taxes and pay for the flight with Avios points. We bought £300 of avios points as a top up (you can buy more in an annual period) and used them to pay for the trip. In total the flights, Club World with BA cost £1,250 (taxes & avios we bought). All the other avios we used we’d accrued from our normal spending with our credit cards. And no, we’re not racking up massive credit debts, we use our cards almost like a debit and mostly pay them off monthly. I have tesco 0% MasterCard that we can both also used to spend on where we might need a bit longer to pay it off. Also, you can convert your Tesco Clubcard points (that you accrue when spending on their credit card) into avios, so it’s a win win.
The hotel (W Lakeshore, lake view room) cost us a mere £650 for both of us, over new year, for 5 nights. It sounds like a lot but for under £2k for both of us we’re off on a luxury New Years long haul holiday and a well needed break.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re happy, Toms even beaming across at me as I write this, so that’s all that matters.