An Introduction

A little about myself:

I was born in Washington, DC in the really poor section of Anacostia.  When I was 5, My brother and I were bused to better schools across the Anacostia River.  It was strange being around other kids who didn't look like me but then something strange happened -- they accepted me for who I was -- not where I came from (Their parents, on the other hand, were a little sketchy).  I have two brothers (one lived with my grandparents when he was little because my mom was overwhelmed) and two sisters.  When we were small, we lived in a three bedroom apartment -- one room for the boys, one room for the girls and the master bedroom for mom.   My brother and I had a broken bunk-bed that we had to fix every night before going to bed so that it wouldn't fall apart when we slept.   We weren't always successful.

I had an aunt Helen whom I loved so much.  One day, she took me to a big house she was watching over for some rich people.  I assumed I was going to sleep on the couch, but she said, "No, you take the room upstairs on the right.".  I had never seen stairs inside a house -- only inside the apartment complex that I'd climb through to get home.  So I went up these stairs, not knowing what to expect.  I went to the right, opened the door and witnessed the biggest single bedroom I had ever seen in my life at the time.  I ran down the stairs and screamed, "I can't sleep there.  It's too big!". Aunt Helen laughed and said, "Baby, it's all yours for the night. Go on."  I looked at her, then back at the stairs and proceeded with the climb once again.

I opened the door and once again was in awe.  All this space -- for one person -- me!  I was used to sharing a room, and now I had a huge room all to myself.  And the bed was a KING!  All I had ever slept in at that time was a twin!  I changed into my pajamas, went into the bathroom (my own bathroom!), brushed my teeth and hopped onto this massive bed.  Which side do I lie on?  Do I compromise and sleep in the middle?  I tossed and turned for about an hour before I settled in the middle. No way I was going to fall out of this dream in the middle of the night!  

Later that night, Aunt Helen brought me cookies, milk and a coloring book.  I asked her, "Can I stay here forever?"  She said, "Work real hard and get one of your own.  That way, you can sleep in it all the time... whenever you want."  

Those were the first seeds planted in my journey to a life of luxury and luxury traveling.

That house was the reason why I bought my first home in Texas, the reason I book suites at hotels and fly first class on planes.  I wanted to keep that feeling of how the other half  lived.  I remember my *first* first-class flight.  It was a United Airlines Boeing 787-8 from LAX to IAH.  This was a Polaris seat before they called it "Polaris". I booked it on a whim because seats like that were rare inside the United States.  I loved every second of it.  The lie-flat seat,  the attentive service and no wait to exit the aircraft.  What I didn't like -- the price:  $974 round trip.  For just a three-hour experience.  That prompted me to learn the miles and points game.  Since then, I've never paid full price for a long-distance first-class flight.

I will show you some of the things I learned along the way -- and continue to learn as I perfect my craft.  That's why I love the game -- it always changes and never gets dull.  It's fun to chase points, miles, elite status and the cool perks that come with them.  I'm about go to on a trip to Japan that is $22,000+ cash in first class -- and it cost me 120,000 Virgin Atlantic Velocity miles and $400 cash (including all the change fees I had to pay to re-arrange my itinerary).  I'm also going to Bangkok, Thailand on Japan Airlines in business class for 50,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and $53.40 cash.  The current cash price:  $2899.   

You can't beat that.

You can do this too.  All you need is a little inspiration, some patience and a lot of persistence.  I want to help you on that quest.  I have so many people to thank for teaching me how this game is played, and now it's time to pay it forward.

And to my Aunt Helen -- for planting the seeds.  Thanks, and I will always love you.