In roughly a month I leave on a $100k+ trip of a lifetime celebrating my mom

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In roughly a month I leave on a $100k trip of a lifetime celebrating my mom

I’m an only child and I’m especially close with my family. My mom is having a big birthday this year. I won’t mention the exact number, but it’s one that warrants an incredibly special and grand celebration. But how to celebrate? A party didn’t really seem like something she would particularly want. But, a trip? A trip would be the perfect gift. We would have shared experiences, memories, and pictures that will last forever. So that was it.  Over a year ago my dad and I set out planning a secret, surprise trip to honor all of the incredibly wonderful moments, time, and love that she has given us.  We booked our first flights nearly 10 months ago. My Dad and I have had an absolute blast picking out spots, flights, and secretly putting all the ducks in a row. It’s hard to believe that in roughly a month we leave on a trip of a lifetime to celebrate and honor my mom.

She has no idea where we’re going – only that it’ll last 3 weeks and fly her across many bodies of water 😉

She likes to plan things too. So over Christmas my Dad and I presented her with a photo album a few months before her birthday.  This way she could wrap her mind around what was coming shortly after her real birthday. The first 2 pages contained a riddle explaining the concept of the trip, it’s magnitude, and the level of comfort she’ll enjoy. Here’s an excerpt:

It wouldn’t be a surprise if you knew many specifics

But at least once we’ll cross the pacific

I know what’re you thinking…how will I pack?

You’ll have weather reports to take care of just that

The rest of the book will be filled with family memories from the trip. My mom deserves the best and she’ll get it. Aside from a couple short positioning flights in regional premium recliners, she’s in for first class treatment on the world’s best airlines. We’ll stay in 5 star hotels from start to finish. My Dad and I, at worst, will rough it in business 😉

Nearly every single place we’ll go to has been paid for with points. I haven’t calculated every last bit, but the retail value is easily $100k+.

I should really be thanking Miles and my bad back for this trip. Without having a back surgery at the end of 2014 that put me on bedrest for 3 months I wouldn’t have had the time to dive deep into the rabbit hole of points and MILES – ahhhh Miles – he came into my life shortly after that. It’s been a phenomenal lesson to me: sometimes what first appears as a hardship is actually an opportunity to learn and develop….a blessing in disguise.  This blog was birthed from hardship and this trip probably never would have happened without surgery and time away from acting.

There are a few little bits and pieces that still need to fall into place, but right now we’re at roughly $1600 a person and most of that is being spent on getting to and staying in one aspirational hotel that doesn’t accept points. The price will go up as we pick sights to see and obviously a lot of dining isn’t included.

We’ll be using roughly 750k air miles and 900k hotel points for 23 nights and many flights. My routing will put me at just short of 30k miles flown.

Most of the points we’re using were accumulated through sign ups, targeted promotions, and timeshare banking. We’re also booking 2 rooms or suites everywhere we go so the points start to add up and is why I started

Here’s a pic of my mom and dad enjoying British Airways First Class on our trip to Africa in 2015. It only gets better from here, mom 😉

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 12.09.24 PM

Needless to say…I’m very excited to celebrate my mom’s birthday



Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Sara March 19, 2017

    Is lil going too?

  • dotti cahill March 13, 2017

    can’t wait to hear about where u are going!!!!!what a great son you are….

    • Miles March 14, 2017

      Thanks Dotti! Looking forward to it!!!

  • Leo March 11, 2017

    This gift would drive me mad as I have to be the one that makes all the travel plans and if you started using my own points to make arrangements I’d have to kill you – son or not! Lets hope your mother is less of a control freak than me. Have a great holiday.

  • frank March 11, 2017

    can you give us a summary of the flights and hotel redemptions?

    • Miles March 11, 2017

      I will after we’ve gone on the trip…don’t want to ruin the surprise

  • Alex March 11, 2017

    Awesome! Enjoy!

  • LH March 11, 2017

    I really think it’s great to have articles like this where we find out more about you. I think this is a great, great gesture for your mom. (and I’m sure you and your dad will enjoy it also!) I might click on links to this blog more often as a result–I was super confused about seeing pictures of a stuffed monkey on the BoardingArea Twitter feed (and may still be super confused–no promises!), but it’s nice to know that there’s a human behind it all and to learn a little more about you. Thank you for sharing!

    • Miles March 11, 2017

      LH – haha yes there is a human that Miles drags along 😉 thanks so much for the encouragement! I think I’m going to write more topics that lean this way – appreciate the support and really excited to share this trip with my folks 🙂

  • Lively March 11, 2017

    This is the absolute best gift. As you get older in life, obtaining “stuff” (ie material possessions) become worthless…but a trip of a lifetime with your child absolutely priceless. You gave her the best.

    • Miles March 11, 2017

      Thanks Lively! Really excited to see her reaction each place we go!

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