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My name is Ben Schlappig, and I am obsessed with aviation, travel, and more specifically, using airline miles and credit card points to elevate the travel experience.
I also go by Lucky, and occasionally Coins (that’s a long story for another day though).
I love airports.
Seriously, one of the main things i enjoy about traveling is the sense of possibility an international departures board inspires. I could spend all day watching people come and go, wondering where they are coming from, what their story is, and what their final destination might be.
And it’s a good thing that I like airports, because I fly an average of 400,000 miles a year nowadays. That’s more than 16 times around the globe, and the bulk of that is in international first and business class.
I’ve been traveling from a very young age – my family is from Germany, so I’ve been flying back and forth between the US and Germany since I was a child. As it is for most families traveling internationally with children our flights were far from glamorous (we typically flew Condor from Tampa, back when they still had a smoking section), but I still loved the journey, and seeing new places, and most especially – the airport.
I have a soft spot for the old “flip style” Departures board in Frankfurt for that reason.
The summer I was 14 I received a flyer from United in the mail. They were running an outrageous promotion which offered 5,000 extra miles for every segment flown, with a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles. Now, even if you knew nothing about miles and points this would sound like a pretty amazing deal, so I started researching, which led me to FlyerTalk, and my entire world perspective changed.
I did the math, and convinced my parents that allowing their youngest child to fly back and forth across the country all summer was not only a great idea, but would mean our next trip to Europe would be in Lufthansa First Class.
They went for it, and a few months later I was a 14-year-old with top-tier airline elite status, and had spent almost the entire summer in airports.
And I was hooked.
I’ve been chronicling my thoughts and travels on my blog One Mile At A Time since early 2008. Prior to that I spent a great deal of time doing the same on FlyerTalk, and served on the TalkBoard for four years (including a stint as Vice President, which I mention mainly because it was one of the few things I’ve done in this hobby that my dad could appreciate). I’ve also written articles for TravelSort and other publications, and have reviewed countless products along the way.