is the founder of MeilenOptimieren.com, a website aimed at frequent flyers, miles and points collectors and everyone that wants to become one. The idea behind his business is that luxurious travel is affordable for everyone by using frequent flyer miles. That’s why he provides detailed analyses, tricks and offers on frequent flyer programs and how to best use them.
Thank you for talking to us today, Mark! When and why did you first get interested in collecting miles?
My interest in collecting miles started a couple of years ago, when I was a student and my focus was finding cheap flights. At the time Iberia had a glitch in their booking system and I was able to book a flight from Europe to Australia to Europe to South Africa to Europe for a little more than EUR 400. As all these flights were served by the same two airlines, Iberia and British Airways (BA), I was curious to see if it made sense to collect miles on these flights. And it did! I collected enough miles to book a handful of inter-European flights with BA. Needless to say, it sparked my interest to see what else was possible…
What are, in your opinion, the main benefits of collecting miles?
What makes collecting miles so unique is that it is possible to fly business and first class for a fraction of the cost of a full price ticket. Miles are an alternative currency to pay for flights with the additional benefit that the value of a mile is not fixed or firmly defined. How much value you can get from 1 mile depends on what you use it for. So, if you collect miles as cheaply as possible and pick the right flights you can fly business and first class for the price of an economy ticket.
What’s most important to you personally when you travel?
Most of my travels are for leisure and not business, so I usually focus on the destination. At the same time, I put a lot of research into how to get there in a comfortable or exciting way. I always try to find a new airline, business or first class product or lounge and if there’s an opportunity to explore a new city during a stopover that’s a bonus.
What do you enjoy doing on the plane?
Time on the plane is a break off from my usual schedule, so I try to sit back, relax and enjoy the experience. Usually that means watching new movies on the entertainment system, while enjoying the food and drinks. Apart from that I just love being up in the air and looking at the world below!
While you obviously enjoy traveling already – what would make traveling even more pleasant for you?
or me the main annoyance when travelling is waiting or queueing up somewhere. Therefore, I really appreciate when an airport, airline etc. is efficient and well-organized in making sure their passengers get to where they need to go.
You have been to a number of airports throughout the past years. Which one’s your favorite airport and why?
I’d have to say Singapore Changi. Its efficient, clean and offers lots of entertainment and dining options. It’s the perfect airport to spend a few hours between two long-haul flights. On a short haul flight, my focus is more on minimal waiting times and short walking distances, which is why I quite like Hannover Airport and London City Airport, which are two of my most frequented airports.
Last but not least – what’s your craziest travel story?
I’d probably have to come back to the Iberia/BA ticket to Australia and South Africa I mentioned earlier. Originally, I just wanted to fly to South Africa for a holiday. While Iberia offered the cheapest ticket by routing via Australia, that price was only available with a 10-hour layover in Australia. In the end, I flew all the way to Australia to watch a surfing competition in Sydney and then a few hours later flew back to Europe to catch my flight to South Africa. Definitely the craziest (and most exhausting) flights of my life…
Thank you for sharing your experience with us today, Mark! We wish you pleasant travels in the future!