Lately I’ve seen a lot of comments on my blog posts, on other’s blogs and on travel forums criticizing ‘road warriors’ because we have jobs that allow us to earn a lot of miles/points. I wrote last week about how my points earning came to a screeching halt after having to switch to a corporate credit card.
Someone recently comment on a post that “I take that (ability to earn points and miles while on business) luxury for granted.” Someone else said “I wish I could travel as much as you.” If I had 100 points for every time someone said that to me, I might be able to retire on points!
There’s obviously some allure to having a job that allows you to travel but I often think people don’t realize what it means to have that type of job.
If you think the road warrior’s life is glamorous and that they somehow aren’t entitled to the points/miles they earn, then here are a few things to consider:
Pro: In order to do my job I have to travel – it’s not one that can be done from an office.
Pro: I have spent 80 nights in hotels so far in 2013 – that’s ½ of the year so far. I’ve flown to Thailand 3 times, Hong Kong 1 time, and London 1 time in 5 months. That’s a lot of “butt in seat” miles.
Pro: I earn a lot of miles and points from actual miles flown and nights stayed.
Pro: I’ve seen some amazing places that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Con: I’ve missed spending every holiday since Thanksgiving Day 2012 with my family. Memorial Day 2013 is the first holiday where I’m home.
Con: Spending extended time on the road, often alone, is lonely sometimes.
Con: Constant travel is exhausting. Jet lag begins to take a toll on you physically and mentally. My average commute – if you will – has been 34 hours (each way) in 2013 so far. My longest flying time, including layovers was 52 hours and the shortest was 18 hours (and that was from London to Charleston.)
Con: I got Dengue Fever this year in Thailand.
The Bottom Line
There was an article in USA Today earlier this year that talked about the change in business travel and how some business travellers are paying more out of pocket than ever before. I was interviewed by CNN in early 2012 about that very subject and as I said then, I always pay for things out of pocket that aren’t covered by per diems or allowed travel expenses.
Very few companies pay for business class travel. I use the majority of the miles I earn to upgrade myself on long flights. In 2012, I used more miles upgrading to business class than I actually earned. That really stinks now that I no longer can use a credit card that earns miles. I didn’t see that one coming and therefore didn’t plan for it. This year I’ve already paid over $5000 out of pocket to cover the cost of upgrades to Business Class.
It’s absolutely true that I earn a lot of points and miles because I travel for business. It’s also absolutely true that I have to find ways to earn miles like everyone else and I can relate to how challenging that can be. I realize that some day, when I’m tired of the constant travel, I won’t earn the points and miles that I earn today and that’s the trade off that road warriors have to make.
So, to the people who say “we can’t relate” I hope you’ll consider the fact that just because we have a job that allows us to travel doesn’t mean we don’t have to work for our miles too or that there won’t come a day when we have to earn the old fashioned way. I’m starting to learn about all the flavours of Vanilla.