When I was just a travel dreamer, and thought I could not afford to travel to amazing places, I truly looked up to, and almost envied those who could. But then, ofcourse, chance happened!
A few years ago I was asked by my organization to run the #Dead2Red Marathon for Syrian refugees (read my story HERE ). And a particular middle Eastern airline was giving free Miles to CARE for flights to be used for good. So I was a lucky participant of that Miles program. There were a few conditions – one of them was that I needed to pay airport taxes WITH MY OWN credit card. Now, I , like many Kenyans, did not own a credit card, and knew that this ‘plastic money’ is evil and can take you down some serious rabbit holes!
Credit cards and points!
I was quickly introduced to a super team from @Barclays Bank Kenya, that processed and gave me a card in a few weeks. This was what was known as the #KQMsafiri card – which was discontinued a few years later.
I was given another Barclays credit card – and this one comes with the ability to collect World Miles! Keep using your card (even on groceries!) and collect world miles. You can then redeem your miles as cash backs (essentially reimbursements) to your bank account when you use your card to book a flight or hotel. All you do is call the Bank as soon as you have made your purchase, and the cash back is done in two days!
Are airmiles worth it?
Why are you even asking? So you probably think – ok I don’t travel that much, literally to Mombasa or Kisumu, or regionally. It doesn’t matter. Airmiles can be extremely useful!
Personally, I am one of the biggest fans of Flying Blue, the airmile partnership of KLM-Air France and partners, including Kenya Airways, Delta Airlines, Westjet, and a tonne of other partners! Some hotels are included too.
Over the years I have collected miles, and I have used them to buy ‘reward tickets’ for essentially free flights – and sometimes hotels.
I have also joined Star Alliance (Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish airlines and others) – might as well widen the net!
So you see, there are options. You just have to look for them!