Homeless man lives off hotel points from former life
[all too real a situation mitigated somewhat by travel loyalty programs]
Now the former frequent flier from his days working in IT and finance is living off those rewards – airline loyalty programs and hotel points. His clothes and everyday supplies packed into his leased BMW, the single Kennedy stays a few nights here, a few nights there, always running the numbers of how many points he will use and trying to stick to a self-imposed $5-a-day food budget.
His life is up in the air.
"I'm on hold but time keeps going. That part's frustrating," Kennedy said. "I should be in major-dollar earning years and I am losing major-dollar earning years, which I will not get back. That part is frustrating and a little scary."
This week, Kennedy is at the Holiday Inn Express in San Clemente, where he converted his United Airlines miles. He brought down the 7,000 points a night cost to 5,000 by adding $100 for his four-night stay, so it costs him $25 a night. But there's an added benefit because he can expand his food budget with the free breakfast. It's also convenient, as he can drive up the 5 Freeway to get his mail at the Mailboxes Plus in Irvine -- he has a post office box because he has no address. Its here he gets his unemployment checks, which he and 147,000 other jobless people in Orange County are using for survival.
Programs: AA EXP/CK; DL DM; US CP; Hilton Diamond; SPG Platinum; Hyatt Platinum; National Exec and others
I certainly hope he's a member of Flyertalk! He must be. Although unfortunate it is pretty cool. After all we all want to stretch our budgest with awards, luckily most of us do not do so out of necessity. methinks he'll have a job soon.
No. We should not be saving our miles/points for a rainy day, because they devalue so rapidly. I try to use my miles/points as quickly as possible. The money I save on my travel can (does) go into an ING savings account, where it's kind of hard to get to, and therefore where it never gets touched unless it's a major need. Cash savings are better than miles/points. Had this guy had any reasonable cash/savings, he might not be in this fix today. However, he lives in an area where housing prices were so high that it makes it impossible for a lot of people to have any savings, so I'm not gonna sit here and criticize him for his choices. It's truly a cool story that he's doing this with such a good attitude.
We can all quibble about what we'd do differently, but IT/finance is a tough field and I'm thinking that most people laid off from six figure jobs in that field in mid-life will never get another. There's always a new generation of younger, cheaper kids coming out of college. He's doing something to stand out from the crowd, and good for him.
A major thing I'd do differently is I wouldn't use the storage unit. That's a monthly fee so your old furniture has a place to live. I would sell the big stuff -- the hint of furniture they show in the photo isn't worth the saving and dragging around, and having an archaic "the first HDTV ever sold" (OK, I'm being a little sarcastic) is sure the heck not worth storing/dragging around. Those things were heavy! I'd have a garage sale, pocket that money, and then for small valuable stuff I'd take the tack of storing it with Mom or a good friend. Let's face it, if I was Jim's buddy, I'd be happy to store the wine collection in exchange for a couple of bottles a month. So no cash would have to change hands, and the money he does have would last a little longer.
"Misc. papers" would go in Mom's attic. Glassware, pots and pans, etc. should be garage saled or dropped off at Goodwill's. I've known several people to lose their home/apartment who went this route of storing useless stuff in storage units and I could never figure out why. $50 a month to store old pots and pans? Come on. When you're secure in your new place, you can get all the old pots and pans you want for nothing from freecycle. In most cases, they eventually stopped making payments on the storage unit and lost the stuff in them anyway.
However, these are just small quibbles indeed. The basic idea, live off points and create a story to sell, is pretty clever. I have no interest in Tweets because I like a story to be a story, but if he ever started a blog of his adventures, I'm sure I'd read it. All of my ideas are how to make what money he has last longer, but his own idea could help him get a new income in the future.
Originally Posted by ONLY_no_One
It is not often i read a content contribution from the website founder and i think thanks should be order for highlighting the situation and a reminder to save our miles and points for a rainy day.