I have been playing this point game for a very long time. I had a job as a CPA out of college (I graduated in 1990-really?) where I traveled about 20 weeks a year. Many times my flights were not direct, so often I was taking 2 legs of a flight to reach my destination.
Back then, I did not earn airline miles with a sign-up bonuses or credit card spending but rather I earned airline miles on each leg of each flight that I took those 3 years working as a traveling accountant. I often flew Delta and accumulated a sizable amount of Delta SkyMiles over those 3 years. I earned some additional Delta Skymiles with some leisure travel during the years of 1993-1997.
My wedding date was set for August 1998. At that time we got engaged (Spring 1997), Rob and I only wanted to go to Hawaii on our honeymoon. (FYI-I never would have chosen Hawaii now–I wish I would have went somewhere more exotic like Bali or Tahiti!). Also we wanted to fly first class. It was our honeymoon after all.
I am pretty sure that I am remembering this correctly. In 1997, a first class ticket to Hawaii from New York was a mere 60,000 Delta SkyMiles. (Ahhh the days). I had the 120,000 Skymiles in my account as I had been amassing Skymiles since 1990. I knew I needed to call 331 days in advance to make sure I was able to book the tickets. I marked down the date, made the call, and redeemed 120,000 Skymiles for 2 first class round trip Delta tickets to Hawaii!
Rob and I still remember that flight vividly. We still reminisce about all the free drinks, the sundaes with warm chocolate syrup, the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, the big comfy seats and the warm towels that they pass around to wash your hands. We were treated like royalty for the first time on a flight and we felt like royalty. It was awesome!