Frequent flier Gilbert Ott knows a thing or two about scoring the best seats and deals, no matter the flight.
As the founder of air miles site God Save the Points, he has made a career out of helping fliers use miles to get free seats in business and first class. He even once bagged a free ride on a private jet.
Now, the New York-based travel expert is trying to give back in a bigger way.
Ott is offering to give up his business and first class seats for the rest of the year to anyone who can find him at an airport.
“Want to trade seats on the plane? Whatever ticket you’ve got for my comfortable flat bed up front? Yep, one of those seats with the champagne, the delicious food and the semi (to fully) friendly smiles? You’ve got a deal,” he said on his blog. “You’ll just have to find me first.”
He went on: “Since the best promotions often involve pain, and Richard Branson (the guru of humorous, amusing promotions) is my hero, for the entire year (2017), I, Gilbert Ott, am putting out a challenge for anyone who can find me.”
“You may need a little bit of luck, but if you find me in an airport: check in counter, security lane, terminal, lounge or even boarding gate, I’ll switch seats with you, provided we’re on the same flight. Yep, I’m flying to all these places in business or first class this year, and you can get upgraded — just for following this page.”
He said that all people need to do is say something like, “Gilbert, GodSaveThePoints. I want your seat.”
Ott plans to regularly post and update a map of his travels on Twitter, which can be monitored from the homepage of his blog. He currently has upcoming flights booked with American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Delta, Alaska, Qatar, Swiss, Lufthansa, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, and Etihad.
His blog post also features a number of “mugshots” of his face for people to memorise.
In the week and days before a flight, Ott said he will “drop clues about where I am, where I’ll be going, when and which airline on Twitter and Instagram. If you can crack the code or just get purely lucky and happen to see me wandering aimlessly in an airport, you can have my seat.”
“That’s right. I’ll happily trade my bed for whatever seat you have, even on long international flights,” he said. “I’ll probably come to regret this, especially on one of the countless 10+ hour flights I have upcoming. With the volume I travel, there will be plenty of regular opportunity to quite literally ‘upgrade’ yourself at my expense. This may turn into a disaster for me.”
As well as the “Catch Me If You Can” contest, Ott is also offering to buy a lucky blog reader and a guest two business class tickets on an Alaska Airlines flight in the US, or on a British Airways European route. To enter, readers must leave a message in the comments section of the blog post, with a link to their favourite God Save The Points post, explaining why it was helpful, insightful, or interesting.
“There are no right or wrong answers: a winner will be chosen purely at random using Random.org, and all decisions are final,” Ott said.
He added that the competitions are a way to bring new people to his site.
“I want to deliver the best travel deals and information to as many people as possible,” he said. “I’m really proud of our new site and if the chance to make me sit in coach while simultaneously making someones day brings me a single new reader, I’m psyched about that. For now… it’s worth it. We’ll see just how bad it gets.”