It pays to fly the friendly skies.
A grad student clocked over 92,000 frequent flier miles after commuting from his home in Los Angeles to the Bay Area at least three times a week — just so he didn’t have to pay rent.
The super commuter’s Reddit post went viral after he laid out the details of how he “survived” his plan.
The student, who goes by the name Bill, was living in Los Angeles rent-free when he got into a masters of engineering program at Cal Berkeley, he told TV station KTLA.
“I knew I would go back to LA after graduation because my previous employer would hire me back once I graduate,” he wrote. “I love flying and I have a lot of frequent flier miles/points from credit card sign-up bonus/flying over the past few years.
“Bay area rent is expensive in general, and my program is only 10 months, so I thought I could get it through commuting by plane.”
Bill said he commuted between LA to San Francisco at least three times a week, but there were some weeks where he traveled five days straight. His classes were usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Redditor said his typical daily schedule started at 3:30 a.m. so he could make a 6 a.m. flight from LA International Airport to the San Francisco International Airport.
Once he landed in San Francisco, he would take the Bay Area Rapid Transit at 8:30 a.m. to make it to his 10 a.m. class at Cal Berkeley.
After a full day of classes, Bill would reverse the commute and land back home in LA by midnight.
“There’ve been a couple weeks I commuted to school by plane 5X weekly, and I felt so exhausted,” Bill wrote on Reddit.
The determined grad student kept a very detailed log of his trip: during the one-year program, he spent a total of $5,592.66 and flew a total of 92,089 miles.
As for his commute, he spent a total of 75,955 minutes back and forth from LA to the Bay Area.
The Bay Area and its surrounding regions ranked as some of the most expensive markets in the country for renters, according to the 2023 “Out of Reach” report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
A person would have to make $61.31 per hour to be able to afford a two-bedroom home in San Francisco, according to the report. In Alameda County, where Cal Berkeley is located, a person would have to make $46.25 per hour.
Bill said he knew he would return home once he graduated and wanted to avoid having to pay the exorbitant rent in the Bay Area.
“This is probably one of the craziest things I’ve done in my life, and I’m so glad I made it through, without missing ANY classes,” Bill said in his post. “That itself is a miracle.”