Road Rules - Rule 13

Upgrade how you upgrade.

Who: Greg Reyes (Greyes@Brocade.com), CEO, Brocade Communications Systems Inc.

Where: San Jose, California

Mileage:150,000 miles a year

Favorite Destination: Nantucket, Massachusetts

Don't Leave Home Without: Two-way alphanumeric pager

"People who use frequent-flier miles to improve their travel experience often don't have their priorities straight. Sure, you can get free flights and free upgrades to first class (where the drinks are free). But you can put your miles (and your upgrades) to much better use."

"I'm a big guy - six feet, two inches; 220 pounds - and I hate feeling like a sardine when I'm on a plane. A while back, I had a center seat next to a guy who decided to do some work. His elbows overlapped the armrests, and I had to sit with my hands in my lap. I couldn't even read a book. Now I use my frequent-flier miles to request a block of seats adjacent to mine - which you can do if you've got enough miles saved up. With an entire row of three seats, I can spread out my stuff and work - or I can get some sleep."

"I also use my miles to get upgrades - mainly, believe it or not, because of the food in first class. An upgrade makes a world of difference: You can actually get a decent meal on a plane. Occasionally, of course, I don't get an upgrade, and I may not have time to get dinner after I land. So I always travel with crackers, Power Bars, and other reasonably healthy snacks. That way, even if I'm a bit cranky about having to travel in coach, at least I'm not famished."

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