Rack Up 300 Million Frequent Flyer Miles By Sending Your Name to Mars -- Sort Of
The longest route that commercial airlines offer will put you in the air for a cool 18 hours, which is sure help you accumulate a lot of miles (9,500 flown miles to be exact). However, NASA is making that earthly orbit look like a walk to the mailbox. NASA is allowing people to send up their name to Mars and rack up hundreds of millions of miles in the process.
NASA plans to send a rover to Mars in 2020, which represents the first leg in humankind's attempt at a round trip journey to another planet. If you want to be a (small) part of history, you can submit your name to the company before Sept 30, 2019, your name will be stenciled by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on a dime-size chip in text one-thousandth the width of a human hair. That means over a million names can fit on one chip. It's minuscule, but still pretty darn cool to know your name will fly through space on such a historic mission.
To send your name up to Mars, simply visit the submission page and enter your name, country, postal code and email. Once you've entered your information, NASA will give you an "official boarding pass" to Mars. It's equipped with all the important information, like the launch site and arrival sites, scheduled departure and, most importantly, your earned mileage totals (also available in kilometers).
On this trip from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the Jezero Crater, Brian Kelly will earn a whopping 313,586,649 miles. While TPG doesn't have a formal valuation for NASA miles, or a guide to maximizing your NASA redemptions (we're guessing that's just bragging rights) -- it's still an out-of-this-world gesture. Maybe one day NASA will add transfer partners, who knows? The sky is (not) the limit! Okay, we'll stop there.
But, once you've signed up, you can visit the frequent flyer page to find your accrued points. Similar to how Amex credit cards look, you'll find your "Martian Since" date on the frequent flyer page. With NASA's frequent flyer program, you can earn different patches for your accomplishments. Even if you can't cash your NASA miles for a free trip to Mars, you can still rack up the intergalactic virtual stamps. That'll have to do until maybe one day when your Virgin points can take you into orbit.