What’s the first thing you do when you become a millionaire or achieve a goal? You probably invest the money, take a luxury trip or do something predictable for you aren’t Mark Cuban. It was the year 1990 when 32-year-old Cuban sold his first business, MicroSolutions, to CompuServe for a reported $6 million. What he did next was not only surprising but also smart. He bought the coveted American Airlines AAirpass for $250,000 that offered ‘unlimited first-class travel for life’ in the US and anywhere in the world. “I gave up a lot, personally, early on to try to accomplish my goals,” Cuban said on “The Thrive Global Podcast,” “knowing that if I ever reach the levels of success even close to where I ended up, I was just gonna have fun.”
With Cuban already turning into a globetrotter and an added agenda to retire by 35 (little did he know) and have fun, the AAirpass made a lot of sense. It was also an incredibly well-timed decision as by 1994, American stopped selling the unlimited passes. While a boon for customers it was a nightmare for the airline as pass holders, well, started flying on an unlimited basis. Noted examples are the two geniuses, Jacques Vroom and Steve Rothstein. Rothstein traveled a whopping 40 million miles with 10,000 first-class flights. Simply put, the men cost American Airlines 30 million dollars over 25 years. On the other hand, Mark Cuban passed the pass to a friend for he got himself a private jet, the next best thing to owning the AAirpass.
The one-of-a-kind American Airlines AAirpass
American Airlines came up with the idea of the AAirpass at a time when the company was strapped for cash. However, the idea turned out to be the most expensive mistake in aviation history, eventually costing the airline heavily, and the pass was aborted. It was in the 80s, the world’s third-largest airline American Airlines, introduced the AAirpass. It was rather simple a $250,000 ticket that could be used for unlimited first-class travel for life.
Add another $150,000 and a compassion flies first class with you for free. A quarter of a million dollars was a lot in the early 80s, but people were still willing to buy it. The airline finally realised their mistake and discontinued selling them in 1994 after getting 28 customers to buy them. No wonder Cuban dubbed his AAirpass the “most fun, best business decision I ever made.”
Mark Cuban owns not one but two private jets –
When you escalate from millionaire to billionaire, you undoubtedly shift from being an AAirpass owner to a private jet (in the case of Cuban-jets) owner. The proud owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks and the wealthiest of the Sharks (worth $4.8 billion) has two jets. His hefty private jet purchases got him a Gulfstream G550 for $40 million and a customized Boeing 757 outfitted for a world-class sports team. The $36 million Mavericks Boeing 757 includes a weight room, meeting set-ups, space for medical treatments, and coaching and connectivity resources.
With the Gulfstream G550 that was purchased online, Mark earned the accomplishment of the ‘largest single e-commerce transaction’ ever. Cuban also called it his smartest investment as it saved him a lot of time to spend more with loved ones. The businessman loves and uses his private jets to travel regularly, so much so that he attracted the attention of jet-tracking teen Jack Sweeney. Cuban, the charmer, worked his magic and got the teenager to stop his carbon footprint-revealing activity.