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A dream year of travel. Thank you to all who followed!
What a year it has been! I really can’t thank you enough! Whether you’re a casual reader, subscribe to our posts, follow us on insta, or hire us for award booking, we are so, so grateful for putting us to work. If you’d asked me just a few years ago if I’d set foot on 6 continents in a single year, I’d have said that visiting every continent ( other than Antarctica ) in my life was a bucket list item – let alone being lucky enough to do it in a single calendar year. Oh, what points and miles can do!
I thought it’d be helpful, inspirational, etc to do a recap to show what is possible, how I went about using miles, accumulating miles, etc. It’s been truly a wonderful year blogging and traveling and we’d love to hear your thoughts about where we should go next.
Different Business Class cabins Flown: 10
Our first international business class cabin was on Qantas between Melbourne and Sydney. We then flew from Brisbane to Hong Kong on Cathay’s new A350. In May we flew on BA’s Club World to London and back from Europe on the top deck of Lufthansa’s 747-8i. We took advantage of the crazy Hong Kong Airlines $550 Biz Sale and flew to Bangkok on a combo of their A350 and A330. As luck would have it, on our way to Argentina we flew a combo of American’s 757 from LAS to MIA and continued on AA’s 772 with Super Diamonds. To get home, we used Aeroplan to fly on United’s new Polaris from GRU to ORD. Last but not least, we’ll fly Iberia’s Business Class from Chicago to Madrid just before New Year’s.
- Qantas A330
- Cathay Pacific A350
- British Airways Club World
- Lufthansa 747-8i
- Hong Kong Airlines A350
- Hong Kong Airlines A330
- American Airlines 757
- American Airlines 772 – Super Diamond
- United Polaris 772 – new business class
- Iberia A330
International First Class Cabins Flown
Our first International flight of the year was an insane Qantas First A380 ride from LA to Melbourne using Alaska miles. Truly a top notch experience. We concluded that trip by routing through Hong Kong and snagging Cathay’s First from HKG to LA. What a crazy way to do Australia!
- Qantas First Class A380
- Cathay Pacific First Class 77W
Countries Visited – 10
Go where the availability leads you! Other than our trip to Australia which we needed to do, and a trip to visit the in laws in Europe, all of our other International Travel was dictated by availability. Going to South America had been something we’d long wanted to do, but it wasn’t til this year that dates and avail lined up.
- China ( Hong Kong )
- United Kingdom
Continents – 6
For the last several years I’ve been fortunate enough to hit up Europe and Asia, and this year started off looking like it’d be a repeat. Then a work opportunity came up in Australia for my partner, avail lead us to South America, and then a trip cancellation ultimately opened the door for a hop to Egypt. What a lucky monkey!
- North America
- South America
Miles Flown: 120k ish
The year started off quite slow for me. I came down with a terrible bout of flu on New Year’s Day that I was honestly still feeling in February. I also had two trips to Europe that had to be cancelled because of personal reasons and a 3 week new year’s trip to South East Asia. Those cancellations reduced my total miles by 30-40k and also eliminated a few more Premium Cabin Reviews.
In all fairness, it was the perfect amount of travel. Last year I clocked in 170k butt in seat miles and I felt like I was almost always battling a cold or jetlag. At 120k, I still spent the equivalent of 10+ days on an airplane and got to see so many places, fly incredibly, but still be home quite a bit, and remained ( knock on wood ) well most of the year.
- Alaska 150k
- 70k: Qantas First Class/Business LAX-MEL-SYD
- 80k: Cathay Pacific First Class/Business: BNE-HKG-LAX
- Chase 108k
- United: 70k for Lufthansa Business Class: Man-Fra-LAX
- Hyatt: 38k ( 2 nights at Carmelo in Uruguary + 3 nights Suite upgrade at 6k GH Hong Kong)
- American Airlines – 75k
- 3, 8750 Reduced Mileage Awards
- 57.5k LAX-LAS-MIA-EZE Business Class
- 10k refunded by Aviator Red ( see footnote as to why it’s the full 10k)
- Iberia 68k ( the other IB flight was done via my dad’s account who also purchased Avios )
- Purchased 90k for $330
- Roundtrip ORD-MAD for 68k Avios
- Moved 22k to BA – we’ll see what happens
- BA 15k Avios
- 2 one way flights
*I also redeemed another 70k AA for a flight next year back from Jordan in QSuites, and a total of 65k combined from Citi, Chase, Amex ( 40, 15, 10) for United Polaris EWR to TLV.
Cards I picked up this year:
- Alaska Business – 30k
- American Express Mercedes Platinum – 60k
- American Express Rose Gold – 50k
- Barclay Aviator Business – 60k
- Chase Ink Business Cash – 50k
This will be the first time in 3 years that I won’t have top tier status in any single airline. 2016 I was an AA Executive Platinum, 2017 Alaska MVPG75, this year MVPG75, but next year I will fall to Alaska MVPG. I just didn’t fly enough paid fares this year to make it to 90k combined AS and partner.
However, if I’m targeted for the 20k miles in 90 day challenge that AS offered to MVG75s from last year who didn’t requalify, I will be seriously considering the offer. Anecdotally, those who were able to do the 20k in 90 days not only got the status, but also the 50k bonus given to those who hit MVG75. I already have roughly 13,500 miles booked between 1/15 and 4/15 of next year, so it’d really only be picking up one roundtrip lax-sea-jfk and I’d get the better status and 50k. Kind of a no brainer, really.
2019 Trips already planned
I’ll be starting the new year in Europe and then mostly domestic travel until April/May when my family will head off to the Holy Land for a tour of Israel, Jordan, and potentially Egypt. Later in the year, I’d like to pick up a trip to Bali that had to be rescheduled and would love to incorporate Korea and Asiana First into that trip.
High on my bucket list is Russia, Machu Picchu, Morocco, and the Kakslauttanen arctic resort to see the northern lights.
I always keep my options open to crazy deals like the Iberia 90k and the Hong Kong Airlines $550 Roundtrip Business Class flights.