My planned travel for 2012 so far…

I’m not usually one for planning travel too far in advance, and typically I have at most one international trip planned in advance at a time, since I tend to be a pretty last minute traveler. Much like any addict, I spend my free time looking for my next “high” in the form of some awesome award redemption, though it hasn’t occurred to me until now just how much travel I have planned for this year, including:

  • January: A trip to Shanghai on American upgraded to business class, primarily thanks to the double elite qualifying miles promotion.
  • February: A few days in Barcelona on American upgraded to business class on a pimped out routing, which is a mileage run/mini-vacation.
  • February: Another trip to Spain, though this time Ibiza, once again on American upgraded to business class, with a short hop on Iberia from Madrid to Ibiza. Once again, it’s a mileage run/mini-vacation
  • March: My last Aeroplan first class award masterpiece for 120,000 miles to Bangkok and Hong Kong via Europe. This one is going to be bittersweet for me, not just because Aeroplan has massively raised the number of miles required for this award and added fuel surcharges, but also because Lufthansa has more or less stopped releasing first class award space in advance. RIP.
  • April: A trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Thailand. The outbound is in Lufthansa first class through Frankfurt (including on the Airbus 380), while the return is in business class on the JAL 787 to Boston.
  • May: A trip to Nagoya/Kyoto in American first class thanks to a cheap business class fare that I upgraded to first class.
  • September: LAN business class award using British Airways miles before the devaluation to Lima, Santiago, and Buenos Aires.

And unfortunately (fortunately?) I have a few other trips in the pipeline too. Seriously, this is an addiction, and a bad one at that.

Other redemptions I’m eying (though trying to avoid pulling the trigger on) include:

  • A trip to Australia/New Zealand in November, December, or January, with my dad, if I can find the A380 award space. I love New Zealand, so would love to return, especially to Queenstown. He’s never been to Australia or New Zealand, and I’d like to take him the only good way to get there. 😉
  • A Cathay Pacific one-way award to Colombo, with a fun return.
  • A trip to Hong Kong/Bali on Cathay Pacific in first class with my mom, as she has never been to Asia.

On a mildly unrelated note, who’s up for a mileage run/weekend somewhere sometime? I don’t have the energy to host full fledged FlyerTalk/Milepoints “Dos” anymore (I’m getting old!), but if all three of my readers can make it to the same city the same weekend, it could actually be kinda fun. Maybe London, Munich, Berchtesgaden, San Francisco, or Hong Kong?

Filed Under: Awards, Travel
  1. Sounds like an awesome year ahead…the only thing I’m wondering is, with the continued slippage in the 787 delivery program, do you actually feel confident that JAL is going to have a 787 for you to fly on by April?

  2. @ Andrew — I’m not confident at all, which is why I have a backup reservation in Cathay Pacific first class.

  3. When is your time in Hong Kong? I’ll be there very briefly April 19th, 20th, and leaving on the 21st (Burning BA miles pre-avios). Then I’m in Bangkok for week and a half. But, if your 2 other readers are in the area so am I 😀

  4. I’d be down for a meetup, Berchtesgaden would be fantastic, also St. Gilgen across the border in Austria, yes it’s better than Berchtesgaden.

  5. What hotels are you considering in Barcelona? I have a trip planned for this summer and am trying to decide where to stay.

  6. You’ve got some great trips lined up! I’m in the opposite position as you – normally I have trips planned a full twelve months in advance, and this year I’m only booked through mid-February. I’ll have to keep reading your blogs on how to take advantage of spontanaeity…it’s not one of my stronger points 😉

  7. Pending dates, I’d be up for a weekend trip. I’m overdue to fly anywhere since I’ve been in bed rest for so long and have finally recovered 🙂

  8. For your Australia/New Zealand trip on the A380, are you looking at Qantas or another carrier?, which miles are you planning on using for the redemption and how many are required for business or first (if bookable)

    I’d like to try and get to New Zealand over Christmas next year (Yeah I know I’ll probably never find space) but I can keep my eye open. I was even thinking of trying V Australia using Delta miles out of LAX or Air New Zealand.

  9. A London weekend would be fun, but I’m always in Chicago, and have several LAX turns planned through Feb. Also SFO would be fun- I haven’t spent much time there.

  10. Ben, for your attempted A380 trip down under one possibility would be – instead of LAX-SYD or LAX-MEL with Qantas – for you and your Dad to get to HK and then catch the A380 from HK to Sydney, which starts this week (see as 3 x weekly and one hopes may be daily by the time year’s end rolls around. You _may_ find higher availability of redemption bookings on this than on the direct US-AU routes.

  11. I’d be down. I’ve got a bunch of business travel but only two vacations/mileage run trips planned thus far, which I’m looking to change. Currently eyeing the SFO-HKG-FAJS option but am looking for other options.

  12. Wow, you have become a homebody huh?

    Settling down and not traveling too much anymore are we?

    On the serious note. The BA Avios devaluation is not that bad for US-Deep SA. I think it is still some of the best out there, especially if you don’t want to touch any of your domestic miles (USA). Just my 2 pesos.

  13. I’m 24 and got into mileage running after reading your blog. Let’s get a group and do a mileage run!

    Are you still going to be able to requalify for United 1K with all this American travel?

  14. If you ever make it to West Africa, the drinks are on me. You can enjoy the luxury of the Holiday Inn Accra Airport where the Presidential Suite actually has the distinction of having hosted Barack Obama. Lots of Star Alliance options. You can try the TAP A319 redeye from Lisbon for example, or perhaps 8 hours on a Turkish 737-900ER to Istanbul.

  15. How about Amsterdam! I’ll be there and free June 29 – July 1! Or Vienna July 13-14? Then it’s back to Boston…

  16. I’m in.

    Old? Really? Age is relative, stay active (*ahem, the one day on 30 days off thing doesn’t count).

  17. I like the Self-Organizing Lucky DO idea — even if the odds are high that I wouldn’t be able to make it (darn regular jobs). But I’ll bet if you found a good mileage run with plenty of availability, booked it, and posted it here, you’d get at least 1.5 readers jumping on board!

  18. @ Cory — Sadly nothing booked to Bali… as of now.

    @ Ken — I’m trying to decide between the W and Le Meridien. Both are available using cash and points. I’ll likely go with Le Meridien since the location is apparently a lot better.

    @ Bonesaz — I’m looking at using American miles on Qantas (125,000 for business or 145,000 miles for first class). Over Christmas is probably near impossible, but otherwise with a ton of flexibility isn’t that tough.

  19. @ David — Considering that option seriously as well, thanks!

    @ Sean — Ethiopian Airlines to the Holiday Inn Accra… tempting!

    @ Rebecca — It’ll probably be tough to coordinate too many people in Europe over summer given how expensive it is to get there, though tempting nonetheless. We’re probably best off looking at a destination during a bit of an off season time.

  20. Hey, I’m scheduled to hit the FCT and Thailand in April as well! Although no LH F/A380 for me … LX instead

  21. Um, my head is spinning. I’d be thrilled to take any one of these trips this year. I suppose I’m not in your league. If anybody feels like I do – has big travel dreams and little travel means – then try your luck in the Life-Changing Travel Contest on The Ambler. You just post a comment of an unforgettable moment from a trip you’ve taken and you have a chance to win a $1500 flight voucher on any airline.
    So even if you’re not “Lucky,” maybe you can be lucky!

  22. Very jealous – would be happy just to make one of those trips!!

    Would definitely be up for a mileage run weekend — if its doable from WAS – I’m there!

  23. I’m looking to do a *A MR international trip sometime during the last two weeks of March. I’m 1K this year, so a W-fare SWU-type trip is good. I’m considering Norway and/or Germany and/or Bilbao/Barcelona, or else I’m always game for somewhere in Asia. Hit me up if you’re interested in planning something together.

  24. As much as I would love to do the weekend hops that Ben does, I’m getting to the point where I actually want to *enjoy* parts of lands far away. I can’t stand the thought of a weekend in Europe when I could actually spend two weeks there.

    Lately, I’ve been taking one long trip (one month at a time) each time I go, and making the most of my time over there.

  25. Well I plan on doing a third CX F award to Colmobo in the coming months, though I’m considering routing the paid ticket CMB-BKK-NRT-LHR-SEA to try out TG 77W F and NH First Cube. Perhaps we can meet up in Colombo or in CX F.

  26. Lucky…always here in San Francisco except when I am in the friendly skies going transpac 🙂 Then again I’d be up for Hong Kong too!

  27. Ben,

    I am located on the West Coast and am looking at doing a mileage run/min-vacay sometime between now and late March or so. I would like to go see Boston, but let might be willing to meet up in San Fran.

  28. living in singapore… let me know if you want a meetup in southeast asia… travel is pretty much booked through may, but there might be a random weekend for a quick run.

  29. Beerhunter and Brian and Kevin and Field of Burch and Pete and Lark vote San Francisco… What dates?

    You are welcome here in NoCal / United country (esp with the AA direct from MIA). I will even invite the Lowly 2P and channa to make sure it is not a dull evening! Maybe we can all visit Alcatraz together… 🙂

    One more thing:

    Lucky – Your Mom asked me to forward this to you:

    “Benjamin! I was so proud when you finally got a job and your own Westin bed and moved out of the basement. If you keep travelling like this, won’t you get fired? I love you Bennie, but I’ve put a pool table in the basement now so I don’t have room for you to move back in with me! I think you need to work a little harder son. PS Looking forward to our trip to Hong Kong and Bali. You did reserve me the best seat in first class, didn’t you? Love, Mom”

  30. Definitely stay at the Le Meridien in Barcelona if you want to be in the heart of everything. The W, is far from the popular areas, unless thats what you want.

  31. @Lucky – The entire week after Chinese New Year is a holiday in China. I would suggest you avoid that week. Otherwise you’ll likely run into crowds you probably can’t even imagine.

  32. Anybody from canada here ? Would love to start a group of friends where we start traveling a few times a year. With the VALUABLE cheap award on adios points to NY (from yul). It could be fun…

  33. I’m scheduled to be on AA from LAX to Shanghai in Biz on Jan 24. It was use it or lose it for an expiring eVIP.

  34. Sounds like you have it pretty well planned out. I am going to be traveling heavily after this upcoming baseball season. If you get bored in Tampa and want to come over to Lakeland for some Spring Training baseball let me know.

  35. How about a semi casual meetup near LAX after the oneworld megado? Some (most) of us couldn’t get a seat since it sold out so quickly but would love to grab a drink!

  36. @lucky – I’d stay at the Le Meridien. The W is nice and the beach views can be awesome, but it’s really far from all the places you’d want to see. The service was also a bit…mixed from my experience.

  37. For a guy who doesn’t plan ahead, that looks like a great travel schedule. I have 3 trips booked so far for 2012 and am hoping to get in at least one other big one and a few last minute shorter ones. I would be interested in a fun weekend mileage run if I could make it work. Keep us updated.

  38. Welcome to Shanghai! I have followed your blog for a while and am I currently the only reader based in Shanghai? Let me know if you need any advice regarding Shanghai or if you want to try some authentic Shanghai food!

  39. Can you give a couple more details about your Spain trips? Routing and hotels at least? (I see you mentioned Le Meridien for Barcelona). I’m an AA EXP also looking at Spain as a vacation destination sometime this year.

  40. You might want to consider Australia in November for the solar eclipse. Best viewing is in Cairns/Port Douglas on the 14th.
    Become a mileage running ecliptomaniac!

  41. Lark – I salute your initiative.
    I am willing to plan/help plan a Do in San Fran. Email me if you want (it’s on my blog)

  42. Hi!

    Nice to hear that you will be in Lima on September =)! I live here in case you want to hang out or chat. It would be nice to show you around my city!

  43. Ben – the W in BCN is out in the water! Lousy location and I can never figure out why anyone would stay there unless they want to stay at the hotel and not see the city. On the other hand Le Meridien is right in the middle of things, maybe too much so, but at least there is something happening! It is very near the remarkable Boqueria, where we always try to have lunch at a counter. Great fun!

  44. Lucky, shoot me an email about your Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai trip. I’ll be there in April as well. Please please please tell me you’re coming around the 13th of April. You’ll get to see Thailand during Songkran! I highly recommend being in Chiang Rai around then. Chiang Mai is much crazier. 🙂

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