My travel year in review

Wow what a year 2012 was, surprisingly this was not my top year of air travel or nights away from home for work or fun, but it was close. What made this year unique was that I made 5 trips to Sydney, Australia. A side trip to Auckland, one to Singapore and one to Hong Kong, with about 8 hours at Hong Kong Disneyland. I made 9 trips to Canada. Thank you Nexus and Global Entry for making the border crossings so darn easy. If you’re not familiar with these border crossing options that expedite transiting security check out the links below for information. I also ticked another state off the list, Alaska. I’ve only got 5 more to go before I hit them all. North and South Dakota, Vermont, Iowa, and West Virginia.


Beyond all this work travel (with a little fun sprinkled in) as a family we went to Alabama, Dallas, Disneyland, Australia and the Maldives. The crazy part is, my kid flew more miles this year then I most people do in a lifetime. Then with my buddies I went to Spring training for the third straight year and Miami to root on the Giants for a couple games, plus work on my suntan.

All totaled I flew over 200,000 miles this year with 140k on United and its partners, 60k on American Airlines and its partners. And a few other trips on other airlines I don’t really keep track of, like Southwest, Virgin America and Jet Blue. Thanks to a really great promotion back in April, I was able to get a status match on American to its top tier for being a 100k flier on United. Normally they charge a fee and require you to fly a certain amount of miles in a 90 day period, to get the status match. But because of this promotion, they auto matched if you could prove your current status. Why does this matter, well it allowed me the opportunity to fly other airlines, earn extra frequent flier miles to redeem for free plane tickets and with Executive Platinum status, I’d be given free upgrade coupons and complimentary upgrades on domestic flights when space was available. The other advantages were free checked bags, expedited security at the airports, priority boarding and access to the airlines first class lounges when traveling internationally. This totally came in handy in Sydney and Hong Kong. I was able to freshen up before and after flights as well as get a really great meal prior to a long flight. So with top tier status on the number one and number three largest airlines in the world and two major alliances Star Alliance and One World, I have lots of airline choices when it comes to travel. Lastly, American allowed me to keep this status for 2013 if I flew 55k in 2012, and since I did that easily, I get to keep it this year. Now I just somehow have to figure out how to keep both for next year.

On the hotel side, I also did a status match with Starwood hotels, as a loyal Hilton and Holiday Inn guy for 10 years, I thought I’d branch out. During my travels I’ve noticed if a Hilton or Holiday Inn brand was not where I was going there would be a Starwood option, so during those times I was already staying there or some other hotel chain, but I was not getting he benefits of status. I know for many status means nothing, but when you fly as much as I do and spend over 100 days away from home in so many cities, it’s nice to know what to expect when you get to a hotel. Sure most of the time I stay at Hampton Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses and Four Points, by Sheraton. But hey they too sometimes have great rooms and its nice to once in awhile get a free upgrade. Then on the occasion I get to stay at a Sheraton or Hilton I now get lounge access, free breakfast and larger rooms when available. Plus with another hotel option, I’ve got other choices for hotels when I go on vacation, which is what it’s really all about.

So to summarize her’s how my year shook out.

United and Star Alliance 79 segments and 145,000 miles qualified for 1k status for 2013, and became a 1 million mile flier, back in July so I was granted Lifetime Premier Executive status if I ever drop below 1k.

American Airlines and One World 16 segments and 60,000 miles qualified for Executive Platinum status for 2013.

Jet Blue, Southwest, Virgin America and others 7,000 miles

Hilton Honors 33 stays and 60 nights qualified for Diamond for 2013

Starwood Hotels 7 stays and 27 nights qualified for Diamond for 2013

Other hotels and condos 25 days

Nexus expedited screening customs and immigration when travelling to Canada via Air, Car, Foot or Boat and returning from Canada to the US, this also works for expedited screening into Australia.

Global Entry expedited screening and customs and immigration when returning back to the US from any other country other then Canada, this also works for expedited screening into Australia.

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