Mile Addict Year in Review
Well, here we are, New Years Eve. I spent this morning looking back on my travels over the last year (for both work and pleasure), and I traveled quite a few miles and saw some amazing things! Below is a quick glance at the various places I have flown over the last 12 months.
I had several trips to Saudi Arabia for work which helped me earn United Platinum Status. But, more importantly, I flew several great trips to destinations I wanted to see using nothing more than points and miles!
2015 Year in Review
I started the year with my wife on the Great Wall of China after flying into Beijing last New Years Eve. The flight to Beijing was part of a mistake fare where we paid around $440 each to fly from New York through Europe (Milan, Italy) to Beijing. Then we used miles to fly back from Beijing on Japan Airlines’ new 787.
In January, I had my first work trip of the year to Riyadh and enjoyed some cultural celebrations.
In May we used miles to fly Lufthansa Business Class from Philadelphia to Frankfort, then connected to SAS into Copenhagen, where I took a cruise with my family, including my parents. The cruise left Copenhagen and visited Stockholm, Talinn, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki. When we returned to Copenhagen, we continued our journey down to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a few days. Because I used United Miles to book these flights, I was able to use Copenhagen as a stopover (greater than 24 hour “layover”) and then use Dubrovnik as my final destination for no additional miles. This is one of the great deals that mile redemptions can afford you!
In June, I traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the first time and was treated to an amazing fresh seafood dinner!
In July, I flew out to Anaheim with my wife and daughter to go to Disneyland to meet Mickey and Minnie. We met the in-laws and had a great time! Also I met up with some good friends for an Angels baseball game!
In October, I used Lufthansa miles to fly to San Francisco in United’s p.s. transcontinental BusinessFirst service. For a domestic carrier, I was fairly impressed with the in-flight service and comfort of the lie-flat seats.
Then, later in October I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to work for several months. Although I was expecting to be in Addis a lot longer than I eventually stayed, I enjoyed my time there and experiencing the Ethiopian culture. I also had an opportunity to fly down to Arba Minch, Ethiopia for a few days and experience a very exciting and beautiful part of the country with an amazing amount of wildlife!
One of the highlights of my time in Addis was participating in the Great Ethiopian Run. It was a 10k race, but had about 40,000 runners. As you can see from the picture below, the green shirts stretch back for miles. It was a very cool experience!
Why do I love travel so much?
Just going through my pictures and adding up all the miles from this year has brought back many great memories. While I am lucky to be able to travel to some interesting places for work, I really value the ability to cash in my points and miles to travel to some exotic places during my free-time. A lot of these points and miles simply come from maximizing credit card promotions, and earning them through normal daily spending–not actually flying!
I challenge myself to use points and miles for high value redemptions, so I prefer to use them for business class or first class travel when at all possible. I would not be able to regularly afford the cash price of a first or business class ticket–which is why the point and mile collecting game is such a great hobby!
Traveling allows me to experience new cultures, make new friends, and most importantly–learn about the world and myself. Traveling to a new place and meeting people, experiencing the sites, and enjoying the food and drinks can really put things into perspective. I have learned so much through travel and have made many great friends. However, as they say, you never stop learning–so I plan to keep traveling in 2016. I have a few items on my bucket-list already. How about you?
Happy New Year!