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2012 My Year In Travel

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2012 My Year In Travel

Last year I lived out of my suitcase. At least it seemed like I did since I stopped unpacking toward the end of the year.

2012 My Year In Travel:


2012 My Year In Travel mileage runs

My view courtesy of American Airlines


I spent 12 days in January doing same day turn mileage runs from San Diego to Chicago via Los Angeles on American Airlines to requalify for Executive Platinum (EXP) status.

Since my EXP status had expired in 2011, all flights were in coach.

Was it worth it?

You bet. And here’s why:

  • I requalified for EXP which means free upgrades from coach to first class when space is available and 8 System Wide Upgrades (SWUs)
  • I met other FlyerTalkers (FTers) and MilePointers (MPers) who were also doing same day mileage runs and made some great new friends
  • I earned 100,000 redeemable qualifying miles (RQMs) for use for award travel
  • I earned 40, 500 mile upgrade certificates which will allow me to upgrade my family when we travel on paid tickets
2012 My Travel in Travel Knotts Berry Farms

Knotts Berry Farm

Because of the lack of crowds and special promotions winter is one of the best times to visit the local amusement parks.  Knotts Berry Farm offered discounted admission tickets for bringing two canned food items.

February & March

2012 My Year In Travel Soccer Tryouts

I launched the Traveling Well For Less blog.

Rather than spending all my time on a plane, I spent my time driving, driving to/from soccer tryouts and soccer games.

Yes, I know, not exciting in the world of traveling and miles and points, but I did manage to get one quick trip in and flew one last same day turn mileage run from San Diego to Chicago via Los Angeles.


2012 My Travel in Review Freddie Awards

Randy Petersen and Deb at the 2012 Freddie Awards

I used 50,000 miles for a domestic award ticket.

While not the best redemption in terms of the miles game, but the best in terms of life choices.

Thanks to an extra ticket from Randy Petersen I was able to attend the Freddie Awards, the awards ceremony for the world’s frequent flyer programs, held at the Renaissance Marriott. (hotel review to be posted soon)

FTU EWR (Frequent Traveler University Newark), a weekend conference for frequent travelers about how to maximize your miles and points, began the next day at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel & Conference Center. (hotel review yet to be posted)


2012 My Year In Travel San Diego Safari Park

San Diego Safari Park

Spent the day at the San Diego Safari Park, but ran out to time so I wasn’t able to try the new Flightline Safari zipline.  Next time…

2012 My Year In Travel Country Inn And Suites San Diego

Country Inn & Suites San Diego

My boys did their first mattress run and I earned 55, 134 points for a one night stay at the Country Inn & Suites San Diego. (yet another hotel run to be posted soon)

2012 My Year in Travel Radisson Hotel San Diego Rancho Bernardo

Radisson Hotel San Diego Rancho Bernardo

I earned an additional 50,000+ points by staying at the Radisson Hotel San Diego – Rancho Bernardo. (hotel review to be posted one day 🙂


2012 My Year In Travel Park Inn By Radisson Fresno

Park Inn by Radisson Fresno

To complete our Radisson Club Carlson promotion point trifecta we drove to Fresno and stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson Fresno. (Surprise, yet another hotel review waiting to be published.)

2012 My Year In Travel Denver TBEX

Denver Art Museum

I spent almost a week in Denver for TBEX2012 Denver, a travel blogger conference.

I stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Aurora, the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Denver, the Key Condos in Keystone, and the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge.

And yes you’d be correct. None of those hotel reviews have been published yet.

I did manage to publish the TBEX Newbie Guide.

And for someone who hates beer, the fine Denver breweries changed my mind and inspired the 5 Denver Beers Even Beer Haters Will Love post.

2012 My Year In Travel San Diego County Fair

Funnel Cake at San Diego County Fair

I tend to stay close to home during the month of June because of the San Diego County Fair or as I like to still call it, the Del Mar Fair.

Despite the name change years ago, I still can’t wrap my mouth around San Diego County Fair when Del Mar Fair just rolls off the tongue.

Three weeks of fair food, rides, and concerts. Who could blame me?


2012 My Year In Travel Country Inn and Suites Ontario

Country Inn and Suites Ontario

While I had earned all my points for the Radisson promotion, Jeff had not so a staycation weekend was in order.

Our first stop was the Country Inn and Suites Ontario. (hotel review pending)

2012 My Year in Travel Radisson Newport Beach

Balboa Island Newport Beach

We finished the weekend with a stay at the Radisson Newport Beach and spent the day on Balboa Island.

And if you’re looking for the Radisson Newport Beach review, yep it’s coming soon.

2012 My Year In Travel Oahu


Our annual family Hawaii vacation didn’t look like it was going to happen this year until I found last minute MileSaaver Award space to Oahu for July on American Airlines.  Space that hadn’t been there months ago.

We spent a week in a rented beach house and enjoyed snorkeling, hiking, and learned how to paddle board.


2012 My Year In Travel BlogHer12

Sparklecorn at BlogHer12

No time to rest after our Oahu trip because I was off to New York for BlogHer’12.

And in my best Gomer Pyle voice. Surprise, surprise, surprise. I managed to squeak out some posts.

2012 My Year In Travel Avis Car Rentals for AA Miles

Dodge Charger from Avis Car Rental

I earned over 46,200 American Airlines miles by renting cars from Avis over two weeks due to the 3,000 bonus miles promotion.


Soccer season was in full swing with games on both Saturdays and Sundays so traveling went the way of the Dodo bird.


2012 My Year In Travel Milevalue

Scott from Milevalue and Deb

The Chicago Seminars, another weekend conference on miles and points, were in October where I met several of the FlyerTalkers (FTers) and MilePointers (MPers) I had met during the January mileage runs to Chicago.

The Chicago Seminars was held at Holiday Inn Elk Grove. (another pending hotel review)

I also met Scott from Milevalue, picked up a free T-shirt, and got hooked on Foursquare.

Prior to the Chicago Seminars I stayed at the Radisson Hotel Chicago O’Hare as part of Radisson’s 1 for 1 promotion which has earned me a free night at any Radisson hotel in the United States, Caribbean, or Canada.

I plan on using the free night next year for TBEX Toronto.

I stayed an extra night in Chicago at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Chicago O’Hare Airport Rosemont.  (Need I say it? Maybe so, yes, another hotel review yet to be posted.)

2012 My Year In Travel Las Vegas

Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood

Jeff and I spent a couple of days in Sin City aka Las Vegas and behaved like tourists: we ate, drank, saw all the sites, and rode the Deuce.

Yet we didn’t gamble, not even a penny. Shocking, I know. How are we supposed to stimulate the Las Vegas economy if we don’t gamble.

Maybe this way…

2012 My Year In Travel Las Vegas Office Depot

Vanilla is my favorite flavor.


2012 My Year In Travel StarMegaDO4

SMD4 United’s 787 Dreamliner

I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the StarMegaDO4. And yes, many posts about the experience are pending.

Here’s part one of my Star MegaDO4 review.

I plan on writing nonstop the rest of this week so be prepared for a deluge of posts:

  • Hyatt Regency San Francisco hotel review
  • Hyatt Regency Houston
  • Hyatt Regency Schaumburg
  • Behind the Scenes Airport Tour
  • and more…

I followed up my StarMegaDO4 trip with 2 separate stays at the Hyatt Place San Diego/Vista-Carlsbad as part of Hyatt’s Imagine the Possibilities promotion.

And like all the other hotel reviews, stay tuned for those hotel reviews to be posted.

2012 My Year In Travel FTULAX

The day Randy Petersen was sold.

The month wrapped up with the Frequent Traveler University LAX (FTULAX) where I joined a group of friends from Chicago and we bought Randy Petersen.

Ok, technically we didn’t buy Randy but bought lunch with Randy.

I’m looking forward to heading out to Chicago this month to see the Chicago8 and enjoy our lunch.

You can read my FTULAX Takeaways here.


2012 My Year In Travel New York

Manhattan during the holidays

December was bitter sweet. I got to see and spend a couple of days with my aunts and cousins in New York.

I wish I could say it was a planned family reunion, but it wasn’t.  My grandmother passed away so my younger sister and I flew out to New York to attend the services.

2012 My Year In Travel San Diego North County Beer Tour

An assortment of craft brews

Cassie and Kevin from Ever In Transit visited San Diego so I took them on a San Diego North County Brewery Tour.

My posts on the best beers in San Diego North County.

2012 My Year In Travel Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

We wrapped up the year with a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.

I have a few trips already planned for this year but I’m hoping 2013 will be another year of traveling well for less.  How about you? Any trips planned for 2013?

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Michael Magic

Friday 5th of July 2013

We went to Knott’s Berry Farms last year. I dont like crowds and I was delighted that they only had few visiting tourists. We had a blast and will surely visit again!

Traveling Well For Less

Saturday 6th of July 2013

Hi Michael,

We're not big on crowds either. Plus it makes for longer lines. Best time to go to any amusement park in California is the second week of January.

Mile Bucket

Wednesday 2nd of January 2013

Nice work! I need to add "attend Mega do" on my to-do list. :) Sounds like a really awesome year for you and the family!

Traveling Well For Less

Friday 4th of January 2013

Thanks, Milebucket. The StarMegaDO4 was amazing and definitely a must do. Hope you can make the next MegaDO. :)

Cassie | Ever In Transit

Wednesday 2nd of January 2013

My post is coming too :)

What a year you've had! We need some tips for getting started with hotel programs, we'll be doing a lot of domestic travel this year and we should maybe be smart about it. Thoughts?

Traveling Well For Less

Friday 4th of January 2013

Great minds think alike. I've been working on a post about hotel programs.

You definitely want to get the most benefits from your hotel stays. Since you're basically starting at ground zero you can either pick one chain and focus on them or you can bounce around, depending on where you can get the best rate.


Wednesday 2nd of January 2013

Sounds like a great year of travel!!!! And a soccer picture mixed in there....reminds me of my life (and lots of time spent at soccer...and!)

Booked for me so far this year: pacific northwest...and hopefully a few more to come!

Traveling Well For Less

Friday 4th of January 2013

Thanks, Lance.

Have a great time in the Pacific Northwest.

What other areas are you considering traveling to?

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