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:
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
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
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.
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)
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…
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)
I earned an additional 50,000+ points by staying at the Radisson Hotel San Diego – Rancho Bernardo. (hotel review to be posted one day 🙂
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.)
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
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.
- My hotel review on the Hampton Inn La Guardia Airport can be found here.
- Where to find the best Chinese food in New York
- Hilton New York hotel review
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.
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.)
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…
I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the StarMegaDO4. And yes, many posts about the experience are pending.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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