It is nearly 2014, which means it is time to reflect on the past year, and look ahead to the what the new year may bring. It also means the counters reset for elite status qualification (argh!)
Obviously much of my flying was domestic for business travel. Most of my trip reports were from more interesting award travels. This post will discuss some comments and statistics on my 2013 travels.
This map shows my United flights and a slightly better view of domestic flights
143 flights, 122 credited to United.
140,000 miles flown, 104,xxx PQM on United, the bulk of the rest was award tickets
United 787 economy plus
I requalified for United Premier 1K status again, but this required some mileage runs. This was the first time I ever had to mileage run, but I was close enough to the status, I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, at the end of 2013, I’m about 90,000 miles from United Million Miler, which is a goal for 2014.
Despite lots of complaining about it, I was very loyal to United in 2013. I’m quite driven by the desire to requalify for elite status. It doesn’t work for everyone, but with as much business travel as I do, it really helps significantly. If my business travel patterns stay the same, I’ll likely keep playing the game, and working to requalify if at all possible.
In 2013, my longest flight on United was 7790 in Economy Plus between Hong Kong and Chicago as part of a mileage run/weekend in Hong Kong. Of course, my most common routing was the 67 miles (but 500 PQM) between my home in Milwaukee and O’Hare, which I flew 37 times! My most frequent destinations were business trips to Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Being a United flyer in 2013 was not particularly pleasant. The merger woes continue, and while operations have improved as the year went on, there is still a ways to go, and no one seems to be happy, be it United customers or employees. Jeff Smisek and his golden parachute is likely the only one smiling.
A view from the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadaahaa
As for vacation trips, my wife and I had a great anniversary trip to the Park Hyatt Maldives flying in Singapore Airlines First Class. This was a great trip, and one that is unfortunately much more difficult to repeat in the future. We also had a nice trip to Spain in the fall (trip report coming soon).
lobby of the W Hong Kong
About 120 nights stayed in hotels; 57 credited to Starwood and 43 to Hyatt. I had a few other scattered nights elsewhere.
Our trip to the Park Hyatt Maldives was definitely a highlight. That hotel and location is not for everyone, its very expensive, and being on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean with no where to go might bother some people. But at the deal we got, it was a lovely way to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I also really enjoyed my first visit to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Other memorable stays included the Park Hyatt Zurich, the Westin Kuala Lumpur and a return to one of my favorite hotels, the W Hong Kong.
Dusk from the Westin Kuala Lumpur
Frequent business trips meant that I requalified for both Starwood Platinum and Hyatt Diamond status. During the year I earned my first lifetime status, SPG Lifetime Gold. I’d say Starwood is the top hotel program for my needs, but they are not perfect. I was fortunate to get lots of nice upgrades, but I had various issues with their Suite Night Award program. Thankfully due to many issues, they extended the expiry of these awards.
I was matched Marriott Rewards Gold status thanks to the Rewards Plus program with United. This didn’t change my patterns much, but it gave me an option for a backup hotel program. I also did earn Gold status with IHG via a promotion, but despite earning lots of points for a few short stays, I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to stay with them. Despite some impending devaluations, I’m mostly happy with my preferred hotel programs, and plan to continue to focus my loyalty with Starwood and Hyatt into 2014.
Odds and Ends
Strangely, my most popular post of the year seems to have been about hotel shampoo. I’m no expert on cosmetic products, but as a frequent traveler, I do know my way around shampoo and other bath products offered in hotels. I posted about Hyatt’s new offering from KenetMD, and it continues to get occasional comments. For what its worth, I think KenetMD is a big improvement compared to what it replaced, but my favorites include White Tea from Westin, Bliss from W hotels or Remede from St. Regis and some Luxury Collection hotels.
How was your 2013 in travel?
Happy New Year!