This is my annual summary of travel for the past year. As always, there are highlights and lowlights, but on the whole, I’m pretty happy with how the year turned out. I didn’t have any amazing First Class redemptions, but I was pretty fortunate to have some fun trips with family, and I sat in premium cabins more often than not. I had decent luck upgrading my flights on American Airlines, and had several award redemptions in business class.
2017 in Travel: Flights
This year, I had far fewer flight segments compared with the last few years, and my overall mileage total is lower. My business travel seemed to comprise more long haul international trips, so more distance traveled, and often longer duration, but fewer trips overall. In 2017 I flew 125 segments which is the fewest total flights I’ve taken since I’ve been tracking. Total mileage was down slightly, at just under 190,000 miles. I booked over 150,000 EQMs on American again this year. In total, that is almost 19 complete days in the air…wow.
The longest flight I took was from Hong Kong to Dallas, in Business Class on American, which I upgraded from economy with a Systemwide upgrade. This flight was the end of a nice business trip to Australia, with some fun on the way home via Singapore. My outbound flight was very delayed, so I moved to Cathay Pacific, which was a nice change of pace, especially since my business class seat was preserved even though I had only paid for economy. As usual, my shortest flight this year was the hop between Chicago O’Hare and my home in Milwaukee. I flew through O’Hare somewhat less this year than before, and only had this hop 13 times in 2017, about half as many as I did in 2016.
Just over half of my flights were in a premium cabin of some sort, which is not bad considering all tickets other than award tickets booked in economy. Status still matters for me, but we’ll see how that plays out going forward.
2017 in Travel – Firsts
This year had some firsts for me, my first flights on both the A350 and the 787-9. Now that I primarily fly American for my domestic flights I can avoid CRJ’s, which are my least favorite plane type. This means that my most common aircraft type is the MD-80. This bird is usually on my flights between MKE and DFW. As AA retires those, I expect this won’t be the my most common aircraft flown in 2018. As for widebodies, the 789 was my most frequently flown, followed closely by the 77W. Our trip in Austrian Airlines Business Class were nice, and a great way for 3 of us to travel longhaul in a flat seat. Hope options like this are still available in the future.
I also flew my first, and last flights on AirBerlin. At the time I stated I didn’t want to fly them again, and since they went out of business in late 2017, that is not an option..
2017 in Travel: Hotels
The changes in my travel patterns led to some changes with hotels as well. I still mostly stick to Hyatt and Starwood hotels, and of my 130 or so nights in hotels this year, most were under those marketing umbrellas. Unfortunately I had to reach to get status this year. I actually did some not insignificant mattress running for status this year, which was new, but I found it worthwhile for Lifetime Platinum status with Starwood, and to get Globalist Status with Hyatt. After stretching for status this year, I hope to avoid repeating that next year, especially with Starwood, with lifetime status, at least until Marriott moves the bar…
My favorite hotels this year were probably those we stayed in during our family trip to Greece. The Blue Palace in Crete is lovely. We also had a suite at the Park Hyatt Vienna before flying home. Maybe someday I’ll even review that nice property. I expressed my annoyance with the new World of Hyatt program, and while there are some nice benefits, including free upgrades, I’m still annoyed with the overall devaluation that program has become. I expect some changes to the Hyatt loyalty program in 2018, and hopefully real benefits beyond just fewer members due to the difficult qualification this year. Before I published this, some positive changes have already been announced: free nights count for status.
2017 in Travel: Elite Qualification
With fewer flights in 2017, I was somewhat worried about status qualification. With many longer trips, I actually attained my American status in July, which was early than ever. I got over 150,000 EQM, which means 2 more SWUs. Additionally, I also credited almost 20,000 miles on Star Alliance. I am fortunate to maintain United Gold status thanks to my Million Miles, which I use a lot as a backup program. I have an easier time flying in Canada and Europe using this status, since both are weak spots for Oneworld.
American is still my preferred program, although there are a lot of red flags. I remain loyal, but am definitely keeping my options open. There has been a near constant run of negative news for AA flyers. This is less of an issue for me somewhat thanks to status, but I’m definitely concerned for the future.
Hotel status will be different for me in 2018 as mentioned above since I’ll have lifetime Platinum status with Starwood. At least until Marriott announces some changes. Nothing definitive out there, so I’m not sure what will happen. For Hyatt, in theory, only 55 nights required to re-qualify for Globalist. This is still too many for such a small program, but it is at least somewhat easier. I hope they confirm this, as their information is not totally clear.
2017 in Travel: Destinations
Despite somewhat less travel this year, I did manage to have some fun travel. I had some fun flights on new planes, and the Singapore Airlines A350 in Business Class is a good experience. I also visited a few new countries this year. Saudi Arabia is a unique destination, I’m glad I visited. Due to restrictions, there is minimal tourism, but it sounds like tourists will soon be able to get visas. Those trips were for work, but I also really enjoyed my day exploring Piran Slovenia during a weekend holiday between work trips. I also enjoyed my trip across Italy on high-speed rail.
I returned to Australia for this first time in a while, and really enjoyed my time in Brisbane. Perfect weather made for a favorite destination among my many work trips this year. I also got to spend time (mostly eating) in old favorites Singapore and Hong Kong on the long way home.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for following along with me this year. My holidays have been mostly relaxing close to home, 2018 is already looking busy with business trips. Plus some early plans for some fun travels next year as well. Happy New year, stay tuned for some travel resolutions, and I look forward to yours as well.