This post will review my 2016 in travel. I intended to fly less this year than 2015, and while I was successful in flying fewer miles, it was another busy year, with over 200,000 “butt in seat” miles flown. Most of them were for business travel, but I did have some fun trips as well. Among the most memorable was a flight in the Etihad First Apartments with my wife. Besides that, I had multiple business trips to the Middle East this year, and looking back, I much prefer to visit there for leisure.
2016 in Travel – Flight Statistics
I’m geeky about several things, travel being high on list, and I always map out my travels for the year. I use Open Flights, and thanks to TripIt integration, flight tracking is mostly an automated process. Another nice feature is the statistics that this site provides. I had 159 segments with almost 203000 miles flown. I spent more than 21 days in the air, and that distance is enough to fly around the world more than eight times. Yikes…
My longest flight was Hong Kong to Chicago, at 7776 miles, and thankfully that was in Cathay Pacific Business Class. My shortest flight was also my most frequent, flying between my home in Milwaukee to/from O’Hare, which comes in at 66 miles. I flew that route 26 times. On a CRJ. Ugh!
While almost half of my flights were in economy class, thankfully when analyzing by distance, the trips split to nearly be 1/3 each Economy, Business, and First Class. Presumably that was helped by long flights in First Class on Japan Airlines to start the year, and the Etihad flight I mentioned earlier. I also was able to upgrade a bunch of flights using Systemwide upgrades on both United and American.
Favorite flights in 2016
My most memorable flight in 2016 had to have been our flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne on the Etihad A380, in a First Class Apartment. What a product. Some day I might even write a review…Flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class was a fun experience, and I finally flew in the excellent Cirrus Business Class seat on Cathay Pacific and American this year.
Not necessarily distance-wise, but most of my segments were flown in the domestic US. My company has offices in southern California, so LAX was my most common destination. O’Hare was my most common connecting point, followed by DFW. There are plenty more statistics I could review, but lets move on to hotels.
2016 in Travel – Hotels
With so much time on the road, I spend a lot of time in hotels. This year I had 137 nights in chain hotels. There were 85 nights with Starwood, 50 with Hyatt, and 2 with Hilton. As with my flights, much of my travel was in North America, but with multiple trips to the Middle East, I explored some new hotels as well. Our stay at Al Maha Resort near Dubai was unlike any other hotel I’ve ever visited. We also enjoyed our suite at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. On my business trips to the region, I was able to check out some pretty nice hotels, including both the W and the Grand Hyatt in Doha. I’ve also explored some brand new hotels this year, sometimes just after they opened to the public. I was among the first guests at both the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market and the Park Hyatt Hangzhou. Nice stays, and I’m just happy that Hyatt is expanding their footprint.
2016 in Travel – Elite Qualification
With all of the flights and hotels in the last year, I maintained my elite status in most programs. With my travel as frequent as it is, I highly value elite status on airlines and hotels. One major change on that front is the fact that I am losing my United 1K status for the first time in decade. I made the decision to focus my loyalty with American over United, and finally in 2016, I flew much less on United, so my status will drop to United Gold, thanks to my United Million Miler status. I’ll miss the Systemwide upgrades, and we’ll soon learn if the Polaris product can match up to its excellent marketing once it finally rolls out.
On American, I flew just a little over 150,000 Elite qualifying miles, so I earned 6 Systemwide upgrades. Loyalty with American changed drastically in 2016, and we’ll see how things go in the new year. Next year spending requirements will be in place for elite status. I don’t anticipate that being an issue given my business travel, but we shall see.
As mentioned above, with my many nights in hotels, I requalified for both Starwood Platinum and Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond (and again, that program will become World of Hyatt in March). Starwood Preferred Guest still remains separate from the Marriott Rewards program through 2017, and assuming I make Platinum again next year, I will also earn Lifetime Platinum with Starwood at that time.
Final Thoughts and Happy New Year
Thanks for following along with my travels yet again this year. I’ve enjoyed a pretty relaxing holiday season at home with family. The business travel picks up again in early 2017 with some long haul travels to Asia. Later in the year there are some fun personal trips in the works as well.
Happy New Year and safe travels!