As the new year approaches, it is time again to reflect on the past year, and look ahead to plans for 2013.
Here is my route map for 2012.
2012 was a pretty busy year for travel for me, I had some great experiences with new aircraft and new destinations on my award trips. My business travel was a predictable array of routine domestic flights, with some interesting experiences mixed in. I had just over 130,000 miles totaland 143 flights, making for one of my lowest totals, except for last year.
The map above shows the flights I took in 2012. I have moved over to Open Flights for my personal route map tracking, which among other features, allows an easy export to the Great Circle Mapper site (GCmap.com) for the map like above. Tracking flights like this can be tedious, but it works for my nerdy desire to manage my flight history. I don’t have all of my historic flights, but it goes back for 6 years which covers most of my time as a frequent flier. I guess I need to reference my United history (Purge Data Print) to get older flights in there.
Flying over my hometown, Madison, Wisconsin.
Most of my revenue flying was on United. I re-qualified for 1K again, with an (at times) painful 133.5 segments and 112,234 miles. Unlike last year, I crossed both EQM and EQS thresholds within a few days of each other. I still fly a lot of relatively short segments, (lots of Skywest CRJ-200 between Milwaukee and Chicago). My longest United leg was between Honolulu and Chicago, after a nice Hawaiian vacation (trip report to follow). I also had a few transcons, but my most common route besides MKE-ORD was between Chicago and San Francisco.
Flying on United in 2012 was a challenge at times, as the integration issues continued long after the dreaded March 3 cutover between the Continental and United’s systems. There are some things to look forward to, with new 787s finally coming online as well as the 767 Ghetto-birds being converted for international service.
I did stray from United on occasion. I had a total of 5 flights on Delta, so my multi-year run of Delta status is ending. I had 2 inter island flights on Hawaiian. I also had one flight on American Eagle, due to a mechanical problem with United.
More fun than the slog of my domestic travels were some excellent award redemptions, including my awesome experience in First Class on Cathay Pacific to Bali, as well as my trip (marathon trip report ongoing) to Japan and Thailand. My wife and I also had a great trip to Hawaii in November.
I managed to retain top tier status on both Starwood and Hyatt again this year. I managed to leverage my more routine stays into some nice award redemptions on vacations, but was able to enjoy some nice properties on my domestic trips as well.
With Starwood, I had some nice stays at the Laguna in Bali, and Le Meridien in Chiang Rai, and the St. Regis Princeville. The typical Sheraton in North America is where many of my usual Starwood nights were earned. I earned 50 nights again this year, so I have 10 more suite upgrades to use. I still have some leftover from last year, since several of my requests didn’t clear, but I was still able to get quite a few room upgrades without using certificates thanks to Platinum status.
free Platinum upgrade to a Studio Suite at the W Atlanta Downtown
My Hyatt stays were pretty diverse too, from Hyatt Place hotels all over to the Park Hyatt Tokyo. I used Hyatt Suite upgrades at both the Andaz San Diego and the Park Hyatt Aviara. My most frequently visited hotel was the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.
As with airlines, I do my best to be loyal to my preferred brands to maximize status. I did mix up my hotel stays a bit, most memorably at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City when I was there for a conference.
I was fortunate to be able to travel so much in 2012. Much of it was work travel, but like any job, it pays the bills, plus I have the added bonus of miles and points that I get to keep for myself. I don’t foresee any major changes to my routine travels in the new year. As of now, the only trip I have booked is a vacation in Singapore First Class, onward to the Park Hyatt in the Maldives. That should be quite an adventure.
Happy New Year!