Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Free Travel Review

At the beginning of a new year I like to take a look back at the previous year and analyze my expenditures of points, cash, and miles for travel the previous year.  This helps me to plan for future trips as well as check if I've been getting the best deals and make sure it's still worth the time commitment involved in playing the points and miles game.

I'm hoping this post doesn't come off as bragging - that's not the intent; there's plenty of people out there who just can't wait to tell you how awesome they are and I'm not one of them.  I'm simply a guy who loves to travel.  With moderate travel resources and 3 weeks of vacation each year, I look to make the most of it, and points and miles have been helping me do so for the past 5 or 6 years.

Rockefeller Center Tree - Dec 2012

2012 saw quite a few weekend trips but nothing earth shattering - there weren't any flights in international business class or exotic destinations this year and probably none to come in 2013 either.  I do have some big ideas for 2014 but we'll get to that later...

Free (or nearly free) Travel in the past 12 months has included the following:

- 2 first class tickets to NYC (American Airlines - 27k British Airways Miles)
- 2 coach tickets to return from NYC  (American Airlines - 9k British Airways Miles)
- 3 nights at the Waldorf Astoria NYC (150k Hhonors Points)
- 4 tickets to Las Vegas on Southwest (2 expired award vouchers + $100)
- 2 return tickets from Las Vegas - (38k Southwest points)
- 1 night at the Radisson Cleveland Gateway (10k Club Carlson points + $80)
- 1 night at the DoubleTree in downtown Columbus, OH (0 HHonors points)
- 1 round trip to Vegas (21k Southwest points)
- 2 rooms for 1 night at the Palazzo, Las Vegas (Free Credit Card Night, 50k points)
- 3 round trip tickets to Nashville  (roughly 40k Southwest points)

I finished out the year with a returning  to NYC for New Year for the second straight year but I'll include that on next years travel listing as the trip ended in 2013.

Overall I burned a decent number of HHonors points and a ton of Southwest points (actually I didn't have SW points so I was transferring Ultimate Rewards points).  I'll need to restock, as Hilton is my go to hotel chain for reward stays and Southwest is my airline of choice for trips to Las Vegas.  In the coming weeks I'll outline my plans for reloading my accounts.

At this point I'm not exactly sure what  travel 2013 will hold, but I'm eyeing a return to Vegas in the spring or summer and possibly NYC for New Year's Eve again next December.  Once I get a better idea I'll be putting together some travel goals for the year as well as developing a plan to achieve them.

If you're interested in learning more, consider following by email or just bookmarking the page - I'll be here with new material 2-3 times a week, possibly more if there happens to be anything I find really exciting in the world of points and miles.

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