I'm going on a trip... Would you like to tag along?

 

Maybe you are curious to see what the two least visited places on Earth look like? (hint: Antarctica and Kirimati)

Or maybe I can amuse you with the story of how I used about 700,000 frequent flier miles to book all of these flights, mostly in business and first class - a $65,000 worth for just over $1,000?

[October 2016 update: I am up to 1,300,000 frequent flier miles and $137,000 worth of tickets now]

Drop me your email address and I will let you know when the site is up and running!

No spam  -  No click-bait  -  No ads  -  No bullshit

 

Antarctica and Patagonia

It started out as a trip to Brazil to check out the carnival and beaches of Florianopolis when American had a sale to Sao Paulo. With a systemwide upgrade from my friend, I bought an economy ticket for $712 and got upgraded to business class on all flights.

Then I had a crazy idea of going to Antarctica since it was "close". And I found this cruise at a 20% discount that would work with my dates. To top it off, I was finally able to use my Delta Skypesos to book the rest of the tickets on Aerolinas Argentinas to get down to Ushuaia as well as spend a couple days in Patagonia checking out Perito Moreno glacier.

There is no accommodation in Antarctica for non-researchers so we will stay on the ship and go on various shore excursions and see lots of wildlife. I might also get to spend one of the nights camping on the ice. All that if we survive the Drake Passage - two days in the roughest waters on the planet. I've stocked up on Bonine and ginger caps already.


pacific island hopper and sakuras in japan

For decades Continental Micronesia has been flying this rather curious route in the Pacific connecting many of the small islands and atolls that were "of interest" to the US. United now flies it three days a week with an ETOPS Boeing 737-800 departing from Hawaii in early morning and getting to Guam in the evening after 13 hours and four or five stops along the way.

It's long been one of the must-fly routes for avgeeks to "visit" many of these islands, but with stops under one hour on each of the islands, I figured it wouldn't be much of a visit. Instead, I decided to spend more miles but actually stay for a few days in each of these places, as well as check out Rota, Saipan and amazing Palau and Yap.

I have always wanted to go to Japan - sushi, culture, and efficiency of Japanese made me curious to check it out long time ago but it hasn't happened yet. Well, what would be better than checking it out during the peak of sakura blooming season? The answer is none. So here I come!


Flying emirates first class on a380 (and jordan)

Spoiler alert: I love traveling. But being as tall as I am, it is tough to do long flights in economy with my knees embedded in the seat in front of me. So I often spend more miles and fly business class. And while I have done that quite a bit, I never felt that spending even more miles for a first class seat was justifiable - I have flown on private jets when I worked at Netjets, having the entire Boeing business jet to myself (with a shower, bedroom, and three flight attendants baking us cookies), so I was never really tempted by the first class bling

But there are some epic products out there and I figured it's time to spend some miles and check them out. Emirates first class service on A380 is one of those - including a bar and a shower on top of caviar, top of the line champagne, chauffeur service, and so on.  So I figured why not? I even decided to fly out of Seoul instead of Japan so I can have both legs of my Emirates flights on the A380. And booking these with Alaska Airlines miles, I could have a free stopover on the way, so I am going on a road trip in Jordan for a few days!

images courtesy of Emirates

images courtesy of Emirates


33rd birthday - one day. 33 hours. 3 cities. 3 countries.

I had this thought a while ago - wouldn't it be neat to celebrate my birthday somewhere in Asia, then hop on the flight, cross the international date line and celebrate it again on this side of the Pacific? The date line arbitrage, if you will :)

Well, I'm all for doing rather than dreaming and it's happening this year! I will start in Hong Kong, staying at the luxurious suite at Grand Hyatt with the view of the harbor and access to their lounge to start the celebrations. I booked a regular room using their points+cash rates, then used one of my suite upgrades that I got for free when Hyatt gave me their Dimond status earlier this year just because I asked. Actual cost: $1044.05. What I paid: $64.21.

image courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

image courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

I will then head to the airport and check out the amazing Cathay Pacific first class lounges with champagne bars, private cabanas and other "necessities" of first class travel. Then I have the flight to LAX in, arguably, the best first class product out there. A few hours layover in LAX to go celebrate with my SoCal friends (In-n-Out LAX, anyone?) and then off to Vancouver to finish up the festivities. Actual flight cost: $13,997.00 (it's the best first class for a reason). What I paid: $0 (taxes and fees were reimbursed by my American Express Platinum card's airline fee benefit).

image courtesy of awardbee.com

image courtesy of awardbee.com

And with 15 hour time difference between Hong Kong and Vancouver, I figured if I wake up at 6am, I will have 33 hours to celebrate until midnight.

Crazy?

Precisely!

image courtesy of Cathay Pacific

image courtesy of Cathay Pacific


all map images above were generated using Great Circle Mapper