5 Tips for Maximizing Your Points

I get asked often how I travel so much, but really there’s no simple answer to that.  It’s a combination of many things: keeping an eye on flight deals, searching message boards, taking crazy routings, and last but certainly not least, using points.  Points tickets have allowed me to make some spectacular trips, but I do spend a great deal of time trying to optimize them.

For many years I was a loyal Aeroplan customer, part of the Star Alliance network.  However, after continued devaluations of the program, and the fact that United was the partner in the US, I made the jump over to Alaska Airline’s Mileage Program.  Although the program is not part of an alliance, they have many great partners you can redeem on.  I feel that this program is the best for me in terms of point redemption opportunities, but everyone is different. Continue reading

3 ticket, 6 fights, and 56 hours…

In order to get a good deal on tickets, I’m willing to fly a bit out of the way; okay a lot out of the way.  My flight home from Sweden was not only long, but ended up being longer than anticipated.

The journey started out decently.  I found a cheap flight to Istanbul on AtlasGlobal which arrived late on the Saturday night, with plenty of time to make my connection.  Since these were two separate tickets I wanted to allow for a lot of time in case something went wrong; luckily, it didn’t.  AtlasGlobal is a discount carrier based in Turkey, but they are much better than any other “discount” airline I’ve flown, such as EasyJet or Ryan Air.  The flight from Stockholm to Istanbul was on time, and fairly pleasant.  With free food, free drinks, and a row to myself, it was a lot better than many flights in North America.  I will say that someone was allowing their children to run up and down the aisle, jumping on seats.  Some people just have no clue.  I was close to saying something, but then the drink cart came by and blocked them in the back of the plane for a while… and the wine also helped. Continue reading

Flashback Friday: First Trip to the UAE

November 2015

Warning to my friends: if you move somewhere, I will come visit you.  This is not an empty threat.  Some friends who had relocated to Dubai found this out first hand 🙂

After a late arrival (or early morning depending how you look at it) my friends picked me up at the airport and I promptly crashed for a few hours to catch up on sleep.  After waking up and reorienting myself, it was off to explore Dubai Marina (the area where my friends lived)! This, of course, included a stop at Starbucks. Continue reading

Heading to Stockholm

So if you remember from one of my previous posts (Stockholm for a Whole Week!) I had a trip planned to visit my friend in Stockholm; well I’ve finally gotten around to typing up our adventures!

Firstly, the trip over went fairly well.  I made all my connections, got to check out a number of lounges and made it to Stockholm just under 24 hours later 🙂  My voyage started bright and early (well not really that bright) in Vancouver as I had booked a separate ticket down to SFO to start my international trip.  Luckily I was upgraded on my SEA-SFO flight (thanks Alaska!) and got a few other surprise things (free Starbucks card!) which made this a great start to my trip.

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The long road home… via Japan.

My original plan was to fly home from Melbourne via LAX.  I was very excited because I’d manage to score a first class ticket on Qantas!  Unfortunately, with my change in plans, I ended up having to cancel the ticket 😦  So instead, my flight home ended up taking me back through Japan on Japan Airlines (known as JAL), luckily in Business Class.  the best part about it is that you get to skip the lines at the airport! Continue reading

A Weekend in Europe

I’ll cover more details of my travels later, but since everyone thinks I was crazy for doing it, I though I would add a blog post about what I did the other weekend.  In Europe.

Yes, it’s been pointed out to me a few times that going all that way for a long weekend is a bit ridiculous; however, I knew it would be later in the year and I wouldn’t have that much vacation time left, so I took a 4 day weekend and ran with it.

Dinner in the UK

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A quick update from my travels

I’ve been having a wonderful time in Stockholm visiting my friends and even had a chance to jump over to Helsinki for the day on the infamous “Party Ferry”.  While the trip over was relatively painless (except for the pure number of stopovers), the trip home is a different story.  I left my friends around noon, which is 3am in Vancouver on Saturday morning.  I will not arrive home until just around midnight on Sunday evening.  Almost 48 hours of travel.

Now don’t feel too bad for me, all flights -except the first leg on a discount carrier – are in business class.  Plus I have the recent addition of my Priority Pass (which I’m currently using to relax in the lounge in Stockholm) so I doubt it will be too hectic.  Unless some of the storms hitting the Pacific Northwest affect my flights.  But that’s a whole other issue.  So for now I will just sit back, relax, and enjoy my 45 hour journey home.

view from the plane window

Stockholm for a Whole Week!

So I’ve got another crazy trip coming up! If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you would not find this shocking. The surprising part is that I’m actually spending a whole 6 days in Stockholm! The crazy part is just they way I get there. I never spend that much time in one place, so it should be fun! I’m going to visit a friend who just bought a house there (although I really don’t need a reason to visit) and I managed to get a fantastic deal on airfare!

It’s a bit convoluted…My routing is as follows:

  • YVR-SEA-SFO on Alaska
  • SFO-AMS-ARN on KLM
  • ARN-IST on Atlas Global
  • IST-CDG on Air France
  • CDG-SEA-SFO on Delta
  • SFO-SEA-YVR on Alaska

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First time on Cathay Pacific: KUL-HKG-SYD

I arrived at KLIA 1 and made my way up to the departure levels.  I found the airport was a bit confusing, with not a great deal of signage.  I didn’t have any luggage to check so I didn’t bother trying to find the check in counter and instead wandered around until I saw a sign that said “International Gates.” Heading down the escalator, I found the passport control at the bottom and was quickly through to the terminal area.

I had booked a ticket in Premium Economy, not looking forward to the long overnight flight being in a tiny seat, but had been notified a few weeks before I left that there had been an aircraft change from KUL to HKG and I had been bumped to business class… Score! This meant I had Lounge access for my trip, which is always a plus! At KUL this got me access to both Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge, and the Cathay Pacific Lounge.  I found the Golden Lounge just past security and went up the escalator to the entrance.  The lounge staff suggested I should try the satellite lounge since that is where my flight was departing from.  I had a few hours before my flight, and I would have liked to check out both lounges, but didn’t feel like arguing and head off towards the satellite terminal.

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Update from Sydney

So I’m settled in Sydney, but have had a hard time trying to carve out time to share updates on my trip.  There’s just too much to do here! Plus I’ve been putting in some long days at work, so I’m pretty beat when I get home.

I’ve still got updates coming for Malaysia, the Great Barrier Reef, and New Zealand, in addition to what I’ve seen around here, plus all the flights! Since leaving Malaysia I’ve flown Cathay Pacific, Qantas (a few times), Jet Star, Air New Zealand, and LATAM (formerly Lan).

Currently settled into an apartment in town, north of the city centre and about 15 min on the train to the office here.  But I’m hardly ever there since there’s quite a bit to see around town. And I’ve barely scratched the surface! Continue reading