2018 turned out to be another great travel year for me. I ended the year with 32 flights and 49,534 miles flown. Of the 32 flights, 24 were domestic and 8 were international.
My longest flight (ever) was from New York to Hong Kong at 8068 miles – it was also my family’s first time to Asia. I again flew Southwest the most – 10 flights since I still had the companion pass. Southwest’s Baltimore-Washington (BWI) hub is where I took my most flights from (12).
The year started with a quick long weekend trip to the Fairmont in Mayakoba, Mexico. We had two free night certificates from the discontinued Chase Fairmont credit card that were about to expire. I ended up paying for a single night for the three night stay. I also was able to apply a suite upgrade certificate to the reservation. In all I spent $523 for a three night stay in a huge Casita suite that was going for over $3500.
Next I was lucky to go to my first Superbowl ever to see my beloved Philadelphia Eagles win their first Superbowl in Minnesota with my dad.
Only a couple of weeks later, we took off on our annual ski trip. This year we went far than we usually go – all the way to Whistler, Canada. We used 48,000 SPG points for a 5 night stay right on the mountain at the Westin Whistler. Rates were going for $824/night – so this gave us a tremendous value of 8.5 ¢/pt ($4120 / 48,000 SPG points).
In March I got out of the cold and headed to the Bahamas on a fishing trip with the guys. The weather was beautiful and lobsters delicious!
While April was quiet, we ended May with a trip to Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. My wife was dying to see her favorite singer – Ricky Martin. We stayed at one of our favorites – Aria.
At the end of June, we started on the longest and furthest trip ever to Thailand. The trip started with business class seats from New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific using only 50,000 Alaska Airline miles for each ticket. The girls loved it!
We took advantage of Alaska Airline’s free stopover with award tickets to spend a couple days in Hong Kong and got to visit Disneyland Hong Kong. I wish the US parks were not as crowded as Hong Kong’s – we walked right on to every ride.
After finally getting to Thailand – we visited three places. First was Chiang Mai in the northern region. Visiting the elephant nature park and a thai cooking class were the most memorable experiences in Chiang Mai.
Our next stop in Thailand was on the island of Koh Samui for some rest and relaxation. Staying at the Conrad Koh Samui in a 2000 SF 2 bedroom multi-level villa with our own infinity pool overlooking the ocean tops my list of award redemptions.
We ended up using 3 free Hilton weekend certificates along with 95,000 Hilton points for this 4 night stay which was too short. It was AMAZING!
Our ended our Thailand trip with the final 3 nights in Bangkok. While Bangkok was my least favorite of our three destinations, we saw some pretty cool temples and palaces.
We flew home on Korean Airlines. Unfortunately there weren’t 4 business class award seats so my wife and I had to tough it out in FIRST CLASS 🙂 We also got to stop in Seoul for a couple days on our way home. I always get a kick out of changing into PJs on a plane!
The rest of the summer and Labor Day weekend we spent many weekends at Dewey Beach, DE staying in my favorite award redemption – the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach.
In October I was lucky enough to get to play Pebble Beach. I love love love California weather.
Later in October we got to attend Penn State’s homecoming. Using 24,000 Hyatt points for the 2 night stay was a no brainer instead of paying $1600!
At the beginning of November we headed back down to Florida for a stay at Universal Studios. It was also our first visit to Halloween Horror Nights which was so much fun – we will definitely be going back.
After Thanksgiving, my wife and I took a weekend trip to New York City to burn a couple of free Hilton weekend certificates we still hadn’t used. Conrad’s The London NYC had some of the largest standard rooms I’ve ever seen in New York. They are currently under a full renovation and it should be a top notch property to use your Hilton weekend certificates at – here’s my review.
And finally we ended the year with a ski trip to Keystone, Colorado (review coming soon) right before my 6 consecutive years of having the Southwest companion pass ended.
I am truly blessed to have been able to travel to so many places this year. And here is to an even more amazing 2019.