2013 at a Glance + Let’s Meet Up Next Month

What a great way to start off 2013 with a bang; so far in the month of January I’ve been on a total of 6 flights. The first three days of the year were spent in the quaint town of Aiken, SC where I was able to meet with fellow reader/friend, Susan (@miffsc). Then from the 4th – 8th, I ended up in Vegas for a fun impulsive weekend with friends and to also attend New Media Expo 2013 with some other fellow bloggers.

I apologize for not posting a “proper” New Year’s post in a timely manner. The truth of the matter is I that couldn’t think of a clever New Year’s Resolution, and frankly, there hasn’t been anything that exciting happening in the points and miles world lately (oh… except the 100K Membership Rewards AmEx Platinum card offer from a few days ago… that 100K other travel bloggers posted about). I like to steer away from filler posts. I guess that could be my New Year’s Resolution?

In all seriousness, looking back at my resolution for 2012, which called for more spontaneous travel, I can honestly say that I have kept my word on that one for all of last year. What an incredible year of travel 2012 has been, and it’ll only get better this year. While on the Star MegaDo 4 in November, I was able to connect with some travel-obsessed and like-minded new friends. The good news is – I found a fun group to travel with every month, but the bad news is that there’s an 86% chance I’ll remain broke this year. Oh the things we do for the love of travel…

Upcoming Travel in 2013

Speaking of travel, here’s what I have lined up for this year so far…

  • Jan 19-21: San Diego – mileage run/mini weekend trip from ZFV on United. $161 for approximately 6,000 PQM.
  • Jan 24-27: ?? Somewhere impulsive in Europe with friends -or- LAX for the SAG Awards
  • Jan 30-Feb 1: Las Vegas with the parents. $168 RT from EWR on US Airways (will credit to UA).
  • Feb 2: Somewhere in North Jersey for a reader mingle dinner/fun get together
  • Feb 6-12: Israel with some of my Twitter buddies. We booked this during last summer’s El Al mistake fare of $329 round trip!
  • Feb 14-18: Istanbul – great $413 United fare between DCA and IST. Applied one of my $300 United Travel Vouchers, bringing my out of pocket cost to just $113 for approximately 11K PQM.
  • Mar 17 – 27: Sydney with Dad – flying first class on Singapore Airlines’ A380 suite with 80,000 United miles. The itinerary includes a full day in San Francisio and Singapore on the way down to Sydney. We’re returning on Qantas business class by redeeming 62,500 American Airlines miles (ended up actually being 56,250 thanks to 10% back on redeemed miles with my Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card).
  • Apr 4-10: Buenos Aires + a day in Rio de Janeiro – a friend and I were able to book an awesome mistake fare of $386.22 round trip for this great itinerary on TAM airlines (will credit miles to United).
  • Apr 12-16: Maui – got myself a free one-way in first class from EWR-OGG from my above Sydney return trip.
  • Apr 25-28: Washington DC/Northern VA area – The Freddie Awards/Frequent Traveler University – 800 travel-obessed people under one roof calls for good times!
  • May 10-12: Colorado Springs, CO – blogger weekend at House of Miles.
  • Sometime in June: Dubai
  • Sept 20 – 27? – Munich for Oktoberfest + possibly Vienna or Prague afterward? Booked an off-peak AAdvantage award for 18,000 miles (related post).
I can’t believe it’s only the first week of January, and it seems like I already have my entire year planned out! I’m sure other small trips will creep their way into the year as the weeks go by. Will I be crossing paths with any of you guys?

Elite Status Check for 2013

Here’s where I’m at in terms of status this year:

Airline: United Premier Gold, Turkish Airlines Gold (acquired through a status match with United to grant me domestic lounge access privileges for 2 years), American Airlines Gold, Virgin America Silver (also obtained through some sort of status match)
Hotel: Club Carlson Gold, Hyatt Diamond (through 2/28/13 from SMD4, then I will return to Platinum since I am a Hyatt Credit Card holder), Marriott Platinum (by requesting a status challenge), Starwood Gold, Hilton HHonors Gold (from my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card)

Status Goals for 2013

Airline: United Premier 1K and Gold or higher with American Airlines.
Hotel: To be honest, there’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to my hotel loyalty/stay patterns. At the end of the day, I’m going for the cheapest room/a clean place to sleep at night. Suites and upgrades are nice, but not necessary. The perks I enjoy most are free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking where applicable.

Personal/Blog Goals for 2013

  • This might sound cheesy, but I just started logging my flight activity for this year with Flight Memory, so that I could have one of those cool maps depicting all of my travel adventures by year end.
  • I want to have more frequent get togethers with readers; there’s nothing quite like talking miles, points, and travel all day long with people who actually “get it”.
  • More trip reports!
  • I want to be able to be more comfortable traveling alone. I’m not quite the shy type, but in general I tend to gravitate towards traveling in a group. It’s time for my big girl shoes…
  • Destinations that are high on my list are: Kenya, Egypt, Lima, Capetown, The Maldives/Tahiti/Bora Bora, and Barcelona. Will I do that all in one year? Most likely not, but a girl can dream!
and now for the fun part…

Let’s Meet Up – February 2, 2013

I’m sure you know by now, one of my favorite things about this “hobby” is meeting all of the amazing people behind it. Not too long ago at FTU in LA, I was talking to some of the attendee,s and someone had suggested the idea of an informal dinner/get together in the Northern NJ/NYC area sometime soon.
Well, of course I think it’s a great idea, so if you’re in town in the coming weeks, feel free to join myself and others for a fun night out.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
  • Date: Saturday, February 2 (yes, that’s Groundhog Day – hopefully he presents us with some good news about an early summer).
  • Time: Probably around 6PM-whenever
  • Location: Somewhere in the Northern NJ area/close to EWR
  • Capacity: to keep this event from being too chaotic, I think it’s fair to cap it off at a maximum of 25 attendees
  • Price: We’ll all be going dutch, but I promise to try to keep it in the $40 range so it’s reasonable for all.
So now as far as the actual “activity”, Dad and I have been bouncing back and forth with ideas ranging from a traditional sit-down dinner to more interactive options. Take a look at the poll below and place your vote for the idea that most interests you. In a few days we will solidify the plans based on the popular vote.

What fun "meet up" activity most interests you for February 2?

View Results

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I know many people on Twitter have expressed interest in coming, but to get a better count, please comment below if you’re interested in attending. Any questions, please ask! I’m excited for a fun night out with you guys!
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  1. Pamela T says

    Do you work? How does your body have any idea what time zone it is in, with all the zones you cross in such short periods of time! Amazing.

  2. says

    Ok.. Can I just be your friend so I can go on trips with you cause none of my friends can ever get away and do stuff.. I love the way your so spontaneous.


  3. says

    Also.. How do you find these great rates.. I’m flying from Louisiana so I have no clue as to find the good flights for the cheap prices. I really wanna go for 1K status this year but have no clue how to do that.


  4. Keef says

    How do you find these cheap united fares like the one to Istanbul? Is there a site/blog that tracks these or do you just do your own ITA searches?

  5. dhammer53 says

    You can tell Dad that I’m looking forward to his Blog reports from EZE and LAS. His previous post on a guide(s) in Lima was a home run. Those ‘kids’ did a great job showing us Lima.

  6. Nickfromct says

    That date look good to me. Someplace conducive to talking would be nice. The more north and east in NJ would be great.

  7. choi says

    I m totally jealous, you live a life most of us would only dream of. how do you maintain an income with just travelling ?

  8. Ben S. says

    If you’re just getting started with flight tracking, I’d suggest looking at openflights.org or flightdiary.net as well. OpenFlights is very good at filtering/sorting your flights and importing/exporting your data so you can bulk-edit it or upload it to another site (like FlightDiary). FlightDiary just looks the coolest in my opinion and if you just import from OpenFlights you don’t ever have to re-enter anything.

    Ping me if you want any help/tips getting started.

  9. Joel says

    Shoot! I’ll be at EWR on that day but am leaving for a morning mileage run to Honolulu. The layovers are short, and I’ve heard “on-time” is a word not often seen at Newark. Hopefully I’ll make each leg. However, if for some reason I’m stuck in Newark, count me in.

  10. kodoma says

    Happy New Year and happy travels! I am 87% sure to still be broke this year thanks to Hurricane Sandy and my house, but look forward to reading about your adventures!

  11. stadiaguy says

    Le Meridien at the Dead Sea, 3k SPG pts per night. Fattel property but surprisingly had a great stay. Stay comes with killer breakfast for spg gold.

  12. says

    @Pamela: Yes, I work :) I schedule my work on my days off in between and I usually can some get work done wherever there is wifi available when I’m traveling :) I try to eat well/rest/exercise when I can while traveling to stay healthy and avoid the grogginess from jet lag.

    @Carla: Let’s be friends! :-P. I’m always up for traveling with like-minded people. I usually find low fares by stalking twitter/flyertalk/milepoint/etc for great fare sales/mistake fares.

    @Mrig: Love the bowling idea… and the miles and points as prizes :-D. Did you know that Dad is in the bowling hall of fame? We got some fierce competition!

    @John: Hoboken is a strong consideration :)

    @Keef: I check theflightdeal.com daily for flight sales.

    @dhammer53: I’m glad that Dad’s recommendation made your trip memorable. I’ll poke at him for more trip reports!

    @Steve: Awesome! Israel will be a lot of fun. Did you book it during the mistake fare too?

    @Cogswell: all of my points are from credit card bonuses, regular spending, and travel/stay credits

    @choi: I pick up side gigs as much as I can when I’m home. I’ve always lived somewhat of a”hustle” life lol. Plus, I’m not a big spender when I travel.

    @Scott: I don’t spend much on the road. A lot of the time I snack on bananas/granola bars etc throughout the day from hotel continental breakfasts/eat street foods.

    @Ben: Thanks for the flight diary recommendation. I’ll set that up now!

    @Joel: Hope you can make it!

    @kodoma: Happy new year to you too!! I’m so sorry about your loss during Sandy… she hit Jersey pretty hard :( Hope your year gets better as your recovery progresses :)

    @stadiaguy: Nail in the head – that’s where I’ll be spending a night! :)

  13. says

    Angelina I’m in. When you come to Louisiana message me for sure. I’m bummed that I didn’t meet u at FTU. I was there alone but I’m shy in situations where I don’t know anyone. Would love to meet up anytime!

  14. Steve says

    Nope – just a regular fare, since I’m flying from Europe and not flexible on dates. Got one night booked at the Le Meridien Dead Sea, but having read the reviews, I’m really not that keen on it. Hope they get their act together.

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