Tag Archives: frequent flier miles

Family Vacation Planning as a Second Career

Last night my husband broke into one of my nightly monologues (I feel the need to narrate everything that has happened that day to him, since he travels quite a bit for business) with this, “I know you’re really excited about our December vacation, but I honestly don’t really care what you decide we’re going to see. You’ve always chosen good places, I’ve loved all of our travel.  I’m sure this will be wonderful as well.”

Dude.  Buzzkill.  I know that half-an-hour on this hotel vs. the other hotel might seem like overkill to the uninitiated, but I love figuring this stuff out.

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The Dark Side of Pointage – Staring Into the Customer Service Abyss

 

There's always a curry at the BA Heathrow lounge.  Except in this picture.  This is the one time.
There’s always a curry at the BA Heathrow lounge. Except in this picture. This is the one time.

I’m sure you can understand why, as of the middle of September, I was rather reluctant to use reservations we made using United mileage points way back in April.   Maybe you can’t.  But you *could* if I told you that those reservations were made on a route that would be using Accra, Ghana as a transit point to get from one place in Africa to Marrakech, Morocco in December.

Okay, maybe you’re still a little confused.  Let me illustrate:

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In Which I Grind My Teeth and Make Terrible Faces

I love travel.  I love exposing my kids to travel.  I love that my family is absolutely insufferable when watching the movie European Vacation.  I know that sounds snotty, and I don’t mean it to.  I put a job’s worth of time into getting the most out of our travel, because goodness knows that we’re not at an income level to be able to just throw down the Visa card whenever a place strikes our fancy (case in point – Australia and New Zealand.  My kids are DYING to visit those two and we have not been able to find a way to swing it as of yet.  But, you know, goals are good).

We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I'm sure it is coming.
We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I’m sure it is coming.

Because we are not independently wealthy, we pay close attention to sales, promotions and airline points.  It is those airline points which are today causing the ridiculous headache, and I have vowed they WILL!  NOT!  WIN!

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Vacation Planning Junkie

Christmas is done planned.

Sort of.  I mean, we have airline tickets (yay for airline miles!).  I’m working on hotels and transportation.  I have three of four guidebooks…

The whole travel guide thing is ridiculously addictive.  I have thirty.  So far.
The whole travel guide thing is ridiculously addictive. I have thirty. So far.

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The *BIG* Trip – Take One

French!  Castles!
French! Castles!

Every year we take a big trip around Christmas time.  There are a few reasons for this – first, the kids’ school lets out for about a month around that time and we have a free travel schedule.  Second, if you plan your travel right (and far ahead) and aren’t too worried about methods, you can get some seriously excellent travel deals.  Third, and this is probably 75% of the reason for us right here, we live in a climate that isn’t very Christmasy and I feel a deep urge to go somewhere pine trees are an indigenous species.

We all have our priorities.

Our first major overseas Christmas trip involved thirty days, three countries, five major cities, two overnight train trips, several smaller train trips, a bout with norovirus,  an anti-austerity demonstration in Spain, and business class travel both to and from Europe for under $5000 (not including food).

It was absolutely fantastic.

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On Airlines : British Airways

Disclaimer:  We use British Airways a lot, and we have a rather large point balance with them.

BA flying all majestic-in-the-skies
BA flying all majestic-in-the-skies

Why, you may ask, do we have a large BA point balance instead of using those beautiful little things to purchase more travel?

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