Back

Sep. 15th, 2011 07:49 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Back in the US. Actually, sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for my chariot ugly-ass MD-80 to carry us to Huntsville.

Had a great time in Jamaica. Will write a bigger post later.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So I've been engaging in a bit of "hypermiling" myself.

No, not that stupid shit people do with cars. I'm talking about airline miles and other travel discounts.

Over the course of the last 10 years, I've joined an airline frequent flyer program in each of the three major alliances (Oneworld, Skyteam, and Star) and whittled it down to one in each (American, Delta, and US Airways). I also have a Southwest and Hawaiian membership for the random Southwest and Hawaiian flight I take occasionally. Well, last night I started looking over other ways to earn miles - mostly with rental cars and hotels. I realized I've been leaving a lot of miles on the floor over the years.

So I created this big chart matching up the mileage offers for each airline and each hotel and rental car chain, so I could figure out which offer returned the highest mileage per item.

In the next 3 months, we're taking 3 major trips involving airplanes, rental cars and hotels. Here's some miles I otherwise might have missed:
  • Hotels: Marriott in Chicago (2 miles per $, or 428 miles on Delta), Microtel in Georgia (2 miles per $, or 288 miles on Delta), Sandals in Jamaica (1,000 on American).

  • Rental Cars: Hertz in Chicago (100 miles/day, or 300 miles on Delta) and Hertz in Georgia (100 miles/day, or 300 miles).
In other words, I would have missed earning 2,316 miles (1,316 on Delta, 1,000 on American) from shit I'm already paying for - or about the equivalent of a cross-country trip. It takes virtually no effort other than letting the agent know at check-in. The only real effort is in doing the research to figure out where you can get the best deal.

Additionally, a lot of times, you can stack shit. Like I can stack my USAA discount on top of the mileage credit for rental cars, or earn both mileage and hotel credit for hotel stays.

And it does pay of. I travel by airplane an average of twice a year (this year's a little heavier because of all the weddings). By the end of September, I will have accumulated 2 free tickets with Delta and 1 free ticket with American, and about a third of the way to another free ticket on US Airways.

Just by random travel, I accumulate a free ticket every 3.3 years. I also have about 5 free nights at Hiltons, a few nights free at Hyatts and Holiday Inns and a handful of other discounts as well. But I think that if I start being smart about surfing for mileage credits in addition to discounts, I may be able to get that below a three year average. :P

Chicago

Sep. 8th, 2010 06:06 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
This last weekend, my wife and I went to Chicago for a kinda-crazy 30 hour trip.

After a night that can only be described as Hell thanks to insomnia, we left for Nashville at 5:30am. We arrived at 7:30 and we're in the airport for our flight on Southwest to Midway. After landing at Midway, we met up with my Dad and rode the "El" back into downtown Chicago where they were staying.

Then, we went to Giordano's in downtown Chicago to get some delicious Chicago-style pizza. Yum!


(Yes, that fucker is like 2 inches thick!)

After that, we got on the road to Rockford, were my cousin was getting married. Well, not really married. They were already married - they just went to a justice of the peace - and were just throwing a big party to celebrate their marriage. It was an interesting evening. I got to see my cousin for the first time since I went to California a few years back, and my uncle for the first time in probably about 10 years.

We stayed the night in Rockford. I bought some natural sleep aid that worked on my insomnia. Or maybe it was that I was so tired I was beginning to hallucinate.

The next morning, we left to head back to Chicago. Since we didn't have to leave until 5pm, we decided to do a little sightseeing. But seeing as how we didn't have a lot of time, we opted to do a boat trip around downtown Chicago and on the waterfront.


(I'm on a boat!)

The boat tour turned out to be a great idea and a really good way to cover a lot of ground. And, at only $25 a person, a bargain as well!

We tool the "El" back down to Midway and flew home, where I learned a very important lesson about flying Southwest: if you don't check in, online, the minute you possibly can, you get really screwed. My wife and I were literally like almost the last people on the airplane, and couldn't sit together.

We finally landed back in Nashville and, after stopping at Jimmy John's for a sandwich (and I discovered I still don't like Jimmy John's that much), we finally returned back to Huntsville at about 10pm.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Sittin' around, waitin' for an airplane... HSV > ATL > SJC.

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Kiran Lightpaw

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