I wrote in January, before COVID-19 was a pandemic, about trips that I had planned. One of those was a wonderful trip to Japan that I booked with frequent flyer miles – I managed to find two seats in Japan Airlines First Class from Chicago to Tokyo, and then we were going to fly from Nagoya to Detroit on Delta’s A330, which I loved becuase it’s a rather obscure route and it seems that there are almost always business class award seats.
Then I convinced a third friend to come along, and there weren’t any more award seats on Nagoya to Detroit near the date we planned to leave.
I have a ton of time in COVID-19 quarantine. However, what I expected to be doing now was taking a month and traveling around Europe living out of a backpack. When I went to Japan and Taiwan, someone I met was quite surprised that I took two weeks worth of clothes with me, so I was planning on bringing 3 sets of clothes and staying in hostels and doing laundry. Instead of obsessive planning of every detail of my trips, I was going to take things a few days at a time and figure out where to go as it comes. Then COVID-19 hit.
Doing my analysis of American Express’s transfer bonus history got me thinking about some of the uses for miles that are relatively rare in the blogosphere, but still might have utility to someone, potentially with a transfer bonus. Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM (and Kenya Airways and a few others) has a few interesting quirks.
I am a big fan of time bar-based visualizations, such as the timeline view in ITA Matrix. I think it it easier to intuitively understand how things are arranged in time relative to each other compared to looking at a printed timetable. A few months ago, I was interested in when the next American Express transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic was, because I was interested in booking tickets on Delta’s flight from Nagoya to Detroit. The transfer history is available on the internet, but it is difficult to see recurring trends. At the time, I drew it on paper, but since I have some time on my hands now, I decided to make it into a web page.
I like flying in the pointy end of the plane. There, I said it. I have annoyed my family to no end talking about it. Arguably, I have a problem.
My friend and I are going to Japan using the frequent flyer miles and credit card points I’ve built up. We booked Japan Airlines business class for 60,000 AA miles. I should have been happy with that.
Except American Airlines allows free changes to awards in certain circumstances. So I was faced with the option: be happy with what I have, or check every day for award seats in First like some kind of obsessed person.
You can guess which option I chose.
I mentioned in the previous post that I made a few mistakes when booking my trip to Taipei.
Since it’s the beginning of the year, and since I have planned a fair amount of travel for 2020, I thought it would be fun to write a travel blog about what that’s like, especially since my friends and family do not want to hear me talk about airfare or airplanes any more.
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