I am done flying for 2016. The next time I put my feet on a Delta jet (not a bulkhead wall like “some” types) will be when myself and about 20-ish readers and bloggers spend a weekend in SXM (you really should plan to join us). My wife will be flying Delta one more time this year and it will be interesting to see how her final flights go as a Gold Medallion.
But that is not what this post is all about. This post is all about my #HKG Mileage / Vacation run. It really was a bit of a combo as I left the airport and, in my book, anytime you depart the airport you are no longer on a “pure” mileage run but now on a bit of a vacation with a mileage run sandwiched in between the fun (I think I take enough runs to be able to say that with some authority).
First some simple math. This sweet run to Hong Kong was only valid from Houston. It was a low ~$352 but I had a $200 bump voucher leftover so I only paid $152 of my own money. Also I had to get to IAH since I live in the SBN (airport code) or the South Bend area, but I found a ticket for just under $400 and that works perfect for 20k FlexPerks points. So my net out of pocket was very almost nothing so far for this fun run.
My first flight, just under 2 hours long, was to be on a CRJ200. Ugg. But as you can see from the photo above I got two seats in the exit row out of SBN. That, if you ever fly a CJR200, is truly #winning and I consider it an “upgrade” as truly as a C+ “SideGrade” is an upgrade on a mainline jet. Was it a sign of good things to come?
The first bit of joy came during my positing flight down to Houston. I took the “dark-30” flight out of South Bend to connect to an early flight out of Atlanta since I knew there were flights every few hours to IAH just in case something went wonky. Nothing went wrong other than the flight being oversold by 5 meant that my getting to the gate early and volunteering my 1st class (gate cleared) seat. This netted me the voucher you see above for about a 2 hour wait for the next flight to Houston (with tons of time to make my international connection – or so I thought).
…and then I started to really regret my choice to take this bump. We were first informed that we were stuck and had to wait by the pilot but then, thanks to a reroute north, we were allowed to take off and I have never been so happy to get in the air.
After a sweet visit to the Centurion IAH (review on the way soon) I settled in to my Delta One seat to HKG (thanks to cleared Global Upgrade certs). These did clear weeks before the flight and I am thrilled they did. The ride, service and meals were just great (more on this later as well). You can see a quick overview of my few days in Hong Kong here if you missed it.
As for the return flights, after visiting a number of lounges along the way, I made my way back to Detroit with only one CRJ200 hop back to SBN to finish my Delta flying for 2016. Let me remind you how much I HATE the CRJ200s. They are truly an evil bird and all of them should be turned into Delta coke cans. Having said that I do kind of love them for one simple reason and that is “bumpertunites” and this last flight of the year was no exception. The plane was not just over sold but also had weight and balance issues that meant 3 had to get off the jet. The result was the voucher you see above and…
A $15 food voucher and a hotel voucher for the Westin DTW. Love it. Well I I normally love the Westin but this stay again reminded me why I am so happy I gave up on chasing SPG Platinum status for good. I see Marriott quality and service impacting my old beloved SPG more and more each day.
Anyway, my totals for this fun / vacation / mileage run were impressive. I paid a scant $152 out of pocket and Delta gave me back $1200. I got to fly each leg in 1st class due to being a Diamond or Global Upgrade certs. I hauled in almost 20,000 elite points or MQMs for all the flights including the positioning flights to IAH. Just about perfect when you add it all up.
In closing I have to say 2016 has been a stunning year. The blog has more views that ever before and just keeps on growing (thank you readers). My point balance also just keeps climbing and the deals this year have blown all the page views per year out of the water. Plus, what is currently going on in MS land, is better than I have EVER seen and could even eclipse the MINT coin days (yeah it is that good). These are good times in frequent flyer land and I hope you are taking part.
For 2017 I am looking forward to testing and meeting my AMEX MQD exempt spend in all sorts of creative ways as well as the SXM trip, the FTU in late February as well as a planned BBQ crawl sometime in April in AUS (stay tuned for more info soon). Then a trip to Sweden at sick cheap prices paid for with a bump voucher and plan to apply GU certs to that one as well.
So how was your year? Are you short a few MQMs of where you want to be? Believe it or not there still is time! If you have never EVER had the Delta Reserve personal or business cards you can still get them, spend at least $1 and haul in 10,000 MQMs this year. Can’t get a Delta AMEX card? You should ASAP reach out to ADAM (like right now) and have him book you a Delta Elite Mileage Run from your home town before prices go crazy and you are only left buying MQMs at “Bat Crazy” price direct from the Delta Mothership! – René