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2012 In Review

By January 2, 2013 December 10th, 2013 No Comments

Happy 2013!

To all the FFU Readers around the World, I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years!

I rang in 2013 with Friends at a Big Gigantic Concert in Chicago, and it was insane. Only surpassed by NYE 2009 in Amsterdam.

Midnight Balloon Drop

FFU Superfan

2012 In Review

Needless to say 2012 was an awesome year!

It is hard to believe that it was exactly 366 days ago today that Frequent Flyer University was launched. As they say, the rest is history…

Outside of all the Miles, Deals, and Trips in 2012, the most important thing I did was finally take the plunge and start attending some of these Frequent Flying Seminars and Events like the MegaDO, FTU, and Chicago Seminars. The sheer amount of knowledge I learned from randomly talking to people at these events was staggering. Not to mention all the new Friendships that have been formed.

Reading the Blogs and FlyerTalk is fine, but if you really want to learn more about this hobby, I highly suggest attending at least one of these events. The next FTU is in April in Washington, DC (More Info). You will not be disappointed!

I was extremely fortunate to get a fair amount of travel in during 2012, although it was fairly back-loaded towards the end of the year.

All in all, according to TripIt.com, I flew around 43,000 Miles this year, which is a new record for me. Hopefully I will be able to crush that record in 2013.

2012 Trips

  • India – December
  • Los Angeles – December (FTU)
  • San Francisco, Houston, Chicago – November (Star MegaDO 4)
  • New York – October (Hurricane Sandy)
  • Cannes, Nice, Monaco – September
  • Seattle – August (Dave Matthews Band Concert)
  • Washington, DC – July
  • Montreal – June
  • New York – January

Although 8 trips does sound like a lot, the majority were 2 – 3 day weekend excursions.

The most AMAZING part is that every single one of the above trips was FREE! The Airfare was 100% paid in full with Frequent Flyer Miles and most of the Hotels were substantially subsidized with Hotel Points or drastically lowered with Best Rate Guarantees.

2012 Credit Cards

Although I started 2012 thinking I would be conservative in my Credit Card strategy, that basically went on the window the second I discovered how awesome and easy App-O-Ramas are.

Most of the below Cards can be found on the Best Current Deals Tab.

  • INK Bold – 60,000 Ultimate Rewards – May 2012
  • United MileagePlus Explorer – 55,000 United Miles + $50 Statement Credit – May 2012
  • SPG Business Card – 35,000 Starpoints
  • AMEX Platinum – 50,000 Membership Rewards
  • Citi AA Visa – 50,000 AA Miles
  • Citi AA AMEX – 50,000 AA Miles
  • Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines – 35,000 Miles (Convertible to 70,000 Hilton Points)
  • Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines – 35,000 Miles (Convertible to 70,000 Hilton Points)
  • Barclays US Airways – 40,000 Miles
  • Chase Southwest Personal – 50,000 Miles
  • Chase Southwest Business – 50,000 Miles

All in all, before completing any of the Minimum Spend, I earned about 580,000 Miles / Points by signing up for 11 Cards.

Plan For 2013

Going into 2012, I had laid out a “strategy”  but that changed pretty quickly. I was fairly accurate in that we would see higher Minimum Spends on the Cards but for some reason the Higher Sign Up Bonuses didn’t exactly pan out.

Given that I have quite a few Miles now, as well as Credit Cards, unless there are some new Credit Card products coming out in 2013, I will primarily be attempting to diversify my Credit Card Portfolio by applying for more obscure Cards from US Bank, Barclays, Citi, and AMEX. Additionally, I will be applying for more Business Cards. 

With an additional 580,000 in new Miles / Points this past year, I am slowly approaching the tipping point where I have 100,000+ Miles in each of the major Airline Programs. This means that I can basically book, in a matter of minutes, a free ticket to anywhere in the World.

Since Frequent Flyer Miles really have no value unless you use them, I am going to spend 2013 trying to redeem my miles and visit some new and exotic places that I have never been to.

Some potential ideas that I have been floating around in my head include:

  • Istanbul
  • Lisbon
  • A Warm Beach Anywhere In The World, As It’s Currently 12 Degrees In Chicago!
  • New Zealand
  • Thailand
  • Africa (Safari)
  • Brazil or Peru
  • Zero Gravity Flight (as soon as I can find someone to give me $5k that they don’t need or Zero Gravity starts to accept Frequent Flyer Miles as payment)

Overall based on how awesome 2012 was, 2013 looks like it is going to be even better if that is possible. I already have 3 trips tentatively planned for the next 30 days.

Hopefully 2013 will be filled with lots of new travel, new experiences, and many new Friends / Readers.

I would love to hear what other People’s Travel / Frequent Flying goals are for 2013!

-Parag

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