Sep262015

AAdvantage ExPlat fast-track Diary Day 26 – Ready, Set, Go to London and Paris

What a week! The last time I was this out of it from sickness during travel was February 2011, when I came down with the flu while staying in Washington, D.C. One night during that trip when burning up with fever at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, I had to escape the heat of a room with no winter AC and windows drilled shut by walking the National Mall at midnight from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. My wife was pissed off when she called my cell phone to find I was standing inside the Lincoln Memorial instead of resting in bed.

Ready, Set Go to London and Paris

Tomorrow’s flights to London will put me over 30,000 EQM for American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum on my fast-track challenge.

I am as ready as I am going to be for my third trip to Europe this month. I have had five days at home in California resting from whatever kind of infection laid me low in Arctic Norway last week. My throat seems 90% better. The knock out effect of one super duper muscle relaxer gave me 36 hours sleep. That little pill is clearing out of my system after three nights and days.

At the time I received the AAdvantage fast-track offer in late June, I already had a three week trip planned to Europe and Boston for July. I would have preferred to space my trips to Europe with weeks between flights, but it was necessary to squeeze 30,000 miles in one month to make this work before the deadline. My AAdvantage fast-track elite deadline is October 9, 2015.

I have been drinking lots of tea and water, sleeping 10 to 12 hours per day for the past few days, and maintaining a restful schedule. This frequent flying is like a tough sport that demands conditioning and stamina. I am out of practice with heavy duty flying schedules.

Back in 2001, I made two back to back trips to Singapore over two weeks when there was a United Airlines sale SIN-SFO for something like $279 round trip. Those miles allowed me to reach United 1K that year for the first time. That was around 34,000 miles flying in economy class over ten days. The impact of 9/11 on international flyers meant I flew business class nearly every flight with my 1K elite status that year, even without using my system-wide upgrade certificates.

Starting from Zero

Chasing high elite status means starting from zero miles at some point in your frequent flyer account and generally lots of economy class miles are required to progress through elite levels. For the novice flyer, the thrill of going places on a plane is often the primary allure of flying itself. For me that thrill is gone or at least severely limited after many years of flying. I still marvel at the opportunity to be at home one day and in a place like London the next day.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle seen from a British Airways flight September 2015

In general, I find plane travel for the most part sucks. Some of the views from up high looking over the landscape amaze me, some of the inflight entertainment is a nice distraction, but ultimately the dry air, aircraft noise, cramped conditions and basically inhospitable environment of crossing the world inside a metal tube is something that grows old when repeated too frequently.

Business and first class seating alleviates some of the discomfort of cramped conditions, but the air and noise isn’t any better in business class, just the seat, food and drink service.

Hopefully with American AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite status through February 2017, I’ll log tens of thousands of more miles in Business and First class flights. Perhaps American AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite will increase my love for flying over the next 17 months. That remains to be seen.

Ultimately, flying for me is simply a means to reach a destination. In two days that destination is Paris. A year from now I’ll have memories firmly planted in my head of visiting Paris.

My thirty flights of September in the chase for AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite, including the flights I take tomorrow to London and Monday to Paris will be forgotten…until I read these blog posts again.

Loyalty Traveler AAdvantage Elite Challenge Fast-Track posts

My account has been upgraded to AAdvantage Gold after 6,000 EQM this week (September 6, 2015)

I have been a member of AAdvantage since 1990, more than 25 years now.

I am AAdvantage Gold–FFP elite again after 5 years Oct 12, 2015. This is an article with some personal history about why I started Loyalty Traveler in April 2006 and some of the issues I faced in keeping it all together over some rough years of self-employment. I am 7 months away from the 10th anniversary of Loyalty Traveler.

AAdvantage Mileage Run Potential? Copenhagen to Los Angeles $421 round trip April 27, 2015 – I had forgotten about writing this article. I find this article interesting because I did an analysis in April on how a person could buy four round trip tickets and fly LAX to Copenhagen and then fly three round trips originating in Copenhagen to LAX on low cost tickets to earn AAdvantage Platinum for under $2,000. This is essentially what I am doing this month, except my ticket prices are lower (Bergen, Norway to San Francisco $373 and $398) and my AAdvantage fast-track challenge allows me to earn AAdvantage Executive Platinum with only three round trip tickets between California and Scandinavia for under $1,500.

My fantastic American AAdvantage elite fast-track offer (June 22, 2015)

This is the original post describing my targeted AAdvantage fast-track offer for AAdvantage Executive Platinum upon flying 30,000 EQM by October 9, 2015.

Cost of flying 30,000 AAdvantage flight miles (June 22, 2015)

This is my original planning thoughts on how to complete the fast-track challenge. There were a whole world of possibilities for places to go with ticketing 30,000 flight miles.

Thoughts on my AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge (July 23, 2015) Thoughts on my AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge looks at value and benefits of top elite status. Spending $2,000 to $3,000 demands reflection. I don’t have the kind of money sitting around to blithely enter into this kind of expensive venture without knowing that I will fly enough in 2016 to get $2,000 in additional value back from future flights through February 2017.

Nested tickets for more AAdvantage EQM California to Scandinavia (July 23, 2015) My flight plans were coming together with California and Stockholm and the idea of flying to Copenhagen and then flying Stockholm to San Francisco on a cheap American Airlines ticket at $450, and possibly an Anchorage trip to reach 30,000 EQM.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum Challenge 39,294 EQM booked for $1,583 (July 28, 2015) My current flight itineraries were planned and ticketed between July 23 and July 27. This is the post with the details of the AAdvantage Challenge flights. The next issue was what to do in Europe on those flights? There are links in this post to the hotel strategies I considered to reduce the overall cost of three weeks traveling in Europe between flights.

American Airlines Executive Platinum Challenge routing ticketed and six intra-Europe flight choices(July 30, 2015) This post details the intra-Europe flights and ticket prices with my rationale for why I chose the industrial tour of Malmo, Sweden and Brno, Czech Republic and Clermont Ferrand, France for places to hang out several days and nights.

Go for EQM or EQP? American AAdvantage ExPlat Fast-Track (Aug 24, 2015) Weeks after ticketing my 30,000 EQM in flights, I examined the option of EQP. This is a more relevant post now that many members received a different offer this week from American AAdvantage to fast-track to Executive Platinum with 25,000 EQP.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum 30K Challenge – Day 1 California to Dusseldorf 5,956 EQM (Sep 3, 2015)

My account has been upgraded to AAdvantage Gold after 6,000 EQM this week (September 6, 2015).

Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance Malmo, Sweden food alone worth 8,000 points (Sep 6, 2015)

Impressions of Brno, Czech Republic (Sep 7)

Moravian Karst caves near Brno and why you will never see a tour like this in the USA (Sep 8)

Get high with the locals in Bergen, Norway (Sep 9)

Student Agency cheap bus travel in and out of Czech Republic (Sep 11)

AAdvantage Elite Challenge – Day 9 – Platinum after 13,205 EQM (Sep 12)

Price of travel in Brno, Czech Republic (Sep 13)

Outside looking in Brno, Czech Republic (Sep 14)

Holiday Inn Brno, Czech Republic (Sep 14)

Rain forecast for Arctic Norway trip this week (Sep 15)

Battered by rain in Battersea London (Sep 16)

Oslo Airport Never Odd or Even (Sep 17)

68.8° N in Harstad, Norway (Sep 18)

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge–Day 17–19,221 EQM (Sep 19)

Clarion Collection Hotel No 13 Bergen with dinner at Hotel Oleana (Sep 19)

Clarion Collection Hotel Arcticus Harstad, Norway (Sep 20)

Back in LHR British Airways lounge (Sep 21)

Arctic Norway and whales (Sep 22)

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge–Day 20–25,668 EQM (Sep 22)

Clarion Bergen Airport modern style (Sep 23)

AAdvantage ExPlat fast-track diary Day 22 (Sep 24)

Tiny Room Comfort Inn Westminster London (Sep 25)

AAdvantage ExPlat fast-track Diary Day 24 – Ready, Set, Go to London and Paris

That is my AAdvantage Executive Platinum Challenge 2015 story to date.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Ric,

    Feel better!

    Wish I could use a SWU to upgrade you.

    I’m headed to Paris in F on AA on Wednesday and, thus, love the travel aspect of the trip.

    Will you be there for Nuit Blanche?

  2. Ric,

    It’s a blast!

    If you free for a coffee on the morning of the first around the Opera area, I know a fantastic place where they also serve Paris’ best Croque Madame

    Otherwise, have a great trip!

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