May142018

Time for an Oslo revisit 2018

While searching for a Victoria, British Columbia hotel photo on a back up drive file from three years ago to complete the final touch on an article about Preferred Hotels reward nights, several Oslo, Norway photo files from 2014 on my hard drive intercepted my attention.

Oslo has been on my mind the past week as the best airline fare deal to fly to San Francisco in August 2018.

Why I am searching for an Oslo-SFO ticket is another story altogether. Suffice to say that summer 2018 is the first summer in years when I would have been better off booking USA-Europe round trip tickets rather than Europe-SFO round trip tickets.

My normal airfare discount feats that saved me hundreds of dollars on most trips over the past four years have tripped me up for summer 2018. This year may end up being the first summer in several years I could have easily booked California-Europe airline tickets for less than what I paid for Copenhagen-San Francisco round trip tickets (United $527) and Rome-San Francisco round trip tickets (United $506) in my routine ticketing strategy of Europe-USA frequent travel as being a cheaper travel mode than buying USA-Europe tickets for summer flights. I am waiting for deeper fare discounts in August before I buy, so travel life this summer is uncertain at the moment in my plans.

Anyway, Oslo is currently the cheapest city I have found to fly to California in August 2018 for my desired dates of travel. I spent 24 hours in Oslo, then Helsinki in Feb 2013 on a one-way American Airlines AAdvantage award from Berlin to Oslo-Helsinki-London-San Francisco with nearly 24 hour overnight stays in Oslo, Helsinki and London.  In September 2014, I spent 14 days in Norway with 4 nights in Oslo. Those late summer days in Oslo 2014 are the photos I looked through again today from my final full day in Oslo that summer.

In 2015 I returned to Norway to fulfill one of my few bucket list travel desires to travel north of the Arctic Circle. I spent a couple of nights in Bergen, then three nights in Harstad, Norway in mid-September. The following summer, I found myself flying out of Stavanger, Norway when that was the cheapest ticket back to SFO in August 2016.

Since August 2016 my travels have routed my trips with Kelley through Copenhagen and Stockholm. I have not been to the city of Oslo since September 2014. I want to share the experience of Norway with my wife Kelley. Oslo is a colorful place in summer.

Kelley knows my stories of $20 Big Mac meal prices and $40 burritos in Oslo from my earlier trips (when I primarily lived on free hotel meals at Nordic Choice Hotels Clarion Collection properties with complimentary breakfast and dinner). The Norwegian Krone has devalued by 35% since my 2013 and 2014 trips to Norway when global oil prices and Norwegian food prices crushed the pocketbook.

  • March 2013: 1 USD = 5.80 NOK.
  • Sep 2014:  1 USD = 6.37 NOK.
  • May 2018: 1 USD = 8.03 NOK.

Once I get over the mental block of 80 NOK glasses of beer, I find there are so many other aspects of Norway I truly enjoy.

These photos are from my file Oslo Last Day (Sep 16, 2014).

Aker Brygge – Oslo

Aker Brygge is the waterfront route I generally walked to get to downtown Oslo from The Thief, Nordic Choice Hotel’s flagship property in Scandinavia. I booked 2 nights in 2014 for 20,000 points per night when regular room rates were $500 per night. I booked another 2 nights for 2018 at 20,000 points per night when regular room rates are $449 per night. I think the rates are basically higher in 2018 than 2014 for Norwegians since our US Dollar is worth 26% more in May 2018 than Sep 2014.

The trippy facet of currency exchange is the price for a basic room at The Thief Oslo is 10% less for an American in US dollars in 2018 than it was in 2014, but the same room costs 13% more for a Norwegian based on the NOK price.

The beauty of hotel loyalty points is I don’t care the cost of the room. I booked a reward night for $75 in points per night in 2014 from my Daily Getaways purchase and I paid $100 per night in 2018 from my Daily Getaways purchase. In 2014 Choice Privileges points were available for $3.71 per 1,000 points. I stayed 2 weeks in Norway for about $800 in Choice Privileges points at a time when the posted room rates were over $5,000 for my trip.

The Thief – Oslo

The Thief – Oslo

I spent about $1,300 on Choice Privileges points in 2018 Daily Getaways. My average purchase price came out to about $5.04 per 1,000 points. I booked $2,000 in room nights for summer 2018 in Denmark and Norway with 80,000 points. Those points cost me about $400. If all goes as planned, Kelley and I will sleep in The Thief Oslo and see the city’s sights together this summer.

Oslo summer

Oslo is loaded with statue nudes.

Oslo – Nobel Peace Center

Oslo street artist

Well, I’ve walked these streets
A virtual stage, it seemed to me
Natalie Merchant – Carnival

A popular tip jar on this Oslo street.

Norway is not an alcohol friendly place.

Dining and shopping area near The Thief, Oslo.

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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