Are you ready for the year ahead? I know it’s only midway through December and everyone is focused on the holidays, but now is the time to take stock of your travel status for next year and look back on the year that was.
The Producers of Going Global travel a lot and so we rely on a few sites and apps to help keep track of plans and to monitor our travel status and re-qualifying efforts. We’re going to share them with you, along with our travel totals from 2018 in order help inspire you to make sure your travel accounts are all up to date.
First off we rely on Tripit to organize all of our trips. It’s fast, easy and basically foolproof. You simply forward all of your email travel confirmations to them and they lay out your flights, hotels, car rentals, show reservations etc. You can even set it up to monitor your email to automatically build itineraries and sync with you calendar. We share the itineraries among team members and count on the app to keep us organized. There’s a free and paid version but the free version should be fine for most people.
Next up we love myFlightradar24, which was formerly called Flight Diary. After each flight we quickly add the details to our profile and it allows us to track an incredible amount of data with our flying history. For instance so far this year we have taken 44 flights, covering over 125,000 actual miles (no elite of cabin bonus). This translates to over half way to the moon or traveling 5 times around the earth. It’s about 275 hours in the air or just over 11 days. Of the 44 flights 36 were international and eight were domestic. We traveled to 12 countries with Bangkok and Beijing tied as our most used airports, followed by Toronto.
All this flying meant we once again qualified as SuperElite100k on Air Canada, our main carrier. This is their highest tier which also offers Star Alliance Gold benefits. One of our team also made the Million Miler club. Air Canada refined their long haul business class this year which marked a nice improvement and debuted their Signature Lounge in Toronto for paid Business Class tickets (no upgraded flights or elite members). It is really excellent and instantly became our favourite lounge in North America and one of the top ones in the world. So 2018 was a good year for flying and we’re ready for the year ahead.
On the hotel side we saw lots of changes with loyalty programs, the biggest being the final combination of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. According to TripIt we spent 178 nights on the road in 42 cities. This meant we re-qualified as Globalist with World of Hyatt with around 80 nights and as Platinum Elite with Marriott with over 50. We will retain Platinum status with Accor Hotels thanks to American Express and will retain Gold status with Radisson Rewards. Hilton dropped to Gold from Platinum and should be renewed lower again next year as we had less than a dozen nights and we’re not sure if we’ll remain Platinum Elite with IHG Club. This past year many nights were concentrated on Hyatt and Marriott stays.
For us there were a few bright spots in the hotel industry this year. We were impressed with the way Marriott integrated pretty seamlessly with Starwood. We had a few small hiccups with stays posting during the switchover but nothing major. We were happy that Accor did a good job rolling in the great Fairmont brand and are excited for the year ahead now that IHG has more closely brought Kimpton into the fold.
On the car rental side we remain President’s Circle with Hertz and Platinum with Enterprise though we certainly spent more dollars and more time with Uber and Lyft in North America, DiDi in China and Grab in Southeast Asia than in a rental car. You couldn’t pay us to rent a car in Bangkok.
Looking ahead we’re ready for a big year of travel in 2019. We have most of our travel status plans sorted and have qualified in most of the ways and with most of the plans we wanted to at the start of the year. When you spend nearly half of the year on the road travel status is critical and so we urge everyone to check your levels and book a few nights or a quick trip if you’re close but still need a top off.