Saturday, January 2, 2010


It all started this way. We have a bunch of points sitting in our Hilton HHonors account and Hilton has given due warning that the points will be devalued in 2010 as the points required for stays will soon be increased. As a result, we've been looking at properties where we could invest our points at the lower rates. There are outstanding Hiltons and Conrads in quite a number of countries and we were enjoying some armchair travel last night when Kathy suddenly came across a terrific upgradable airfare and routing to Hong Kong while researching the Internet.

The route is SEA-NRT-SIN-HKG-SFO-SEA. In other words, we fly 4769 miles from Seattle to Narita Japan, from there 3324 miles to Singapore, and from there a final 1596 miles to Hong Kong, for a total of 9689 miles outbound. On the return we fly 6913 miles non-stop from Hong Kong to San Francisco, and a final 678 miles from there to Seattle, for a total of 7591 miles inbound, adding up to a grand total of 17280 miles for the round-trip. Our upgrades into C (Business Class) have already cleared on the outbound trip, and we'll keep our fingers crossed for an upgrade on the popular HKG-SFO flight, one of our few upgrade attempts that did not clear a couple of years back.

With our 100% bonus miles this will add 34,560 miles to each of our accounts and add significantly to our 2010 qualification totals. The cost? $1000 all-in, and the miles we earn will buy us a flight worth as much as $600-700. As of today, we've already booked just over 100,000 miles of air travel on United this year, so it looks like we'll be 1Ks in 2011 as well.

Once we'd secured that, we booked six nights at the Conrad Hong Kong on a special multi-night GLON award, costing us nothing but points.

HKG-SFO is one of the longer commercial flights at 6913 miles and 11 hours 58 minutes but isn't even in the top 30. In May we'll fly SFO-SYD, 4412 miles and 14 hours 45 minutes in length.

Both of these flight are long enough that we have no interest in flying that list-topping Newark to Singapore non-stop 9535 miles for just under 19 hours, as lovely as Singapore Airlines may be. We flew 8130 miles from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg South Africa last year in, shudder, Economy (a flight omitted from the list) and don't care to repeat that experience.

That's a lot of flying, even in Business Class, and that's why FlyerTalkers compare notes on BIS (butt-in-seat) miles. It's also why Brian will try to pry Kathy away from the computer for awhile.

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