Sunday, December 4, 2011

Some 2011 Travel Statistics - But Who's Counting?

Now that we're sitting in the midst of December 2011, with no more trips planned between now and the end of the month, it seems safe to update this year's travel statistics.

We've flown about 130,000 miles this year, 120,000 of them on United Airlines. We reached Million Mile status with UA before the year was half over, but UA has pulled the rug out from under its Million Mile Flyers by reducing the benefits, and a lot of loyal customers aren't happy.

UA is introducing a new Platinum tier and making honorary elites of anybody who so much as signs up for the right credit card, so there'll be more people to compete with for exit rows and it turns out that just about everybody is elite when it comes to boarding. Furthermore, UA has announced that it will no longer award us with a regional upgrade at the end of every year, as it's still promising as of today here on its website.

On the new UA, the phrase "lifetime benefits" has become meaningless. The merger with Continental seems in reality to represent with few exceptions a Continental takeover in terms of the experience for customers. It appears we're moving toward a more revenue-based model of perks for flyers and we'll just have to see what develops, especially with American Airlines in bankruptcy and probably eager to lure some new customers away from the other remaining legacy carriers.

We spent 29 nights aboard two of the ships of Oceania Cruises, sailing from Buenos Aires to Barcelona on Insignia in March, and our more recent November Caribbean cruise on Regatta.

We added more countries to our list, working from the Century Travelers' Club list of 321 entities, giving us a total of 84 countries to date.

Pacific Ocean
Australia
French Polynesia (Tahiti,Tuamotu, Austral, Gambier)
Hawaiian Islands
New Zealand
Tasmania
North America
Alaska
Canada
Mexico
U.S. (continental)
Central America
Belize (British Honduras)
Costa Rica
Guatemala
Panama
South America
Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Uruguay
Caribbean
Antigua & Deps. (Barbuda, Redonda)
Bahamas
Barbados
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic
Jamaica
Leeward Islands, French (St. Martin)
Puerto Rico
St. Barts
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
St. Maarten (formerly Netherlands Antilles)
Turks and Caicos Islands
Virgin Islands, U.S. (St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas)
Virgin Islands, British (Tortola, etc.)
Atlantic Ocean
Azores Islands
Bermuda
Canary Islands
Cape Verde Islands
Iceland
Madeira
Europe and Mediterranean
Austria
Belgium
Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Minorca)
Czech Republic
Denmark
England
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland (Eire)
Ireland, Northern (Ulster)
Italy
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Russia
Sicily
Slovakia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey in Europe (Istanbul)
Vatican City
Wales
Africa
Egypt
Morocco
Senegal (plane refueling)
South Africa
Swaziland
Middle East
None
Indian Ocean
None
Asia
China, People's Rep.
Hong Kong
Japan
Korea, North (DMZ)
Korea, South
Malaysia
Singapore
Thailand
Turkey in Asia

All in all, it's been a good year for travel, along with renovating a kitchen and spending quality time with grandchildren. Here's to more in 2012!

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