...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

3rd Quarter Card Bonuses

For those keeping track, the following are planned point bonuses in the 3rd quarter 2024:

Chase Freedom:  Gas, EV Charging, Live Entertainment, Movie Theatres

Discover IT Miles: Walmart and Grocery Stores

Other standard card bonuses still apply!  It's unfortunate not to see any special restaurant promotions.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Future flights to PQI

These past years I've enjoyed being able to get to northern Maine regularly flying United.  Prior to United being granted the EAS contracts, I recall having to survive small PenAir turboprop planes which wasn't ideal.  Even though the United flights were through Newark (and for some reason occasionally Dulles), they were mostly on-time and also included the customary PQP/PQF which helped for requal each year.

The United contract was due for review and potential new bids by the DOT this past spring.  The major carriers reapplied and for the first time Jetblue made a bid.  The support seen online and in the news was mixed between both United and Jetblue - my hope was that United would get the contract.  

Unfortunately, the DOT decision was released at the end of May and Jetblue was awarded the contract starting September 1st, 2024.  It's important to note they were the low bidder between the applicants.  The City of Presque Isle has the news here.  I'm disappointed since Jetblue is only scheduled to fly one flight a day (United had two) and the times are very late/early.  If there are any operational impacts, passengers could be stuck.  Prices will likely be lower to start - I'm curious how these might change over time.  And, I'll be missing out on United credit for the flights. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Race to 1M

It's actually not a race per se, more of a marathon ...

I recently crossed the 900k mile mark flying United.  Not redeemable miles, but actual 'I sat on the plane' miles.  There are many that probably wouldn't care about this, except, in the flying world one million miles is a milestone.  There's even one person that has flown over 24 million on United!

Each of the carriers in the US have a program for million mile flyers.  There are benefits at each tier, though the first million means you no longer have to chase initial airline status and you get that level indefinitely.  For United, the benefits for one million include Premier Gold, Star Alliance Gold (which allows access to international airport lounges), and companion access for another individual.  

In hindsight, I should have achieved this milestone a year or so ago.  Due to program changes about 10 years ago, I had a brief stint flying American which was more convenient at the time.  During that timeframe I flew nearly 300k miles on American, which is great, but not helpful for the closer million mile marker.  

One neat thing that often happens when you cross the million mile marker is a small recognition from the flight crew (which is why many plan their million mile flight for a longer overseas segment).  Some people have reported getting a special coin and/or a signed flight plan from the crew noting where you crossed the threshold.  I'm hopeful that I can plan a similar trip around the same time! 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Infocomm 2024

Another successful Infocomm gathering has come to a close!  I'm in transit back east after several days onsite meeting with vendors and other tech partners.  Even though I typically attend every other year, this is a highlight to see new technologies and hear about what may be on the horizon for teaching, learning, and professional applications.  I also enjoyed catching up with friends and colleagues from my previous institutions to hear about new projects and summer construction plans. 

I'm thrilled I managed to make this schedule and travel work post-Bachfest with multiple flights and connections.  United again for the win!

Thursday, June 6, 2024

...and a last minute upgrade

The upgrade process for United in general is much more difficult than past years.  Even though PlusPoints are plentiful, the number of people traveling and willing to pay for any ticket in any cabin means fewer seats available for upgrade.  Pre-pandemic it seemed as though my upgrade chances were quite high; these days it's often last minute to get a final upgrade if available.

I was fortunate to get upgraded on my EWR-ZRH flight yesterday during pre-boarding.  I started at #2 and ended #1 on the upgrade list with 4 seats open.  Luckily the gate agent was also willing to put me in 1F which is the bulkhead seat with extra foot room.  Thank you United!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Off to Bachfest

Time to hit the road!

I'm off to BachFest in Leipzig this week with a brief stopover to acclimate before taking the ICE up to Germany.  I was hopeful for a potential use of PlusPoints on the outbound flight though it appears most seats are now taken.  Summer travel on United!

If you're interested, Emmanuel Music of Boston is scheduled to perform on Sunday 6/9: https://www.bachfestleipzig.de/en/bachfest/emmanuel-music-boston-usa