2013 Year in Travel

Countries Visited (21)
In chronological order (except for the US, which would be third chronologically):

Australia (11 days)
New Zealand (10 days)
Argentina (5.5 months)
Paraguay (8 days)
Uruguay (3 days)
South Africa (9 days)
Germany (7 days)
United Kingdom (2 days)
Sweden (2 days)
France (4 days)
Malaysia (8 days)
Thailand (7 days)
Austria (2 days)
Slovakia (2 days)
Hungary (4 days)
Croatia (3 days)
Italy (1 day)
Belgium (1 day)
Norway (1 day)
Netherlands (1 day)
United States (3.5 months)

Premium Airline Cabins Flown (12)
In chronological order (with links to trip reports):

United Global First
Emirates First

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from everyone at MileValue to you and your family.

Christmas 2008, the View from the Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay

There will be no new posts the rest of the week. Check out some of these classics if you can't take a few days off from thinking about miles!

Negative Price Oneways to the Caribbean (Dies in One Month!)
My Favorite Hotel Promo of 2013 Will Return in 2014.

I Was Interviewed by Mighty Travels

Mighty Travels interviewed me about miles, travel, and this blog. As usual, I went on and on and on and ... ;)

My favorite question and answer:

What is your biggest learning from earning so many miles and points?

The best use of miles is often to give them away.

In 2013, I traveled nine months outside the US to 20+ countries. And yet I had more miles than I could use.

Killing Deals is Good

Here is my response to the people who think I shouldn't have shared the deal in $200 Flight to Japan with Hidden City Ticketing on LifeMiles Awards:

All deals in the miles world die. If an airline, hotel, or bank offers outsized value in some way such that it thinks it is losing money, it will discontinue the deal.

The question is what responsibility folks who know a deal have to keep that deal secret to prolong its life.

My basic moral philosophy is broadly utilitarian.

Best of MileValue October 2013

October 2013 was a big month for me. The month started in Brussels. I whirlwinded through Oslo and Amsterdam before getting to Munich in time for the end of Oktoberfest.

Munich was the last stop on my eight month world tour. I landed back in the US for the first time since February just in time for the Chicago Seminars.

The Seminars were a blast, and I had a chance to check out the Park Hyatt for two nights afterwards while exploring the city.

Holiday Travel Tips from MileValue Featured on Forbes

The card offer in this post has expired so its links have been removed. Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

I was featured in a recent Forbes article called "20 Holiday Travel Secrets from Industry Insiders" about tips for cheaper and more comfortable holiday travel.

My Plan for the Chicago Seminars

I arrived yesterday to Elk Grove, Illinois to get ready (and get over jet lag) for the Chicago Seminars tomorrow.

Rookie Alli Robbed in Buenos Aires and How to Keep Yourself Safe from Common Travel Scams

Rookie Alli had her phone stolen yesterday by some pickpockets near the Botanical Gardens in Buenos Aires.

It was the common scam in which a gang works together to have

one member surreptitiously throw something onto you. In this case, bird poop or something similar. I've also heard of mustard and ketchup before. It can be anything.
one or more members "helpfully" notice it and "conveniently" have napkins or tissues to help you get it off.

Am I Crazy to Go to Paraguay? (A Bleg)

Next week I am going to Paraguay for eight days. A trip out of Argentina is necessary to renew my 90 day tourist visa, and I wanted to check the sixth South American country off my list, instead of repeating Uruguay, the easy choice. (Only four more CONMEBOL countries to go!)

I've never been to Paraguay. I'm sure tons of you have (even though until American Airlines launched a Miami-Asuncion route in November, there were no direct flights between the US and Paraguay.)

I will arrive in Asuncion and leave from Ciudad del Este. I speak Spanish.

MileValue Award Booking Service Price Now $111

The MileValue Award Booking Service now costs $111 per person per award (for most awards--more pricing info below.) As always, you don't pay if we don't find an award that meets your needs.