Looking Back At Our 2017 Travels (AKA: Why My Loyalty Isn’t Worth Anything)

It’s almost December and that means we’ve completed all of our traveling for the year. Considering we didn’t take an international flight this year, we managed to rack up the most flight segments that we’ve flown since I started keeping track in 2014. In all, we flew 22 segments, covering 18,060 miles.

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Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper

The most amazing thing to me was that we only had to take three connecting flights all year and they were all Delta connections through Atlanta. The reasons we had to connect were 1) the only airline that flies from Orlando to Knoxville or Chattanooga is Allegiant (and that was a no-go for us) and 2) because American wanted way too much for a non-stop ticket from Charlotte to Orlando so we flew on Delta with a connection. It wasn’t all bad as we were finally able to eat at One Flew South.

I’m sure this is shocking but every one of our flights this year were in coach. I did pay to upgrade for JetBlue’s Even More Space seat for one flight and we were upgraded to Delta Comfort+ for another flight. We even spent four of the flight segments in Delta Basic Economy!

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Yearly Flight Recap

Our longest flight this year was from Los Angeles to Orlando at 2218 miles.
Our shortest flight this year was from Atlanta to Chattanooga at only 107 miles.

Here’s the breakdown by airline:

Delta – 10 flight segments
American – 4 flights
JetBlue – 4 flights
Southwest – 2 flights
United – 2 flights

For someone who loves flying on Southwest, I’ve found their prices flying in and out of Orlando have been as high as or often higher than the other airlines. We flew Delta the most because their prices were reasonable, they had good flight times and they often had award tickets available for a reasonable amount unlike other carriers (*cough* American *cough*).

Since it would take at least 25,000 flown miles to get even the lowest level status with any airline, my strategy of not being loyal to any one of them paid off for another year. I have the co-brand credit cards from United, Delta and American so I didn’t have to pay baggage fees on any of my flights with them.

So what about hotels?

Besides our traveling that included flights, we also took several car trips for short or long weekends. We ended up staying in hotels for 43 nights this year. That’s way more than normal for us. We thank the wonderful staff of South Orlando Animal Hospital for taking such good care of Dobby, our toy poodle, while we’re out of town. She loves all of the staff when we drop her off but she doesn’t love us when we leave her. At least we get to see her on their Facebook posts while we’re away.

Dobby the Poodle
They got a picture of her sticking her tongue out at us for leaving her at “Camp”/”The Spa” again

Here’s a breakdown by hotel brand:

Marriott – 7 nights
Hilton – 6 nights
Hyatt – 6 nights
IHG – 5 nights
Starwood – 3 nights
Kimpton – 2 nights
Choice – 1 night
Independent Hotels – 13 nights

We stayed everywhere from the Waldorf=Astoria in New York

Waldorf Astoria

to the Comfort Inn in Dillon, SC

Hotel1A

If I spent all of those nights at just one hotel family, I could have earned Hyatt Explorist or even SPG Platinum (after adding the night credits I get with the SPG AMEX). It would have also meant that I wouldn’t have been able to stay here at the Grand Canyon:

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or at the Kimpton Allegro in Chicago:

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or even at the Candy Cane Inn at Disneyland:

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What can I say? Not every stay is luxury but I stay where I want and pay what I’m comfortable with. I get enough status with hotels by having the co-brand hotel credit cards and the American Express Platinum card.

I like to look back at my travel from the year to see if the approach I’m taking still fits with the reality of what we are doing. I’m still convinced that not being loyal to any one airline or hotel chain is the best thing for me and you aren’t going to change my mind by giving me a free breakfast or a bigger seat every once in a while.

The rest of the year will be spent doing All The Christmas Things (it takes a month to get our house done, inside and out. Sharon has a touch of Obsessive Christmas Disorder) but we’re looking forward to our 2018 travels!

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