So this week I accepted another job offer so I will be changing jobs. There were a few reasons why I took another job but mainly it was for more interesting products to work on and also a much shorter commute. Now I am only a 25 minute commute compared to an hour on a good day. I am also only 15 minutes from the airport, which will come in handy for those Friday night flights out of BOS.
The one downside is that I will only have two weeks of vacation so my chances of qualifying EXP may be slim. I may be willing to take more weekend domestic trips throughout the year in order to requalify for EXP. This would mesh well with my goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. I would also be able to better use my EXP status as there are free upgrades for domestic flights on AA.
The changeover between jobs leaves me with about two weeks of free time. They wanted me to start on either October 28th or November 11th. However, I am running the Dublin Marathon on October 28th, which is a Monday. I wouldn’t be back for a few more days so they recommended November 11th. This is perfect as I would have some time to travel to Australia and New Zealand before starting my next job.
At first, Auckland Marathon was sold out but they still accepted international runners. I couldn’t find any information on how to apply online so I emailed them last week. I didn’t get a reply so I called them yesterday. A lovely lady named Teri answered my call and told me to send in the application by email to her as the main person handling registrations was out of the office. I filled it out, scanned it, and sent it in to her. In the middle of the night, I got a confirmation that i was entered into the marathon! Now I am in the process of booking my flights.
My original flight back home was on Avios points from Dublin to Boston. I should be able to cancel it with very few fees. Now the goal is to get to Australia and then back.
Search on Singapore Airlines
I started searching on Star Alliance as I have a nice stack of Chase UR and Amex MR points. I first started with Singapore Airlines as I wanted to use the Amex MR points first. There was very little availability even in coach all the way to SYD. I then moved onto with United as they have a great website for partner awards. I found a lot of availability in coach but I saw that business was only 75k miles, compared to 55k for coach. I definitely thought it was worth it.
Search on United.com
I found a lot of business class availability for Air China through Beijing but you did have to choose the correct flights. The only one I found for end of October was out of Munich. Out of Frankfurt or Paris, the flight to Beijing was only in coach. Both flights on Air China will be on a A330 so I should be in a lie-flat seat. Service and food are not much better than coach so this should be an interesting review as there are very few online.
I found a flight that had a 10 hour layover in Beijing. As I have an onward ticket to Sydney later in the day, I qualify for the transit visa. I plan on trying some peking duck while I am there.
I was also lucky enough to find business class space to MUC on LH, so DUB-FRA-MUC all on LH business. The seat isn’t very good but at least I will be able to go to their business class lounges. I would have about an hour or two at each airport so I would get to try them all out. As I will be flying business, if I am running late, they would be able to drive me to my next business class flight.
I only had about 45k United miles so I transferred in 30k from Chase to United. It was instant but you need to log out then back in to see the new balance.
I couldn’t book the entire flight as a single one way trip online so I had to call in to book. The United representative gave me a hard time about putting it on hold, but after about 10 minutes he managed to do so. I did not have enough miles in my account so I wanted to hold it for 24 hours while I make sure this is the flight I want. I do not have elite status with United so I had to call the general number. I do miss elite status customer service from AA.
So here is my itinerary for Dublin and Auckland Marathon:
- Oct 25th: BOS-CDG business
- Oct 26th: CDG-DUB paid coach
- Oct 28th: Dublin Marathon
- Oct 30th: DUB-FRA-MUC Business on LH (Intra-European)
- Oct 30th: MUC-PEK-SYD Business on Air China A330
- Nov 1st: SYD-AKL-SYD paid (to be booked)
- Nov 3rd: Auckland Marathon
- Nov 8th: SYD-LAX-BOS coach on QF/AA
Dublin Marathon is on the 28th and I will be flying to SYD starting on Oct 30th and land Friday, November 1st in SYD. Auckland Marathon is November 3rd so it gives me less than two days to adjust and get prepared for the marathon.
|10 segment path:||27951 mi|
|BOS (42°21’47″N 71°00’23″W)||CDG (49°00’35″N 2°32’52″E)||55.5°||(NE)||3448 mi|
|CDG (49°00’35″N 2°32’52″E)||DUB (53°25’17″N 6°16’12″W)||311.9°||(NW)||489 mi|
|DUB (53°25’17″N 6°16’12″W)||FRA (50°01’35″N 8°32’35″E)||104.3°||(E)||676 mi|
|FRA (50°01’35″N 8°32’35″E)||MUC (48°21’14″N 11°47’10″E)||127.0°||(SE)||187 mi|
|MUC (48°21’14″N 11°47’10″E)||PEK (40°04’48″N 116°35’04″E)||52.2°||(NE)||4810 mi|
|PEK (40°04’48″N 116°35’04″E)||SYD (33°56’46″S 151°10’38″E)||151.4°||(SE)||5552 mi|
|SYD (33°56’46″S 151°10’38″E)||AKL (37°00’29″S 174°47’30″E)||105.8°||(E)||1345 mi|
|AKL (37°00’29″S 174°47’30″E)||SYD (33°56’46″S 151°10’38″E)||272.0°||1345 mi|
|SYD (33°56’46″S 151°10’38″E)||LAX (33°56’33″N 118°24’29″W)||61.2°||(NE)||7488 mi|
|LAX (33°56’33″N 118°24’29″W)||BOS (42°21’47″N 71°00’23″W)||62.8°||(NE)||2611 mi|
So that is about 28k miles of flying in about two weeks, which is a lot for me. I only flew about 60k miles total in 2012 and only 15k miles the year before.
On my way home, there is only availability in coach on Qantas. I don’t necessarily mind coach for a 14 hour flight as it is another 25k AA miles for business. I may elect to skip business even if availability opens up. I am AA Platinum so I’ll have lounge access so not a big deal to fly on coach. I am excited to try out the Qantas Lounges around Australia.