Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year my fellow travel addicts!

2015 was a great year of travel for me and I have so many great adventures to look back on! I got to try many new airline products and added several new destinations to my travel journal. New countries this year for me included Hong Kong, Macau, (if you want to be technical, special regions of China) Taiwan, Monaco, Japan, and Indonesia. Some of this journey was solo for work, some of it with friends and family.

Airline firsts for me in 2016 included Air France, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Virgin America. I racked up 134,825 miles in 2015!

jet it up 2015 blopez
I covered a lot of airspace in 2015!

I am still planning to be AAdvantage and OneWorld loyal in 2016. While we saw lots of disappointing changes to American’s AAdvantage program in the last few months, I’m still content with American especially with their continued fleet renewal and pure convenience being based in Dallas.

2016 is already looking exciting with a few new destinations already on the agenda with Maui, Hawaii; Park City, Utah; and Budapest, Hungary to start! I’m also looking forward to my first British Airways flight and my first time back in Utah in over 10 years! If 2016 is half as fun as 2015, I have a lot to look forward to. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on Avion Addiction in 2016. I look forward to sharing my story as well as the ways you too can travel well for less!

You can always keep up with on Twitter (@benjaminj84/@avionaddiction) as well as Instagram (@benjaminj84/@avionaddiction).

Spring Flight Deals to Europe Under $700: OneWorld, Star Alliance, & SkyTeam!

Morning, readers!

Winter is here and this is prime time for cheap deals to Europe from North America. Below are a few highlighted deals in Economy that are currently available on Google Flights:

Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul (IST) – $621 R/T inc. taxes. Sample dates Mar 11-Mar 16, 2016.

Operated by Delta/Air France/KLM. Bookable on Google Flights/Delta.com

ord-ist delta chicago mar 11 2016
Chicago to Istanbul, $621 R/T

Chicago (ORD) to Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF) – $683 R/T inc. taxes. Sample dates Mar 11-Mar 16, 2016. Price is a few dollars cheaper on Delta/KLM but for those of you prefer to fly the Dreamliner or Star Alliance, this is your best option.

Operated by LOT Polish on the 787 Dreamliner. Bookable on Google Flights/LOT/Priceline

ord-sof LOT chicago mar 11 2016
Chicago to Sofia, Bulgaria, $683 R/T

Miami (MIA) to Rome (FCO) – $685 R/T inc. taxes. Sample dates Mar 9-Mar 14, 2016.

Bookable on Google Flights/AA. Flights booked on AA are marketed by AA so you will earn 100% AAdvantage miles on flights. Operated by AA/Iberia.

mia fco AA Iberia mar 9 2016

 

 

Snag these low fares while they’re hot! Play with dates and other departure cities to see if you can find even better deals yourself on Google Flights.

 

Share your thoughts in the comments below. Or on Twitter @BenjaminJ84 and @AvionAddiction.

Happy Sunday from (Delayed) SMF…..Thanks to Mass DFW Cancellations!

Happy Sunday, folks!

I’m writing with a glass of wine in hand as I take in a long wait at the Sacramento (SMF) Airport. My Dad and I were supposed to travel together SMF to DFW after spending the weekend with my grandmother in Northern California. Unfortunately, due to the tumultuous weather in Texas, American Airlines decided to cancel hundreds of flights in and out of DFW. I ultimately re-booked my Dad onto Southwest when I learned there was no way he was going to get home today. His ultimate destination was Lubbock which doesn’t have many flight options

I’m quite disappointed that we aren’t flying together since I really enjoy spending time with my Dad. I couldn’t get myself onto a Southwest flight without shelling out $600 which wasn’t worth it to me. So I’m re-booked on a quirky overnight itinerary on US Airways. American had auto re-booked me on a itineary that required an extra night stay in Sacramento and didn’t get me home until 2 PM tomorrow. Not desirable at all. I worked with the AA agent to find my quirky SMF-PHX-DEN-DFW itinerary so that I can arrive home by 8 AM tomorrow. Normally working remote is feasible but I really need to be in the office tomorrow!

Fingers crossed that none of my 3 segments are delayed or cancelled!

One Day Adventures: Philadelphia & Eastern State Penitentiary

Like many of you fellow travel geeks, I enjoy traveling as much as I can squeeze into my wild schedule. Some of my friends call me crazy but I enjoy little one day trips. They aren’t quite mileage runs because I do actually have plans when I arrive rather than just hopping around airports. I’m starting a new post series called “One Day Adventures” documenting these little one-day getaways. My latest One Day Adventure was a Saturday visit to Philadelphia.

Getting around Philadelphia is pretty easy; it’s a very walkable city. For my One Day Adventure, the Independence Pass is the best option at $12. It includes unlimited rides on the SEPTA rail, subway, trolley, and bus system. This includes the regional rail to/from the airport and the PHLASH tourist attraction bus.  The weather was quite cool but pleasant as the day warmed up. Living in Dallas, I’m used to the weather being quite warm already by April.

Eastern State Penitentiary was the primary destination during our short visit. We had lunch at Marathon in Rittenhouse Square and then hopped on the Phlash bus. I’d seen all the cool photos online and you might remember the seeing the dilapidated prison in the film 12 Monkeys. The eerinees of Eastern State is not exaggerated. It’s a fascinating look at prison technology for days past. I was intriguqed to learn that the prison operated from 1829 all the way to 1971. At $14 per adult, it’s a visit well spent. You can easily spend hours here wandering the eerie hallways, listening to the audio tour and chatting with the floating guide staff.

 

 

 

As required by all tourists in Philadelphia, we had to stop by the LOVE parking across from City Hall near Suburban Station. As the weather had warmed up, it was quite a popular place to be.

   Philadelphia City Hall is a a massive building at the heart of the city center. It’s a magnificent beauty! This was my first time in Philly and I was incredibly impressed with the architectural beauty of the city.

Before we knew it, our short day was over. We hopped on the SEPTA rail back the airport and hung around the terminals at PHL for a bit of planespotting. I love early evening departures as there are so many international departures. Planespotting in Terminal A is great this time of day.

I constantly tell people I hate the term “staycation”. Staying home is boring. I can do that when I come home from a long day at work! All in all, we earned a decent chunk of AAdvantage miles and got to spend a whole day in a new city. Our roundtrip tickets on US Airways were only $100 from DFW to PHL. All in, we spent about $275 for the whole trip. Not bad in my book at all!

Do these type of adventures sound fun to you? Or just crazy? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Or on Twitter @BenjaminJ84 and @AvionAddiction.

FYI: Current Technical Issue with AA Gift Cards

dfw-bwi-ticket-pending

 

If you’re looking to purchase and/or use an American Airlines gift card in the immediate future, please be aware that AA is currently experiencing some technical issues processing gift cards. I purchased a ticket 2 days ago and have patiently waited for it to ticket. After nearly 48 hours, I finally decided to reach out to AA customer service on Twitter.

AA got back to me pretty quickly and noticed that I had used an AA gift card for a portion of my purchase. Apparently I will need to wait for their technically team to manually push the ticket through as we get closer to departure which is less than a month away. Am I a tad nervous? Maybe just a bit because I just want to know that it’s confirmed.