Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Redeeming the miles

I've been a member of different frequent flyer programs, but never really flew enough with certain airlines to accumulate a decent number. Except for Asiamiles, which counts Cathay Pacific and British Airways as partner airlines. Thanks to my flights to the UK, I have just enough miles to fly to an Asian city.

As a number of my miles are expiring in October, I knew I had to use them. At first I thought of going to Shanghai because my family had gone there without me and they enjoyed their trip. I thought of staying in a hostel to save on accommodation costs. $10 a night? Possible. But then I found out about the World Expo in Shanghai next year and thought of going there then instead.

Next, I saw Ho Chi Minh City as a possible choice. I contacted a couple of Viet ex-housemates and found that they would be there in June. Perfect. Then I found out that there weren't any direct flights. That which left me with only one choice: Hong Kong.

I wasn't really sold on the idea. I haven't seen a lot of Hong Kong, but I've been there twice. And package tours to Hong Kong are so cheap, I might pay more for accommodation than for flights and accommodation combined. Fortunately, I have a room to crash. My mom is treating my uncle's family to a stay in Hong Kong so that the little girls can go to Disneyland. A spare bed, a day trip to Macau, some time to roam on my own. Perfect.

With 2,000+ miles left, expiring next year, I figured it wouldn't hurt to donate the equivalent of my share of carbon emissions since I can offset it with frequent flyer miles. I doubt I'll be able to use the rest of the miles anyway since there are no rewards available for redemption that are that low. I'll probably donate them to carbon offset projects. That seems to be the best use for them. Now that's a feel-good factor for you.

Two more Asian trips before the year ends. Of course I will let you in on the fun.

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