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Instead of taking you through a step-by-step account of the Star Mega DO I was lucky enough to attend last week (since you can pretty much already read that on several other great blogs), I am instead going to give you a top 10 reasons why you should attend a Mega DO, based on some of my favorite moments of last week. Additionally, I am going to tip you off about a little Mega DO-related giveaway I am doing tomorrow (Friday)! Drumroll………….
10. Get a whirl-wind tour of several great cities. I snapped this picture on our way to the Park Hyatt Chicago on the first night of the DO. While I wish we had more time in each city, I was absolutely left wanting more of everywhere we went. Always good to want to come back!
9. Try out a lie-flat first class seat without having to spend $$$ bucks! This one was at the very enjoyable Air Canada program in Montreal. First time in a fancy-schmancy seat for this Mommy! I didn’t even spill my wine as I got tilted back into the lie-flat position.
8. Lots and lots of “free” food and drinks! If you don’t want to spend any additional money on food while on the trip, you don’t really have to. That said, you probably will get a little tired of hotel/airplane food after a few days, but some of it was actually pretty good! I was just excited to not be the one cooking and cleaning. There was also an open bar just about every night, and often during some the the daytime events, too. Needless to say, I am “detoxing” this week.
7. Try out some “lounge hopping”. By that I mean, go from airport lounge to airport lounge getting drinks along the way. No worries if you don’t have the status/membership to get in on your own, there will be plenty of new friends to help get you in. Assuming, you don’t bite.
6. Get to see a marriage proposal on the plane. I was too far back in the “cheap seats” to get a good photo, but it was pretty cool to see two travel junkies get engaged on an airplane. It was fun to hear the soon-to-be-fiance paged to the lavatory to help her “sick” boyfriend. Good way to get her to come to the front of the plane. My own personal vote is that they should get married on the next DO…..an airplane is already set up with an aisle and everything!
5. Raid the drink cart of an airplane. While the flight attendants did serve drinks on the charter flight, the self-service option was pretty fun. I have no doubt that there wasn’t a drop of alcohol left on that plane by the time it touched down. People were coming up with some pretty creative drink concoctions. Most of them were alcohol, with a splash of alcohol, mixed with a touch of alcohol.
4. Hang out in a suite on a beautiful day at Coors Field watching the Rockies beat the Reds. The fridge was stocked with beer, there were plenty of snacks like pizza, brats, seven layer dip, popcorn, and peanuts. I have to admit I didn’t see as much of the game as I should have, but I did get to hang out and chat with some really great folks for over three hours. Fantastic time!
3. Get to talk directly to airline/hotel executives. It was awesome hearing directly from some of the top dogs at Hyatt, Air Canada, and Continental/United. One of the neatest things I heard was that Hyatt is exploring a cash/points redemption option similar to Starwood. Great news and very interesting information. Most of the bigwigs were very nice and down-to-earth.
2. Tour facilities you otherwise would never see. It was so awesome hanging out for the day at Bombardier in Montreal and seeing where the airplanes we fly on are built. Who knew only eight bolts hold the wings to the fuselage??!! I also got to watch wijomas try to take-off on a simulator from the grass next to the runway (while our charter flight pilots were watching from the back of the room!). It was freaking hilarious…..and he was a great sport about it all.
1. Meet people who are crazier than you. No matter what crazy stuff you have done for miles and points, I can guarantee you that someone there has done something even more crazy. I basically sounded like I have never left the farm compared to the traveling tales of many on this trip. It is so fascinating to hear the travel and points stories that everyone there seemed more than willing to share. No worries if you haven’t been to the Maldives seven times in the last two years, people will still sit next to you and share a bottle of wine…. at least that is how it worked for me!
Seriously though, I met some awesome folks who I am very much looking forward to seeing again at future DOs. Some of those awesome folks include three of my favorite bloggers, who all happen to be great people.
From Left to Right: Mommy Points, View From the Wing, Million Mile Secrets, and The Points Guy. Yes, he’s that tall. Yes, we’re kind of all nerds. No, we didn’t just talk about miles and points. Yes, that is yet another glass of free wine in my hand.
For those on a budget, Mega DO’s are not cheap. I sat in coach, used miles to get to Chicago, stayed at a relatively cheap airport hotel the last night, mostly just ate and drank for free at the official events, and the four days still came in at somewhere between $1500-$2000. In my world, that is a lot of money to spend for one family member to travel for four days. While I do absolutely feel it was “worth it”, I know it is not in every family’s budget. Heck, it wasn’t really in mine! The good news is that you have time to save up. There will be a OneWorld DO in January and another Star Mega DO some time next year (named after the respective airline alliances). If you need more time to save than that, then shoot for 2013. If you are a true travel junkie, it is worth doing at least once.
As for me, I am kind of hooked. If I can find a way to pull off going to the OneWorld DO in January, I will. Until then, thanks to the organizers, sponsors, and all the other DOers for making it an amazing four days!
While I didn’t include it in the “Top 10 List”, another great part of the DO was some of the amazing swag that the sponsors gave us. I am going to be sharing some of that swag with you via a contest tomorrow. I will be giving away an (unworn) Star Mega DO 3 t-shirt, a wine stopper from Hyatt, a wine glass from United, and some of the other little items we were given along the way. It’s my way of bringing the MegaDO to you! This will be a one day only giveaway that will start at 9AM CST tomorrow (Friday) and run until 11:59PM CST. Come back in the morning to enter.
BTW, Million Mile Secrets is sharing his model airplane and seat belt from the DO in a contest that ends tomorrow!