Best of/Worst of 2012: Year in Review and Contest

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The end of 2012 is officially here and what a year it has been! Last year I did a few Best of/Worst posts to recap the year, remember great deals and travel moments, as well as to reminisce about the disasters as well. So, I thought it would be fun to do it again this year. This post will focus on the good times.  Read all the way to the bottom (or just skip to the bottom) to learn how to turn some of your 2012 “Best of” moments into free Starbucks.

Best Travel Moments of 2012:

In 2012, miles and points helped take my family on many adventures! Some of my favorite moments were:

January: Watching my two year old experience her first snowfall in Colorado

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March: Watching my daughter experience Disney Magic at Disneyland in California

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July: Heading to a mini-family reunion with my husband’s family and spending time together in Montreal and upstate New York

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August: Experiencing our first international business class flight and watching the Olympics in person and taking my daughter to a mini-family reunion with my side of the family in North Carolina

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November: Staying in the Park Hyatt Zurich as part of the Star MegaDo 4 and flying back to the US on miles in First Class on the Lufthansa A380. Also seeing my daughter sit up front in the United 787 Dreamliner and meet the real Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street.

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December: Visiting Maui and then finishing the year with my family at a Hyatt resort

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There were tons of other great experiences as well, but those were some that standout in my mind!

Credit Card Sign-ups in 2012:

In 2012 I also earned a bunch of miles and points thanks to credit card sign-ups and other promotions. The cards I acquired in 2012 were:

February: United MileagePlus Explorer Card and The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN

April: Ink Bold Business Card

August: US Bank FlexPerks, Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines Card (to transfer 1:2 to HHonors), and SPG Business Amex

December: Ink Plus Business Card

That is a total of around 331,500 miles and points just from my own credit card sign-up bonuses. Last year I was close to half a million miles and points from sign-up bonuses, but this year I didn’t get some of the 100K offers that I got in 2011, so the total was a little lower. I averaged two cards per quarter, balanced which banks I applied with, and am very happy with all the offers I got in on. I’m sure I could have gotten twice as many cards if I wanted to, but I’m not that aggressive of a card churner.

I wish I would have been able to get in on the short lived 60K Ink Bold, the 75K Amex Business Gold Rewards Card, and gotten my mom in on time with the 30K Freedom card, but sometimes timing isn’t in your favor!

Best of Points Earning/Redemption Moments in 2012:

I’d love to hear some of your standout miles and points moments for 2012!  How many miles and points did you rack up?  What were your favorite promos?  Favorite trips?  Favorite mistakes fares, redemptions, etc?  To end the year with a jolt of caffeine I’ll be giving away several $10 Starbucks cards to those who post some good “best of” moments in the comments section.  Stay tuned for an upcoming “Worst of” post as well.  😉

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this posts are to my affiliate offers and I do receive a commission for any approved applications that utilized my links.  All Starbucks winners are selected after serious and official debate amongst the Mommy Points team (uh, me and my three-year-old).  Happy Halloween, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year.  Bottoms up!

Comments

  1. 1. Citi AA card bonus miles lead to two-off peak award tickets for my wife and I to visit Switzerland and Italy
    2. Ink Bold vanilla reload 5x points leading to award travel to Maui to celebrate our first anniversary

    Those would be the top mileage moments for us. First baby due in May 2013…can’t wait to instill the travel/mileage bug into the next generation!

  2. Have you “spent” your 40k flex perks yet? I’m still sitting on mine, and always wondering how well others did with theirs.

  3. My best of moment in 2012 was finally retiring from the rat race. I’m still learning all I can from Mommypoints to enhance my travels

  4. 1. Splurging on Singapore First Class by transferring 70k UR points to United during July for a dream trip IAD-LHR-SIN-DPS!
    2. Figuring I must get home from Asia, I jumped on the RGN deal for $400 from RGN-BKK-NRT-LAX-YVR with the BKK-NRT-LAX segments on Delta Biz Elite!
    3. Redeeming 35k points for economy r/t in January to escape the cold for a weekend in Turks and Caicos!

  5. My favorite moment was when I opened the email for the Club Carlson Visa CC offer. That is the most generous CC I’ve ever seen.

  6. Looks like you’ve had a fun year! I’ve been thinking about mine and it was actually quite great, considering I’m just a beginner. I managed to re-qualify for Miles and More Silver (LH) for another two years which surprised me. I set out in January to take advantage of the Lufthansa 30 flight Silver promo.. and booked a bunch of non-refundable transcontinental flights on United. For some reason I thought that the promo was also going to work on United but soon I discovered that I was wrong and I kind of gave up on the idea of getting Silver again and wasn’t paying much attention to my account. By the end of summer I was still about 20 flights short but I booked a last minute trip to London on US Airways and after I returned, I realized that the status miles I earned put me just over 35,000! What an awesome surprise. After all, those Frankfurt lounges just keep on getting better and better, especially now that they opened a brand new one by the Z gates! I’m a fan and I sure do look forward to being able to spend time in them till 2015. I also managed to take trips on award miles to Philadelphia and Chicago (Dividend Miles) and to Memphis (American). The highlight of the year for me was my second-in-my-life flight in Business Class on Lufthansa between Frankfurt and Boston, which was dreamy! The best part of it was that for some unknown reason (I’m sure flyertalk has lots of data on this) the Business Class R/T cost me 55,000 miles, as opposed to the usual 100 something on Lufthansa. Not sure how that happened but probably it was a promo they were running in July! As you see I had a lot of luck but this year I plan to *think* for a change and plan some of that luck to get even more fun out of my miles. Your blog and other frequent flyer blogs have been hugely helpful to me so thanks a lot for your advice and stories! Happy New Year!

  7. Going to Chicago Seminars (met you in the bathroom during the tornado watch:)
    Discovering that the mileage malls are totally worth it for Black Friday shopping
    Taking the Marriott Platinum Challenge using stays for mileage runs
    Reaching EXP on AA for 1st time

  8. My best of moment this year was simply discovering and getting into the miles/points game. I had a Southwest card back in college, but at 1 point per dollar I never felt like it helped much. But with your help and that of Frequent Miler I discovered ways to fast track earning. Now we are planning for a trip to Europe next year with points covering the flights. Thanks.

  9. Favorite point accumulator was flying on AA from LAX to JFK. Flight cancelled due to “no water on the plane.” New plane brought in , which “Pilot refused to fly.” Flight cancelled and lucky enough to rebook on United. After rebooking, was able to enter OnePass number and get miles for a cross country flight!

  10. Many fun events in 2012, but my fave has to be surprising my husband by flying his best friend from childhood to meet us in Las Vegas in First Class on Dividend Miles earned during last year’s Grand Slam. After 20 years together, I don’t get to surprise him much. Seeing them together after way too long was a gift for me as well as him. Many thanks to you for that one!

  11. 1) Using my Club Carlson points to stay at the downtown New Orleans Country Inn and Suites during Mardi Gras. (Going back again this year thanks to the Big Night Giveaways)
    2) Flying to Hawaii in First Class thanks to Iceland deal
    3) Free Stay at the Crown Plaza Times Square for the New York Marathon and being upgraded to the top floor (fun even though the race was cancelled)

  12. Using miles for tickets to Norway in summer 2013 for my sister and myself (3 more sisters are joining us). Coach tickets going there, but business class on the way home. I will surprise her when we get on the plane and turn left instead of right!

  13. Using points to cover part of our honeymoon travel made it much more affordable. Also loved learning more about family travel tips from Mommy Points!

  14. Getting Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold (using your links), using my last year Grad Slam miles to fly LH Biz Class rt to India, racking in close to 300K miles and points (this is my first serious year as a junkie), pulling in 4 of my friends into this game with my obsession, 150X MyPoints promo are the best moments for me this year.

  15. Business class on DL to Paris roundtrip for my husband, 14 yrs old daughter and me. We created our own “Tour de France” staying in a few Hiltons and Holiday Inns along the way using HHonors/ Priority Points. Our last evening in Paris was spent hanging out by the twinkling Eiffel Tower. Magical family time.

  16. One of the best moments I had was traveling with Delta and the airport in Narita was amazing. I rode a Delta Boeing 747-400 from Narita to the Philippines and it was there new Business Class cabin with the lie-flat seats as well as new seats in economy which was amazing! My Delta flight was smooth and the crew were very friendly! Also, finally got enough miles to fly Business Class for a trip to Asia next year!!

  17. This was an interesting year in that the miles and points was non existent at the start. I was denied refinancing on my house in February because I was retired and they told me I needed to work anywhere even at a minimum wage job to get the loan. At that point I was so mad at the banks that when I came across the blogs about miles and points bonuses I couldn’t resist. Maybe this was a way to get back at them but it sure has worked. My wife still thinks I’m crazy but after her getting the free companion pass on Southwest and seeing the trips we now have lined up I think she’s understanding it better. Since March we have over 1,500,000 miles and points earned and am enjoying every minute planning new trips.

    Thanks again for all the hard work and time you spend to share your expertise with this.

    I can’t wait for our first international trip in business class this August which I would have never paid for with cash.

  18. 2012 was really our first year chasing miles. My wife and I both had OnePass cards (now UA cards) and in 2011 we did manage 25+10k each, but that was it for 2011.

    In Feb I finally jumped in with both feet. My wife was a little more reluctant, so I took it a little easy on her and her credit score. I wasn’t too crazy, but netted 255k signup miles in 2012 (NOT including the UA 25+10 and miles earned via spend). My wife managed 110k (3 cards).

    While in 2012 we did visit FL in Jan, the Caribbean in May and Las Vegas / Death Valley in Sept (married in LV!) and miles helped us get some wonderful flights, we’re going for Hawaii and American Samoa in May 2013. Almost all flying on miles, except where it was “cheap” to just pay (via the Alaska Air companion ticket!). Still looking for a fall 2013 trip (Portland and Crater Lake NP?). We should be good to go with miles for an Alaska revisit in 2014.

    We still need to get out of the States, too. I’ve got London, Iceland and Peru in my near-term sights, and I want to go soon! And we’ll be able to afford many of these flights via miles.

    Thanks for all of the wonderful advice, tips and tricks. Your’s is on my short list of blog favorites.

  19. My best moment was using AA miles that I got from using the two-browser trick to get flights for me and my mom to Paris. She’d studied French as a kid, but never been to France or even Europe. It was amazing, and all thanks to playing the miles and points game!

  20. Recently did my first ever credit cards apps for 2 Southwest cards, trying to get the companion pass. I activated the cards around December 10th. The nice lady on the phone said my statement would not close until Jan.16 and my points would not post from that spending until the then as well. A few days ago, I got a statement in the mail. A secure message to complain, and I get a goodwill gesture of 2000 bonus points that will appear on my January statement. Hopefully that counts towards the companion pass.

  21. In March, I used miles to visit my sister in Italy. She has been living there for past 2 years and this was my first chance to visit her since she moved abroad.

  22. 1. Getting southwest business and personal credit card to leverage for a companion seat for the hubby.
    2. Using those points and companion seat to fly family for free to disneyworld this December!

  23. 1) Taking advantage of first class availability on Singapore. A couple hours in the Private Room wasn’t so bad either.

    2) Racking up Hilton points for next to nothing and using for free stays at the Conrads in Singapore and Bali. Enjoying free wifi, breakfast and upgrades due to my gold status I got with my totally real Australian credit card 😉

    3) Discovering the CVS a block from my apartment has seemingly limitless vanilla reloads and takes credit cards.

  24. Dear Mommy,
    I follow your blog religiously and wanted to wish you a joyous and prosperous 2013. Seeing your daughter in the front of the plane (she really is adorable) bought memories of my own children when they were younger and our first trip to Paris in Business Class. Keep up the good work and safe travels!

  25. My best: Getting 2 Business Class round-trip tickets from SYR to SIN on Singapore Airlines USING our United Mileage Plus miles! The non-stop ERW – SIN segment is 18 1/2 hours and flys half way around the world non-stop. It is the world’s longest flight both for distance and flight time. Our adventure begins when we board!

  26. Got married! Won 2 roundtrip tickets on JetBlue to any of their destinations and ended up going to Nassau, Bahamas! Then I won another roundtrip ticket to any of go! Airlines destinations & using that to go to Kauai! And winning a Starbucks card would add to these “best of” moments & give me another great reason to reminisce!

  27. 70,000 point sign-up bonus for the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card, which I am using in two weeks for a stay at the JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa. Booked the trip after seeing your post about the $400 United fares to Hawaii, and finding similar fares ($450) out of JFK on Delta. Another highlight of the year was flying on the inaugural United 787 flight and getting my picture with Jeff Smisek and getting him to sign my boarding pass.

  28. Easy— the Capital One 100,000 points promo. With the 10,000 point bonus on $1K spend, it was actually 112,000 points towards travel. Used it to pay booking fees on other free travel and airport parking expenses, etc, making our weeklong trip to Hawaii and other trips expense free. Thanks for the tips this year!

  29. It’s actually kinda neat to see how your little girl has grown up even over the course of one year! So cute!

    My best was the 75k MR for the biz gold. I need to finish my spend soon. I’ve got $8500 out of $10k so far and a month or so. But I gotta get on it!

  30. I loved the push by club Carlson to get some brand awareness. The big night giveaway was awesome being able to experience the radisson blu in Chicago for the price of $55 from a cheap hotel night. The new club Carlson credit card is also a great product.

  31. Highlights for me would be getting in on the 100k BA avois card from Barclays, US Air card and Flexperks.

    I also liked the points from the Nordstoms 36x BA promo but I had to fight like never before to get the points. You know it’s bad when Eric Nordstrom responds to your emails in order to get it credited.

    Travel highlights are minor but include a family trip to SFO and Reno in F on US Air from the 2011 Grandslam points. Also flying my wife and I to Miami for a Cruise in F on AA and getting Ambassador treatment at the Intercontinental Miami precruise.

    Thanks for your blogging during the year and Happy New Year !

  32. Getting almost 8,000 miles from e-miles – waiting for Jan 1 to convert them to SW points and get a Companion Pass. Pretty good way to start the new year – SW Companion Pass for me and my brand new wife!

  33. Worst of…Had never heard of Club Carson until shortly after big promotion has maxed out.

    Best of…Did get two x 15K bonuses (consolation prizes)for late signing of promo. Then earned 330K more the slow and steady way. Due 120K for Stay More Earn More promo, and 50K for first purchase on CC Visa.

    530K for about 6 months isn’t too bad. CC Concierge now and always being upgraded to suites. Also one additional free Radison night for a BOGO promo.

  34. 1. Mypoint 150 points per dollar on open sky + double points for new members. Got $500 of merchandise + 70k United Points
    2. Ink Bold vanilla reload 5x points on everything

  35. So many bests for me but I am thanking Chase for over 450000 UR points thanks to VR and Office Depot 🙂

    Also loving the 2 US Bank cards for this 3yr old churner.

  36. Best of 2012: Taking my mother, aunt, husband and son on our dream vacation to Oahu. Leveraged 3 US airways 40K sign-up bonuses and the points from the 2011 grand slam, thanks in part to your helpful posts. Stayed in a condo ($600/week), but used points to spend a night on Waikiki beach.

  37. I would have to say as far as offers the 75k targeted Amex PRG was awesome for my wife, and then we both got the Citi AA Amex and Visas for a total of over 215k miles and $300 in AA gift cards! I got the US Air and Amex SPG during 2012, and got the Southwest Plus late in the year for 2013 companion pass points. As far as travel, we all flew to Orlando for Disney World and stayed on points as well! In addition, all flights throughout the entire year were on points (6 delta tickets and 9 Southwest tickets!) It was another good year for points and miles!

  38. 2 best things that happened to me: I got a great job that I love, and I discovered the world of miles and points! Also used 5000 UR/Hyatt points for a free night at a hotel when we had plumbing problems at home.

  39. My favorite credit card bonus of the year was the 70K miles from the Amex Delta Gold. It required some interesting maneuvering to say the least, but still, quite a deal. First runner up would be the Amex Gold for 75K MR points, which I parlayed through Virgin Atlantic while taking advantage of the MR 35% bonus into 202,500 Hilton Hhonors points. Well more than I have used to book 5 nights at the Bali Hilton Conrad for mid January.

    My favorite hotel program promo was the Carlson Rewards, 50,000 point bonus for one night stay. I was able to score a total of 100K by staying at a Radisson and a Country Inn & Suites, which I needed to do anyway. A close second for me was getting temporary Hyatt Diamond through their challenge offer, then getting the Chase Hyatt Visa which gave two free nights in a suite which we used at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai last spring.

    But, by far, my favorite deal of the year was booking Singapore Airlines RT FC for an upcoming trip to Singapore and Bali. I have to give props to your fellow blogger, Lucky, for breaking this in the blogosphere and for his personal help in pulling things together.

    All of you guys do a tremendous job.

    These were my personal favorites for what was a very good 2012. It was a bummer that we had no US Air Grand Slam, because that is just way to much fun, but, still, it was quite a year. Let’s hope we all “play ball” again in 2013.

  40. I had been earning Aadvantage miles on a Citi credit card for years but this is my first full year making miles and points my “hobby”. And what a year it was. I started the year off with 50,000 ultimate rewards points each for my wife and I with the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. This was soon followed by the Chase Hyatt 2 free night card and the Club Carlson big night giveaway. We did 2 Radisson stays, 1 Park Inn stay in my own town just for the points, and 2 County Inn & Suites stays on a road trip – this netted 230,000 points. We used the 2 Hyatt nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris (I still remember the Jasmine scented lobby and hallways). We used the Club Carlson points for 3 nights at the Radisson Blu Paris Ambassador – also a very nice property.

    My other credit card sign-ups this year were the 30,000 point Starwood AMEX, US Bank Flex Perks Olympics promo, US Airways Mastercard, 65,000 point Hilton AMEX, and most recently the Chase Ink Plus. I’ve bought a few vanilla reloads from CVS and a few gift cards from Office Depot. I even paid part of my property taxes with 5X or 6X bonus points!

    Next year it is time to use some Starwood points at the Westin Riverside in Beaver Creek, CO.

    The miles and points game has been my most rewarding discovery of 2012!

  41. In October, I went on my first mistake fare trip to Japan, used a few Avios points to hop over and spend some time in Korea, ate new foods, and made new friends. This month, I did my first mileage run. Actually, they were three back-to-back weekends. Positioned with Southwest Rapid Rewards points. I saw Boston for the first time brimming with history, met some fellow FTers and mileage runners, and I’ll be making AA Platinum for the second time. (I don’t drink caffeine, so the card would be given to my friend.)

  42. I status matched my United Premier Gold status to Turkish Airways’ Gold, giving me another 2 free years of Star Alliance Gold status (with access even to US lounges on domestic flights) just when my United Gold status was expiring. Amazing!!!

  43. Finding this blog and another travel blog, which started my points and miles hobby in March 2012. Got Gold Elite for Marriott, a Southwest Companion pass, and a bunch of aadvantage & usairways points this year. Cheers!

  44. My best trip was an aspirational one for my niece, who has wanted for some time to go to NYC and see a Broadway show. Over the summer, her dream came true. I used my PC points to stay at the Crowne Plaza on Times Square. We got there in business class on my Amtrak points (her first train ride) and then I used some SPG points to land cheaper (and really good) seats to see Wicked. She was enthralled and it will be a trip she never forgets. If it wasn’t for points, we would not have had four days of absolute fun! One reason I like your blog is that it focuses on doing stuff for your family- and that is why I keep racking up points when I get the chance, just to give them a chance- to see something new!

  45. My best moment: when United (after 2 letters and 3 phone calls) agreed to extend my 30 yr old nephew’s elite status for another year. He was very sick, having undergone a Bone Marrow Transplant for his Lymphoma….and the thing he wanted most was to keep his status on United. United had refused his request (despite more than 5 years of huge loyalty and mega-business flying) but I gave it one more try and they came through for him. Best moment of my miles and points year. Overall best moment: his clean scan one year later!

  46. My wife and I got in on the Chase BA 100,000 point offer. I converted both accounts to a family account for a total of 200,000 points.
    I cashed in 2 LAN awards in business at the old rate of 80,000 points per ticket, leaving me 40,000 points. Then, I booked 2 R/T tickets on LAN Lima/Cusco (9000 points each for a total of 18,000 points) and EZE/Mendoza (same cost).
    We used 196,000 points in total and saved a ton of cash.
    Intra- South America flights can be expensive.

  47. I started just this year collecting miles and points but I’ve already been in 8 countries this year. I’m hooked and must…get…more…………..

  48. I discovered the world of points just this year. I never had an single mile or point until recently! Now I’m double dipping, shopping through portals, and basically annoying all my friends and family trying to get them to join in.

    Thanks from this newbie 🙂

  49. My best moment was a father/daughter trip to Paris in UAL in First Class and seeing the look on my 6 year old daughter’s face when she was taken from her Row 1 seat to the real Row 1 seat – in the cockpit.

  50. My Best was getting 3 voluntary bumps in a row, returning from Colorado over Easter break, total $1,100 in free flights

  51. Best moment for me was pooling all my points from chase sapphire, ink into united…getting on board with 55k for united for both hubby and I and finding biz avail for both of us and son for spain next summer!! Wahoo! Oh what a feeling, thanks for all you do…couldn’t have done it without you!

  52. Making Platinum on a Marriott challenge.
    Getting a Marriott down to 37 dollars a night on a Look No further rate.
    Halloween at Universal courtesy of Aeroplan points – business class LHR to MCO / MCO to YYZ / YYZ to LHR

  53. Thanks for the tips…my best was using my “Club Carlson Big Night Promo” = 50,000 points and redeemed those points for 5 night stay at the Radisson in Orlando!!

  54. Best moment for me was taking my daughter and son to London and Paris over Thanksgiving. My son recently overcame his fear of flying and now likes to travel, just like his mom and sister.

  55. My best moment was booking the three of us to go in First class from Boston to Kauai and then free stays at the Hyatt Kauai and St Regis Princeville thanks to all of the great credit card offers I was able to take advantage of in the past year. February vacation will have us saying Hawaii here we come!

  56. Finding four roundtrip Cathay Pacific and ANA/Thai/Asiana/United tickets from the JFK/DFW to HKG/BKK in a combo of first and business class. Glad I’ll be able to take my parents on an unforgettable SE Asia trip for their retirement this Feb.

  57. My best moment of 2012 was to discover the wonderful world of points/miles collection for FREE! My fiancé and I learned from your blog and other frequent travellers’ experience to apply airline/hotel memberships and credit cards. We are on the right track to fly to Europe and stay at the hotel for honeymoon next year on using free miles and points!

  58. the highlight of 2012 was taking my family to Europe this summer and having had read your blog daily for the year before our trip, the 4 of us flew for free and most of our hotel was on points!
    thank you, mommy points, for all of your wisdom and advice!
    you helped make it a MEMORABLE trip!!

  59. So many things….

    1) Marriott’s platinum challenge was easy to complete and will provide us Club access and othe benefits for the next year.

    2) This past year is the first full year of my new “hobby”. My husband and I earned about 650,000 miles/points and are looking forward to spending them!

    3) Using one of our suite upgrades for a week at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

    4) The best part, my husband now asks me which card or portal he should use so we get the most points or miles . . . . Nice!

    Happy New Year.

  60. best of….having fun burning through a couple hundred bucks of free gift crds from my Best Western sign up bonus !

  61. The highlight was getting the US Bank Club Carlson Visa card, even though I didn’t really expect to be approved. I got lots of new cards in 2012 ……. Mileage Explorer, Amex Delta Biz, Amex Membership Rewards, Amex Starwood Biz, and Barclays US Airways. From what I read on the blogs there was no way I would be approved even though my FICO is over 800. Got the card a few days ago and have already set up online banking with US Bank……… a great way to end 2012

  62. I will give you a best and worst of for my 2012. For the best of, I jumped on one of USAirways “30 for 30” promotion out of DCA, getting a roundtrip fare to San Diego for $129. That trip acted as my first official miles run. I was going to come up about 1000 miles short of DM Gold for the year, and this was so much better than paying the money to make up the difference. On the way out there, I had an exit row seat with no one next to me, and on the way back, I was upgraded to first class. The best part was telling the fc flight attendant on my way off the plane “see you real soon,” and then upon reboarding about an hour later (USAir just refuels and turns the plane around on this route) the flight attendant, remembering me, says, “wow, you weren’t kidding.” We end up talking during the flight and I learned alot more about the dysfunction within USAirways on their contracts with FAs, pilots, etc. who were legacy America West, vs. USAir employees. Overall it was a great experience, and I made it to gold for 2013.
    As for the worst of, to be brief, I had a work trip in Hawaii, so I used 70K dividend miles to book economy tickets for both my wife and 3 year old daughter to join me. We drove to Boston (to leave my 8 month old son with my inlaws) and flew from BOS-SFO-HNL. The worst of happened in SFO when our flight from SFO to HNL was cancelled. I had to run to customer service to try and get rebooked/get a hotel for the night. No other flights that night, and got a room at a place that I will never stay at again (so seedy and gross). Worst of all, the hotel would not honor my United voucher, so I had to pay the rate on my own (still waiting on a refund from United). By the time we got to the hotel, it was 9 pm West coast time, so really midnight for my daughter, so it was a harrowing experience. The bright side was we got to Hawaii the next day, stayed 2 nights at the new Disney Aulani and watched my daughter get so excited at the sight of Mickey and Minnie that she was literally shaking with anticipation. So all in all, maybe a little but of best of, worst of in the same trip.

  63. I just started this whole points and miles game in August, and the best moment for me was signing up for my first rewards-earning credit card! I got the Hilton Hhonors AmEx and it was a rush when the 50k sign-up bonus posted to my account. I haven’t taken a trip using points and miles yet; instead of using everything I’ve accumulated as quickly as possible, I’m saving up to send my boyfriend and me to Hawaii for 10 days. My goal is by the end of 2014.

  64. I earned 415,150 just from credit card sign-up bonuses in 2012! I was able to earn a Companion Pass on Southwest with a Chase Personal and Business card and earned Platinum with Marriott on a challenge with 18 stays in three months. Looking forward to using the points for several trips in 2013!

  65. My best travel moment of 2012 was making a last minute decision to drive 14 hours to Chicago to surprise a bunch of friends that I hadn’t seen since college!

  66. A little late here, but my best travel moment of 2012 slipped in just under the wire – on two separate flights (DEN-MCI 12/25 and return 12/31) a total stranger complimented us on how well-behaved our 2 and 4 year old sons were. They knew what to expect (just ask them the process for getting through the DEN airport – trains and sidewalks and escalators, oh my!), had plenty of snacks and distractions (thank you, seatback video!) and I planned the flights for times when they were usually awake but not crazy active.
    Now planning our September 2013 trip to Kauai – using miles, of course!

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