Worst of 2012 and Starbucks Giveaway

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Yesterday I highlighted some of my own “Best Of” travel moments of 2012. There are also some great moments shared by others in the comments section! No doubt that 2012 was good to many in the miles and points world as we got in on some great deals, had some fantastic redemptions, and really added to our points totals in a big way. Of course, not everything is sunshine and roses. There were some trips that didn’t go as planned, some deals that went belly-up, etc. So, this post is dedicated to the “Worst Of” in the miles and points world for 2012. Of course, this is all relative because in the grand scheme of things, how poorly can things really go in the world of almost free travel?!

Here are some of my own “Worst Of” moments when it came to travel in 2012:

January: After finishing up a fantastic snowy vacation at Beaver Creek, my family missed our morning flight back in Denver by about five minutes. It had dumped snow the night before, and the drive back through the mountains was both dangerous and slow…..and we apparently left at least 5 minutes too late. The nice United agents got us rebooked without penalty on a flight later that day, but that meant many hours with a two year old in the Denver airport. To make it more exciting, my husband had work he had to do that day, so we set up camp in the United Club and did our best to not annoy anyone too much. Naturally we could not get seat assignments together on our new flight, so we got to do some serious negotiating so that Little C wasn’t stuck sitting by herself. Fun times!


March: I flew solo with C to California, but almost didn’t make the trip because of a nasty cold. I sucked it up and enjoyed the time there, but on the flight home my ears and head had so much pressure I thought they were going to explode. A ill-timed “Code Brown” situation from the little one didn’t help matters. When we landed my ears still hurt and hadn’t popped….a month later they finally did. That was spectacular!


June: My whole family headed to the City of Sin, and my husband decided to reenact the scene in Vegas Vacation where Chevy Chase keeps hitting the ATM destined to turn his luck around against the “lucky” dealer. You can thank me for all your future free drinks in Vegas as I think we sponsored them all.

August: Little C and I headed East to meet up with some family at the Outer Banks. She did great with the early morning flight, but had hit a wall by the time we landed. The scene played out something like this…..her taking off unexpectedly at full force through the rental car parking lot, acting like a wild animal when I finally apprehended her (after abandoning my purse, our luggage, etc), flipping the luggage cart over and face planting on the concrete, and my own 60 minute epic struggle with the godforsaken car seat. This even was topped off with info from the rental car agency that my credit cards were declined. We finally found one that was accepted….in the end I don’t know what their issue was as the cards were just fine. I almost headed straight back to the airport for the next flight home. Instead, I called my husband and whined like a baby for 15 minutes before continuing on our journey.  As is evidenced below I was not doing so hot after all that excitement.


September: Anniversary trip fail.

December: Ever since last New Year’s Eve I have been looking forward to taking my family to our favorite Hyatt resort for their New Year’s Eve carnival and festivities. It is a haven of family friendliness! However, Little C has shared her nasty germs with me, and now leaving the house is not a viable option. So, I had to call and cancel our trip (naturally after the 72-hour cancellation period). Like a moron I had booked a spa package for our first night, so since it was non-refundable I got to watch not only our reservations, but spa treatments go up in a puff of…….well, don’t ask what kind of puff they went up in. On the up side, this was to be the last stay I needed to re-qualify for Diamond status for next year, and they were gracious enough to at least check me into the room so I could get the much needed stay credit….hopefully they can give the pedicures to someone else.  You will find me ringing in the New Year’s safe and sound in my own bed.


Enough about my family, here were some “Worst Of” moments in the broader miles and points world for 2012.

  • No Grand Slam….still sad about that one.  It didn’t even get a proper funeral.
  • The 4 mile first class tickets to China that weren’t
  • The quick death of the Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot once the Bluebird took flight
  • The United merger IT and other problems
  • The RGN mistake fare cancellations

Okay, what am I forgetting?  What were your “worst of” moments for 2012?  Don’t let me be the only one with a list of travel fails!  I will be choosing some of the top “worst of” moments in the comments section as recipients for some hot and fresh Starbucks gift cards.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. I kept waiting for the trip where your luggage didn’t make it to Vegas. Not sure what that’s saying when having one’s luggage not show up doesn’t even make the worst of list for the year 😉

  2. Went to return my rental car after Christmas and realized that I had all my moms stuff we had purchased a Costco a few days prior. Ugh.

  3. When we missed our second leg of our trip on the way home from Vegas. US air had announced the flight delayed and then decided to leave early. We run up to the gate right as the door is closing. What a sick feeling. No other flights from CLT going home that night. Learned a good one that late night. All in all, I had a great year in the miles and points world. I gained alot and am looking forward to the new year. I am hooked!!

  4. My worst moment was realizing all of the time I had wasted prepping all of our accounts for the US Airways Grand Slam that never happened.

  5. Finding out my January 2013 trip to Rome on US air miles in Envoy was switched from the A330 lay flats to a 767 angle flat seats after i booked it. I know seems silly but I promised my wife we would get the newer layout.

  6. Making the mistake of taking Spirit twice:

    LAS-DTW – Redeye flight. Turns out the seats didn’t recline. Worked sucked the next day.

    ORD-DTW – 4 hour delay. I could have driven back to Detroit quicker than what this flight ended up taking.

  7. I had a kind of a worst moment/terrifying moment in 2012. I was riding a Boeing 757 on Delta Airlines and we were descending as we are making our approach to my final destination. Upon the descent there were some light – moderate turbulence, after a few minutes of on and off turbulence, I felt the plane went up and suddenly IT DROPPED at a strong rate, and it felt terrifying! Many people on board screamed and the plane was quiet afterwards. That was the last turbulence before the plane landed. It was around 11:30PM when it occurred. Most terrifying/worst experience ever!

  8. @DaninSTL Not silly at all. I carefully avoid spending miles on angled seats. The promise to your wife is only adding insult to the injury of the switched plane. Contact US and see if they will at least give you some bonus miles for your disappointment. I don’t know if they will, but it can’t hurt to ask…

  9. My worst moment was trying to get home from Lima to Miami only to be delayed due to Hurricane Irene. We arrived at airport, found out that we are stuck in airport for 6 more hours before we could take off. It sucked because we could have stayed at hotel in a more comfortable atmosphere. I was also so sick with a head cold that I had to use a roll of toilet paper since there was no kleenexes around. Then when we did finally took off for Miami, we ended up landing in Fort Launderdale due to stormy conditions and sat on taramac for 4 hours before flying to Miami. I was so miseraberly sick that I just wanted to get off the plane, go home and be in my bed.

  10. After returning from Disney world we found out that our daughter, who is 8, left her favorite blanket (aka Purple nana)that she’s had for forever behind. Disney has not been terribly helpful recovering it either. 🙁

  11. Too bad on the purple nana, I’ve had great experience with Disney lost and found.

    I lost my sunglasses (black ray bans) on Space Mountain, and several weeks later got them returned by mail. If you fill out the form, if they find it they will return it.


  12. AmEx giving 15K bonuses for each authorized user you added, only to follow up with financial reviews of those who added authorized users.

  13. We’re all talking first world problems here, but mine was in Hawaii. Checked in with Hawaiian air online. Arrived 30 minutes before flight to print boarding pass and discovered that since I had no printed boarding pass I’d been un-checked in and my seat given away. Cost me $250 for additional night hotel, change fee for a reserved flight the next day and another day of car rental.

    It was hell. I was forced to stay on Kauai another day 🙂

  14. My husband booked a trip from Chicago to Boston. We flew out of O’Hare, but we’re flying back to Midway. Ooops indeed. So we’re looking at a $80 shuttle ride, $50 cab ride or cheap but loooong Metra ride in between the two. Sigh.

  15. Oh I have another worst. But it’s my fault. I booked the cheapo El Al to Tel Aviv for my parents and I. I got super busy at work and needed to cancel or change. Well if I had gotten my act together a few days sooner, I could have changed my tickets to a later date with their direct $150 change. Meh, they were sold out of seats so I had to cancel. Oh well!

  16. My worst of 2012 for traveling was not jumping on the United mistake to anywhere as long as you connected in Hong Kong. Instead of booking a few months ahead, why didn’t I think about leaving the next day? There was nothing that would have tied me down. Melbourne, Male, Queenstown, Cape Town, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, and on…I would have visited them all, paying only 2,000 miles plus taxes. Ugh.

  17. I missed a flight out of St. Louis even though we arrived two hours early because there were only two lanes open for the “barefoot parade”.

  18. Well I know it is much the same for everyone, but after getting an Ink card I only got about a month of the Vanilla/Bluebird love before it got shut down. :(~ On to new points adventures in the new year!

  19. Not my mistake, but my boss let a client make trip reservations for me as they thought it would be cheaper. I told them UsAir as I have status and used them to previously fly to the client. The woman called me while I was at dinner (no internet access) and went over flight info. I asked her if any of it was on United and she said no, but to me it sounded like it was. She lied- it was! I am cursed with United, and it took me 18 hours to get home instead of 7. I wind up flying them once a year, and it’s always a disaster.
    On a sort of funny note, I had to cancel a trip for one of my nieces to come see me as she caught head lice from a friend- no one wanted her here!

  20. I got in on the Iceland Air deal halfway and too late….I got the miles, finally, posted to my account on the day we took our first flight as parents. I didn’t have cell service at my uncles house so I didn’t call that day to get my flight booked. The next day, the deal was pulled. I have a few Iceland Air miles to deal with now. 🙁

  21. I was driving on a highway going about 70 mph when my hood flew up, cracked my windshield, and scared everyone in the car. Luckily, no one was hurt in my car or any other car as I kept a cool head and pulled over. We tied down the hood and then went to a garage and had the hood lever fixed. The windshield had to be replaced as well.

  22. worst moment for me was my last trip in 2012.

    To make a long story short, I ended up in the hospital for 2 days with pneumonia before I could continue the last leg of my trip and go home. Everything is fine now.

    I was same day changing my last leg home so I could attend a Capt Denny Dinner in the Bay Area, but when I really couldn’t catch my breath anymore, I decided to go to an urgent care clinic. They checked my O2 levels, took an x-ray and sent me to the hospital in an ambulance. Friends in the Bay Area were great, helped return my rental car, got me stuff, etc, etc. It was only 2 days till I was released, and all is fine now.

    Trying to rebook the final leg after release required the intervention of an angel. Even though I had hospital discharge papers, etc, and had called to cancel the final leg since I was admitted, most UA phone agents insisted I had to buy the S fare up to a B fare at that point because that was all that was available. My friend found one contact that did the right thing for us. Since then I have asked UA Insider what the official policy is in cases like this, but of course all I’ve gotten back from them is complete silence. It’s possible they haven’t gotten to it yet I suppose, but it’s kind of typical.


  23. During the transition days of the United-Con merger…and in a case of trying to get the best seat possible, on our big Europe trip, i decided to upgrade my wife’s ticket to a better seat. With 24 hrs to go… I lucked out and got her an Econ-plus seat!

    Unfortunately, the better seat was for a flight leaving that night, leaving in two hours… and not the next day as scheduled!

    Try getting an actual voice on the phone when you have no status and need to reverse ‘an upgrade’ during the merger. Three hours later and the use of my coworker’s Premier Platinum status… I got a hold of a friendly phone rep that saw my dilemma… $150 well spent on an upgrade…

  24. Booked a suite at a hotel so our toddler could sleep better and we wouldn’t have to sit in the dark. Informed at check-in that suite was not available because the previous guest did not check out, and all other suites were full, offered a jr. suite instead. Called the front desk a few hours later to remind them that’d we’d be willing to switch as soon as the suite became available. They responded by asking if we had used the bathroom yet. . .

  25. True sign of a miles/points junkie – my worst of 2012 was having to use 25,000 Priority club points for a room at a Crowne Plaza. Much prefer to use PC points for Points Breaks opportunities……

  26. Apologies to everyone for not being clear about the Starbucks giveaway in the post from the beginning. Those who guessed I was sick were correct. I think this post was shortly before I landed myself an IV drip in the ER. Oops. Don’t post while needing to go to the ER. 😉

    Regardless, this one will operate just like the “Best of” post with some of the comments being selected as Starbucks gift card winners. Apologies again for the confusion.

  27. Traveling to/from Chicago for a work trip the day before Thanksgiving. Took me over 2 hours to drive back from the University of Chicago to O’Hare (about 17 miles). Needless to say, I didn’t stop to fill up the rental’s gas! Not to mention all the flight delays due to the fog. Long, long day!

  28. My worst travel moment of 2012 was having my checked bag delayed three days, and when it arrived, $300 worth of items were missing!

  29. One of my worst moments this year was missing my flight back home from Italy… oops! That was a costly mistake that I will not make again! 🙁

  30. On Thanksgiving Day, we were all in the car headed to Sarasota for Thanksgiving dinner (where most of our family lives… luckily we only live about 3 hours away). Well, we get on the main highway and are traveling at a good pace for about an hour. Then, traffic completely stops. People are getting out of their cars, walking their dogs, trying to see what the hold-up is ahead. After watching about 50 cars decide to turn around (going the “wrong way” on the emergency lane toward the exit ramp), we finally decide to do the same. So, we begin to follow the herd, going the wrong way on the highway and going the wrong way on an exit ramp. No kidding – the moment we get off the highway, ambulances are beginning to enter the highway and police are beginning to block the entrance. So… we never did make it to Sarasota. We ended up having Thanksgiving dinner at a Perkins restaurant. Yep. A Perkins. Surrounded by retirees. I will say though, that this was better than the time we were at the Gaylord Opryland Resort on Thanksgiving Day, but ended up eating Army M.R.E’s for Thanksgiving dinner on our hotel room balcony. Hahaha!

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