Best of and Worst of 2012 Winners!

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As a (hopefully) fun way to review the year that is now behind us, I continued the tradition of having a little “Best of and Worst of Year in Review” contest.  To make things a little more interesting, I offered up some Starbucks gift cards to those with the “Best of” or “Worst of” comments.  I normally leave winners to fate using, but this time had the Mommy Points team pick the winners….which was fun but stressful – ended up with a bazillion winners!

I actually thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries as it is amazing how much people have been able to do thanks in part to this miles and points hobby of ours.  It absolutely warms my heart to read of families getting reunited, or surprising someone with their first ever trip in a premium cabin, or going somewhere that would otherwise be impossible.  This hobby isn’t without it’s work, but it truly is amazing and I am thankful to be a very small part of it.

Of course, even the best laid plans can head south sometimes, so it was also entertaining to read the “worst of” moments.  I highly encourage you to take a quick glance at what some of the winners said (especially the best of), it is pretty cool.  Without further ado, here are the entirely unscientifically selected winners of $10 Starbucks e-gift cards.

2012 Best of Moments Winners:

#1 Dave P: 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!

#12 The Deal Mommy: 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!

#15 AJM: 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!

#21 Rick:  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.

#25 Nathan: 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.

#29 Rich A: My best was 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!

#40 Andrew: United 4 miles to Hong Kong for those of us who booked for immediate travel!!

#47 Don T: 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.

#50 Mark: 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.

#54 Kodoma: 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!  The miles and points game has been my most rewarding discovery of 2012!

#55 LRZ: 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!

#60 Basil: 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.


2012 Worst of Moments Winners:

#13 Nadine: 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.

#15 Dan in STL: 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.

#20 Dina: 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. :(

#36 Mile Bucket: 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. :(

#38 LIH Prem:  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.

#40 Diana: 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. . .

If I could afford it, I would send gift cards to every single person who entered as I thought all of the stories were fantastic and I appreciate you taking the time to share them.  I will be sending the Starbucks e-gift cards to the email addresses used when you left the comments unless you notify me by Thursday 1/3 at 8AM Central to send it elsewhere.  Thanks again and Happy New Year – may 2013 bring more “Best of” moments and as few “Worst of” moments as possible.

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  1. MP: thanks for selecting my post! Just wanted to mention a few other things: 1. Thank you for writing this blog. You provide great information and I really appreciate it. 2. Your daughter is adorable. 3. I hope you have a great new year. 4. Get well soon.

  2. Just a reminder that airfare for Thanksgiving 2013 is now available on several airlines, with the rest opening the calendar in the next few days. There are some great fares on United right now, grab them because this is a peak travel time and they will only go up over time. I just got mine.

  3. From #29 Rich A.: MP, thanks very much and may you and yours all have the very happiest New Year!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. Forgot to mention in my post that the return flight to SYR from SIN continues on in the same direction, making it an around the world trip —

  4. Don, Rich, and Diana, you are most welcome. 😉
    Billy, thanks for that reminder – just launched a post sharing the reminder with others. 😉

  5. After my honeymoon at the BEST resort in Cancun and flying business class with my wife, I reach Cancun airport during my return trip 3 hrs in advance only to realize there is NO Star Alliance lounge at the airport. We sat in front of the gate for 3 hrs and came to know the flight has been delayed by couple of hrs :-(… sad ending to an awesome trip!

  6. I hope you are feeling better and have a wonderful new year! Thank you very much for running this amazing blog. You’ve helped my family a lot with our ability to travel affordably.

  7. Thanks MP! Knowing we have a little one on the way, this blog is moving up the ranks of my daily travel sites to visit. Can’t wait to use the SB gift card. So far, this may be the best part of 2013 🙂

  8. Thank You MP: I received your e-card and really appreciate the work you do with your posts. Thank again and Happy New Year!

  9. Thank you so much for the Starbucks Card. It will come to very good use. You can check out my guest blogs on Rick, the Frugal Travel Guy’s site.

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