Worst of 2013: Year in Review and Contest

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Yesterday I highlighted some of my own “Best Of” travel and miles/points moments of 2013 and got to read many other “best of” travel stories in the comments section. However, I live in the real world where not everything goes as planned.  Sometimes despite your best intentions you have some “Worst of” moments.  There were some trips that didn’t go as planned, some deals that went belly-up, some opportunities I missed out on, etc. So, this post is dedicated to the “Worst Of” in the miles and points world for 2013. Of course, this is all relative because in the grand scheme of things, how poorly can things really go when you are getting to experience the world on miles and points?!
January 2013:
On a ski trip my daughter who was slightly sick when we began the trip, took a turn for the worse and got so sick we couldn’t leave the bathroom for the first half of our trip.  It was so bad we flew my mom in on miles at the last minute to help.  Naturally, she then started to get better as soon as that decision was made, but the low point might have come when we set off the hotel fire alarm by using too much steam in the bathroom trying to help her breathing to feel better.
Pushing my kid too hard:
On a couple of trips, most notably when the two of us went to Hawaii, our flight schedule and limited sleep schedule ended up just being too much even for a grown person, much less a little person.  She is a trooper, but there were a couple of times she just melted down and refused to pass out anywhere on the plane except in my arms…which looks a little funny when you are as big as she is!
November 2013:
Experiencing the Spirit Airlines lavatory.  Enough said.
November 2013:
Being Gone Too Much:
I hit 1K with United this year, meaning I flew about 100,000 paid miles with them alone.  That is roughly flying around the world four times.  This doesn’t even count all of my award redemptions.  All of this added up to a pretty hectic travel schedule that sometimes got to be more time away from home than I wanted.  It is a good problem to have, but working to find the balance of home time and travel time still alluded me at times in 2013.
Enough about my own trips.  Here were some “Worst Of” moments in the broader miles and points world for 2013:
  • Few “huge” offers.  The public 75,000 and 100,000 point sign-up bonus offers were few and far between.  More and more of them have become targeted for new card members.
  • Few mattress-run worthy hotel promotions.  There were no Club Carlson 50k or Hyatt Faster Free Night offers that made it worth your time and money to get some extra hotel stays.
  • Introduction of revenue requirements for airline elite status.  Some airlines like United and Delta announced revenue requirements for elite status that will kick-in for 2014.  Some have called this the “death of the mileage run”.
  • Award chart devaluations.  We saw devaluations for SPG cash and points chart, Hilton, Hyatt, United, and more either implemented or announced devaluations in 2013.  This happens to a degree every year, but 2013 saw more than its fair share.
  • US Airways and American Airlines merger.  The effects of this will hit more in 2014, but fewer opportunities to earn and redeem miles is a bad things for mileage junkies.  There will be some upsides to this merger, but on the whole this is likely bad news for most of us.
  • Missing mistake fares.  I know I’m not the only one that is kicking myself for missing out on some of the killer mistake fares this year!
What were your “worst of” moments for 2013?  Don’t let me be the only one with a list of travel and miles/points fails!  I will be choosing some of the top “worst of” moments in the comments section as recipients for some Starbucks gift cards, GoGo internet passes, and Mommy Points t-shirts.  The winning entries will be posted on New Year’s Day.
All winners for this giveaway are selected after serious and official debate amongst the Mommy Points team (uh, my kid, my husband, and me).

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. Multiple Delta delays followed by a devaluation of rewards and perks that made it all seem…just. not. worth. it. I think that Delta is my worst travel story of 2013. On multiple trips to London the late departure from JFK was cancelled for mechanical issues – insert being shuttled to a nearby airport around 2am to get up for the 7am American day flight to LHR. It seemed that every Delta, domestic and international, flight this year was delayed for mechanical issues – not weather – and resulted in missed connections, lost vacation days, and delayed meetings – it was a kick to the stomach when the program itself became less valuable.

  2. Kids both got sick on a WDW vacation, but even worse than that, they had to wait with me in a Budget car rental line at MCO. It took 2 HOURS for me to get the privilege to pay for my car rental at MCO. It was ridiculous.

  3. As it happens…
    1. The devaluations. United and Delta mostly hit home… 🙁
    2. Lost luggage for days with Alitalia.
    3. Revenue spend on UA and Delta.
    Perhaps it was the unlucky 13′ 😉
    Looking forward to what’s in store for next year!

  4. 1. Being involuntarily downgraded EWR-SFO (on a seat that was booked 9 months out)
    2. Cartera not giving me my United shopping miles (20,000)
    I have no plans to collect United any more and have switched to earn Chase Ulitmate reward points instead

  5. My youngest daughter, who was 1 1/2 at the time, gagged on some food just a few minutes into our transatlantic trip. Instead of helping, the flight crew merely directed me to the bathroom.

    On the same trip, our luggage with the kids and my hubby’s stuff was lost – we spent most of the trip trying to ensure adequate clothing. On a happier note, the bag was eventually found, almost two months later, in a motel parking lot – and it only took five calls to the airline to get it back!

    But, we do love traveling with the kiddos – just a challenge from our single traveling days =)

  6. The worst for my family this year was the recent ice storm in D.C. My wife and toddler were returning from visiting her sister and aunt in Chicago, flew on AA ORD to DCA – they were 10 minutes from Reagan when the airport decided to shut down. They flew for 30 minutes in a holding pattern, landed in Hartford CT for 4 hours, and were sent back to Chicago. I drove 45 minutes home on icy roads and waited another week to see them.

  7. One of the worst would have to be 3 of my 4 young children catching the stomach flu while visiting extended family for Christmas! 5 extended family members ended up sick as well. It is no fun to have kids throwing up on Christmas!

  8. After a delayed takeoff for my LAX-PHX-PHL red eye flight, my connection in PHX was going to be tight. So I have been upgraded to first for both legs. I run to the gate only to find that my FC seat was given away and I’ve been moved to a middle coach seat for a red eye.

    Fortunately, there was a window seat next to a four year old and his mom. I was able to sleep most of the night, even with the cute sock footed feet on my lap most of the flight.

  9. Missing the last Delta flight of the day at SEA and having to spend the night on the benches of terminal S as all the hotels near SEA were full.

  10. Worst of 2013 travel – a good friend organized a NYC radio city/brooklyn lights trip for a group of us – then her husband became seriously ill just before Thanksgiving – so she was unable to come. Felt terrible doing the trip without her, but hoping for some Christmas miracles for her husband – and perhaps we can all go to NYC next year!

  11. Good –
    1. Making UA 1K and AA Exec Plat, Hyatt and SPG Plat, Hilton Diamond
    2. Awesome new routes and service at DFW – Qatar, Etihad, AA to HKG, PVG, BOG, LIM, etc.
    3. Slick new AA aircraft – 777-300, A319, A321, etc
    4. good experience overall on UA!
    5. AA’s new livery – I LOVE it. Can’t wait to see new uniforms in Jan.

    Not so good
    1. 3 Emergency landings on AA planes this year – including 2 in one week (Dec 7 – 12) but all good save outcomes (thanks AA pilots!)
    2. DFW area ice storm – but AA phone reps were fab
    3. various point program devaluations with too many points to use up
    4. Having a kid throw up on the back of my head on a flight from MEM last week.

  12. Being served a raw steak ORD-LHR in business class and berated multiple times by the flight attendant for complaining that it was raw. She made it a point to show me everyone else’s (uneaten) raw steaks as she cleared them, saying “that’s how they are supposed to be cooked.”

  13. Missing out on a paid trip to Chicago to collect an award I had won for placing 3rd in the nation on a certification exam. To be fair, it was because my wife was 39 weeks pregnant at the time and gave birth to our 1st child shortly after the trip. So a “Best of times/Worst of times” moment for me

  14. My “worst” seems tame compared to some of these horror stories! For me, the worst was flying a 3 hour redeye full of VERY enthusiastic teenagers bound for an overseas mission trip. While they tried to be polite, their sheer numbers meant that no one on that flight was getting any rest, including me.

  15. My husband and I are not experienced travelers, so when we went to London and had to figure out a confusing public transit system it caused quite a bit of stress and arguments between the two of us! But all in all-we had a fantastic year and now have a good handle on public travel 🙂

  16. The 16 hour IND-DEN journey on UA. That involved standing around at DEN for a long time waiting for my gate checked bag. It turned out to be on a different plane landing two hours later. I told UA they could deliver it, and they did.

  17. My worst of was part of my best of trip. My son and I flew to a small town in Manitoba to catch a 16 hour overnight train for Churchill. Arrived at the train station to find out our train was stuck behind another train that had derailed and they had no idea when it would arrive. We had to find a hotel for the night. The train delay ended up being a good thing because during the night my son became very ill and we had to make a trip to the local ER. We spent another night in the hotel and ended up paying for a very expensive flight on the only airline that flies from that town to Churchill. Once my son was better and we made it to Churchill, the trip was amazing. And thank goodness for your travel blog and others where I learned about medical insurance for international travel.

  18. No travel issues this entire year (at least memorable), we are very thankful for that.

    The ‘Carribean bug’ pic, I thought you had a case of Bed Bugs ! THAT would suck LOL

    Anyways, happy new years MP !

  19. My worst of this year was hitting the 2K minimum on my southwest business card because a vendor accidently charged me twice for an order.

    I had applied and received the southwest business and personal cards in Nov/Dec and was excited in getting 100K of the 110K miles for the companion pass for 2014/2015. I started spending a little on the business card to make it easier to hit the minimum spending in 2014. Unfortunately, due to a vendor’s error, i spent 2029! and received the $50K bonus in 2013. By this time, it was too late to hit the 2K spending on my personal card. Now i have 50K from 2013, and will have 50K in 2014.

  20. Our family’s worst was this past weekend. Our three year old daughter woke up the night before travel with a fever, and we all had to get to the airport by 6am the next day (or so we thought). The plane wound up pulling out at 12:45pm instead of the scheduled 7:30am, mostly due to a need to fix a faulty bracket for the in-cabin megaphone on our plane. Our five month old son registered his disapproval by pooping through two pajamas. After making it to ATL, our second flight was also late. Got off the plane a little after 10pm to find that the car wouldn’t start. A guy came out to jump-start the car, and we were on the road a bit after midnight. The drive home was more exciting than I would have liked, with an obviously drunk person swerving all over the road in front of us; we finally made it home at 1:30am. Daughter, son, and wife now all have the flu.

  21. I had been planning for what seems like most of the year to get the 2 Southwest credit cards near the end of the year. The plan was that my wife and I both would get the 2 cards and both qualify for the companion pass. Then my two children could fly for free. Then the offer shows up at just the right time and we apply. Both approved for the personal card, both denied for the business card. Chase is really getting picky about approving business card applications. Now we have to use manufactured spend to get the two companion passes! I will not be denied!

  22. Even though this was also my “best”, my trip to Vegas, Grand Canyon and Sedona, AZ led off with my wife’s neck “going out” the day before we were scheduled to leave. She was a trooper, but there were definitely a few things we cut as I just couldn’t ask her to do more.

  23. *Seeing the Delta mistake fares last week and having the price jump while in the cart!
    *people getting sea-sick and throwing up left and right on the Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry.
    *Car rental company in Denver. really bad customer service experience and got “upgraded” to a van because there weren’t any more cars. so there we were – husband, me, and our two small carry-on bags…

  24. We were scheduled to fly CX LAX-HKG-SYD on Nov 1 to catch a cruise. I had the TV on when the cab pulled up front and heard of the shooting at LAX. Sent cab away and started calling Travel Agent(he was on vacation).So called CX multiple times but they were more in the dark than we were.Ended up leaving 14 hours late but at least we weren’t standing on the corner outside LAX. Confirmed my policy of flying at least 1 day early to catch a cruise.

  25. After visiting my family in Canada this summer, my 2yr old and I flew home YYZ-SEA. My husband had left several days earlier to get back to work. About an hour into a 5+hr flight, my daughter threw up all over herself and her car seat. I’m not sure what the cause was, but the sight and smell of a ton of cheddar bunny crackers coming back up was unpleasant to say the least. The line for the lav was at least 5 people deep, so I ended up changing her outfit at our seats. I’m thankful I had a nice big package of baby wipes in my carry-on and was able to clean up most of the mess, but the smell definitely lingered the rest of the flight. And did I mention that I was newly pregnant at the time? =)

  26. Our worst travel mishap of 2013 was that my hubby lost his job. Just as he was starting a Hyatt Diamond challenge, and I was in the middle of an AA Plat challenge, and he had yet to requalify for AA Plat or Marriott Plat. That was actually the least of our worries while he searched for a new job. 🙂 Anyway, he lost the Hyatt Diamond and Marriott Plat, but he just got a new job, and we did a mileage run to Lima to both qualify for AA Platinum.

  27. After traveling 24+ hours to get from southern Portugal to DFW, we had one flight left to get to our regional airport just miles from our home. My 6- and 4-year old boys were being troopers! When it came time for our flight, the plane was there but no crew. Delay. They finally showed up and we boarded and made it to our destination, but there was no ground crew to ready the a/c for us. Delay again. Both kids passed out on the flight, so when we finally got off the a/c my husband carried our older son to get the car while I struggled with my younger son and waited at the jet bridge to get the stroller. Only there was no stroller. They had sent it to the luggage carousel. So, I then had to manage to lug a sleeping child through the airport. Thank goodness it’s a small airport and there were many helpful passengers. I finally got our luggage gathered and all of us to the door with the help of those kind passengers. I was never so glad to get home and drop in my own bed!

  28. Breaking my collarbone today at Alta ski resort. (Although the doctors and staff at the Alta medical clinic were wonderful!!) Flying home tomorrow 6 hours of flights with a Phoenix layover in the middle will be fun!! But that will be a 2014 lowlight I guess;) HNY MP!

  29. Worst in 2013 was flying IAH-FRA-IST on an award ticket I got from United. All OK Houston to Frankfurt, but when I went to board my flight to Istanbul, the gate agent said Hadn’t put the e-ticket number correctly into the system. I ran to the United counter in Frankfurt’s gigantic airport. Got my corrected ticket and was the last passenger to board the flight to Istanbul.

  30. Missing out on the Delta mistake fares last week – why you ask? I saw them in time, but I emailed and Facebooked all of my friends to tell them about it. When I went on to book, the Priceline page was stuck, and I was not able to book anything in the end. Sigh. But at least a couple of my friends took advance, going to LA and Hawaii on the cheap.

  31. Breaking my leg while trying to get a photo of the pitcher plant, which is the provincial flower of Newfoundland!

    I was able to hike out of Gros Morne National Park, so we all thought it was just a bad sprain. After all, I could put weight on it. So rather than cancel the rest of the trip, I hobbled around Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for 2 more weeks!

    On my return home, I decided to have it x-rayed just in case and realized it was broken. Since I had broken the fibula (a thin bone) not the tibia (a bigger bone that supports most of the weight) I had been able to hobble around. I then spent the next three months in a cast!

    That’s the last time I’ll wander off the trail on a rainy day, just to get a photo!

  32. My family was super excited to go to Hawaii for our 1st time. We booked 330 days out… Since we were traveling with 2 kids we didn’t want to take direct flight from dfw for 8.5 hours so we decided to break the flight up. We flew from DFW to LAS on the hottest day of the year! We had to wait 30+ minutes for our luggage to finally arrive on carousel because someone’s had jammed on the converor belt. We then called for our hotel shuttle, got instructions on where to wait and then the wait begain OUTSIDE…did I mention it was the hottest day of the year? After an hour, the shuttle arrived. We arrived at the hotel, got our room and while visiting with the hotel staff learned the hotel was full and we had gotten the last room. Guess what?? I know you guessed it. The air condition was not working correctly in our room. Our room got down to a brisk 90 degrees during the night. It was so hot, I got out of the bed and layed in the floor in front of the unit trying to cool off. On the bright side we weren’t in Death Valley where they set a record of 134*. Hot, exahusted we got on our 6 hour flight to Hawaii and I finally made it to Hawaii. Check for the bucket list!

  33. Sounds like you had a great year! I am a bit jealous of your kid, my parents never brought me anywhere with them. I’m now 31 and I want my son to have the same experiences as your daughter. Yes, they’ll be sleepy, moody and tired, but again, after 10 years, they’ll remember the nice time they had. I just booked our hotel room on http://new-york.hotelscheap.org/ and I’m waiting for my confirmation email, I can say I’m excited as a kid on Christmas morning.

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