To Middle Earth, Finale: Qantas First Class

So hopefully everyone’s finally figured out the irony of the title of this trip report, in that I didn’t really ever make an effort to see or do anything particularly Middle Earth-ish on this trip.  Next time, I guess.  But anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed everything thus far.  This part has been a joy to write, because everything was simply fantastic.  Thanks for your patience and your wonderful comments. The Plan As a quick review (explained more thoroughly in the preview for this trip report), I built this trip around First Class availability on the Qantas A380 for the long-haul between Sydney and Los Angeles.  The cost was 72,500 AAdvantage miles and a relatively small amount of fees (American doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on Qantas flights).  In order to maximize the value of the ticket, I booked my return flight starting in Christchurch with a one-night layover in Sydney, followed by the long flight back to the City of Angels, then onward back to Dallas for a whopping 3 days rest until I left again for a work trip. Getting out of Christchurch I had a restless night of sleep after being followed and passed slowly by the same SUV full of guys yelling at me while walking down a mostly unlit street in a so-so area of Christchurch.  I’m a big and relatively strong guy, and it takes a lot to make me feel threatened, but this was full-on fight/flight feelings.  I always joke about my two-step process for… read more

To Middle Earth, Part I: Part One

Welcome back, to another trip report from Andy’s Travel Blog. This one is sure to be the absolutely best trip report I’ve ever written since the one about my round the world trip in April. If you read my post about my next trip, then you’re missing out on a bit of the surprise, but I went to: New Zealand! Home of Middle Earth, and…ummm…well, that’s what I was going to find out. So, how would I get there? Let’s start out with some philosophical banter on how I like to use miles. You need some objective way of determining how good of a deal you get when redeeming miles. A frequently used metric is cents per mile. This is found, unsurprisingly, by taking the number of cents a trip would cost and dividing it by the number of miles it would take for an award ticket. Lots of credit cards will let you use their points to purchase airline tickets at 1 cent per mile (cpm), so that’s the absolute minimum I’d want to use for an award ticket. In other words, if it’s less than 1cpm, it makes more sense (to me) to just buy the ticket. Now, I live in Dallas, and American never really has any reason to discount fares out of DFW, so there are times I’ve had to spend a bunch of miles on an award ticket when I didn’t want to drop a ton of money on a ticket, so it happens. It’s… read more


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