Its the end of the year, and that means its Mileage Run time. For those unfamiliar with the term, a Mileage Run is simply a quick trip (almost always a same day return home) that is booked primarily to earn miles in order to renew one’s Airline Frequent Flyer Status for the upcoming year. The idea is to find a fare that offers the cheapest CPM (Cost Per Mile). I’ll spare the details since Mileage Run discussions can turn into Doctoral Dissertations.
The destination tends to be the least important element when deciding where to go. If going to Anchorage, Alaska in February only costs 3 cents a mile, then Anchorage is a great place to visit for 2 hours in February. It is what it is!
In my case I need a few thousand miles to move up the ranks in United’s Mileage Plus program for 2012. My hunt started in early October and I thought it would be Europe again to visit a Christmas Market in a City that I haven’t visited before. As I kept staring at my atlas trying to figure out what city it would be, my eyes kept shifting to Asia and began to focus on Hong Kong. Airfares on United confirmed that it was a good idea to visit Asia so that settled that. Better still, a friend of mine was kind enough to give me a couple of her “Systemwide Upgrades” or “SWU’s” to help me weather the 29 hours of roundtrip flight in Business Class. Later on, United launched a promo that offered double miles for exactly my 2 flights from and to Chicago, so that just sweetens the deal for me. I’ll get twice the miles that I was originally planning on. 15000 miles turn into 30000. Not a bad day even though the bonus miles don’t count towards elite status. So Hong Kong it is for 2011.
Now I don’t claim to be a multi-million mile traveler, but all of my international miles have come from trips to Europe. Ever since I was 5 years old and through to my late teens, flying to Czechoslovakia (The Slovakia side on the most recent version of European maps) to visit the majority of my family was an Annual Rite. I’ve spent many summer breaks there growing up as a kid and still visit on a very regular basis. I’ve even had the opportunity to take Mrs. LufthansaFlyer back a couple of times to the villages that my parents are from so she can visit my 95 year old Grandmother, various aunts, uncles and cousins. Some habits just don’t go away!
In my adult life, my travel habits still take me to Europe ALL THE TIME, so I knew this was an opportune time to do something radically different. At least as far as my travel habits go.
Anyhow, the decision to go to Hong Kong goes against the grain of my travel experience. It goes against my desire to only ever fly Lufthansa when leaving the USA. I even have a tinge of guilt, as if I was “cheating on Europe”. I’m in an exclusive and committed relationship with the continent. What would she think? Would she ever let me back?
A lot of firsts are going to take place by turning left out of the USA and flying West, to get to the Far East. The time has come for me to expand my horizons, put myself intentionally out of my comfort zone, cross the International Date Line for the first time and experience things I’ve never seen before.
Since Hong Kong is 7750 miles from my front door, I thought it deserved more than a mileage run, where I normally land and return home literally on the same plane a few hours later. I thought that a Mileage Jog would be more appropriate. A Mileage Jog becomes a 1-2 day trip, still primarily for the miles, but with a pause to take in a new destination beyond the airport.
So as my plans stand, I will have approximately 1 day in Hong Kong. I’m not counting the day I arrive since I will be landing around 6p, and I’m not counting my departure date since that flight leaves at 11a (and I need time for plane spotting at the airport). So for the one full day that I will be there, I need your ideas…… Where to eat? What do I have to see? Where do I have to go? What can I do in one day? Keep in mind that I tend to be a hit and run traveler. I dont like to spend 2 hours in any one place. So for this trip, museums, galleries, etc. just wont fit the plan. I want to see as many things as possible and within reason given my time frame.
So far, using the power of Google I’ve come up with this Itinerary:
1. Buy something nice for Mrs. LufthansaFlyer
2. Peak Tram for great photos of the Skyline (have to remember to pack tripod…..)
4. Eating various Organs from a Skewer
5. Get measured for shirts/suits at favorite shirtmaker (He usually visits USA, I figure to return favor)
7. Noodle Shops / Sushi
10 Buy something nice for Mrs. LufthansaFlyer
As you can see, there are some gaps in my itinerary and this is where your ideas will come in handy. I’m staying near the Expo Center on Hong Kong Island, so I know there is a ton to explore there. I know that I’m a quick train/ferry ride from Kowloon and Nathan Rd. But thats about all I know. I’m sure there will be thousands of options, but only having 24 hours, it doesn’t afford me much time to make mistakes or to miss out on something that is a must do for a visit to Hong Kong.
I’ll sweeten the request. I’ll pick three of the best ideas (specific places, restaurants, etc) from all the reponses (ties for the same idea will be broken by who submitted the idea first). For those top 3, I’ll bring back a modest little souvenir of Hong Kong. Be warned, it may be the Inflight Magazine or Safety Card!! ……But seriously, I’ll bring back a small thank you for your idea. Just send me your idea to my “Contact Me” link on the right side of my page or post it as a comment on this blog entry.
I’ll end the post at this point. I need to go begin my conditioning routine for the upcoming pair of 15 hour flights. Tonight’s routine is 10 consecutive hours of Top Gear………..