Last summer, I kicked off a year of flânerie by spending 155K Aeroplan miles on a trip around the world.
Recently, Air Canada announced that it was planning to reduce the number of allowed stopovers on Aeroplan flight rewards from two to one. A devaluation was to be expected after news of the latter’s acquisition by the former, but I didn’t think it would happen until the summer 2020 handover. At least they gave a month and a half’s worth of notice!
I immediately set out to redeem as many trips as possible under the current regime. First, I booked two J class tickets for my parents to Kuala Lumpur next summer with stops in Madrid and Tokyo and long layovers in Warsaw and Seoul.1I had already planned to send them on such a trip, but the recent Aeroplan change stepped up the timetable. Dad’s favorite activity in the world is flying business and mom’s never experienced it, so I think this’ll be a real treat for them.
With enough miles remaining for two trips, I went to the drawing board for myself.
The two basic questions of any trip are when and where.2I suppose a third question is “with who”, but I’m accustomed to solo travel at this point. Aeroplan reward flights can be booked up to a year in advance, so both trips would have to end before September 2020. Given the long distances traveled, it would make sense to go for at least a month or two per trip. At the same time, it would not make sense to return from the first only to leave for the next one right after. With all of that in mind, I tentatively settled on joining the parents for part of their trip and using the other ticket to skip most of Canada’s winter.
The next question is where. Although I’m not opposed to revisiting places that I enjoyed, I’m prioritizing cities and countries that I have never been to. In Western Europe, that would be Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Thankfully, the southern regions of Portugal and Spain remain fairly warm throughout the winter.
In Eastern Europe, I’d like to visit Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. I think I’ll save those for the summer months though.
In East Asia, the three destinations of interest are Japan, (South) Korea, and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, I want to visit Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cambodia in SE Asia.
Since my parents’ summer trip includes Japan and a friend is planning to spend the winter in the Philippines, I’m leaning towards pairing SE Asia with winter and East Asia with summer.
Finally, I’d prefer to fly with airlines I’ve never tried before, especially ANA, Singapore Airlines, and the new Polaris by United. However, I certainly wouldn’t mind Swiss and EVA again.
Yes, I’ll have another Kavalan, xie xie.