2017 Year in Review and YWW Index

Posted by Adam YWW on December 25, 2017 in About YWW, Airlines, Hotels, Trip Reports

Every year, I take a look back on my year of travel and take a look at the year ahead. It’s an interesting time to look at trends and also to compile all of the year’s posts in one place. I started my 2016 retrospective post with “I won’t belabor the point, but 2016 was pretty terrible.” If only I’d known! But you can check out prior years here: 201620152014201320122011.

It wasn’t a huge travel year for me. As noted here, I decided not to even try to requalify for American Advantage Platinum status. I only flew about 60,000 miles this year, the lion’s share of which were on my February-March trip to South Africa and Namibia, and then two separate Europe trips.  I did manage to hit up a lot of new destinations in Europe, though. In the Western hemisphere, I didn’t do a lot – with only three trips outside the East coast – two to Mexico and one to L.A.  But I’m not going to pretend I’m not an extremely lucky guy to get to do all of this.

Here’s the map:

Total continents:4 (none new, though my first time on the continent of Africa (as opposed to Seychelles))
Total countries (excluding US and airport connections): 9
New countries: 4! (South Africa, Namibia, Malta, Norway)

The Year in the Air:

With flights, I had five redemptions: (1) Delta Skymiles to fly Air France business class DC to Cape Town; (2) Aeroplan miles to fly South African and United business class Johannesburg back to DC; (3) United miles to fly Austrian business class from DC to Oslo; (4) Avianca miles to fly Turkish Airlines business class Malta to New York; and (5) American miles to fly AA/Air Berlin to Hamburg in mostly business class.  Everything else was a revenue flight.

Total flights: 42
Different airlines: 15
New airlines: 5 (Air Namibia, SA Express, South African, Aeromexico, Air Malta)
Mileage: 61,000 miles
Total airports: 27
Shortest flight: Queretaro to Mexico City (117 mi – diversion), Walvis Bay to Windhoek (183 mi- last minute scheduled stop), Dusseldorf to Hamburg (212 mi- actually scheduled)
Longest flight: Paris to Cape Town (5,824 mi)

Usually I have a best and worst flight, but nothing really stood out either way.  Probably best was my South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo in their new business class. My Aeromexico saga flying DC to Mexico City was a bit of a saga, and the experience I had with Air Namibia adding a stop and changing my flight time from Cape Town to Windhoek was not good. And the KLM experience being delayed from Bergen to Amsterdam was unpleasant.

As an AA Platinum, more than a third of my flights were on American – 15 – which is particularly a lot since I didn’t fly them on any flight beyond Mexico (a complete lack of award availability helped).  American was the only airline I flew more than 3 segments on. The only other Oneworld flights were on Airberlin. RIP. I ended up with a lot of Star Alliance flying because of where I traveled abroad, even though I only had three United flights- including five different Star Alliance carriers. I know already much of this year’s flying will be on Delta and its partners, but we’ll see.

Oneworld: 17
Skyteam: 9
Star Alliance: 11

Where I laid my head:

On the accommodations front, I spent 44 nights in hotels this year, plus 2 in an Airbnb.  These were spread over 31 properties.  Where I’ve reviewed them, there’s a link in the names below below. If I didn’t, as always, feel free to reach out to me about my experience.  This was a significant drop from my 55 nights at hotels in 2016.  The nicest hotel experience of the year was certainly the Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg. The most disappointing was either the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station or the Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton in Johannesburg.  The former is completely overpriced, with small and loud rooms and bad service.  The latter is well past its prime and in need of dire renovation.

In terms of loyalty, I spread myself around this year. As I said I would do, I intentionally cut back on Hilton family stays, with a total of 3 one-night stays, down from 13 nights at 9 properties last year. IHG stays were comparable to last year, but Marriott shot up from 1 night to 8 – largely due to my Protea stays in South Africa. But I also stayed at a lot of independent properties.  Starwood plummeted on my list- going from seven nights to one, and Melia, which I randomly had stayed at three times in 2016 dropped off the list.

Brands:
IHG:  9 nights, 8 stays (20% of nights, up from 18% in 2016)
Marriott:  8 nights, 6 stays (18% v. 3%)
Club Carlson/ Carlson Rezidor: 7 nights, 3 stays (16% v. 7%)
Starwood: 1 night, 1 stay (2% v. 11%)
Hyatt: 1 night, 1 stay (2% v. 6%)

The Year Ahead:

Looking ahead, I already have planned most of my leisure travel through the summer.  I’ll be heading to Colombia in a few weeks for 10 days, hitting Cartagena, Medellin, and Bogota. Then I have a long weekend in Playa del Carmen using up a Fairmont free night certificate in February.  Memorial Day weekend will have me in Sitges, just outside Barcelona. And then my big summer trip is to Manchester in the UK, and then up through Scotland.  Feel free to share any tips or suggestions you may have!

My planned 2018 travel

2017 Youwentwhere Index:

Destination Reports:
Mexico City (in process)
Sintra
Hamburg
Malta: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
Amsterdam
Rotterdam and Kinderdijk
Bergen, Norway
Norway in a Nutshell
Oslo and Oslo Pride
Johannesburg
Swakopmund, Namibia
Etosha National Park and Damaraland, Namibia
Windhoek, Namibia
Cape Town: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3; Cape of Good Hope

Reviewed Flights, Airports, and Lounges:
Aeromexico Business Class Washington to Mexico City
TAP Business Class Lisbon to New York and TAP Lounge Lisbon
SAS Economy Hamburg to Oslo, Hamburg Airport Lounge
TAP Business Class Oslo to Lisbon, SAS Lounge Oslo
Airberlin Business Class Boston to Dusseldorf, Economy Dusseldorf to Hamburg, Hugo Junkers Lounge Dusseldorf
American Airlines Economy Washington to Boston, The Club, British Airways Lounge, and Air France Lounge Boston
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to New York and Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Malta to Istanbul and La Valette Lounge, Malta
Air Malta Economy Amsterdam to Luqa
KLM Cityhopper Economy Bergen to Amsterdam
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Oslo and Austrian Airlines Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Washington to Vienna and Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington-Dulles
United Business Class Sao Paulo to Washington, Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo
South African Airways Business Class Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, Shongololo Lounge and SAA Premium Lounge
SA Express Walvis Bay to Johannesburg
Air Namibia Economy Cape Town to Windhoek and Bidvest Premier Lounge Cape Town
Air France Business Class Paris to Cape Town, Air France Lounge CDG
Air France Business Class Washington to Paris, Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington-Dulles

Hotels:
Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown
Almar Resort (Puerto Vallarta, MX)
B Resort and Spa Lake Buena Vista (FL)
Disney’s Art of Animation (FL)
Protea Hotel Cape Castle (Cape Town, ZA)
Protea Hotel Victoria Junction (Cape Town, ZA)
African Pride 15 on Orange (Cape Town, ZA)
Hilton Windhoek
Halali Rest Camp  (Etosha NP, Namibia)
Taleni Etosha Village (Namibia)
Strand Hotel Swakopmund (Namibia)
Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton (Johannesburg, ZA)
Holiday Inn Johannesburg – Rosebank (Johannesburg, ZA)
Sao Paulo Airport Marriott
Intercontinental Los Angeles – Century City
Hotel Angeleno (Los Angeles)
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Oslo
Holiday Inn Express Rotterdam
Hilton Rotterdam
Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam
Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station
Intercontinental Malta
Radisson Blu Resort, Malta St. Julian’s
Crowne Plaza Hamburg- City Alster
Park Hyatt Hamburg
Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg
Holiday Inn Lisbon
Courtyard by Marriott Boston Cambridge
Hudson New York
Holiday Inn & Suites Mexico Zona Rosa (CDMX)
Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel

Other posts:
The Streisand Effect and the Marriott Lyon Cite Internationale
Why I’m Saying Goodbye to American Airlines
Travel and Travel Blogging Are Political; Oman and Charlottesville
Cha-cha-changes . . . A Career Transition & my Norway/Netherlands/Malta Trip Preview
South Africa and Namibia Trip Planning 1 and 2

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