2020 Year in Review and YWW Index

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For the past 9 years, I’ve done a year in review post where I spew some facts and figures about my travel, comment on trends, and give out awards. You can check out prior years here: 2019, 20182017201620152014201320122011.  I was trying to think if it made sense to do one this year, and have been thinking about it the past few days.

(First, wow, I’ve had a blog for ten years??)  This was not a normal year for me on any level, and it certainly wasn’t a normal travel year. Of course, that could provide interesting writing fodder. But also, it’s sad to think about travel! I have done some travel since the onset of the pandemic, and I’ve agonized over it all, and regretted some of it.  To be blunt, the two times after the summer I traveled were way too anxiety-filled and I had anxiety attacks on each. And when I read on Flyertalk comments complaining about airlines’ or hotels’ food offerings during the pandemic or whatever it makes me want to pull my hair out or scream. And when I see some credit card marketing blogs pushing people to accumulate miles for a post-pandemic world (you shouldn’t) or talking about how great the cruise industry is, well, reader, you can imagine how I feel. But travel still brings me joy on some level, and it’s nice to look back on some better times earlier this year. So, I’m going to do a super-abbreviated version.

Some general data:

  • Total continents: 2 (all repeats) (3 if you include my 5 hours in Ireland on New Year’s)
  • Total countries (excluding US): 2 (3)
  • New countries: 1 – Japan
  • Total states (excluding DC): 4
  • New states: West Virginia (I rented a cabin for a few days in the summer)

My Year in the Air:
Overall, I flew 36,101 miles, less than half of my travel in 2019. The only reason it was even that high was because I actually had a ton of travel in the first 10 weeks of the year. I flew back from Dublin on New Year’s Day, went to Puerto Vallarta in January, had some work travel domestically, and went to Japan all before March 7. You can check out my flight map courtesy of Great Circle Mapper below:

2020 Flight Map / gcmap.com

Pretty US-centric. And when you dive into the airlines I flew, that pattern holds.  Out of 26 total segments, 16 were on Delta, 3 on American, and 1 on Alaska. The remainder were my 1 flight each on JAL, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, and 3 flights on ANA while in Japan.

  • Total flights: 26
  • Different airlines: 7 (surprisingly high!)
  • New airlines: 2 (JAL and ANA)
  • Mileage: 36,101
  • Total airports: 18
  • Shortest flight:  Washington-National to New York-JFK (two years in a row)
  • Longest flight: New York-JFK to Tokyo-Haneda (6,765 mi, 13:56 h)
  • New airports: HND, NRT, HIJ, ITM, ALB, PSP
  • Most common airport: DCA – 12 arrivals or departures
  • New planes: None (sadface)
  • Most common plane:  Airbus A319 and A320 (tie) – 4 flights each (15%)
  • Coach (including economy plus-type) = 69%
  • Premium cabin (international first/business and domestic first) = 31% (almost identical breakdown to last year)

Several trips were canceled, and the only mileage redemptions were my flights to, from, and within Japan, and my flight from Palm Springs to DC via Phoenix on American. So I’m sitting on a fairly large stash of miles right now.  Even though I only flew 36,000 miles, between rollovers and MQM promotions, I actually qualified for Gold Medallion status on Delta for the first time in awhile, and will likely hit Platinum next year for the first time ever. Go figure.

Where I laid my head:
Although I far and away spent more nights at home than I have in prior years, my pandemic travel led to unusual places when I did go elsewhere. Two domestic Holiday Inns alone is unusual for me! I stayed at 18 different hotels for a total of 31 nights. Despite being a Hilton Diamond member (via my Aspire card), I only stayed at two Hilton properties, both in Japan. I ended up staying at a lot more Marriott family properties than usual- still only 9 nights, yet somehow qualified as a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum? For the first year in a long time, not a single Radisson or Accor hotel, which probably is reflective of the fact that all my Europe trips were canceled. And I didn’t stay at any Hyatts either, though I almost did. I did not review most of these, and probably won’t, but I will try to finish the Japan blog at some point. I’ve linked where I already did review, and you can always email if you have questions about any of the properties.

Almar Puerto Vallarta
Hotel Emery, Autograph Collection (Minneapolis)
Courtyard Tokyo Station
Intercontinental ANA Tokyo
Conrad Tokyo
ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima
Kyoto Tokyu Hotel
Hilton Osaka
Tarrytown Estate on the Hudson
Sheraton Tarrytown
Holiday Inn & Suites Front Royal (VA)
Holiday Inn Resort Lake George
Courtyard Lake Placid
Crowne Plaza Lake Placid
Intercontinental San Francisco
Renaissance Palm Springs
Oleo Cancun Playa
JW Marriott Cancun

The Year Ahead:
Who the heck knows? I currently have a trip to Torremolinos scheduled for May, which may or may not happen. I just canceled my March trip to Vietnam. I have 2 nights to be used at a hotel in San Francisco as the hotel has been closed since the summer, and an open ticket on LATAM from JFK to Santiago to be used by the end of the year. Add in lots of free Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt nights, several hundred thousand hotel points, and Delta and Southwest flight credits, and I theoretically could go places! Theoretically.

2020 You Went Where Index: (mostly from 2019 travel)
Hotel Review: Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
Homeward Bound: Delta Economy Rio de Janeiro to Atlanta to DC and Gol Lounge GIG
Air France’s Dated A380 Economy Washington to Paris and Ibis Paris CDG Airport
To Japan, Because I Have Great Timing!
Paris Hotels: The Intercontinental Paris Le Grand and the Mercure Paris Bastille Marais
Of Coronavirus and Moral Depravity
One Unusual Day in Luxembourg and the Park Inn Luxembourg
Airline #71: Luxair to Paris-CDG and Air France Paris to Washington
F***ed by a Virgin: Virgin Atlantic Washington to London, Six Hours at Heathrow, & Aer Lingus Heathrow to Dublin
Three Nights in Dublin, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin and Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House
[UPDATED] Cancellation experiences: Delta revenue, Aeroplan and American award, and Iberia award; Hotels.com and Club1hotels
I’m Still Here
Belfast Part 1: The train from Dublin and Exploring the City
Refunds: Air Canada is the worst
Belfast Part 2: Causeway Coast & Black Taxi Tour
Review: Hilton Belfast
2020 Seemed So Bright: Dublin to London on British Airways and London to Washington on Virgin Atlantic
Pandemic Travel Interlude: Avis Drama, Lower Hudson Valley, Tarrytown House Estate, and Sheraton Tarrytown
Japan in the Before Times, Part 1: Intro, AA First DCA to JFK, & JFK Terminal 1 Lounges
Trip Report: Japan Airlines First Class New York to Tokyo (Pre-Covid)

2 thoughts on “2020 Year in Review and YWW Index

  1. Ben

    Happy New Year Adam! Thank you for a great, and informative blog, without credit card sales pitches. Cheers to the new year!


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