My Travel (Hacking) Highlights of 2017

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If you are reading this in the office, you know that not much happens between Christmas and New Year’s. The same applies here at InsideFlyer Towers, so I thought it might be interesting to look back on 2017.

First of all, I would like to thank my regular readers for following along, and especially for the many kind comments along the way. My first full year contributing to InsideFlyer UK has been a positive one and I hope that you have found my posts to be both interesting and useful.

Perhaps because I was blogging so much, however, it was actually a slow travel year for me, as I only managed 84,000 miles flown and 130 hotel nights. Nonetheless, some of the highlights of my travel year were…

Visiting Disney World With my Nephews

Disney was great, albeit exhausting. But the highlight for me was how much my family enjoyed the Sheraton I booked in Orlando using my travel hacker skills. Thanks to a Best Rate Guarantee claim, I reserved three rooms for the bargain price of $65+tax each (£50). And the hotel went above and beyond the minimum standards for SPG Platinum guests…

  • I received 2 free breakfasts per room
  • Children ate breakfast for free as well
  • Resort fees were waived for all three rooms
  • Parking fees were waived
  • Internet was free for all three rooms

Travel bloggers sometimes make too much of a big deal about luxury hotels, first class flights, etc. Sometimes the best travel hack is much more modest. A six-year old telling his classmates in September how his uncle booked an amazing hotel for Disney World… priceless!

I wrote about this trip back in the summer as part of my “Travel Hacking in Action” series

Turkish Airlines!!

I have previously written about my experience with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.

But thanks to an amazing promotion and £2,400 spent on flights, I locked in Star Alliance Gold status until June 2023! I also earned so many miles flying on Turkish Airlines paid flights, that I also decided to burn some of them on rewards in Turkish Airlines Business Class.

I recognise that airline and hotel reviews are NOT one of my strong suits. Instead of taking photos, I prefer to get my things packed away and a glass of champagne into my hand. 🙂  But I do consider that Turkish Airlines offers a very solid Business Class product that I will be pleased to fly for at least the next four to six years…

Celebrity Sightings

My friends hate playing this game with me, because they know that I can always one-up them thanks to my extensive travels. But 2017 was rather slow.  I can remember…

  • Chatting with David Baddiel about the horrible egg service for breakfast at the Hyatt Regency in Montreal
  • Making up part of Adrian Grenier’s “Entourage” on a flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul

It’s a Suite Life…

One of my favourite perks of travel hacking comes with Globalist status from World of Hyatt. It requires a mind-numbing 60 nights per year – two months out of twelve, with award nights not qualifying – but the benefits can be quite amazing. Specifically, members can upgrade four 7-night stays per year to a suite. So, in 2017 I enjoyed suites in:

  • the new Hyatt Regency in Cartagena, Colombia on a Points & Cash rate (4,000 + $55)
  • the Grand Hyatt in Istanbul on an underlying paid rate of £90 per night
  • the Andaz in Ottawa, Canada – with amazing views of Parliament – on a Points & Cash rate (6,000 + $75)
  • the Hyatt Regency in Cologne – more great views, of the Rhine and the Dom Cathedral – on an underlying paid rate of £110 per night

Now maybe I don’t really need all of that space… but I still love my complimentary Hyatt suite upgrades!!  🙂  Which is why 60+ of my 130 hotel nights in 2017 were spent at a Hyatt, to ensure that I re-qualified for Globalist yet again.


The Nicest Hotel of 2017

Continuing with the “Globalist” theme, World of Hyatt members can earn a free night at ANY Hyatt worldwide by staying those sixty nights. At the switchover from “Hyatt Gold Passport” to “World of Hyatt” in March, I received a free night certificate valid for a full year. Rather than just waste it on a standard Hyatt, I waited and waited to find an opportunity to use it at one of the handful of Category 7 hotels, Hyatt’s highest award category. Eventually I decided on a quick break to Milan, Italy and a free night at the Park Hyatt Milan.

There might be more luxurious hotels/brands, but very few allow you to stay in 5-star luxury… for free! Not even requiring points… just free…

And 2018?

I’ve promised myself at least one FIRST CLASS flight to Asia using my precious Alaska miles. And I’ve got another free night certificate to spend at ANY Hyatt hotel worldwide.

But professionally, I can’t wait for the summer to arrive. Stay tuned for further details…



  1. Pangolin says

    Craig, I enjoyed reading your posts during 2017 so congrats on a job well done.

    Interesting that you give so much love (money!) to Hyatt – I could never understand how anyone outside North America could make that work, considering that you need 60 nights for the only worthwhile tier and their footprint is so small elsewhere. My work means I spend most of my time based in CEE countries and Hyatt is basically non-existent here (and SPG is close in that respect, although I’m going out of my way to keep the less onerous SPG Plat).

    BTW, you state that award nights in the WoH scheme don’t count for qualifying. Are you aware that from Jan 1, 2018, award nights WILL count for status? In other words, Hyatt will fall into line with other programs, compared to the ridiculously tough hurdle they have now.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Thanks. Post coming tomorrow on the award nights. 🙂

      As for 60 nights, it is rather hard work – I have a spreadsheet to keep track! I do manage to keep the $$$ down with a lot of Category 2 Cash + Points having maxed out those 75K promos in 2016. I also end up spending more time than I should in Vegas, to pick up cheap MLife nights. I really was contemplating how much longer I was going to keep it up, until this award announcement came along…

  2. Petr says

    Craig, can you or someone else at InsideFlyer Towers run a post on when points + cash rates are a good deal and when it’s better to just pay cash? Not only for Hyatt but also for IHg, Hilton etc. Many thanks indeed!

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