Like last year, I just left Mexico City for a long international trip over the holidays – this time to Asia instead of Europe. This time the trip wasn’t built around a mistake fare, but rather a desire to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha and the Chengdu Panda Base, both in western China.
I started planning the trip in mid-September, and found that Asiana Airlines had pretty good business class availability across the Pacific for the dates we were looking at. I tacked on United economy flights between Mexico City and LAX (though this resulted in an overnight layover in each direction, since United only has one flight per day between those two cities), and added a domestic Air China economy flight from Shanghai to Chengdu after a one-week stopover.
Originally Posted in January 2017 – Updated with new data points in September 2017!
If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.
When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees. This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 500 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $28 USD. (The fee increased from 390 pesos at some point in 2017). On your ticket receipt you may see this referred to as UK (the IATA code for this tax) or DNR (the Spanish abbreviation).
Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – tax and exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.
Buenos dias everyone! For a few months now, we’ve been talking about going to Tokyo in May, but we weren’t sure exactly when or for how long. When we were in Barcelona earlier this year, we picked up tickets to the Ghibli Museum for May 13 at the local JTB office, but that was all the planning we had done. This was largely because my partner just enrolled at Universidad Autonóma Metropolitana (UAM) in Mexico City, and classes started this week – but he didn’t get his class schedule until last Thursday! And it turned out he has an early morning lecture five days a week.
We knew that this Wednesday and next Monday were school holidays, so we had a general sense of how it could work, but we weren’t 100% certain how much class he would be comfortable missing until he actually went to class. Ultimately, we decided we could leave Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning and return on Monday, which would mean he’d miss two days of school for a five day trip.
It’s not a very long time to go all the way to Tokyo, but we really wanted to visit the museum and catch the end of wisteria season, so we decided to make it happen. As a result, I ended up booking some of the shortest-notice award tickets of my life – I made reservations on Monday afternoon for a flight on Tuesday evening.
Since my travel has started ramping up in 2017, I decided it was time to sit down and look at my strategy for earning airline elite status in the coming year. Which means…spreadsheet time!
A portion of my elite status planning spreadsheet
Where I am Today
I currently have Alaska Airlines MVP Gold, United Airlines Gold, and Virgin America Silver elite statuses. I’ve already credited a couple of trips to my Alaska Airlines account (two on American Airlines and one on Delta). Most of my confirmed flights later this year are on American Airlines or other OneWorld carriers. Continue reading →
I’m a bit late on this, but I wanted to let you know that we started a round-the-world trip earlier this week and will be sharing some updates along the way.
After spending the weekend with some friends in Austin, we took off for Madrid in business class on an American 787-9 – booked with Citi Thank You Points and upgraded with AA System Wide Upgrades. (Four other friends were on our same flight, but we left them behind in Premium Economy…and then they left us behind at the Madrid airport!)
AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Image from aa.com