Reader Feedback: After We Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic, What’s your Dream Award Trip?

Good morning everyone.  This might be the most optimistic blog post / news story you read all day.  You’re welcome.  I know we haven’t had many happy pieces of news lately, but I wanted everyone to think about the future for a moment with your happy glasses on.  I’ve read a few blog posts over the last few days about incredible award space on many different airlines to many different places.  For example, check out Frequent Miler’s article Premium routes with wide open awards.

Even though no one is travelling now, or even booking flights, there will come a time when it is safe to travel.  After the coronavirus pandemic ends, there could be amazing award space on every airline to every destination they serve.  Just imaging the possibilities brings a smile to my face.  So I wanted to ask my readers:  After we survive the coronavirus pandemic, what’s your dream award trip?  Assuming that every airline in every alliance has 100% award availability on every flight they operate, where you would go, what you would do, and why you want to go there?

There are so many places in the world I would love to visit, so narrowing down the list is very difficult.  If I am being 100% honest, the trip I am really looking forward to is an award trip I booked several months ago.  I have a trip to Africa booked for mid-August that includes a few days exploring Victoria Falls (exploring the falls from the Zimbabwe side, the Zambia side, and from the Botswana side).  Then exploring South Africa for a few days before hoping over to Madagascar for a few days.  This would be my first trip to Africa and I am in love with Victoria Falls.  Every time I see the Victoria Falls on TV it looks more and more beautiful.  I’m also a fan of the children’s Madagascar movies, so I am looking forward to hanging out with talking lemurs and conniving penguins.  If the world is not safe to travel by July, I am prepared to cancel my trip, but it would break my heart.

If I could plan another awesome award trip, I would love to fly down to New Zealand with Laura for 2 weeks to explore the north and south islands, swing by Hobbiton to see my friends Sam and Frodo, and maybe bungy jump from the world’s highest bungy (134m Nevis Bungy Jump in Queenstown) – but probably not.  New Zealand just seems like such an amazing country and I can’t wait to explore the beautiful scenery and amazing people with Laura.

So those are my top 2 choices.  I would love to hear about your top choice (or top 2 choices).  Please leave a comment below and let me know where you would go, what you would do, and why you want to go there if you could travel anywhere in the world.  Have a great day everyone!

20 thoughts on “Reader Feedback: After We Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic, What’s your Dream Award Trip?

  1. Kalboz

    Now that Marriott downgraded status without soft landing, no need to buy Marriott points! Will concentrate on Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton where we have healthy balances!

    Not really a dream award trip, but we already booked (4 biz seats) for our Christmas trip to Thailand where we burn all our accumulated hotel points. This time, we skipping Marriott altogether!

    BTW, are the Daily Getaways coming up this year? Do we know?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Kalboz, that sounds like a great Christmas trip you have planned. Hopefully it will be safe to travel by then you and and your family have a great time in Thailand. I think it really depends where you want to travel. Surprisingly, Marriott has a lot of category 1-2 hotels in Africa, so we booked several Marriott hotels. But that may not be the case everywhere. Always good to be diversified so you can pick and choose where you book award stays.

      As far as Daily Getaways goes, I have not heard anything, but I have a feeling they will get cancelled this year, or moved to the second half of the year. We will wait and see.

      Reply
  2. Stephanie Woods

    I had a 7 week dream trip planned to Egypt and Morocco that fell apart on March 15 when Morocco closed its borders. I was supposed to fly out tonight at midnight. I am still in the throes of cancelling everything, or waiting for it to be cancelled. I’ve already planned a trip to Thailand in August/September 2021. I want to spend a bit of time in Bangkok, and then spend time on Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan. I plan on staying at the Conrad on Koh Samui and a small Luxury hotel of Hyatt’s -Cape Fahn. I was planning to fly Cathay on points business or first class out there and back, but will see what is left after this mess. I also want to do a week long yoga retreat on Koh Phangan. So this is my new big plan. I won’t even try to do Africa again until 2022-that was going to be my first time doing land tours. I am not happy how things played out with the tour companies in light of COVID-especially the one who cancelled my tour and gave me a voucher good for a year, but that’s another story.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Stephanie, thank you for sharing your cancelled travel plans and future travel plans. I’m sorry your Egypt and Morocco trips were cancelled last minute, that definitely makes it challenging to cancel everything in a short period of time. Hopefully you can get full refunds on all your paid travel plans instead of travel credit. Keep fighting for your refund and if all else fails, contact your credit card company to file a dispute.

      Your trip to Thailand sounds really nice. I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand and will need to check out some of the places you listed.

      Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          You could easily spend a month or more in each continent and still not get to most of the amazing things to do in both places.

          Reply
  3. Kiki

    We have a Maui vacation planned for our big wedding anniversary. It’s all paid for-mostly on points. But we’ll probably have to plan a back yard camping trip at this rate. Cv-19 sucks!

    Reply
  4. Beth

    I want to see the pyramids and do kind of a weird routing by flying from the US to Cairo via Qatar, or the UAE to get at least business, but maybe first seats.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      The Pyramids of Giza are high up on my list too. I’ve been cautious about going for the last several years due to protests and fighting. I hope you can visit the pyramids soon :)

      Reply
  5. Mike Saint

    Hi Grant,

    I hope you’re hanging in there. My dream trip was just the one we had to cancel. My wife and I were scheduled to go the end of May but the airline already cancelled my flights. I was leaving Seattle to Taipei for 3 nights. Then to Bangkok for a few nights and then on to Bali for 10 days where we were going to travel around the island and were staying at Hyatt partners (Viceroy in Ubud, Allila properties). Majorly bummed to have to miss this.

    Hopefully we will go in the future. We used 126,000 miles @ with ANA for roundtrip business class tickets for ALL legs of the flight.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Mike, I’m really sorry your trip got cancelled. Have you reschedule your trip for later in the year or are you guys waiting it out before rescheduling? You got a great deal on flights so hopefully you can get similar flights in the future.

      Reply
      1. Mike Saint

        Hi Grant!

        It’s been a while since I saw you (we met at FTU in Seattle last year). No, I didn’t reschedule yet. I paid JuicyMiles $250 to book me and my wife. I’ve used them a few times and they are great. But I didn’t want to pay again only to possibly have to cancel again. (I’ve used James Lee at Juicy Miles several times and he is great). During these tough times that I’m sure they are going through, I didn’t have the heart to ask him if I could get some discounted rate to find me another flight for later this year.

        We were holding out hope things would get better but several of our flights have gotten cancelled. It was a major bummer to have to cancel all of the hotels as we were looking forward to checking out the Viceroy Bali, All Villas Uluwatu, and Allla Seminyak which I heard were all incredible. I got a few hundred thousands of Hyatt points back in my account so will look for somewhere to book that hopefully later this year.

        But I’m hesitant to book any airfare again until I get a better sense of when this might get better. Once it does, I’m really looking forward to trying out the same itinerary. I waited almost 3 hours today on hold for ANA to answer and he said it could take up to 7+ weeks to get my 272,000 ANA miles back plus $433.14 in airport taxes (what a bargain for ALL of those flights). I asked him what happens if I find another trip that I want to take before 7+ weeks and he was a bit perplexed. He paused for a few seconds and said he didn’t think as Americans it would be easy to travel before that. I just meant what if I wanted to book for the future with those miles and he said I could try to call and talk to a manager but he said that it would be best to get some clarity on how long this will last.

        I have flown over 5+ million miles over the past 25 years all over the world and I think this is truly the first time that I’m not really looking forward to planning a trip overseas. Which truly paints the picture how bad this is.

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Hi Mike, I remember you from FTU Seattle (good thing FTU Seattle was last year, Seattle is not the place to be right now).

          The last time I used Juicy Miles, James helped me plan my trip, so he is really great, no doubt about that.

          Your conversation with the ANA rep is interesting. Us American shouldn’t be traveling anytime soon. Never heard that one before, but these are new times we are in.

          I’m not planning any new trips, just waiting it out to see how my currently booked trips transpire. I have no problem cancelling my trips, I just don’t want to cancel them now if things will be fine to travel down the road or pay to cancel my trip and be stuck with travel credits, instead of full cash refunds.

          Hopefully you can rebook the same trip in the future and visit all the hotels you mentioned. I’ve heard great things about those hotels.

          We will survive this, just gotta focus on 1 day at a time. Stay healthy and safe :)

          Reply
  6. ed k

    We knew in July 2019 that we wouldn’t be traveling in 2020. We had an all points paid first class trip to Italy with stays in some of the best resorts including Caesar Augustus on Capri. We’ve been to Capri multiple times but never got to stay at that incredible hotel. Unfortunately, we saw what a problem Airbnb has caused when small confined areas, like the Island of Capri, allow residents to rent out their rooms to tourists. It caused way too many people to come to Italy from everywhere in the world and Capri was a place usually only a certain number could stay at due to the cost of hotels (we used cash back points from a cc). So, Italy had a good warning in spring on 2019 when Rotavirus swept through. I always check the CDC site, yet not a word of warning about that outbreak in Italy. I have to be careful due to a family member with lower immunity. Even the shop and hotel owners blamed the spread on airbnb rentals because these tourist areas can only handle so many people. While that particular virus usually hits the very young, that strain, which they said came from a different continent, affected all ages and the staff of hotels everywhere were sick for weeks before we arrived. Unfortunately, the virus was still around hitting the other tourists just getting there. So, we’re done traveling for a while and have had fun planning our stay at home and fix up our landscape vacation. We’ve been to Bora Bora and places all over multiple times, so now I’m concentrating on cards that simply have cash back opportunities. Sorry hotels, but won’t be seeing my family for a while.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Ed, thank you for sharing about your situation. It’s good that you checked CDC and made your own decision about your trip to Italy. I hope you and your family can travel again soon. Have a great day.

      Reply
      1. Ed K

        I hope after this latest pandemic, countries will notify the CDC about outbreaks even though it will hurt their tourism. It was a hard lesson in which Italy, in trying to protect tourism, now is paying a heavy price. It may not be their fault though. I still wonder if the CDC did know about the outbreak of Rotavirus last year and yet somewhere in their offices it wasn’t placed on their site to warn travelers. I know can’t fully trust the CDC, but will look at other travel forums, if we travel again, to hear from recent travelers. That’s what I’ve always done, but due to my workload at that time I failed to check beyond the CDC. So, I also learned a lesson. I had trip insurance (always do and not just the limited kind from credit cards) so I could have canceled. I have found over the years (been award traveling since the 90’s) that even though I travel fully on a variety of points, trip insurance has paid off. Of course, with nations on lockdown I doubt that kind of insurance is viable. I can say, if we do travel in the future it will only be to remote places that most people can’t get to. We do award bookings for others, but have refused to book for others since last summer. The hand writing was on the wall due to too many travelers. Spread happens like that. Private or small hard to reach islands (without going through too many airports) will be what we might do more of in the future when we know it’s safer.

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Yes, the countries should alert the CDC sooner in the future so that visitors and locals are more aware of health issues. I like your idea of visiting hard to get to places.

          Reply

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