What a ride! The 40K to Far Away challenge is done, the votes have been counted, and the Frequent Miler team is slowly settling back in to business as usual blogging. Today, though, I’ll take a quick look back at the challenge and a look forward to what’s next…
Who do you think won the 40K to Far Away challenge?
- Greg (51%, 567 Votes)
- Stephen (31%, 345 Votes)
- Nick (19%, 210 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,122
As you can see above, I earned the most votes for this challenge (thank you!), so I’m technically the winner. A number of people have said, though, that they voted for me, but would have voted for Nick if he hadn’t gone so far over budget. Maybe that means that Nick would have won had his gift card plan worked. It’s also possible that we would have each had roughly a third of the votes. And I think that would have been fitting. Each trip earned bragging rights for different reasons…
Nick traveled to the most remote location, joined a yacht club, and uncovered the most valuable new information (how to book flights to Hawaii for only 7,500 points!).
You can read more about Nick’s trip in these posts:
- Less than 40K points used: Nick’s numbers for #40KFaraway
- 23.5K to Far Away: How Nick can steal your vote for #40KFaraway champ
- #40KFaraway: Stretching the boundaries of possibility
- #40kFarAway Day 1: A Series Of Unfortunate (But Not Trip-Destroying) Events
- #40KFaraway Day 2: Sleepless nights and long-haul flights
- Nick’s first destinations: Lanikai Beach and Uncle Clay’s House
- Nick’s (Mis)Adventures adding 30+ miles by bicycle
- Nick’s final new destination: Niue (#40KFaraway)
- Nick’s #40KFaraway bag is packed. Here’s what’s not inside (and what is)
While Nick and I traveled for 7 and 8 days, Stephen stretched his budget out to travel for a whopping 14 days. He cashed in his points at 1.25 cents each and proved that sometimes cash goes further than points. Of the three of us, Stephen visited the most countries, took the most modes of transportation, ate the most local foods, and spotted the most giant trolls.
You can read more about Stephen’s trip in these posts:
- How Stephen Toured Europe & Made It “Home” Again For 40K points & $400 (#40kfaraway)
- 15 Reasons Stephen Should Win The #40kFaraway Challenge
- How The 1st Flight Stephen Booked Affected The Rest Of His Trip
- Days 1-4 Of Stephen’s 40k: Not Much Sleep, Lots Of Sights, Troll Hunting & More(10
- Days 5-6 Of Stephen’s 40k: Walking, Sightseeing, Walking, Family, Walking & Sleeping
- Days 7-10 Of Stephen’s 40k: Trolls, Lots Of Flying & A Risk That Didn’t Pay Off
- Days 11-14 Of Stephen’s 40k: Beating The Casino, D.C. Segway Tour, Art & All The Way Back Home
- Stephen’s #40kFaraway: Everything That’s In His Bag (& A Few Things That Aren’t)
My trip was amazing in many ways, but ultimately what set my trip apart was the interpersonal connections. At every stop, I made a new friend. As a result, I had a great time. Oh, and I think my use of the United Excursionist Perk was really cool too (see this post for details).
You can read more about my trip in these posts:
- How Greg toured Madrid & Africa for 40K points and $400 (#40kfaraway)
- 10 reasons to vote for Greg for #40KFarAway
- Greg’s first day of #40K to Far Away adventures
- Greg’s visits to Madrid and Dakar #40Kfaraway
- Greg’s South African adventures #40Kfaraway (featuring Johannesburg fun, train misadventures, Cape Town wine & penguins)
- What’s in Greg’s #40KFarAway Backpack? Version 2 (Guest starring a dog and a cat)
Rating the Challenge
While a few readers didn’t seem to like the 40K to Far Away challenge, most were overwhelmingly positive about it. I believe it was a smash success in multiple ways: it was fun for almost everyone (most readers and all three authors), and it led us to uncover or highlight many, many useful things:
- General Travel
- Chase Ultimate Rewards:
- Etihad Guest (transferable from Amex, Citi, and Capital One)
- Turkish Miles & Smiles (transferable from Citi ThankYou Rewards):
- Book US to Hawaii for only 7.5K miles!
- Turkish partner awards can be booked via email (otherwise it’s necessary to go to a Turkish Airlines ticket office).
- Forget email, book Turkish awards over the phone (7.5K each way)
- United MileagePlus:
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (transferable from Amex, Chase, and Citi):
People have asked us if we’ll do this again. Yes! There’s no question. We don’t yet know when or how often, but we’ll absolutely make this a regular feature.
Readers have offered many great suggestions for changes to future challenges. For example, quite a few people have suggested that we should have a separate budget for food and lodging. I like that idea! Others have proposed doing a luxury travel competition. That sounds good!
How about making things more difficult by traveling with multiple people (with our wives, perhaps?) or during peak travel dates? It can be done. Remember my post showing that it was possible to book a business class award trip to New Zealand for a family of four during winter break? You can find it here: How to piece together an impossible award.
We’re also open to completely new formats. Should we build trips for each other? I’m imagining a format similar to the show “An Idiot Abroad”. For example, maybe Nick and Stephen would get together to decide where to send me and I’d go out into the world with no idea where I’d end up.
Or maybe we should have more discrete and objective sub-challenges. For example, maybe we would all meet someone and readers would decide our next destination. Our goal would be to see who could get there first, or in the most luxury, or with the most modes of transport. Each sub-challenge could have a different goal.
Maybe we should pair up with readers. I could imagine some kind of lottery where selected readers each pair up with one of us and they go on crazy around the world trips while we document those trips from home. Or maybe we travel with them.
Tell us your ideas
What should our next challenge look like? Above I presented a number of ideas that we (and readers) have kicked around, but we’re open to almost anything. Ultimately we want to do something that ticks these boxes:
- The challenge must be possible and practical. We won’t challenge to see who can circumnavigate the world with 5K points – that’s not possible. And we’re not going to race to the South Pole. It’s not practical. And it’s cold. I live in Michigan. I’ve had enough of cold.
- The challenge should be entertaining.
- The challenge should lead to innovation. A reader recently posted: “The necessity to work within the confines of something, are often the friction that sparks ingenuity”. I believe that. The fact that Nick was constrained to using Citi points was the reason that he looked so deeply into the Turkish Miles & Smiles program. The fact that I was constrained to Chase points led me to push the boundaries of what could possibly be booked at 1.5 cents with the Sapphire Reserve card.
What ideas do you have for our next challenge? Please comment below.
Here’s a suggestion – everyone has to go to the same destination(s), picked at random by someone who is not doing the challenge 2 months in advance, and everyone has to get there, do a specific event or 2, maybe a couple local excursions, and then return home.
Makes it kind of exciting to see who can accomplish it when everyone has to go to the same place. Could even pick the same starting airport?
For example: Everyone needs to go to the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak, Malaysia. But could require a specific activity or multiple stops.
Must have a drink at the Park Hyatt in Japan
Then visit Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak, Malaysia
Then eat dinner at Hofbräuhaus, Munich.
Any extra activities are bonus points!
Seriously, if you don’t have the requirement to get back, this would be too easy to win the contest. The return adds one of the most difficult parts. Not to say your contest among 3 people wasn’t kind of interesting, but get your readers involved. Everyone has to leave on the same day, but what you do, where you go, how far – that will be the variable. Let’s get a challenge with all the people who read your site and make it fun.
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I like some of your thoughts such as two traveling together as couples usually do this and must spend twice the points. Food and lodging should be separated out but No Hostels. Also how about starting from Non Gateway airports like a large part of Americans must do. I would also suggest making it that you must spend 24 hours or more in a country so it is not a bed run or a stop on someone’s couch you know overseas. I will be interested to see what you come up with and also keep track of the hotel points used.
I’d be interested in a challenge where you get to pick where a reader goes. Not sure if there are other readers interested in this, but I’d let someone pick an itinerary for me and my family (4 total). I’ve posted on flyertalk and other forums asking people to suggest itineraries for us with little to no influence/input from us, and some people think it’s absurd. I think its thrilling and eye opening, as there are places I’ve never heard of, activities that would have never crossed my mind, and of course, the element of surprise.
Of course you’d have to find readers that either already have a certain amount of miles, or find readers that were willing to apply for the cards needed to obtain those miles. I think a 200k chase ultimate reward or 200k amex membership reward challenge would be just about right for a family challenge.
Enjoyed reading about the 40K Challenge. To make it more interesting and challenging next time, why don’t you require that everyone start from a Non Gateway airport like BNA, BHM, CHA, PIT, etc instead of a Gateway? It would also be cool to mandate at least one full day in a city minimum so we know that you weren’t just hopping transportation which should be restricted to air and train in a future challenge. Wish we had more details on how you chose where to stay, where to fly between, etc. I also wish you would let us pick between a choice of countries to see how you put together itineraries and how you found deals. We as readers can learn from challenges like this!
The challenge reminded me of being a broke college student traveling through Europe. Having very little money forces you out of your comfort zone. That said, some of those experiences are the most memorable. You can’t put a price tag on them. Greg’s post from Senegal, in particular, really jumped off the page and grabbed my attention. Dakar isn’t on the top of my list, but you made it interesting and a place that I would think about visiting. Greg got my vote and the main reason was his ability to adapt. When the trip “wasn’t fun” on the first day, he changed that by riding with his friend to the airport. When he initially couldn’t find a place to sleep in Madrid, he considered an all night movie theater. When his train broke down in Africa he made the decision to get on the bus. Creative thinking can make or break a trip. I would like to see a challenge where winning was based on how well obstacles were handled and what was done to overcome them. As I was reading all of the posts, I kept thinking what you would do if your flight cancelled, you got sick, someone stole your backpack etc. Did you have a Plan B if there was a major glitch? Thanks to all of you for enduring jet lag and sleep deprivation for our enjoyment. Frequent Miler is the best!
What do you think of this idea for follow-on next year: Around the World in 80K’s!
I’m using the plural for 80K’s since it would involve going around the world using 80K in airline points and 80K in lodging, (and maybe 80K in some other category like car rentals?) This time, rather than a hit and run itinerary, maybe make it a three week trip, with at least five stops, each with a minimum of three nights so that you can dig into each place a little more. And, bring your families! (Everyone gets a set of 80K’s, which would help offset the lodging, right?)
Congratulations to all three of you on a job well done ! This was one of the best features on any FF blog that I have read in a long time time – interesting, informative, and at times, flat out hilarious. I loved the fast-paced trips with long treks with backpacks , struggles with broke-down transportation, frenetic scrounging for food, and sleeping on the floor. I am an Army vet and it reminded me of my time in the military. It also reminded me of why I left. Much respect for going so hardcore but like many of the other readers, I think I would like to see a slightly more comfortable sojourn featured in the next contest. Plus I never want to see any of you guys post from the local lock up after getting arrested for vagrancy or from a hospital after being injured by some psycho couch surfer. I suggest :
1. An “Economy Plus” trip, i.e. no family stays, couch surfs, or hostels. Use of free nights, promos, etc all within bounds.
2. A “luxury “ trip to gauge how swanky one can go with points and miles instead of cash to make a dream trip come true.
3. I love the “Spin the Globe “ idea another reader mentioned .
4. A challenge that included a family member, significant other, or friend would be value-added as many of us dragoon those we love into coming with us on our FF adventures. Their reactions and perspectives on the trip would be fun to read. Also has the potential of adding a female point of view, which would be good.
5. Please don’t make this feature a one-off! I can’t wait to read the next one.
Thank you guys for your stellar efforts and letting us come along !
I liked the format as you had it. It shows the many ways points can be used if you really dig in..Great job all three of you!!
There is a consensus about TFM creating more challenges! Yeah! Thank you for the reminder link Greg, “How to piece together an impossible award”, somehow I missed this article the first time around!
So as far as the challenge would go, the deconstructed formula that made the Far away 40k & 400 great this time, still works!
possible and practical. Yes!
Now, only how to make things different…I like the ideas about a scavenger hunt, or a “themed” journey. What if the focus/theme of the next challenge was just as subjective as it was in this first one? Themes can easily lead to an excellent series.
I really appreciated how much innovation came from the different interpretations of “Far” in this challenge. Leaving this parameter purposefully undefined, opened possibilities for participants to strategize with varied, yet equivocal journeys. Readers also imagined these definitions and it clearly engaged folks! . What if the next theme was similarly open, e.g. “others” or “comfort” or “other’s comfort”?
Many commented about the bus/airport sleeping & a desire to allocate funds for accomodations on the next challenge, this got me thinking. If I participated in a challenge like this, I would want to know that everyone really enjoyed themselves in comfort & experience. The thing is, comfort is really subjective. In many ways, subjectivity drove this thing. I wouldn’t have wanted to limited how anyone’s personal comfort level, based on an allocated budget. I enjoyed reading about Greg’s trip train experience & the connection he made with his hosts. I equally appreciated all the transportation/logistics Stephen arranged & Nick’s thinking outside the box w/yacht club. Most people make trade-offs in travel, or leave room for flexibility/personal preference at least. For some it’s business class flights, then a budget hotel, everything doesn’t have to match up, to have a trip highlight, or a do-over for that matter.
Still, a theme of “other’s comfort” could work here! If planning a trip for another participant & a family member, or potential Partnerships of FM team member’s w/ a +1 & a Follower w/ a +1, Consideration is going to lead to more traditional comfort. If you were potentially planning something for someone else, I think most people would be more accomodating.
Maybe, “Other’s comfort”, could also focus on “Other’s needs”. I loved that this last challenge considered environmental impact and matched carbon off-sets. In addition to practicing sustainability in travel, I am also intrigued by volunteer opportunities. Often times on vacation I have had opportunities pop-up, but have never planned an international trip around this. What if say,within the confine of, 100k MR/UR/TY pts & 100k Bonvoy/IHG/Hilton/Hyatt pts & 400$ per person made “100% FOR others”. Teams of 4 (FM+1 &Follwer+1) could Plan a wk’ish journey, w/ a volunteer opportunity included, FOR a competing team! Maybe it is cleaning a beach, working with wildlife research, maybe it’s educational. Maybe it lasts the whole trip, maybe it’s only a ½ day experience, it could be 100% for another’s comfort.
My idea is for some sort of Round-the-World competition. Either using ANA or maybe restrict to no one can use ANA and have to use a mix of other currencies to get around the world on 100k? 150k? miles? Maybe each person can pick an airline alliance and piece together a RTW itinerary within that alliance using miles that are commonly attainable through transfers?
i agree that hotel & food budget should be separate. as funny as it was to read about Nick sleeping on a slab of stone outside airport or Stephen surviving an entire day on DD bagel, i doubt any reader would do that.
I loved the 40k to Faraway challenge and can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.
All of the potential ideas and readers’ suggestions for the next challenge all sound great.
But you know what would be a lot of fun??? You guys should all travel together to aspirational destinations.
Each of you should write down two destinations that you’ve always been wanting to go to. Each destination should be written on a separate small piece of paper. Fold them up. Then, each of you will pick one piece of paper (with a destination) from the two others.
So… Greg will have to plan an itinerary based on destinations that he selected from Nick and Stephen
Nick will have destinations from Stephen and Greg
And Stephen will have destinations from Greg and Nick
Timing is great since it’s the holidays and it’ll be like a “Secret Santa: Frequent Miler Edition”
The end result will be that each of you will have selected a destination from the other two. And you’ll have to plan a high quality trip with respect to those two destinations.
Think of it as like a creative gift to your fellow colleague authors.
Here’s my suggested rules:
– The budget will be 150k points (any combination from any program) + $1,500 dollars (remember, this accounts for a total of three travelers).
– Food is excluded from the budget. Want you guys to be able to enjoy yourselves
– The itinerary must include the two destinations selected by your colleagues. But you can get creative with how you get there, like if you include any interesting stops along the way.
– Since each of the authors are planning a two destination trip itinerary, there will be three total trips. Obviously, they cannot overlap with timing. So maybe you guys can reserve blocks within the same one or two month period in 2020.
– The author planning the trip is allowed to choose the origin starting point, but it has to be in the continental United States.
– Winner is judged by how much your colleagues enjoyed the trip
I think it’ll be awesome because:
– You guys will travel together, which could be fun or at least entertaining (or interesting?)
– You will go to destinations that you actually want to visit
– You may have to find routes / itineraries between two destinations that could be far from each other (you never know)
Now that I think of it… this challenge is starting to sound more like a “friends trip”. 🙂
You should each have to book round trips for readers. Have some type of questionnaire where readers list their likes/preferences (city touring, island hopping, history, art, food, whatever) and why they’re traveling (honeymoon/anniversary, family vacation, first time to a specific region). Readers have to be available to travel during a certain window and put up their own points 100k points per person or maybe 200k for couples/families. 2 of you select the winner for the 3rd person to book (or select finalists and readers vote on the winners). It puts some real world and relatable restraints into the contest. Honeymooners may want business class to an overwater villa but a family of four might want economy and adjoining rooms.
It sounds like an award booking service.
Loved it! Some ideas for new time:
1. Need to visit every continent except Antartica with a higher budget.
-Attend a sporting event on every continent. The more random the better.
2. Need to fly each alliance and stay at 4-5 major hotel brands.
3. Need to travel via a plane, train, bus, rental car, ferry/cruise and public transportation for at least one segment each.
4. Don’t count in flight wi-fi towards the budget so you guys can provide more updates.
Hi Nick and Greg, Again it ws great meeting you both to the Chicago conference. Here is what I’d like to see…
I like the idea of each persone making a currency work, go as far as you want one way but…
1) I’d up the points (75k?) and require that at least 1 leg of at least 2k miles be in biz flat bed
2) outside of your cuurency get $100 for lflight on a major domestic (Delta, AA, UA, WN) and be creative with your $100 and MS strategy to use on a domestic flight (maybe at the beginning of your journey in the U.S. I’d like to see the creative use of gift cards
3) use your own points , in any currency to stay at any property you like, but it needs to be on points and write about why you made that choice (maybe great redemption, maybe interesting place, etc.) , but the key here is the stays are not restricted or constrained by the points; only they traveling is.
I haven’t yet read all of the replies, but agree with the first couple that most of us travel round trip AND aren’t looking to stress on extremely low-cost activities (although my wife and I walk everywhere we can). And who travels massive miles on coach? Ok, ok, some do. But not me. I’d like to see a version of, say, a single destination RT in J; longest flight for the cheapest amount of miles (however that can be quantified) … with fantastic stop overs (and/or an open jaw RT). Then take votes.
I’d love to see you incorporate a fantasy draft style for the next time around.
Perhaps make each pick represent 10k points within the chosen point currency, and then limit use of that currency to the person who selected it.
I.e. one might end up with say 10k Membership Reward Points, 10k American Miles, 10k Southwest Points, & 10k Turkish Miles…while another may have 10k Chase UR, 10k United miles, 10k BA avios, & 10k Avianca Miles, and so on…
You could incorporate credit cards as as well. Only one person can use the benefits from the CSR, only one can use the benefits from the Business Platinum card, etc.
Would require a great deal of strategy both going into the draft, and even more afterwards depending on what handful of currencies you end up with!
That is interesting. Would like to see it.
I’m looking forward to the next iteration of the challenge. There are so many possibilities.
Here are some suggestions
– Don’t make it roundtrip. I agree with Nick that adding the RT restriction inhibits open thinking.
– The biz/first class angle would be a good next step. Some flights could still be economy. Maybe you could have a rule like the Excursionist Perk: economy flights are allowed if they start and end in the same region…
– Food should be taken out of the main budget. Maybe have a per diem system where you’re allocated $X per day and can spend it over the trip as you please. You could even make it a separate category. Who “ate” the best? Michelin star dinner on the first night and instant noodles for the next 6? Or taste pizza in every country?
– Lodging could also be a separate category and budget. (Sleeping on floors isn’t necessary and seems overly harsh.) Who “slept” the best? Hammock overlooking a river and a waterfall or bunk in a monastery or overnighting in a manga cafe? Of course those things aren’t usually attainable via points but you get the idea. For this category, maybe points could be optional or have a 40K/$400 budget for lodging. You could expand on this by assigning each person a hotel chain. They could then use any perk that elite status and accompanying credit cards offer. That’d be a good way to highlight what’s possible with lodging.
– I don’t think adding travel companions is needed. It’s basically just making everything cost 2x.
I really enjoyed the series and I hope you do something similar again. A couple of the rules from my perspective really dictated the travel. A) You went where the points allowed you to go. I think most people have a goal first and try to fit the points to the goal. I would suggest a variation where you choose several mandatory stops in advance. B) I think a lot of people would like at least a part of the trip to be aspirational. I would suggest requiring 1 leg of the trip to include a min business class leg. C) Money should be bucketed. X amount of dollars for travel, X amount for activities, a daily stipend for food. D) Sleeping on a red-eye is one thing sleeping in airports just made no sense to me. I think you should spend the nights in places that make sense to the location. A great award redemption close to a great location. An Airbnb because there were no better choices.
Then, in the end, you can tie the trip back to how one might have earned the point necessary for the said trip in a responable amount of time.
First, you’ve got an obvious game theory problem with forcing contestants to go further with miles or to sleep and eat. You need different buckets of points or dollars… If you stick with the same type of scheme. Also, require paid lodgings. Having people sleeping in dangerous areas creates liability and should be barred.
Sleeping on a plane is fine of course.
A couple other ideas.
1. You think up an itinerary eg Cape Town 40k leaving from certain cities within a date range, and see if readers can figure it out and book it. Anyone who succeeds gets to guest blog if they want.
2. You set your itinerary, you’ll be at x restaurant from 8-10pm on this date, y hotel pool from 1-3pm on y date, z priority pass lounge on z date, see who can meet you using the coolest route.
3. Same contest as modified to require use of hotel rooms, but with objective criteria: distance traveled + cpp, weighted evenly.
Fwiw thanks for the Turkish miles idea, we had just enough typ to book our return flight x4 from ogg after Spring break. Still looking for a good use of the excursionist perk, I’ve got some ideas though!
This is a miles and points blog so I would echo the ideas of some others and say that food could be excluded from the travel budget, or if preferred, set up as a separate budget figure not counting against the main travel and lodging cap. Instead of assigning a transferable points currency to each player, the choice could be left to each one in any combination. That will also generate some material on the relative merits of each.
I’m not a big fan of doing the challenge with a focus on premium travel context. The miles and points blogosphere is replete with people who do reviews of this business class flight, that five star hotel. You are doing something quite different and entertaining here that forces fascinating finds. A requirement to include at least one business class flight of greater than X miles within a higher overall points budget could be interesting.
I would disallow accepting hospitality from family or friends. Theoretically they could put you up for quite a while as you explore free and inexpensive attractions in many major cities.
I do not think that an expectation to take a second person along makes a lot of sense in the context of what the contest is all about. Most likely not all three of you have someone you are that close to who would be fully in the spirit of the adventure, and this would constrain creativity. And who would want to do a trip like that with someone you aren’t so close to tagging along, just to meet a contest’s rules? The whole idea just gets into the necessity of negotiating details with someone else rather than going all out.
I’m not too sure why people object to the walking. I’m in my 50s and certainly no runner, or do any kind of outrageous exercising and we often walk 5-10 miles in a day. I’m not into the do nothing vacation (lie on a beach, sit on a cruise liner, etc.) and prefer to walk and explore cities.
The hostel, couch surfing, etc. is another story. While it is adventurous and for some people, there is an element of danger involved and is probably more roughing it than the average economy class person would do.
I couldn’t say it better Rich! I definitely like this post because it is a real life case scenario.
My challenge, is to get to Europe during peak season from San Diego. I want to see the Roman Empire (toured many countries already), the Greek Empire (went to Athens/Greece a couple of years ago) and the Vikings (coming June 2021 Oslo, Sweeden, ect via Rick Steves tour). Anyway, I like going on Rick Steves tours during peak season (bc my wife is a teacher). The challenge here, is to go in business class. That on its own is a real life scenario and a tough task!!
I also have limited time off from work as a software engineer and I don’t have the time to go to Europe and make stops in South Africa, South America, or Dubai or Asia (utilizing the United Excursionist). I can’t get any Chase cards anyway bc when I started collecting miles, I was unaware of the 5/24. So I burned my bridges there…oh well. Although, I am very please with Amx (is working wonders for me).
Same here! We walked 12.5 miles in Paris in one day (just last month) but regularly walk 8-10 miles a day when we are over there. I need a real place to sleep and shower and I need real food. No beach resorts or cruise ships for us.
I have just read through all of the comments and I just have to say I LOVE all of the ideas everyone has! It is obvious that you all inspired many of us and now we want to do this! Maybe we need a “Frequent Miler Readers” trip contest!
Of course, your readers are going to have many different perspectives, so whatever you choose will not fit everyone’s preference. I read a few suggestions in the comments below and in the voting thread that I do not agree with because I feel like it would detract from the out-of-the box thinking and real world considerations all of us face with travel. In particularly, I do NOT agree with suggestions to:
1) Take food and/or accommodations out of the budget or separate budget categories too much (although I would be OK with an additional allotment of points for hotel stays), since most of us consider our aggregate “budget” in cash/points for travel in some way. Personally, although I do not have a strict travel budget, I make conscious decisions to spend less money on things I do not value (e.g., private ground transfers, luxury hotels for quick overnights) to have more points/money to spend on other things that are “splurge” experiences or things I value more.
2) Travel with someone else: I travel solo a lot, and I feel like the compromises people make when traveling with others would detract from the adventurous nature of your trips.
I would like to see the following in the next round of the challenge:
1) The same start and end date for each person
2) A more generous budget so you do not have to “rough it” quite as much and might be able to include some opportunities to use points/money for good value hotel stays or business class travel
I like the idea others have suggestedu sing 100,000 points of any combination, maybe with a cash limit for ground transportation and taxes but leaving food out of the equation.
While I know you all may be interested in the luxury travel route, I liked the challenge of economical travel. A challenge that readers could also take part in would be fun! I don’t mean people traveling together but just take part and post their trip also, maybe trips to different places and schedules to meet us a certain location (like Stephen going to Europe and saying hey meet up in (whatever town) on (whatever date), then everyone take off again… Plus maybe a dedicated facebook page or website the next time? I also would have liked more updates. Watching you all made me wish I had friends whom I challenge to do a trip like this but the only person I personally know who plays the game is my sister and we usually travel together.
As an amateur at this miles/pts field and the fact that for the first time in our lifetime, we took our first business class to Europe (SD->AMS->MAD, rt) in late March, early April on the Delta A330-300. Then in June, we took for our first time in our life’s, JAL 777-300 First Class. The experience was just euphoria, to say the least (can’t say enough about this experience)!!! To add icing on the cake, we stayed at the Tokyo Andaz and Tokyo Conrad. Another phenomena experience via chase cards (got it before was added to the 5/24).
I would like to see postings from people’s first experience and how they got there first business/first class seats (how was that like? Was it like euphoria like we experience it?)?
Therefore, I am a big user of your site for getting info on cards and award redemptions and your Best Offer link. So this is very important.
So, I would have to say, to do what you do best in this area.
I don’t mean to put water in this amazing 40K race, but it didn’t help me out for planning traditional travel to see other places in the world at a comfortable pace. Also, the website in your posting was overwhelming with information and I would take too much time to read through it (understatement). Also, it would be nice if someone stays behind at the office to keep up with the latest credit card offers and award redemption as they come out (this is what I missed out on).
A perspective from an amateur at this field.
Ur a good person Thank You !!!
I didn’t get a chance to vote before it closed, but I have to say that even though Nick went over budget – I was very impressed by how far he got. All three of you did very well – congratulations! As others have commented, I was a little disappointed that the updates weren’t very frequent.
I’d definitely vote for a more luxury challenge next time. Business class or better for all airplane trips, you must stay in a full-service hotel every night (no dossing on concrete floors, although the sleeper train was a brilliant idea). Food should not be part of the budget – if you guys want steak/lobster dinners or Subway – that’s up to you. I think the point is: I would imagine a lot of people reading here have 100K airline and hotel points or can lay their hands on them if they need to, and the reason they’re even here in the first place is to be able to travel in comfort with the miles earned from business travel.
So here’s my suggestion: randomly pick who gets: 120K miles (see what I did there? 😉 ) in an airline in one of: OneWorld, *Alliance, SkyTeam. PLUS: 100K points in one of Marriott, Hilton or IHG. Plus $1000 for other transportation/fees.
I’d really like to see if you can find 3 volunteers willing to use the exact same rules and see how they do. Tricky part from a business side, you’d need to figure out how to tell their stories as it goes along. Maybe you interview them daily, and write posts for them and have them share pictures? Obviously, don’t see how you guys could personally do something like this (be the traveler) more than once a year and would give you a chance to see if even “commoners” can come up with neat tricks.
Also, quick reminder; part of the fun was as a reader living vicariously though you. It is not just about the tricks and innovation; it is about the experiences! As horrible as it sounds, I was laughing out loud about Nicks bike problems, and when he fell asleep on the bus!
I was hoping that someone was laughing out loud. Believe it or not, I had a blast. I was hurting on that bike and unhappy when I fell asleep on the bus, but I thought those things also make for quality entertainment. I look at those bike videos and laugh. Glad to hear I’m not the only one :-).
“100k in F and J”. Each has 100k in one transferrable currency and one hotel currency, and $1k cash. Hilton is paired with UR so best transferrable is paired with worst hotel currency. MR and MR is fitting, and TYP with Hyatt. Winner is who can piece together the most luxurious, over the top experience. All flights must be in J minimum. You must get home. All nights must be in hotel unless on overnight flight.
Maybe others have posted along these lines. But many in the miles and Points community are looking to redeem points for luxury travel (Biz/First Class). Premium suites in hotels etc and that too with family (3 or 4 people). So a luxury travel competition will surely open up a lot of creative nuggets for the whole community to use.
Looking forward to that challenge
I love a lot of the ideas thrown out there already for the next challenge. As I thought more about what I didn’t like throughout the challenge, it was not getting enough updates. I was refreshing the Instagram page (I don’t even have an Instagram account), FB page, and the blog every hour or so. The most frustrating was there were no updates on any of the pages.
So here’s my suggestion for the next challenge. How about something that engage the readers even more? Like which ever place you visit, you plan ahead to visit a reader? It might be tough but it would make it more engaging for all readers. If you don’t have readers in a particular country or place, well that’s even better – time to build up readers there 😉
But if I am honest, whatever challenge you guys do, I will just be enjoying it from now onwards!
Well, since this travel challenge is totally frivolous, and the world is apparently melting due to the privileged few flying gratuitous trips around the world ‘just because we can’, how about an eco challenge? Lowest carbon travel wins. So ebikes, bikes, rowing, walking, sailing, solar-powered planes, EVs etc. (but electrons used to charge your vehicles have to be accounted for – grids powered by coal/gas are fails).
I agree totally I was on a TLV beach they have plastic bottle trash bins 12x12x20 just makes a person sick looking @ it . Now who started that bottled water stuff in the first place ?
A few suggestions:
1. Separate budgets for hotels and food. Hotel budget, e.g. $400, means any mix of cash and points that works. Hotel point value is determine by RRV. I appreciate that you guys were willing to sleep in airports/planes/hostels for this competition, but, ultimately, we as readers don’t learn a whole lot from watching you guys do this. We all know how to sleep at an airport, and we all hate it 🙂 I thought some of Greg’s insights regarding Couchsurfing were nice to read, so I did still get something out of this. However, I will likely never try that myself because I travel with my wife (and usually son), which brings me to my next point…
2. Travel with a second person. I might be wrong, but I think this is how most of us travel, so we’re more likely to learn things pertinent to us if you are looking for availability for two. This probably wouldn’t change much if you’re flying in economy though, and really only matters if you’re looking for business class and above.
3. Business class travel. Because… why not? 🙂 Economy allowed for flights under some limit, like 3 hours.
4. The scavenger hunt idea someone else posted sounds great.
5. Next competition: You guys vs. Drew & Carrie from travelisfree, or something like that. Would need to make some adjustments so each team has an equal number of people. And I specifically suggested them because I think your trips and trip styles would be very different but lots of fun to follow.
I definitely like the idea of not sleeping in the airport. On the flip side, would staying at the airport DoubleTree add anything? I don’t know. Our willingness to “rough it” is what gave us enough points to make the finds we did and possibly made this a little more entertaining than it would have been if we each reported on our check in at the local Fairfield Inn.
That said, I just came up with an idea in this regard that I’m not going to share publicly but I think perhaps solves this dilemma nicely (and that’s thanks to your feedback since it forced me to think about it more). Keep the feedback coming, everyone.
Nick, I think the point Andy (and many of us) are making is we love seeing the great ideas you guys came up with to travel cheaply, but also would like to see some practicality in ways most of us readers would enjoy. So don’t spend $200 in a Fairfield Inn at the airport, but maybe spending the night at a $70 Best Western that is part of a stay 2 nights, get one free promotion, or using 5,000 or 10,000 points at an IHG PointBreaks hotel, which are great uses of points or dollars. Falling asleep on a bus in Hawaii and sleeping on the floor in an airport seem miserable, and to be honest, is probably not aspiring anyone to 40K to faraway. I agree with Andy, many of us want to see what you can eat and enjoy with more than a $10 budget to spend once you get somewhere exotic (albeit with some sort of a budget, but more than scrounging a trashcan and sleeping underneath an overpass) That said, it was super exciting to see all 3 of your adventures, and I would have definitely voted for you if you had made it to Niue without going over, and hopefully these comments can help you guys tweak the rules as you plan the next big challenge!
I considering saying to let yourselves be comfortable and have the competition be about flights only, but some limitation on hotels and food can cause you to find new tricks and hidden gems. Even one-off deals that can’t easily be replicated can be fun to read about.
I think it was you who posted some of those experiments a while back combining Citi Prestige 4th night free with other discounts. That post was a lot of fun and quite interesting. A $400 RRV budget might be too low to play around with something like that, but you can certainly use a higher cap.
Same thing with food. A few things I’ve done on trips:
1. I was in Toronto during the Ritual app’s “Eats Week” ($1 for lunch, limit 1 per person per day) with my wife, and we had very nice lunches (normally $12-14) for $1 each, 5 days in a row.
2. Walking around Sydney CBD last year, I saw a sign advertising a free pizza for new users downloading the Liven payment app as I walked past Fratelli Fresh Italian restaurant. My wife and I each signed up, and we figured out that the “free pizza” was actually a credit that equaled the price of one pizza plus tax. They let us combine that with happy hour AND their “kids eat free” promotion (had our toddler with us), so we ended up with 3 pizzas with toppings and 4 pints of local craft beer, with a total out-of-pocket spend of about $2 AUD.
3. In Paris, I found Restaurant De Sers listed on thefork.com with 40% off everything on their a la carte menu, INCLUDING alcohol. Unlike #1 and #2, this required spending more than a couple bucks, but also unlike those, this one was less about timing/luck and could have been more easily replicated by other people because thefork.com had lots more restaurants in many other cities with good discounts at the time. It made a fancy meal in Paris with alcohol easy to fit into a “normal” budget.
All that to say I think even food posts can be entertaining (at least I hope my comment post here was an example of this), so I hope you guys will still try to save money on food next time too. But it is too limiting when your meals eat into your flight budget, because the flights themselves will always take priority.
Also, none of this is a knock on the competition that you guys just did. I though this whole series was awesome! These are just some thoughts for next time.
From a narrative perspective, it might be worth considering doing one person at a time — this wasn’t a race, so I’m not sure there was much benefit to going all at once, and it made it harder to follow along. Spread everyone out and you get more of a chance to dive into each person’s trip.
We actually talked about this a few days ago. I agree.
The only problem with this is that it’s inevitably an advantage to go last. Like after Greg did his personalized chef experience, the next person would know that they’d need to top that in some way. Same thing with Nick joining a yacht club on a crazy remote island.
Don’t knock the Yacht Club I joined and I’m going the best part of his trip .. But I need to get there like my buddies pointed out before the ice caps melt ..
I really enjoyed seeing how creative you all were with your points and cash. Although the challenge rules were very loose, when it was time for me to choose who to vote for I took into account comfort and overall enjoyment of the trip. Because travel is not just about how far one can go but, also how much fun and personal enrichment one can experience. In other words, it’s’ not just about getting there but what you experience while you’re on your way.
Therefore, I ultimately chose Greg. I think he had the most fun and meaningful experience while staying within his budget. Steve also had a pretty good trip but, Greg edged him out (in my opinion) because he used a little-known perk. Nick went the furthest and used a little-known perk but, it felt like an endurance in misery to me. He roughed it way too much for my taste.
For future challenges, I’d like to see a requirement that you have to use at least one little-known or, secret hack. Such as the Excursionist Perk or the transfer to Turkish Airlines. Those are things that are very useful and interesting for readers.
I’d like to see the challenge open to other bloggers as well. And perhaps to teams. So that one traveler would go up to a destination than tag someone else and that person would continue the trip, switching players on a ’round the world adventure.
You guys are freeking nuts. I love this blog..
Here’s the next challenge that you should do, and it should also get some reader clicks on your links because of it: The 1-2-3 Challenge. ONE round-trip, using a maximum of TWO hundred dollars, and making use of the total points and miles that you would get by obtaining any THREE new credit cards via publicly available or referral offers. You could only use card benefits on the trip that you’d get from those three new imaginary cards (well, they’re real cards but you probably wouldn’t actually go get them since you would likely already have them) that you choose to get.
Can’t find the edit button, so adding to my above post this way:
PS And you should have a draft to pick each of your 3 cards that you’d be able to use, like drafting a fantasy football team. That way none of you could have the same card(s) as they would disappear once “drafted”.
4 x 4 x 4? Fly 4 airlines, stay in 4 hotel chains, on 4 continents.
40K, 40K, and $400. 40K each for one of the major alliances, 40K each for one of the hotel chains (would probably need to adjust the amount of points for each chain based on the value, example 25K Hyatt, 60K IHG, 80K Hilton, etc), and $400 for food and entertainment. Winner is the person with the most memorable experiences. I agree with a previous poster, I think the readers (and you guys!) would have enjoyed the challenge more if you were not scraping by eating granola bars and ramen in airport lounges. The best part of going to a far-away place is the dive into the local culture, and that is really hard (maybe impossible) to do if you have one hand tied behind your back(the hand holding your wallet).
This series was fantastic. I appreciated the emphasis on “real” travel (people, street food, budget-consciousness) rather than luxury stays and reviews of hotel shampoo. Personally, I would vote against a luxury competition — you can get a version of that material on any bling-blog.
For future projects:
* Around the World in 80 Ks to see who can do the “best” around-the-world itinerary for 80K points and $800 (or whatever dollar amount you think is reasonable).
* A reader challenge where readers can enter the competition and are then judged either by reader votes or by a panel of experts and receive some kind of prize.
* Some kind of themed competition — Beach Blanket Bingo where you have to do the most varied and interesting beach itinerary, or Food Flyaway were you have to eat the most varied and interesting food (still leave enough flexibility in the definition so that people can get creative).
* The scavenger hunt idea suggested by someone else is also great.
Don’t necessarily need a reader tag along, but perhaps readers can apply to participate in the next competition (yes 100k is definitely more realistic and most indeed do have 100k points/miles across several programs). Participating readers can do guest posts as well. I for sure would join up if you opened up the contest to readers!
I think you should do a competition with a goal and then see who can do it with the best combination of points, money, and other instruments. Like, the goal is to circumnavigate the word and then you each use whatever point, vouchers, free nights or whatever and we vote on it.
Or, do a scavenger hunt. You have ten pictures you need to take and it’s up to each of you how to get them. Then we vote who did it most efficiently. Take a picture with a penguin, at the equator, with a plant indigenous to a particular region, etc.
You catalogue everything of value you use and then we vote on the best trip.
I love the scavenger hunt idea!
You could make some of the vague or open to interpretation in a way that leaves lots of options and can be strung together with an itinerary. Like you could say “southernmost city in a country” or something. There would be debates about what counts as a city and what’s really southernmost — like one might go to Key West and other might go to Hawaii, or someone might go to Cape Horn and blow the contest away, etc.
Tropic of Capricorn maybe?
Great ideas! I’d love to see something like “Around the World in 80k” to see who could complete to most interesting trip. Oops. I see as I scroll down through the comments, somebody else already suggested this. Great minds think alike?
I like this idea too….take a picture of a glacier, visit a country starting with an “A,” visit a town with a population of less than a dozen people, visit a city with a population over 9 million, set foot on an uninhabited island…
You could also do something where you each have a certain number of points/cash and there’s a list of things you need to accomplish against the other person like visit a colder place than your competitor, hike a higher mountain, visit a smaller town/country, etc. Whoever does better in each category wins the category, and it could be like best 4 out of 7 or something. For example, in the case of the colder place category, if Greg visits somewhere that’s -30F, but then Nick visits a place that’s -32F, Nick would win the category. Each of you wouldn’t know what the other person is doing, but you try to do your best to balance the 7 categories….or maybe go hog-wild on 4 and ignore the other 3 to try to get the win that way. Something like that.
Whatever the challenge, you could have a couple of reader challengers to see if they could beat the experts.
I love this idea! I can’t wait for Stephen to post a picture of a penguin at a zoo and get destroyed in the comments section. 🙂
With the scavenger hunt, I think it would be great if the readers got to choose the 10 things. TFM could ask for reader submissions, narrow it down to 25 and then readers get to vote for their favorites to select the 10 for the contest.
I love your scavenger idea. Maybe “7 wonders in one trip?” Or 5 famous restaurants at different continents?
I agree with some of the comments below. This was an awesome challenge but I think in the future ground transportation and food should be excluded from the competition — no reason you guys should be relying only on lounges and/or granola bars the whole time. The point is to show readers what’s possible but readers can decide how and what to eat.
My suggestions would be to 1. make the contest round-trip, so you have to get home as well. 2. use a higher (but still attainable) sign-up bonus/points balance (personally I would say max 100k but I’m sure other people have different ideas) 3. only use the points for flights/accommodations, not food/airport transfers/museum admission etc
And for fun, you could do a monthly or every-other-month “Spin the Globe” challenge where you literally spin the globe and figure out how to get there on 100k points or whatever.
And one last comment, also as mentioned below, it would be nice if each update on the challenge started with a map of the journey so far.
Thanks for the entertainment guys, I’ve really enjoyed following along!
I would say that whatever a future competition holds, an apples-to-apples approach is best. The rules should be very strict, for example: no hostels, no couchsurf or perhaps no using the point-cash conversion equivalent to book. If sending everyone to the same location to test true creativity, Europe is unbeatable for the simple fact that there are probably over 20 ways to cross the Atlantic. As it stands, everyone had great trip ideas but it just becomes a subjective “I think Africa was more interesting” or “Nick went to more remote places”.
I’ve really enjoyed following your 40/40 adventures! In my opinion this whole thing was beautifully conceived and beautifully executed.
Two suggestions come to mind, one that you’ve already mentioned:
1. As you say, a luxury competition — or, at least, a reasonably comfortable one. Maybe 200K points/miles and $1,000? (It breaks my heart to think that you were in Cape Town and didn’t have $40 for lunch at La Colombe, one of the top 20 restaurants in the world, and perhaps the least expensive world-class meal you’ll ever have. Even dinner there is only $100.)
2. Perhaps by way of judging — and this is of course my personal bias — the goal could be to produce the most exotic set of photographs.
Must bring Mothers-in-law on trip. hahahahaha
I truly would not change a thing. The alternative interpretations of the idea were all wonderful in their own right.
Maybe block the trolls out of the blog? The negativity and pointless BS is draining.
Reader ride-along 100K trip please! That would be amazing.
Maybe you should bring your mothers on the next trip. Haha! LOL! I’m definitely not serious about this.
Haha. I would lose this one as my mother’s interest in travel ends about 10 miles from home I think :-).
I love the ambiguous nature of “Far Away” and letting the readers vote. I’ll be giving this more thought, but I’m definitely leaning towards a “Best Bang for your Buck” contest. Include wives and round trips since those are practical constraints for many travelers. 200k points and $2000 or something similar. Which couple got the best value as voted by the readers? Obviously many people will think cents/point, but I think the “value” of the trip will lend itself to different interpretations.
I agree with you on the main parts of your idea. I am pretty sure that for 2 people I could even stretch 150,000 points into a great trip maybe 7 or 8 nights – maybe more. I don’t know that I would need that much $$, we normally spend around $125 to $150 per day in Europe on food and activities but we could probably still eat great food for much less. I think by value you are thinking like me value = quality of the experience?
Exactly. I’d say judge it by quality. Not necessarily cent/point but I think some luxury would be nice. I agree the $2000 is probably too much cash, but something where a nice round-trip for 2 is possible. No crashing in hostels or airports, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just a great value vacation for 2 that would be desirable to couples.
If you look back through the FB feed from when the challenge started, or even more glaringly, the updates on the frequent miler site during the competition, you will see there were LONG stretches of time with no 40k posts or even location updates. Each of you have a Google FI phone, right? At a minimum, it should be easy to post an updated Great Circle Mapper chart each time you arrived in a new city. It would only take a couple minutes. Those huge gaps in the updates were frustrating and made following the adventures feel disjointed, since most updates from each of you were long after you had already left that location.
I agree 100%. We need to fix the story flow next time. We were each supposed to take turns writing a daily summary post of where all 3 of us were, but by day 3, none of us could keep track of the others (we could barely keep track of ourselves!).
You might also want to make more definite end dates. I thought that having one of you go an extra week sort of messed with the momentum a bit.
of course if you had some points to use at hotels, and nothing but hotels, you’d kill two birds with that stone, since you’d probably have Wi-Fi
Next challenge should be to use 100k points combined with any program. For example 25k AA miles with 20k UR, with 5k BA, with 50k MR. Just for points disregarding taxes and fees and disregarding ground transportation and food. Most people have 100k points/miles. You can up to 150k so it will open business class options.
This will allow to show all the sweet spots and use advance combination of buying miles, using cash as copay, etc, etc.
You will be measure on certain criterias and get a survey monkey so people can rank high certain itineraries but rank low if someone lets say paid $500 for BA surcharges.
I agree – a general 100k point challenge. No walking 15 miles a day or sleeping on airport floors (hostels ok). Also, must be an easily obtainable 100k points (i.e. through publicly available US sign up bonuses). No esoteric, need to MS 40k on some random Bolivian credit card to get 50k miles, type points.
A more robust survey also a good idea. Stephen’s trip was astonishing in how far he could stretch funds, and super impressive, but I presume he didn’t win because he didn’t use actual miles/points like Greg which many readers of this site likely didn’t love.
What Shame 19% oh my God I bet 18% of the 19% were woman because of the baby photos . I haven’t been this upset since I lost $10 on a electric scooter race 10 years ago . Just pick yourself up Nick and try to go on with the rest of your life . This I believe is a real world lesson if you over spend you get destroyed .
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Thank You for ur Time .I just got a targeted email from Citi for my Citi P card open a checking account and fund it with $15K for 60 days .Then I get 40k points plus 25% more on my CC spending till 1/31/2020 . I got about $12K of spending till then which I need to do . I was going to can the card after booking 2 four nite stays on 1/2/2020 but will keep it now .Since my profit is $400 not $600 no IRS bill.
Any more advise Principal but have a Nice (Fr.) Day Anyways.
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Travel the way a normal person would travel. So no walking 10,000 miles or sleeping on airport floors. Unless you are looking to create a reality tv show. In that case [Deleted by administrator]. Also no use of friends, family or relying on fame of the blog.
Get back home. Remove restriction on budget. The winner is chosen based on mile/dollar
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Next time, whatever the constraints, require the traveler to make it back home. While it was great fun reading about all the clever travel ideas and places visited, finishing up in the middle of nowhere just wasn’t realistic. Points to Stephen for getting home. Points to Greg for the cool Excursionist hack and points to Nick for discovering the Turkish loop hole (but I can’t help wonder how long before they close that…..).
Just my opinion here, but I wanted to respond: You’re not the only one who has shared this perspective, and we’re obviously open to considering a lot of stuff for the future, but I don’t think that would have been particularly interesting for the challenge as we did it. As I said in the week in review, most people reading this blog will not limit themselves to 40K points and $400 to plan an entire vacation round trip. One could easily follow the same path in reverse to come home at worst, though in most cases one could get home for even fewer points since you wouldn’t likely look to make the same stops on the reverse trip. I don’t think that making it a round trip challenge would have produced double the useful content. In fact, it likely would have led to less useful content since, for example, Greg wouldn’t have had enough points to be able to nest excursionist perks and also have enough budget to get anywhere interesting and back. I probably wouldn’t have had enough points to figure out how to use the LifeMiles manual booking. Without those finds, I think the challenge becomes much less useful in the greater scheme of things.
Beyond that, I get the sense that many readers appreciated our effort to plan an economy-class challenge where we demonstrated the chance to get very far away while traveling the way that most people do — in economy class. But on the flip side, we write about ways to earn a lot of points every year and and I collect those points at least in part because I enjoy being able to travel more comfortably than I would without points (and I think that’s a key reason why many readers play the game also). So while I’m glad that we didn’t just plan a theoretical economy class trip but rather actually flew it and did it, I’m also glad that I could use the larger point balances at my disposal to get home more comfortably. Realistically, none of us would plan a week long trip with multiple 8 or 10 hour flights where we visit each city for a day. Neither would most readers. When we first hatched this idea, I don’t think our original goal was to plan a trip that a reader would copy but rather to show what was possible. I doubt any readers would fly to Johannesburg to spend 8 hours there — but now you know that it’s possible to fly a “round trip” in the US for 10K points and get a free one-way within a huge part of Africa if and when you do plan your trip to South Africa to see Kruger or the penguins in Cape Town, etc — now you know how you could also pair that trip with a trip to the Seychelles or to Kenya or Senegal or anywhere else you can imagine in Africa for just a few more points. And now you know that if you live in Oklahoma City but want to position to New York for an award flight or cheap ticket to get to South Africa, you can do it with 7.5K Turkish miles each way. My opinion is that the challenge wasn’t about planning a trip for you to copy but rather uncovering some cool stuff like that and showing you some techniques that you can apply when you plan your (better / longer / different / tailored to your needs) trip.
Like I said, I’m open to all sorts of stuff for future challenges and Stephen obviously stretched the budget to show that RT was indeed possible on our budget this time around, but had we all planned a round trip journey to hop around Europe (which would have likely been the case had we made it 40K + $400 round trip), I think that would have been an infinitely less interesting challenge that would likely not have produced the key useful findings we discovered. If it had to be RT, I definitely would have assumed Europe was the farthest I could get and I likely never would have looked at Turkish and found that sweet spot to Hawaii.
But we’ll see how the next one works out.
I had a similar response regarding round trip on the other post, but yours definitely has more details. About the picture with Stephen on a segway, I think Stephen with a troll is more fitting because it is the most unique highlight for his trip.
well said Nick! perfectly agree & many thanks to the entire team for the time in uncovering all the nuggets of gold before embarking on the trip.