30 March 2008

It begins with a few false starts

Melissa learned that we both have Alaska Airlines flier miles that are set to expire - in TWO DAYS.  We have between us a pantload of miles - over 50,000 each, or enough for two round-trip tickets almost anywhere!  Despite the fact that we've been to Europe already this year, we immediately began scheming on a time and place to take another trip.  

First timeslot option: the first two weeks of July, when The Littles will be in LA with their father.

First destination: Manila, Philippines, to visit our friend Noel.  Unfortunately, neither Alaska nor any of its codeshare partners fly to Manila.  Back to the drawing board.

Second destination: a circuit of Venice, Ljubljana, and Vienna, trying desperately to find an itinerary that won't completely bankrupt us in these days of devalued dollars.

After spending hours on the phone with the airlines, it becomes evident that a mid-summer Europe trip on frequent flier miles just isn't going to happen - there are too few seats, especially at this late date.  Melissa suggests Tokyo, but geez... who knows anything about Tokyo?  Then, in an inspired moment of, um, inspiration, Melissa suggests Buenos Aires.  A great option, and perfectly in keeping with our contrarian vacation strategy of visiting popular destinations in the off-season.

More phone calls, marginally better results.  First thing we discover is that Buenos Aires is a helluva long ways away.  The ugly frequent flier connections offered make it look like getting there will be a three-day ordeal.  We pause to reconsider options.  Melissa calls back, gets a new travel agent, and is able to score two perfect connections for us: LAX - Santiago - Buenos Aires, leaving on June 30 and returning on July 13.

I don't want to make this sound easy - we did a lot of scrambling, did a lot of on-the-fly plan-changing, but at the end of it all, we're getting two free tickets worth a couple of thousand dollars, easily... and we're going to Buenos Aires (admittedly, in the dead of winter)!

Should be fun.


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