The Quest for Platinum

If you are reading my blog it should come as no surprise to you that travel is a big part of my life. I enjoy it. I also enjoy the perks that come with a lot of frequent travel and even strive to attain those perks. A few years ago, this took me right to the top echelons of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program when I attained Platinum One status. The year that followed was certainly worth it, in my eyes. This entry isn’t about aiming for that level again, as I just don’t have the time or money for that. However, I recently dropped back to Gold, having been a Platinum (or higher) frequent flyer member for the last 4-5 years. I was happy and ready to accept that fate, when a double status credit offer appeared in my inbox and suddenly all bets were off.

Over a long weekend in April I took 12 flights that placed me back in the Platinum arena for the next two years. Where I go from there is unknown and is not important. This entry serves as a record of that journey in pictoral form. I don’t think anyone needs to know what it cost, except to note it was extremely good value. 

Moderator

I was promoted today. I moved from my position as Social Ambassador on the Australian Frequent Flyer, to Moderator. I’m still going to be actively involved in the social side of things though, but now with the added responsibilities of being a moderator on the site as well, instead of just in my little corner.

ADL, OLP & MEL

Over the weekend I took a trip down to Adelaide to see a friend and do some aircraft spotting.  I also flew to Olympic Dam, to cross it off the list, as I do.   I then flew across to Melbourne to have dinner with Sze Sze, catch up with friends there, and attend the Designing 007 (James Bond) exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.  I then flew home.

That could be the end of my blog post, but I want to touch on a few things, as these flight were the first since achieving that coveted P1 status with Qantas.

To start with, all three mainline flights I was warmly greeted by the CSM once onboard, and a few things were noted, such as congratulations on my first flight for getting to P1, or an onboard upgrade to Business on flight two.  And yes, you heard that right, an upgrade, and not even on a full flight, I had plenty of space where I was.

I brought along my flight log book, a new thing for me and that enabled further discussion with the crew, and I even had an FO come chat to me about airshows, as well as two invites to the cockpit when we’d landed.

So far, the extra level of service seems very focused and leaves me feeling good, and perhaps just a bit special, onboard.

That said, not a lot to say about the Olympic Dam flights, as they were operated by Alliance.  Crew was friendly, but didn’t recognise me as anything out of the ordinary, though did recognise regulars, so I guess I just need to be a regular… unlikely to happen.

Qantas Platinum One

At the end of January I achieved the top status with Qantas, Platinum One.  The only way you get this is with a lot of flying, and while I’d like to get the other “top status” some day, Chairmans Lounge, I’m not in a rush to become a politician.

The pack arrived today, complete with new white Q tags, a lovely white frequent flyer card, and the gift I’d forgotten about, a branded iPad case.  I’ll definitely be using it!

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Ultimately, I don’t think I’ll manage to retain this status in the next year as it took far too much flying to achieve. But it’s cool to be there. Now it’s time to see if I’m treated any differently.

Travels to KTA

The past couple of days I’ve been travelling. Burning and earning points, but more importantly status credits, to improve my frequent flyer status.

A thread on AFF inspired me to do this post, about food. As I was travelling business class, the food was generally of a higher standard. I made sure I took photos and am sharing them here.

Travels in 2013

With 2013 coming to a close, I thought it appropriate to provide a snapshot of my travels this year, and a review.  It certainly was a big year, stretching the East Coast from the top, right down to the bottom.

From Thursday Island to Hobart
From Thursday Island to Hobart

I’ve had a few enjoyable trips this year, so it’s hard to pick just one highlight.  New destination for the year goes to HID (Horn Island/Thursday Island), right at the top of Queensland.  It’s a completely different world up there, and I really enjoyed seeing that.

Attending the QFM 25th anniversary dinner in LRE (Longreach) was also a great experience, giving me a chance to network and meet some influential people at the museum, all of them really friendly.

At the end of the year, my last trip to Sydney for a train trip to Canberra on two private carriages was something one of a kind.

Next year, I expect my travels to drops off as I enter university and take on that workload.  Having now seen the regional destinations of QLD on QantasLink, my focus would be to see regional ports in NSW, VIC and SA, however they’re not high on my list, as I just want to relax and focus on studies.  I expect I’ll head to AFF events when I can, and two gift vouchers for Christmas should help cover some of that.

A Train Crawl to Canberra

Over the weekend I was part of an amazing AFF event, invited along to two private train carriages on a cross country adventure between Sydney and Canberra.  I had to wake up exceptionally early and catch a Jetstar flight to Sydney, stayed overnight in Canberra with Mark and Drew in the Hyatt, and took a leisurely flight back to the Gold Coast via Sydney on the Sunday.

Where to begin though?  Well a member by the handle of BAM1748 on AFF offered the journey to anyone who was interested, and weeks ago I booked my flight and committed myself, along with 34 others as it turns out.  This lead to the organiser having to source another (private) carriage, but it was a wonderful one at that.

Each contained their own bar and couches, tables and chairs, as well as the original sleepers.  I did actually end up sleeping for a part of the journey, as recorded in a candid photo along the way.

The “crawl” was to take us via a few stops where we’d sample local pubs, drinking along the way too of course, before arriving into Canberra in the evening.  Due to a few issues, what was meant to be a 10-hour trip actually became 14-hours… but everyone had a good time, so you can’t complain about that.

The group along the way

AFF7 in Hobart

As this week starts, my weekend in Hobart comes to a close.  It’s been a great event, another wonderful AFF gathering, and already attention is turning to next years event, where it looks like the front runner is Cairns.

Dad seemed to enjoy himself too, though did fall asleep twice, once at an after-drinks special in someones room, and once at the main dinner, where I think he simply had too much red too quickly, but it was enjoyable, and I think he’d be happy with the weekend and activities.

Dad on the lawn

Undoubtedly, the highlight had to be visiting MONA, that museum is so amazing and I’m definitely going to have to go back to see more.  I especially want to be there when the ‘poo machine’ takes its dump.  Just for the novelty factor.

Josh on the MONA boat

The Cascade Brewery tour could have been better, but the drinks by the bar, and free tasters as part of the tour were good.  A better tour (if you could even call it that – more so experience) was the Lark Distillery in town.  For $15 we expected to get 3 samples, and actually had the whole bar, and they did have some very nice, if not very expensive, products on offer.

Dad at the Cascade Brewery

Throughout this post I’ve included some of my better photos from the weekend, posted to Flickr.  Some also ended up on Facebook.

The gang at Smolt

Something else also worth mentioning is making new friends and seeing old friends.  This event was the same as any other in that regard and I’m happy to expand my friends list!

Kate at Hadleys

Flying Mad

Flying… an expensive hobby of mine!

I have a route planned out that I want to take that would make me look like a nut case by a lot of people. The journey will be the reward, with the destination to just get back to the start. It’s crazy, I know.

Map to Nowhere

To be fair, the route came about because of a trip report that had been written by someone else, taking in a marvellous 9 flights in a single day just to get back to where they started. However, I’m looking to build on that, to take 14 flights in 2 days, and only because it can’t be done in just the 1.

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What exactly does that mean I hear you ask.  It means flying a route thats roughly the shape of Queensland in order to go no where.  I suppose ideally most would want to stop at each destination and do some exploring, but I feel I’ll see enough from the air.

Leaving Brisbane on a Thursday morning, I stop at Toowoomba, Charleville, Quilpie, Windorah, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia and finally Mount Isa in the late afternoon, to round out the day.

The next day, a Friday, I depart Mount Isa in the morning, to stop at Doomadgee, Burketown, Mornington Island, Normanton and Cairns by mid-afternoon.  I then take a flight home on a different carrier direct to Brisbane that evening.

What isn’t set in stone is the dates this happens on.  The only thing that is, is that it has to be a Thursday and Friday as the service doesn’t always run exactly as it does on other days, and I’m not sure I want to be spending too much time in Mount Isa.