The Daily Parker

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The benefits of flying frequently

I'm looking for community input.

Mostly because of business travel, but also because I have signed up for almost every reward program that American Airlines offers, this year I expect to earn around 200,000 frequent-flyer miles. I need to spend them. And when best to spend them then off-season, in late November or early December, when people aren't traveling much?

But where to go? American and its partner oneworld carriers fly non-stop from Chicago to about 95 destinations, ranging in distance from Milwaukee to Delhi, India.

So here are my rules for this long weekend in November or December: the destination must be 12 hours total flying time or closer; outside the Lower 48; avoid the infamous Newark-to-Kennedy connection that American loves to inflict on people using miles; no visa requirement; and nowhere I've been before. Oh, and it has to be somewhere I actually want to go.

Here's the preliminary list, with non-stop flights from Chicago listed first:

  • Amman, Jordan
  • Calgary, Alb.
  • Cancún, Mexico
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Manchester, U.K. (i.e., Scotland)
  • México City
  • Montréal
  • Ottawa
  • Tokyo
  • Toronto
  • Bucharest, Romania (x LHR)
  • Budapest, Hungary (x JFK)
  • Buenos Aires (x MIA)
  • Curação (x MIA)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (x LHR)
  • Honolulu (x LAX)
  • Panama City (x MIA)
  • Quito, Ecuador (x MIA)
  • San Jose, Costa Rica (x DFW)
  • San Jose Cabo, Mexico (x LAX)
  • Santiago, Chile (x JFK)
  • Stockholm, Sweden (x LHR)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel (x LHR)
  • Vienna, Austria (x LHR)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (x JFK)

(I'm leaning towards the places in bold.) Thoughts?

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