The Reality of Using Award Miles to Travel
When you get an international airline ticket using award miles, don’t plan on being treated as a first class citizen. The first thing I found out when I used award miles from my Alaska Air account to fly to Asia, is that the partner airlines don’t set aside very many seats for award travelers. The seats that are available aren’t always on convenient flights. Just plan on taking what meager seats are available and be grateful. Then you can fly easy and without contempt after spending all those dollars racking up a nice cache of air miles for free flights. It’s not what we make up it to be.
Fortunately I’m very flexible in my schedule, after all, I’m a photographer living my dream and following my passion. I wanted to visit my friend in Bali and my Nephew in Cambodia. After years of accumulating air miles I decided it is finally time to begin redeeming them and this trip to Asia would be a great use. Long story short…. I’m writing this in my transit hotel room at Incheon Airport in Seoul Korea because I have a 24 hour layover before my flight leaves for Denpasar, Bali.
Now normally, if you have a layover of 6 hours or longer, the airline will give you a voucher for your stay at the transit hotel inside the airport. That’s what I was expecting. But using award miles, Korean Air policy is that nothing is included with the flight, no voucher for the hotel and no vouchers for meals while I am hanging out here on this marathon layover. So, I paid $120 US for 12 hours in this room. The free flight is now costing me. room & board.
Things to do at the Airport
Incheon International Airport is one of the top ten airports in the world. Very modern and clean. I found that they offer, what they call, transit tours. These are for people with a layover to leave the airport for one up to six hours and tour nearby sights. They are inexpensive and later today, I’m planning on taking one of them.
Last night, when I first arrived here and got my bearings, I checked into this transit hotel and stepped out to eat a bite. I had read that there was an observation terrace on the top floor with food and a great view. My idea was to do some photography there at night of the planes coming and going. When I inquired, the woman at the information counter told me, “Under Construction.” Moving on to plan “B.”
Okay, I was so tired anyway I just found some food and walked the airport to see if there might be a shot for me inside. Airports are usually pretty photogenic. These escalators really attracted me with the bright lighting along the handrails. It was late and they weren’t moving a lot of people but I stopped anyway to get this shot.
So that’s pretty exciting on my list of things to do at the airport… photograph empty moving stairs. I’m holding the thought that my transit tour later today will be a nice upgrade in my travel so far. Stay tuned.