As correctly (and quickly) guessed by readers yesterday, I am pulling out the winter coat and heading north again for summer. Each trip I take inspires the next. Last year I made it up to a respectable 71 degrees North to chill with a Polar Bear in Barrow which inspired me to go further north. Longyearbyen, Norway at 78 degrees North, is the northernmost city in the world. Why go? Because it’s there.
Flights: “I will never fly first class”
If you’ve been reading this blog, you will notice some hypocrisy on my part. My philosophy has always been that two award trips in economy is better than one in business or first. However, award availability to Europe has been pretty dismal this summer. Ironically, the most ‘consistent’ award space I see is Lufthansa opening seats in First within two weeks of travel. Due to the last minute nature of this trip, I was able to pick and choose my dates and US departure cities from Lufthansa. I used United miles with a price tag of 67,500 one way. I was able to find availability in Economy on the way back so that priced at 30,000 for the return. Booking fees and taxes came to 200 USD.
This is my first time flying Lufthansa and also my first time flying International First on any carrier. Another first on this trip will be flying the Scandinavian carrier, SAS. They operate the OSL-LYR route. I could have used them on the MUC-OSL route as well but I decided to stay with Lufthansa.
Hotels: Club Carlson to the rescue
That set of Club Carlson promotions sure were timely. Not only do they have a nice spread of properties in Norway, they actually run the world’s northernmost full service hotel! I will be redeeming points at Radisson Blu’s throughout the trip and paying one night at a Park Inn to round out the promotion and collect 44,000 points. Norway is extremely expensive with very few major chain hotel options so having these award options was a lifesaver.
I need suggestions!
Given the last minute nature of this booking, I haven’t completed my standard level of research on activities and attractions. I don’t know too much about Oslo or Longyearbyen, but I know some of you do!
Have you visited any of these destinations? What are the must-see attractions? Any words of wisdom?