My recent trip to Norway was a trip of firsts. For me, 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.
- Introduction and trip planning
- Lufthansa First Class Dulles to Munich
- Lufthansa Munich First Class Lounge
- Lufthansa Business Class Munich to Oslo
- SAS Economy Class Oslo to Longyearbyen
- Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen
- Exploring Longyearbyen
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
- Exploring Oslo
- Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport
- Lufthansa 747-8i Frankfurt to Dulles
- Park Hyatt Washington DC
The 4th of July holiday fell on a Wednesday this year which created an interesting situation for a weekly business traveler like myself. In my line of work, a 3 day minimum at the client site is the general rule to justify the expenses of travel. After some deliberation, my boss let me know he would prefer I take Monday and Tuesday as vacation and thus a last minute five day opportunity was born.
Giving me five days off is dangerous!
I know I won’t always have the flexibility that I do in my life right now so I don’t want to let these opportunities pass. As I shared in regards to my recent trip to Easter Island, my goal in collecting and redeeming points is not to save money I would have spent, but rather to experience places that are so ridiculous I would never spend my own money to get there. How many chances will I have to make it to a city where polar bears outnumber people?
My first First Class flight
If you’ve been reading my trip reports on this blog, you may quickly 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 was pretty dismal this summer. Ironically, the most ‘consistent’ award space I saw was 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 747-8i on the way back so that priced at 30,000 for the return. Booking fees and taxes came to 200 USD.
This was 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. And of course my first flight on the new 747-8i!
My first Club Carlson-based hotel trip
My only experience with Club Carlson properties has been staying nights for the promotions. The recent set of Club Carlson promotions were very timely for this trip to Northern Europe. Not only do they have some of their very best properties in Norway, they actually run the world’s northernmost full service hotel. Obviously, another first! For this trip, I redeemed Club Carlson points at two Radisson Blu properties and paid one night at the Park Inn Oslo Airport 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.
Heading North of Norway
From start to finish, the trip was filled with shockingly new, expensive and extraordinary experiences. Norway is an amazing travel destination and I hope to motivate some of you other ‘crazy travelers’ out there to put Norway on your list!