🌴 Tropical stopovers and easy elite status

🌴 Tropical stopovers and easy elite status

Estimated read time: 3 minutes and 49 seconds

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Good morning and welcome back to another Monday edition of Daily Drop, the durian of newsletters. Some people think it stinks. But give it a try, and you’ll find yourself addicted.

I’ve been in a durian state of mind here in Malaysia, if you couldn’t tell…

But enough small talk. We’ve got bigger fruits to fry:

  • 🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move: Madagascar with a side of Mauritius

  • 🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

  • 🏨 Hilton fast-track to Gold Status

🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move: Madagascar with a side of Mauritius

Howdy, friends. My name’s Mike. And if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I’m frequently on the move.

This week, I’m moving into Phase 2 of my trip around the world. This phase will kick off tomorrow with a couple of flights that I’m really excited about.

I’ll be flying on Air Mauritius on the following itinerary to Antananarivo, the bustling capital of Madagascar.

It’s kind of crazy how perfectly this worked out, to be honest. Madagascar is one of the least visited countries in the world, and there are not a lot of ways to fly there, especially from Asia.

Thankfully, Air Mauritius is a partner of Aeroplan, despite not being a member of Star Alliance.

So I was able to easily book a flight from here in Kuala Lumpur to Antananarivo with a one-day stopover in Mauritius for just 45,000 Aeroplan points.

For reference, Aeroplan only charges an extra 5,000 points to add a stopover on an award ticket. So for only 5,000 extra points, I get to spend a couple of days in a super unique, off-the-beaten-path country.

From Madagascar, I’ll head to Arusha, Tanzania (where my childhood best friend lives), with a long layover in Nairobi.

Since Kenya Airways is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, I was able to book this ticket using Flying Blue miles, which was another steal considering how sparse flights out of Madagascar are (and how crazy expensive flights around Africa are).

It’s a pretty obnoxious layover in Nairobi (an 11-hour daytime layover), but I don’t mind at all. I was able to get a transit visa for Kenya, so I’ll be able to go out and explore some of my favorite spots around the city.

Nairobi is a great long layover city. There’s a lot to see and do, and you can even go on a safari in Nairobi National Park (which is right in the Nairobi city limits) on a long layover.

This is an actual photo I took in Nairobi National Park last time I was there, just before my safari driver pulled me into the jeep, worried that I was about to be mauled:

But she’s so cute… 😭

In general, I find the cheapest flights (both with points and cash) to be the more “inconvenient” ones like this. I love it, though. If I can save money and points AND get to squeeze in an extra destination, I’m all for it!

Next week, I’ll share some travel hacks for Africa. In total, this current trip will take me to ELEVEN African countries:

  • Mauritius

  • Madagascar

  • Kenya

  • Tanzania

  • Uganda

  • Ethiopia

  • South Africa

  • Zimbabwe

  • Zambia

  • Botswana

  • Togo

I definitely learned some good ways to maximize miles and points on this trip through Africa, so I look forward to sharing more of them with you next week!

🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

🏨 Hilton fast-track to Gold Status

As I’ve said many times before, having hotel elite status is one of my favorite things about traveling. I find the benefits to be extremely valuable given the volume of travel I do.

Sadly, earning elite status can be really tough…

Until now.

Hilton has just launched a limited-time promotion to help you fast-track your way to Gold Elite status.

This is actually a really solid offer, so here are the deets:

  • Stay six nights before December 31st, 2023

  • Earn Gold Status through March 31st, 2025

  • Only paid nights count toward this offer

  • You must first register for the offer

I think this is a great option for anyone looking to get meaningful hotel benefits with minimal effort. Six nights is not unreasonable at all over a nearly four-month period.

Gold Status is definitely the “sweet spot” status with Hilton, offering some great perks:

Free breakfast and potential room upgrades are really what I love most about hotel elite status, and Hilton Gold covers those and much more.

Earlier this year, I stayed at the Conrad in Seoul and was upgraded to one of the best suites of my life because of my Hilton status, and the free breakfast buffet was life-changing.

So there’s a LOT of value to be had from elite status with Hilton, especially when traveling internationally.

If you want an even easier way to get Gold status, however, you can simply sign up for a credit card.

For example, this card comes with both Hilton Gold status AND Marriott Gold status as annual perks (along with a whole ton of other perks).

Hilton’s co-branded credit cards also come with varying levels of elite status as perks and are definitely worth considering.

So if you have any Hilton stays coming up, DEFINITELY register for this offer. If you have other hotel stays booked, consider switching them over to Hilton to capitalize on this offer.

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…or you can just buy these prizes from our website if you want to keep us all to yourself. 😉

That’s it for today, y’all!

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Have a great rest of your Monday, and I’ll see you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

3.1319° N, 101.6841° E

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