TPG U.K. staff travel highlights for 2019

Dec 30, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s been a huge first year for TPG U.K. We launched the site in April with a big pop-up event, the small but close-knit team has grown to eight full-time staff (plus our wonderful freelancers) and they have traveled the world to help you maximize your adventures.

Here are their personal travel highlights:

BEN SMITHSON

Flying Norwegian Premium on the leased Evelop A330 from New York to London Gatwick. There was very little information online about what seats the aircraft even had in the premium cabin, and I trusted a single TripAdvisor review that said it was well worth upgrading on this flight. The aircraft turned out to be an ex-Singapore Airlines-fitted plane with angled flat seats Norwegian sold as Premium. It was easily the best premium economy flight I’ve ever taken and was a wonderful surprise.

Related: A wonderful surprise: A review of Norwegian’s premium economy on the leased Evelop A330, New York to London

CHRISTIAN KRAMER

From a points and miles point of view, Gold Guest List and Concorde Room Card maintained — a total of 8,000 Tier Points earned (mostly through creative routing for personal trips). That included some great flights and products including Qatar’s Qsuite as well as Cathay Pacific and Finnair long-haul flights. I also ticked off the places from my list like New Orleans, Iceland and Bali.

Less positively, I have been able to use miles to book almost next-day trips to see family when they were unwell and attend a funeral. Having that last-minute ability to book flights without paying hundreds of pounds is one of the upside for having miles and points.

(QSuite. Photo by Zach Honig/TPG)
Qsuite on Qatar Airways. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

DANIEL ROSS

Flying the world’s shortest flight is something I have wanted to tick off my AvGeek bucket list for a long time. It turned out to be more of an adventure than I could have imagined as I found myself stranded due to bad weather. In the space of 48 hours I took five flights, numerous travel sickness tablets, flew with two new airlines and survived two extremely rocky boat trips.

I also discovered a beautiful and unique part of the country. I experienced the most incredible hospitality from those Orkadians and expats that I encountered on the island. To top it off, I ate some great local food and sampled a few local Orkadian gins. I would highly recommend a trip to Orkney.

EMILY MCNUTT

Before this year, I’d only flown first class once — a 50-minute hop in Emirates first class between Dubai and Muscat. But this year, I took it a step further and flew two of the world’s best first-class products within a week. I got to test out both Cathay Pacific first class and Air France La Première in the same trip. My high expectations were met, and I think it’ll be hard to not sip Champagne and dine on caviar on any flight going forward.

Related: As good as it gets: A review of Air France La Première (777-300ER) from Paris to Beijing

(Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Hayley Coyle

My travel highlight of 2019 was spending two weeks in St Lucia with my husband on our honeymoon. We stayed at some amazing hotels, and I also loved going on local radio to talk about being a travel writer. Climbing St Lucia’s famous Gros Piton mountain was another highlight.

In terms of flights, I was unexpectedly upgraded from economy to business from Oman to London on Oman Air back in March. It was glorious. The best food I’ve ever eaten on a plane and the best amenities. A fond memory is watching Bohemian Rhapsody drinking Champagne and getting a “bit” emotional watching Freddy perform.

LIAM SPENCER

With 10 countries and 34 flights under my belt in 2019, this has certainly been the busiest travel year of my life! Out of all those flights, one in particular stands out: Munich to New York on Lufthansa’s A340 in first class. Prior to this I’d only ever flown in economy so needless to say I was absolutely blown away by the experience.

Related: Treated like a king for a day: Flying first class for the first time on Lufthansa’s A340

(Photo by Liam Spencer / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)

NICKY KELVIN

My 2019 travel highlight was easily flying Singapore’s new suites. Best flight of my life hands down, and a great redemption at 125,000 KrisFlyer miles and £19 ($25) tax.

KATHLEEN PORTER KRISTIANSEN

This was my year of using Avios and hotel points to fly to sublime islands on nonstop flights from London. I made it to the Seychelles and Maldives on points. For 34,125 Avios plus £436.86 ($574) I flew direct to the Seychelles on a Dreamliner with just my boys who were 3 and 1 at the time. We spent a few days at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa before joining friends on another island and then heading to Ethiopia for our return journey.

For the Maldives, my husband and I maximized a BA Companion Voucher for two tickets in premium economy from London to Male for 82,000 Avios and £943 ($1,240) return. Due to good luck and an oversold flight, we were upgraded to Club World on the outbound. In the Maldives, we stayed at the St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort with 360,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (rates have since increased) — a true points dream property.

Related: Entering Eden: A Review of the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa

(Photo by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen/The Points Guy)

LORI ZAINO

Last February, I decided I wanted to take a special trip to escape winter and focus on my well-being. I used 70,000 AAdvantage miles to fly business class on Qatar to Bangkok from Madrid via Doha. I snagged a cash deal for about £700 ($920) to fly back on Royal Jordanian via Amman — a solid start to earning some EQMs to get AAdvantage elite status this year. After a couple days eating as much street food as humanly possible in Bangkok, I then flew to my favorite Thai island Koh Tao to do a yoga retreat and relax in the sunshine, staying in secluded beach huts and boutique hotels.

A truly blissful wellness experience I’m so glad I gave myself.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.