Mt. Kilimanjaro Trip Planning: Delta’s Crazy Points Pricing

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Imaginary trip planning is my favorite hobby. It starts innocently enough with the question, “Where should we go next?” Inquisitive, I start looking at routing options. From there, I start checking points availability. With plausible points possibilities, the imaginary planning turns into reality when I discover award flights. Not long thereafter, I am ready to book.

This fake trip plan started last February when I was looking for places to burn my DSUs after Hyatt changed its policy. I chose random destinations including Amsterdam, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar. I ended up cancelling all of those reservations but the idea of climbing the mountain remained in the back of my mind. So many people have boasted about doing it that I felt compelled to do it myself. Like when I ran my first marathon in Alaska, spite was a motivator.

Angry TPOL refuses to board the hype train. That’s why I haven’t been to ‘find yourself’ places like Machu Picchu or yoga retreats in the Himalayas. Quotes like, “That mountain changed my life,” or overused words like “amazing” make me nauseous. It’s naive travelers that force me to look elsewhere for places to go. Their kumbaya outlook is downright annoying.

At the same time, I recognize that it’s not the poor mountain’s fault that so many wandering souls use it in a purported effort to achieve enlightenment. The more I read about the physical and mental challenge of climbing the mountain the more I want to do it. That is why I’ve spent this weekend fighting Delta for points flights. Interestingly enough, the path to the mountain goes through AMS for one night and then to Kilimanjaro Airport. After the climb, it’s only fitting to go to Zanzibar to unwind. Clearly, my initial hotel bookings mentioned above were not off base.

The reason I have yet to book is because Delta’s pricing is out of control. The main leg SEA-AMS-JRO is available for a steal at 80,000 Sky Kyats. The price goes absolutely bonkers when I try to get the connection to SEA. Compounding the problem is having my Kyats in two accounts. Amex created a separate account for my Delta SkyMiles Business Gold Card, leaving me short of the miles needed to book right away. It will take 24-48 hours for the accounts to be combined. By then, I’m sure Delta.com will realize what I am up to and change the miles requirement. If not, I’d say paying $18.40 for a 10k flight and a chance to reach complete consciousness is worth it.

Gungagalunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga.

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