Thoughts on my very first HNL 'TP Run'

Old Dec 19, 17, 11:53 pm
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Thoughts on my very first HNL 'TP Run'

Now let me start this by saying it isnít a moan or a rant. Indeed, quite the opposite. It is in fact in praise of those who do TP Runs on a regular basis.

Let me be clear Ė Iím not talking about those who opt to fly a convoluted routing to their final destination, nor those who start ex-EU to save money. Iíve routinely done the above, but have just completed my first proper TP Run.

I did genuinely need to be in Honolulu for a Client meeting, but instead of flying LHR-LAX-HNL, I thought Iíd put myself through the TP Runners standard trip and see the results. As such, I flew ARN-LHR-BOS-LAX-HNL (as the Trans-Con was pricing up in too high a fare class). I did so leaving Saturday, and arriving back on Wednesday morning.

The routing I selected, put me on a variety of aircraft both from BA and AA, which actually came as a surprise to me. Perhaps I ought to have spent more time scanning all 45 pages of fares on ITA Matrix, but I didnít realise that:

1) BA fly 777-200ís on the BOS route. Had I known, I would have selected a later departing flight from BOS. Fortunately, my outbound was on a 777-300 with larger IFE screens etc.

2) AA fly 777s to HNL. I fortunately managed to select one for the outbound, but not the inbound.

The routing I did select however, absolutely minimised layovers. The longest I had, was 2h10m, and that was at LHR prior to my final leg of the trip. In hindsight, Iím grateful I did that, as it allowed me to have my first shower in 26 hours (I checked out my hotel at 4pm, and walked out the shower in the CCR at 6am).

While that element wasnít too terrible (TP flying is hardly odorous work), the fact that I slept 2 nights on planes, was exhausting. Sure, the BOS-LHR was on a flat bed for all of 5.5 hours, but HNL-LAX was on an A321 (2-2) and offered me 5 hours of turbulent rest.

So as to Ďmaximiseí the experience, I cheated slightly. Instead of staying at a TP Run regularly recommended HNL hotel, I opted to burn Marriott Reward points and thus, my total hotel stay was the $25 resort fee.

This meant that the travel elements of my trip cost, was circa £1850. Not too bad, for 920 TPs and a 1 night hotel stay I thought at the time.

So what have I learnt?

Well, it has shown me the importance of having TSA Pre-Check. The hassle of having to unpack my belongings once, is enough to annoy me (despite the fact that I pack like a pro, and my OCD means everything has a particular place in my bag!). Fortunately, since signing up to Global Entry last year, Pre-Check makes everything quite easy.

It has also taught me that holding loyalty across a number of hotel chains, can be wonderfully cost effective. My status with MR meant that I could check out at 4pm, opposed to 11am in HNL.

Iíve realised that TP Running is hard work. Sure, not in the dictionary definition, but in terms of the physical strain it puts on the body. I had one night in HNL, and perhaps Iíd feel better if Iíd had longer Ė but work only needed me in town for 24 hours.

The other thing it taught me, was that the AA Forum on FT isn't as scary as some have made out! It was in fact a hive of great help and guidance.

Would I do it again? Honestly, only if the price was better (£1.30-£1.50 per TP), and only if I could spend more time on the ground.

And there-in lies the difference between a convoluted journey (LHR-JFK-LAX-LAS for example), and a TP Run.

I'll continue to book Ex-Eu trips to save money, and will fly longer than necessary routings, but only if I have a few days on the ground. 24 hours, is simply too little for such a long journey.

I applaud those of you who do them regularly, and I dare say there are tips you can proffer. However, for now, Iím going to sleepĖ in a real bed for a change.

Happy Holidays

M
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Old Dec 20, 17, 12:14 am
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After the conclusion of my recent trip (the return only), I never want to see another airport or aeroplane again. I used to fly like that day in, day out, week in, week out about 14/15 years ago. I donít know how I survived looking back at it.

All hail the TP Runners. Respect ✊

S
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Old Dec 20, 17, 12:52 am
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24 hours on the ground? What a coward’

In all seriousness, doing a pure TP run is hard work, so probably best to avoid the alcohol. Of course, having kids can be just as arduous and can perhaps encourage some of us to go on a TP run. I would say, having a hotel, no matter how short a stay is essential rather than overnighting at an airport.

At the same time you may find some good deals out of OTP at the metro meet which gives SH+ TPs and you can also route via HEL for more.
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Old Dec 20, 17, 12:58 am
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Good read, thanks for posting. Iím doing my first TP Run in August (OTP-PHX). Not sure how I feel now...
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Old Dec 20, 17, 1:22 am
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An interesting read, and I agree with much of what you write, especially as to the joys of TSA Pre (which along with Global Entry mean I disagree with those who think encounters with officialdom when flying are in any way worse when the USA is involved - it can be easy compared to travelling to/from the UK). However, might I tactfully suggest that to a purist a TP Run involves a trip that has no purpose whatsoever beyond the acquisition of Tier Points and Avios? You had to be in HNL, so weren't you merely one of those who, in your own words, 'opt to fly a convoluted routing to their final destination'? This is not a criticism - if it wasn't a TP run you would be outwith the ambit of the derogatory term 'Honolulu Gold' occasionally to be found in use here (including once I think, by way of confession, by me).
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Old Dec 20, 17, 1:48 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
... it allowed me to have my first shower in 26 hours (I checked out my hotel at 4pm, and walked out the shower in the CCR at 6am. ... TP flying is hardly odorous work.
Never attribute to autocorrect that which is adequately explained by Freud? ;-)
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Old Dec 20, 17, 2:00 am
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I think I made only one "real" TP run, a simple AMS-LHR-MIA-PTY & back, with just a night stay in Panama, to trigger a 2nd GUF. Other times were I needed TPs were constructed to be more short city breaks than else, and the one and only HNL "Gold trip" (also first long haul trip ever with BA) was actually a 10 days vacation using the long way to get there (BRU-LHR-BOS*-LAX-HNL/OGG-LAX*-BOS-LHR-BRU). The BOS-LAX-HNL & OGG-LAX-BOS on the old 757 wasn't the most comfortable ride, though, specially the red-eye part.

I confess I also had a mileage run for A*, which ended with a forced night stop in IST on the way back, on NYE, due to snow. That was quite tiresome, as I needed to be home within a specific time frame, but the run itself wasn't so bad. Of course I prefer the city breaks mode for earning TPs or miles
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Old Dec 20, 17, 2:45 am
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Interesting read! I came back from my own HNL (CAI-LHR-JFK-LAX-HNL) run 2 weeks ago. It's certainly physically draining and on the way back I found myself needing to doze on all of my flights despite having had previous rest and knowing my bedtime in the UK (worse, trying to calculate that across three: HNL (-10hr), LAX (-8) and JFK (-5) time zones...)
  1. I toyed with the idea at first of doing it back to back, but was very glad I booked two nights in a hotel there - clearly from a purist perspective it dilutes the £ per TP. However I think it's better for the mind and body and also 2 days in the Hawaii sun by the pool in December was appreciated.
  2. I don't have expedited entry into the US so one of reasons for choosing to fly AA (LHR-JFK) was in order to arrive in the same JFK Terminal (8) for my LAX onward, fortunately they have machines now which scan your passport and give you a receipt to take to the CBP officer, I was through in 5 mins which is amazing vs. my recollection of 1-2 hr queues I've done entering the US before- I must have been very lucky.
  3. American Airlines ground staff can be amazing, they are on the ball and fast. For some reason my booking was on three different PNRs (one for BA and one for AA which I understand but interestingly the AA LAX<->HNL legs had their own separate PNR) needing them to resync my booking and print my onward BPs at several points because I couldn't myself - at every station they knew what they were doing. They were also super quick to rebook me when a flight was looking delayed and then putting me back when issue was resolved
  4. Having also felt intimidated by the AA forum I found they were very helpful with my queries about LAX - I found out I could move at ease between all the terminals and even got to try the TBIT F lounge twice, whereas I thought I would only have access to Admirals. I didn't regret not booking a hotel for LAX overnight, landing at 1am it was fine to wander around/sleep somewhere until 4.30am when the lounges and coffee shops starting coming back to life.
  5. The A321 HNL-LAX red eye is certainly not pleasant nor conducive to sleeping. Food on board and in the HNL lounge is grim too so get a decent meal in town before going to the airport!
I'm doing it all again in April/May this time with the positioning flights, CAI-LHR legs, TATL, transcon all within a week so expecting a far more draining experience!
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Last edited by nh1980; Dec 20, 17 at 3:29 am
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Old Dec 20, 17, 3:15 am
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I've been doing the HNL TP run on an annual basis for about 5 years now. When it was 1,340 TPs for £1,360 (as recently as April 2015!) it was worthwhile.

Next summer it will be 1,060 TPs for £1,800 - the price has gone up and the benefit has gone down. It may well be the last year that I'll do it, but I'll to find some other wheeze to get a high number of TPs in a short period of time and cost effectively (another TLL style route would be great!).

I enjoy the flying, and don't mind the experience (except for the A321 HNL-LAX!) but the cost/benefit is just stretching a bit too far for my liking.....
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Old Dec 20, 17, 3:30 am
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Originally Posted by LondonAndy View Post
I've been doing the HNL TP run on an annual basis for about 5 years now. When it was 1,340 TPs for £1,360 (as recently as April 2015!) it was worthwhile.

Next summer it will be 1,060 TPs for £1,800 - the price has gone up and the benefit has gone down. It may well be the last year that I'll do it, but I'll to find some other wheeze to get a high number of TPs in a short period of time and cost effectively (another TLL style route would be great!).

I enjoy the flying, and don't mind the experience (except for the A321 HNL-LAX!) but the cost/benefit is just stretching a bit too far for my liking.....
Have you looked at the ex-CAI fares?
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Old Dec 20, 17, 4:23 am
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Fares from CAI going westward have also been affected by the loss of possibility to get transcon in A, just like the ex-EU fares. A favourable ex-EU, like OTP, could have 3 SH+ before the IC flight, and then adding 1 leg >2000miles and 1 <2000 thereafter will be hard to beat in any other direction.

Just as some of us have combined two iteneraries going to HNL/LAX/PHX/SFO with an excursion to the Carribbean/Central or northern part of South America, I think we'll see more of this even going eastward.

There are in recent history, and presently, availabilities that make two C OW offers meet at the same hub, like AMS/LHR-BKK and BKK-TPE/DEL.
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Old Dec 21, 17, 12:49 am
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
24 hours on the ground? What a cowardí

In all seriousness, doing a pure TP run is hard work, so probably best to avoid the alcohol. Of course, having kids can be just as arduous and can perhaps encourage some of us to go on a TP run. I would say, having a hotel, no matter how short a stay is essential rather than overnighting at an airport.

At the same time you may find some good deals out of OTP at the metro meet which gives SH+ TPs and you can also route via HEL for more.
Haha I know I know. I chickened out by not just staying within HNL airport! If it's any consolation, I did have a total crash in the Admirals Club at HNL, and fell asleep for a couple of hours!

Originally Posted by CCayley View Post
An interesting read, and I agree with much of what you write, especially as to the joys of TSA Pre (which along with Global Entry mean I disagree with those who think encounters with officialdom when flying are in any way worse when the USA is involved - it can be easy compared to travelling to/from the UK). However, might I tactfully suggest that to a purist a TP Run involves a trip that has no purpose whatsoever beyond the acquisition of Tier Points and Avios? You had to be in HNL, so weren't you merely one of those who, in your own words, 'opt to fly a convoluted routing to their final destination'? This is not a criticism - if it wasn't a TP run you would be outwith the ambit of the derogatory term 'Honolulu Gold' occasionally to be found in use here (including once I think, by way of confession, by me).
I think you raise a very good point (no pun intended)

A TP Run has to for no other benefit other than to gain TPs and Avios. Perhaps if I'd done it with friends (as I know some do on here), then I'd have found the flying elements more enjoyable. However, having met a fellow FTer last month on my LHR-JFK-LAX-LAS trip, neither of us were particular talkative for the LAX-LAS leg as the exhaustion had already arrived!

M
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Old Dec 21, 17, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by nh1980 View Post
Interesting read! I came back from my own HNL (CAI-LHR-JFK-LAX-HNL) run 2 weeks ago. It's certainly physically draining and on the way back I found myself needing to doze on all of my flights despite having had previous rest and knowing my bedtime in the UK (worse, trying to calculate that across three: HNL (-10hr), LAX (-8) and JFK (-5) time zones...)
  1. I toyed with the idea at first of doing it back to back, but was very glad I booked two nights in a hotel there - clearly from a purist perspective it dilutes the £ per TP. However I think it's better for the mind and body and also 2 days in the Hawaii sun by the pool in December was appreciated.
  2. I don't have expedited entry into the US so one of reasons for choosing to fly AA (LHR-JFK) was in order to arrive in the same JFK Terminal (8) for my LAX onward, fortunately they have machines now which scan your passport and give you a receipt to take to the CBP officer, I was through in 5 mins which is amazing vs. my recollection of 1-2 hr queues I've done entering the US before- I must have been very lucky.
  3. American Airlines ground staff can be amazing, they are on the ball and fast. For some reason my booking was on three different PNRs (one for BA and one for AA which I understand but interestingly the AA LAX<->HNL legs had their own separate PNR) needing them to resync my booking and print my onward BPs at several points because I couldn't myself - at every station they knew what they were doing. They were also super quick to rebook me when a flight was looking delayed and then putting me back when issue was resolved
  4. Having also felt intimidated by the AA forum I found they were very helpful with my queries about LAX - I found out I could move at ease between all the terminals and even got to try the TBIT F lounge twice, whereas I thought I would only have access to Admirals. I didn't regret not booking a hotel for LAX overnight, landing at 1am it was fine to wander around/sleep somewhere until 4.30am when the lounges and coffee shops starting coming back to life.
  5. The A321 HNL-LAX red eye is certainly not pleasant nor conducive to sleeping. Food on board and in the HNL lounge is grim too so get a decent meal in town before going to the airport!
I'm doing it all again in April/May this time with the positioning flights, CAI-LHR legs, TATL, transcon all within a week so expecting a far more draining experience!
Funny that you mention the three PNRs scenario - I had likewise which meant that neither the BA nor AA apps wanted to play ball on my phone.

At every airport, the AA staff did their upmost in many areas, but printing of boarding passes was their greatest feat.

Perhaps the regular TP runners are used to it, but I found it intimidating to not have an onward BP upon arrival into the airport. Prior to the trip, BA had confirmed to me that everything was ticketed, but when FLY flashed red at LHR Flight Connections (after flight #1), I was very frustrated!

Anyway, I've now had 7 hours sleep, and although I feel like a train has driven over my head, I'm glad I've tried a TP Run!

M
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Old Dec 21, 17, 2:21 am
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I’ve never quite had to do a run like this, but have done more minor TP runs in a more targeted way, like LHR-MAD return on the IB A330 for a quick Saturday overnight to secure Gold, everyone’s favourite TLL earlier this year, and back in the day SEA-MIA and return on an ancient AA 757 redeye to get me to Silver for the first time (that was not super fun!)

I think I would always try to turn something like this into a holiday of some sort, but hats off to the purists!
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Old Dec 21, 17, 2:28 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
Funny that you mention the three PNRs scenario - I had likewise which meant that neither the BA nor AA apps wanted to play ball on my phone.

At every airport, the AA staff did their upmost in many areas, but printing of boarding passes was their greatest feat.

Perhaps the regular TP runners are used to it, but I found it intimidating to not have an onward BP upon arrival into the airport. Prior to the trip, BA had confirmed to me that everything was ticketed, but when FLY flashed red at LHR Flight Connections (after flight #1 ), I was very frustrated!

Anyway, I've now had 7 hours sleep, and although I feel like a train has driven over my head, I'm glad I've tried a TP Run!

M
I share the same concern of not having an onward BP with me on arrival into a connecting airport. At LHR they were able to give me JFK and LAX BPs (same AA PNR) but mumbled some excuse about HNL being the next day, so at JFK I went to the Flagship First tunnel and she eventually found my HNL flight on a separate PNR so printed that off for me making my time in LAX worry-free.

For the return, at HNL I was able to check-in online during the day for LAX flight which I wasn't expecting (I hadn't been able to touch that part of the booking before even with the third PNR!) and at the airport got my onward LAX-JFK BP, however at the LAX gate it flashed an angry red and needed my booking to be "re-synced" whatever that meant. My BA JFK to LHR I couldn't do anything about until I got to JFK - at any point from T-24 that I tried to OLCI it just showed "we are unable to check the status of your booking", meaning (I presume) there is no connection whatsoever to AA's systems to show how far along my journey I was. Times like this thankful that you have priority/status to get to the desks fast wherever you are!
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