This week our member RooFlyer is escaping a freezing winter in North America to visit the former Mayan civilisation in Belize and Guatemala.

The trip was booked at the last minute using American Airlines AAdvantage miles. As our member discovered, American charge a USD$75 fee for award bookings made less than 21 days out. But the flights in business and first class are otherwise good value, thanks to a recent AAdvantage bonus miles promotion.

I am interested in ancient cultures, so a quick bit of research found Belize and Guatemala with various Mayan sites. Next check: Aeroplan for possible *Alliance miles flights (not suitable); Alaskan? Too difficult. Finally: AA site for SAAver miles flights; OK a bit tricky, as usual they prefer to bounce you round the country, but at least none of the flights were overnight. I have a bunch of cheap AA miles courtesy of the last bonus sale, so its a reasonable use. Do-able.

After trying to get in touch with a tour operator in Belize, our member discovers that the internet in this part of the world is not to be relied on. But after a few calls some tours are booked and the journey is ready to begin!

The trip begins with an early start on a freezing morning in Calgary but soon enough the first flight to Dallas is ready for take off. U.S. immigration preclearance, while helpful, results in an even earlier start.

Significant downer is that my flight out of Calgary to DFW has scheduled departure of 6am, this Tuesday. Remember that I do US immigration pre-clearance at Calgary, which means to the airport 2 hrs before departure – 4am – so up at 3am, cab at 3:30am ; no lounge either! YYC is absolutely pathetic for lounges. At least its J and I’ll be having gin and tonics overlooking the Caribbean at Belize City by sun-down.

The sun and warm weather down south is no doubt a welcome sight!

The itinerary looks incredibly interesting with visits to ancient Mayan ruins, a reef cruise and even an encounter with a cheetah!

What else will RooFlyer get up to in Belize and Guatemala? This trip report is set to be a cracker. Come along for the ride HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]