Travel Tools

Travel Tool: Hilton Kansas City-Keyless Entry (Digital Key)

 

 

Hilton is finally expanding their keyless entry program and I’m excited to have a chance to try it out at the Hilton Kansas City Airport. At the moment I’m under the impression they have 23 locations worldwide that offer this feature, where until a few weeks ago it was a whopping one hotel. I didn’t pick this property because of this but I’m happy I get to check it out. Plus thought the end of November you get a bonus 2500 Hilton Honors points for using it. Here’s a link to the promotion. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the bonus points, it seems you don’t need to register for the promotion, just check in via the mobile AP, so cross your fingers.

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Categories: Hilton Hotels, Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Booking An Award Redemption On Singapore Airlines

Booking An Award Redemption On Singapore Airlines

Introduction

Once I had secured the dates for the trip to Seoul it was now time to find the most extravagant way to get back at the cheapest price. There are many airlines I want to try but at the top of my list for the past 7 years has been the Singapore Airlines a380 Suites Class. It’s one of those white whale redemptions that are really hard to come by. They pretty much block redemptions with partner’s mileage programs so getting a seat is really really tough in any premium cabin let alone on the a380. In my entire life I’ve been lucky enough to do one round trip in Business Class to Bali and two First Class redemptions to the Maldives on SQ. All were with United miles and were just lucky redemptions or computer glitches. But in all three cases none were on the a380, two were on the 747 and one on the 77W. These are still some of my favorite flights, and I still feel that way even after flying Lufthansa and Asiana in First Class last December.

Now you can get seats with miles from Avianca, Air Canada, Lufthansa and a few others, but for me not having miles in these accounts and not having much interest in buying miles to make a booking, the best way was a credit card transfer partner. In my case I have miles/points with Chase and American Express, both are transfer partners to Singapore Airlines direct and after getting an amazing sign up bonus a few years back with Amex of 100,000 points it was finally time to use them. Currently SQ only fly’s five routes to the US, two of which have this aircraft, LAX-NRT-SIN or JFK-FRA-SIN. So I went looking for space on those two routes. Now for me the easiest way to find space on SQ is on their site, yes you can use the ANA tool too and it works well, but I only wanted specific routes and a specific carrier the SQ site was tops for me.

Here’s what you do to check award space. First of all you need to create an account on their website. It’s free and valid for 18 months if you don’t have any activity in the account. If it expires before you credit miles to the account or transfer some in, then make a new account, they don’t care. Continue reading

Categories: a380, Around the world, Singapore Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Trip Report | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Thanks American For Some Voodoo Magic

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For a frequent traveler February 28/29 is the worst day of the year. It’s the last day of the previous year’s frequent flyer status. So if you have Gold for 2014 it will carry over to February 28th of 2015. At that point whatever final status you earned in 2014 will be your new status for 2015 and through February 29th 2016. American Airlines and US Airways are merging and part of this integration will be the frequent flyer programs. Sometime in the 2nd quarter of this year they’ll merge the American Advantage Program and the US Airways Dividend programs. What this means is that they’ll take your total miles/segments of the combined airlines provide your status accordingly. Continue reading

Categories: Airlines, American Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Review: American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco Airport

Review: American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco Airport

Introduction

Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt

Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt

Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380

Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui

American Express had done it again! They have recently opened a new Centurion Lounge at the San Francisco International Airport in terminal 3 by Gate 75. This Lounge is just amazing, let me start out by saying that much. If you haven’t been here yet make sure you trek over to the United Terminal to check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

This lounge like all the others (Las Vegas, Dallas, LaGuardia and a few others in South America plus coming soon to Seattle and Miami) have simple access criteria. Have an American Express Centurion Card, Amex Platinum or better like the Amex Black. I’m not a shill for Amex, nor do I make any money for promoting their card/services but I do have the American Express Platinum, with it’s hefty $400/year membership. That’s a long story, but it does come with a $200/year airline service credit and of course free access to their lounges worldwide, which are $50/per person entry otherwise. Besides that, the fact that you earn Membership Rewards that can transfer to many programs and also get access to really good hotel rates via the Amercian Express Fine Hotel and Resorts Program. It’s become one of my goto cards. Google it if you’re interested and you’ll find a dearth of information, but for me that’s all I’m going to say.

 The Centurion Lounge Entrance

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Categories: Airport, Around the world, Lounges, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Trip Report | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

How I Cashed In My Last 300,000 United Miles

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Introduction

Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt

Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt

Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380

Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui

Back in 2013 United Airlines announced a major devaluation of their frequent flier award program. It was a sad day for me because I loved their program and it was generous. For example you could fly in first class to South Asia via Europe from anywhere in the US for 75k miles one way, now 130k on partner airlines. Also if you booked a roundtrip (double the points) you could include a stopover of any length anywhere along the way plus and open jaw. In plain English this means you could fly from LA to Singapore stopover in Paris for as long as you want and then continue to Singapore. Then when you fly home you could fly from say Thailand and go back to the U.S. via Europe again. Also you could make a total of 10 connections and on those connections stay up to 23 hours 59 minutes in each connection city. There’s no other airline that let you do this as far as I know.

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Categories: Airlines, Around the world, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Trip Report, United Airlines | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

What’s in your backpack? (What to bring when flying with kiddos)

As a parent of a three year old daughter who’s not only precocious, but not one that’s interested in sitting still, and who’d rather play preparing for a plane trip can be intimidating. At home getting her to sit down for anything other than a meal or TV is nearly impossible. Now I know I’m not the only parent that has this dilemma, it’s a pretty common one in fact. Kids like to play, run around and just do stuff. And frankly that’s what I want her to do. It’s an important part of her child development.  Besides they can get bored easily, so having a slew of entertainment is important regardless of the situation. I’m not an expert in picking travel distractions, but with at least 15 air trips with our kid since she was eight weeks old, and taking three major international trips to the Maldives, Australia and London. I can at least say I’ve learned a few nuggets of information worthy of sharing.

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The travel backpack

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Categories: Family, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Traveling with kids | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mileage award redemption on Etihad Airways: How I spent $4 and saved $17,000

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What our ticket cost per seat if I used cold hard cash

No this is not some pyramid scheme or some crazy get rich quick promise, nor am I asking a Nigerian for help. But I am talking about something just as elusive, a premium award ticket on a world class airline. Booking a ticket on a carrier like the Big Three Middle Eastern carries, Lufthansa, Singapore or Cathay Pacific for example can be nearly impossible, or so it may feel. But with a few tricks of the trade you can really get a lot and feel like a millionaire every time you book an award ticket on a carrier like Etihad Airways. Continue reading

Categories: Airlines, American Airlines, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska Airlines sometimes means Aloha

I recently picked up the Alaska Airlines Signature Visa Credit Card. So what’s the big deal? Why am I blogging about it? Well, I have one six letter word for you. Hawaii. My family and I are itching to go to Hawaii this summer, and buying tickets from anywhere on the mainland can just be astronomical. At this moment flights between June and August can be upwards of $600-$800 depending on where you are, plan to go and when.

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Alaska Airlines route map, and yes they do fly to many other places besides Alaska. Some 95 destinations.

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Categories: Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Deals, Travel Tools | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Is It Wrong to Love A Lounge? The American Express Centurion Lounge: Dallas

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I think I’m falling in love, no actually I know I already have. Thankfully my wife has nothing to fear, because this love is for a lounge. The American Express Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport. This place is just freaking awesome! I have only been here two times, but it is now my gold standard for which all lounges will be compared too from now on in the US. Now internationally it does stand up to many premium spaces, but the likes of what Singapore Air, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Qantas offer for Business and First class passengers are more than amazing. Continue reading

Categories: Airport, Lounges, Review, Travel, Travel Deals, Travel Tools | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Magic is Here

My band

My band

We received our package in the mail this week, and I’m proud to say that I am the owner of a Magic Band. In a few weeks we’ll be heading to Wald Disney World, for a weeklong vacation with another family and to prepare for our trip we got a chance to order Magic Bands. If you’re not familiar with them, they are the new replacement to the vaunted paper Fast Pass, first introduced in 1999 for Mission to Mars at WDW, I’m not 100% sure but I believe the first ride in California with Fast Pass was The Indian Jones Adventure. Fast Pass was and is the reservation system for getting a ticket to an attraction with a specific return time. The idea was to cut down the sometimes hours long wait to enjoy one of the spectacular rides and attractions. Over the years the process has morphed from unlimited distribution of them via a AAA ticket purchase to getting one ever few hours based on some Disney formula to now only being able to redeem them during the specific hour long return time.

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Categories: Disney, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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