Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney

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I’ve reviewed Etihad’s incredible A380 first class many times at this point, including from Abu Dhabi to London, Abu Dhabi to New York, and New York to Abu Dhabi. However, I’ve also always been intrigued by their Abu Dhabi to Sydney route on the A380, so figured I’d post a quick review of that flight, just to show how it compares.

We took this flight after flying Etihad economy back from Male to Abu Dhabi, and then spending two nights at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.

The day of the flight we visited Etihad’s Premium Lounge, given that the new first class lounge hadn’t yet opened.

I won’t be reviewing the above aspects of the trip, since I’ve reviewed them before, and don’t have much else to add.

We boarded at 9:30PM, and upon entering the upper deck door were pointed left towards the first class cabin. This time around we reserved seats 1H & 2H, which are connected.

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Check Out The Redesigned Hyatt Gold Passport Site

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It has long been said that there’s no “IT” in “Hyatt,” as historically their IT hasn’t exactly been industry leading. I think for the most part that has been true both in terms of the actual features of the website, and also in terms of the aesthetics and design.

On the plus side, the Hyatt Gold Passport website has now been redesigned, and has a fresh new look. If you visit the site you can watch a video showing the new features of the site.

The changes are mostly aesthetic, though that in and of itself can lead to a nice improvement — areas of the site are easy to find, stuff is visually appealing, and there are even a few new functionalities.

With the old site everything felt like it was hard to find and tough to click on, but with the new site it’s much easier to find things, in my opinion.

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Watch The Trailer For Captain Sully’s New Hollywood Film

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Just about everyone has heard about US Airways 1549, the Airbus A320 that did a water landing in the Hudson River in January 2009 after it had multiple bird strikes leading to a double engine failure. The flight is often referred to as “the miracle on the Hudson,” and the flight’s captain, Sully Sullenberger, is often referred to as a hero for his performance that day.

The captain received a lot of media attention following that incident, and a while back I had heard that they were going to make a movie about him. As an aviation geek, I was of course intrigued.

Well, the official trailer for the movie has now been released, and the movie will be in theaters on September 9, 2016. It’s a film by Clint Eastwood, and Sully is played by Tom Hanks, which seems like great casting.

Here’s the trailer:

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Exploring Mexico City’s Historic Center

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Mexico City is gigantic — there are over 21 million people in the greater metropolitan area. There are endless districts and neighborhoods to explore, sprawled across miles of city.

The historic center, however, is relatively compact, and easily walkable. There are layers upon layers of history here, as the Spanish built on the site of the Aztec capital, and there’s something interesting to discover pretty much everywhere you look.

The focal point of the historic center is the Zócalo — a large plaza with an even larger flag.

Some of the most important buildings flank this plaza, which also features the usual compliment of street performers and tour-bus hawkers.

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11 Reasons The Citi Prestige Is The Ultimate Credit Card

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The Citi Prestige Card has a $450 annual fee. On the surface, that’s something that would make most people say “whoa, that card isn’t for me.” But when you look at the benefits, I think many would be shocked by how much value they can get out of the card, including $500 worth of airfare before you pay your second year’s annual fee.

I consider this to be the all around hottest credit card out there, when you factor in the sign-up bonus, perks, and return on everyday spend.

I applied for the card a bit over a year ago, and have gotten more than $4,000 of value out of it in the first year, not factoring in the points I earned through everyday spend.

So, why is the Citi Prestige Card so awesome? Here are 11 reasons:

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One Week Left For Increased Delta Amex Sign-Up Bonuses

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Since early June we’ve seen increased sign-up bonuses on four of Delta’s co-branded American Express cards. This post is a reminder that the increased sign-up bonuses end next Wednesday, July 6, 2016, meaning you have one week left to take advantage of these great offers.

As a reminder, we’re seeing 50,000-60,000 mile sign-up bonuses on the following cards:

— Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
— Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
— Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
— Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card From American Express

The Gold Delta Personal Amex and Gold Delta Business Amex are each offering the following sign-up bonus:

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This Is What A $570 Per Person New Year’s Eve Hotel Gala Is Like

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One of the conditions of booking the Park Hyatt Maldives over Christmas or New Year’s Eve is that you agree to pay for their mandatory gala dinner. It’s priced at $510 per person ($570 per person including the taxes and service charge).

Mandatory New Year’s Eve galas are a pretty common practice at many hotels, sometimes even at hotels that aren’t as remote as the Park Hyatt. On one hand, ~$570 per person for an evening is obscene. On the other hand, for a place as remote as the Park Hyatt, I understand the idea behind it. They want to provide entertainment, etc., and that’s only practical if everyone is onboard with something like that.

On the other other hand, room rates over New Year’s Eve are significantly higher than they usually are, so you’d think that would be included in that.

Regardless, we were redeeming points, which costs the same year round. So while of course I’m not thrilled at the prospect of paying $570 per person for an evening, in the grand scheme of things we were getting an amazing deal otherwise.

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Hilton HHonors Summer 2016 Hotel Category Changes

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As of April 2014, Hilton HHonors has shifted how they make award category changes. Rather than having massive hotel category adjustments every so often, they’re doing quarterly adjustments. That’s to say that they’re not changing the number of points required for each category every quarter, but rather are shifting which hotels belong in which categories.

Ultimately I favor anything that isn’t an award chart massacre like what we saw with HHonors in early 2013, so I guess that’s a good thing overall. After all, we haven’t seen any sort of major award chart devaluation since then.

Rather than emailing members when there’s a big award chart change, Hilton has a website where they list the category changes. That website has just been updated to reflect the Hilton family properties changing HHonors award category this summer, which will kick in for bookings made as of July 13, 2016.

18 hotels will be going up in price:

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Limited Time: No Annual Fee Hilton Visa 75K Point Sign-Up Bonus

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Hilton is unique as far as their co-brand credit card agreement goes, in that they have cards issued by both American Express and Citi. They’re the only hotel chain where that’s the case, and that means there are four types of personal credit cards available to consumers.

One of the no annual fee Hilton cards has a pretty compelling offer at the moment, which is the highest offer we’ve seen on the card (though we saw the same offer earlier in the year).

Hilton’s no annual fee Citi product, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, is offering an increased limited time sign-up bonus. The offer is for 75,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Per the offer terms, the sign-up bonus is only available to those who have not opened or closed the card in the past 24 months.

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WOW Air Adding Flights Between Iceland And New York

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Last year Icelandic low cost carrier WOW Air began flights between Iceland and the US.

Last March, WOW Air launched flights between Keflavik (just outside Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik) and Boston, while last June they launched flights to Baltimore.

Their expansion in North America has been quick, as WOW Air launched flights to Montreal and Toronto last month, and this summer is launching flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The West Coast flights are being operated by A330s, given that the A320s they otherwise operate don’t have the range to make it all the way to Iceland from the West Coast.

WOW Air will be expanding their North America network even further later this year. WOW Air will begin flying between Iceland and Newark as of November 2016. WOW Air will begin operating the route as of November 25, 2016, with the following schedule:

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Chipotle Learns From Airlines, Introduces Complicated Loyalty Program

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The “big three” US carriers have gotten to the point where their loyalty programs are now all more or less the same. My issue isn’t that they’ve devalued as such, but rather that they’ve devalued while making the program significantly more complicated. I sometimes can’t keep up with these programs anymore, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the average person:

— You earn redeemable miles based on the base fare cost of the ticket, which can sometimes be tough to decipher
— You earn elite qualifying miles based on the distance flown
— In order to earn elite status you have to spend a certain amount during the calendar year
— If you’re flying a partner airline, however, you may earn redeemable miles and elite qualifying dollars as a percentage of the distance flown; it all depends which airline issued the ticket

Anyway, it seems that Chipotle has taken inspiration from airlines, as they’ve introduced a rather complicated program with a rather strange name. The program is called Chiptopia Summer Rewards, and it’s a test program which will be available for a three month period, from July through September.

This program just seems so poorly designed on so many levels, and I say that as someone who loves Chipotle.

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Marriott Launches Their Experiences Marketplace

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In mid-April Marriott Rewards announced some new perks, including guaranteed late check-out for Gold & Platinum members, Ambassador service for select members, and an experiences marketplace. All three of these changes were perks already available with Starwood Preferred Guest, so it’s great to see Marriott Rewards adopting something from Starwood’s program.

The experiences marketplace was inspired by SPG Moments, which allow Starwood members to redeem points (either for a fixed cost or through an auction) for some incredible experiences.

I’ve gotten tickets in the SPG Suite at the US Open through SPG Moments…

… and I’ve gotten tickets tickets in the SPG Suite at the O2 Arena to see both Adele and One Direction live.

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Day Trip To Coyoacán

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Coyoacán is another district in Mexico City that was once an independent town, but has now been absorbed by the greater metropolitan area. The historical center is filled with shops, restaurants, and colonial architecture — it’s well-worth spending an afternoon and evening here.

The history of Coyoacán is complex (like everywhere, really), but was a key area during the Spanish conquest and colonial period. Residents of Coyoacán (apparently) welcomed Cortez, and the city was used as a base to attack the Aztec capital, and was later made the first capital of New Spain.

So the streets are full of grand Spanish-style estates built for Cortez and his generals, along with churches and monasteries.

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Review: Returning To The Park Hyatt Maldives

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I had visited the Park Hyatt Maldives last April, and had an amazing stay. I reviewed every aspect of the experience, including the transfer from Male Airport (which requires taking a further flight on Maldivian, followed by a boat ride), the three types of rooms I stayed in, the resort activities, etc. So I won’t be reviewing all of that again this time.

If you do want to read about those things, see the following installments from my first stay:

— Domestic Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport
— Maldivian Dash 8 Male To Kooddoo And Park Hyatt Boat Transfer
— Park Hyatt Maldives Park Villa
— Park Hyatt Maldives Park Pool Villa
— Park Hyatt Maldives Park Water Villa
— Park Hyatt Maldives Breakfast & Diamond Cocktails
— Park Hyatt Maldives Resort Overview
— Park Hyatt Boat Transfer And Maldivian Dash 8 Kooddoo to Male

On top of that, Ford shared his thoughts on vacationing in the Maldives in a previous post, as it was his first time.

So in this post I figured I’d just share my big picture thoughts, and if my impressions of the Maldives changed with my second visit.

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