Hilton Diamond: Guaranteed Suite Upgrades And Late Check-Out?


My favorite thing about blogging is hearing what you guys have to say. You’ve actually chimed in over 200,000 times in the comments section of the blog. Comments range from thought provokingly insightful to complete digital garbage. But that’s part of the beauty of the internet… right? ;)

One of the most prolific commenters I’ve had the past couple of months has been DCS. What is he radically passionate about, you ask? Hello Kitty? One Direction? Hot nuts? Macadamia nuts not being served in packages?

Nope, of all things… Hilton HHonors!

His perspective really is fascinating.

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American Eagle Supervisor To Me: “Do I Need To Call Law Enforcement?”


So I flew American yesterday from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles to New York in first class. I planned a long layover in Los Angeles so I could visit the new Qantas First Lounge since it was opening day (more on that later).

The flight from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles was operated by a Mesaba CRJ-900, so I had to check my bag plane side.

That means at the gate they put a tag on your bag, and then at the bottom of the jet bridge a ramper takes the bag. When you check a bag plane side you receive it upon arrival at your immediate destination (this is different than gate checking a bag, where it’s tagged to your final destination). Plane side bags don’t have electronic tags in most cases, since they’re literally just being hand-carried about 20 feet to the plane, and then loaded on a cart for passengers to claim as they disembark.

I always make a point of being nice to the ramp agents as they take my bag from the jet bridge, since the fate of my bag rests in their hands. So as I handed the ramper my bag I smiled and said “thanks so much, I really appreciate it.”

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Up To 50,000 US Airways Miles For Referring Friends


I can’t tell yet if this is targeted, or if Barclaycard is slowly rolling this out to all cardholders, but it appears at least some US Airways Premier World MasterCard® holders are getting an offer to refer their friends to the card and receive 5,000 bonus points for each approved application.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is the biggest public bonus I recall ever seeing on the card.

The normal sign-up bonus on the card is around 40,000 miles, so this is a great sign-up bonus.

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Air Canada Business Class Award Seats To Delhi & Dubai


As I wrote about last week, Air Canada is launching some exciting new Boeing 787 routes next November.

Air Canada will launch nonstop 4x weekly Boeing 787 flights between Toronto and Delhi as of November 1, 2015. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

AC50 Toronto to Delhi departing 8:55PM arriving 9:15PM (+1 day)
AC51 Delhi to Toronto departing 12:45AM arriving 5:00AM

Air Canada will also launch nonstop 3x weekly Boeing 787 flights between Toronto and Dubai as of November 3, 2015. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

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It’s Going To Be An Exciting Day On The Blog!

Why should you be refreshing the blog every five minutes today? Because yesterday was my most dysfunctional travel day of the year. Possibly the peak was when an American Eagle supervisor claimed I took a picture of her (which I didn’t), and after denying it she threatened to call law enforcement on me. When I wanted to show her my camera roll, she refused to look.

Doesn’t get much more exciting than that, does it? Make sure you’re sitting down! ;)

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Travis’ SE Asian Adventure: Hitchhiking On Malaysian

Malaysian Airlines

Yesterday I described my family’s general travel philosophy and how we applied it on our current month-long trip to Southeast Asia.

After booking our flights into Jakarta, we sat back and waited to see if any deals would show up. We figured in the worst case (i.e. no deals!) we’d book some cheapish tickets over to Penang, rent an apartment for a month, and live like expats. Oh, and attend the wedding of one of my best friends!

In late August, we got our wish. Malaysia Airlines ran a wacky mistake fare sale whereby it was possible to book round trip tickets from Singapore to a variety of destinations in SE Asia (and in some cases beyond) for very little money. $50 could get round trip tickets to places such as Phuket, Bangkok, and Manila. But it got better. By booking through CheapTickets, each ticket would also earn $75 in hotel credits. (Now $50.) So we booked each person on their own itinerary and earned $300 in hotel credits. In SE Asia, that goes pretty far!

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Are Boutique Hotels Boutique Anymore?


On Monday I posted about the news that IHG is acquiring Kimpton Hotels for $430 million. Yep, the world’s largest hotel chain is taking over the world’s first boutique hotel chain.

To me this was a really logical move, even though admittedly most Kimpton loyalists will be unhappy about it. As I explained, this probably isn’t good news for those that were loyal to Kimpton, though for people like me, it’s great news. I can be at least semi-loyal to IHG Rewards Club given how big their portfolio is, but I can’t really stay at Kimpton properties enough to be loyal to them, given their lack of a footprint… as much as I’d like to be. So for my personal travel patterns I’m happy about this takeover, even without taking into account the potential ramifications of this on loyalty programs.

Skift has a thought provoking article about how boutique hotels have “evolved” and come full circle, and questions what constitutes a boutique hotel nowadays.

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Where To Find Award Space


I’ve realized that my last few posts were starting to sound like an advertisement for award booking services, and that’s truly not the intent. Yes, US Airways is hilariously impossible to deal with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t book your own awards with a bit of practice.

Beyond that, myself and everyone I work with is really passionate about this hobby. Like, crazy-scouring-award-charts-for-fun-on-Sunday-mornings passionate. And as someone who loves miles and points it just makes sense to me that you’d learn how to redeem your miles as you learn how to earn them.

After all, if you don’t know what’s practical with your miles, how do you know if you’re accumulating the right ones?

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Win Airport Lounge Access From LoungeBuddy


*Keep reading to find out how you can win a $100 in airport lounge credit courtesy of LoungeBuddy.*

LoungeBuddy is an innovative app that — as the name suggests — is all about the airport lounge experience. It’s location based so can automatically tell which airport you’re at, and will show you the lounges nearby, along with their amenities, hours, ways to gain access, and user generated reviews.

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Qantas First Class Lounge LAX Now Open


The new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is arguably the most gorgeous airport terminal in the United States. It also features some of the nicest shared lounges, like the Star Alliance First & Business Class Lounge.

The business class section of the Qantas/oneworld lounge opened within the past six months. It’s a lovely business class lounge, though as a first class passenger it not exactly exciting.

As a oneworld Emerald I’ve been waiting for the first class lounge to open.

The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX officially opens today, Thursday, December 18, 2014.

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Newly Single Guy Finds New Elizabeth Gallagher To Take On Trip


In early November Travis wrote about the crazy story of Jordan Axani, a Canadian guy who booked a round the world trip with his girlfriend, only to break up with her. He went on a search to find a replacement travel companion that had the same name as his ex, since the name of airline tickets can’t be changed.

It’s not surprising the story went viral, given just how crazy it was. You really want to travel with a complete stranger on a month-long round the world trip? Yow!

The craziest part? He actually found someone with the same name to go with him!

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EVA Air To Operate Hello Kitty Flights To Houston


As I wrote about last week, EVA Air will be expanding their service to North America next summer, as they’ll be launching 4x weekly service between Taipei and Houston as of June 2015. This expansion is a no brainer, not just because Houston is a huge oil city, but also because it’s United’s biggest hub, so there’s lots of potential for connecting traffic, now that EVA Air is in the Star Alliance.

So if you were excited about the new route to begin with, take a deep breath and make sure you’re sitting down. As it turns out, this new EVA Air flight to Houston will be operated by a Hello Kitty 777-300ER. The most exciting part? They’re not even using an existing Hello Kitty 777-300ER (of which there’s only one), but rather they’re taking delivery of an all new Hello Kitty 777-300ER!!!

Via USA Today:

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