My Secret To Living Out Of A Carry-On


When I first moved into hotels my luggage situation was a mess… as summed up in the picture below.

Over time I’ve realized that if you’re going to live out of suitcases full time you need to be super-minimalist and just live out of a carry-on. While it means my wardrobe is quite limited, it also saves me dozens of hours a year of waiting at baggage claim, not to mention the potential headache of lost bags (though amazingly enough even carry-ons can get lost).

Up until this year I had a Tumi 20″ Alpha International, as well as the Tumi Alpha laptop bag. It was a sleek set, if not a bit corporate looking. On US airlines you’re entitled to take aboard one carry-on and one “personal item,” so the 20″ rollaboard was my carry-on, and the laptop bag was my personal item.

But then I discovered the wonders of the weekender bag (mine is from Killspencer) . Yes, most people travel with a weekender bag as their carry-on. I, on the other hand, travel with my weekender bag as my personal item. And it has probably increased my carry-on capacity by about 50%.

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Air India Planning Flights To San Francisco and Toronto


Air India joined the Star Alliance about a year ago, and I’ve been itching to redeem miles for a flight on them in first class ever since. After all of the fascinating stories I’ve read about them, I feel like I need to experience Air India firsthand.

I mean, if it’s half as good as they make it seem in this commercial, I’m sure I’m in for a treat:

As it stands, Air India’s US destinations include Chicago, Newark, and New York JFK, so they have the east coast and midwest fairly well represented.

However, it looks like two other cities in North America may receive Air India service as early as this winter. Via Business Standard:

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Buy American Miles For 2 Cents Each Through July 13, 2015


American is offering both a 15% discount and tiered mileage bonuses on the purchase of AAdvantage miles through July 13, 2015. I do find it sort of funny how they turn these promotions into (minor) math puzzles, rather than just offering a straightforward discount. Then again, something tells me most people aren’t maximizing these promotions correctly, which is why they do it.

This time around you get a 15% discount no matter how many miles you purchase, but then the number of bonus miles you earn is tiered. The breakdown is as follows:

— Buy 1,000-15,000 miles, get 0 bonus miles and 15% off
— Buy 16,000-30,000 miles, get 5,000 bonus miles and 15% off
— Buy 31,000-45,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles and 15% off
— Buy 46,000-60,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles and 15% off
— Buy 61,000-75,000 miles, get 20,000 bonus miles and 15% off
— Buy 76,000-100,000 miles, get 27,500 bonus miles and 15% off

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Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points For Travel On American


Last week I wrote about how to redeem Citi ThankYou points. Both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card are offering great sign-up bonuses with a really compelling long term value proposition as well.

The Citi Prestige Card is the “premium” card (intended to compete more with the links of The Platinum Card® from American Express), and has a $450 annual fee. That being said, it has tons of perks which help offset that, including:

— A sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months — those points can be transferred to one of their airline transfer partners, or be redeemed for $800+ worth of flights on American/US Airways
— A $250 annual airline credit (with your first year’s annual fee you actually get two of those — that’s $500 of airline credits with your first year’s $450 annual fee)
— Access to American Admirals Clubs
— A fourth night free hotel benefit
— The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
— A $100 Global Entry fee credit

Meanwhile the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and is intended to compete more with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card. What makes the card compelling is that it offers a great return on everyday spend.

As I explained in the previous post, in addition to being able to convert ThankYou points into miles in any of roughly a dozen airline transfer partner programs, you can also redeem ThankYou points as cash towards a travel purchase.

For most points currencies that doesn’t represent a great value, though Citi ThankYou is an exception.

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When Does It Make Sense To Go Into City On A Layover?


Reader Djangojam asked the following question in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

“Hi Lucky, I know that you’re a big fan of Abu Dhabi so I wanted to get your advice. My 9 year old son and I will be transiting AUH later this month on our way to Bali. Specifically we are on DFW-AUH-KUL both in F. Arriving AUH at 19:30 and departing at 2:30. So a 7 hour layover. When I originally booked the flights I anticipated spending the layover in the massive new first class lounge. But His Excellency squashed that plan. Now I’m wondering if I should leave the airport. What would you suggest for spending that time, keeping in mind the 9 year old? And if I leave the airport, what is the minimum amount of money I would need to withdraw to make sure I’m not stranded somewhere, or would I just be able to charge everything? Thanks.”

I figured I’d answer the question here, not just because I have a specific answer, but also because I think the topic of when to go into a city during a layover is an interesting one to discuss in general.

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Best 45 Minute Flight Ever? “This Makes Cathay Look Like Easyjet!”


I’ve reviewed a good number of first class products on the blog over the years. And I’d argue I’ve reviewed just about all the world’s best products — ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Qatar, Singapore, etc.

But there’s one airline which has developed a heck of a reputation, which I’ve yet to fly. So we drew straws here at One Mile at a Time to see who would have to suffer through it, and Nick lost. 😉

He flew said airline this morning, and simply sent me the following email:

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Emirates 777 Vs. A380 First Class: Which Is Better?


Reader Danie left the following comment in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

“Never thought I’d say this, but I just took longhaul Emirates first class flights — one in a 777 and one in the A380. Of course the bar and the shower were awesome, but aside from that I unexpectedly enjoyed the 777.

Why? The ceiling was super high and felt so spacious, there were fewer seats, the concave of the fuselage didn’t curve into the seat, and the seat felt bigger (don’t know if this is from the roomier-feeling cabin or if it actually was).

Does anyone else have a similar opinion? I am shocked to be writing this.”

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Weekly Review: July 4, 2015


Good morning from San Diego!

I’m spending the week in California, and trying to be as low-key as possible while I recuperate (update below). The weather has been perfect, and it’s been nice to relax a bit.

Stay tuned for next week, as there is some very exciting stuff happening!

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San Diego Airport Tries To Solve Their Public Transit Problem — With A Crosswalk


I am an huge proponent of connecting airports to mass transit. If done properly, public transportation can streamline the arrivals and departure process for travelers (I love the bag drop at the Hong Kong central train station, for example). Even a mediocre mass-transit solution can help calm traffic and provide alternatives to taxi cabals, so I’m generally a fan.

Living in San Diego, the airport transportation situation is especially frustrating. While Southern California is progressive in many ways, airport transit is not one of them. Our airports were built for a different era, and Southern Californians love their cars, so while we have one of the most conveniently located airports, it’s annoyingly difficult to get in and out of.

— The rail line skirts the airport, but there aren’t any stations near the airport
— The lightrail/trolley follows the rail lines, but again — no stations near the terminal

You can of course take a bus, but most people end up in cars, and traffic on the one road going in and out of the airport is nearly always an adventure.

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GIVEAWAY: $100 Global Entry Fee Payment Code


Global Entry is a trusted-traveler program that allows you to breeze through immigration and customs when entering the United States. I previously wrote about my family’s experience in “Global Entry With Kids: What You Need To Know.” For us, it has been a real game changer.

Obtaining Global Entry is a multi-step process. It begins with filling out a fairly lengthy application — including every country you’ve visited in the past five years — and then having an in-person interview with a Customs and Border Patrol officer. None of it is particularly difficult, it just takes time. And money. As in $100.

Unless you win this giveaway. Then it’ll just take some time to fill out the application as I’ll be sending you a Global Entry fee payment code that will make your application FREE.

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Cause Of TransAsia Plane Crash Revealed


In February I posted about how a TransAsia ATR72 bound from Taipei Songshan Airport, Taiwan, to Kinmen, Taiwan, crashed shortly after takeoff. Unfortunately 43 people, including both of the pilots, died in the crash.

What made this crash especially unique is that we had footage of the exact moment the plane fell out of the sky.

There were a few things that were clear almost immediately based on the footage:

— The plane crashed shortly after takeoff
— The left engine didn’t seem to be running at full power/may have been shut off
— It certainly looked like the plane was stalling, based on the angle at which it was coming in
— The left wing dipped shortly before impact

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