Review: Delta One 767 Los Angeles To Tokyo Haneda

Seat 3A

Ben just recently reviewed Delta’s international 767 Delta One service on his London trip report, and I recently reviewed Delta One on the transcontinental 767, but I’d actually never flown Delta’s business class internationally before, so this was a bit exciting for me, even if it was still on a 767-300, which is one of Delta’s least exciting products.

Once again, I entered LAX through the Delta ONE Lounge at LAX, which is a generally nice (if somewhat meaningless) experience and has been reviewed recently both by Ben and by me, as has the Delta SkyClub, where I also spent time before boarding. Generally, my experiences with both the Lounge and the SkyClub were on par with expectations, which is to say very agreeable, though of course the SkyClub isn’t comparable to the nicer business class lounges in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Although Delta’s flight to Haneda Airport is not its flagship route to Tokyo from Los Angeles (that honor goes to the Narita flight, where Delta operates a regional hub), and its timing is considered somewhat strange for an Asia-bound flight, it’s hard to beat the convenience of Haneda Airport (which is a twenty minute taxi ride or a train ride from central Tokyo — and indeed, is officially Tokyo International Airport) as opposed to Narita, which is extremely far from the city.

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Free 150 Starpoints For Updating Security Questions


Starwood is offering members 150 free Starpoints for updating account security questions by October 31, 2015. Bonus Starpoints should be credited to eligible accounts 2-4 weeks after the completion of the promotion, so likely sometime in November.

You literally just have to update four security questions, one of which can be your verbal password.

The questions are among the more unique “security” questions out there, and include questions like what your favorite spa is, what your most prized passport stamp is, etc.

Once you update your security questions, you should receive an email confirmation confirming the changes.

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An MQM Run To Tokyo: Introduction

Andaz Twin view during the day

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m aiming to hit Diamond Medallion status on Delta this year, and needed about ~10,000 flown MQMs in order to qualify for Diamond Medallion status (since I expect to get another 15,000 MQMs from my Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express). So when a (Diamond Medallion) friend pitched a four-day weekend in Tokyo and offered up two of his Global Upgrade certificates to me for the trip, I couldn’t pass it up — especially because I’d never been to Tokyo before and it was on my “bucket list.”

Booking the airlines tickets was actually fairly easy. Economy airfares from Los Angeles to Tokyo were around ~$850 on Delta, and we both called the Diamond line together to inquire about flight availability where we could instantly confirm our upgrades. As it turns out, we could confirm two business class seats on the outbound and return on our preferred dates, but only on the LAX to Haneda Airport route, on which Delta flies its 767-300, as opposed to the more popular route to Narita, on which Delta flies its 777 (with herringbone seats in Delta One).

My friend had two unredeemed free night certificates from signing up for the Chase Hyatt Visa, so we decided that for two of the nights in Tokyo we would stay at the fabled Park Hyatt Tokyo, which is a Category 7 Hyatt and one of its most exclusive properties. The other two nights, I decided to use a combination of cash and points (12,500 points plus $150 per night) to try out the brand-new Andaz Tokyo, which is a Category 6.

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Most Rewarding Business Credit Cards


Reader Rossco posted the following on the Ask Lucky forum:

“I avg. 100k a year in spending on my current business card (Amex Gold Card)
I don’t travel at all. Is there a better card that I should be using?”

The most precious response is from a fellow reader asking “Dude, why don’t you travel? thats the bigger question, right?” But we’ll set that aside for a moment.

While we generally focus on consumer travel rewards cards, there are plenty of options for small business owners as well. And just like with personal cards, there are several things to consider when comparing cards. I think it’s especially interesting to think about what cards are rewarding in their own right, without factoring in the added value you can get by leveraging sweet spots in travel reward programs and so forth.

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Review: The Concourse Hotel LAX (Hyatt Affiliated Hotel)

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Last July I first wrote about how The Concourse Hotel LAX will become the Hyatt Regency LAX. This property has an interesting history, as it’s truly coming full circle. It was a Hyatt ~60 years ago, then it was branded as a Radisson, then it was branded as The Concourse Hotel, and soon it will be branded as a Hyatt Regency.

Hyatt doesn’t presently have a full service property at LAX, which means they’re really lagging behind the competition. Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood all have extensive portfolios there, while Hyatt up until now has just had the Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo.

Anyway, over the coming months The Concourse Hotel will undergo a substantial renovation, which should go on through March 2016. At that point it will apparently be rebranded as a Hyatt Regency. In the meantime it’s considered a “Hyatt Affiliated Hotel,” so you can earn and redeem Gold Passport points for stays here.

While the property hasn’t yet been renovated, I figured I’d check it out during my recent visit to LA. I landed at LAX in the evening and had to go into town the following morning, so figured I might as well check out Hyatt’s airport offering.

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United Adds Flights To Auckland And Tel Aviv


United announced some impressive expansion out of San Francisco yesterday, whereby we’ll see United launch 787 flights to Auckland and Tel Aviv.

United will be launching 3x weekly Boeing 787-9 flights between San Francisco and Tel Aviv as of March 30, 2016.

The new flight will operate with the following schedule:

UA954 San Francisco to Tel Aviv departing 8:00PM arriving 8:10PM (+1 day)
UA955 Tel Aviv to San Francisco departing 12:55AM arriving 6:00AM

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Air Marshal Sues After Being Kicked Off Flight


We’ve seen tons of people in the airline industry on power trips post-9/11, be they flight attendants, TSA agents, or air marshals. Just about anything can be justified under the guise of “national security.” Though when it comes to wasteful uses of government resources, I think the federal air marshal program might just take the cake. The fact that it’s still around amazes me.

I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories from airline staff about air marshals on power trips, though this one might just take the cake.

A US federal air marshal filed a lawsuit this Monday over an August 4, 2012, assignment, whereby he and three other air marshals boarded an undisclosed flight. The air marshal is making claims of discrimination. How was he discriminated against?

Via the NY Daily News, here’s how the event unfolded:

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SAS Launching 737 Flights Between Boston And Copenhagen


SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) has announced some impressive international expansion lately. In 2016 they’ll be growing their US route network by adding flights from Stockholm to Los Angeles and from Oslo and Copenhagen to Miami. This nicely complements their existing flights to Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington.

Since 2014, SAS has also operated an all business class flight between Houston and Stavanger, Norway. The flight has been operated by a 737, though is being discontinued this month due to “reduced activity in the oil industry.”

Instead SAS will be using that plane to add a second daily flight between Newark and Copenhagen, which will be operated by that same all business class 737. That new flight launches on October 25, 2015, though it looks like it will only last through the winter season.

SAS has other plans for that plane, apparently. SAS will be launching daily flights between Boston and Copenhagen as of March 29, 2016. The flight will be operated by a Privatair 737 with the following schedule:

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Changing My Credit Card Strategy For Hilton Gold Status?


Yesterday Tiffany wrote about a new benefit available to primary cardmembers of both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN. These Platinum cards now come with Hilton HHonors Gold status when you register online.

I’m primarily loyal to Hyatt and Starwood, as I find they offer the all around best loyalty programs, and I quite like their hotels as well. However, they’re two of the smaller major hotel chains out there, and they both have considerably fewer hotels globally than Hilton, IHG, and Marriott.

So as someone who lives in hotels it is important to have a backup chain, and for me that’s Hilton. Hilton Gold status comes with some useful perks, with perhaps the most valuable being complimentary breakfast and/or club lounge access. That’s something which saves me a ton of money.

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My Favorite Starpoints Redemption Ever

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In mid-September I wrote about the SPG “Paradise Just Got Closer” promotion, whereby select Starwood resorts can be booked for 35% fewer Starpoints. The promotion is valid for stays through March 8, 2016, and seems to be an annual promotion offered by Starwood.

These are resorts which are otherwise quite expensive when redeeming points, as they typically cost anywhere between 40,000 and 90,000 Starpoints per night.

One property which has always intrigued me is Al Maha, the desert resort not far from Dubai. It’s ordinarily 60,000 Starpoints per night, but through this promotion can be booked for 39,000 Starpoints per night. That’s still a lot of Starpoints, given what a valuable currency they are.

But this property is really unique:

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Review: Delta SkyClub San Francisco Airport

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After spending some time in the Centurion Lounge, I headed over to Terminal 1 for my Delta Shuttle flight to Los Angeles. My flight was scheduled to depart at 8PM, so I headed over at around 6:15PM, to leave plenty of time to check out the Delta SkyClub before my flight.

However, when I arrived at Terminal 1 I found out that my 8PM flight was delayed by 40 minutes, so the kiosk offered to book me on the 7PM flight instead. After a long day of travel, that seemed like a good option.

By the time I got past security it was 6:30PM, which was when my flight was supposed to board. That being said, it was delayed by a few minutes, which allowed me to check out the Delta SkyClub at SFO, which is quite new.

The SkyClub is located just past the security checkpoint for Terminal 1, on the left side.

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