Surprising Life Advice From The “Miracle On The Hudson” Pilot


Almost everyone is familiar with “the miracle on the Hudson,” where back in 2009 US Airways 1549 had a double engine failure shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia. They ditched the plane in the Hudson, and amazingly enough everyone survived. There has been even more press about the incident the past few months, given that the movie “Sully” was released in September, which documents the incident.

While Sully Sullenberger (the captain) has become a household name, not as many people could name the first officer of that flight, who was Jeff Skiles. Anyway, a Reddit user recently emailed Jeff, and received a fascinating response that I can’t not share.

Here’s the question that the Reddit user asked Jeff. The user is training to become a CFI (and presumably eventually wants to be an airline pilot), but has anxiety about having an engine failure after takeoff, and how it may inhibit his ability to think clearly:

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An Update On Access To The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX


A couple of days ago I wrote about how the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX can’t seem to follow oneworld lounge access rules. Representatives at the lounge have been denying many AAdvantage Executive Platinum members access, in particular when they’re on the inbound portion of an international trip, where they absolutely are entitled to access.

Some people said they were informed by the lounge staff that American was refusing to pay Qantas for access, which seems like a BS excuse. Alliances have a set of published rules, and airlines have to follow them.

I suspected this was just a case of several misinformed agents rather than an actual policy change on the part of Qantas. The staff in this lounge have a history of making up rules, and unfortunately this is something that seems to be coming from the top, as in the past the lounge manager sent out an email to associates telling them to call the cops on passengers if they try to “bully” their way in (based on the rest of his email and misinformation he was spreading, insisting the lounge follows the oneworld policy seems to be considered “bullying”).

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Today Only: Earn 15 American Miles Per Dollar Spent At 15 Retailers


Yesterday I wrote about how the United MileagePlus shopping portal had a one day promotion where you could earn 15 bonus miles per dollar spent at 15 popular retailers. This is great timing, given the number of people doing holiday shopping right now.

Well, it looks like a similar promotion is available today through the American AAdvantage shopping portal.

Through 11:59PM ET today, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, you can earn 15 bonus American miles per dollar spent at 15 retailers.

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Hilton Flash Sale: Save 20-40% On Winter Stays

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Through 11:59PM ET tomorrow, Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Hilton is offering up to 20% off stays this winter. The promotion is valid for stays between December 18, 2016, and January 8, 2017, at their properties in the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

As usual, there are some terms associated with this offer:

— If checking in on December 31, a two night minimum stay may be required
— A 100% deposit is required at the time of booking
— You need to be an HHonors member to get 20% off (non-members get 15% off)
— Conrad and Waldorf Astoria properties are offering $20 per night off the best available rate for HHonors members
— There’s a limited number of rooms available at each hotel under this promotion

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Hilton Extends Their Triple Points Promotion Through January 31, 2017


Hilton’s current global promotion is set to run through December 31, 2016. If you registered for this promotion you can earn:

— Double base points for all bookings during the promotion period
— Triple base points for all bookings made through the app during the promotion period

On top of that you can earn 5,000 bonus points per stay when you pay with a Visa, even if it’s an award stay (as long as there are some incidentals on your folio). This promotion is valid through January 31, 2017, and registration is required for it as well.

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How My Perception Of “Aspirational Travel” Is Shifting As I Get Older…


As I start to write this post, I’m not sure where exactly I’m trying to go with it. But here it goes anyway…

I love aspirational travel, and for me that’s the beauty of miles & points. Everyone is looking for different experiences with miles & points, and in my cases I like to redeem them for experiences I couldn’t otherwise afford, like international first class tickets and very expensive hotels.

However, as I get older, I notice my impression of things is shifting a bit, and I think sometimes that’s interesting to reflect on. While I might not be “old” yet (I’m 26), I’ve been flying hundreds of thousands of miles per year for about a decade now, so I think I can at least justifiably say I’m more easily exhausted than I used to be when it comes to travel.

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Surprising Conclusion: Did The Child Bandits Steal Something From Our Hotel Room?


Yesterday I shared the bizarre experience I had at the Sheraton Grand London, where three kids essentially forced their way into our hotel room, claiming it was their mom’s room, and then after being in there for a short while alone, they ran. It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve experienced at a hotel, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Check out yesterday’s post for the full recap, as it’s quite a story.

As I explained yesterday, I was very impressed by the hotel’s initial reaction. The front office manager, Roman, took the situation very seriously, and promised that the hotel would report back to me about what they found out after conducting an investigation. While this situation creeped me out, it wasn’t a huge deal, and I certainly don’t think the hotel bares any responsibility for the situation, as it could happen at any hotel.

This morning a note was slipped under my door from the general manager, Kieran, saying he wanted to meet and provide me with an update on their investigation. I met with him this afternoon, and he was a really nice guy. Here’s what he said they had discovered after their investigation:

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American Adjusts Mileage Earning On “Special” Fares


As of August 1, 2016, the American AAdvantage program is revenue based, meaning that redeemable miles are earned based on how much your ticket costs rather than the distance you fly. Elite qualifying miles, on the other hand, continue to be accrued based on distance flown.

There are some exceptions. For example, tickets issued by other airlines continue to earn miles based on distance flown rather than revenue, since it’s not as easy for an airline to calculate that total. This presents a great arbitrage opportunity to earn more miles and elite qualifying dollars than you’d earn if flying American directly.

Furthermore, there are some tickets on American’s own metal for which they continue to issue miles based on distance flown rather than revenue. These include:

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Last Chance: 2 Great Promos For Buying Hotel Points


Both Hilton and IHG have promotions on the purchase of points, with one ending today, and the other ending tomorrow, so I figured it was worth recapping them:

— Today (December 5) is the last day where you can buy Hilton points for 50% off
— Tomorrow (December 6) is the last day where you can buy IHG points with a 100% bonus

Keep in mind that both loyalty programs limit the number of points you can purchase per calendar year, and there’s a decent chance that this will be the last promotion they offer this year. The details of the two promotions are as follows:

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LATAM Will Fly Between Santiago And Melbourne In 2017

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LATAM has a new fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft. I had the chance to fly one of them on their fifth freedom route from Madrid to Frankfurt earlier in the year, and enjoyed my flight with them.

As it stands, LATAM has only one flight to Australia, which operates with a stop. Specifically, they fly from Santiago to Auckland to Sydney, which creates yet another cool fifth freedom route on which to fly them, from Sydney to Auckland. Anyway, the airline will nicely be expanding their service to Australia late next year.

LATAM has just announced that they’ll be launching a nonstop flight between Santiago, Chile, and Melbourne, Australia, as of October 5, 2017. This route will operate 3x weekly using a Boeing 787-9, with the following schedule:

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Tourist Denied Entry To Kazakhstan Because New Zealand Isn’t A Country


This is one of the most bizarre immigration stories I’ve heard in a while. A tourist from New Zealand was detained in Kazakhstan for nearly two days because immigration officers insisted that New Zealand wasn’t a country, and that she needed an Australian passport. At least that’s what the traveler claims.

Per the NZ Herald:

“An intrepid traveller was detained in Kazakhstan after immigration officials refused to acknowledge her Kiwi passport, telling her New Zealand was a state of Australia.”

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Today Only: Earn 15 United Miles Per Dollar Spent At 15 Retailers (Including Bose!)


Online shopping portals can be a great way to pick up additional miles & points for purchases you’d make anyway. Just for following a specific link you can earn bonus points in addition to the ones you’d earn anyway for credit card spend.

Through 11:59PM ET today, Monday, December 5, 2016, you can earn 15 bonus United miles per dollar spent at 15 retailers.

I value United miles at ~1.4 cents each, so to me the 15 miles per dollar are the equivalent of a ~21% return on your spend, not including any points earned with a credit card.

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Lufthansa A330 First Class In 10 Pictures


On Saturday night Ford and I flew from Dallas to Frankfurt on Lufthansa in first class, which we booked using Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express.

Ideally I was hoping to route us through a hub with a flight operated by an A380 or 747-8, though everything was pretty full. I assume that has to do with Lufthansa’s pilot strike the week prior, which caused a lot of passengers to be rebooked. While I’ve flown Lufthansa first class more times than I can count, this was Ford’s first time on Lufthansa, so I was excited to have him experience “my” airline.

Lufthansa’s A330 first class cabin has a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. Nowadays Lufthansa has the same new first class product across their fleet, so the differences between planes are fairly minor.

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WTF: 3 Kids Forced Their Way Into Our Hotel Room


I’ve had a lot of weird stuff happen in my travels, though this has to be among the strangest.

This afternoon we checked into the Sheraton Grand Park Lane London. We got our keys about three hours late since our suite wasn’t ready until then, and were so excited to finally be able to settle in and freshen up (before that, Ford was falling asleep on the couch in the club lounge).

With keys in hand we headed to our room. Ford and I both walked into the room, and suddenly three kids are in our room as well. I’d say they were somewhere between eight and ten years old. They came out of nowhere. To be clear, they didn’t knock or anything, but rather walked right in, and of course I didn’t want to physically push them out, or anything.

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