United Basic Economy Tickets Are Now On Sale (And Being Marketed Dishonestly)

united-lounge-london-heathrow-62

Earlier today American began selling basic economy fares, and now United is selling them as well. This isn’t coming as a surprise, given that both American and United have already revealed the full details of these fares, and we knew they’d start selling them around now.

However, with American I get the sense that they’re sort of embarrassed about introducing them. They realize it’s not good for customers, but they’re going to do it anyway, because money. However, United actually seems to want to convince customers that basic economy fares are good for them. Ironically, United is also being the strictest of any carrier with these basic economy fares, as:

Continue Reading »

Review: Pentahotel Hong Kong

The pentahotel bed

The MTR is an 8-10 minute walk from the Pentahotel in Kowloon, though taxis are better for shorter journeys since their starting price is so low.

The entrance is on the ground floor, while individual check-in is one floor up. The lowest floor is used to check in tourist groups. Every evening the entrance was packed with Chinese, Korean and Japanese tour groups waiting to be escorted to their rooms. There was also a pizza bar on the entrance level, which had some fascinating pizzas.

A quick escalator or elevator ride takes you up one level to the main lobby. This area is slightly more calm with spread out seating and a pool table.

Continue Reading »

I’m Embarrassed By How Many Upgrades I Have Expiring Next Week…

American-Business-Class-787-2

As someone obsessed with loyalty programs, I do everything I can to maximize the benefits associated with the status I earn. After all, earning status comes at a cost (both in terms of time and money), so not maximizing benefits is like throwing away money.

No matter how hard I try, I’ll never do a perfect job maximizing these programs, though I’m especially embarrassed by how many upgrades I’m having go to “waste” next week.

Most loyalty program status is earned on a calendar year basis, though typically there’s some grace period before the status expires. In the case of American AAdvantage and Hyatt Gold Passport, earned status for this past program year is valid through the end of February. The same is true of the upgrade instruments earned with those programs.

Continue Reading »

Hyatt’s New Globalist Status Requires Even More Nights Than We Thought

world-of-hyatt-1

We’re only days away from the launch of the new World of Hyatt loyalty program. As we learned last fall, World of Hyatt will replace Hyatt Gold Passport starting on March 1. I’m in the midst of putting together my thoughts on the new program — spoiler alert, I’m not impressed.

There are a few things to theoretically like in the new program, particularly if you hold top tier status. Globalists, as Hyatt has decided to call them, will get unlimited complimentary upgrades to suites in addition to the four confirmed suite upgrades of the past. Perhaps I was prescient when I wrote “4 Free Upgrades Are Better Than Unlimited Suites, Really” a year ago…

Anyway, that’s about the extent of the good news. There are at least some positives to look forward to for those who can maintain top-tier status, but getting there is going to be a challenge. In fact, it’s arguably harder than most of us thought it was going to be.

Continue Reading »

Review: Emirates Lounge San Francisco Airport

Emirates-Lounge-SFO-05

Our connecting flight arrived in San Francisco about three and a half hours before our flight to Dubai. As we had plenty of time, and my husband still didn’t feel great, we popped into the Delta SkyClub for some soup and downtime before heading over to the international terminal.

The Emirates check-in desk opens three hours before departure, and online check-in isn’t possible from San Francisco. Fortunately, there wasn’t a queue for First Class passengers, so we had our boarding passes in minutes.

Then began the most ridiculous “TSA” experience of my life.

Continue Reading »

Last Chance For A Great Increased Sign-Up Bonus

Singapore-Suites-1

For a couple of months now The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has offered an excellent increased sign-up bonus. This is actually a card that wasn’t ever on my radar, though I recently uncovered just how rewarding it is, and applied for it myself.

Anyway, the card’s increased sign-up bonus expires tomorrow, February 22, 2017. So if you haven’t yet applied for this card, you really should consider doing so.

Why? First of all, the card offers a sign-up bonus of up to an incremental 64,600 Membership Rewards points. That comes in the following form:

Continue Reading »

Special LifeMiles Promo For OMAAT Readers: Buy Miles With A 140% Bonus

ANA-First-Class

As I first wrote about last week, Avianca’s LifeMiles program is offering a 125-135% bonus on purchased miles. This is a fantastic opportunity to pick up miles that can be redeemed for first & business class tickets on Star Alliance airlines. I’m happy to share that LifeMiles is offering a special increased bonus on purchased…

Continue Reading »

Oman Air Is Slowly Killing First Class

Oman-Air-787-Business-Class - 3

I flew Oman Air early last year for the first time, and had a great experience on them. They’re one of my favorite airlines, largely thanks to how “exotic” they feel. Unlike some other Gulf carriers, they do a great job integrating Omani culture into the experience.

At the moment Oman Air has a couple of longhaul business class products. They were originally known for their incredible business class hard product, which was about the best out there when it was first introduced. Select A330s still have this product, which is in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Meanwhile their 787s and select A330s have Apex Suites in business class. Initially I thought this would represent a downgrade in terms of the quality of product, but in reality I think these seats are superior to the old ones, at least if you manage to snag one of the window seats.

Continue Reading »

Claim Your (Free) Share Of 7 Million Virgin Australia Points

Virgin-Australia-New-Business-Class-3

Virgin Australia’s Velocity program is celebrating their seven millionth member by giving away seven million Velocity points. Instead of doing a sweepstakes where a few people win big prizes, Virgin Australia is instead splitting the seven million points equally among everyone who registers.

To register, simply visiting velocity7millionpoints.com and enter your name, email address, postal code, and Velocity number. You can register through 3PM AEDT on Thursday, February 23, 2017 (that’s 11PM ET on Wednesday, February 22). After that they’ll calculate how many points each person gets based on how many people registered.

I suspect thousands of people will be registering for this promotion, so in practice I suspect each person will maybe get a few hundred points.

Continue Reading »

Is This The Best Hotel Room TV Setup Ever?

GrandHyattDenverTV0005

I don’t usually get too excited about hotel room TVs. In fact, it’s pretty rare for my family to ever turn them on. Maybe if we’re in a foreign country, we’ll watch a cartoon so the kids can have a cultural experience, but that’s about it.

I suppose some will say that the hotel room TV is going to go the way of the desk because millennials just don’t use them. Call me old school, but I still prefer to watch TV on a big screen. And I also like to listen to it. Like really listen with real speakers, not uncomfortable earbuds or tinny laptop speakers.

The problem is that flat screen TVs are notorious for having awful sound. There just isn’t space to fit a proper speaker. So you end up with undersized cones that are typically pointed to the side, or worse, out the back. I remember being at a Hyatt Place where my wife — who was trying to sleep in the bedroom area — could hear the TV better than I could even though I was sitting right in front of it.

Continue Reading »

Creative Ways To Get More Than One “Free” IHG Night Per Year

InterContinental-Hong-Kong

The single best perk of the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is that it offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property. The card has a $49 annual fee (which is waived the first year), so even when you remove all the other benefits from the card, I think a vast majority of people would come out way ahead on the annual fee with the free night certificate alone.

One comment I’ve gotten from some readers is “well, that’s great, but it’s only useful if you’re staying in one night increments.” Fair enough. Personally that works great for me, as I have plenty of one night stays. For others, you can of course pay for an extra night (either in cash or points), or switch hotels. But I realize that’s not for everyone.

So in this post I wanted to look at two other ways to stretch the stays you can get out of the annual free night certificate on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card:

Continue Reading »

New 40% Bonus On Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

emirates-a380-business-class-9

Through April 6, 2017, Alaska Mileage Plan is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles.

Sometimes Alaska offers several mystery targeted offers, where different accounts are targeted for different bonuses. This promo seems to be the same for everyone, and the more miles you purchase the higher your bonus percentage.

• Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles = 20% bonus
• Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles = 30% bonus
• Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles = 40% bonus

Continue Reading »

Introduction: Road-Trip Through Jordan

Jordan-road-trip-7

Yay! It’s Jordan-trip-report time! I’m so far behind on trip reports (they take me forever), but I’m really excited to finally share this one with y’all. Jordan was a fantastic destination for us, and I know a lot of people have expressed interest in visiting as well, so this should be a fun series.

In addition to being full of great activities, this was also the first actual “vacation” trip where neither my husband or I had to work in over four years.

I still made lots of notes and took pictures so I could write this report, of course, but not having to carve out time to be online or in meetings was wonderful, and made the trip extra special.

So off we go!

Continue Reading »