Weekly Review: November 14, 2015

Hello from Kuala Lumpur, where I’m spending a quick overnight en route to Bali.

KL-Petronas-Towers

I haven’t been to Bali since I took my mom for her birthday a few years ago, and Ford has never been at all. Bali is one of my favorite places on earth, so I’m quite excited to spend a few days there.

Featured Stories

Review: Westin Palace Madrid Hotel

Westin-Palace-1

I had a fantastic stay at the Westin Madrid, and it exceeded my expectations. It was anything but a “cookie cutter” Westin, as it combined the amenities you expect from a Westin with a unique property which has a 100+ year history. If anything, this felt more like a Luxury Collection property than a Westin.

Between the rooms, public facilities, and location, I’d return in a heartbeat.


Tim Ho Wan, The World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant

Tim-Ho-WanTim Ho Wan is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world, and while it’s not a place I’d go out of my way to visit on my own, it seemed like a good place to take Ford on his first trip to Hong Kong.

The dim sum was excellent, and our filling meal cost a mere 117HKD (~15USD). And the funny thing is that even though this place has a Michelin star and is a huge tourist destination, it’s actually 95%+ locals who come here to eat, who clearly couldn’t care less that the place has a Michelin star. That’s a testament to the quality of what they serve.

 


Great Deal: Up To 50% Bonus On Purchased Alaska Miles

Emirates-First-Class - 41I love Alaska Mileage Plan miles, and have used them for so many great redemptions over the years, in particular in Emirates first class. 40% is about as good as the mileage purchase bonus typically gets, so be sure you check to see what kind of a bonus you were targeted for.

Alaska seems to have recently removed the restriction preventing foreign residents from buying miles. So in many cases (especially for Australians!), it might make sense to buy miles with Alaska versus paying the very high fuel surcharges you’d typically pay when redeeming other miles.


oneweekatatime_logo

TIPS: Earning Miles & Promos

More Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Experiences
Great Deal: Up To 50% Bonus On Purchased Alaska Miles
Great Deal: 50,000 AAdvantage Miles With American Business Card

TRICKS: Redeeming Miles

Airberlin Transatlantic Business Class Awards Wide Open!
Is The Park Hyatt Maldives a Good Use of Points?
Hyatt Points + Cash Finally Bookable Online!
Hyatt Guest Of Honor Benefit Extended Through 2016
The Next Award Redemption I’m Most Excited To Make

TRAVEL With Lucky

Don’t Forget To Read The Comments
Does TripAdvisor Take The Shame Out Of Picture Taking?
Strong-Arming Hotels Into Honoring Guaranteed Benefits…
I Finally Earned SPG Ambassador Status!
I LOVE POINTS & STATUS!
Ford’s First Time In Cathay Pacific First Class
Video: The Singing Hong Kong Taxi Driver You Have To See To Believe
Tim Ho Wan, The World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant
Possibly My Favorite Hotel Amenity Ever

REVIEWS & Trip Reports

Exploring Madrid
Review: Westin Palace Madrid Hotel
First Look: New Alaska Airlines Seattle Board Room
Review: British Airways First Class 777 Austin To London
Review: American Flagship Lounge Dallas DFW Airport

NEWS & Updates

Is It Wrong For Airlines To Raise Baggage Fees Over The Holidays?
American Offering Improved Amenities On New Sydney Flight
Verizon Offering New International Cell Phone Service Option
Details Of The New Starwood & Design Hotels Partnership
Lufthansa & Singapore Announce A Joint Venture
The Queen Of The Skies Flying To San Diego!
Easyjet Unveils The Most Ridiculous Uniforms. Ever.
DOJ Finally Steps In To Block The Airline Oligopoly
Airberlin’s Huge US Expansion: Boston, Dallas, And San Francisco Flights
SeaTac Airport Adding Remote Stands As Means Of “Crisis Management”
Oneworld Clarifies Qantas Lounge LAX Access Policy
American Launching Los Angeles To Auckland Flight In June 2016
SLS Las Vegas To Be Acquired By Starwood!
Unbelievable: Strike Cancles Virtually All Lufthansa Flights Today
Amex Centurion Lounge Coming To LAX (Supposedly)!
American Announcing Flights To New Zealand Tomorrow!
How Would Rumored 2016 AAdvantage Changes Impact My Travels?


What is everyone else up to this weekend?

Comments

  1. Missed you by a week. Was there last Saturday, stayed at the MO right next to the Towers. Hope you have a nice visit.

  2. Will we get a promise from you that you will make a Ford Report?
    I find his reports fun to read.
    All the best to the two of you — have fun!

    (Also, can we please get all the reviews of the major trips you have taken? 3 major reports in 1 year is poor compared to 2012 or 2013.)

  3. @ Legoboyvdlp — Hmm, are you sure? You keep saying that, but I count more than twice that many “full” trip reports by Ben this year, not counting the one-off reviews and series from the rest of us. The series are also longer and more involved than they were years ago, so there are about twice as many trip report posts this year than there were in say, 2012.

    But maybe there’s something we can do to make them more prominent, given how much more content there is in general nowadays? The trip reports take ~5x more time than a normal post, so we don’t want them to be missed, and are definitely open to suggestions!

  4. I’ve been waiting for the full Iceland trip report – just about given up. Also the full Portugal report.

  5. Oh, wow!
    I just looked at the Trip Report page, and lo and behold!
    6 reports!
    Not bad, not bad.
    I remember them now.
    But it is certainly not like years ago, such as 2012 or 2013, with about 8-12 reports.

    However, I have heard of some other trips, and I’m anxious to hear about your experiences 🙂
    Did the London trip for the SPG event full report get up yet? I remember a review of the actual event, but not of the flights…
    As the above said, Portugal and Iceland are awaited eagerly.

    Not much to suggest, but if it wouldn’t take too much time, the one-offs would be a nice addition to the trip report page.

  6. @Tiffany – I think what everyone is saying is that we get teased with these ‘Im in XX country’ posts with a few tid-bits and the promise of a ‘full trip report to come’, but the trip reports often don’t materialise. There is a growing protest over the endless EK, LH and CX F trip reports where the same products and experiences are reviewed over and over and over again – I think people are crying out for reviews of both carriers/products and destinations that have not been reviewed before. Maybe the new policy going forward could be that where something has been reviewed before (particular product, lounge, destination etc) only a short teaser is published, while when its something unreviewed a full TR is done? I think this blog is losing its way a bit as it becomes increasingly popular.
    Also I think a great idea would be for lucky to pick, say, 5 destinations or products that he hasnt reviewed/experienced before (he said that was his goal for 2016 anyway) and have the readers vote on what they would most like him to experience and then report back on in full?

  7. @Tiffany – Perhaps one suggestion and it may not be the easiest to implement. Perhaps just being able to filter in the news feed for specific types of things like trip reports/sections of trip reports seperated from news articles and opinion pieces etc. Like I go through all of those anyway cause they are quite interesting but just so that the people who want to find the trip reports faster can find them quickly and it doesnt get a bit lost in other great content being published.

    The other thing would be to consider whether theres a way of making the trip index page a little more friendly to follow through. From a web design point of view, there has to be a better way of presenting it than a series of hyperlinks. Mind you, I’m probably being a little nitpicky here too over that one.

  8. Can anyone help me? Instead of ‘Medallion Upgrade Requested’ it says ‘Manage Upgrades’

    REQUEST UPGRADE FOR FIRST/BUSINESS CLASS If seats are available, you may be upgraded to First/Business class. Seats are automatically assigned. Complimentary Delta Comfort+™ upgrades will be available starting May 16, 2016

    What is this???

    Complimentary Delta Comfort+™ upgrades will be available starting May 16, 2016

    I already get complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort+™…
    Thanks

  9. This weekend I am mostly heading down to KL though I’m sure I’m getting there in slightly less luxury, air Asia all the way for me.

    I’d be very interested in your take on the taxis vs über in and around KL, there seems to be quite the battle going on between them both.

  10. @ Scott — Great feedback! Try clicking on “Trip Reports” on the sidebar and see if that helps filter things a bit? If you click the “Trip Reports” menu at the top of the page you can also look at just the hotel/flight/lounge reviews in a more visual way, and any standalone reviews can be found there as well.

    @ Legoboyvdlp — Part of it is that Ben’s trips have been longer (he was gone for over two weeks on that trip with Matt), as opposed to the weekend trips of 2012. So there might be fewer “chunks” of reports, but each one has more flight segments, more hotels, etc. The London trip you mention, for example, comprises 15 posts, starting with this one: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/09/27/review-delta-skyclub-san-diego-airport/

  11. @Tiffany, Ben flew to Asia on CX F with his bf. There is certainly nothing wrong with that as a person, but it honestly adds nothing of value to the blog. This is after a lot of complaints of EK F with his bf.

    I just read Ben’s review of Qatar F on the 380, and it was FANTASTIC. Seriously, go read that review, then some of the reviews we are getting this year. It gave me nostalgia.

    There are SO many interesting products to review! I honestly feel as though many readers are giving Ben a “pass” for a while with a new relationship and the press coverage, but I truly feel that the blog hasn’t been up to bar for a few months. Happy to share more if you’d like to email me, but I do agree that quality is lacking recently.

    Best,

    Dan

  12. I always stay at st regis in bali. The benchmark and the ultimate in the island. It struck the balance between luxury and bliss. Not too big, not too small.

    I always book through virtuoso and always scored the villa for the upgrade (worth USD 1000 – 1500 per night ! paid only around USD 400-500). Free round trip airport transfer. You feel like a zillion dollar !

    Enjoy the ultimate / best breakfast anywhere in the world ! stay off the buffet … order a la carte only : the wagyu (steak) and egg, avruga, foie gras and always double / triple servings of river lobster omelette ! the mandarin/local orange juice is freshly squeezed yum yum yum

  13. I love this blog but come on, recently it’s more about how you’re dating and so open about dating another guy. I’m all cool with openness but does everything have to start with “ford this and that”. I get early relationship feelings and being excited but chill out a bit. Don’t turn this into a reality gay travel blog.

    And I say that with peace and love 🙂

  14. Agree with KJR and Daniel. Blasts in Paris and we have a post that says – so what are you doing this weekend?? Also, can we spare teh readers the private details – dont care re dating, husbands, etc. Travel blog – lets stick to travel, reviews and less (none is ok too) personal stuff – we dont care (really)

  15. About 130 people died in Paris on Friday night but not even a mention hasn’t been made. Okay this is a travel blog, but “so what are you doing this weekend” IMHO just makes me think about superficiality and indifference. As soon as an unknown lady is arrested because of sneaking into flights a post is made, in this case not even a small allusion. I’ve been a loyal reader of this blog for several years but i’m a lot disappointed now.

  16. @Tiffany and @Lucky,

    Personally, I have loved this blog since I started reading it early last year and I still love it and visit it multiple times daily.

    I only have one little thing – the blog has began focusing more on other things and there haven’t been many flight reviews or trip reports (I find).

    I think that, and this is only me, it would be great to take on some contributors that are solely there for reviews. For example, Mike used to only review flights and experiences, but now he has only written about news.

    Please, just note what I have said and acknowledge it, I will still love the blog even if no changes are made.

    Noah

  17. And for those of you “trolls” that are complaining about how everything is about Ford:

    A) Lucky really cares about Ford because HE IS HIS PARTNER and he is excited to share about Ford with us because they are recently together.

    B) Everything has been about Ford because Lucky is on a TRIP with Ford.

    C) It’s Ben’s blog, do you actually think he’s not going to share his love just because a couple of guys say he shouldn’t?

  18. As a blogger there are always blog posts, twitter and facebook written and schedule before, and if you’re travelling you might forget about the schedule facebook post – but no mention on twitter about Paris or Bairut?

  19. And
    D)
    Ford seems to have writing in his blood, since his reviews are so well-written. In fact, he same could be said of all the guests to this amazing blog 😉

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