About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Hainan Is Introducing A New 787 Business Class Product


When it comes to aviation in China, all airlines are most definitely not created equal. I’ve flown longhaul business or first class on Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan, and Xiamen, and had very different experiences across all the airlines.

For example, while China Eastern has a top notch hard product (they have reverse herringbone seats), the soft product was abysmal.

Meanwhile I found that Hainan and Xiamen had by far the best soft product, with great food, professional service, and top notch amenities, while their hard product wasn’t great.

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Two Very Different Ways Of Recognizing Elite Status In Economy


Upgrades across the board are tougher than they used to be, which is probably because airlines are doing a better job of selling their first class cabins at discounted rates, and are also reducing the size of first class cabins on many planes. So airlines have been putting some effort into making the economy experience a bit better for elite members, in recognition of decreased upgrades.

For example, American offers Executive Platinum members in economy a free snack and drink. It’s a gesture that goes beyond the dollar savings — it’s nice to be recognized for your business and feel appreciated (especially since the loyalty program as such isn’t doing much nowadays to encourage people to feel that way). I’m spending more time in economy lately, and that’s perfectly fine.

At the moment I’m on an American A319 with a power outlet and an empty middle seat (which is exceedingly rare nowadays), so I’m every bit as happy as I’d be in first class.

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My Experience Applying For The British Airways Visa Card

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At the moment there’s an increased sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000-100,000 Avios, depending on how much you want to spend. The breakdown of the bonus is as follows:

— 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
— 25,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening
— 25,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening

In other words, you can spend just $3,000 within three months and get 50,000 bonus Avios, or if you’re willing to spend an additional $7,000 or $17,000, you can get an additional 25,000 or 50,000 Avios, respectively. Even if you only plan on getting to the 50,000 Avios spend threshold, I think the bonus is still very much worthwhile. You don’t really see bigger bonuses on this card without bigger spend thresholds.

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15 Perfectly Reasonable Requests I Plan To Make For My Etihad Residence Flight


A couple of days ago I booked a ticket in the Etihad Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, which I’m really excited about. Yesterday I wrote a post sharing the initial communication Etihad had with me after the booking was confirmed. I’ve heard of people making special requests when flying in The Residence, so I asked you guys for ideas about what to request.

A vast majority of readers don’t read the comments section, though the comments on the post are gold — I laughed out loud at many of them. So in this post I wanted to share a selection 15 requests I plan on making for my flight in The Residence, based on the comments from you guys. In no particular order, it seem perfectly reasonable to request:

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WOW: Emirates Is Drastically Cutting Service To The US Due To Decreased Demand


I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Associated Press is reporting that Emirates is greatly cutting back their frequencies to the US starting next month due to decreased travel demand as of next month. The Associated Press is reporting that:

— Dubai to Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, will be reduced from twice daily to once daily
— Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be reduced from daily to 5x weekly

As of now it doesn’t look like the actual route cuts have been updated in the schedule, but I imagine it will happen shortly.

This represents a net decrease of roughly 25 weekly flights between the UAE and US. However, do keep in mind that Emirates was already planning on decreasing frequencies on some routes prior to this announcement. For example, for the summer season they were already only going to operate once daily flights between Dubai and Los Angeles.

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Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class 777 Shannon To New York

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Upon arriving in Shannon we were all directed to get off the plane and reclear security. As we deplaned we were each given a transit card and our name was checked off a list.

Since I had “SSSS” on my boarding pass in Kuwait (which means I was selected for additional screening), I was ushered to a separate area. Once about a dozen passengers requiring secondary screening had deplaned, we were escorted to a separate area for screening.

One of the other business class passengers flipped out. “I WANT TO TALK TO A KUWAIT AIRWAYS SUPERVISOR, THEY DID NOT TELL ME I NEEDED TO GET OFF THE PLANE.” He said that he refused to go through security, etc. Then he turned to me and said “did you know we had to get off the plane here?” “Yeah, actually.” Then he stopped talking.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Hyatt Anniversary Free Night Certificate


Earlier I wrote a review of The Hyatt Credit Card, which is one of my all around favorite hotel credit cards. The card offers a big sign-up bonus of two free nights at any Hyatt in the world upon completing minimum spend, plus an annual free night certificate on your account anniversary.

While there are lots of other perks for the card, in this post I wanted to focus on the annual free night certificate that it offers:

On your credit card account anniversary each year you’ll be issued a free night certificate, which is valid for a stay at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel globally. The certificate should be issued shortly after your account anniversary, and is valid for a stay within a year of when it’s issued.

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Review: The Hyatt Credit Card


There are lots of reasons to apply for credit cards. Some are worth getting for their great sign-up bonuses, others are worth getting for the return they offer on everyday spend, and others are worth getting for the great long term perks they offer. Some cards even excel in a couple or all of those categories.

One of the all around best hotel credit cards is The Hyatt Credit Card, which is a card I’ve had had for years, and highly recommend. In this post I wanted to look at some of the benefits of the card in more details.

The Hyatt Credit Card offers a fantastic sign-up bonus, as follows:

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Is The Starwood Platinum Status Challenge Worth It?


For the most part loyalty programs are becoming less generous when it comes to status matches, since I assume they’re finding that in many cases they don’t actually change consumers’ long term behavior. There are exceptions, of course, but there’s a reason we’ve seen many loyalty programs discontinue status matches over the years.

For example, Starwood Preferred Guest stopped status matching in 2011, and has been offering a status challenge ever since. However, only recently did they publish a webpage with the details of the challenge. So this seems like a good time to look at Starwood’s current status challenge, especially in light of Marriott’s takeover of Stawood.

You can earn Gold or Platinum status through the Starwood status challenge, by completing a certain number of nights over the course of consecutive three month period, as follows:

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Can You Make Special Requests If Flying In The Etihad Residence?


As I wrote about yesterday, I’ll soon be flying in the Etihad Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, which is supposedly the pinnacle of commercial aviation. The Residence is a three room private suite with butler service, located at the front left of the A380 upper deck. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about the experience.

As I explained yesterday, I’d like to think I scored a “deal” on the ticket, at least compared to the retail cost. It was still a lot of money, but only a fraction of the original retail cost. Even though I didn’t pay $25,000+ for the ticket, I’m still coming in with high expectations, given how Etihad markets the product.

You can bet I’ll be documenting every aspect of the experience here, starting with the pre-trip service.

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Buy A Discounted Omni Hotel Stay Through Daily Getaways


Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week program intended to promote US tourism. It offers opportunities to purchase discounted hotel points and travel packages.

I’ve shared my initial thoughts on the packages for sale, including the offers for weeks one and two, and also the offers for weeks three through five. Daily Getaways packages go on sale at 1PM ET every weekday, and the more popular packages sell out very quickly, so you’ll want to be fast, if interested.

Today at 1PM ET you’ll have the opportunity to purchase Omni Hotels & Resorts packages at a discount.

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Today Only: 6 Bonus Delta SkyMiles Per Dollar Spent At Apple


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.

It’s not uncommon to see huge mileage bonuses on high margin businesses that are hoping to gain market share (like flower shops, online dating sites, etc.). 😉 However, it’s rare to see increased mileage bonuses from retailers like Apple.

Via Frequent Miler, today only (April 18, 2017), the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal is offering six bonus miles per dollar spent with Apple.

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Delta’s Latest SkyMiles Devaluation Gets Even Worse

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A bit over a week ago, while they were in the middle of one of their biggest operational meltdowns in recent history, Delta devalued the SkyMiles program once again. Delta doesn’t publish any award charts as of a couple of years ago (“it’s the same as revenue tickets, the price you see is the price you get”), so we never really know when a devaluation is coming. That’s because we find out the hard way, when award costs are suddenly higher than they were before… and Delta hopes no one will notice.

Delta has devalued awards to specific regions a countless number of times in the past, but a bit over a week ago they took it to the next level. Delta raised the costs for virtually all award tickets on partner airlines, at least for travel originating in the US. However, the way they priced award itineraries was a bit odd:

— If you traveled exclusively on partner airlines, award costs increased
— If you traveled exclusively on Delta, or on a combination of Delta and partner airlines, award costs remained the same

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Here’s The Apology Email United’s CEO Just Sent Out To Customers


United has had a very bad several weeks, in particular when Dr. Dao was dragged off United 3411 from Chicago to Louisville last week. We can talk all day about whether any regulations need to be changed, whether the airline or Chicago police are more to blame, etc.

However, there’s no denying that United’s PR approach to this situation has changed drastically. When the situation first unfolded, United responded to it horribly in more than one statement. They were completely dismissive of what occurred, and it made a bad situation even worse. Then about 48 hours later they finally issued an apology and took full responsibility for what happened.

United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, even had an interview on Good Morning America, where he seemed to genuinely feel bad about what happened.

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