Booking My Unborn Child’s First Airplane Ticket

baby in seat

My wife and I are expecting our third child in late September — or possibly any day I suppose. We’re really quite excited around here. We went on our Babymoon to Aruba back in July, and are now settled in to wait for the little guy to make his appearance.

In other words, we’ve been grounded for a while now.

But just because we can’t fly anywhere doesn’t mean we can’t think and plan upcoming travel. For both of our previous kids, we actually had multiple airline tickets booked for them well before they were born. And we recently booked both a trip home to see the grandfolks over Christmas as well as an international trip next spring.

This is how we’ve done it.

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When We Say “Act Fast,” We Mean It…


Earlier this morning Ben posted about some amazing ~$1,800 business class airfares from the West Coast to Europe on oneworld carriers. Although Ben only has eyes for oneworld, in fact SkyTeam (and Virgin Atlantic) were actually offering similar — even cheaper! — fares to Europe from West Coast cities. (I try to tell him SkyTeam exists, I really do…)

Within minutes of his posting, the deal was gone. Donezo. I was actually just about to reserve a ticket on when the price changed on me all at once. And then like sands through my fingers, all of the fares disappeared. You could hear a collective deflated sigh on Flyertalk, I’m sure.

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Should I Go For Status, Wait For Now, Or Wait Forever?


As some readers may know, I just flew a couple segments in Emirates first class with Ben, and then hopped around Europe on British Airways, airberlin, and, within the past day, Austrian Airlines. I’ll be returning home via Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and will be reviewing their first class product. That is, unless the pilots decide to strike without much advance notice in the next day or two. For me, flying economy, coach, “euro traveler,” or whatever its called intra Europe is no big deal. The flights are generally no longer than a couple hours, and I’m not especially tall so the leg room isn’t an issue for me.

Depending on where you live in the United States, things might be more or less the same. If you are based in Chicago, for example, there’s not that many U.S. destinations that are more than a few hours from Chicago. The west coast is the furthest, but that’s still less than four hours of flight time away from Chicago.

It’s somewhat different when talking about someone who lives on the west coast and travels frequently to the east coast (or vice versa). My family lives on the east coast, in a city I have no choice but to connect to if flying any legacy carrier, and many of my friends are located in New York. Flights between JFK and LAX/SFO can take nearly as long as JFK-LHR, especially during the winter. And to the extent they’re shorter on the outbound, that only ruins any chance of sleeping on a redeye. Factoring in that I often want to leave in the early evening on Sundays, i.e., I’m usually number 25 or so for departure at JFK, it should come as no surprise that I’m concerned about seat comfort.

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Which Amex OPEN Savings Benefit Should You Choose?


Reader David W asked the following question in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

I signed up for an got approved for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express via a referral link from this blog. I’m being given a choice of 5% cash back or 2 extra Membership Rewards points for eligible OPEN savings. Assuming one can only choose either option once per year, what’s your thought process for which option to go with?

I’ve written extensively about the OPEN Savings program, which is available on small business American Express cards, including the following:

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Getting Around New York… In 2015

AirTrain JFK

Once upon a time not too long ago, there were only a few ways to navigate around New York as a tourist:

— The subway (and bus system)
— Taxicabs
— Walking

What’s more, as recently as 11 years ago, your practical options getting to and from JFK Airport were really limited to taxis, since there was no possible way of getting to the terminals via train from the city. Since 2003, there’s now AirTrain, which connects JFK with the Jamaica and Howard Beach subway/train stations in Queens.

Though my past experiences in New York largely relied on the reliable subway/cab/walking paradigm, on this trip I ended up not only using AirTrain in conjunction with the subway to get from JFK to Manhattan, but also two much more recent game-changers for getting around the city: Uber and Citi Bike.

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Apply For The SPG Amex Or EveryDay Preferred Amex?


Reader @GaddielTan asked the following question on Twitter:

“I already have the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Am torn between getting the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card next. What do you think?”

Nowadays a vast majority of my credit card spend goes on the Amex EveryDay Preferred, because I truly find it to offer one of the most compelling returns. The card offers the following bonus categories:

— 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend per year)
— 2x points at US gas stations
— 1x point per dollar spent on everything else
— 50% bonus when they make at least 30 purchases per billing cycle

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What’s The Most Obvious Tip You’ve Ever Shared With Someone?

That arrow means the fuel tank is on the left.

Although most of my travel is with my family, I still do a small amount of travel for work. As I suspect is true for most of us, my business travel is rarely glamorous — recently I wrote about my flight on a United Q400 propeller plane from Denver to Salt Lake City, for example.

For better or worse, most of my business trips involve traveling with colleagues. This provides a chance to see how other people do things, specifically people you would never dream of traveling with otherwise. If you’re lucky, you pick up a tip or trick from a veteran road warrior that can make your own travel a bit smoother.

Or you provide such a tip, even when it’s so flat-out obvious that your team of colleagues get a chuckle out of the guy who didn’t know about it. That was the case on a recent trip to San Diego.

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Should You Redeem Points For A Hotel Stay?


Reader duane asked the following in the “Ask Lucky” forum, regarding how to decide whether to pay for a hotel stay or redeem points:

“How do you decide when to pay and when to use SPG points? Case in point: Amman Jordan Le Meridien — 40,000 SPG points vs. US$1300 + earn even MORE points for premium cabin-long haul travel on Etihad/Cathay/Qatar?”

I know that to many this will probably seem like a “simple” question, but I think it’s a really fundamental topic which can be applied to many aspects of the hobby, which is why it’s worth covering here.

When trying to decide whether to pay for a hotel stay, here’s what you should factor in:

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How NOT To Redeem An American Airlines Paper Travel Voucher


Recently my friend/blog reader/contest winner/fellow accidental fetish bar goer/RTW companion Andrew B was sharing a rough experience with redeeming a travel voucher. He’s a smart guy, and pretty savvy when it comes to travel, so it’s a bit surprising he’s having this much trouble. He offered to share his experience to help other avoid similar mishaps.


My friends tell me about bad decisions they make while drunk. For me, poor judgment does not require alcohol. To wit, here’s my latest series of questionable life choices that cost me 500 bucks in travel credit.

Sometime in January, I received a $500 voucher from American Airlines for volunteering to take a later flight. I felt like a lottery winner (or a blog contest winner).

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Best Credit Card For American Admirals Club Access?


Nowadays the best option for gaining lounge access on domestic US flights is typically through a credit card.

While US airlines sell lounge memberships (and sometimes even let you redeem miles for them, which represents a terrible value), there are quite a few credit cards out there which come with lounge access and have lower annual fees and often additional perks.

For example, the The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN come with access to Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, and Airspace Lounges. With an annual fee of $450 and a $200 annual airline fee credit, that translates into a pretty low cost for access to a large variety of lounges.

But which credit card is best specifically for accessing American Airlines Admirals Clubs? There are two credit cards which give you access to them, and I figured I’d talk a bit about the differences between the two:

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Emirates Or Singapore Business Class — Which Is Better?


Reader tobymeritt asked the following in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

“Hi I’m flying from London to Singapore (return) in business class and my options are either going Emirates through Dubai which would require a stop, or going direct on Singapore Airlines, however they have the A380 and apparently a new business class, which is better? Finally I also have the option to try Qantas A380 business class. Which would be the best choice?”

That’s a real toughie. Emirates and Singapore both offer among the better business class products out there, so I’d be hard pressed to suggest one. It really does depend on the particular flight.

In general, my experiences in Singapore business class have been phenomenal:

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Amtrak Switching To Revenue Based Redemptions. Book Now!

amtrak train

Assuming you like riding trains, the Amtrak Guest Rewards program offers some exceptional values. Amtrak currently has a zone-based system, and as Amtrak is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards it’s easy to accrue point in the program even if you’re not a frequent train rider.

I am definitely not an expert at Amtrak Guest Rewards, and have actually only ridden Amtrak once in my life as part of a really cool Amtrak Adventure for my parents a little over a year ago. In the process of booking that trip, I read just about everything I could find on the loyalty program (and the trains in general), and found it fascinating. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me, a world which I had hoped to explore more in the coming years.

Well, that world is about to cease to exist.

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