Kids

How Amex’s Plan To Reduce Lounge Crowding May Actually Make It Worse

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Earlier this month, American Express announced that the guest policy for their network of Centurion Lounges would be changing as of March 30th. Whereas Platinum members could previously bring in two guests or their immediate family, they’ll now only be allowed two guests, period. This is presumably being done to alleviate crowding, which can certainly be a problem at times.

Yet it’s hard for me to believe that restricting families is really going to fix the issue. And in fact, I’m going to argue this silly policy is actually going to make things worse.

I’ve had The Platinum Card® from American Express for a while now in part because my family gets pretty good value out of the lounges.

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Review: SAS Plus Oslo To London Heathrow On A 737

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We left the lounge and quickly headed over to the gate for our 7:50 AM flight down to London Heathrow. Boarding was already underway, which isn’t too uncommon for us.

Since this was a business class itinerary, we were booked in SAS Plus. I had known that SAS eliminated their business class cabin on intra-European flights, but I’d forgotten they replaced it with something else. I guess you could say my expectations were sufficiently managed such that anything more than economy was going to sound pretty good.

It turns out that SAS Plus has a few features that separate it from SAS Go, which is regular economy.

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Review: SAS Lounge Oslo Airport

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We had decided to spend our final night in Norway at the airport so we wouldn’t have to get up quite so early for our 7:50 AM flight to London Heathrow. The terminal is only a short distance from the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport, most of which is covered to protect you from the weather. The walk probably took no more than five minutes and was made easier by the luggage cart we had cached the night before.

On the way, we passed through a set of double revolving doors which gave me flashbacks to Super Mario Brothers. In fact, I stood there for a minute trying to time up my steps so I wouldn’t get squished in the middle.

Having made it to the next level, I mean, into the terminal, we quickly found the Star Gold counter for SAS. There was a bit of a line, but the agent was very efficient and we waited no more than a couple of minutes. She then had the five of us checked in and on our way. Even as SAS Plus passengers, we weren’t directed to Fast Track Security or advised about the location of the SAS lounge despite that being one of the few perks of SAS Plus. That was no big deal, just a little surprising.

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10 Things To Do With Kids In Oslo

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Like the rest of Scandinavia, Oslo is an incredibly kid-friendly place which made it pretty easy for us to get out and explore with our three kids aged 5, 4, and 1.

This is a culture of bundling the kids up and taking them out, regardless of the cold weather. The compact nature of the central area makes for good walking, and features like two-track ramps help make even steps accessible to strollers.

We’re an outdoorsy family so we packed our cold-weather gear so that we could get out and explore during the Norwegian winter.

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Review: Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion Oslo

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We spent part of our stay in Oslo at the Hotel Folketeateret, but decided we might as well give another Clarion Collection property a try. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with the Hotel Folketeateret per se, as it’s truly a wonderful property with excellent service. It’s just that their rooms were a little small for our family of five.

So we decided to see what was behind door #2 and headed over to the Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion for the reminder of our stay. I’m sure glad we did, as the Hotel Bastion is a real gem. We quickly fell in love with the old-world style of the hotel. I mean, who doesn’t want to come back from a long day of sledding and sit by a crackling fire?

Like the other Clarion Collection hotels in Oslo, the Hotel Bastion costs 16,000 Choice points per night. Assuming that you purchase those using the cash-and-points booking strategy, that equates to $120 per night which is an absolute steal considering that covers your room, breakfast, afternoon snack, and dinner. For our family of five, the food each day was worth at least half of that.

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How To Sled Oslo’s Korketrekkeren Like A Boss

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No trip to Oslo in the winter would be complete without playing in the snow. And there’s no better way to do that then to sled the Korketrekkeren, Oslo’s city-operated toboggan run.

But let’s be clear — this is not your leisurely ride down a gentle slope in the park. Korketrekkeren translates to “corkscrew” and that should give you an idea of what you’re in for. This is basically the bobsled run that was built for the 1952 Winter Olympics. It’s 1.25 miles long with over 800 feet of vertical. Depending on your skill and insanity, you might just hit speeds in excess of 25 MPH. On a sled with no brakes and minimal steering.

If you search on YouTube, you’ll find videos of the course with titles such as Death Sled and The Madness.

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Review: SAS Museum Oslo Airport

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After spending the night at the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport, we decided to visit the SAS Museum before riding the train into the city. The museum is only open on Sundays and Tuesdays, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to check it out given that it aligned with our schedule.

The SAS Museum is located sort of directly across the runway from the main terminal. If you could just walk out across the tarmac, you’d be there in a jiffy.

But instead, you have to go the long way around which would make it about a 3-mile trek. My wife vetoed that so we took the bus from the airport terminal.

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Introduction: Oslo In Winter

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My wife and I fell in love with Norway on our trip to Bergen a few years ago. We thought the city and surrounding fjords were beautiful and the quality of the food to be excellent. In fact, I began to tell people that the whole country was sort of like a cross between a national park and farm-to-table restaurant. Norway quickly became one of my favorite countries to visit.

But then I remembered that Norway is kind of a big place. It would be irresponsible to rave about how much I like it based on one visit, right? So when the opportunity came up for our family to spend some time in Oslo, we jumped at the chance. A few of our friends raised an eyebrow when we said we were going in winter, but that didn’t concern us at all as we live in a cold-weather climate ourselves and love to travel during the off-season without the crowds.

Here at OMAAT, we believe that getting there is way more than half the fun, and this trip was no different. It actually turned out to be more fun than we could have anticipated. That’s because shortly after we booked this trip, United announced the launch of their new Polaris business class product and our reservations eventually updated to reflect the new branding. Since I don’t normally plan trips around trying new products, it was exciting to actually fly Polaris within the first months of it’s launch. Even if it was just the soft product.

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A Trick For Saving Money On Kids’ Travel

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SAS offered a fantastic deal for families last week where children could fly from the US to Scandinavia for almost free. All you had to do was book one regular adult ticket and then as many as eight kids could fly for just the cost of the taxes and fees, which were about $50. It was an incredible offer and a few of my friends were able to take advantage of it. I even argued that it would be possible to take the kids mileage running on it.

Unfortunately, that deal is now over.

But it turns out that there are other opportunities for kids to fly on revenue fares at a discount. You just have to know where to look.

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Get Your Kids Star Gold Status For $150 Each

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SAS is running a really awesome promotion this spring where kids can fly for almost free from the US to Europe.

You just need to book by January 23 and travel between February 7 and April 9. The best part is that you can take up to 8 kids with each paying adult. You’ll literally end up paying less than $50 for each round-trip child (under 11) ticket.

Scandinavia is a wonderful place and totally worth a trip or two, even in winter. My family just got back from Oslo, was in Helsinki last fall, and did Stockholm and Bergen a couple years ago. Yes, we really like it over there, and it’s an incredibly kid-friendly part of the world.

But let’s forget about the destination and focus on the miles for a bit. Is it possible to mileage run on this deal?

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Kids Can Fly To Europe For Nearly Free This Spring!

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Scandinavia is one of my favorite regions of the world. We’ve now been to Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, and they are all fantastically beautiful places. It can be a bit expensive, but not nearly as much as it was a few years ago, at least for Americans, thanks to the strength of the dollar. It’s also a very kid friendly place so I highly recommending taking the family.

And now, SAS Airlines has an amazing deal going that will allow you to do just that. Kids can fly to Europe for about $50 all-in. That’s ridiculous.

For trips booked on SAS between the US and Scandinavia between February 7 and April 9, 2017, you can bring along all of your kids (12 and under) for just the taxes and fees. You will literally be paying less than $50 for each round-trip kid ticket, and you can book up to eight kids with each adult.

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Why The Hottest Credit Card Bonus Might Not Be Right For You

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There’s a crazy amount of buzz right now about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and has been for months. The 100,000 point bonus is changing soon, so people seem even more enthused about it than before.

And there’s no doubt — it’s a great offer, and a very good card. The card benefits outweigh the high annual fee, and if you’re able to use the points towards premium cabin awards you can really get a tremendous value.

In some cases, however, it really might not be the best option for you. This is on my mind due to an exchange with reader @LelaRenee3 on Twitter, who is planning a trip for her son and his classmates to Japan next year.

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Can Kids Fly In First Class?

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When it comes to traveling with kids, there are three things that matter — space, space, and more space. That’s true on the plane, in the hotel, and in the rental car. I don’t much care about the service or the food (assuming there is some!), I just want more space. That lets the kids sprawl out, lie down, and be kids.

Reader Rhebon recently asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum about traveling with kids.

“I have a very simple question and I think you never talked about that subject?!? What airline is best for travelling with kids on a longhaul flight? Is it OK to fly first class with younger kids (2&5)?”

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My Kids’ Favorite Part of Staying At Hyatt Hotels

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Before being status matched to Hyatt Diamond, I was a pretty loyal Starwood guy. On average, I’d guess 85% of my hotel stays were at Starwood properties.

That’s changed and I’m on track to requalify for Hyatt Diamond this year. The benefits are great and Hyatt has earned my loyalty. It’s safe to say the status match worked out as a win-win for both of us.

My favorite benefit of Diamond status is the confirmed suite upgrades. They are very useful for family travel since we all have a little more space to spread out. And they couldn’t be easier to use. There’s no need to bring along a laminated copy of the hotel’s loyalty terms.

My kids, however, have a much different reason to love Hyatt properties. The toys!

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