Travel

Category Archives for Travel.

How to Get Free Gogo Internet (on American Flights With NO IFE)

sad

I’ve been flying American a lot lately, and there’s a loophole I sometimes use to get free Gogo internet. I used it today on my flight back from Albuquerque.

There are a couple of catches:

  • You can only get ~30 minutes of internet
  • This ONLY works on flights with NO IFE (in-flight entertainment) (as far as I know)

No IFE as in, no screens overhead or in the back of the seat in front of you.

If you’re lucky, you can squeeze out closer to an hour of free internet. But it depends on the flight – there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it.

Here’s how it works.

The trick to getting free Gogo internet

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

My IHG Q3 Accelerate Offer Is Actually OK! How’s Yours?

holiday-inn-san-francisco-4384731508-16x5

I’ve gotten some pretty terrible IHG offers from IHG’s various “Accelerate” promotions (including one that required me to stay at a hotel brand with only 2 locations).

But their new Q3 Accelerate offer is actually… kind of OK (but couldn’t they come up with a different name for it? Even the URL is bland lol).

It’s not worth moving a minor mountain for or anything, but it seems I can stay at an IHG for 2 nights in September 2016 and earn an extra 35,000 IHG points.

My IHG Accelerate offer

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Just Booked a Trip for Next Weekend in 10 Minutes (Instant Transfers Save the Day!)

Yes yes yes

Also see: 

I’ll never forget the thrill and uncertainty of booking my first award ticket. I thought I’d show up to the airport and be turned away for not paying (or something like that). Can a flight really cost ~$11 when you book with… points?

That was a few years ago. But there’s still something so novel about booking award trips. Some of them are planned in advance, like my upcoming trip to Hawaii. And some are aspirational or in the future, like the Brussels Airlines flights I booked with Etihad miles.

Mmm, love the high desert

Love the high desert!

Long story short, I needed to spend a couple of days in New Mexico to get some work done there. Looking at my upcoming weekends:

  • Next one was open
  • After that, Austin for work
  • Labor Day weekend – nothing available with points
  • Hawaii

4 weekends = a month of plans. I started poking around and realized, holy crap, I’m gonna book this trip for next weekend!

Finding flights

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Just Booked: A Brussels Airlines Biz Class Award Flight With Etihad Miles

I'm coming for ya, Brussels!

Also see: 

Holy crap, it worked – I’m going to Belgium!

I'm coming for ya, Brussels!

I’m coming for ya, Brussels!

I found a ton of Business Class award seats between NYC and Brussels on Brussels Airlines in May and June 2017 (with a few dates in April and July available, too).

On Saturday, I transferred 37,000 Citi ThankYou points to Etihad Guest in hopes the space would remain. I checked this morning – no miles. But when I checked a few hours later, they were there!

I fired up United.com to hunt for dates:

Nearly every day in May and June 2017 has availability

Nearly every day in May and June 2017 still has availability

Tips: Tick “Show only nonstop flight availability” to isolate Brussels award space. And use “NYC” as the search if you want to see flights from both EWR and JFK.

Once I found the dates I wanted, I called Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767 with a pair of crossed fingers.

About the booking process

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Booking Hawaii: Part 2 – Using Citi ThankYou Points for Award Flights on Delta and United

2013-01-11 08.26.58

Also see: 

When last we parted, all was happy and good. Flights for 4 people were booked to Honolulu. Then life, as it does, got in the way.

Jay went back to New York for a too-good-to-pass-up film job. That’s right – I am now in Dallas alone. *cue torrential tears*

That was a whole other wrenching experience, but it also had consequences for this planned trip.

“So no Hawaii trip?” “I can’t.” Crap.

No Honolulu for you?

No Honolulu for you?

I called Connexions Loyalty (the travel agency Citi uses to book flights with ThankYou points) to ask if I could transfer the ticket to my little brother. I knew it would be a long shot, but worth trying.

The best they could do was cancel the ticket and give Jay the credit – no transferring, no name-changing. Oh, and there would be a $200 fee to redeem the credit. That stung, but at least part of the ticket will be put toward eventual travel.

By the time this all shook out, I accumulated more Citi ThankYou points. And continue to earn 30,000 to 40,000 ThankYou points per month.

Then I thought, why not take my little brother anyway?

How to add another person to the trip?

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Booking Hawaii: Part 1 – Flights for 4 to Honolulu

I'm coming for you, Honolulu

Also see: 

Next month, I’m headed to Honolulu with my Mom, stepdad, and little brother. I’d been throwing around the idea of a family vacation for a while.

I haven’t been back to Hawaii since 2013.

I enjoyed my time at the Hilton Hawaiian Village so much, I swore I’d go back someday. And now that I’m all Hilton-y and have Diamond elite status, I thought my Mom would absolutely love staying here with me. So I wanted to treat her to a trip.

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

But first, to get there.

Sussing out flights to Honolulu

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

NYC-BRU J Award Seats on Brussels Open May & June 2017 – Book With Citi ThankYou Points!

Fountain figure of Manneken Pis  in Brussels

I just so happened to be casually looking for JFK-BRU Business Class award space on Brussels Airlines because that’s what Saturday mornings are for, right?

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

I was able to find a Business Class award seat on the JFK or EWR to BRU route nearly every day in May and June 2017 (with a few dates in March and April, too).

The reason I’ve had my eye on this award is because Citi ThankYou points transfer 1:1 to Etihad Guest miles. And Etihad has a very generous award chart on this particular route.

as

37K round-trip in Business Class? Yes, plz!

A round-trip ticket in Business Class costs just 36,620 Etihad Guest miles. Of course, you have to transfer in increments of 1,000, so realistically this will cost 37,000 Citi ThankYou points. Which is a steal. 

Look

Look for SAVER award space

United would charge 70K miles each way, or 140,000 miles, round-trip. So you’ll save a huge number of points by booking through Etihad instead.

How to find the space

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Delta Beats American If You Credit Premium Flights to Alaska Mileage Plan

Welcome indeed

Or, “Why I’m Flying Delta Again”

In my quest to credit partner flights to earn elite status on Alaska Airlines, I’ve been focused on flying coach with American. That’s because ALL AA economy flights get 100% credit with Mileage Plan.

Welcome indeed

Welcome indeed

If economy is your preference, American is by far better than Delta – if your end goal is to earn status or redeemable miles with Alaska.

But, if you fly Business or First, Delta wins hands-down. And, it might even be worth it to fly Delta anyway.

Let’s take a look.

Why Delta as a means to Alaska Airlines status?

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Driving NYC to Dallas: 4 Days of Ups and Downs (and Fire!)

Dallas!

Also see: 

I set the date, said my goodbyes, and cut the ties. 

The move to Dallas has been a long time coming. I picked Memorial Day weekend to drive from Brooklyn to my new place in Dallas.

Now I’m here and it’s been about 4 weeks. Everyone kept talking about “getting settled.” Pssh, I don’t need to get settled. I’ll just pick right up.

It’s been a crazy few weeks:

  • 2 new Airbnbs
  • Buying investment property #2
  • Unpacking boxes
  • Werkin’
  • Getting acquainted with a new city
  • Visits from friends (already!)

In short, I guess, yeah, I did need time to “settle.”

The drive down took 4 days. I thought it would take 3. Here’s how it went down and why it took longer.

Day 1 – Brooklyn, NY to Winchester, VA

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Hotel Review: ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka

Lobby of the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka

Also see: 

I should say up front: I really wanted to stay at the Hilton Osaka, but there wasn’t availability – paid or with points – for my dates.

And the Hyatt Regency Osaka wasn’t available, either. (Even if it was, it’s pretty far from most attractions, unless you want to be near Universal Studios Japan, which I hear is incredible.)

Lobby of the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka

Lobby of the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka

The only thing available as far as chain hotels was the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka, an IHG hotel. It was between this and an Airbnb.

In the end, I opted to pay 50,000 IHG points for 2 nights here because:

  • It was free
  • I randomly earned IHG Spire Elite status and wanted to see if it made a difference
  • IHG Spire Elite status comes with 25,000 bonus IHG points, so one of the nights was a total freebie
  • I have a ton of IHG points and wanted to burn some of them
  • The Chase IHG card gives you 10% of your redeemed miles back in your account
  • The stay at the Hilton Tokyo was paid and I wanted to decrease the overall price of the trip

Arrival and check-in

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Review: American Airlines First Class 777-200 Dallas to Tokyo-NRT

Our bird from Dallas to Tokyo - the old livery

Also see: 

Back in January, American released a whole bunch of First and Business Class award seats on routes to Asia. It was pre-devaluation, and I was starting to think of ways to burn some AA miles before the late March deadline. Awards to Asia in particular went up quite a bit.

It reminded me a lot of when I booked Lufthansa First Class to Frankfurt for Oktoberfest before the United devaluation – similar timing and concept.

Our bird from Dallas to Tokyo - the old livery

Our bird from Dallas to Tokyo

I saw routes were open from Dallas (where my new condo is) to Tokyo – a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Dates were open in early April – prime cherry blossom time! 

Even more serendipitously, I had to be in Texas around that time anyway for a week-long work meeting.

Of course, booking flights to catch the cherry blossoms is always a bit of a crapshoot. But, I’m happy to report, we arrived just in time to see the beautiful blooms.

This flight was an excellent pre-cursor to a lovely stay at the the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku.

I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, so let’s hop to it.

Grabbing the space

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Osaka: Bullet Train, Food, Nightlife, Aquarium, & Wanderings

Osaka nights

Also see: 

After exploring Tokyo, it was time to head to Osaka, the Japan’s second-largest city.

Bullet train

We left Tokyo via bullet train (Shinkansen) for the journey of about 500 kilometers. It took a little over 3 hours, not including getting to and from the train stations on either side. One-way tickets were ~$145 for the fare and seat reservation.

Because we departed from the Shinjuku station near where we stayed at the Hilton Tokyo, travel time was minimal (~20 minutes, if that).

We had reserved seats, though the midday train was only at about half capacity. An attendant came through every so often to offer snacks and coffee, but I noticed savvier riders unwrapping their pre-packaged meals on board.

The train was clean, the seats were comfy, and the overall experience was positive. Watching the scenery flying by was hypnotic.

On this day, the clouds gathered low to the ground. For that reason, we only got the faintest glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance. But I bet on a clear day, the views would be incredible!

From Tokyo to Osaka, you’ll see Mount Fuji from the right side of the train. It’s huge. You literally can’t miss it.

The bullet train was awesome! Calming, actually. No squealing metal and sparks of fire shooting out from the wheels *cough* New York City MTA *cough*

Eating Osaka

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!