Yearly Archives

Yearly Archives for 2010.

Thanksgiving in Mumbai: United First Class from Frankfurt to Washington-Dulles

After passport control and an extensive security check, where we were selected and taken over to a side screening area in the terminal, we made it to our gate for United’s old-style 777 to Washington-Dulles. Approaching the gate there was a man directing everyone to see one of several US agents with laptops, they were re-entering everyone’s passport information and then being told to queue for the flight. No sitting around the gate area, everyone must get in line! And it wasn’t time for boarding yet.. There was a general boarding line and a priority line, after we had our passport data re-entered we were walked to the front of the priority line. We got a couple of nasty looks, and the man directing everyone asked why we had gone to the front of the…

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Basic Tips for Getting Organized and Getting Rewards in the New Year

Regular readers of this blog know that many of the things I often write for for intermediate travels than for beginners. But I’ve been evangelizing the benefits of miles, points, and free travel more often to colleagues and friends of friends more frequently lately, and I thought that passing along some of the basics that I’ve found helpful for the not-already-converted might be useful to some of y’all having similar conversations with family over the holidays. And thus I offer some basic tips for getting your rewards house in order for the New Year, since most everyone can set a goal to have their dream trips inexpensively with a little bit of attention to rewards programs. Sign up for frequent flyer programs. If you’re flying cross country and back, why not sign up for a…

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Thanksgiving in Mumbai: Lufthansa’s Frankfurt A Concourse First Class Lounge

Having arrived at the dreaded C pier, I had to make the long trek through Frankfurt to my connecting flight on United. US flights depart from the A concourse, and it’s a long trip. The biggest delay was at security, where the lines were reasonably long but really just because it was taking 3 to 4 minutes to process each passenger, though it’s not really clear why. After awhile, and though processing was incredibly slow, one of the two lanes was closed and everyone had to queue in the only line at the checkpoint. Bags were put on the belt and the screener examining x-rays just sat there. Staring at each bag. And staring. There wasn’t extra screening or seconday screening, just an excrutiatingly slow gentleman operating the x-ray machine. Had I realized, I’d have…

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The Best Current Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Note of course that this is not a discussion of the best credit cards to put your spending on, rather it’s about what credit cards are offering the best bonuses for getting a new card and in some cases for putting some initial spend on that card. Frugal Travel Guy mentioned this morning one of the 100,000-mile signup bonus offers that’s still running for Citibank American Airlines co-branded credit cards. I mentioned this offer back on September 24: 50,000 miles after $2000 in purchases within 4 months, another 25,000 miles after $10,000 in purchases within the first year, and an additional 25,000 miles after $10,000 in purchases during the second year. The annual fee is waived the first year. On November 1 though I posted what’s in general a better offer, or at least an…

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Cheap Transatlantic Airfares from $250 Roundtrip Including Tax

Via Flyertalk, there are some great fares to Europe on American Airlines (as Iberia codeshares), such as JFK – Paris for $288 roundtrip, all-in.. slightly less to Milan.. and DC to New York to Madrid for about $350. Dan’s Deals has written up the fare as well: Bookable on Travelocity. This is valid for many dates. Post the ones you find! And be sure to post if you find other valid cities! Sample valid dates: 03/24/11-03/29/11. JFK-Milan is $251 with tax for those dates. JFK-Brussels is $283 with tax for those dates. JFK-Paris is $291 with tax for those dates. The flight is sold as an Iberia codeshare, but it will on AA. Now, the codeshares are a bit annoying as I don’t expect them to earn full mileage. Iberia flights between the US and…

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New Tool for Simplifying and Automating the Priceline Bidding Process

I haven’t played too extensively with the site yet, but The Bidding Traveler looks to be a very useful tool for novice and intermediate Priceline users. It both helps lay out a bidding strategy and automates that strategy in order to save on effort. It’s certainly simpler one-stop shopping than using a site like Biddingfortravel.com or Betterbidding.com, searching through recent bids to determine what folks are generally winning hotels for and identifying which ones are similar to your circumstances (e.g. weekday versus weekend). And it takes care of the work of identifying your ‘bidding strategy’, figuring out which zones to use as free re-bids in order to order to bids from lowest to eventual highest that you make. (Priceline bidding permutations are explained here.) Ultimately, the site just sets up your bidding for you. It…

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Thanksgiving in Mumbai: Lufthansa First Class, Mumbai to Frankfurt

Our Thanksgiving in India was coming to an end and at around 1am it was time to leave the Grand Hyatt. I went down to the club lounge to check out, and noticed on my bill two breakfast charges (I never ate a restaurant breakfast at the property during my stay). The charges were immediately removed. They asked whether I had taken anything from the minibar, I had not. (There was a minibar slip in the room from the previous guest, who apparently did take something, that slip was never taken so perhaps he was never charged or perhaps he fessed up at checkout.) I asked for a car to the airport, it was complimentary after all, they retrieved our bags from our room and we went downstairs and headed off towards the airport, which…

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Entry Thread for My Reader Giveaway: 44,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points

Here’s what you need to do: Check out Hyatt’s Facebook page. They are posting itineraries from their hotel property General Managers. Have a look. Then leave a comment to this post with the hotel property whose itinerary interests you most, or the property you’d like to see an itinerary from. Any Hyatt property. Then you’ll be entered to win 44,000 Hyatt points — enough for two nights at any Hyatt in the world, or more nights at less expensive properties. So you might just get to experience one of those itineraries. But only enter once, by noon Eastern on December 25. And I will draw the winner at random after that. Full details can be found in the previous thread. That thread is also where you ask any questions, as this post is strictly for…

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