A Quick Trip to Dallas and a DFW Airport Overnight

American Airlines invited me to their media event on premium cabin enhancements, and I jumped on it figuring any extra travel to Dallas means travel on American when I’m earning quadruple miles (from a post-oneworld Mega DO promotion). I looked up airfares, saw that without much advance purchase and for the flights I needed given work schedules, that I’d be staring down the barrel of a $1700 ticket. I wound up booked in T class instead, that’s a coach award. No miles earned, not upgradable. And last minute, so the available seats weren’t great either. Not a fantastic way to start a premium cabin improvements discussion, eh?

But I watched seat map availability (thanks, Expert Flyer) and an exit row opened up. And then an exit row aisle. I was all good. Great crew, I was proactively offered a complimentary drink and snack as an Executive Platinum member. And the flight had Gogo wireless internet. I might as well have been up front.

Unfortunately it wasn’t just airfares that were sky high. The event was taking place just beyond security on the D concourse, where the Grand Hyatt sits, that would have been my ideal hotel stay. But it was pricing at $479. Wow. For an airport overnight. The Westin was $279. The Hyatt Regency still pricey, but much cheaper, and I decided to grab the stay which helps towards my Hyatt Diamond requalification rather than burning 4000 Starpoints at the Westin.

I had stayed at the hotel before, for the oneworld Mega DO. It’s a fine property, second-closest to DFW, but I was nervous because on my last stay internet connectivity was almost non-existent. This time, not a problem at all.

The room was large and functional, my only complaint is a lack of outlets though I always assume that’ll be the case and bring my own compact power strip.

The room had a view of airport operations, albeit from a distance.

I stopped down at the restaurant for breakfast in the morning.

Not quite the buffet the hotel put on for the Mega DO but it did the trick.

As a Diamond, hotel breakfast is included. You sign the bill and the charge is taken off the folio. I had the $17.50++ breakfast buffet, put a $3 tip down on the bill, and left. When the hotel emailed me the bill, $1.50 was left on there. Apparently they felt my tip too generous.

The property was perfectly functional and I’d return, having allayed my fears that the internet problems I experienced in January were either an anomaly or have been fixed. If the Grand Hyatt were close to the same price point I’d choose it based on proximity, but it’s nice to be in the second closest airport hotel at least.

After breakfast it was back to the D concourse at DFW for an American Airlines event.

As the event wrapped up I grabbed a couple of sandwiches on the way out, samples of their coach buy on board to eat since I’d either be camping out in the Admiral’s Club for several hours or sitting in back on a flight where available food would just be the snack options.

I had half of a Marcus Samuelsson pastrami sandwich, which wasn’t the best Pastrami I’ve ever had but I’m a New Yorker or at least I grew up there. Still, for a sandwich on a plane or any sort of pre-wrapped sandwiches it worked perfectly well. Much better than other buy on board offerings I’ve seen, it had cole slaw and cheddar on a marble rye.

I also had half a Samuelsson chicken salad, again perfectly edible, and a full lunch, I ultimately ate it from my bulkhead seat as one of only two people to clear standby on the 12:55pm flight which had been booked full. Both went down well with the complimentary cocktail they offer Executive Platinums in back (and the flight attendant proactively offered me a snack but with the two half sandwiches I was plenty good).

A quick trip, American was gracious, and I must say I didn’t mind coach one bit, though I suppose an exit row, a bulkhead, and the ability to clear complimentary standby on a flight booked full due to elite status makes those things go down much easier. And a couple of flight crews that specifically recognized status in-lfight, that’s an important point to remember, that for all the money you invest in product your front-line people will either accentuate or undermine that investment. These two crews did good.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. So AA invites you to their event but expects you to pay for an AA ticket to get there?

  2. @Raffles Airlines will generally gladly give you a ticket. Most media won’t accept. There was some twitter dsicussion I saw of a few reporters that were asked to go but couldn’t get their papers to pay the airfare, they’re not folks who could have taken free travel from the airline. I sure wasn’t going to go spending $1700. A free ticket, however, made the whole thing possible!

  3. Did I read this right, you paid for a Hyatt stay when you could have used 4000 Starpoints? I know there are plenty of ‘cheap’ Hyatts that you could have stayed at between now and 31 December to achieve status.

    Stay credits are good. I’m just not so sure you made a wise decision paying an excessive amount to get that credit.

    I don’t know if I should look up to you in admiration, or down at you in disbelief!

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