Friday Open Thread: Come Discuss What’s On Your Mind

This is an open thread, I would love to hear what you’re thinking.

  • What have your travels been like this week?
  • What are you wondering, or what would you like to know?
  • Booked any great awards?
  • Frustrated with your airline or hotel program?
  • How’s your team doing?

The comments are yours to do with as you wish, please express yourself, and I may drop in here or there with answers or use your suggestions as a jumping-off point for posts.

Hope you’re making it through the week!

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, 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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  1. New guy at the game with a Chase Sapphire Preferred that should reach the spend limit for 45K miles in Aug. When will the miles be available for use? Any tips on using Chase UR site to book flights from US to (and maybe also within) S. America? Like to return from Central America, so open-jaw? Free one-way?

  2. Which Star Alliance carrier’s program is best for redeeming miles for short haul flights within India now that Air India is officially a Star Alliance member.

  3. @Gary. Regarding my CX HKG lounge access question. I arrive at 8pm on CX F. Then 10am the next day I fly out on CX J to NRT with a connection onto JAL F. So will my NRT-LAX JAL F ticket get me into the F part of The Wing? Thanks.

  4. @William, congrats on your first trip abroad! Writing down your experiences and thoughts as you go, from packing to the airport and onwards, is a fantastic idea. Not only will it let you take things one step at a time, it’ll give you a great object to look back on and you’ll have more vivid memories of your trip than with just photos. I recommend picking up a sturdy Moleskine notebook from Barnes and Noble or any good paper store. I’ve filled a few with trip journals over the years. Also, just relax, take everything in and have fun. You have nothing to worry about.

    Just drained my last AA miles. CX F to SIN with the bare maximum stopover in HKG. For the previous poster wondering what to do overnight, hit up the Temple St night market in Kowloon, check out the bars/rowdiness in Lan Kwai Fong, stroll around and have a meal in the mid-levels, try to get up to Victoria Peak for pics of the skyline at night. If you can do all those, you’ll have plenty to do in one night. Enjoy it! One of the best cities in the world.

    Happy travels all.

  5. The pricing of lap child seats added to adult award tickets is essentially a black box. Yes, 10% of an adult seat in the same class, but there often is no market price for such a seat. Pricing seems to be a perfect black box when the award ticket is in mixed cabins (e.g. economy outbound and business inbound), when an operating airline is switched out for another, when segments are sold out, or when a complex itinerary can’t be booked online. Are there effective ways of cross-checking the price that the ticketing desk at United or elsewhere spits out?


  6. I just want to vent! I signed up for one citi exec card and 100,000 mi bonus. Completed the spend requirement in a month or so but then realized that the annual fee didn’t count in the $10,000 required. So ordered a gift for my grandson that was back ordered. The charge didn’t post until the gift shipped, not within the 3 month time frame. I was about a week too late, and missed the bonus completely; in my mind I wasted the annual fee amount and all those dollars that could have been posted to my Sapphire card. A lesson learned the hard way.

  7. @Gail, that’s a sad story for sure. I’m surprised they wouldn’t take a good look at that one and make some accommodation for you. It looks like you really tried to beat the deadline legitimately. It’s true that annual fees don’t count toward minimum spend bonuses, and I always make sure to finish the requirements a little early, and with solid purchases that won’t have mushy posting dates.

  8. Gary, I have a question that I didn’t want to ask on your “I’m giving you money” thread since it’ll get buried for sure.

    Have you ever ran into an issue where JL shows F award seats available (not waitlisted) but AA is not able to book, even though they can see the space? AAgent is telling me it is coming back as “no status” when they try to confirm.

    I asked them to shoot a message over to the alliance liaison desk to see if they could release space. Is there something else I should have asked them to do?

  9. What are you all doing with the American Airlines bonus awards cashing in SPG points during July. Worth it or not really??? Thoughts appreciated.

  10. 2nd time this week flight delays while on the plane. United has sent me 2 updates via text while I am on the flight seated. Like right now! In San Francisco waiting to go to Newark. The economy plus is well..mama said if you have nothing nice to say…and upgrades well they are as rare as the dodo bird. Need a new airline domestically. Any ideas?

  11. ROB SEZ: “This week: Got two Delta business class tickets for one from JFK to LAS for later in August using my Delta AmEx annual 2 for 1 e-coupon. Reminds me why I have the card.”

    I was going to give up my DL AmEx because I always fly in biz/first and now rarely fly to MSP or ATL like I used to. DL told me that the two-fr-one was only good on an economy tix. How did you book, Rob?

  12. @KenM – I’m building up AA miles to do a flight to Paris biz class next year so I transferred 40,000 which should net me 60,000 total. I think it’s worth it since I have a goal.

  13. John Benson is the author of this article on Soccer games.

    Let the owners know of any issues that arise, any problems with point disputes and
    so on. Like the other FCs, Real Madrid also introduces new
    soccer kits for every new season.

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