Paris for the Holidays, Saying Goodbye to American’s Old Business Class, and a Suite at the Park Hyatt Vendome

Some months ago there were decent transatlantic fares on American, and while I’m not a huge fan of Western European capitals I do think there’s something completely charming about Paris around the holidays.

Paris Over the Holidays

The weather isn’t fantastic, a jacket is a good idea, but the City of Light is extra bright around Christmas and the New Year. And unlike summer time, you’ll find actual Parisians there rather than American teenagers.

Two years ago as well I spent the period between Christmas and New Years in Paris and it was a blast, ending with New Years eve, the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower, and and endless stream of people running down the Champs Elysee with bottles of champagne.

Confirmed Upgrades.. and American’s New and Old 767 Business Class Seats

A decent fare, and confirmed upgrades thanks to the systemwide ‘evip’ upgrades given to American 100,000 mile flyer Executive Platinum members, and I had roundtrip business class tickets.

American’s Chicago-Paris flights have tended to offer better upgrade availability than other gateways. I knew I’d be booking onto their old business class product, which I certainly don’t love for sleeping, but there was always the chance I’d luck out into a new flat business seat.

Indeed, as my departure date approached Chicago – Paris switched over to new business class… in between my outbound and my return.

An American schedule change gave me a hopelessly long layover on the return though so I called American and they switched me to come back on the JFK flight, which would also be their new 767 full flat business class seat.

For the outbound I would fly the old business class, hopefully for the last time across the Atlantic, and for the return I’d fly their new 767 business class. I absolutely love American’s 777-300ER business class seat, I think it’s one of the very best in the sky. But I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to try it on the 767.

I was able to say goodbye to American’s old first class on a trip to Buenos Aires in October. This would be an opportunity to say goodbye, and good riddance, to another old friend.

A Suite at the Park Hyatt Vendome.. a Steal on Points!

When Hyatt introduced redemption category 7 that meant the Park Hyatt Vendome would go from 22,000 up to 30,000 points per night.

And a suite ballooned from 33,000 to 48,000 points per night.

So I decided to book four nights in a suite there at the old pricing: 33,000 points for a suite, compared to 30,000 points for a regular room at the new pricing.

It’s amazing how time warps your thinking and can convince you that some things are ‘cheap’. At the start of 2010 there wasn’t even a category 6. category 5 was created at the end of 2006. So 9 years ago a room at the most expensive Hyatt properties cost 15,000 points. Now it’s 30,000.

Nonetheless, I didn’t think I’d be willing to pay 48,000 points a night for a suite — so I’d best get in while the getting was still (relatively speaking) good.

Food, Food, Food, and…

On the whole I love the various Asian cuisines best. At home I cook Thai. But there’s an incredible art in French cooking, and if I could withstand the cream, the foie, and and truffles I’d get to experience something that I just cannot replicate at home… a croissant, for instance, isn’t merely a croissant. And sometimes I think it’s a waste to eat bread anywhere else.

Net net, a visit to France is an impetus to lose weight. I may overindulge for a few days while I’m there, but there’s little reason to go anywhere near a cream sauce afterwards because it won’t close close in comparison. And I did pick up a treadmill since the trip…

This will be a quick report, in just a few installments, coming right up!

  • American’s Flagship First Class Lounge Chicago O’Hare and (Old) Business Class, Chicago – Paris
  • A Suite at the Park Hyatt Vendome on Points
  • The Best Macarons in Paris
  • Finding Good Meals Near Major Tourist Attractions
  • Neighborhood meats, cheeses, breads, and sweets
  • American Admirals Club Paris and (New) Business Class, Paris – New York JFK

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I had a chance to compare the new AA 767 business class seat in October (ZRH->JFK) with the new AA 777-300ER seat this month (lucky equipment switch JFK->MIA). In short — no comparison! It is indeed lie flat, but feels cramped to me.

    In Paris last September I couldn’t get into the Park Hyatt, but found the Hyatt Madeleine to be excellent. Intimate, beautiful, and outstanding service and breakfasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *