Travel

My American Airlines Asian Vegetarian Meal

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American Airlines’ catering is pretty lousy, so I figured I’d start ordering special meals, as I can’t imagine they’re worse than what American usually serves. American recently even rolled out the option of ordering special meals in first class on domestic flights.

With that in mind, I decided to order a special meal on my American Airlines business class flight yesterday from New York to Los Angeles. I’d note that American already offered special meals on this route before, since it’s a premium route. Furthermore, this is a more impressive meal than you’d usually get on domestic flights.

I decided to order an Asian vegetarian meal. This is almost always a spicy Indian dish, which frankly I think it’s sort of tough to go wrong with it. How was my Asian vegetarian meal? Actually quite good.

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Awful: Double Murder At The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

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Gosh, this is just a horrible story. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, located on the top 15 floors of Hong Kong’s tallest building, is one of the best hotels in the city. Unfortunately a rather gruesome incident occurred there over the weekend.

A 42 year old South Korean man has been arrested after his 42 year old wife and six year old son were found dead in their hotel room on Sunday morning. All of this unfolded after the police were called over reports of fighting at the hotel. Apparently the man was too drunk to recall what happened.

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Last Chance: Redeem IHG Points Before Tomorrow’s Devaluation

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On January 1 we learned about IHG’s 2018 award cost changes. A FlyerTalk member stumbled upon a page on IHG’s website that shows almost 700 hotels changing award prices in 2018 — almost 500 hotels are going up in price by 5,000 to 10,000 points per night, while almost 200 hotels are going down in price by 5,000 points per night. Since IHG has a total of about 5,000 properties around the world, that means award costs are changing at ~14% of properties globally, with a net increase at ~6% of properties.

It’s normal for hotel loyalty programs to adjust award costs on an annual basis at select properties based on market conditions, though changes at nearly 700 hotels is the most significant adjustment we’ve seen from IHG.

About a week later we learned that these changes would kick in for bookings as of January 16, 2018. That means that today is the last day to redeem IHG Rewards Club points before the price changes at roughly 700 hotels kick in.

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Aeroflot Deports US Citizens To India Because Of How They Look

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There are quite a few airports throughout the world that allow you to transit without a visa. As a matter of fact, a vast majority of countries do as long as you remain in the sterile transit area. This works just fine 99% of the time, but it gets tricky in the event of irregular operations, where you can’t legally leave the airport. I don’t want to say that it’s a reason to avoid connecting certain places, though at least it’s something to be aware of, especially if you’re traveling on a route with only one flight a day, or even worse, a route with just a few frequencies a week.

Reader Nick forwarded a story from some Facebook users who had a nightmare experience with Aeroflot at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on January 7. First I’ll share a brief summary of what happened, then a video, and then the full Facebook account from one passenger.

Essentially passengers were traveling from Delhi to Moscow to New York, and upon arrival in Moscow they were informed that their flight to New York was canceled. After having to wait for hours to be rebooked, US passport holders were informed that they would be “deported” to Delhi, since passengers can’t stay in transit for more than 24 hours.

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Sun Country Is Discontinuing Their Elite Program

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Several months ago, Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines announced that they’d transform into an ultra low cost carrier. For years the airline has been surprisingly full service, offering free carry-ons, a competitively priced first class, and more. However, clearly they haven’t been able to command much of a revenue premium for their superior onboard product.

The airline hired a former Allegiant Air executive as their CEO, and it’s clear they’re now trying to align themselves more with Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, etc. With their new business plan, Sun Country will:

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What Qualifies As Dining & Travel On The Chase Sapphire Reserve?

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While some other premium credit cards are all about the perks, one of things that makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ so well rounded is that it’s also a fantastic card for everyday spend. Specifically, the card has two industry leading bonus categories, as it offers triple points on dining and travel.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ has a $450 annual fee, though offers a $300 annual travel credit that’s automatically applied to any travel purchases. For all practical purposes, I consider that to more or less be worth face value, meaning that the out of pocket on the card is ~$150 per year. For that you get triple points on dining and travel, a Priority Pass membership, fantastic travel and car rental coverage, no foreign transaction fees, the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each, a Global Entry fee credit, and more.

Even if you don’t value most of those perks, I think a lot of people would benefit from being able to earn triple points on dining and travel, especially given how broad those categories are. In this post I wanted to look at that more closely.

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American Airlines’ New Casper Bedding — How Good Is It?

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As of December 1, 2017, American Airlines launched a new partnership with Casper for their inflight bedding and sleepwear. Airlines trying to brand aspects of their product with companies or people that have name recognition is nothing new, whether we’re talking about a celebrity chef, a cosmetics company, etc.

I’ve been incredibly impressed by United’s Polaris bedding, which is Saks Fifth Avenue branded. The bedding is simply phenomenal, and I’d say United has the best business class bedding of any airline. At least subconsciously, United’s Saks Fifth Avenue bedding makes me think more highly of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Let that sink in for a moment — something on United improved my perception of Saks Fifth Avenue.

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A Deserted Marriott Club Lounge That’s In The Back Of A Deserted Italian Restaurant

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I’ve just spent a few days in Yerevan, and spent two of those nights staying at the Marriott Yerevan. This is supposedly one of the best hotels in the city, if not the best (the Kardashians stayed here when they visited in 2015, and there’s no one who appreciates classy and understated elegance more than they do). The hotel is painfully outdated, so I’m thrilled that Starwood is opening a Luxury Collection hotel in the city in a few months.

Not only is the hotel outdated, but I had some issues with how they cleaned rooms — my balcony had an ashtray with cigarettes in it, most of the toiletries were clearly recycled (as the shampoo, conditioner, vanity kit, etc., were all half full), and I had a mixed experience with the staff (some were extremely friendly, some not so much).

I’ll save all of that for the review, but in this post I wanted to talk about the executive lounge at this hotel, which is one of the strangest club lounges I’ve ever visited. There’s obviously a huge variance in the quality of club lounges around the world, and the US has among the worse ones out there. Outside the US some are okay and some are amazing. Lounges have all kinds of different service concepts, ranging from a few food presentations per day, to an all day menu off of which you can order things.

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Good American & British Airways First Class Fares From Europe To The US

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British Airways has first class fare sales with some frequency. While British Airways’ first class isn’t great (I’ve often called it the world’s best business class, but I’m not even sure that’s accurate anymore), flying British Airways first class is a great opportunity to earn lots of miles.

At the moment American and British Airways have a widespread first class fare sale for travel between various points in Europe and various points in the US. There are great first class fares originating in Budapest, Gothenburg, Oslo, Porto, Prague, etc. There are so many options to choose from, and we’re seeing great fares to many US gateway cities.

For example, you can fly roundtrip first class from Budapest to New York for ~2,250USD:

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My Worst Flight Delay In Years — “Come Back In 10 Hours”

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I’m really lucky when it comes to the punctuality of the flights I take. No, my flights aren’t always on-time, but off the top of my head the last overnight flight delay I recall was on an Etihad flight from Incheon to Abu Dhabi in 2014.

I’ve certainly had some delays since then, like a four hour delay on a Ukraine Airlines flight from Kiev to New York in 2016, but I wouldn’t even consider that to be major in the grand scheme of things.

So I guess I was due for my next major operational issue. Early this morning I was scheduled to fly from Yerevan to Doha to New York on Qatar Airways. The Yerevan to Doha flight was scheduled to depart at the lovely hour of 3:25AM, though fortunately I planned accordingly. I even managed to nap from 7PM until 11PM, which is rare, so I was feeling about as good as humanly possible for a flight at that hour.

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