March 26, 2017

AAdvantage Shopping Portal Offering a 10x Bonus

One of the easiest ways to earn extra award miles is to make purchases through an online shopping portal.  American AAdvantage's portal is out with a pretty lucrative bonus that's good through 4/14/17.


Make 3 $50+ purchases and you'll earn 1,500 bonus miles.  That's on top of the miles you'll earn from each online merchant.  Generally the bonuses offered by these portals provide 3 - 5x/dollar spent so 10x is really good.


I'll definitely be taking advantage of this for purchases I would have made anyway.  There are a lot of stores paying out 5x+ so you should be able to earn 15x+ if you split up your purchases.

Cathay Pacific First Class Space Opened Up!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an award ticket downgrade on Cathay Pacific booked with Alaska Mileage Plan miles.  We had been booked in first class from Tokyo's Narita airport to Hong Kong prior to Cathay Pacific downgrading the flight to an aircraft without a first class cabin.  I opted to cancel the ticket and refund the miles - I figured something better would open up later.

I have been checking award space (using BA's website) every few days and last week, two first class seats opened up between Haneda and Hong Kong!  Even better than trekking all the way out to Narita!


I quickly called Alaska, fed the flights to a great agent, and had the award secured in less than 5 minutes.  Taxes and fees came to about $100 but at 27,500 miles/person, this award is an absolutely steal.

The flight is blocked at over 4.5 hours and a similar flight distance (1,800 miles) between Denver and Boston.  Consider that United first class between those two cities would cost 25,000 United MileagePlus miles per person - and that's if you can find the seats (tough to do these days) at the saver level.

Patience definitely payed off here.  We both love flying Cathay first and while this won't be the "full experience" it should still be pretty fun.  Even better that we get to fly out of Haneda which will save us ~90 minutes of travel time.

Stay tuned for the introduction and planning & booking posts!

Review: Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge IAD

We spent a long weekend in Washington, D.C. for my birthday.  On Sunday morning, we woke up early and headed out to Dulles.  We cleared security in a matter of minutes and took the airtrain to the B gates and located the lounge next to gate B43.



United Selling EQMs in March

United emailed me the other day with an offer to boost Premier qualifying miles (PQMs) towards elite status.  I've dropped down to General Member given that I didn't do much business travel in 2016 and a lot of our personal travels were on award tickets.


My offer was for up to 15,000 PQMs for $1,575.  While that is pretty cheap compared to other offers I've received in the past, (especially late in the year) I'm not even close to a buyer.  If I was, I'd have instant Silver status with United and be well on my way to Gold.  I think I'll get pretty close to Gold (50,000 PQMs) this year given that I'm going to be north of 16,000 PQMs in Q1 and booked travel will get me over 25,000.

This is my first time receiving this offer so early in the year.  I know that United is trying to monetize absolutely everything but I'm not sure how many takers they would realistically have this early.  Even at these prices.

March 17, 2017

Welcome Million Mile Secrets Readers

I've been reading Million Mile Secrets since getting into this hobby and really enjoy the blog.  They were kind enough to reach out to me about participating in their Friday interview series so there are a lot of new blog readers this morning.

If you'd like to learn a little bit more about me, check out this page.

For trip reports, start here.

You can also check out my 2016 year in review around hotel stays, flights, and points earned.

If you've been reading ATRP for awhile, check out the MMS interview!  Thanks to everyone for reading.


March 11, 2017

Review: Park Hyatt Dubai

Introduction
Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room LHR
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi

We had booked a car through Al Maha and while the driver arrived a few minutes late, everything else was smooth.  Our ride took around an hour given traffic in Dubai.  The Park Hyatt is located in a great location - only about 10 minutes form the airport and situated on Dubai Creek with great views of the small marina and of the Dubai skyline.  Getting into Dubai from the hotel is easy - we made a couple of trips and the longest ride was about 20 minutes.

I had booked a cash rate and used 6,000 HGP per night to upgrade to a suite.  I emailed the hotel prior to see if we could be placed in a terrace suite but didn't have any expectations that they would honor that request.  Upon check-in, we were informed that they'd upgraded us to the terrace suite included complimentary breakfast and minibar - score!  No idea why they upgraded us - surely not due to my lowly Hyatt Platinum (prior to program changes) status or my world renown blog.  I think we just got lucky.

Our room wasn't ready yet so we had a complimentary cappuccino and caught up on email for 30 minutes and checked out the views of the Dubai Creek and skyline.




Review: Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Introduction
Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room LHR
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi

We left the JW Marriott Dubai en route to Al Maha around 11AM.  Our driver was super friendly and explained a number of sites along the road as we exited the city and headed out into the desert.  30 minutes later we were pulling up to the first gate to enter the conservation reserve.

Welcome to DDCR
Al Maha!
Upon seeing the small footprint of Al Maha set against the desert, both of us were so excited to be back again.

Jump on the bed excited