February 22, 2016

First Class Birthday: Planning & Booking II

Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
United Airlines Global First Lounge IAD
United Airlines 777-200 Global First IAD to LHR 
Andaz Liverpool
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge London
Etihad A380 Business Class London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK)
The New York EDITION

Update:  I was able to make a few changes (noted below) to our trip over the weekend.  First, a single Etihad First Class Apartment award seat opened up between London and Abu Dhabi.  Like a good husband, I promptly booked the seat and put Emily up front.  I'm still hoping another seat opens up...if not, you'll get my review from the business class cabin and a few comments from Emily about her First Class Apartments experience.  I was also able to change our routing to London.  Two seats opened up in United Global First (777-200) from Washington Dulles to London.  The change cost us 20,000 miles $150 in change fees which perfectly offset the cost for a hotel in Toronto.  I've updated the post below with the changes.  Stay tuned for the trip report segments coming in March!

I've been grounded since November when we returned from our round the world adventure.  So I am really excited to get back in the air and travel somewhere.  Once we had our Etihad First Class Apartment booked from Abu Dhabi to New York, we just needed to build a trip around it.  We decided on London for a few days prior to Abu Dhabi and New York.  It's been a few years since we were in London and it's one of our favorite cities in the world.  So it was an easy choice.  Here's how I booked everything.


In London, we decided to stay at the Andaz which cost 75,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points, transferred in from Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

In Abu Dhabi, we settled on the Park Hyatt.  We arrive early in the morning (1AMish) and depart early the next morning (3AMish) so I booked two nights to guarantee we can be in the room the entire team.  Not the best use of points/cash but we'll be comfortable and given the overall cost of the trip, made sense.  I booked one prepaid night at a rate of $220 USD.  The second night cost 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and $125.

In New York, we'll be staying at the New York EDITION for a total of 80,000 Marriott Points.

In total, I used 85,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and 80,000 Marriott points.  The cash outlay will be $345 for 7 total nights.


The flight from Denver to London cost us 160,000 United miles and $11.  London to Abu Dhabi in a combination of Etihad business/first class cost 70,000 American AAdantage miles and $520 in taxes thanks to the dreaded UK premium departure tax.  We received 7,000 miles back for holding the AA Platinum Visa card.

The Etihad first class apartment flight cost us 170,000 AAdvantage miles after the 10,000 mile rebate.  We also paid $73 in taxes.

To get home, we paid cash for a United flight from LGA to DEN.  While the flight actually cost $410 for both of us, I paid with my Citi Prestige card which rebated $250.  So the total cash outlay was $160.

In total, I redeemed 160,000 United miles and 233,000 American miles.  We also paid $764 in taxes, fees, and airfare.


Despite the heavy departure tax in London, I still put together a pretty sweet trip for less than $1,109.  I redeemed a total of 558,000 points and miles for all of the flights and hotel nights.    That compares favorably to our previous trip where we spent 654,000 points and miles and more than $2,100 in cash for a 9 night trip.  Stay tuned for the individual trip report segments coming next month!

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