February 6, 2016

First Class Birthday: Planning & Booking

Planning & Booking
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto
Air Canada 767-300 Business Class Toronto To London (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

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.


Given our day flight from Toronto, we needed to get there the night before.  There's a Sheraton attached to Toronto's Pearson airport which couldn't be more convenient.  I was able to book a AAA rate for $122 USD which seemed like a deal to me...thanks to the strong USD.

We'll see if we can make a change to Lufthansa first class within 15 days of departure.  That would certainly be more fun the Air Canada business class.  Either way, we'll be happy.

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 $467 for 8 total nights.


The flight from Denver to London cost us 140,000 United miles and $18.  London to Abu Dhabi on Etihad business class cost 60,000 American AAdantage miles and $530 in taxes and the dreaded UK premium departure tax.  We received 6,000 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 140,000 United miles and 226,000 American miles.  We also paid $781 in taxes, fees, and airfare.


Despite the heavy departure tax in London, I still put together a pretty sweet 8 night trip for less than $1,250.  I redeemed a total of 531,000 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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