Showing posts with label Air Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Air Canada. Show all posts

April 30, 2017

A Week in Japan: Planning & Booking II

Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Star Alliance First Class Lounge LAX
Asiana First Class A380 LAX to Seoul (ICN)
Asiana First Class Lounge Seoul (ICN)
Asiana A330 Business Class Seoul (ICN) to Kyoto (KIX)
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300ER Kyoto (KIX) to Hong Kong
Conrad Hong Kong
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to San Francisco
Hyatt Regency SFO

For a variety of reasons, we shortened our upcoming trip by a few days.  Unfortunately that means no visit to Osaka or Tokyo but we'll still get 3 days in Kyoto and 3 days in Hong Kong.  All hotels remain the same - we just mixed it up a bit with the flights.  If you're interested in reading more about the initial booking process, please read the first planning and booking segment.

We swapped our United Polaris flight for Asiana's A380 first class service from LAX.  Instead of 130,000 United miles, this set us back 110,000 United and 105,000 Aeroplan miles.  Not the greatest use of an additional 75,000 miles but we'll be more comfortable.  In Seoul, we'll visit the Asiana First Class lounge for a shower before boarding an Asiana A330 in business class to Osaka (KIX).

After three nights in Kyoto, we'll take the train back to KIX and fly Cathay Pacific business class direct to Hong Kong.  Not as fancy as Cathay first but should be plenty fine for a 4 hour flight.  I booked this flight with 40,000 (total) British Airways miles - pretty good deal considering the length of the flight and better than Alaska's award chart by 5,000 total miles.

Everything else remains the same.  I should have the first segment up in the next month or so!

April 9, 2017

We're Going to Montreal

Emily and I have spent a fair amount of time in Canada over the last few years.  We've taken a couple trips to Vancouver and Toronto.  We've both had Montreal on our list for awhile but given the short summer, has been hard to fit into our schedules.

While it's not Paris, we're headed to Montreal for anniversary this summer.  I was hoping to burn a couple of Fairmont free nights at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth but unfortunately, the hotel won't be open (has been undergoing renovations for over a year) in time for our trip.

I've booked a couple of speculative reservations including one at the W Montreal where I am leaning on staying.  Cash rates were pretty good and the hotel is a great location.

In terms of getting to Montreal, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Denver last year and we're looking forward to flying the route.  Business class tickets were only $175 (roundtrip) more than coach so we splurged - and will earn 200% EQM towards United elite status.

We're both excited to spend a little time up north and experience the European side of Canada.  Will have a full trip report on the flights and hotels later this summer.

Any readers have any thoughts on Montreal hotels and things to do while in the city?

September 4, 2016

Making Itinerary Changes on the Fly

We were originally scheduled to fly home from Tokyo on ANA through Houston.  This meant an early (11:15AM) departure from Tokyo's Narita airport which is a long haul from the city.  We were also booked on United economy (no big deal) from Houston to Denver.  But with more stuff coming home than when we left, it's always nice to board first and have guaranteed overhead bin space.

I'll usually spend a few minutes here and there while traveling to see if I can come up with anything "better" in terms of flights home.  Airlines often release last minute award seats and we've had good luck "upgrading" our flights home on both Cathay Pacific and Etihad.

I was up early one morning in the Maldives catching up on email and checking out flights home.  We were so excited about our time in Tokyo and really wanted more time on the ground to explore.  I found a MUCH better option home that would give us 6 more hours in Tokyo and first class on the domestic leg home.  The only issue was that the tickets were booked separately.  Emily's via United MileagePlus and mine via Air Canada's Aeroplan.  Air Canada's call centre is only open until midnight ET and it was already 1AM when I found the space.

Emily and I discussed and decided this would be a better option.  United's change fee was $100 while Air Canada's was 90 CAD (~$70 USD).  We both have leftover Barclays Arrival points that would offset part of the cash outlay.  Later that afternoon, I called Air Canada via Skype and sat on hold for 45 minutes.  While annoying, at this point we were planning what to do in Tokyo with the extra 6 hours so really wanted to make the change.

I finally got through and had the change made in about 5 minutes.  The record locator number remained the same and I was able to select seats on ANA's website without any issue.  One down, one to go.

I called United and was through to an agent on the premier line in a couple of minutes.  Same thing...change was done in about five minutes...record locator number remained the same and the ticket issued without any issues.

ANA First Class
All in, I spent a little over an hour making the change.  In exchange for more time on the ground in an amazing city and a more direct routing home.  Flexibility is key in this game.  I generally want to plan as far ahead as possible so "locking" something in is important to me.  I know that I'll likely be able to improve an itinerary later with some cost (in dollars and time) and that works just fine for me.

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!

January 9, 2016

First Class Birthday: Introduction

Planning & Booking
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto
Air Canada 767-300 Business Class Toronto To London (LHR)
Andaz Liverpool
Etihad Airways Lounge London
Etihad A380 Business Class London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK)
The New York EDITION

I realize I still have a few trip report segments to finish for our last trip to Singapore but I'm so excited about this trip, I wanted to get the Introduction post out.

I've already posted about booking Etihad's First Class Apartment and will probably be posting about the experience several times before/after the trip.

Since the timing worked out, we decided to make this a trip to celebrate my birthday.  Emily's excited as this is a step up from last year's flying east to get west adventure.

Trip route - courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper

We'll leave after work Friday evening taking United's direct service to Toronto.  The flight arrives late and we have another flight the next morning to London so we'll spend the night at the Sheraton Gateway which is connected to the airport.

The next morning, we'll take Air Canada's day flight (often called the CEO flight) from Toronto to London.  The flight leaves around 8AM and arrives around 8PM.  Pretty perfectly timed to be able to minimize jet lag and get to sleep upon arrival.  I'm still hoping we'll be able to upgrade to a Lufthansa First Class flight (connecting through Frankfurt or Munich) but that would be a last minute change if at all.  If not, we'll be perfectly fine in AC business class and I'm excited to review an option that is widely available on points in advance.

We are both really excited to check out the Andaz Liverpool in London which is located in London's East Side.  We both loved the Andaz in Amsterdam and it will be great to check out another Andaz property in Europe.

After a few nights in London, we're off to Abu Dhabi via Etihad's A380 business class.  Again, I'm hopeful that a couple of First Class Apartment seats open up (only 10,000 more miles each) but it will be cool to review both the business and first class apartment cabins on the A380.  

In Abu Dhabi, we'll spend a couple of nights at the Park Hyatt before heading to the airport for 14 hours in our first class apartments!  We're mixing it up a bit - staying a couple nights in New York before returning home to Denver.

Nearly 17,000 miles of flying

All in, this will be nearly 17,000 miles of flying and a couple of new airlines to review!  I'll post the Planning & Booking segment prior to our departure as well as a couple other posts about Etihad.  Stay tuned for another great trip report!

May 21, 2014

Toronto for the Weekend

We just returned from our weekend in Toronto.  The weekend was awesome and we had a great time exploring the city.  Here's my consolidated (flights, hotel, city, concert, lounge) review of the weekend.  Enjoy!

We left downtown Denver around 3:15PM for our 5:40PM departure.  Traffic was light and thanks to TSA Precheck we were at lounge 5280 (the best spot for a drink at DEN - located in terminal B) enjoying a pre-flight cocktail.  We made our way to the gate and were quickly on our way to Toronto. If you are ever on a United CRJ-700 and have access to Economy Plus, definitely pick row 7.  The "bulkhead" separating the seat from first class is a "curtain" so you have essentially unlimited leg room.

Mayor Ford welcomes you!

Sorry not Sorry

We landed in Toronto around 11PM and parked at a remote gate.  So we had quite the hike (seriously it took us almost 20 minutes) to get to immigration.  I've always found entering Canada to be pretty comical.  I have made over a dozen trips over the last seven years yet always get interrogated upon arrival.  I think that is the standard treatment but who knows...maybe they think I'm super dangerous.