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Review: Hilton Beijing Wanfujing – An EXCELLENT Property

I’m writing this from the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Beijing Wanfujing hotel. Tonight will be my 8th consecutive night, and tomorrow I’m flying home nonstop on United 888 PEK-SFO. I have had a fantastic time in Beijing, but I’m ready to head back to the States. That being said, I’m definitely not ready to leave the Hilton Wanfujing! This is a truly elite property, and I cannot wait to return.

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Review: Sheraton Chola Chennai – A Great Way to Experience South India

My trip to India included stops in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi. I really enjoyed every hotel I chose. Read on to hear about my experience at the Sheraton Chola Chennai!

 

Your first couple days in India can be very jarring, for lack of a better word. Seeing the lack of infrastructure, the poverty, the population growth, etc, can be a very overwhelming thing. It’s nice to have a hotel that can help guide you through it all and ...

Flying from Bangkok, Thailand to Chennai, India via Jet Airways (BKK-BOM-MAA)

After my 1-day adventure in Bangkok, I was off to India for a couple weeks for work. My first destination was Chennai on the southeastern coast of India. There were no great Star Alliance routes from Bangkok to Chennai so I decided to fly Jet Airways, a United partner, via Mumbai. As a United partner, Jet Airways allows Mileage Plus members to earn RDMs, but you can’t get any EQMs. Also, only certain fare codes are eligible for RDMs. Read on for ...

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Just One Day to Spend in Bangkok? Here’s a Great Way to Spend It!

Getting to India from the United States can be a bit of a journey. Rather than grimace at the thought of all those flights, booking a stopover in Bangkok seemed like a great idea. I could adjust to the time change, explore the city, eat some great Thai food, and then continue on my journey! Read on to know how I spent my stopover in Bangkok!

 

My roommate’s friend gave me some great advice about things to see in Bangkok. She ...

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SFO-NRT-BKK My First Experience in United International Business Class

I guess it’s been about four years since I first started traveling extensively for work. I’ve been a United 1K for most of that time, and that makes sense as I’m at about 400,000 lifetime miles. However, most of those miles have been earned on domestic routes! In fact, before this past trip, I had never flown internationally on United. Read on to find out about my first SWU / International Business Class ...

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The Trip of a Lifetime – Trip Report(s) Coming Soon!

I just got back from an amazing trip to India / Thailand. I had about 7 days of work that I had to do in India, and I had never even visited Asia before. I set out to try and create an itinerary that maximized my ability to use my United SWUs, see various parts of the world, burn some Marriott points, earn some Marriott points, and have some time for relaxation! I didn’t really have any control over my schedule in India. That was determined by my meetings. However, I DID have control ...

The United Premier Snack Mix is Not Really Much of a Mix…

I don’t love pretzels. In fact, I somewhat dislike them. Most airlines stopped the peanuts due to the allergy craze, which seems to have come out of nowhere, and now they all serve pretzels. Lucky for me, my air carrier of choice serves a “premium snack mix.” I grabbed one at the RCC and stuffed it into my bag for a late night snack when I got to the hotel. Much to my chagrin, I opened it up and could only find pretzels! I dug ...

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United Airlines Fails to Smoothly Roll out Unlimited Domestic Upgrades

Just my luck… My business travel landed me a BOS-SFO flight on March 19, 2010, the day United Airlines is set to roll out unlimited domestic upgrades. While I suspected that flights on the 19th would be completely messed up, from an IT systems perspective , I had some hope reserved that United might use the time leading up to March 19th to properly prepare their systems for this. Oh silly me! Here’s my ...

Waikiki Beach in Hawaii Before a Tsunami: Must-See Pictures + Video!

 

My girlfriend and I did a long weekend in Hawaii: 2 nights at the JW Ihilani and 2 nights at the Marriott Waikiki Beach. On top of it being a great weekend, we were fortunate enough to be there for the tsunami scare. I won’t recap the whole story for you. Check out here, here, and here if you need background. So while the tsunami (or lack thereof) kept us confined to our 24th floor hotel room and resulted ...

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Virgin America Keeps their Frequent Flier Program Relevant: 18 Month Expiration After Last Activity

I really like flying Virgin America. I think it’s a great in-flight experience. Frequent fliers can do much better with traditional legacy carriers, but if you don’t fly that often, I think Virgin America is a GREAT way to travel. They had one thing that really annoyed me, though. Elevate (their frequent flier) points would expire 18 months after they were given to you. That means even if you flew Virgin America like a madman for 18 months, ...

GoGo WiFi now $14.95 on United P.S. flights! :-(

$15 for WiFI?! Are you kidding me? I thought $12.95 was steep, but $14.95 really stinks! I’m writing this post from UA 14 Premium Service SFO-JFK on March 1, 2010. I think they just raised their rates today, March 1. The funny thing is that I just played the GoGo game to get a free internet session here. It gave me a FREE internet session up to $12.95 value. I wonder if it will work on the $14.95 United P.S. flights. I’ll try it next time. Anyhow, I think $10 is a fair price to pay for cross-country WiFi. $12.95 seemed steep, and 14.95 really seems bad. I hope people use it less. I guess they just count on business users to not care and expense it.

FlightTrack Pro & TripIt: A Match Made in Heaven

Do you travel frequently? If you’re answer is no, then you may not be interested in this post. But if you’re answer is yes, then let me rock your world :) . When bouncing from airport to airport, sometimes on different carriers, it can be tough to keep up to date on flight delays, gate numbers, etc. FlightTrack Pro from Mobiata gives a great interface for tracking ALL of your flight information. Combine it with TripIt and you get all of your ...

Comparing My United First Class Meal with My US Airways $7 Salad

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A few weeks ago I was flying in United First from SFO to ORD, and I ordered the steak salad for dinner. I was pretty disappointed when my salad  only had three tiny pieces of steak in it.As I was eating the salad, I was thinking to myself that the offerings on United’s Choice Menu are far superior to this steak salad. It really drove home the fact that not only are first class meals getting worse, but also that United (and many other airlines!) ...

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Cloud Surfing with United on my way from SFO to ORD!

This is a pretty cool video I was able to snap with my iPhone 3GS, flying from SFO to ORD on United a few weeks ago. Beautiful sunset with a perfect layer of clouds. Even cooler was seeing other planes in the distance surfing right along the tops of clouds like us! I didn’t catch that on video, unfortunately. Enjoy!

United / US Airways Frequent Fliers in DTW – Be Sure to Check out the Lufthansa Lounge!

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Many people don’t realize that as a Star Alliance Gold flier, they are entitled to certain Star Alliance lounges with their elite membership card. I’m a United 1K and Red Carpet Club member, but even if I had no RCC membership (heck I could even be Premier Executive!), I would still be entitled to Star Alliance lounge access. This is really useful in some places, and not in others. One place that it’s GREAT is in Detroit’s airport. All of ...

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Picking the Best Headphones for the Road Warrior

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As both a fan of music and a frequent traveler, I have been in constant search for the best pair of headphones. Like many, I started first with the included iPod / iPhone earbuds. To be honest, I actually find them to be pretty good, especially when walking around the city. The added convenience of the speaker for talking on the phone makes them a great default pair of headphones. But my love for these default headphones ends immediately when i step on a ...

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Host Your Child’s Next Birthday Party at…. The Courtyard by Marriott???

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So I’m currently staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Billerica/Bedford about 20 miles north of Boston. After finishing my delicious meal at The Loft, I returned to the hotel and found a stack of fliers and a poster advertising that the hotel was now hosting birthday parties. HOW FUN! Chuck E Cheese’s, broomball establishments , and the local family fun centers better watch out! J.W. Marriott is going to come and throw the biggest and baddest kids’ parties of them ...

FINALLY! The SFO United Red Carpet Club Gets the LAX Treatment

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Months ago, the United Red Carpet Club in LAX got a pretty big upgrade, in terms of food. Towers of cereal replaced the stale croissants. The bagels and toast were FINALLY complemented by a toaster. Yogurt covered raisins, trail mix, etc – the food got better. I end up in that Red Carpet Club pretty often, but it bothered me that my hometown (SFO) didn’t get the same treatment. I just walked into the club a few minutes ago, and I saw the same ...