I am Sick of Arguing for Starwood Upgrades

As a whole, I love Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). Their points are incredibly valuable, and I generally find their properties to be quite nice. However, one of the biggest benefits of being a Platinum member is also one of the biggest annoyances. Starwood is generally considered to have the best ...
14 Comments

Review: Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel


After spending a few nights at the Sheraton in Sao Paulo, I was ready for a change. I had two nights booked for the weekend at the Renaissance Sao Paulo, and I was excited to check it out. Renaissance might be my favorite hotel chain, especially internationally. In the USA, most Renaissance ...
8 Comments

A Quick Look at the United Club in Buenos Aires

A few weeks ago, I had a great business trip to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. My flight to Buenos Aires was quite nice, even if my the Sheraton Sao Paulo left me disappointed. I had a TAM flight (report coming soon) from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo, and before the flight, I was able to spend ...
5 Comments

Another Example of When Marriott Gift Cheques Make More Sense Than Points

I've blogged about Marriott Gift Cheques before. I used them at the Renaissance Eden Roc a couple years ago, and I also found that you should be wary using them at international destinations. What are these gift cheques? In a nut shell, they are a special award avaialble for Marriott Platinum Elite ...
3 Comments

No Suite for Me! Sheraton Libertador Buenos Aires + Sheraton WTC Sao Paulo

As much as I enjoy being a Platinum Member of Starwood Preferred Guest, I do find the properties to be incredibly inconsistent in honoring benefits. I thought I might share my experience a couple weeks ago at two SPG properties on the South American continent.
I flew into Buenos Aires via ...
3 Comments

Booking My Ultimate Honeymoon with Points: Egypt Lodging

Introduction
Flights from San Francisco to Mauritius
Lodging in Mauritius
Flights from Mauritius to Luxor
Egypt Lodging
Flights from Cairo to the Maldives
Maldives Lodging
Flights from the Maldives back to San Francisco
While seeing the pyramids has been ...

Virgin America Announces Elite Status


I'm a huge fan of Virgin America. I think the airline makes a lot of sense for infrequent travelers. You're not competing with status-holding members, and you get Wi-Fi, in-seat entertainment, and some of the best food / drink options in coach. I blogged about a flight I had in Main Cabin ...

Review: The Carlton Hotel in New York City


I stumbled upon The Carlton Hotel by accident. I spent a week in New York for business, and my company had a rate at the Sheraton Tribeca for $299/night. Despite Starwood definitely being my favorite chain, there was a Marriott promotion going on so I needed some Marriott nights. I looked ...
4 Comments

United Award Ticket Glitch: HKG to SFO in First Class for Two Passengers: 8 Miles + $66.60 in fees

Apparently United's site has a glitch on it right now (thanks to Gary @ View from the Wing for the link). I just bought an "alternate" flight home for my honeymoon for only 8 miles and $66.60 in fees. It has been ticketed. Think they'll honor it?

Give it a shot - apparently this glitch affects awards starting in China.

UPDATE: Okay... nothing to see here... the ticket deducated the proper amount of miles from my account. Apparently this has worked for a couple people, but it isn't working anymore.

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United Airlines Flight 53: BusinessFirst Houston (IAH) to Buenos Aires (EZE)


I was quite excited for my first trip south of the equator! Business had me headed to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. Before talking about my flight, a couple words of caution for those visiting Argentina or Brazil:
1) You don't need a VISA for Argentina, but you do need to pay a "reciprocity ...
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Kevin's Photography v. Bing.com: Part 3!

While I still don't use it much for searching, I love Bing.com for the daily picture. Every now and then the Bing.com photo is a place that I've been before / photographed. I like to rate myself against their professional photography skills and see how I stack up.
Bing.com won the first time. ...
4 Comments

Grumpy Flight Attendants & No Blankets: My Redeye from LAS to EWR Last Night

I was originally scheduled to be on a 2PM United P.S. flight from LAX to JFK last night. My upgrade was confirmed, and I was looking forward to peace & quiet, wifi, and a good meal. Instead, my plans changed. I had an awesome day of golf with my dad and brothers, but I had to take a redeye to ...
5 Comments

Booking My Ultimate Honeymoon with Points: Lodging in Mauritius

Introduction
Flights from San Francisco to Mauritius
Lodging in Mauritius
Flights from Mauritius to Luxor
Egypt Lodging
Flights from Cairo to the Maldives
Maldives Lodging
Flights from the Maldives back to San Francisco
So we've made it to Mauritius. ...
12 Comments

Business Trip to Buenos Aires and São Paulo ~ South America, Here I Come!


Despite having traveled pretty extensively for the past ten years of my life, I have never yet been south of the equator! Taking a look at the map, it looks like the closest I've gotten is Krabi, Thailand and Chennai, India. That will all change in July. I'm off to South America for a business ...
2 Comments

A Rebuttal to Matthew: Why I'm Staying with United


Matthew wrote a great post a couple days ago about how he'll be making the jump to American Airlines for the rest of the year.
His primary reason for switching includes the following:
Frustration with United's IT System Integration More (8 on AA v. 2 on UA) Systemwide Upgrades ...
5 Comments