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Delta Airlines OAK-LAX: My Worst Delay Strikes Last in 2011

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I'm writing this post on my MacBook Air from the tarmac in Oakland. We're plopped in one of Delta's finest CRJ200 regional jets. That's sarcasm, if you couldn't tell.

If your first reaction is, "Delta flies from Oakland to Los Angeles??" you're in good company. I had no idea until I booked it. We're flying down to LA for the long weekend, and my go-to flights are out of SFO, but the Delta OAK-LAX flight was only $60... plus, we're going to be ...

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Great Award Availability Next Summer on a Hot Route: Maldives (MLE) to Singapore (SIN)

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I'm using Etihad Airways to get to the Maldives next fall, but if your bucket of miles are with a Star Alliance carrier, your only option for flying directly out of the Maldives (MLE) is Singapore Airlines to Singapore. Singapore runs two daily flights:

SQ461, MLE-SIN, departs at 3:00PM, lands at 10:50PM SQ451, MLE-SIN, departs at 11:25PM, lands at 7:15AM

So basically you can leave in the afternoon and get in late or you can take a redeye. Singapore AIrlines uses a 2-cabin ...

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My 2011 Quick Travel Videos

When I'm traveling, I take pictures of everything. Every now and then, I see something so neat that I decide to film it. And every now and then, I like what I filmed so much that I edit it and stick it on YouTube.

When I was in Shanghai, I thought it was pretty cool that I got a ride in the cart to the Air China Star Alliance lounge:

On that same trip, I also took the Maglev train from the Shanghai Pudong Airport to downtown:

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SPG First Quarter Promo: 2x and 3x Points, Discourages Hotel Hopping

It looks like SPG just announced their newest promotion. The Points Guy writes a fairly long summary here, but here's the basic gist:

Two night stays earn double points. Stays of three nights or longer earn triple points.

This is an interesting promo for a couple reasons. First, it's kinda similar to the last promo. The primary difference is that the last promo gave you an extra bonus kicker if you stayed a weekend night - for this promo, the kicker is staying three nights or ...

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Two United Airlines Gate Agent Pet Peeves of Mine

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I have a few pet peeves of United Airlines Gate Agents, and coincidentally, I'm bumping into two of these this morning. Granted, I think many of these irks are characteristics of ALL gate agents, regardless of airline, but I have the most experience with United. Here are the following that I'm hitting today:

Telling Everyone that the Flight is Going to Completely Full When it's Not - I'm staring at the monitor, and it is showing over 20 seats ...
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Trip Report: Long Weekend at the St. Regis Punta Mita

Thank you, SPG Getaway Free Promotion. This promo let my fiancé and I enjoy a long weekend at the St. Regis Punta Mita. I actually think the promotion enabled MANY people to use their free nights there. Brad used his free nights there, the guy who shared a cab with us to the airport used his there, and judging from the threads on Flyertalk, many many others used theirs there as well.

I netted 4 free nights from the promo, but due to time ...

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End of Year Goodie: United Airlines Starts Bumping Up Status of Some Fliers

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My fiancé has been carefully plotting her 2011 path to Premier, with her plan being to get over 25,000 EQMs about a week before the end of December. She didn't realize how close she was on segments, and apparently if you're a half segment short of Premier, there's a good chance that United will give you an early status bump. That's what happened to her.

 

Take a look at the screenshot. She's 0.5 segments short of the 30 segments required for Premier Status, and she's already listed as a Premier member.

For those on the edge, though, I wouldn't recommend praying for a bump in status from United. Typically you have to be REALLY close for them to grant you mercy, and even then, it's not guaranteed.

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KLM Wants You to Find a Seatmate with Facebook / LinkedIn

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I was watching CNN tonight, and I saw a story that was so ridiculous, I wasn't sure if it was true. I Google'd it, and yup, it's true: Finding a seatmate through Facebook.

Details are scant, but the idea is for travelers to look at people with similar interests and then book a seat. But don't worry if you don't want anyone snooping on your profile.

"Both passengers have to use this tool before they make an appointment," according to ...

United Flight Attendant Makes Me…. an iPhone Stand?

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I was getting some work done this morning on UA 517 from Atlanta to Chicago, and I had things organized on my tray table quite nicely. I had my 11" MacBook Air on the left, where I was working. On the right, I had my iPhone propped up against my Diet Coke can so I could watch some video podcasts while getting work done.

As I was working, the flight attendant came over to me, and he handed me an updside down coffee cup with a portion of the cup ...

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"We have an excellent room for you, Mr. Hanson... It's a 'pure' room."

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I checked into the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead a couple hours ago, and upon checking in, the Front Desk Agent said to me, "We have an excellent room for you, Mr. Hanson" - now usually at this point, as elites, our ears perk up. We envision suites or large corner rooms or something like that, but then she continued, "It's a 'pure' room." She then went on to say it was a king size bed and blah blah blah.

I asked, "What's a pure room?"

She said, ...

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Great Value to the Maldives: Cairo to Abu Dhabi to Male on Etihad Airlines

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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

 

 

 

The Maldives are one of the most coveted destinations in the entire world. Located in the the Indian Ocean, not far from India ...

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United Jumps on the TopGuest Bandwagon: 50 points for Facebook / Foursquare Check-Ins

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2011 is definitely the year that loyalty programs have jumped on the social bandwagon. Like a company on facebook, check in on foursqure, etc. Today United joined the party (registration link: here). Now you "share your location at (or near) any United or Continental airport on Facebook or Foursquare and get 50 award miles plus instant offers from nearby merchants."

I would have thought that facebook / foursquare check-ins would have to correspond ...

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Review: Budapest Marriott

Let me spoil this for you right away. The Marriott in Budapest is one of the nicest Marriotts I have ever stayed at. This is a fantastic property that made our stay in Budapest extra special.

The Budapest Marriott is situated on the Pest side of Budapest. Pest is on flat terrain while Buda is rather hilly; The Danube River separates the two. Anyone staying here does not need to worry about requesting a river view room. Every room in the hotel faces ...

Booking Award Flights for an Ultimate Honeymoon: Part 1

I posted about my honeymoon a while ago, and I had people guess which islands we were planning to visit. None of the guesses were actually that close. The initial honeymoon plan was to go to Mauritius, Seychelles, and the Maldives. Those plans have changed a bit since the initial "imagination phase."

A large portion of the honeymoon is now booked, and I thought I'd use this post to report some lessons learned and observations in hopes that they help someone else out there plan their ...

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Air Canada's Aeroplan Announces Transfer Bonuses: 20 - 25%

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Just landed in my inbox... Air Canada's Aeroplan just announced a transfer bonus that is live for less than a month. From today, November 21, 2011 until December 12, 2011, Aeroplan members can get bonuses of 20% to 25% on points transferred into their program's miles. Here are the transfer bonuses:

Convert to 5,000 Aeroplan Miles ->  Get 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles (20%) Convert to 10,000 Aeroplan Miles -> Get 2,000 Bonus ...

A Quick Look At the Czech Airlines Lounge in Prague

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We finished our euro-trip in Prague, and while we had a 6AM flight to Frankfurt (followed by an A380 trip to SFO in business class - woot!), we made time to quickly stop in the Czech Airlines Lounge.

I'll spoil the surprise and tell you that this lounge was nothing amazing, but the thing I found most intriguing was the entry sign and the list of accepted carrier logos. Czech Airlines is part of the Sky Team. Thus, seeing all of those carriers was not surprising. Then they had a list ...

Expedia Rewards Just Got Way Less Valuable

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Well, this bummed me out. Not only is Expedia going to change their rewards chart (likely for the worse), we will now be earning points at 50% the rate we were earning before.

Here are some "highlights" from the e-mail:

All vacation package bookings will now earn double points (2 points per $1), so you can maximize your point earnings when you book your flight and hotel with Expedia. Flight bookings will now earn 1 Expedia® Point per $2 spent. Our reward chart ...

Check this Relic Out: My Dad's Eastern Airlines Frequent Flier Card

relic

I thought this was worthy of a post. My dad, who is already a Million Miler with United (and also Delta), started digging through his old frequent flier cards a few weeks ago, scrounging for a Continental card, so he could possibly merge his lifetime Continental miles with United as of the first of the year. Anyhow, we found his old Eastern / Continental Airlines card. What a relic! It was on a flimsy piece of paper, rather than on the plastic that "modern" frequent flier cards are on.

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Chicago to Brussels & London Heathrow to Los Angeles in United Economy Plus

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The life of a frequent business traveler isn't always glamorous. In fact, despite what family members and friends might think, it's usually NOT. Dealing with time changes, giving presentations, having to go out to dinner, not being able to see friends, etc - okay - I'm getting off topic here, but while I've had a great record with my United Systemwide Upgrades this year, a terrible thing happened: I ran out :-).

Thus, on my most recent trip to Brussels and London, I flew in United ...

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A NEW Kind of Elite Status for Me! YELP ELITE!

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Mike might be a Yelp h8er, but i'm a Yelp l0ver. There have been a few "firsts" for me in 2011 like SPG Platinum Status and being a half million miler with United, but I'm proud to now have a new status: Yelp Elite!

Yelp status is a bit elusive both in terms of qualification as well as benefits. There are no rigid requirements for qualification, but the program is invitation only. The main way to get the invitation is by writing lots of Yelp ...

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