Matthewonlive and let's fly

Free Boingo Internet for American Express Platinum Cardholders


American Express Platinum is on the rebound. It was right to question the value of the $450 annual fee when Continental left Membership Rewards, US Airways lounge access was lost, and Delta lounge access was severely curtailed, but in many ways, the AMEX Platinum is now my most valuable credit card. And with the introduction of free and unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi from 1MN+ ground-based sources worldwide, the card is now even more valuable for U.S. cardholders.

This program has been ...

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Scandanavian Airlines SAS Introduces New Business Class


Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has trailed the competition for years in terms of longhaul business class product. I reviewed business class from Copenhagen to Washington Dulles in 2010 and four years later the seats still have not changed--SAS still does not offer lie-flat or even 180º "angled lie-flat" seats on its longhaul routes. With a refurbishment coming to existing aircraft and new aircraft on the way, SAS has finally introduced a new business class seat--and it looks ...

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Why Congress Should Mandate All-In Pricing for Hotels Too


As Congress considers whether to allow airlines to hide taxes and fees from consumers until late in the booking process, perhaps a hotel anecdote will be instructive. Hotels and the online travel agencies that sell hotel rooms are not required to breakout all-in pricing on hotel stays and the result in some cases is absolutely absurd pricing that is misleading and contravenes consumer interests. 

Flight delays and cancellations last night made it a realistic possibility that I ...

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Can I Access An American Express Lounge Without My AMEX Card?

I was in Las Vegas today and giddy to check out the American Express Centurion Lounge that opened last year. Available to American Express Black and Platinum cardholders for free or $50 to other AMEX cardholders, the lounge offers a great spread of food and a comfortable oasis from the airport concourse. But there was one problem--I left my Platinum card in Germany...

I can be a scatterbrain sometimes and although I was anticipating this trip to Vegas when I left Germany last week, I ...

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An Unrealized Memorial Day Wish


U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, a man of so few words he was referred to by many as "Silent Cal", delivered an uncharacteristically long speech at Gettysburg on May 30, 1928 to commemorate Memorial Day.

The context of his speech was a time in which Americans were looking inward, enjoying the prosperous boom years of the Roaring 20s and highly adverse to war. At the time, the U.S. and French were collaborating on an international treaty condemning war and renouncing it as an ...

Is it Safe to Travel to Thailand?

A coup d’état has taken place in Thailand with a military junta now running the show. As horrible as that sounds, is it safe to travel to Thailand during this time?

In a word, yes.

King Bhumibol Aduljadej has been on the throne longer than Queen Elizabeth and this marks the 12th coup of his reign. That's not to say this latest failure in democracy is nothing to be worried about--the junta has dissolved the upper house of parliament and has banned over 200 ...

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United Has Tightened Routing Restrictions on Asia Awards

Exactly one month ago, I wrote a post entitled New, Stricter United MileagePlus Routing Rules for Travel Between USA and North Asia? At the time, I concluded the rumored draconian new routing restrictions on awards between North America and North Asia were merely rumors, but now it turns out they were a foretaste of what was to come. New routing rules have been published that (if true) significantly devalue the MileagePlus program. Currently, has only been partially ...

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FAQs About Waitlisting a Singapore Airlines Award


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is now a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner and with that comes the possibility of reasonably priced awards in premium cabins on SQ flights. Singapore has three award pricing tiers on their own metal and often your desired flight will not be available at the saver level. With SQ's waitlisting feature, you still stand a chance at getting a seat on your desired flight for the cheapest mileage rate.

Q: How do I waitlist for an award on Singapore ...

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4 Years, 28 Countries, 1 Wedding Proposal

I hate to hear my own voice, so it is rare that I make videos when I travel. That's a shame, really, because I've been to over 100 fascinating countries and though I make it a point to get at least one good picture in each country, putting together a collage of videos of my travels over the last decade would be pretty cool. I also don't plan too far in advance - it is debatable whether that is a good quality or bad, but the thought of planning a wedding proposal four years in advance is just ...

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United Airlines Increases Mileage Upgrade Co-Pay on Premium Transcon Routes

United has transformed its premium service (p.s.) fleet that operates between Los Angeles/San Francisco and New York JFK from a three-cabin configuration with older seats in business and first class to a two-cabin configuration with fully lie-flat seats in business class. United has also increased wi-fi speeds, provided on-demand entertainment at each seat, and caters the flight as an international longhaul (though economy still must purchase hot and cold meals). With that transformation ...

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Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds Singapore KrisFlyer as Transfer Partner


Chase Ultimate Rewards just got even more valuable with the introduction today of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer as a 1:1 transfer partner.

KrisFlyer is not a particularly valuable program for most Star Alliance redemptions, but like any program there are award sweet spots. Domestic business class tickets within the USA or travel within South America is 40K r/t and often available without fuel surcharges. But, the ...

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Reaching Lufthansa Miles & More After Hours

Lufthansa Miles & More offers a great value on United Airlines redemptions within the USA, particular in business class (35K r/t). The downside is that most partner flights, including United, must be booked by telephone. Like many things German, working hours are limited and forget about Sunday. Sort of. While the US call center maintains very limited working hours from 8am to 8pm ET Monday-Friday, if you ever find you need to book late or on a Saturday or Sunday, you do have a couple ...

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Photos: Remembering United's Bangkok City Ticket Office


I was sorting through some old pictures today and stumbled upon a series of photos of United Airlines' former Bangkok city ticket office. United pulled out of Bangkok in March after decades of service to Thailand and left behind, among other things, a dedicated staff of employees at one of the few remaining United city ticketing offices.

My visit was in 2011 and I did not have any specific business to sort in the office: being the aviation nut that I am, I was just so surprised to ...

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Alitalia the Latest Carrier to Cut Service to Venezuela

The situation unfolding in Venezuela fascinates me. There you have a state on the verge of failure with hyperinflation and a government suffering from a foreign currency crunch. The result: airlines are not getting paid for their service and are bailing one by one. The latest Caracas casualty is Alitalia.

For the last 11 years, Venezuela has imposed a currency control system that limits the amount of hard-currency that can be exported from the country. As the economy has worsened ...

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Last September we caught a sneak peak at United Airlines' new website in a television advertisement, but eight months later it has yet to roll out. Perhaps United is still working out the kinks and has launched a new survey this week that randomly pops up when you visit

If you opt into the survey, you are asked a series of general questions about your satisfaction with the the home page (not the whole ...

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500 Free United MileagePlus Miles in Two Minutes


Earn 500 United miles just for signing up for the United MileagePlus Dining Program before 10 July 2014. No purchase or restaurant visit is necessary--simply complete the online profile and you will be credited the miles.

You can then earn up to 2,500 additional miles by eating at participating restaurants. For every visit to a participating restaurant (up to five times) within 30 days of sign-up you will earn an additional 500-mile bonus. And note there is no minimum spend ...

Should Members of Congress Fly in Coach?

A Congressman with far too much time on his hands who I will not even dignify by naming has introduced a bill entitled, "If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act.” His rationale is this--

Members of Congress are public servants and should not receive special privileges at the expense of hard working taxpayers...It’s wrong that Members of Congress can purchase luxury airfare with taxpayer money when many families in my district and across the county ...

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Air France Flying Blue Promo Awards - 50% Off Business Class from Washington to Europe


Air France/KLM Flying Blue offers Promo Awards every quarter in which select worldwide destinations are discounted 25-50%. Paying only 62.5K miles r/t to fly between North America and Europe in business class makes the ~$750 fuel surcharge stomachable on these awards and superb award availability makes these promotions more than just a gimmick to attract attention. This month, Air France is discounting business class tickets by 50% (62.5K r/t) between Washington Dulles and Europe (not ...

Why I No Longer Trust TripAdvisor

A Telegraph story details how consumers are using TripAdvisor as a threat to extract freebies in favor of withholding a bad review. Though I tend to think this particular problem is not as widespread as reported, I still see this as yet another reason not to trust TripAdvisor.

Craig Savage, 49, who runs the Double Barrel Steakhouse and Grill in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, claims that about 30 of the 1,000 meals he serves each week will be to malicious customers who threaten bad ...

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Booking My First Class US Airways Award with No Fuel Surcharges


Although the window is closing fast, it is still possible to book British Airways award flights using US Airways Dividend Miles without a fuel surcharge. It took me a couple tries, but I just booked a mega-award redemption with two longhauls on BA without a fuel surcharge.

Unlike American Airlines, where the system knows best and there is no way to slip creative routings past agents or avoid any fuel surcharges due (on British Airways and Iberia flights), US Airways still prices ...

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