Brad regional first

Air Canada's Customer service: an easy solution

Air Canada IFE

I had a domestic flight on Air Canada flight where I experienced simple but effective compensation in response to a delay.

I arrived at the gate just before boarding was scheduled to begin.  Boarding time came and went, and finally the agent announced that we were waiting for a disabled passenger to be offloaded from the previous flight before boarding could begin.  Once that ...

2 Comments Read more

Skymiles to New Zealand with Virgin Australia

South_Abel_split_apple

I had many wonderful experiences on my trip to New Zealand and Australia in late 2011.  I got to experience V Australia's service and really maximized the value out of a Delta Skymiles redemption. 

Split apple rock, Abel-Tasman National Park

 

Since have a lot of blog content relating to my trip, I wanted to organize ...

1 Comment Read more

Starwood Preferred Guest program updates

St_Regis_Punta_Mita_pool

Starwood has recently announced some positive changes to their program.  These will take effect on March 1, 2012.  Kevin noted that Hilton also has recently improved the offerings of the Hilton Honors program.  Despite the economy improving and business travel increasing, I'm all for these positive changes for customers making for more competition among the hotel chains. ...

1 Comment Read more

Virgin Australia business class from Sydney to Los Angeles

VA_Close

From the Air New Zealand Koru Club in Sydney, we boarded our V Australia flight to Los Angeles. 

The 777-300ER taking us to LAX

 

We flew this service on the outbound from LAX to SYD in VA Business, so we were familiar with what to expect, although this time my wife and I were flying together, so ...

2 Comments Read more

Virgin Australia lounge in Melbourne and flight to Sydney

MEL_luggage

We had an early departure from the Park Hyatt Melbourne, which began a very long day of travel.  It started with a taxi in Melbourne, then 2 bus rides, flights from MEL-SYD-LAX-MSP-MKE and eventually ended with a taxi ride back to our house.  The odd thing about flying from Australia to the US, is that you can experience 2 sunrises on the same day.  This post is focused on the ...

Park King Suite at the Park Hyatt and touring Melbourne

PH_Melbourne_sign

After our journey with Air New Zealand from Christchurch to Melbourne, we headed to the Park Hyatt for the last stay of the trip.  We arrived in the morning, well before the scheduled check in time, and unfortunately, I got a got a somewhat curt response from the front desk since "it is well before published check in time".  This was despite me asking my private line agent ...

4 Comments Read more

An unexpected flight on Air New Zealand: Christchurch to Melbourne

ANZ_IFE

After a nice brief stay in Christchurch and a wonderful trip in New Zealand, the return portion of our journey was about to begin.  Our Virgin Australia award ticket had us flying back from CHC to MEL. 

As I have discussed before, actually getting to Melbourne proved to be a bit of a challenge. My Pacific Blue/Virgin Australia flight was changed to Air New Zealand. From that ...

2 Comments Read more

United Mileage Plus stickers for extended status

United_sticker

The United/Continental merger is a hot topic for those that are frequent travelers on either of those airlines.  It has recently been announced that the 2012 Mileage Plus program will officially begin on March 3, 2012, once all systems are merged. Below is some of the United has released:

2012 Premier status levels and associated benefits will officially begin March 3rd. For those ...

Touring earthquake-ravaged Christchurch and the Jetstar flight from Queenstown

ZQN_Sign

After we checked out of the lovely Hilton Queenstown, it meant our New Zealand trip nearly at its end.  The final segment of the NZ trip was a flight to Christchurch.  There weren't a lot of options for this flight that would have had timing work well for our needs.  I saw flights both on Air New Zealand and Jetstar (low cost carrier that is a Qantas subsidiary).  I was able ...

Hilton Queenstown in a Deluxe Lake View King room

Queenstown_Entry

After our journey through much of the South Island, we had arrived in Queenstown.  I had heard many positive things about Queenstown, so I was excited to explore it for myself.  There is incredible natural beauty here and our stay at the Hilton Queenstown was great. 

After our stays at the Hilton Auckland, the Hilton Lake Taupo, now we were in Queenstown, the ...

2 Comments Read more

South Island of New Zealand: Vineyards, beaches, glaciers and more

South_Marlborough

After our journey through the North Island to Wellington and the trip across the Cook Strait, we had lots of new territory to explore.  We spent a few days based in Blenheim, exploring the Marlborough region.  We had one day touring vineyards by bicycle.  This was a great way to get around the flat valley since many of the wineries were quite close to each other.  If ...

1 Comment Read more

Exploring Wellington then a ride on the Interislander Ferry to the South Island

WLG_OWbridge

After a nice stay at the Hilton Lake Taupo, we continued our journey further south, towards Wellington, the nation's capital. Although distances aren't great, its not like driving on the US interstate highway system.  Roads are typically narrow and often windy, with the occasional one lane bridge.  These features plus driving on the left made traveling the roadways an interesting ...

Deluxe King room in Heritage Wing at the Hilton Lake Taupo

Hilton_Taupo_Huka_falls

After our stay at the Hilton Auckland, we drove south towards the central part of the north island of New Zealand.  We had another opportunity to use points for a stay, at another crisp new Hilton property.  We stayed 2 nights at the Hilton Lake Taupo. This is a category 5 property, so it cost 35,000 points per night.  This hotel opened as the Hilton in late 2009, built around ...

A review of my 2011 travel and status qualification

United_777_me

We are nearing the end of 2011, so I wanted to summarize my travel year primarily with regard to miles and points. I'm still working on sections of my trip report from Australia and New Zealand, but I wanted to get this out first since new years is coming soon.

 

Airlines

up close and personal with a ...

Deluxe Harbour View King room at the Hilton Auckland

AKLHIHI_Hilton_Auckland_gallery_welcome

 

waterfront view of Hilton Auckland from the hotel's website

After our Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne, we only had one night in Auckland, and wanted to take advantage of some hotel points redemptions, since for many of our stays in New Zealand, we wouldn't be able to do so. We booked one night at the Hilton Auckland.  It was a ...

2 Comments Read more

Virgin Australia: Sydney to Melbourne to Auckland plus Virgin and Air New Zealand lounges

Virgin Australia Lounge entrance

After my nice, but brief stay in an Executive Suite at the Westin Sydney, we were now bound for Auckland.  Thanks to the availability via my Delta award ticket, we had to do this in a bit of a complicated manner.  Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have an alliance for flights across the Tasman Sea, but since I was using Delta Skymiles for my award ticket, only flights on Virgin ...

Free Executive Suite Upgrade at the Westin Sydney

Promotional exterior image of the Westin Sydney

After my flight on Virgin Australia to Cairns and great time scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, it was time for the main portion of our journey: New Zealand.  I flew back to Sydney where my wife and I met up for a short overnight stay at the Westin Sydney before we departed for New Zealand. 

Promotional image of the exterior of the Westin ...

2 Comments Read more

My LAX Layover: a run before lounging in the Delta Skyclub and Alaska Airline Boardroom

LAX_Qantas parked

When I originally booked my V Australia Business Class ticket via Delta miles, I had a long layover at LAX that I was hoping to change as the date got closer.  Eventually I convinced myself that this was a good thing, I could get out of the airport a bit before a 15 hour flight.  That and I struggled with Delta's famous award availability.  So I embraced this and decided to make ...

4 Comments Read more