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Tales of Life on the Road: Flying Delta and Winter Snows


It's December in the upper midwest, and not surprisingly, we do actually get winter storms.  Not as often as some people think, but I tend to be flying on the days they hit.  Thus far in 2013 its been pretty mild, but the first storm of the season hit over the weekend.  Of course, this happens to be on the day when I was planning to fly a mileage run.  I'm close to re-qualifying for 1K, so I wanted to get a few more miles to lock it in.  Of course, I often don't let ...

United Club Pass Giveaway (expires 12/31/13)


Thanks for your interest: pass has been claimed

I have a United Club Pass that I'd like to give to Upgrd readers as a thanks for reading. Hopefully someone can take advantage of this for some upcoming December travel.  The clubs have been devalued a bit, but hopefully it still can be a nice respite from the busy terminals during holiday travel times.


A staple of many United Clubs, an ...

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Starwood Suite Night Awards expiry extended 4 more months


2013 has been the year of devaluations in loyalty programs.  I was pleased to learn of a positive change for once.  


Marvellous Suite at the W Hong Kong


Suite Night Awards from Starwood Preferred Guest that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2013 will be extended to April 30, 2014.  I reached out on Twitter to confirm this, and was pleased to get the following ...

My impressions as a United Frequent Flyer


Rohan's recent post with his thoughts on the current status of United Airlines and his ideas to solve some of the issues has certainly caused a reaction.  His points are valid, but I'm sure the United board of directors is a long ways from such a drastic change.  

I likely spend too much of my time thinking about my airline loyalty, but with the repeated poor experiences on United, I've really begun to reevaluate once again.  I'll share some of my ...

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The True Cost of Building the 777X Includes Cheap Labor

Boeing wants incentives from both its home state and its employees for its just announced 777X project.  Due to workers not agreeing to cuts in benefits, assembly will likely be done elsewhere, possibly even outside the US.  Everett, Renton, and the entire state of Washington have helped build Boeing into the mighty global corporation they are today. Now in order to save some money, Boeing is considering moving to other states or even other countries for 777X assembly.

I ...

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Visiting the Singapore Airlines Private Room - Singapore Award

Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines is highly regarded for their in flight service.  On the ground, their service is not nearly as over the top.  Their home base at Changi Airport makes layovers easy, it is one of the nicest airports I've ever experienced with movie theaters, butterfly gardens among many other available activities.  

Image courtesy of Flickr

Since we were departing in Singapore Airlines First ...

Preview of my recent trip to Spain


I'm starting to settle back into the normal routine, and I wanted to give a quick preview of my most recent trip. 


A preview of our seat on the train at Dulles airport.  Thanks to a delay we nearly missed it!

This trip had a few new experiences for me.  New airlines, new onboard configurations, and some new destinations.  Earlier I discussed some of my trip planning processes.  I'm ...

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Executive Suite at the Sheraton Towers Singapore - Singapore Award


After returning from the Maldives, our flight schedules required an overnight stay in Singapore.  I wanted to have something that was convenient.  There were certainly closer hotels to Changi, but I wanted a SPG night credit, plus the cash and points cost (before the 2013 devaluation) was more palatable than the prices hotels that were nearer the airport.  It was a step down to stay in a Sheraton after a week at the Park Hyatt Maldives, but it was perfectly fine for our needs. ...

Plaza Premium Lounge at Male Airport - Singapore Award


After checking out of the Park Hyatt, a boat ride, then an hour of flying on Maldivian (with one short stop), we were in Male ready for our departure back to Singapore and then towards home.  



We walked with the Park Hyatt representative from the domestic terminal to the international terminal, where we checked in with Singapore Airlines. 

We received boarding passes all the way to San Francisco, although we were ...

Park Water Villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives - Singapore Award


After six nights in a Park Pool Villa, we paid the up charge and moved to spend our last night in a Park Water Villa.  This was our wedding anniversary, and who knows when we'd return to a place like this, so we had to splurge on the quintessential Maldives experience: an over water villa.  While it was an awesome experience, I'm just too frugal to pay an additional $350 per night for an extended stay.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't very nice the day we stayed here, so ...

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Dining and activities at the Park Hyatt Maldives - Singapore Award


I'm not the best person at simply relaxing.  I am usually on the move, and tend to get bored when in the same place for too long.  While I was really excited for this Maldives trip, I was a bit concerned about spending 7 days on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  In retrospect, I'm happy we had as much time as we did.  The Maldives are so isolated, and simply getting to the Park Hyatt takes so much effort (and expense) I wouldn't recommend a short trip ...

Park Pool Villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - Singapore Award


The ultimate destination of our trip on Singapore Airlines was the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.  Park Hyatt is one of my favorite brands, and this seemed like a truly aspirational redemption.  I rarely stay anywhere for an extended period, so a whole week on an island with nowhere to go would be a new experience.  

I booked this with the Hyatt Passport Escapes package, that included 7 nights along with 5 dinners included in the points price.  This allowed for some ...

Male to Hadahaa on Maldivian - Singapore Award



After arriving in male after our Business Class flight from Singapore, we had a little while to relax in the Moonimaa Lounge.  This is a lounge offered to Park Hyatt guests, and presumably other resorts that require a domestic flight after arrival in Male.   It is also accessible for holders of PriorityPass and LoungeClub cards.  It is the only lounge available in the domestic terminal.

The lounge is perfectly fine, and there is free wifi with a code ...

Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class to Male - Singapore Award


After our time in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, our Singapore Airlines travel continued, with a business class flight to Male.  


Singapore uses its medium-haul 2-class A330-300 for service to Male.

We were seated in business class for the flight, which was about 4 1/2 hours.  There were 2 flights a day to Male, and we were on the evening flight.  It gave us time for lunch in Kuala Lumpur, then our flight on Air Asia to ...

Upgraded to Garden balcony room at Hilton Kuala Lumpur - Singapore Award


We spent our last night in Kuala Lumpur at the Hilton near Sentral train station.  Despite only holding Hilton Gold status, we were upgraded to an excellent room, with a large balcony.  

We booked one night here along with our time at the Conrad Singapore to clean out the Hilton points bank once their most recent devaluation was announced.  My other posts from this segment of the trip are a review of the Westin Kuala Lumpur and some of the places we ...

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Tourist for a day, then a United 777 - Mileage Run to Hong Kong


After the long flights and my night at the W Hong Kong, I wanted to spend as much time as I could exploring Hong Kong.  It's one of my favorite cities, and although I had visited several times before, there is always more to see.  

Central Government Complex, Tamar

One classic Hong Kong activity I've not done before is the ride across Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry. On past trips, I had always taken the MTR (subway). ...

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United 737 intra-Asia - Mileage Run to Hong Kong


It was a little disappointing to fly a narrowbody Continental Micronesia United 737 between major hubs in Asia, but the timing worked well for my mileage run to Hong Kong.  I flew to Narita on the United 787 from Denver, and had about 2 hours at Narita before continuing to Hong Kong.

The 737-800 that took me to Hong Kong.

After clearing transit security, which was efficient and polite (and so ...

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United to Japan on the 787 - Mileage Run to Hong Kong


After finding a pretty good fare, I took what was basically a mileage run to Hong Kong.  I was excited to be able to route this via Denver, so I could get on the 787 Dreamliner to Tokyo Narita.  It wouldn't be my first 787 flight, but it would be my first time flying on United's version, and the first time flying it longhaul.  


A pre-departure photo of the 787 I took from Denver to Tokyo.  

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Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond benefits and service delivery


This is definitely a 'First World problem'.  I don't need any of these benefits, but I often write here about loyalty programs and it can be frustrating when benefits are promised and not delivered.   


The Hyatt Gold Passport program gets generally deserved high marks, especially for those with top tier Diamond status.  I've had mostly good experiences.  One thing I've noticed of late is the inconsistent delivery of some benefits.  I've had ...

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Flights on AirAsia and touring Kuala Lumpur - Singapore Award


After a few days in Singapore, we returned to Changi Airport for the second leg of our trip, by way of a quick flight to Kuala Lumpur. 

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur


The first few days were spent at the Westin Kuala Lumpur, and we also spent a night at the Hilton KL.  This post will discuss our flights on AirAsia and some of our experiences in KL.  

We looked at a few ...