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Help me choose my stopover: Singapore, Malaysia or somewhere else?

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I was fortunate to book a trip in Singapore First Class during the short window in July 2012 when it was available to United Mileage Plus members.  I didn't have any trips already planned, but I didn't want to pass up this rare opportunity.  I eventually decided to book a trip to the Maldives for my wife and I, so I added the flights in regional Business Class from Singapore later.  Lots of people took advantage of this, and including fellow Upgrd bloggers, Daniel and ...

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Thai Airways Royal First Class between Bangkok and Frankfurt - The Journey the Destination


An 11 hour flight in a private suite with doors(!), with only one other passenger in the cabin made for an amazing flight experience.  

I've been working on the trip report for my trip to Japan and Thailand for some time now.  The end is in sight, with only a few segments to go.  The flight between Bangkok and Frankfurt was the longest flight of the trip.  This is now my 3rd flight on this product, and the 2rd time on Thai, but this is my first flight ...

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Organizing foreign currency


I've recently reorganized my system for keeping track of various currencies from international travel.  My new system is not perfect, but its much better than my old way of putting remaining coins in an envelope, then stashing it in a drawer to likely forget.



I always try to use a points earning credit card for as much spend as possible everywhere I go, but outside of the US, carrying cash is almost always a necessity.  When I ...

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Lighthouse - Photo Flashback



This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.  This location is much closer to home than some of the others I have posted.  This photo was taken from a boat, but this site is easily visible from land.   


Where was this photo taken, what is this place called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?


This is ...

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Thai Airways Royal First on the ground in Bangkok - The Journey The Destination


A pre-flight 60 minute massage, a private room with a TV, couch and desk with full meal service.  These are some of the features of departing from Bangkok in Thai Airways Royal First Class.


Along with the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, the Thai Airways lounge and spa (review of a past visit) in Bangkok are the best airport ground services I have experienced.  I have enjoyed this  before, and anytime I am on an First Class ...

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The big church - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.



Where was this photo taken, what is this place called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?

This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos I'm sharing from my travels through the years. I hope readers will enjoy the 'tour' as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing about the trip where I took ...

A roundup of my 2012 travels

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As the new year approaches, it is time again to reflect on the past year, and look ahead to plans for 2013.

Here is my route map for 2012.

2012 was a pretty busy year for travel for me, I had some great experiences with new aircraft and new destinations on my award trips.  My business travel was a predictable array of routine domestic flights, with some interesting experiences mixed in.  I had just over 130,000 miles totaland 143 ...

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Virgin Atlantic - Flying in the Face of Ordinary

Born to be flight crew?  This new commercial from Virgin Atlantic follows an X-Men-like theme of how their crew are born with special talents that are utilized to be superhero flight crew.

I enjoy airline commercials, and occasionally post some of my favorites here.  This one has all the hallmarks of a Virgin family advert; flight crew that look like models, and a scene with slow motion walking.  



My favorite moments ...

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Executive Suite at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Bangkok - The Journey the Destination


Beatles cover band?  Huge suite upgrade with river views?  Excellent club lounge?  My stay at the Sheraton was very brief, but it was pretty memorable.

I've read mixed reviews of the Royal Orchid Sheraton, but I enjoyed my stay.  There are multiple Starwood properties to choose from in Bangkok, from Four Points and Aloft to St. Regis and W.  I was traveling alone on this trip, so I didn't need to spend extravagantly, and this ...

Shark!!! - Photo Flashback



This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

This isn't as unique as some other photos I have posted, but its certainly not something one would expect to see when visiting this location.  The water surrounding this photo is an iconic part of the city where it is located.  It is an incredible place to visit, although this photo really doesn't do it justice. ...

An embarrassingly nice stay at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.



$135 for a $500 suite on a business trip?  Yeah, I'll take that deal.  

This is the first time I've ever stayed in a Park Hyatt for work, as well as the first time I've ever paid rather than used an award redemption.  These hotels are typically outside the my personal budget, as well as beyond what I can typically justify for a business expense.  I've been very impressed with my past Park Hyatt stays in Washington, Melbourne, and Tokyo. ...

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Soap at Hyatt Hotels - Anything but White Ginger


When you hear (or smell) Portico White Ginger, what do you think of?  


I am a frequent Hyatt guest, and am more than a little sick of that foul aroma, which is the standard offering for bathroom amenities at most Hyatt and Hyatt Place hotels.  Other Hyatt brands including resorts have different (and in my opinion, generally rather nice) products.  I know not everyone dislikes the White Ginger, but I'm happy to hear that it is finally going away. ...

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The Red Palace - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

I'm sure the architechtural style gives away the region where this site is located.  But can you name the specific location?  This is in a large city with lots of sites to see.  This particular spot is worth a visit, but its not at the top of most lists.  It is a bit unique since many similar places in this area are no longer standing. ...

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Thai Airways between Bangkok and Chiang Rai - The Journey the Destination


Similar to my United domestic first class legs at the beginning of the trip, I had 2 Thailand domestic flights in business class between Bangkok and Chiang Rai.  Everything else on this ticket was in International First Class.

When I booked this, one way was on an A300, and the return on a A330.  They also have some narrowbody Airbus on this route, but I tried to avoid that.  Thai is known for their frequent schedule changes.  Ultimately both legs ...

A week with Delta - Is the grass greener?


Last week I had a business trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  When booking the trip from Milwaukee to Greensboro, I noticed that the only options on my preferred carrier (United) consisted of four legs on 50 seat RJs.  The ticket was over $650.  I have already re-qualified for 1K, so I decided to dig a bit deeper to find a more comfortable experience.  Delta had itineraries with all mainline jets, and the tickets were much less expensive.   I still have Delta ...

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Touring the Golden Triangle- Myanmar, Laos and Mae Sai Thailand - The Journey the Destination


The confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers, the exact point of the golden triangle.  

My second day on northern Thailand would consist of  a journey around the Golden Triangle including brief visits to Myanmar and Laos.  The hotel concierge booked a car with a driver for me after convincing me this was the best option.  This cost around US $100 for 8 or so hours, more than it would have cost to rent a car to drive myself, but the local ...

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The White Palace - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

This is a major city, one that is pretty easily accessible.  It is the largest place of its type on the continent it resides, which has many.


Where was this photo taken, what is this called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?

This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos I'm sharing from ...

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Grand Deluxe room at the Le Meridien Chiang Rai - The Journey the Destination


After my overnight stay in Bangkok, I had a morning flight to Chiang Rai.  Sadly my stay in Northern Thailand was just one night, but I was able to spend almost 2 full days exploring the area.   I arrived in Chiang Rai in the morning, and the cab ride was only a few minutes to the hotel. They cheerfully checked me in despite my arrival at the hotel before noon.  I was upgraded to a room in the Grand Deluxe Wing, which is the newest section of ...

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Hyatt Gold Passport added to iOS Passbook


I happened to be checking on my Hyatt account online when I noticed a link to add to Passbook on my iPhone.

Passbook is a handy tool that is available for iPhone users running iOS 6.0 or newer.  More and more travel providers are adding Passbook access.  United, Starwood, and now Hyatt are some companies that I use frequently that use Passbook integration.  Seth wrote up a nice basic summary of Passbook here.  Users can get boarding passes, hotel ...

NEXUS program adds more benefits for members



Although I don't travel to Canada all that often, the several trips I do each year have made my NEXUS membership well worth the cost in both dollars and time.  This also allows me Global Entry access, at half of the cost ($50 instead of $100) if I paid for Global Entry membership alone.  

I recently received some information highlighting recent updates to the program.  For as much of a hassle as security screening can be for frequent travelers, ...