Happy 2013!

It is now 2013 everywhere in the world (stragglers in Hawaii made it, too!)!
2012 brought many highlights (and thankfully few lowlights) for my family - I hope the same for yours.
The year now ended was marked with some great points-funded travel.  Our family trip to Paris, ...

Heading East!

After last year's great trip to Hualalai, we decided to try something different and head east this year for the holidays.  We're heading about 7,000 miles east...to the Persian Gulf!  

Whilst an unusual location for American holiday-makers, friends from nearly everywhere else in ...
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Why actually join an airline lounge?

There's been a bit of blog chatter lately about a special Alaska Airlines is running - offering a 5,000 miles bonus - to join the Alaska Board Room (their airport lounge club).  The basic membership costs $450 for a year, though could be as low as $295 if you have high status on the ...

Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach - A First Look!

The first Ritz Carlton Reserve property in the Americas - at Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico - is now open.  A former Fairfield County resident and long-term FT'er, 747, was kind enough to share some photos with me from the opening day today.
While I had a very difficult time at the opening of ...

AA Does the Right Thing for NYC Families - Fee Waiver for February

Due to the week-long school closures from Hurricane Sandy earlier this year, many schools, including NYC Public Schools, have pre-emptively cancelled or shortened their planned February 2013 school breaks.
For families with kids planning to travel during this period - probably traveling on ...

Father-Son Weekend at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach

Ritz Carlton Palm Beach
Overview: Larger five-star resort property on the Atlantic, just south of Palm Beach
Strengths: Service, renovated club lounge, club lounge staff, kids’ club (under renovation)
Drawbacks: Beach (substantial lack thereof), size of hotel (large), ...

Amex and SPG points are far more valuable than Chase points for most!

While much of the attention in the travel blogosphere has been directed towards Chase Ultimate Rewards points this year, Air France’s announcement earlier this fall about their deepening relationship with Etihad piqued my attention to wonder if I was mentally under-valuing American Express ...

A Royal Upgrade at Miami's Intercontinental Hotel

Overview: A decent urban upper-mid-scale hotel
Strengths: Location (for downtown business), generous Platinum RA upgrade, cosmetic renovations
Drawbacks: Unadorned rooms, challenges with the Platinum RA program
Earlier this month, I spent a few nights at Miami's downtown ...

AA brings out its A-game at LGA!

In the annals of business travel, few phrases are found less often than "I had a very pleasant experience at LaGuardia airport."
This might start to change with AA's new set up at LGA.  Though by regulation flights from the field are limited to 1,500 miles (other than DEN), AA recently has ...

Helpful info from an AA agent regarding Pre-Check tonight

This evening, I flew from Miami back up to New York-LGA after attending a conference.  I checked in at the First Class check-in (I had golf clubs to check), and got my boarding pass from the agent.  There was no queue (unlike the snaking queue for economy pax), and everything was done ...

A Most Virtuous Connection at LAX

Admit it.  How often have you done it?  You have a couple of hour connection between flights and all you end up doing is having a few drinks – and then some snacks – in the lounge. 
Regrettably, this ends up being the norm for me during longer connections.
A few ...

Qantas makes actual enhancements to long-haul business class!

Qantas has announced several bona fide improvements to its long-haul business class (and first class) offering:
Arrival and departure Chauffeur service Duvet service in business (already offered in first) SQ-style Book-the-Cook pre-ordering of meals I've long thought QF's first and ...

New York's Plaza Hotel

Overview: Far improved versus its pre-renovation state, not at a luxury level, but not bad
Strengths: Location, room size, décor (depending on taste)
Drawbacks: Lots of non-guest traffic, staff are more “New York” than “Luxury Hotel,” limited participation in ...

Sherwood Hotel Taipei

Overview: A solid near-luxury business hotel
Strengths: Decor, breakfast, service
Drawbacks: Beds 

This was my third visit to Taipei this year, and the third different hotel for me there.
Previously, I had stayed at the purportedly haunted Grand Hyatt (on our ...

2012 Round-the-World: Conclusion

What my 16 prior installments from this trip report didn’t show were the countless meetings I went to in each city.
While I get to sit in the front (or middle) of the plane, stay at the nicest hotels and have a driver at my disposal in each city, the bulk of this trip (like nearly all of ...
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Korean Air A380 First Class New York to Seoul

I arrived at JFK's T1 via private car at about 11:50am for my 2:00pm departure.  Korean Air (KE) offers a first class check-in area, staffed by two agents.  Both first class agents were assisting passengers (likely from the business class queue) when I arrived. One wrapped up quickly ...