Alaska Airlines 40k Credit Card Offer And An award Sweet Spot

Alaska 40K Offer

A strange thing happened this morning when I headed out to the cardmatch tool to check to see if I was targeted for the Amex Platinum 100k offer (I was not); I came across an offer for the Alaska Airlines personal credit card that offered 40,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles after spending $2,000 within 90 days. As many of you know, the usual Alaska Airlines Personal offer is 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days, so this is a significantly better offer than usual.

Cathay First class caviar
Cathay First class caviar

Alaska Miles For First Class To Asia

Alaska miles are super valuable for flying business or first class to Asia. They charge just 50,000 miles to fly Cathay Pacific Business Class to almost anywhere in Asia, and 70,000 miles if you wish to enjoy the mid-flight caviar in Cathay Pacific First Class. Continue reading Alaska Airlines 40k Credit Card Offer And An award Sweet Spot

In The Air: JAL First Class Chicago to Tokyo, Narita

Flight du jour:

JAL 009

Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT)

September 6, 2015

Departs: 12:35 PM

Arrives: (Next Day) 3:35 PM

Duration: 13 Hours 15 Minutes

Jal First Class Seat
Jal First Class Seat

I love JAL first class. After the mediocrity that is domestic first class on American Airlines, what a lovely feeling it is to get settled into my JAL first class suite.

When boarding it is common for first class passengers to board through one door while the rest of the plane boards through the other. This time everyone boarded through the same door and first class passengers broke left, everyone else broke right. We were lucky enough to get the window seats on the right hand side of the plane; seats 1K and 2K, and were escorted there by one of the very friendly flight attendants who would be making the next 13+ hours a really wonderful experience.

Continue reading In The Air: JAL First Class Chicago to Tokyo, Narita

Getting to India for less

There are still plenty of bargains to be had out there in the miles and points game, but India ain’t one of them. Coughing up your hard earned miles and cash to be crammed into coach for such a long flight seems like a terrible idea. Thankfully, a man with a handsome mustache has some tricks on how you can get there in style for fewer miles than you might normally pay.

AA Award Chart
AAdvantage Awards to India

The AAdvantage award chart has the Indian subcontinent at 67,500 miles for business class and 90,000 for first class each way. That is the second most expensive U.S. based award on their entire award chart!

Continue reading Getting to India for less

Showering at Thirty-Five Thousand Feet, Emirates Style

Showering at 35,000 feet is a sort of “holy grail” for many of us in the travel hacking game. First class travel is often incredibly luxurious to begin with, but being able to take a hot shower on a plane is equal parts awesome and absurd.

Where things get really crazy is that not only can you take a shower on a plane, but you can book that experience using your award miles! Only a couple of airlines, both based out of the middle east, have been thoughtful enough to offer their first class passengers showers on board. Thankfully, each of these airlines has one US based partner with which you can book awards.

First class shower onboard Etihad A380
First class shower room onboard Etihad A380

The two airlines that currently offer you the opportunity to join the “7-mile high shower club” are Emirates and Etihad. Both airlines offer a hot shower to their first class passengers aboard their A380 aircraft.

Continue reading Showering at Thirty-Five Thousand Feet, Emirates Style

Do Eat The Caviar In First Class (Part Tres of Dos)

To me this next little experience sums up how things are in this world. When leaving the plane in Hong Kong, the 6 first class passengers exit through their own separate boarding door. The entire rest of the plane exits out the other door.

Time for some caviar!!!
One door to rule them all!

So we exited out our special first class boarding door and headed straight for The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s first class lounge. I know when I hear the words “airport lounge” the image that pops into my head does not prepare me for the experience that is The Wing. First of all, most lounges are somewhat industrial seeming. Sitting at an AA lounge in Chicago or the US Airways lounge in New York you get the feeling that style is always balanced against pragmatic considerations, like how long the carpet needs to last, or how resistant the seat fabric is to having orange juice spilled on it.

Continue reading Do Eat The Caviar In First Class (Part Tres of Dos)

How to get a window seat in Cathay Pacific First Class

Reserving the best seats in Cathay Pacific first class.

By now many of you are probably stacking up fat ‘staches of miles and getting ready to book some exciting trips to far flung destinations.

One of my favorite uses of Aadvantage miles (and also Alaska miles) is for flying first class on Cathay Pacific. I typically book awards for Emily and I from New York City to Bangkok and the 16.5 hour flight from New York to Hong Kong is definitely one that you want to be able to sleep on. There is nothing that promotes a good night’s rest quite like Cathay’s spacious First class lie flat beds (and some Ambien).

Cheers babies!!!
Champagne for two!

The only point of consternation (besides the taxi ride to JFK) is that, even though American Airlines has award access to 1/3 of all the seats in the 1st class cabin, the agents at AA can only book the middle seats, 1D and 2D. While the middle seats are still quite comfortable, I strongly prefer a window seat from which to watch the world zip by.

Continue reading How to get a window seat in Cathay Pacific First Class

Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Dos of Dos)

3 windows and an aisle? yes, please!
3 windows and an aisle? yes, please!

This is the second part in a three part series that begins here:

And now onto the flight!

Initial impressions of the seat and the cabin:

Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin
Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin

The cabin is lovely and spacious.  There are no overhead bins, as each passenger gets their own little closet, and that makes it feel like you have tons of vertical space.  The seats are huge, comfortable and have a full range of adjustments, including lumbar support.  The decor is tasteful for an airplane.  There are little vases built into the cabin where they put a live orchid, which is a very nice touch.

Continue reading Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Dos of Dos)

Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Uno of Dos)

Caviar in Cathay First Class
Caviar in Cathay First Class

The time had come for our next adventure and it was starting, as all good adventures do, with a flight in Cathay Pacific first class, booked with my AAdvantage miles.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that flying Cathay First is an experience that will change everything you thought you knew about flying.  It is so unlike everything that I have previously associated with the trans-Pacific flight experience, and in all the most delightful ways.  Some people like flying, some people don’t mind it, but I have generally hated it for most of my life.  This has not stopped me from flying a great deal, but all I had known of flying before my foray into travel hacking was suffering.  And Cathay first removes the suffering and replaces it with caviar.

Continue reading Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Uno of Dos)