December 25, 2015

2015 Season's Greetings From Some Of Our Airline/Hotel Friends...

Here are this year's email greetings from our airline and hotel friends that I've received so far. If you want to see how they've evolved through the years, you can visit my previous four years' posts hereherehere, here, and here.

Without any further ado....

Marriott Rewards

Image from Marriott Rewards

American Airlines

Image from American Airlines

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Image from Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Air France
Image from Air France

Hyatt Gold Passport

Image from Hyatt Gold Passport

Asia Miles

Image from Asia Miles

That's it. I kind of miss Virgin America Elevate's greeting because they actually had a (tangible) gift last year, 500 points :-) I also noticed how Marriott Rewards' traditional lengthy message changed to more of like a note this year.

Here's my greeting...

Image from The First Class Project :-)

Nice, yah? :-)

My apologies (mom, dad, and my few other readers. hehe) for being an absentee blogger. I have yet to finish my Dubai trip report, I have a few hotel stays since then, I am now at the new Hyatt Centric in Chicago...

...enjoying my recently acquired Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond membership (which deserves another post on its own), and I've already booked a trip to the Philippines in February and might squeeze in a side trip to Bali, as well. So I really have to get cracking and stop working in real life and start working on my blog posts :-)

Merry Christmas again and safe travels to everyone!

August 24, 2015

Trip Report: The Emirates Lounge - JFK Airport

After being dropped off by the Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area shuttle at Federal Circle, I then took the AirTrain to Terminal 4 -- the terminal that Emirates shares with Delta, Virgin, America, and a couple of other airlines. I have to say, the departure area of this airport is pretty nice. It is by no means HIKIA but it wasn't bad like most other U.S. airports :-)

My friend and I were there pretty early and were asked to wait by the First Class check-in area while the counters were still closed...

When check-in commenced, we were then ushered to the Business Class counters...

Noticed anything ironic in this photo?

Anyway, after a quick check-in, it was off to security and immigration. Terminal 4 has a dedicated line for First and Business Class passengers...

...although this line pretty much became useless and converged with the other lines at some point.

Emirates' lounge is located a floor above the boarding gates...

...conveniently situated to give the upper deck passengers direct boarding access to the plane from the lounge. But more on that later.

August 19, 2015

Trip Report: Dubai - Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area

I decided to stay a night in New York because my Dubai flight with Emirates was at 11AM. I couldn't find a same-day flight from Chicago to JFK that will give me enough time to get my bags, transfer terminals, then check-in again for the Dubai flight, and (of course) also enjoy the lounge.

When I was looking at hotels close to the airport, this one had one of the more reasonable prices and not-so-bad reviews (yep, slim pickins). I knew I was getting in late and I wasn't really planning on doing any exploring so all I really needed was a clean and decent place to stay at for the night.

Was it decent? For the most part. Kidding. Clean? Not completely.


Let me say first that, like most airport hotels, this one also had a free shuttle and it runs every 30 minutes. The drive from the airport to the hotel was around 10 minutes.

Being the only one picked up from the airport and checking-in at the lobby, I was promptly processed by the lone Front Desk agent. Everything was done quickly and I was off to my room in no time.

The Room

The room was a good size. Typical of Holiday Inns across America...

August 17, 2015

Trip Report: Dubai - American Airlines Admirals Club O'Hare Terminal 3Concourse H

My first order of business was to get from Chicago to New York, where I will be spending the night before my flight to Dubai (from JFK) the following morning.

Although I was flying Economy on this leg, I was able to get access to American Airlines' Admirals Club because of the Lounge Pass that came with my then-US Airways MasterCard.

American Airlines has two Admirals Clubs in this terminal and a Flagship Lounge for international/transcontinental flights. I really wanted to check both Admirals Clubs but didn't have enough time to do so, so I just went with the bigger one on Concourse H...

August 14, 2015

Trip Report: Dubai - Introduction

Pardon the very creative trip report title :-)

Anyway, my apologies for only now being able to do this for my trip to Dubai last June. 

Just a quick background, the reason why I went to Dubai was because I used the ticket prize that I won from Emirates' promo in Chicago last year. It was expiring in August and I finally had to use it. 

I already did a quick post on my thoughts about Emirates' Business Class, but I will go into more detail for each of my flights for this trip report.

Here's the list of posts for this series:

American Airlines Admiral Club O'Hare Terminal 3 Concourse H
Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area
The Emirates Lounge JFK Airport
JFK-DXB on Emirates A380 Business Class
Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel & Residence
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
Around Dubai
Abu Dhabi For A Day
Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf
Emirates Business Class Lounge Concourse B
Emirates Business Class Lounge Concourse C
DXB-JFK on Emirates A380 Business Class
LGA-ORD on American Airlines First Class

That is it. I hope to churn this out really quickly so I have another reason to travel or stay in a hotel that I haven't reviewed yet :-)

Up Next: American Airlines Admiral Club O'Hare Terminal 3 Concourse H

August 12, 2015

Trip Report: Seattle In One Day

For the last post in this series, I will share my one day experience exploring Seattle. I say "one day" because I started from the time I got in from the Tri-cities on Sunday afternoon until I had to go to the airport the afternoon of the following day for my flight back to Chicago.

It was my first time in Seattle and didn't really research a lot before this trip and here's what I was able to do then...

Pike Place Market...

August 10, 2015

Trip Report: NW x SW - The Palladian Hotel Seattle

I think the views on I-90 back to Seattle are nicer than the views on the opposite direction...

It sure was more interesting...

Anyway, after three and something hours on the road, I was back in Seattle and checked-in at the Palladian Hotel...

When I was looking at hotels for my last night in Seattle, this one stood out (actually, this and a couple of other Kimpton properties). It was new, the rooms looked great, it had an amazing location, and the rates were comparable to the other properties in the area. I figured that I've saved enough on this trip by staying at lower category hotels (and using AA miles) that I deserve a "splurge" on my last night. I've never stayed at a Kimpton hotel before and have heard so many good things about it -- so that also played a part in choosing to stay at The Palladian Hotel.

So without any further ado...
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