Melia 1 Free Promo
Book a stay on melia.com at any of the hotels run by Melia Hotels International before December 31 and get 1 night free for your next stay. You can get 3 nights for the price of 2, 4 for the price of 3, 6 for 5 or 7 for 6.

Promotion conditions:
- Promotion valid for reservations and stays of minimum 1 night made and materialised between 10.23.2012 and 12.31.2012.
- Bookings must be made through melia.com or the Melia Hotels International Reservation Service and providing your mas Rewards card number.
- The promotion does not apply to reservations made with discounted or negotiated rates not available to the general public, promotions, group rates, crew rates, tour operator rates, mas Rewards points redemption or points / miles from other loyalty programmes.
- After the promotion ends on 1 January, we will send you a voucher for your next booking with your choice of a price of 3 for 2, 4 for 3, 6 for 5 or 7 for 6.

Radisson’s Stay One Night, Get One Night
Radisson’s Stay One Night, Get One Night promotion provides the first 50,000 Club Carlson members to register with a free night award that can be used at any Radisson Blu or Radisson Hotel in the US, Canada, or the Caribbean after one qualified stay.  The stay must be booked on the Radisson or Club Carlson website by October 31st (TODAY) and can take place at any US, Canadian, or Caribbean based Radisson or Radisson Blu property between October 1st and December 31st. See this previous post for full details on this promo.

Restaurant.com $25 Gift Certificates for $4
Restaurant.com has a special Halloween offer today, $4 for a $25 gift certificate valid at any participating restaurant when using code TREAT, click here for a full list of restaurants and for complete details. Also, see this post to obtain a free $10 restaurant.com gift certificate.

Posted by Adam | No Comments

Well, it was a crazy night here in New York.  The power in my building cut off a little after 8:30pm and I don’t think my windows have ever experienced such violent shaking. We had a hardcore 4+ hour Monopoly game to kill some time. Power in my neighborhood is supposed to be restored in 3-4 days and I’m currently using what little battery is left on my MacBook Air before relocating uptown (with my water damaged iPhone). In any case, my family and friends are safe and I’m extremely grateful for that. Thoughts to everyone else.

LGA – Underwater



From the WSJ:

Sandy flooded the runways at LaGuardia and JFK, authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco said. The flooding has largely receded at the airports, but crews must now remove debris carried in by the floodwater.  LaGuardia “took on a quite a bit of water,” Mr. DiFulco said. Delta Air Lines Inc. said one of its terminals had possibly flooded. Compounding problems at LaGuardia is potential damage to a runway positioned on pilings above the East River that was struck by a barge during the storm, Mr. DiFulco of the Port Authority said. The Port Authority won’t be able to inspect beneath the runway until low tide on Wednesday, he said.

Pre-Storm – Empty City (Grand Central, Rock Center, Times Square)

Storm (thanks to my friends James and Cari downtown and in Queens for some of the pics)

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Restaurant.com seems to have an offer almost every other week where you can purchase a $25 dining certificate for as low as $4 (even lower if you use cash back sites like shopathome which provides 31% cash back on restaurant.com purchases, bringing the total price to around $2.76 for a $25 gift certificate). Well, even better, today you can get a free $10 restaurant.com certificate by liking Restaurant.com’s Facebook page.  Click this link for that free offer. Reader Aaron in New York, NY, informs us that this $10 eGift certificate can be used towards any purchase, including the discounted purchases above, meaning this offer can be redeemed for almost 4 $25 gift cards when taking into account the cash back option! You can see participating restaurants here, which are available throughout the country. Remember, if you use OpenTable and have any OpenTable vouchers, they can be combined with your restaurant.com certificate at most establishments.

Update from DealsWeLike re Aaron’s comment – You actually have to go to a slightly different website to redeem the eCertificate. So this really will only give you $10 free – which can still be great! Keep in mind though that not all restaurants offer $10 certificates.

For those of you stuck in NY, NJ, CT, PA, or DC during the hurricane, remember that seamless is offering 10% back on all orders using their app on an iPhone or Android device, just enter code SCREAM when placing your order. Additionally, they are offering $7 off any purchase of $15 or more for liking their Facebook page via this link.  Not many places will still be delivering during the storm, but my local diner has said they intend to keep going throughout…now just getting up and down the 16 flights without an elevator!

Posted by Adam | 3 Comments

JetBlue’s blog has a pretty cool graphic showing where they are storing their planes during Hurricane Sandy. Plans are to shelter planes in Puerto Rico (San Juan, Aguadilla, and Ponce), at several Florida airports, LAX, and even Roswell, New Mexico!

Sandy is expected to wreak havoc on the Northeast beginning tonight, especially here in New York where Air France, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, JetBlue, KLM, United, and US Airways have already cancelled almost all flights on Monday into and out of JFK, LGA, and EWR, as well as PHL.  Lufthansa has even cancelled flights into JFK/EWR for both Monday and Tuesday.  In better news, my office will be closed Monday and Tuesday!

…and just for fun, saw these comments on weather.com this morning.

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Welcome to another Saturday edition of Overheard on the Plane! Here we go…

Submitted by Joseph L in Dallas, TX

American flight from Dallas, TX (DFW) to Amarillo, TX (AMA)
On a windy day during final approach and with an extremely hard landing
Flight Attendant: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!

Submitted by Nate in Oklahoma City, OK

Delta flight from Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) to Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)
After a hard landing
Flight Attendant: We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.

Submitted by Meredith in Scottsdale, AZ

US Airways flight from Las Vegas, NV (LAS) to Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 
After a real hard landing 
Flight Attendant: Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. Once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through to the terminal.

Submitted by Elaine in Chatham, NJ

United flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) to Newark, NJ (EWR)
After a tough landing 
Flight Attendant: Attention passengers, celebratory drinks will be served in the United Club toward gate C120.

Submitted by Grant in Sydney, NSW, Australia

Virgin Australia flight from Sydney, NSW (SYD) to Melbourne, VIC (MEL) 
Flight Attendant: We made it and I need a drink. Cabin crew please disarm doors and cross dress.

Remember, there is currently an on-going contest for Overheard on the Plane submissions. Three lucky submissions received before November 1st will be randomly selected to receive 500 AA miles, with no limit on entries. All entries can be sent to adam@pointmetotheplane.com and should include the carrier and route, as well as any other pertinent details and sources.

Posted by Adam | One Comment

Remember the days back in the early 2000′s when you were able to redeem SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic flights?

The opportunity may some day return if today’s rumors of Virgin Atlantic joining SkyTeam are to be believed. Richard Branson, who has until now kept Virgin out of the alliance system (and called them anti-competitive), preferring code-sharing agreements with other airlines instead, had this to say this morning to Bloomberg Television in Mumbai:

Virgin Atlantic has always enjoyed its independence, but since pretty well every competitor that we have has an alliance I think we have finally decided that to survive we need to have an alliance.

Bloomberg’s article goes on to quote a London based Cantor Fitzgerald analyst:

“I’d say it would be 60-40 in favor of SkyTeam” as the potential Virgin Atlantic partner. The U.K. carrier’s routes to the Caribbean, U.S. and Asia may “tip them in favor of the SkyTeam alliance more than Star,” which already has a route network serving those markets.

Branson went on to say that an announcement would likely come within the next three months. In my humble opinion, though I would love to have another valuable redemption option for my SkyMiles, SkyTeam still seems far less likely than Star Alliance as Virgin has current partnerships with 9 Star Alliance members and is 49% owned by Singapore. Though as per the article, Star Alliance has not had any recent alliance talks with VS, which would seem strange if an announcement is expected in January.

Delta has made some positive improvements to their “best in class” program lately including the ability to search for Korean awards online and dropping fuel surcharges for award flights originating in Europe.  They also continue to have amazingly great business availability on Korean (on non-blackout dates), China Southern (which can be used to fly the A380 from LAX to Guangzhou, connecting to SE Asia or Australia), and of course Virgin Australia (easy to get at least 2 seats most of the year).   Adding Virgin Atlantic would be a huge enhancement and would certainly increase the value of my SkyMiles. Even if Delta’s own awards continued to be priced at insane levels, I’d still be pretty psyched with low level business redemptions on Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, China Southern, and Korean. Of course, other SkyTeam alliance members would have the same award possibilities as well.  Here’s hoping…

Posted by Adam | 6 Comments

Have you seen Smarter Travel’s article on the eight foods you should never eat before flying?

  1. Fried or Fast Food
  2. Alcohol
  3. Cruciferous Vegetables
  4. Carbonated Beverages
  5. Sugar-Free Gum and Candy
  6. Legumes
  7. Garlic
  8. Airplane Provided Water, Ice, Coffee, and Tea

Check out their article for the rationale behind each of the above.  I definitely violate #2 (some wine early in flight), #4(I usually clear the business class cabin of club soda), and #8 (airline provided water).

Posted by Adam | 8 Comments

Hilton HHonors is offering new members a special BA Avios bonus after just one stay at any of their properties before the end of 2013. The bonus increases based on your BA status – 1,000 Avios for Blue members, 1,500 for Bronze, 2,000 for Silver and 3,000 for Gold members.  Remember, one-way short-haul awards on BA are priced as low as 4,500 one-way.  Check here for some of the best BA short-haul award options.  The bonus Avios offer is valid for eligible stays completed after registration, at participating hotels between 19th October 2012 and 31st December 2013. Only stays booked after registration will be eligible for bonus Avios.

HHonors members choosing Fixed miles award will earn 500 base Avios per stay and the appropriate bonus Avios based on their Executive Tier status at the time of the first stay. HHonors members choosing Variable miles award will earn one Avios per USD spent and the appropriate bonus Avios based on their Executive Tier status at the time of the first stay. Customers must be an HHonors member to earn bonus Avios. Hilton HHonors members must have their earning preference set to ‘Points & Miles’ and must have ‘British Airways’ as the preferred airline partner.  Members must allow 4-6 weeks for the Bonus Avios to reach their accounts.

Also, don’t forget about last week’s post on Hilton’s Q4 Promo where you can earn 1,000 bonus points per night for every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday night you stay from November 1 through December 31, 2012. There is no limit to the total amount of bonus points that may be earned during the promotion.

Posted by Adam | 2 Comments

The world’s longest commercial flights are set to disappear with Singapore’s newly announced A380 & A350 order.  One of the stipulations of the order is that Airbus agrees to acquire the five Singapore A340-500s currently in service, including those used on the EWR-SIN and LAX-SIN routes.  The aircraft will be removed from service in Q4 2013.

As part of the deal, Airbus has agreed to acquire SIA’s five A340-500s, which will be removed from service in the fourth quarter of the 2013 calendar year, in line with the Airline’s policy to maintain a young fleet. This will result in the cessation of non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles and between Singapore and Newark, in the absence of replacement aircraft in the SIA fleet with sufficient range and operating economics. Although disappointing that we will be halting these services, we remain very committed to the US market. Over the past two years we have increased capacity to both Los Angeles and New York by deploying A380 superjumbos on flights via Tokyo and Frankfurt. We will also continue to explore additional options to enhance our US services.

This also marks the end of Singapore Airlines service to Newark, even though it’s a hub for Star Alliance partner United. Instead, all New York flights will be operated from JFK.  The world’s longest flight title will also shift to Qantas’ SYD-DFW flight (7454nm) and Delta’s JNB-ATL flight (7334nm). See this post, The World’s Longest Flights – How Many Have You Flown to see what the updated list will look like with the first two flights removed.

Truly a sad day for aviation fans and aspirational award enthusiasts.  Remember, Singapore began releasing saver first and business class award seats to their KrisFlyer members several months ago and Star Alliance partners have had access to a few last minute award seats as well.  I was successful in finding award availability using United’s website about three days prior to the departure date. I would be on the lookout so you can experience the EWR-SIN all business class flight at 8285nm and almost 19 hours of flying time before it disappears into the record books! Related Post – Trip Report – Singapore Airlines EWR-SIN using UA Miles.

Posted by Adam | 6 Comments

I ran home at lunch today to see if my Bluebird arrived in the mail and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was there patiently waiting for me!  I ordered it last week after reading FrequentMiler’s post, “Bluebird takes flight and changes the game”.  If you have no idea what Bluebird is, check out that post.  One of the critical pieces of the Bluebird strategy is having access to Vanilla Reload cards, which are extremely hard to come by in New York. Luckily, on a business trip earlier in the week to Boca Raton, FL, I stopped by Office Depot #4 and picked up their last four remaining cards, paying with my Chase Ink Bold (unfortunately, I spoke with the manager who indicated that there would be no future Vanilla deliveries to his store due to fraud concerns). Before returning to work, I loaded up my Bluebird with two of the Vanilla cards (limits of $1000 per day and up to $5000 per month).  Now, about five minutes ago, for the first time ever I earned miles for (partially) paying my monthly apartment rent!  I used Bluebird’s billpay feature, where they mail a check to anyone using the funds in your account, meaning I earned 5 miles per dollar for paying rent! I’ll pay the rest after loading additional funds on to the card tomorrow.  There are endless possibilities for earning miles using the card (see the links below) and I’m really excited to test some of them out.  Now, if only I can find some additional places in the NY area to pick up some Vanilla cards…

Required reading:

  • FrequentMiler’s post on signing up for Bluebird, the features of the card, and the mileage earning possibilities.
  • FrequentMiler’s post, answering questions on Bluebird and the results of some of his experiments with the card.
  • FrequentMiler’s post on where to buy Vanilla reload cards, including reader input on Office Depot locations with cards in stock and whether credit cards (Chase Ink Bold / Chase Ink Plus) are accepted for payment.
  • milevalue’s Bluebird Calculator - How many extra points will you earn each year with Bluebird?

Posted by Adam | 7 Comments

I was reading this week’s online Business Traveller and was drawn into a forum topic that seems to repeat every few months, should kids be allowed in executive lounges? There are some pretty funny posts, though the consensus seems to be, if you’ve been a good parent and taught your kids how to behave in a lounge and/or first class, then there is no reason to differentiate them from adults who can sometimes act even more childish.  What do you think??

nickienelson – 10/10/2012 23:06 GMT
Believe me, I’d rather share a lounge with six children rather than one loudmouthed “executive” talking on a cell phone! Especially one with a headset, who paces restlessly back and forth behind my chair arguing about his (usually it’s a he) latest million-dollar deal. These people are some of the rudest travelers I’ve encountered anywhere.

rjbrownmalta – 10/13/2012 15:10 GMT
Flying to Vancouver with my wife and two nine year old twin girls in first class on BA in December.
Will they use the exec lounges? – yes
Will they be well behaved? – totally (in fact they will probably be glued to the AVOD for the whole flight)
Will they be allowed to annoy other passengers? Definitely not??Will they be better behaved than other passengers? – probably??Do they have the right to these services? – absolutely
Do I care what other passengers think about them? Not in the slightest, though is always nice to receive comments(as we often do) as to how well behaved they are.
The issue (if indeed there is one) is purely down to responsible parenting. My two know that if they misbehave, their next seat will be something like 55f and worse still we could even be tempted to send them as unaccompanied minors (as indeed one of our friends has done) whilst we are up the front.

SimonRowberry – 10/10/2012 00:16 GMT
I’ll leave you all with a thought about who should be where.
Monday October 1, around 16.30, Scanorama Lounge, CPH. A guy on his mobile phone, first speaking Norwegian then, later, English. I tried to ignore him and this crap went on for over an hour. I thought he was within a few feet. I got up to “water the horse” and found that he was actually sitting on the other side of the Lounge, some 20 metres away. And yet I could hear him like he was next to me.
Loads of kids in the Lounge at the same time. I hardly knew they were there and they most certainly didn’t disturb me like den norske tosken did.
I know who’d I rather have in any Lounge or any premium cabin. The kids don’t know better and don’t yet have the life experience. So many “business travellers” do, and yet still act like R Soles.

Posted by Adam | 8 Comments

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