The Economist is running a promotion for new subscriptions whereby you’ll receive 10,000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles for signing up for a one year subscription. At a price of $160 (1.6 cents per mile), this is certainly long from being one of the best purchase deals, but it’s not horrible if perhaps you have some orphan Lufthansa miles.  Of course, with Lufthansa’s ridiculous fuel surcharges you won’t be using these for any US-European flights, though they could be of use for a one-way domestic United First Class flight priced at 17,000 miles.

HT – Mighty Travels

Update - Unfortunately the price in the link has now jumped back up to $300 making this no deal at all.  Please comment below if you are able to somehow obtain the old pricing. Sorry guys!

Economist Lufthansa 10K

Posted by Adam | 2 Comments

It’s sort of crazy that this blog will be two years old come late April. Yesterday, DeltaPoints interviewed me for his weekly “fireside chat” conversations and you can click on over to discover how Point Me to the Plane got started and where it’s going in 2014. Check out the full interview here.

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I have to be in Tokyo late next week and I’m debating between JAL’s new SKY SUITE and ANA’s Business “My Style, My Space” staggered product. Now, both business products actually have excellent inventory from the US over the new two weeks – checking both JFK and ORD:

JAL using BA’s website to check availability (KVS and the Qantas site can also be used): 4 seats in business and 3 in first from JFK and 4 in business and 4 in first from ORD on my date.

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ANA using United’s website – business availability from both JFK and ORD. For ORD, one flight a day is on the 777-200 instead of the 777-300ER, that flight won’t have the new business class so it’s a no-go.

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Things to consider:

  • With either option Chicago will probably be easiest for me as I’m currently in Topeka, KS.
  • JAL begins operation of their new Sky Suite product from Chicago on January 16th with EVERY OTHER DAY service (I could potentially fly on the 16th for the first updated equipment flight from ORD).
  • ANA has a 1-2-1 configuration while JAL has a 2-3-2 configuration…but that doesn’t mean as much as you think. Based on measurements alone, the JAL Sky Suite is actually more spacious and private. All seats still have aisle access and a larger than ANA TV at 23 inches.
  • In Chicago ANA makes use of the United Clubs and JAL uses AA’s Admiral Clubs.
  • JAL SKY SUITE was named “Best Business Class Airline Seat” at the SKYTRAX’s 2013 World Airline Awards.

JAL – Courtesy of Airlinetrends.com

Dubbed JAL SKY SUITE, the new seats will be the first time that JAL is installing full-flat beds in Business Class (even JAL’s new B787s still feature angled lie-flat seats). Says JAL’s VP Marketing Jun Kato, “We felt we were lagging behind other carriers where full-flat seats are standard.” According to JAL, it wants passengers to “experience comfort and privacy similar to First Class” with its new Business product and the airline is installing an adapted version of B/E Aerospace’s ‘Super First Class’ seat for its Sky Suite. A luxury version of this B/E Aerospace seat is used as First Class seat by several other airlines. Despite a 2-3-2 layout, a staggered configuration allows each passenger to have direct and unobstructed aisle access.

Cubicle culture
The 49 new SKY SUITES are extremely private, and are descibed by Australian Business Traveller as “ensconced in their own cubicles, going further down the privacy path than even Cathay Pacific’s business class design.” Whereas airlines such as Lufthansa have indicated that their passengers prefer an open, more social setting JAL’s new Business Class suites seem to have been strongly influenced by Japan’s culture of privacy.

JAL’s SKY SUITES also resemble British Airways’ Club World Business Class product, which are also in a 2-3-2 configuration and wich allows passengers “to enclose in their own personal space with a touch button privacy screen” (although BA’s seats have drawn criticism for feeling a bit cramped.)

Amenities
JAL’s new ‘Business cubicles’ sport a class-beating 23 inch monitor (the same as installed in First) with a touchscreen remote control, while the airline has collaborated with Weava Japan to create mattress pads (available upon request) that are made from very finely weaved fiber resin and provide support for the lower back. And, similar to ANA, JAL will fit TOTO washlets – electric toilet seats with a water spray feature – in the First and Business bathrooms.

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Check out the full details and a virtual tour of the JAL Sky Suite here.

ANA -

In Business Class our seats recline to become fully flat, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and bed pads are Nishikawa Sangyo’s Air Cyclone customized for the ANA BUSINESS STAGGERED seats. Turning over during sleep is easy due to the unique three-layer structure and moderate resistance. These bed pads also offer excellent breathability and comfort. And because the reverse side is skid resistant, they can also be used as seat cushions. The comforters are Bodyline Quilts that fit your body. We’ve also introduced structural pillows from Nishikawa Sangyo for a perfect fit from your neck to the back of your head. In Business Class, ANA will also offer an amenity kit containing amenities from L’OCCITANE.

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Check out the full details and a virtual tour of the staggered ANA My Style, My Space business seat here.

So what say you readers? Which would you choose? Unfortunately stopovers etc. won’t play a part in this decision as I need a direct flight. Better yet, if anyone has experienced both, which did you enjoy the best? I don’t think I can wrong with either product or the on-board service of the two carriers. I last flew JAL and ANA business in 2010. From purely a reader standpoint, there have been few if any new JAL reviews.

Posted by Adam | 9 Comments

Apparently, scoping out wedding couple websites to look for a block of rooms at a discounted rate has become popular, especially during wedding high season (which tends to correspond with higher average hotel rates during the peak travel season). I never would have even thought to do this (though I won’t deny some corporate rate searches), but as CNBC reports,  there seem to be those who browse these sites quite regularly for a deal.

Last year, 68 percent of couples had a wedding website, up from 60 percent in 2009, according to TheKnot.com. Such sites usually include guest information, such as where to book rooms and deal codes that often are not password-protected, making crashing a block easy enough to do. A quick search for “wedding block,” with a location and date, yields dozens of examples. Crashers often fly under the radar-unless couples have a reason to check block assignments, as I recently did.

Check out the full article here.

wedding crashers

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On Monday, Hilton previewed their Q4 promo which runs from Oct 10 – Jan 31, 14. Below, find this promotion as well as a list of other Q3 and Q4 promos from the major chains.

Hilton’s More Nights, More Points Promo - Beginning October 10, 2013, stay two nights and earn double HHonors Points for your entire stay. Stay three nights to triple your points, and four nights or more to quadruple your points. Stays must be booked at any of the 4,000 hotels before January 31, 2014 (there are several excluded properties, check out the list here).  Note that the registration link above is active but will not yet allow you to register.

Hilton Q4 Promo

Also, don’t forget Hilton’s 1,000 point per mobile booking app promotion.

Hilton Mobile Booking Bonus

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – Take Two Promotion - Earn double Starpoints on all eligible stays from September 1st – December 15th. Plus get 2,500 bonus points for every five eligible nights up to 10,000 bonus Starpoints and 20 nights.  Members must register online at spg.com/taketwo by October 31, 2013, midnight Eastern Time (ET) and registration will open some time in late August. A list of properties not participating in this promotion can be found at spg.com/taketwo. Award stays and Cash & Point stays are not eligible earning stays for this promo.

SPGTakeTwoFall2013Promo

Also, don’t forget to check whether you were targeted for a special SPG offer -

  • Complimentary SPG Gold status through February 2015
  • One free night at a category 1-5 property redeemable through December 31st after staying at least one night at any SPG property between August 1st and October 31st.
  • Two free nights at a category 1-5 property redeemable trhough December 31st after staying two nights or more at any SPG property between August 1st and October 31st.

Marriott MegaBonus – Multiple different offers, log in here for your offer, valid for stays September 15th – January 15th, register by November 15th. My promo is “earn a free night at a category 1-5 hotel, up to two free nights, for every second paid stay. Other reported offers include:
Earn 25K points after 12 nights and 15K more points after 18 nights, up to 40K points
Earn 25K points after 15 nights and 15K more points after 20 nights, up to 40K points
Earn 35 points after 20 nights and 15K more points after 20 nights, up to 50K points

MarriottMegaBonusFall2013Promo

Hyatt’s New Possibilities -

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To earn Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points, travelers must:

  • Be a Hyatt Gold Passport member;
  • Register for the New Possibilities promotion from September 9 through October 31, 2013 by visiting goldpassport.com/possibilities;
  • Stay at least five eligible nights from September 9 through November 30, 2013 (nights are cumulative); and
  • Provide a Hyatt Gold Passport membership number at the time of reservation and check-in.

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Club Carlson Buy 2 Get 1 Free Promotion – Book 2 nights and get the third for free when you check-in on a Thursday and check-out on a Sunday at participation Radisson Blu, Radisson Blu Edwardian, Park Plaza, or Park Inn in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Book you stay between July 22nd – October 24th for stays between August 1st (September 1st at select resorts) – October 27th. Use promo code WBUY2F2.

ClubCarlson Buy 2 Get 1 Free

IHG Rewards Club (Priority Club) -  Big Win Promotion –  Stay between September 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 to earn 1,000 bonus points or 500 miles for your first night’s stay. After the first stay, you’ll receive a “tailored offer” with a chance to earn up to 50,000 bonus points or 10,000 bonus miles for stays during the promotional period.

IHG The Big Win Promo

Posted by Adam | 3 Comments

This is one of the best offers I’ve seen yet for joining Zipcar. Waived annual fee, no application fee, and $75 worth of driving credit! Thanks to Rokket at SlickDeals for posting the offer:

As a special offer just for IKEA FAMILY members, create a new Zipcar account, and receive a $75 credit towards your first zip.

  1. Join IKEA family here (free membership). IKEA family membership has lots of benefits: free coffee, product discounts, price protection, etc.
  2. Create a Zipcar account here and get $75 free driving, waived annual fee, and no application fee!

IkeaFamilyZipCarDiscount

This is much better than the standard offer that includes a one time $25 application fee and $60 annual fee:

Zip

Ikea Family

Update 1 – 8:45am EST – Link is no longer clickable
Update 2 – 9:05am EST - Link is working again, but now $75 credit without waived fees :-(
Update 3 – 9:15am EST - Link is clickable, but now directs to a generic sign-up page. Appears DEAD…

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Depressed about the no notification American AAdvantage devaluation? While we ridiculously continue to wait for details on which partners are impacted by the newly imposed international fuel surcharges, here’s another Wednesday countdown. Today’s countdown comes from the Courier Mail and lists the 10 Worst Types of Passengers:

  • People with uncontrollable kids (Parentus Slapdashii)
  • Seat recliners (Reclinus Maximus)
  • Smelly people (Smellus Incredibilus)
  • Arm rest hogs (Armrest Grabbis)
  • Chatty passengers (Chatticus Majorus)
  • People who always need the bathroom (Bladder Incredibilus)
  • People with too much carry-on luggage (Carry-on Greedicus)
  • Reading-light enthusiasts (High-and-Mighticus)
  • People who pace the cabin or stretch too often (DVT-Avoidus)
  • Window seat hogs who close the window shade before take off (Window Hoggus)

Related
Smelly Seatmate Survival Tips
Proper Etiquette for Middle Seat Armrests…and other economy survival tips
Unruly Passenger on KEF-JFK Flight Restrained & Gagged with Duct Tape…picture and all
…and I thought some of my seatmates were gross

Posted by Adam | 12 Comments

Reader Bryant from Hong Kong shares a list from BuzzFeed which includes “16 simple hacks to make flying suck less”. Now, if you’re a frequent flier and BoardingArea reader, I’d say most of these are pretty amateur. Additionally, I wouldn’t actually call any of these hacks…though I do like #2, #6 (very true), #11, and #13. Meanwhile, #16 isn’t even allowed on most carriers…

Check out the full list here.

PS – Flying never sucks when traveling on a first or business class award!

Posted by Adam | 3 Comments

Via a special targeted link, Delta is offering “preferred partners” up to a Platinum status match, no challenge required.

Now, the offer is intended for new and existing corporate partners, but unfortunately I don’t know exactly which ones. You may want to google the largest companies in ATL, NYC, MSP, DTW, etc. The promotion is surely intended to attract corporate customer business, and it would make sense that potential targets would include the largest companies in Delta’s hub cities.  From what I’ve heard, despite the T&Cs stating otherwise, you can send the request from any email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). You only need to list the company you “work for”. Once your request is received along with you credentials, your SkyMiles account will be updated within ten business days. Successful readers, feel free to share the companies you used in the comments section.

Too much work? Delta’s standard status match allows for matches up to Gold status. All you need to do is fax/email a copy of your current elite statement or elite card to the Delta Skymiles Service Center with “Attention: Elite Status Match”. That fax number is 404-773-1945 or email - SMSCEliteFaxes.Delta@delta.com. Unfortunately, more than not lately, Delta has been rejecting these requests and instead asking you to register for a status challenge (up to Platinum). See more details on the challenge here.

Remember, with any of the above methods, if you match (method 1/2) or register and complete the flight requirements (method 3) prior to June 30, 2013, your Medallion status will only be maintained until February 28, 2014. If you match or register for the offer on or after July 1, 2013 your Medallion status will be maintained until February 28, 2015. The longer you can wait the better, especially with word that Delta will be transitioning to a revenue based program after 2013.

T&Cs for the corporate match:

Posted by Adam | 5 Comments

JetBlue has a unique promotion, offering savings (up to 40%) based on the number of family and friends you book on the same itinerary. The promotion expires today and valid flight dates are April 30th – June 19, 2013.  Don’t worry, even if you are traveling alone, you still save 10%!

Flight Restrictions: Promo codes are valid 4/23/13 only (until 11:59 PM ET). Each code (case-sensitive) is good for the stated discount off the base fare of a roundtrip JetBlue flight (nonstop or connecting) originating from the United States (including Puerto Rico) for travel between 4/30/13 – 6/19/13 (Blackout Dates: 5/23/13 – 5/27/13). Roundtrip purchase required. Discount depends on number of customers per qualified roundtrip flight booking. Must select correct promo code in order for correct discount to appear; must select both outbound and return flights within the travel period in order to receive the discount. Each code (case-sensitive) is valid only for qualified roundtrip flights purchased on jetblue.com/promo; new bookings only; limit one code per booking. Changes/cancellations after 4/23/13 will result in the promo code discount being forfeited.

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Check out Conde Nast’s slideshow of the best business hotels in the 15 cities with the highest scoring business facilities, inclusive of: Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Hong Kong, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, and Seattle.

Courtesy Conde Nast

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