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Little Evil

Long Haul Business Class for under $2K (Long Post)

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wash747

I love priority pass! Took red eye LAX-JFK after my last thailand trip. I smashed a nice breakfast burrito with coffee after flight to kill 1-2 hour before train to home. Cost me nothing but $4 tip (apparently PP don’t pay tips so gotta do out of my pocket). 

I could try PF Chang in LAX next month but I’m milking last few months of being AA executive platinum so I’ll enjoy meal at qantas F lounge (AA EXP is almost worthless those days and won’t bother to qualify again. Only pick up points via buying during bonus promotion or credit card signups..).  Also, some J deals can be sometime. found around $2-3k for USA to BKK 

No surprise if u feel seat is tight.. US3 is hell bent on cramming many seats as possible and it feel almost no different than taking AirAsia flight ugh 

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bgtp

I always pay for the extra seat pitch in coach on domestic flights, even the quick hop I had to take from JFK-BOS at the end of my last trip. Life’s too short and my legs are too long.

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Luv2Phuket
1 hour ago, Little Evil said:

Just flew United BOS-EWR in coach. Did they recently make the seat pitch smaller, or is that my imagination? It felt like the seatback screen was inches from my face. Only an hour long flight, but I couldn't wait to get off. 

Only reason I bring it up is that while waiting in BOS, I recalled something FPJM once mentioned about Priority Pass restaurants. Sure enough, the Stephanie's in Terminal B is part of the program. $28 credit. Got breakfast and an absurdly expensive screwdriver for $34 and only had to pay $6. Good call on that one. 

 

1 hour ago, wash747 said:

I love priority pass! Took red eye LAX-JFK after my last thailand trip. I smashed a nice breakfast burrito with coffee after flight to kill 1-2 hour before train to home. Cost me nothing but $4 tip (apparently PP don’t pay tips so gotta do out of my pocket). 

I could try PF Chang in LAX next month but I’m milking last few months of being AA executive platinum so I’ll enjoy meal at qantas F lounge (AA EXP is almost worthless those days and won’t bother to qualify again. Only pick up points via buying during bonus promotion or credit card signups..).  Also, some J deals can be sometime. found around $2-3k for USA to BKK 

No surprise if u feel seat is tight.. US3 is hell bent on cramming many seats as possible and it feel almost no different than taking AirAsia flight ugh 

I am too spoiled now -- find coach to be BRUTAL, even on short hops!  I even flew first from LAX to Fresno recently, but that was more to make sure I got my EQMs for Platinum status for 2019 (I am now sitting 500 EQMs short, but have at least 3 more AA trips coming up, so I will hit it easily)

I did PF Changs at LAX last week before my flight to Heathrow.  It is located right next to the oneworld lounge at Bradley (think it used to be III Forks steakhouse).  I had some Mongolian beef and a soda for a grand total of $0 (but tipped based on total value), and then went into the oneworld lounge to kill some time and use the free wifi before my flight. 

My flight was from Terminal 4, but the walkway (after security) between 4 and Bradley is a piece of cake.  If you are not checking bags, I would recommend using Terminal 4, as PreCheck makes security a breeze, and it's only about a 5 minute walk.

Also, if flying from Terminal 4 domestically (which includes many AA flights), I may sneak over for a free entree.

While in London, I finally took advantage of my oneworld Sapphire status to access another oneworld lounge.  I sued the Qantas biz class lounge because it was the easiest location.  With Priority Pass, oneworld Sapphire, AMEX Platinum AND flying business class, I had a choice of an ABSURD number of lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3.

 

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Little Evil
On 10/6/2018 at 14:12, Luv2Phuket said:

 

I am too spoiled now -- find coach to be BRUTAL, even on short hops!  I even flew first from LAX to Fresno recently, but that was more to make sure I got my EQMs for Platinum status for 2019 (I am now sitting 500 EQMs short, but have at least 3 more AA trips coming up, so I will hit it easily)

 

Holy shit! I'm with you on this one. Just got back from Houston to BOS. Only 3.5 hours, but coach is unbearable. The seat sucks for sure, but I it would have been fine for the short trip if not for the people surrounding it. 

I took and isle seat on a narrow body. The portly older guy across the isle spent half of the trip standing up, ass encroaching my personal space. There was a group of indian guys--about 9 of them. I have no problem with any race at all. I only point it out here because these guys were having a full on shouting conversation over 3 rows just yelling above the engine noise in another language the entire flight. Halfway though, someone broke out the funkiest smelling food I've ever experienced on a plane. It was like rotting onions or something. Then the old guy across the way finally sits down for drink service and proceeds to spill an entire cup of coffee on his lap. He's trying to get up, get his bag and cane from the overhead, and get by the drink cart in a 1 isle narrow body to the bathroom so he can change his clothes. Lead to a hell of a ruckus. The FA's were all disgruntled, but the passengers weren't helping. FA was pouring drinks for the left row and the woman next to me on the right row is asking him for drinks before we were even served. He was getting stressed and actually verbally telling himself to "calm down and just smile". The result was that I got part of her bad service. Half a plastic cup of coke and no pretzels or even a napkin. Lastly, the guy at the window either has a nervous tick or has never been on a plane before. Kept opening and closing the window, only to see nothing but blinding sunlight reflecting off clouds. NOTHING TO SEE. Kept on doing it and TAKING PICTURES OF NOTHING. 

I'm thinking that I saved myself maybe a hundred or so, but on the plane I was thinking "why the fuck didn't I just buy the upgrade?"  United's new boarding makes almost no difference either when the crowd still does whatever it wants. Sorry for the rant!

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wash747
2 hours ago, Little Evil said:

Holy shit! I'm with you on this one. Just got back from Houston to BOS. Only 3.5 hours, but coach is unbearable. The seat sucks for sure, but I it would have been fine for the short trip if not for the people surrounding it. 

I took and isle seat on a narrow body. The portly older guy across the isle spent half of the trip standing up, ass encroaching my personal space. There was a group of indian guys--about 9 of them. I have no problem with any race at all. I only point it out here because these guys were having a full on shouting conversation over 3 rows just yelling above the engine noise in another language the entire flight. Halfway though, someone broke out the funkiest smelling food I've ever experienced on a plane. It was like rotting onions or something. Then the old guy across the way finally sits down for drink service and proceeds to spill an entire cup of coffee on his lap. He's trying to get up, get his bag and cane from the overhead, and get by the drink cart in a 1 isle narrow body to the bathroom so he can change his clothes. Lead to a hell of a ruckus. The FA's were all disgruntled, but the passengers weren't helping. FA was pouring drinks for the left row and the woman next to me on the right row is asking him for drinks before we were even served. He was getting stressed and actually verbally telling himself to "calm down and just smile". The result was that I got part of her bad service. Half a plastic cup of coke and no pretzels or even a napkin. Lastly, the guy at the window either has a nervous tick or has never been on a plane before. Kept opening and closing the window, only to see nothing but blinding sunlight reflecting off clouds. NOTHING TO SEE. Kept on doing it and TAKING PICTURES OF NOTHING. 

I'm thinking that I saved myself maybe a hundred or so, but on the plane I was thinking "why the fuck didn't I just buy the upgrade?"  United's new boarding makes almost no difference either when the crowd still does whatever it wants. Sorry for the rant!

Damn boy, it seems flying masses is descending to chinese-level travel experience...  It's US3's laser-focus on cutting and cram everyone to the gills surely lead to some passengers being ass during flights.   Thankfully, more premium economy / J deals more than ever, so i def dont mind to pay $1k to $2.5k J or so for PE ride to get away from annoying masses.  

I am pissed off how AA taken C-space inventory away (If there is C-space available, you can use systemwide upgrade to J).  I have time to wait for Oct 2019 flights but current trend don't look good..   Here's hope to Qatar's nice USA-Thailand J deals come out again this Jan. 

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Luv2Phuket

I'm flying coach for 3.5 hours on an Embraer ERJ-175 on Thursday morning.....ugh.....

At least my Platinum status netted me a free bump to Main Cabin Extra, so I am in the first row (lots of leg room, but only the window seat was available). 

I couldn't justify the upgrade cost on the way there, but I DID upgrade to first for the return.  I'm hoping that I get to use 500-mile upgrade certificates for a bump to first on the way in (although first on Embraer on the 2-seat side of the plane isn't very good).

Speaking of Platinum, my miscalculation on the EQMs/EQDs that I was going to get for my LAX-LHR-Kiev trip was even farther off than I thought -- I calculated that the trip to Omaha would put me over, but the trip to Kiev ended up getting me almost 3,500 EQD (I'm over $10k there, so no sweat) and 25,920 EQMs, so I am now Platinum through Jan. 2020.   

Already worried about getting there next year, but I'm looking at 2 biz trips to Hawaii, so that's a decent start....

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Luv2Phuket
2 hours ago, Little Evil said:

Holy shit! I'm with you on this one. Just got back from Houston to BOS. Only 3.5 hours, but coach is unbearable. The seat sucks for sure, but I it would have been fine for the short trip if not for the people surrounding it. 

 

"You people live like animals!"

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Luv2Phuket

Short-lived show (1 season) that had some very funny stuff for frequent fliers.

I couldn't find the better clip of the Captain having to fly coach -- a guy was eating mashed potatoes directly off of his tray table; another was cutting his toenails. 

Pretty much summed up how I feel when stuck back there!  55555

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Little Evil

I could go on for hours how bad that trip was. The pushy woman next to me also brought a full sized pillow with her for a 3 hour flight. She was no ballerina to start with, and add a pillow into this seat and it was just too much mass. She ended up somehow sleeping with her entire body, legs--feet and all, up on the seat with her ass pressed up against my arm rest splitting her ham hocks. Her ass was literally spilling to my space with me involuntarily touching it with my elbow. The only way it could have been worse is if she were to make a claim that I was inappropriately touching her while she was sleeping--something I was seriously worried about.

This is what happens when flying is almost too accessible and people are way too entitled. I know that sounds like some 1 percenter-asshat talking, but that was a tough one.

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Little Evil
1 hour ago, wash747 said:

Damn boy, it seems flying masses is descending to chinese-level travel experience...  It's US3's laser-focus on cutting and cram everyone to the gills surely lead to some passengers being ass during flights.   Thankfully, more premium economy / J deals more than ever, so i def dont mind to pay $1k to $2.5k J or so for PE ride to get away from annoying masses.  

I am pissed off how AA taken C-space inventory away (If there is C-space available, you can use systemwide upgrade to J).  I have time to wait for Oct 2019 flights but current trend don't look good..   Here's hope to Qatar's nice USA-Thailand J deals come out again this Jan. 

I'm so spoiled with the points game that I don't think I could do less than PE for a long haul anymore, so that's great about PE prices coming down. Maybe it's also because I hate regional jets too. The few I experienced this weekend on United--none of them had seat power. Why are the movies free on the app but you have to pay $7.99 on the seat back? 

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Short

What has happened here.   There will be no discussion of Main Cabin Extra or below.  Please do not put those horrid images in my head.

 

Moving on.   For my upcoming trip AA cancelled my final leg from ORD.  Was just going to leave me in Chicago.  I negotiated for a return from HK via AA to DWF.  I hate to say this but my last experiences with Cathay have been so bad that I have to rank them under AA.   The food was so bad on Cathay last time that I gave up and decided to wait until I got to ORD to get something to eat.  They couldn't even defrost a hamburger.  They kept serving it frozen.

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Little Evil
1 hour ago, Short said:

What has happened here.   There will be no discussion of Main Cabin Extra or below.  Please do not put those horrid images in my head.

 

Moving on.   For my upcoming trip AA cancelled my final leg from ORD.  Was just going to leave me in Chicago.  I negotiated for a return from HK via AA to DWF.  I hate to say this but my last experiences with Cathay have been so bad that I have to rank them under AA.   The food was so bad on Cathay last time that I gave up and decided to wait until I got to ORD to get something to eat.  They couldn't even defrost a hamburger.  They kept serving it frozen.

lol. Fair enough. I suppose that is technically off topic here.

I have to echo you on CX. Their food quality in the air has definitely taken a hit last few years. I had something frozen too last flight. Don't recall what it was, but I do remember being freaked out by the icy center. Still though, I do typically prefer Asian carrier FA's and not feeling guilty for pressing the FA button.

Next longhaul trip isn't until next month. Unfortunately, that's PE on my own dime. However, I suppose there's a little excitement having never gone CX PE. I'm still going to try like hell to get an upgrade, but I'll take this PE trip out of curiosity if I have to.

 

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Luv2Phuket
23 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

I'm flying coach for 3.5 hours on an Embraer ERJ-175 on Thursday morning.....ugh.....

At least my Platinum status netted me a free bump to Main Cabin Extra, so I am in the first row (lots of leg room, but only the window seat was available). 

I couldn't justify the upgrade cost on the way there, but I DID upgrade to first for the return.  I'm hoping that I get to use 500-mile upgrade certificates for a bump to first on the way in (although first on Embraer on the 2-seat side of the plane isn't very good).

 

The Travel Gods smiled upon me this morning!

 

Upgrade.jpg

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Luv2Phuket

Given their frequent 40% bonus offers on purchased miles and their "sweet spot" for award travel on Cathay, this Alaska credit card deal may be worthwhile:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/alaska-airlines-visa-40k-bonus/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_term=editorial&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=100000283516778

 

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wash747
6 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

Given their frequent 40% bonus offers on purchased miles and their "sweet spot" for award travel on Cathay, this Alaska credit card deal may be worthwhile:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/alaska-airlines-visa-40k-bonus/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_term=editorial&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=100000283516778

 

Bank of America suddenly become very anal about approving credit cards.  I tried to apply Amtrak card by BOA few weeks ago, and was shot down due to too many credit cards opening up.  I almost bought alaska miles during their recent 50% bonus promotion but i dont need miles till october 2019 but history show alaska likely to have another sale in dec or jan (hopefully they dont devalue beforehand).  I am sitting on 26k miles...  just need 24k for one way cathay business to BKK.

 

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Short
17 minutes ago, wash747 said:

Bank of America suddenly become very anal about approving credit cards.  I tried to apply Amtrak card by BOA few weeks ago, and was shot down due to too many credit cards opening up.  I almost bought alaska miles during their recent 50% bonus promotion but i dont need miles till october 2019 but history show alaska likely to have another sale in dec or jan (hopefully they dont devalue beforehand).  I am sitting on 26k miles...  just need 24k for one way cathay business to BKK.

 

Is Cathay opening more seats between BKK and HK to Alaskan than American airlines.

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wash747

Not really.  Alaska agents dont see all available seats that AA could see (someone mention it's best to check on Qantas because Alaskan agents could see spaces based on Qantas's award engine compare to BA's award search engine.  However, award availability isnt good as before but still doable since CX fly like what, 7 or 8 time to BKK per day.  

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Little Evil
14 hours ago, wash747 said:

Bank of America suddenly become very anal about approving credit cards.  I tried to apply Amtrak card by BOA few weeks ago, and was shot down due to too many credit cards opening up.  I almost bought alaska miles during their recent 50% bonus promotion but i dont need miles till october 2019 but history show alaska likely to have another sale in dec or jan (hopefully they dont devalue beforehand).  I am sitting on 26k miles...  just need 24k for one way cathay business to BKK.

 

Wow. This is definitely a change. I pulled the Alaska card just last Nov. BoA didn't even bother with a hard pull. That's most likely because I'm a 25 year customer and have been platinum honors since switching my investment account to Merrill a few years ago, but still, it was instant approval and I already hold like a dozen cards. I'm now kicking myself for not dipping in on that 50% miles bonus. Maybe next run.

Just got the newly improved Amex Gold card. Check for referral links if you are thinking about it, as I got a link for a 50k bonus instead of 25k. Will be interesting to see how my Chase Reserve card fares after I get this Gold card. 

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Little Evil
56 minutes ago, wash747 said:

Not really.  Alaska agents dont see all available seats that AA could see (someone mention it's best to check on Qantas because Alaskan agents could see spaces based on Qantas's award engine compare to BA's award search engine.  However, award availability isnt good as before but still doable since CX fly like what, 7 or 8 time to BKK per day.  

Also, Alaska agents are just as bad, if not worse than AA when it comes to "hang up and call again". First two reps on my last booking "couldn't see availability". The third just booked it on first shot with little effort. One thing that I notice trips them up is if a multi-leg F itinerary has a leg or two that only offers J. You really need to spell that out for them, as the more idiotic ones are still looking for F seats on those flights and will tell you that they are not offered or available. 

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skwashdem

What I've found when I deal with Alaska agents over the phone is that it greatly helps if I lay out the itinerary I want to fly for them segment by segment. Sometimes they'll say no availability but see availability when I suggest they search for it as individual segments instead. When I was booking my November trip they couldn't see any open space on the IAD-HKG segments but JFK had availability out to HKG and then on to BKK. I grabbed that mostly to lock in the trip. A few weeks later I was  hoping that award space from IAD would open up and it did. When I called in the Alaska agent found four seats available on that flight plus tons of space on multiple HKG-BKK legs so I have a nice layover to enjoy the lounges at HKG on the way over now.

The other thing with CX space I've learned is that you sometimes have to call back a few days or weeks later to see if they've got availability because I only found one seat available to BA on the IAD leg and Qantas showed two seats, but nothing was showing for BA or Qantas on the HKG-BKK legs. Alaska? 4 available seats in J for the IAD to HKG leg and I had five different choices for the HKG to BKK leg to pick from, all of which were in J.

I'm actually calling back in every week to check on J availability for my return segments as a result. I've got PE locked in for those segments right now which won't bother me too much but a flat bed would be nice for that terribly sad 15+ hour flight home to IAD.

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skink
On 3/30/2018 at 16:17, Luv2Phuket said:

....Today I locked in a new AMEX Hilton Aspire card - VERY high annual fee ($450), but 100,000 HH points after $4,000 minimum spend, HH Diamond status, free night certificate, and flight/resort credits of $250 each per year....

 

Have you had a chance to stay at the Hilton Pattaya as a Diamond? I'm looking at upgrading my HH Ascend to the Aspire.

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Luv2Phuket
On 10/12/2018 at 09:01, skink said:

Have you had a chance to stay at the Hilton Pattaya as a Diamond? I'm looking at upgrading my HH Ascend to the Aspire.

Yes - my assessment:
 - I don't know that it had a huge impact on my room.  They upgraded me to a Exec floor room, but I was frequently (but not always) upgraded to the same room when I was Hilton Gold (through another credit card that I have since dropped)
 - same free breakfast as when I was Gold
 - BUT the $250 credit on the Aspire (Hilton Pattaya is one of the properties where you get it) is a NICE kicker and makes the card worthwhile in my opinion.

Bloggers make it sounds like Diamond is head and shoulders above Gold, but I haven't noticed a huge change.  I think that you have a BETTER chance of getting an upgrade, but it's not guaranteed (like IHG Ambassador). 

That said, it paid off on  my business trip to Omaha this weekend, when I got upgraded to Exec floor when I am 100% certain that the hotel was fully booked.  Organization whose employee who booked rooms for everyone was at the front desk when I was checking in said that there was really no chance for an upgrade, but the desk clerk said "yes, Mr. L2P, we have upgraded you to our Executive floor."

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Little Evil

Points PSA: Targeted Air Canada $1,000+ spend on Amex (showed up on my Plat) to net 20k MR's through 12/15/18. Could be low hanging fruit for some of you who were lucky enough to get the promo.

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skink

I didn't get that Air Canada offer on any of my cards. I had the spend $200 with AT&T wireless for business and get 20k MR points. I thought I found a couple friends and family members who had them but it turns out they had the consumer service.

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Little Evil
14 minutes ago, skink said:

I didn't get that Air Canada offer on any of my cards. I had the spend $200 with AT&T wireless for business and get 20k MR points. I thought I found a couple friends and family members who had them but it turns out they had the consumer service.

I was scrambling to get that AT&T biz bonus, but I couldn't find a way to lock that in without opening a contract. 

On a separate note, I just found out today that it is possible to refer yourself for Amex products and get the referral bonus. I've only seen a 15k on the plat card referral, so I'm wondering if the opposite is true too (Plat referring self to Gold). If so, I think i just missed out on that freebie. 

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