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Little Evil

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

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Little Evil
26 minutes ago, Luv2Phuket said:

American apparently has decided that status is too easy to obtain.

A friend forwarded me the email that he received, telling him that Executive Platinum will require 150,000 EQMs next year (as opposed to the current 100,000 EQMs).

I just got an email informing me that my Barclay's Silver AA Aviator card will no longer get me $3,000 EQDs for every $25,000 in annual spend (capped at $6,000 EQDs), but instead will now require $50,000 in annual spend to earn $3,000 EQDs.

That's a HUGE change!  I put a big chunk of my current spend on that card to ensure that I got the $3,000 EQDs (turned out, I didn't need them), but $4,250 a MONTH in charges to get $3,000 EQDs?!?  GTFOH!

If they raise the EQM requirement from 50,000 to 75,000 for Platinum, I will likely be kissing my AA Platinum status goodbye

Got that email from Barclays. That's ridiculous--2 times the spend? Talk about a devaluation of perks. I'm not currently chasing status, so it doesn't impact me directly, but that certainly raised an eyebrow. In fact, the only reason I keep the Aviator Silver around is the 3X on AA purchases, including buying points. I have the Citi AA Plat as well, and that one might go soon because it is largely redundant to the Aviator, but the Aviator earns more on AA. AA is just on a race to the bottom in their FF program. 

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fatboy21

Some good biz class fares out of Heathrow to Bangkok next year with Air France for around £1500. They have been upgrading their cabins and now fly with a 1-2-1 layout and fully flat beds on the CDG-BKK route. I am not saying that Air France are as good as Qatar Airways or Singapore Airlines but they are moving in the right direction, and as you would expect for a French carrier, their food and wines are excellent in my opinion.

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skink

Just saw that Amex added Avianca Lifemiles as a MR transfer partner. 

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HimBadMan

Wow- Finally was able to find  Cathay Biz Award today for my flight on Nov 13th... Was getting a bit worried-   I was hoping AA opened up their biz chart, because I much rather fly AA Biz then CX Biz to HKG...    For F sake CX doesnt have mattress pad or PJ's..   I love AA's Casper bedding and PJ's very very comfy-  Plus AA meals are much better...   I guess i should not complain- Just happy that something opened up...   Now just have to figure out how to get home :)

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Luv2Phuket
2 hours ago, HimBadMan said:

Wow- Finally was able to find  Cathay Biz Award today for my flight on Nov 13th... Was getting a bit worried-   I was hoping AA opened up their biz chart, because I much rather fly AA Biz then CX Biz to HKG...    For F sake CX doesnt have mattress pad or PJ's..   I love AA's Casper bedding and PJ's very very comfy-  Plus AA meals are much better...   I guess i should not complain- Just happy that something opened up...   Now just have to figure out how to get home :)

Wow!  You were cutting it close!

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HimBadMan
9 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

Wow!  You were cutting it close!

I've been checking every day since June.  Using BA, Qantas, and KVS.  CX is being incredibly stingy with Awards ever since they changee thier Asia Miles program.   And sure we all know the BS games AA plays especially during holidays times-.  When they inflate mile rates..

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bgtp
13 hours ago, HimBadMan said:

Wow- Finally was able to find  Cathay Biz Award today for my flight on Nov 13th... Was getting a bit worried-   I was hoping AA opened up their biz chart, because I much rather fly AA Biz then CX Biz to HKG...    For F sake CX doesnt have mattress pad or PJ's..   I love AA's Casper bedding and PJ's very very comfy-  Plus AA meals are much better...   I guess i should not complain- Just happy that something opened up...   Now just have to figure out how to get home :)

Shit, they don't even have slippers and you're looking for pajamas and a mattress pad.

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Luv2Phuket

This year''s "top airlines" list is out - 

https://thepointsguy.com/news/singapore-airlines-named-worlds-best-airline-of-2019/?utm_medium=social&utm_term=editorial&utm_campaign=100000283516778&utm_source=TWITTER

I fly Cathay (#9, but seriously slipping) first in a few days, then come back on #1 Singapore (biz, not first).

REALLY excited for both flights!  As much as Cathay is slipping, their first class has always been excellent in my experience.  This will be my first time flying Singapore, so very excited about it, too.

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Little Evil
On 13/11/2018 at 16:11, Luv2Phuket said:

This year''s "top airlines" list is out - 

https://thepointsguy.com/news/singapore-airlines-named-worlds-best-airline-of-2019/?utm_medium=social&utm_term=editorial&utm_campaign=100000283516778&utm_source=TWITTER

I fly Cathay (#9, but seriously slipping) first in a few days, then come back on #1 Singapore (biz, not first).

REALLY excited for both flights!  As much as Cathay is slipping, their first class has always been excellent in my experience.  This will be my first time flying Singapore, so very excited about it, too.

Nice! I have given CX a lot of shit in recent years as their quality is noticeably slipping, but I often forget about frame of reference, in that they started off very high in my opinion. The top or near the top when I first got to try their first class suite. They are still fantastic in F for service, and the 3' wide seat with turn down service and caviar are still a thrill. I'm just jaded I guess. 

Coming home in March in Qatar. That will be a first for me. Still going to try to push for a swap out for CX if I can get them because Qatar has a crazy 8 hour layover in Doha. If I do end up with Qatar, I wonder if there's anything worth seeing in that 8 hour period. I'm also going to be trying CX PE in a week. That's a first as well. I'm kind of nervous about it, if you can believe that. Haven't been in a non-J/F longhaul since this thread started. 

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Luv2Phuket
6 hours ago, Little Evil said:

Nice! I have given CX a lot of shit in recent years as their quality is noticeably slipping, but I often forget about frame of reference, in that they started off very high in my opinion. The top or near the top when I first got to try their first class suite. They are still fantastic in F for service, and the 3' wide seat with turn down service and caviar are still a thrill. I'm just jaded I guess. 

Coming home in March in Qatar. That will be a first for me. Still going to try to push for a swap out for CX if I can get them because Qatar has a crazy 8 hour layover in Doha. If I do end up with Qatar, I wonder if there's anything worth seeing in that 8 hour period. I'm also going to be trying CX PE in a week. That's a first as well. I'm kind of nervous about it, if you can believe that. Haven't been in a non-J/F longhaul since this thread started. 

Being #9 isn't bad, but consider that Skytrax had Cathay #1 in 2014, just 5 years ago.  That's around when I started flying Cathay, so the slippage has been apparent to me (although they are still a very good airline)

I flew Qatar last year.  My connection in Doha wasn't near that long, so I stayed in the airport.

IF flying Qatar to the USA, be aware that they have an additional security check at the Gate that takes FOREVER.  Seemed like a disorganized mess and, by the time I got through it, business class already was boarding.

Can't recall if they had gate restrictions on bringing water/liquids through, but be aware of it before you waste money on bottled water only to have to throw it out (like my recent experience in Panama -- those assholes wouldn't even let me bring the EMPTY plastic bottle on board so I could have the flight attendant refill it for me!)

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Short

I've been thinking about flying B to Thailand and returning PE to better use my points as the return leg is about 2 hours shorter.

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Little Evil

So, CX managed to fuck up my paid PE trip, and as the only alternative, took my direct HKG to BOS in PE and turned it into AA J to LAX and Y from LAX to BOS on a red eye, including a nearly 5 hour layover in LAX. On the up shot, I got an unintentional upgrade from HKG to USA. On the down side, I should have been home by 6pm EST, but will instead be landing at 5:40am, right in time to shower and shave for work. 

In any case, AA J from HKG was actually quite nice.  I haven't gone a domestic carrier on long haul since United in 2008 to ICN.  AA on this route use Zodiac reverse herringbone seats like CX. I actually though the food was better than CX. FA staff is still catching up, but not shabby. Friendly, but not as doting as Asian carriers. Have I been needlessly overlooking AA/UA/DL? They even allow arrivals access to Admirals lounge--a freaking godsend considering my F'd up itinerary today. 

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bouncewithme

Anyone else been having problems with eligibility for the "welcome offer" on Amex cards? I applied via a 50k referral link provided on here a few weeks ago, and got the message I wasn't eligible for the welcome offer. I had thought, ok, it's probably just because it was a referral for 50k vs. the standard 25k and they locked that down. So a few days ago I applied on the main Amex site for the normal 25k MR bonus and again got the message I wasn't eligible because of the number of Amex cards I had opened or closed recently. I have only had two Amex cards ever - one I still have and have had for 5 years, but I did downgrade it from a annual fee card to a non about 1.5 years ago. I then had the Platinum, which I closed just before the renewal date - admittedly, after having milked it for the travel credit, uber credit, and 100k bonus and other perks. seems like they have gotten very strict on who they hand out bonuses too now a days to eliminate the churners.

I was really hoping to get the new rebranded Gold card to take advantage of the 4x on Grocery, that is a huge opportunity to accelerate point accumulation on spend in that category, but I am hesitant to waste a credit pull and new account opening on a card with NO bonus. I am going to call Amex today to see if there is any way around this but it's not looking good! Curious what others are experiencing?

 

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Little Evil
54 minutes ago, bouncewithme said:

Anyone else been having problems with eligibility for the "welcome offer" on Amex cards? I applied via a 50k referral link provided on here a few weeks ago, and got the message I wasn't eligible for the welcome offer. I had thought, ok, it's probably just because it was a referral for 50k vs. the standard 25k and they locked that down. So a few days ago I applied on the main Amex site for the normal 25k MR bonus and again got the message I wasn't eligible because of the number of Amex cards I had opened or closed recently. I have only had two Amex cards ever - one I still have and have had for 5 years, but I did downgrade it from a annual fee card to a non about 1.5 years ago. I then had the Platinum, which I closed just before the renewal date - admittedly, after having milked it for the travel credit, uber credit, and 100k bonus and other perks. seems like they have gotten very strict on who they hand out bonuses too now a days to eliminate the churners.

I was really hoping to get the new rebranded Gold card to take advantage of the 4x on Grocery, that is a huge opportunity to accelerate point accumulation on spend in that category, but I am hesitant to waste a credit pull and new account opening on a card with NO bonus. I am going to call Amex today to see if there is any way around this but it's not looking good! Curious what others are experiencing?

 

Seems overly strict considering you've only had the two accounts. The one you downgraded is still considered one account, not two. Are you sure you didn't have any co-branded cards like a Hilton or Delta? 

I personally have the platinum and a business gold before I applied for the new gold with the 50k referral link. I also had a really old gold card at one point about 15 years ago that I closed down after a year. We're fairly similar in that regard, except I kept the platinum after the 100k bonus. 

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bouncewithme
2 hours ago, Little Evil said:

Seems overly strict considering you've only had the two accounts. The one you downgraded is still considered one account, not two. Are you sure you didn't have any co-branded cards like a Hilton or Delta? 

I personally have the platinum and a business gold before I applied for the new gold with the 50k referral link. I also had a really old gold card at one point about 15 years ago that I closed down after a year. We're fairly similar in that regard, except I kept the platinum after the 100k bonus. 

It does seem overly strict, I am really surprised. The one I downgraded was a co-brand Delta - it was the Skymiles platinum and I downgraded it to the no annual fee Blue Delta Skymiles card. I closed the regular Platinum charge card.

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Little Evil
27 minutes ago, bouncewithme said:

It does seem overly strict, I am really surprised. The one I downgraded was a co-brand Delta - it was the Skymiles platinum and I downgraded it to the no annual fee Blue Delta Skymiles card. I closed the regular Platinum charge card.

Looks like they're factoring in lots of metrics aside from just number of cards, as from a glance, there is little rhyme/reason for their approvals and denials of the bonuses:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/is-amex-rejecting-more-welcome-bonuses/

Just a guess, but I think they probably calculate churn history X annual fee payment X current spend patterns in order to determine if extending another bonus makes sense on their end. I suppose they want to avoid the crowd using the cards at minimum bonus thresholds and then downgrading or cancelling (something I'm sure we're all guilty of doing at some point). 

 

 

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bouncewithme
Just now, Little Evil said:

Looks like they're factoring in lots of metrics aside from just number of cards, as from a glance, there is little rhyme/reason for their approvals and denials of the bonuses:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/is-amex-rejecting-more-welcome-bonuses/

Just a guess, but I think they probably calculate churn history X annual fee payment X current spend patterns in order to determine if extending another bonus makes sense on their end. I suppose they want to avoid the crowd using the cards at minimum bonus thresholds and then downgrading or cancelling (something I'm sure we're all guilty of doing at some point). 

 

 

Just called and made a complaint that I will follow-up on persistently until I can get approved for the welcome offer. The biggest frustration for me is this is a card I would hold long term LOL, no closing this one after getting the bonus. I really want the 4x Grocery benefit.

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Little Evil
24 minutes ago, bouncewithme said:

Just called and made a complaint that I will follow-up on persistently until I can get approved for the welcome offer. The biggest frustration for me is this is a card I would hold long term LOL, no closing this one after getting the bonus. I really want the 4x Grocery benefit.

It really has been great so far (not to rub salt in the wound!). Only 1 month in, and a very light personal spend month for me, and I'm looking at 1,500 in extra points from grocery and personal work time grub hub orders alone (probably around $500 spend on the 4x categories). All said and done, this will probably add somewhere between 20-30k MR's on top of my normal annual spend. I do question why the gold card has this and not the platinum. 

The downside is that my Chase Reserve has taken a serious hit to spend. That was  my prior go-to for restaurants.  Still might keep it though as long as they keep the $300 travel credit to partially offset the AF. I like partner transfer flexibility. 

 

 

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bouncewithme
37 minutes ago, Little Evil said:

It really has been great so far (not to rub salt in the wound!). Only 1 month in, and a very light personal spend month for me, and I'm looking at 1,500 in extra points from grocery and personal work time grub hub orders alone (probably around $500 spend on the 4x categories). All said and done, this will probably add somewhere between 20-30k MR's on top of my normal annual spend. I do question why the gold card has this and not the platinum. 

The downside is that my Chase Reserve has taken a serious hit to spend. That was  my prior go-to for restaurants.  Still might keep it though as long as they keep the $300 travel credit to partially offset the AF. I like partner transfer flexibility. 

 

 

Whats gonna be interesting for CSR card is January 1 when the Citi Prestige goes to 5x on dining and travel...I don't know if I'll need CSR at that point which is odd, its been my go to since it came out!

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bgtp

Just booked my summer trip using United miles. I had thought getting a United Saver award meant any Star Alliance partner segments would be in a lower class of service, but apparently this is not always the case. My flights between the USA and HKG are in United business and my flights to and from BKK on Thai are also in business. I was able to take advantage of the Excursionist Perk for a free stopover in the Philippines on the way home, too. All in all, not bad for 150K miles these days.

In the past, I've done OK transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to United's and Korean's programs, the latter no longer an option, but I've yet to try AMEX Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards. I also see that Capital One now has airline transfer partners, too. So, I think I've got some sign up bonus opportunities here from three different banks. My question for you guys using these programs is, which of their airline partners are best for reward flight from east coast USA to Thailand?

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Luv2Phuket

Very bad news for anyone who -- like me -- does the Cathay BKK-HKG-LAX route:

Just got notice that my first class seat booked on the midnight HKG-LAX leg via Alaska for my return in February is no more. 

It appears they are doing a long-term equipment change on that flight, and now only business class seats are available.

Oddly, I just flew Cathay first LAX-HKG in November, but I think that plane is used for the mid-day return (as opposed to the late night one that I prefer on the return from BKK)

I didn't lose my seat completely - they just bumped me down to business class (and refunded 20,000 miles).

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Little Evil
11 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

Very bad news for anyone who -- like me -- does the Cathay BKK-HKG-LAX route:

Just got notice that my first class seat booked on the midnight HKG-LAX leg via Alaska for my return in February is no more. 

It appears they are doing a long-term equipment change on that flight, and now only business class seats are available.

Oddly, I just flew Cathay first LAX-HKG in November, but I think that plane is used for the mid-day return (as opposed to the late night one that I prefer on the return from BKK)

I didn't lose my seat completely - they just bumped me down to business class (and refunded 20,000 miles).

On the up shot, does that mean A350? 

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Luv2Phuket
3 hours ago, Little Evil said:

On the up shot, does that mean A350? 

Nope....still listed on my confirmation (and on Kayak) as a 777-300ER  - same plane as before; just a different seating layout.

FWIW, SeatGuru has both seating options posted.

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Little Evil
11 minutes ago, Luv2Phuket said:

Nope....still listed on my confirmation (and on Kayak) as a 777-300ER  - same plane as before; just a different seating layout.

FWIW, SeatGuru has both seating options posted.

Yikes! I didn't realize they operated a long haul 3-class 777.  Hoping that isn't a trend, as I have an F trip in February from BOS.

How are they going to handle lounge access in HKG considering the involuntary downgrade?

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Luv2Phuket
6 hours ago, Little Evil said:

Yikes! I didn't realize they operated a long haul 3-class 777.  Hoping that isn't a trend, as I have an F trip in February from BOS.

How are they going to handle lounge access in HKG considering the involuntary downgrade?

I assume that I will only have business class lounge access, because the change was made so far out (about 75 days).

Alaska has refunded the difference in points, so it is now just like a biz class award booking.

I had the same thing happen on a prior trip, except they didn't inform me until I got to HKG.  I was PISSED, especially because I got an absolute crap seat - last one in biz class, which has a missing window (in hindsight, I don't look out the window, so that really wasn't a big deal - just made me feel a bit claustrophobic).

I raised a little Hell, and got the equivalent of about $300-350 USD in HKG dollars (and the mileage difference was later refunded, as well).

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