Weekly Review: April 7, 2018

Filed Under: Weekly Review

I’ve spent the past few weeks in the US, which has been nice for a change, though starting in a few days I’m going to be traveling internationally almost nonstop for the next month, which I’m excited about. Ford and I are headed to Paris and the Seychelles, and then I’ll be taking a couple of review trips upon my return. First I’ll be flying British Airways’ 787-9 first class to London, which I’m sure I’ll have a lot of thoughts on. 😉

On the points & travel front, this week we saw the introduction of two new credit cards, a devaluation of IHG’s anniversary free night certificate, Air Belgium began selling tickets, Marriott and Starwood announced a new promotion, and more.

With that out of the way, here’s a recap of this week on the blog:

Featured Stories


Dear Air Belgium: Please Take My Money

Earlier this week Air Belgium began selling tickets for their flights, which launch on April 30 between Brussels and Hong Kong. Air Belgium is a new airline operating 3x weekly flights between Brussels and Hong Kong using former Finnair A340-300s. Their long term goal is to add flights between Brussels and several points in mainland China.

I have my doubts regarding their business model, but I am super excited about flying a brand new airline, which is always an adventure. Today I was trying to book my ticket on Air Belgium to Hong Kong (one direction in business class, the other in economy).

I was hit with a couple of unpleasant surprises.

Redeeming American Miles On Air Tahiti Nui

While redeeming American AAdvantage isn’t as lucrative as it used to be (both in terms of redemption rates and in terms of partners, given the number of partners they’ve lost lately), there are still some great redemption opportunities.

For example, one of the unique partners that American has is Air Tahiti Nui, allowing you to earn and redeem miles for travel on them. Air Tahiti Nui doesn’t have that many airline partners, so this is one of the few ways to redeem miles on them.

One Week at a Time Logo

TIPS: Earning Miles & Promos

If You’re Going To Spend $150 Per Year “Out Of Pocket” On A Credit Card…
Who Is Eligible For The Chase Ink Cash Card?
New Amex Offer: Save (Or Earn Bonus Points) At Bloomingdale’s
Southwest Rapid Rewards Is Offering Double Points For Flights
Is The New IHG Premier Card Subject To 5/24?
Earn Bonus Membership Rewards Points For Using Amex Express Checkout
Great Fares In Oman Air’s New 787 First Class
Details Of The New IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Is The New Barclays Arrival Premier Card Worth It?
Today Only: United Is Offering Up To A 100% Bonus On Purchased Miles
New Amex Offer: Save On JW Marriott Stays
One Week Remaining For Big Delta Amex Welcome Bonuses
Review: The New Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard (With Airline Transfer Partners!)
How To Transfer Chase Ink Cash Points
AWESOME Amex Offer: 2K Bonus Points With Amazon (Targeted)
New Marriott & SPG Promotion For Stays April 16 Through July 20, 2018
New 60K Sign-Up Bonus On Cathay Pacific Credit Card (With Big Spend Requirement)
The Intriguing Rumored Barclays Arrival Premier Card
New Amex Offer: $60 Off A $200+ Hyatt Regency Stay (Targeted)
Hilton Honors Makes Changes To Their Airline Partners
Earn 5x Chase Freedom Points Starting Today With PayPal, Chase Pay, And Grocery Stores

TRICKS: Redeeming Miles

The (Roughly) 200 IHG Hotels Where You Can’t Use Free Night Certificates
Convert Hotel Points Into LifeMiles With Up To A 25% Bonus
Redeeming American Miles On Air Tahiti Nui
IHG Honoring Uncapped Free Night Awards For Select Cardmembers
Southwest Rapid Rewards Adjusts Award Redemption Rates
Shangri-La Is Offering Up To 40% Off Award Redemptions
The 330 IHG Hotels Where You Can’t Redeem Free Night Certificates Anymore
Singapore Airlines’ Excellent First Class Award Availability To/From The US

TRAVEL With Ben (Lucky)

BOOKED: Air Belgium, Ukraine International Airlines, And Hong Kong Airlines (Maybe?)
An Uber Driver Tried To Defraud Me (Again)!
Update (Finally!) On New OMAAT Contributor(s)
Dear Air Belgium: Please Take My Money
Too Many Global Entry Credits: One Way Card Issuers Could Stand Out
I’m Booking Air Belgium Business Class!

REVIEWS & Trip Reports

Review: Star Alliance First Class Lounge LAX
Introduction: Swiping Left On TAAG Angola
Daily Getaways 2018 Preview List
Review: China Eastern First Class 777 Shanghai To Los Angeles

NEWS & Updates

Welcome To The OMAAT Team, Spencer!
It Looks Like American Is About To Order 47 Boeing 787s!
American Orders 787s, Defers 737s, And Cancels A350s
United Is Phasing Out International First Class As Of June 20, 2018
Pakistan International Airlines Unveils New Livery… On An A380?!
Revealed: Gulf Air’s Incredible New 787 Business Class
The Chinese Government Is Bailing Out Anbang (Which Was Going To Buy Starwood)
Alaska Airlines Increases Cost To Upgrade To First Class With Cash
It’s Official: LATAM Will Link South America & Israel As Of December 2018
HNA Group Wants To Sell Their Stake In Hilton
Hi Fly Is Getting Two A380s In The Coming Months (Featuring Suites)!
How Much Do Credit Card Companies Pay For Airline Miles?
The Hilarious Story Of How Pepperoni Got A Guy Banned From A Fairmont Hotel
Alaska Is Adding New York To San Jose Flights, Provides Update On JFK Lounge
Two New Hilton Properties Are Coming To The Maldives
Video: Emirates Follows Their Female Pilots To Five Continents
British Airways Is Canceling Flights To Oakland
Lawyer Sues Emirates For $130,000+ After Finding Insect In Salad
Ouch: IHG To Devalue Anniversary Nights
Hyatt Privé Offers Huge Benefits At Andaz, Grand Hyatt, And More!
Cathay Pacific First Class Is Getting New Champagne (Again)
Air Belgium Will Start Flying Between Brussels & Hong Kong As Of April 30, 2018
WestJet & Swoop 2018 April Fools’ Joke: Duty Not Free
An Update On Saudi Arabia’s New Tourist Visas
Emirates Cuts Capacity To Florida… Again
Hah: Emirates To Introduce New SkyLounge On 777X (April Fools’)
Awesome Video: Intern Joins KLM CEO On A Business Trip

FROM Our Guest Contributors

Maximizing Your Time In Japan with A Rail Pass

I hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!

  1. Hoping to see detailed reviews on your flights to Europe and Seychelles (and which currency you used for them) and the detailed review of your hotels in both Paris and the Seychelles.Bon voyage!

  2. So, yet again you’ll go on BA, slag off it’s first class. State that it’s first class is one of the worlds best business class products. Some of the things you write about BA is very insulting to both the airline and the UK. If you don’t like it, then stop coming. Your reviews on BA are boring, repetitive and not relevant. Every time I travel First, the crew are lovely, bed is comfortable, food is great.

  3. Well David maybe you’re not as well travelled as Lucky. IMO it’s refreshing to have his views on all the airlines.

    Maybe you should try something different eh

  4. No mention anywhere of the revised Air France-KLM Flying Blue program which took place on the 1st April? I guess any article would be written from the point of view of Delta AirLines FFP. The pros & cons of the new FB for different types of travellers etc?

  5. Elijah, actually I am as well travelled, so I do know what I’m talking about. The Points Guy has more and better reviews. Will stop reading this blog.

  6. Thank God you said that David, he is very anti BA and seems to be anti British. 2 of my friends that also read OMAAT think this. Also, it has started to be mainly credit card advertising instead of flight,lounge or hotel reviews. Boring. Won’t bother reading the BA review as it’s going to be the same old biased story. I flew BA First in February from ORD-LHR and it was great.

  7. Lucky does consistently bash BA.

    An example: he never praised them for being one of the few legacy carriers to resist the move to 10-abreast seating in long haul economy, while over the years some of his favourite airlines rushed to densify. When BA finally gave in and recently announced its leisure fleet at LGW were going 10-abreast, he immediately attacked them, using it as an opportunity (finally) to praise them for having held 9-abreast for so long but now sharply criticising them for being as bad as the rest.

    Meanwhile, BA (which pioneered lie-flat beds in J) has had beds across its entire long haul fleet, no exceptions, since the death of Concorde. Lucky never mentions that but instead heaps praise on carriers like United, which has just a handful of planes fitted with Polaris seats, or American, whose best J product is better than BA’s, but whose fleet of wide bodies *still* includes planes with angled seats in J. In 2018.

    If it were BA, that fact would be mentioned every time there was a story about American (just as every mention of BA’s 1st class comes with the tired old joke that it’s “the world’s best business class” – though, in fairness, finally, this post didn’t crack that “joke”, and Lucky has left it to the comments section for the cliche to emerge).

    Actually, I don’t expect Lucky to be objective. He is passionate about flying, and passionate means bias. That’s ok – it’s part of what gives OMAAT its unique personality. And I am not in the market for US credit cards, nor do I play points (I’m here for the reviews). And nor do I pay a penny for all his work. So I gratefully accept what’s on offer, bias, prejudice, passion and all.

    And given what one of the guest posters recently wrote about BA, there are clearly people with even more passionate hatreds than Lucky.

    On your one-way trip to LHR you’ll miss one of the most important things that BA does well – the First Wing at LHR. LHR is a hell hole of an airport, but the Forst Wing is far and away the most civilised way of accessing the airport. Arrivals and transfers won’t get that. But it’s worth bearing in mind that for those of us who use LHR as a base, it’s a *huge* benefit.

    (Then again, it’s quiet and tranquil, just like a library, so Lucky may actually hate it!)

  8. Completely agree David, it is very boring and repetitive how Ben keeps bashing BA, London. Even before he flies.
    I’ve flown First on BA many many times, and yes there are more spacious cabins on other airlines such as Etihad, but I always get good service, comfortable bed and excellent food and drink.
    If you don’t like BA, then don’t fly with them.

  9. Off topic, but I just realized that the OMAAT web site is using HTTPS now.
    Well done for helping keep the web safe!

  10. Ben, when you are in Paris with Ford you really should go to lunch at a 3-Michelin star restaurant! I know you would love it!! I can’t recommend L’Epicure (in the hotel Le Bristol) enough, it was one of the top 2 meals of my life.

  11. If you are defending BA, then you have a bias towards them. So you do exactly what you accuse Lucky of. Slowskis.

  12. @Bratty

    No, I’m afraid that “logic” doesn’t work. Have a think, and come back if you still don’t understand.

  13. Ok Paul. I will come back. You wait right here. But read my comment slowly next time. Then process. Then read again. Then process again.

  14. @ bratty, as per my previous comment on here, I’ve been fortunate to travel in First class on many airlines. Although BA is definitely not the best ( in my opinion the new Emirates suite is), there is no point in reading the review when it gets published as there is a distaste of the airline from the author. That is all…

  15. I thought Lucky was flying Air Seychelles oh the way back? Our was it the way there? Either way, I REALLY want to see that review 🙂

  16. I don’t find anything wrong with not loving an airline (be it BA or any other) yet flying it because of convenience or schedule or availability…
    I am not a fan of BA either, but it’s the only airline that offers direct flights from London to the Seychelles, so – as they say – beggars are not choosers…I am looking forward to Lucky’s review of that flight (assuming they are flying to the Seychelles direct from London)…
    And I personally am looking forward to Lucky’s reviews, even of the products he reviewed before… So what if he’s done it before? …When I am planning my trips, I always look for the most r-e-c-e-n-t reviews of a particular hotel or airline, so I wouldn’t mind yet another review of BA…you don’t always have to love something to review it…have an awesome trip, Lucky!

  17. @ T.

    What is this new fashion of separating every sentence with an ellipsis…?First Myles, now you…

    Or is it that, maybe, you are all the same person?…And simply don’t know what an ellipsis is for…?…

    I just don’t understand why people want multiple identities on an anonymised blog…Not that I care particularly…I suppose all of these commenters could in fact be Lucky himself…What do I know…?…Other than that this horrific misuse of ellipses is second in irritation value only to those people who think it’s smart to use multiple exclamation marks!!!!!!! Even when it isn’t an exclamation!!!!!!

  18. @ The nice Paul –
    Not so nice, are we?…especially with someone who disagrees with you on substance…
    I am not Myles or Lucky for that matter, and I have been commenting on various posts here for a while – under the same monicker, same ellipses…
    If you must know – I find that this punctuation mimics my real life cadence when I let the end of a sentence trail a little…that’s all…now, may we return back to something more valuable to other readers than someone’s use of punctuation?

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