Weekly Review: December 31, 2016

Filed Under: Weekly Review

I just returned from a two day trip to Cuba, and boy do I have a lot to write about. For now I’ll keep it short, as I’ve had the most exhausting travel day I’ve had in a long time, and I only flew a couple of hundred miles. Let me just say that spending nearly seven hours at Havana Airport is not fun — more to come soon.


On the miles & points front it was a fairly slow week, as is the norm between Christmas and New Years, since not a whole lot happens. We did see some great fares and it was a week where I planned my first big trip for 2017, which I’m excited about.

Thanks so much to everyone for their support in 2016, and I can’t wait for 2017. Stay tuned, as I have a lot of content coming tomorrow!

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

Featured Stories

I Redeemed Starpoints For A $3,000/Night Hotel Room


I’ve redeemed hotel points for a lot of hotel stays, though the W South Beach is hands down the stay with the highest per night retail value of any redemption I’ve ever made. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at any hotel that retailed for over $2,500 per night for a standard room.

That certainly makes me feel better about redeeming 35,000 Starpoints per night for my stay here, at least.

Get 1,000+ Bonus Miles With Winter Shopping Promos

new-years-portal-bonus-005One of my favorite ways to earn miles is by leveraging shopping portals. If I have to buy things anyway, why wouldn’t I want to earn bonus miles?

Right now a few of the major airline shopping portals are offering additional bonus miles as a “New Years” promotion. The opportunities to earn bonus points goes through early January, but there are more limited-time increases for certain merchants as well.

My 7 Favorite Airlines I Flew For The First Time In 2016

aeroflot-777-business-class-2One of my big focuses of 2016 was reviewing as many new airlines as possible. Given that I’ve flown most of the world’s best first class products, this came primarily in the form of trying more business class products. Furthermore, with so many airlines having devalued their award charts, often the sweet spot for award redemptions is shifting from first class to business class.

At first I figured I’d miss products like Cathay Pacific first class, Emirates first class, Lufthansa first class, etc., which almost began to feel like second homes.

However, I’ve found it so enjoyable to try new airlines.

One Week at a Time Logo

TIPS: Earning Miles & Promos

Rationalizing How Many Starpoints To Transfer To Virgin America
AMAZING Qatar Airways Business Class Fare — Asia To The U.S. For Under $1,500 Roundtrip!
Last Chance To Buy Two Great Points Currencies At A Discount
10 Best Credit Card Offers For December
Get 1,000+ Bonus Miles With Winter Shopping Promos

TRICKS: Redeeming Miles

It Pains Me To Redeem Miles For EL AL First Class…
IHG Is Raising Award Prices At Hundreds Of Hotels As Of January 15, 2017
I Redeemed Starpoints For A $3,000/Night Hotel Room
Here’s a Sneak Peek At FlyingBlue’s January Promo Awards

TRAVEL With Ben (Lucky)

The Most Popular OMAAT Posts Of 2016
One Of My Biggest Uber Driver Annoyances
For The First Time Ever, The TSA Made An Exception For Me… Is This New?
America’s Best AvGeek Flights: The United Island Hopper And Alaska Milk Run
Next Stop, Cuba!

REVIEWS & Trip Reports

Review: Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER London To Jakarta
A (Mostly) Dry Trip: EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, And Royal Brunei Business Class!
Review: No1 Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3
My 7 Favorite Airlines I Flew For The First Time In 2016
Review: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
Review: Lufthansa Business Class A321 Frankfurt To London

NEWS & Updates

Kuwait Airways’ New 777-300ER Is Flying To London
Here Are All The Changes Being Made To American AAdvantage In A Few Days
SPG & Virgin America Are Cutting Ties As Of January 6, 2017
Literally My Biggest Fear: Crocodile Attacks Hotel Guests In Pool
Trouble In The Gulf: Emirates Is Delaying A380 Deliveries
Emirates Cost Cuts Showers, Champagne, And Special Meals
Alaska Mileage Plan Cuts Elite “Thank You” Gifts For 2016
How Much Airplane “Networking” Is Too Much?
No Surprise: Delta Cancels Their 787 Order
Virgin Australia Makes Me Wish I Missed Christmas

I hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend and a very happy new year! Thanks for reading!

  1. I am 1900 miles from Gold on United. Besides taking a flight, is there any way to get there? And does the difference between silver and gold really matter? Does not look that significant but I feel like I might be missing something.

  2. Thank you, @Alex, for being the resident nag. I, too, would enjoy reading about the boys’ trip to Laos and Cambodia. However, I sadly feel this is a lost cause.

    We have a trip coming up to Siem Reap. I am not all excited about it, except for the fact that we’re staying at Amansara. I was really looking forward to Ben’s review of the place. Sigh.

  3. Dear Lucky,
    Happy new year to you and Ford. I hope 2017 will be a fortunate one for you!
    I also hope, however, you learned your lesson out of the HyattWorld debacle. Journalism reuquires independence.
    Best wishes!

  4. Laos and Cambodia trip report!! I loved Cambodia last time I was there but felt I didn’t do it right and would appreciate a luxury POV.

  5. From a European perspective the worst that could possibly have happened to our treasure island is it opening up to loud, obnoxious and generally derisible Yanks!

  6. Happy new year! I spent the early hours of 2017 in Geneva Airport with a flight cancellation and then left to Ibis. I booked myself to Paris with Air France and then a connection to London Heathrow. Wish me luck!

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