Weekly Review: January 9, 2016

Filed Under: Weekly Review

Hello from Queenstown, New Zealand, one of my favorite places in the world! I was last here over eight years ago with my mom, and recall it being one of my favorite places. Well, fortunately it hasn’t disappointed this time either, and we’ve had an awesome time. The weather has also been perfect, in stark contrast to the time we spent in Sydney and Auckland, where it was raining nonstop.


Here’s to hoping the good weather continues.

Featured Stories

Clarification Regarding Post-Devaluation AAdvantage Award Changes


Make sure you’re up to date on what kind of award changes will be allowed through American AAdvantage after the award chart devaluation, which will happen on March 22, 2016.

That’s the “book by” date, meaning you can redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on subsequent dates at the old award rates, as long as they’re ticketed by March 22, 2016. There are a few restrictions you’ll want to keep in mind as well.

IHG Priceless Surprises Points Posting

Priceless Surprises contest page

The IHG Priceless Surprises promotion is underway and it’s definitely an interesting one. The idea of this promotion is that you earn entries into the Priceless Surprises instant win contest after staying at IHG hotels. Each entry gives you a chance to win IHG points or a few bigger prizes.

You can also enter the contest by mail, which can be quite lucrative. Here’s the experience Travis had with submitting entries, and you may want to adopt this strategy for your own accounts.

A380 First Class Showdown: Emirates Vs. Etihad

Etihad-A380When it comes to blingy first class cabins, I think those of Emirates and Etihad are the first two which come to kind. The Emirates first class cabin is perhaps the most easily recognizable even to those who have never flown it before, while the new Etihad A380 First Class Apartments are stunning, even if they’re not as well known.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to compare the A380 first class products on Emirates and Etihad —which is better, Emirates A380 first class or Etihad A380 first class?


TIPS: Earning Miles & Promos

Last Chance To Request A Hilton Diamond Status Match
Save On Your Next Hilton Stay With Amex Offers
Earn Double Points With JetBlue Through March 8, 2016
Buy American Miles With Up To A 50% Bonus
Fast Track To Starwood Elite Status With SPG Amex
New: Lufthansa Upgrades For Cash
My 2016 Amex Airline Fee Credits Posted
Targeted Bonus On Purchase Of Alaska Miles
SPG’s 2016 Promo For Visiting Different Brands
How To Request An American AAdvantage Status Challenge
Save $50 On Your Next Hotel Stay With Amex Offers
IHG Priceless Surprises Points Posting
Airberlin Offering Status Match To US Based Members

TRICKS: Redeeming Miles

Delta SkyMiles Award Price Increases As Of October 1, 2016
Clarification Regarding Post-Devaluation AAdvantage Award Changes
Etihad Now Lets You Easily Select Seats Online
Can You Change American Awards Post-Devaluation?

TRAVEL With Ben (Lucky)

AMEX Proactively Notated My Account For An Upcoming Trip Abroad
Dear Sheraton, It’s Time To Rethink Your Bath Amenities
Should Kids Miss School To Travel?
Registering For UAE Smart Gate Immigration Access
Someone Is Hacking My Mileage Account
Next Stop: New Zealand!

REVIEWS & Trip Reports

Europe Via SkyTeam, Take Two: A Mini-Trip Report
Review: Rosewood Abu Dhabi
What’s The Amex Centurion Lounge Sydney Like?
Review: Le Meridien Abu Dhabi
Review: Qatar Airways First Class 777 Doha To Abu Dhabi
Review: Royal Palm South Beach Miami, Tribute Portfolio Resort
Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport
Review: St. Regis Doha
A380 First Class Showdown: Emirates Vs. Etihad

NEWS & Updates

When Airline Employees Cross The Line In Requesting Tips?
Malaysia Airlines Goes Dry On Shorthaul Flights
An Exit Row Seat On Virgin America Costs How Much???
Pastors Explain Why They Need Private Jets
Ask Siri To Identify Overhead Flights
Aegean Apologizes After Booting Palestinians From Flight
United CEO Undergoes Heart Transplant
Etihad Cutting Jet Airways US Flights Earlier Than Expected
You’ll Never Believe How Many Credit Cards One Man Has
Emirates Doubles A380 Flights Between Los Angeles And Dubai
Why Alaska Will Innovate Mileage Plan But Won’t Go Revenue Based
Malaysia Airlines (Temporarily) Banning Checks Bags On Europe Flights
Travel To Brazil Without A Visa This Year
Good News: Etihad Cutting Flights With Jet Airways Planes

Hope everyone has had a great first week of the New Year!

  1. We were in Queenstown last year this time as well and also had gorgeous weather. Its a bit out of town, but you should go try this restaurant Grazë in Lake Hayes Estate. It is amazing.

  2. Wasn’t a that big fan of Queenstown but loved everything else – specally the drive along the lake and via the old pass to Lake Wanaka (with a stop at the winery Amiesfield for lunch). Did you try the best burger of New Zealand yet?

  3. Hi Ben

    I guess its my first time leaving a reply here (although I’ve been frequently visiting your blog for like 3 yrs now)… you might not remember me but I’m that Jeff Chung who tagged you to the “never-lost luggage” pic on BBC 3.

    btw I’ve just started to plan for my trip to London in March, and I think I’ll just use my AAdvantage miles this time for first class award (I have 330000 miles now). Instead of flying Boston to London directly on BA first (which isn’t the most cutting-edge product out there) I am looking for a more creative way to get to London on F. As I just started planning, this is still a vague idea, but is there are any itinerary or routing that’s longer that you might recommend?

    many thanks in advance

  4. Our trip to Queenstown was flawless two years ago. We very much enjoyed the running path along the waterfront (it is that peninsula park that juts out of your photo attached). Beautiful views and some special properties facing those views up on cliff. Enjoy!

  5. Lucky, I will arrive in Queenstown for the first time on the 23rd of this month and was curious if you will have a trip report before then. I’d be very interested to know what sights and activities you do while there.

  6. Lucky

    Sorry to have to post a PointsPro issue here, but your service doesn offer a # of call, or a general email address to reach you the owner.

    My experience so far with PointPro is somewhat dismal:

    – submitted my online request and it wouldn’t take me to paypal for payment
    -luckily Tiffany replied that she would be working on my request…. a simple in/out-bound from Florida to Hong Kong. No interim stops.
    – a few days later Tiffany emails me that the complexity of my trip requires Alex to take over. And that I should hear from Alex within a day. The only complexity is that I want a 1st class outbound and business class return. Not too complex.
    – It’s been 2 days, and no word from Alex.

    So, in short, I’m disappointed in your service. And that I have to post in this forum to reach you.

    If you’d like to reach me, please reach out to Tiffany regarding the Nov Florida-Hong Kong trip.


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