Showing posts from July, 2016

American Family Association livid with Hilton for ad showing two men together

I don't normally post much about hotels, but we do have a bunch of Hilton Honors points because the nearest hotel to my husband's office in California is a Hilton. It's always nice when the place you chose without much research turns out to be "a friend of the family".

Hotel points always have such a wide range of potential redemption values which can make using them maddening... But I managed to find a great one last week when we went to Portland for unexpected family business – 20,000 points per night for a hotel that would have otherwise been $184 per night. That's about 5x better than any of the redemption options I was seeing when looking for a place in London for our August trip.

More info over on Towleroad.

Wall Street Journal speculating that JetBlue will add flights to Europe

Wall Street Journal is speculating that JetBlue's options for new A321LR planes could mean they're entering the transatlantic market. Discount carrier Norwegian Airlines has ordered these planes for their "short long haul" routes.

I would love to see JetBlue do for transatlantic travel what they've done for domestic transcontinental service with their Mint product: raise the bar for service, comfort, and amenities while offering dramatic savings over legacy carriers. Honestly the entry of Norwegian, WOW, WestJet, and other low cost carriers (LCCs) hasn't been interesting at all to me. If I'm flying from the East Coast to Western Europe I just want a nighttime flight with a stiff drink and a lie-flat bed and none of the LCCs are offering anything in this space. In fact, I actually find it irritating that Norwegian and Iceland Air show up in Google/Kayak's Business Class searches when what they're offering is obviously Premium Economy.

JetBlue would…

JetBlue Virgin points match showed up PLUS new Alaska routes

A few months ago, JetBlue and Alaska were both vying to purchase Virgin America. In the end, Alaska won but most people think they overpaid by about half a billion dollars. Both airlines' responses since the purchase have been, uh, interesting.

A few weeks ago, JetBlue decided to run a points match challenge, where people with Virgin America miles could email them a screenshot of their Virgin account and if you took one JetBlue round trip before the end of August, JetBlue would match the miles in your Virgin account (with a few very reasonable asterisks here and there). Well, my status match came through today and my recent flight to Portland yielded me around $500 worth of free JetBlue points!

In other, somewhat-related news, Alaska just announced that they'll be taking advantage of newly-opened slots at Newark (EWR) and adding 4 new flights there from the West coast. Then, a couple days later, Virgin announced they'd also be adding additional Newark flights! I don't …

a couple quick notes about my JetBlue JFK – PDX "Even More Space" flight

I don't usually do a trip report for a domestic Economy flight, but I wanted to make a couple of quick notes about our recent flight between New York (JFK) and Portland, Oregon (PDX). The plane leaves NYC in the early evening, flies direct to Portland then turns around and comes back as a redeye. We took advantage of my husband's Mosaic status to upgrade to Even More Space for 800 JetBlue points per leg. Our September flight to Seattle was nearly identical.  The old Airbus A320 had no at-seat power, but it did have fast, free Wi-Fi. According to this post, only 31 of their 230 planes have at-seat power in regular Economy Class seats (the planes with Mint First Class cabins)Hot/fresh food for purchase in Economy is available only on Mint planes. A snack box it is…Regular Economy seats on JetBlue have as much legroom (34") as United/Delta/AA have in their Economy Plus cabins. JetBlue's Even More Space option gives you 38" – as much as most domestic First Class hasW…

People in your JetBlue Family Pool can use your companion discount

Random corner-case trivia note here, but I was fairly certain this wouldn't work when I first set out to try...
My husband and I have a JetBlue family pool. He has Mosaic status, I do not. I have a JetBlue credit card, he does not. As one of the perks of the JetBlue Master Card, I get a $100 discount on a companion fare.But since he's Mosaic and we love the 800-point upgrades to Even More Space, we usually try to book under his account when we travel together 
I'm pleased to report that my companion discount worked just fine when we logged in and booked the tickets from his account. So yes, other people in your JetBlue family pool can use your JetBlue Master Card companion discount. 

Hiton Honors Point transfers with Amtrak now Elite-only

I just hung up with an Amtrak phone rep and she informed me that their transfer program to Hilton Honors is now only available to people with Elite status with Amtrak. If you look at this chart, I guess you could sort of infer that the blank space means that it's not possible...

Amtrak moved to a more revenue-based model for their points system last year. Points are now worth around 2.5 to 2.9¢ each. While the program changes were generally all bad, at least they got rid of their blackout dates.

Given how little domestic NE travel we've been doing, I wanted to transfer the points over to Hilton before they expired. We aren't big chain hotel people, but my husband ends up with a ton of Hilton points due to his work so we occasionally spend them once we have the 100,000 points you need to get a single night free 😜.  Hilton's website doesn't mention the restriction, but their website is so terrible that it doesn't surprise me at all that it's out of date.

Planning for a summer wedding in England

A dear friend is getting married in the English countryside in August so I waited to buy my ticket in anticipation of the usual Business Class fare sales that happen in spring. Sadly this year they didn't really come – there were lots of little bits of availability from specific airlines here and there, but none for my dates and destination. For this trip, I'd probably pay cash if I could find a Business Class seat for $2000-ish or less.

The flight from New York City to London is honestly too short. Even if you eat before takeoff the most you'll get is about 4 hours of sleep. (Though when I took the crazy cool London City flight, I opted for the complimentary arrival service and managed to sneak in an extra hour of sleep at the spa...) Thanks to low fuel prices British Airways has kept many of their old 747s on this route, and there's few things I like more than getting my 4 hours of sleep the upstairs Business Class "tree fort". While I'm really unhapp…