Review: Grand Hyatt Amman

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I arrived in Amman at around 1:30PM, and my flight out of Amman was the following night/morning at 1:30AM, meaning I had about 36 hours on the ground.

Amman has a few options for Hyatt and Starwood loyalists. There’s the Grand Hyatt, Le Meridien, and Sheraton. While not yet open, there’s also supposed to be a W Amman opening on October 1, 2017, and a St. Regis Amman opening on December 1, 2017.

All the Hyatt and Starwood options were roughly comparably priced, so I ended up booking the Grand Hyatt, given that Tiffany was staying there, as my visit to Amman was overlapping with the tail end of her trip to Jordan.

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Wide Open Peak Season American Business Class Awards To Australia!

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Finding premium cabin award seats between the U.S. and Australia can be extremely difficult, in particular in the high season. While we sometimes see a decent amount of space in the off season, it’s very rare to see saver level premium cabin space in December, etc.

Well, at the moment American has a lot of business class award availability between Los Angeles and Sydney.

The space seems to be available starting in November through the end of the schedule, which as of now runs through December 13, 2017. Many dates have up to five business class award seats available. For example, here’s what availability looks like for two business class award seats for the last month of the schedule:

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The 7 Best Hotel Perks Offered By Credit Cards

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There are many reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth picking up for the sign-up bonus, some are worth picking up for the return they offer on everyday spend, and some are worth picking up for the long-term perks they offer.

While there are all kinds of perks offered on cards, in this post I figured I’d look at the best hotel perks you can get with credit cards. Here are my favorites, roughly in order:

The Citi Prestige® Card has my single favorite perk offered by any credit card. While a lot of credit cards offer some type of “free night” hotel benefit, there are usually major strings attached. Citi Prestige’s fourth night free benefit is the most straightforward out there. To sum up the basics:

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Great Deal: JAL Business Class Awards Wide Open Between NYC and Tokyo!

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Japan Airlines presently operates two daily flights between Tokyo and New York, though they’ll be adjusting that service starting in a couple of months, which is great for award availability. It’s probably easiest to explain what’s changing by showing a side-to-side schedule comparison:

Presently JAL operates the following flight daily using a 777-300ER:

JL6 Tokyo Narita to New York JFK departing 10:50AM arriving 10:45AM
JL5 New York JFK to Tokyo Narita departing 1:15PM arriving 4:25PM (+1 day)

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Hilton Is Offering An 80% Bonus On Purchased Points

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Through February 17, 2017, Hilton HHonors is offering an 80% bonus on purchased points.

The cost to purchase points with HHonors is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so through this promotion you can purchase Hilton points for ~0.56 cents each. This bonus applies as long as you purchase at least 5,000 points in one transaction.

You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 HHonors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, meaning the highest number of points you can pick up through this promotion is 144,000 at a cost of $800.

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Surprising: Airberlin Adding Berlin To Hong Kong Flights As Of October 2017

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Airberlin is in a dire financial situation at the moment, and is undergoing a lot of changes. On the most basic level, airberlin is leasing about three dozen of their planes to Lufthansa, in hopes of minimizing losses as much as possible. Lufthansa will use these planes to grow their low cost Eurowings division.

For a long time airberlin’s problem was that they couldn’t seem to decide whether they were targeting business travelers or leisure travelers, and it seems like they’ve finally started to regain their focus a bit. Here’s how they’re presenting their new focus:

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Comparing Credit Card Priority Pass Benefits

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Nowadays there are several premium cards that get you access to Priority Pass lounges. I remember going back a few years, the only card I had that would get me Priority Pass access was The Platinum Card® from American Express. Nowadays I have so many Priority Pass cards in my wallet that I forget which is which (and that can be a problem sometimes).

Anyway, for those of you not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s the world’s largest independent network of airport lounges, with over 1,000 lounges around the world. Even though I often have lounge access through my elite status or through the type of ticket I’m booking, I still use Priority Pass lounges all the time:

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Korean Air’s Bizarre New 787 First & Business Class Cabins

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I’m a big fan of Korean Air, and in particular of the fact that they’re a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Korean Air SkyPass makes it easy to book award tickets in Korean Air first class, which is probably the best value and most readily available transpacific first class award out there.

The next plane to join Korean Air’s fleet will be the Boeing 787-9. Korean Air has 10 of these on order, and the first one should be delivered shortly. The first longhaul 787-9 destination will be Toronto as of June 2017, which is quite a long flight.

Well, Korean Air has just revealed their 787-9 configuration. The plane will feature 269 seats, including six first class seats, 18 business class seats, and 245 economy seats. The first thing I noticed about the configuration is that it’s a fairly premium-light configuration, which counters the trend for the airline (then again, perhaps the reason they’re losing money is because they have too many premium seats, and aren’t able to sell them).

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Hurry, Milk This Settlement For All It’s Worth

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Like Ben recently said, we try to keep the content here on OMAAT about miles and points or aviation. But occasionally he lets me go off the rails and talk about random stuff that will still save or make you money even if it doesn’t have much of anything to do with travel. This is one of those times.

If you haven’t heard by now, there was a recent class action lawsuit alleging that Cooperatives Working Together, a federation of milk producers, colluded to fix the price of milk and other dairy products. They supposedly slaughtered half a million cows prematurely in a program called “herd retirement” to hold down production and thus drive up prices.

And you thought OPEC was the world’s leading cartel…

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Hilton HHonors Does The Right Thing, Temporarily Brings Back AXON Awards

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Last week I wrote about how Hilton HHonors eliminated AXON awards without any sort of advance notice. For those of you not familiar, AXON awards were special discounted award opportunities for those with co-brand Hilton American Express Cards.

It appears that this redemption opportunity was eliminated as of December 31, 2016, without any sort of advance notice. Hilton has been very focused on being transparent with members and announcing changes in advance, so I was a bit surprised to see this.

Well, I just had the chance to speak about this with Aaron Glick, the VP of Hilton HHonors. He’s a great guy, and was embarrassed by the lack of communication about this change. It’s clear that the intent was for this to be communicated, but that just didn’t happen. Apparently this was discontinued due to how few members were using this benefit.

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What To Do When You Get Your Amex Platinum Card

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The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN are among the most popular premium cards out there. They each have a $450 annual fee, though in my opinion the benefits more than offset that.

The main reason I have these cards is because of the great perks they offer. However, if you’re a new cardmember it can be tough to navigate all these perks.

So in this post I figured I’d talk about what you should do as soon as you get the Amex Platinum Card in the mail. If you already have the card and have taken advantage of all the perks, then by all means skip this post, but it’s something I get a lot of questions about.

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Which Hotel Programs Let You Earn Points & Elite Nights For Multiple Rooms?

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Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies as to how many points, elite qualifying stays, and elite qualifying nights you can earn if booking multiple rooms. In other words, if you often travel with family and book two rooms, can you receive elite credits and points for each of the rooms?

The rules vary by program, so in this post I figured I’d look at the policies of the major hotel loyalty programs, as they impact earning points and elite qualifying credit for multiple rooms (in the title of each section I’ve added a link to the terms & conditions):

Club Carlson lets you earn points for up to three rooms booked on the same reservation. However, you don’t earn elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms.

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10 Places I’m Hoping To Visit In 2017

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Yesterday I shared my five favorite places I visited for the first time in 2016. As I explained, I travel differently than most — for me travel is about the journey, because that’s my “job.” That being said, I do everything I can to experience places as well, even if just for a couple of days.

Since it’s still the beginning of the year, I figured it would be for me to set some goals of places I’d definitely like to visit in 2017. I’m not suggesting that these are the 10 places in the world that I absolutely, 100% most want to see. Rather I’m trying to be realistic. Some of these are places that are a pain to get to that I still really want to visit, while others are places that really interest me, that just happen to fit in very well with one of my airline review trips.

With that in mind, here are 10 places I’m hoping to visit for the first time in 2017 (in no particular order), with a brief explanation of why:

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