Garuda Indonesia’s Incredible First Class Ground Services In London

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Hello from somewhere between London and Jakarta, as I’m flying Garuda Indonesia first class at the moment. I’ll have a lot of thoughts about the flight shortly, but first have to share how impressed I was by Garuda’s ground services at Heathrow.

Garuda Indonesia departs from Terminal 3 at Heathrow, and unfortunately they don’t have their own lounge. That means they use the No1 Lounge, which is also a Priority Pass lounge.

The airline only recently started flying to Heathrow, and I suspect they couldn’t work out an arrangement with another lounge.

On the surface it’s rather disappointing to use a Priority Pass lounge as an international first class customer.

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Marriott Is Removing Bibles From Millennial-Focused Hotels

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Marriott is unique among the major hotel chains, in that they have the Bible and Book of Mormon bedside at every one of their hotels worldwide (except in Muslim countries). That probably has to do with the company’s roots, though at the same time there’s no denying that Marriott has evolved a lot over the years.

That’s why it’s interesting to note that Marriott is slowly changing their requirements regarding religious materials in hotels. Marriott will no longer offer religious materials at Moxy and Edition hotels, which are two of their millennial-oriented hotel brands.

Here’s the explanation, per the Los Angeles Times:

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American Flight Attendant Shows Up To Work 8 Times Over Alcohol Limit

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More details are emerging of an American flight attendant who showed up to work a Manchester to Chicago flight while being eight times over the legal alcohol limit. Fortunately this was discovered while the crew was doing their pre-flight checks, before the 787 was set to take off for Chicago. Therefore she could be removed from the plane and the flight could continue.

When you hear that she was eight times over the legal limit, you’re probably surprised she could even function. However, keep in mind that aviation laws are much stricter than driving laws. She had a reading of 71mg oh alcohol in 100ml of breath, while the UK Aviation Act limits one to 9mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Meanwhile the UK driving limit is 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, so she was just over double that limit. Not that this makes what she did acceptable, but I do think a bit of context is useful.

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Japan Airlines Awards Now Bookable Through Alaska Mileage Plan!

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Earlier this year Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines announced a partnership, with a reciprocal frequent flyer relationship and a codesharing agreement.

Some of the mileage earning and redemption rules were published right away, including:

• Alaska Mileage Plan earning rates for travel on Japan Airlines
• Japan Airlines Mileage Bank earning rates for travel on Alaska
• Japan Airlines Mileage Bank redemption rates for travel on Alaska

After months of anticipation, we finally know the Alaska Mileage Plan redemption rates for travel on Japan Airlines. There are some surprises in the chart, but the prices in general are at least as good as we’d expected!

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A Single New Credit Card Is Costing An Issuer Up To $300 Million In Profits This Quarter

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is arguably the hottest new credit card this year, and its popularity is costing Chase a lot in profits… at least in the short term. Per Bloomberg, the Sapphire Reserve has cost Chase $200-300 million in cardmember acquisition costs so far, which draws from their short term profits:

“JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s new Sapphire Reserve credit card will reduce the bank’s profit by $200 million to $300 million in the fourth quarter, according to Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.”

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Breaking: DOJ Approves Alaska & Virgin America Merger, But At A Cost…

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In April it was first announced that Alaska would be taking over Virgin America in a ~$2.6 billion deal.

Unfortunately there have been rolling delays in the closing of the deal, which have been caused by the Department of Justice not giving the deal their blessing. Rumor had it that the DOJ was asking Alaska to cut codesharing ties with either American and/or Delta, to ensure that sufficient competition remains. On top of that, the DOJ allegedly also asked the new airline to give up several gates in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Combined, these changes could cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year.

Last we heard, it sounded like the merger’s closing was being pushed off until 2017, though that seems to have abruptly changed, as the merger is finally proceeding.

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Virgin America First Class Fare Sale For The Holidays

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A few weeks ago Virgin America had a sale offering 50% off First Class & Main Cabin Select fares for travel over Thanksgiving, which was a great opportunity for those who waited until the last minute to plan their holiday travel.

Virgin America is now back with a similar sale for Christmas and New Year’s, though in most instances it’s not quite as lucrative. Still, this can represent a great opportunity.

Virgin America is offering discounted First Class & Main Cabin Select tickets for travel between December 17, 2016, and January 1, 2017. The promotion is valid for bookings made through 11:59PM CT on Thursday, December 8, 2017, and a 10 day advance purchase is required. As is usually the case with promotions, there are capacity controls, so not every seat will be available through this promotion.

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Everything You Need To Know About Marriott Hotel + Air Packages

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While Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is officially complete, they’re continuing to run individual loyalty programs for the time being. However, since the day the takeover closed, Marriott has offered tier matching and points transfers for members, which has created a fantastic opportunity for members to take advantage of the relative strengths of both programs.

Points can be transferred between both programs at a ratio of one Starpoint per three Marriott Rewards points. I consider that to be a fair transfer ratio, and based on my understanding, so far the number of points transfers between programs has been roughly equal (meaning as many people have converted Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points as the other way around).

With that in mind, I figured I’d write in a bit more detail about one of the very best uses of Marriott Rewards points, which is Hotel + Air Packages. This allows you to redeem points for a set number of nights in a certain category of hotel, plus a certain number of miles in select frequent flyer programs.

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A Look At South African Airways’ New Business Class

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As I wrote about in September, struggling South African Airways is in the process of taking delivery of five A330-300 aircraft. That’s a bit of a puzzling move, as their longhaul fleet is becoming even less consistent, as they’ll have A340-300s, A340-600s, A330-200s, and A330-300s. No wonder they have so many last minute aircraft swaps.

From a passenger experience standpoint, what’s perhaps most intriguing about these new A330-300s is that they feature an updated business class product, which is long overdue for the airline.

Currently SAA has fully flat seats on their A340s, while they have angled seats on their A330s (though at least the angle isn’t as bad as on some other airlines).

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Surprising Life Advice From The “Miracle On The Hudson” Pilot

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Almost everyone is familiar with “the miracle on the Hudson,” where back in 2009 US Airways 1549 had a double engine failure shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia. They ditched the plane in the Hudson, and amazingly enough everyone survived. There has been even more press about the incident the past few months, given that the movie “Sully” was released in September, which documents the incident.

While Sully Sullenberger (the captain) has become a household name, not as many people could name the first officer of that flight, who was Jeff Skiles. Anyway, a Reddit user recently emailed Jeff, and received a fascinating response that I can’t not share.

Here’s the question that the Reddit user asked Jeff. The user is training to become a CFI (and presumably eventually wants to be an airline pilot), but has anxiety about having an engine failure after takeoff, and how it may inhibit his ability to think clearly:

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An Update On Access To The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX

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A couple of days ago I wrote about how the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX can’t seem to follow oneworld lounge access rules. Representatives at the lounge have been denying many AAdvantage Executive Platinum members access, in particular when they’re on the inbound portion of an international trip, where they absolutely are entitled to access.

Some people said they were informed by the lounge staff that American was refusing to pay Qantas for access, which seems like a BS excuse. Alliances have a set of published rules, and airlines have to follow them.

I suspected this was just a case of several misinformed agents rather than an actual policy change on the part of Qantas. The staff in this lounge have a history of making up rules, and unfortunately this is something that seems to be coming from the top, as in the past the lounge manager sent out an email to associates telling them to call the cops on passengers if they try to “bully” their way in (based on the rest of his email and misinformation he was spreading, insisting the lounge follows the oneworld policy seems to be considered “bullying”).

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Today Only: Earn 15 American Miles Per Dollar Spent At 15 Retailers

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Yesterday I wrote about how the United MileagePlus shopping portal had a one day promotion where you could earn 15 bonus miles per dollar spent at 15 popular retailers. This is great timing, given the number of people doing holiday shopping right now.

Well, it looks like a similar promotion is available today through the American AAdvantage shopping portal.

Through 11:59PM ET today, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, you can earn 15 bonus American miles per dollar spent at 15 retailers.

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Hilton Flash Sale: Save 20-40% On Winter Stays

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Through 11:59PM ET tomorrow, Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Hilton is offering up to 20% off stays this winter. The promotion is valid for stays between December 18, 2016, and January 8, 2017, at their properties in the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

As usual, there are some terms associated with this offer:

— If checking in on December 31, a two night minimum stay may be required
— A 100% deposit is required at the time of booking
— You need to be an HHonors member to get 20% off (non-members get 15% off)
— Conrad and Waldorf Astoria properties are offering $20 per night off the best available rate for HHonors members
— There’s a limited number of rooms available at each hotel under this promotion

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Hilton Extends Their Triple Points Promotion Through January 31, 2017

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Hilton’s current global promotion is set to run through December 31, 2016. If you registered for this promotion you can earn:

— Double base points for all bookings during the promotion period
— Triple base points for all bookings made through the app during the promotion period

On top of that you can earn 5,000 bonus points per stay when you pay with a Visa, even if it’s an award stay (as long as there are some incidentals on your folio). This promotion is valid through January 31, 2017, and registration is required for it as well.

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