Monday, December 29, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt

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Many airlines have dedicated First Class-only lounges separate from their Business Class analogs. But for Lufthansa's First Class passengers traveling from Frankfurt, Lufthansa offers a separate first class terminal.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Review - Hyatt Regency Mainz

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Room:  Club View King
Price:  6,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points + 55.00 €
Category:  3

The only Hyatt in the Frankfurt area is in Mainz, a suburb city in its own right about 15 miles west of the airport. The hotel's website tells me that a cab is about 60 Euro, but that I could take the S-Bahn suburban rail line from the airport for about 7 Euro. So I decided to try the adventurous route.

There are plenty of signs in the airport terminal that direct you to the airport S-Bahn station, which is just underneath the terminal. But once you're there, you're sort of on your own.

The Iggy Itinerary: Lufthansa First Class - Seoul-Incheon > Frankfurt (747-8i)

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The Boeing 747, which began commercial travel in 1970, is my favorite airplane aesthetically. The latest model in Boeing's series is the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8i), which is slightly larger than the iconic 747-400. Lufthansa and Air China are the only commercial airlines to operate the plane.

And what a beauty it is.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - Asiana First Class Lounge, Seoul-Incheon

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The transit security process at Incheon Airport is very quick - I went from gate to terminal in under 10 minutes.

The Star Alliance carriers operate out of two terminals at Incheon. Asiana's flights depart from the Main Terminal, while the other Star Alliance carriers (including my Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt) leave from the Concourse Terminal (also called Terminal A). Asiana operates a First Class Lounge in both terminals.

Source: Star Alliance

I went to the Main Terminal lounge first. (My Lufthansa First Class ticket got me access to any Star Alliance carrier's First Class Lounge).

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Asiana Business Class - Shanghai-Pudong > Seoul-Incheon (767-300)

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This was my very first flight on Asiana, and I was pretty excited. I knew the plane wouldn't have the fancy intercontinental business class configuration with lie-flat seats, but it's still considerably better than domestic first class.

Our plane (Boeing 767-300)

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - Air China Business Class Lounge, Shanghai-Pudong

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Despite being the transport hub for one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, Shanghai's Pudong International Airport's lounges are terrible.

Or so I thought.

For years, Star Alliance carriers used a contract lounge (i.e. not owned by an airline) - a dark space with some leather chairs and dim sum that looked weeks old. Certainly no reason to arrive early at the airport.

But earlier this year, Air China (Star Alliance's PRC-based carrier) opened new lounges in Beijing and Shanghai. The lounge in Shanghai is a huge improvement!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Singapore Airlines Suites Class - Singapore to Shanghai-Pudong (A380-800)

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The passengers seemed a bit grumpy as they boarded the A380 superjumbo headed toward Shanghai. The flight had been delayed an hour because of a last-minute aircraft switch (something about plumbing issues). They boarded Suites Class, Business Class, and Star Alliance Gold elite members at the same time - that's way too many people for one boarding group.

The A380 from Singapore to Shanghai

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Audit your Hyatt account

Two weeks ago, I received an email from Hyatt thanking me for completing the (now defunct) Hyatt Diamond Challenge.

Loyal blog readers may remember that I finished my challenge on November 11 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort. So why did Hyatt's thank-you email come sixteen days later?

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - The Private Room, Singapore

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The world of travel bloggers has canonized several lounges into the stuff of legends, particularly Thai, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates's first-class lounges in their home airports. Singapore Airlines's flagship lounge is also supposed to be within that elite group.

It's called The Private Room, and it's a lounge within a lounge within a lounge.

The first level is the SilverKris lounge - accessible to any Star Alliance Gold-elite members or passengers traveling in business class.

Chase Freedom: 5% Back Categories for 2015

The Chase Freedom is one of my favorite credit cards and is an integral part of my points-earning strategy.

The card has no annual fee (which is amazing!) and currently has a sign-up offer of 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (after spending $500 in your first three months). And the card earns up to 5 points per dollar spent in select categories (capped at $1,500 per quarter).

Chase Freedom just announced its categories for 2015:

Source:  Chase

Hyatt's "My Elite Rate" discontinuing

Hyatt's loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport, has traditionally offered generous benefits to its members. One of the best features in 2014, available for Platinum and Diamond members, was the "My Elite Rate" program.

Suite at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, which I booked with My Elite Rate

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Tokyo-Narita > Singapore (A380-800)

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Singapore Airlines Flight 11 departs Tokyo-Narita at 8:50pm and lands at Singapore-Changi at the ungodly hour of 2:56am. I don't think this is convenient for anyone, regardless of whether you're staying in Singapore or connecting to a morning flight.

Knowing that I had a long connection in Singapore (and that the lounge there wouldn't have sleeping rooms), I decided to sleep as much as I could after the meal service.

Boarding (onto the same plane as the Los Angeles > Tokyo leg) began a bit late with Suites passengers first.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Lounge Report - ANA Suite Lounge, Tokyo-Narita

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Changing planes at Tokyo-Narita is a true pleasure. Transit security (despite not having priority lanes for business / first class) is quick and efficient, and the airport signage is clear. It took me about 7 minutes to get from the plane to the lounge.

The stopover in Tokyo on Singapore 11 is relatively short. The flight is scheduled to land at Narita at 6:15pm and depart for Singapore at 8:50pm. During that time, Suites passengers are invited to use the ANA Suite Lounge.

There was a "Singapore Girl" cardboard cutout in front of the ANA Suite Lounge (probably only there for our flight and Singapore Airlines 12, which goes from Singapore to LAX through Tokyo).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Iggy Itinerary: Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Los Angeles > Tokyo-Narita (A380-800)

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The A380-800
In 2007, Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate Airbus's superjumbo A380-800, a leviathan capable of flying up to 853 passengers. The airline decided to do away with its traditional first-class product and offer something called Suites Class, which it advertised as a "class beyond first."

Suites Class

 My home for almost 19 hours