Saturday, February 28, 2015

Overbookings at Hyatt Herald Square

Last week, after a fantastic flight to New York on Jet Blue's innovative new Mint product, I took an Uber to the Hyatt Herald Square.

Hyatt Herald Square
Source: Hyatt

But the check-in agent told me that he couldn't find my name in his reservations system. That's bad.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) bonuses (including Uber)

The Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program (SPG) recently announced two potentially lucrative bonuses. SPG is one of the largest loyalty programs, covering (among others): Four Points, Sheraton, Westin, aloft, W, and St. Regis brands. SPG points transfer 1:1 to most airlines, including American, Emirates, Singapore, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic.

W Los Angeles - Westwood

The first promo is an innovative partnership with Uber, the popular private-car-on-demand service.

Lounge Report - KLM Crown Lounge, Houston (IAH)

Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is a major United hub - United has over 75% of its market share. As a United loyalist, I often find myself with layovers in Houston. Unfortunately, United frequent fliers on domestic itineraries don't get lounge access in Houston, and the free terminal wi-fi is spotty.

Priority Pass (a lounge-access program), which is free with the American Express Platinum card, gives cardholders access to the KLM Crown Lounge in Houston regardless of airline or class of service. I visited the lounge a few days ago during a two-hour layover.

KLM Crown Lounge Entrance

Saturday, February 21, 2015

JetBlue Mint - San Francisco > New York-JFK (Airbus A321)

In June 2014, JetBlue launched a product called JetBlue Mint on its flights between Los Angeles and New York's JFK Airport. Mint is a 16-seat business-class cabin with lie-flat beds, available starting at $599 each way on specially configured aircraft. JetBlue expanded the product to its flights between San Francisco and JFK in October 2014.

JetBlue Mint Seat

Most airlines operating the LAX/SFO-to-JFK routes offer some sort of premium business-class product that's better than "normal" domestic first class. The seats are usually lie-flat beds comparable to what you'd find on an international business-class route. (For a comparison of the premium products in this market, see my previous post).

Mint is priced significantly lower than its competitor products on the route. So on my most recent trip to New York, I was eager to try it out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Hyatt benefits: United Club passes (and more)

Hyatt recently sent an email describing new benefits for members with elite status in Hyatt's Gold Passport loyalty program.

As a reminder, Hyatt Gold Passport has three levels:

  • Gold (general member)
  • Platinum (5 stays or 15 nights annually)
  • Diamond (25 stays or 50 nights annually)
Source:  Hyatt

None of the benefits is monumental, but they're all useful and generous (considering Hyatt doesn't have to provide any of them to remain competitive).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ninth Circuit slams prosecutorial misconduct (video)

This is Judge Alex Kozinski.

Judge Kozinski is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He's famous for his brilliance, wit, and "well-known libertarian leanings."

And if you become a target for Judge Kozinski's wrath during oral argument, you're in a lot of trouble.  That trouble was on full display in a recent Ninth Circuit argument.

The best parts of the video -- after the jump.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Men lactating? Misleading headlines misstate Supreme Court's denial of review

Perhaps you've seen the inflammatory headlines:

Seeing these headlines might make you think that the Supreme Court just issued a ridiculous opinion that flies in the face of common sense. But the headlines are misleading - in fact, the Supreme Court declined to consider the appeal (as it does with over 99% of its cases).

2,500 Hyatt point promo: Hyatt Herald Square

The Hyatt Herald Square is offering 2,500 bonus Hyatt Gold Passport points for stays through the end of March 2015 with the promo code NY2500.

Hyatt Herald Square
Source:  Hyatt

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Premium Transcontinental Market (JFK - LAX/SFO)

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. These three cities are the epicenters of the global technology, entertainment, and finance industries.

They're also the terminals of two of the domestic aviation industry's most popular and lucrative transcontinental routes. Understandably, the demand for premium-class fares on these routes is strong.

Of the five domestic airlines operating non-stop service from New York-JFK to San Francisco and Los Angeles, three offer a unique premium product particular to those routes; four offer flat-bed seating (a rarity on domestic flights).

Here's a chart comparing the New York < > California non-stop offerings. More details on each product after the jump.