Italy 2015: Dulles to Munich Lufthansa First Class

This is probably my favorite flight to Europe from DC because it leaves so late (10:30pm). It’s very hard for me to sleep on the 5-7pm ~6 hour flights to Europe that basically land at 1am “body clock time.” Munich is also “deeper” into Europe, so it’s more like a 7-7.5 hour flight, too, which is nice. The downside, of course, is that you arrive in Europe on the later side–particularly if you have to connect where you’re pretty much going to lose the whole day and probably not end up in your hotel room til about dinner time.

In our case, we didn’t really care, though, since we just needed to be in Naples by the following morning, and had no real desire to spend much time in Naples which is known for the smell, the petty crime and the pizza–pizza being something we could get elsewhere.  Instead of a ~2 hour layover and arriving mid-evening, we actually planned a ~9 hour layover and planned to take the train into Munich, go for a run, grab some German food and beer, and then just fly to Naples to sleep.

We arrived at Dulles around two hours before departure and found the first class line (around the backside of the business and economy check in counters) unstaffed.  Luckily, there was only one party ahead of us in the business class line. so not too much of an inconvenience, and they even had first class ticket jackets to give us.

My golden ticket

My golden ticket

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Italy 2015: Preview & Costs

During this trip report, I’ll be reviewing:

  • Lufthansa First Class IAD-MUC
  • Lufthansa First Class Lounge & MUC Airport
  • Lufthansa Business Class MUC-NAP
  • Hotel Excelsior Naples
  • Santa Caterina Hotel Amalfi
  • Palazzo Avino Hotel Ravello
  • Lufthansa Business Class NAP-MUC
  • Lufthansa First Class MUC-IAD

It was an amazing trip–probably my favorite we’ve ever taken, though perhaps because we visited the town in Italy where we’re getting married later this year (Ravello).  I really think Ravello is my favorite place I’ve ever been–just so relaxing and charming, but I’ll get to that later on.

Ravello, Italy

Ravello, Italy

It was also the only trip we’ve been on recently where most hotel costs were out of pocket instead of on points, but there aren’t many chain hotels on the Amalfi Coast, so we pretty much had to.  So with that said, the trip costs were:

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Getting the US Airways card this week is almost a no brainer … but I’m not doing it

The Barclaycard US Airways card is going away after this week when the US Airways and American frequent flier programs merge, and everyone that has one is going to be issued a new American Airlines card.  But Barclays will no longer have the rights to issue *new* American cards, so this is your last chance to get it.

Use AA miles to book Etihad first class

Use AA miles to book Etihad first class

In an effort to ramp up applications before they’re shut out, they’ve increased the sign up bonus from the typical 40,000 miles to 50,000 (after paying $89 annual fee).  The other benefits include things like free checked bag, zone 2 boarding, etc.

Getting it now, before it goes away is almost a no brainer because:

  • It doesn’t preclude you from getting any sign-up bonus on a Citi-issued card at a later date (or even today).
  • The card is going away, so it’s truly your last chance this week.
  • The 50,000 miles requires no spend at all (just payment of annual fee).
  • Barclays usually pulls your Transunion credit report, which almost no other bank uses (for credit card purposes), so it’s a “free” credit pull.

So, essentially, you’re just buying 50,000 miles for $89–a cost of 0.18 cents per mile–since you’re not really incurring much in the way of an opportunity cost as it pertains to other methods of earning AA miles.

Here’s the Application Link: US Airways Mastercard

However, I’m still not applying for the card.   [Read more…]

Maldives Trip 2014: Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class

Chauffeur + Washington Dulles Airport
Dulles to Abu Dhabi Etihad Diamond First
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge
Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business
Conrad Lounge & Seaplane
Conrad Maldives
Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport)
W Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class
Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge
Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class

I wasn’t too worried about the lack of food on the ground, because I knew that we had the first class cabin (all all the first class food) to ourselves for the 12 hour flight to Munich… my dream finally realized!  [Read more…]

Transfering and showering in London…

Last week I flew British Airways first class via London (Dublin to Washington DC via London) after a fun St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin.  And after “enjoying” Copper Face Jacks until 4am, the first thing I wanted to do after landing in London–both for my sake and my fellow passengers on the long haul segment–was to shower.

Unfortunately, connecting in London Heathrow is the travel equivalent of a triple root canal–even when connecting to intercontinental first class.

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Maldives Trip 2014: Hong Kong Airport

Chauffeur + Washington Dulles Airport
Dulles to Abu Dhabi Etihad Diamond First
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi Airport and Etihad First Class Lounge
Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business
Conrad Lounge & Seaplane
Conrad Maldives
Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class (and Male Airport)
W Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class
Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge
Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class

The coolest part about HK Airport (my opinion) is the in town check in counters available at the Airport Express station.  You do need an Airport Express ticket in order to access the space (they have subway-style turnstiles), but it’s free to use with the ticket.  Not only can you get boarding passes here, but you can actually check your bags as well.  So from the moment you board the airport train, you’ve only got your hand luggage with you.

In Town Checkin

In Town Checkin

We got to the airport and walked past the Lufthansa counter where the first class line was, predictably, empty.  We were scheduled to be the only passengers in First on the HKG-MUC flight, and while the HKG-FRA flight leaves at basically the exact same time, it also had a pretty light load in First.  So had there been a line at the train station, we’d have been better off just taking our checked bags to the airport.

Security was pretty light, and we took the train out to the farther gates.  I looked online and the United Club was just a quick walk away from our gates, so we decided to use that lounge.   [Read more…]

Croatia Trip 2013: FRA Airport, Lufthansa First Class Lounge & Terminal

Dulles Airpor & Lufthansa Senator Lounge
IAD-MUC Lufthansa First Class
MUC Airport & First Class Lounge
MUC-SPU Lufthansa Business Class
Le Meridien Split
SPU-FCO Croatian Business Class
St. Regis Rome
FCO-FRA Lufthansa Economy Class
FRA Airport, Lufthansa First Class Lounge, Lufthansa First Class Terminal

Frankfurt airport is one of our favorites — not because it’s efficient, easy to navigate or has anything especially exciting to do — because it has our favorite lounges and we have a long layover routine there.  We actually prefer 4-6 hour layovers here, which gives us time to leave the airport and work out for an hour or more nearby.

First, however, we wanted to check out the “A” terminal Lufthansa First Class Lounge as previously we’ve only been to the “B” lounge and First Class Terminal.  The first thing we noticed is a gentleman enjoying a drink with his lion:

Large pet for an airline lounge...

Large pet for an airline lounge…

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United Devaluation… Thoughts a few days later

If you live under a rock, or don’t follow the points world at all: United massively devalued their award chart overnight on Thursday/Friday.  It was written about extensively in the blogosphere and on the message boards, but I wanted to add a few thoughts after I’ve had time to digest this a bit… [Read more…]

Lufthansa 50k Offer is Back!

[UPDATE: Barclaycard abruptly asked links to be pulled down… so I’m not going to delete the post, but I do have to update the link to the current, public offer]

There’s a new 50k offer for the Lufthansa card & the spend is $5000 in 90 days.

55k is almost 2/3 of the way toward a first class ticket on Lufthansa or SWISS (and if you’re after SWISS, you’ll need to book sooner than later since that’s no longer an option for non-elites as of Jan 1).

Should you get the card?

If you really want to fly Lufthansa or SWISS first class, it’s definitely your best bet.  If not, or if only maybe, then you should probably only get this card if you’ve “maxed out” on getting other airline and bank cards.

Mallorca Next Summer!

This isn’t just me bragging about accomplishing one of the goals I just discussed, there are 2 real pieces of information int his post that may help you…  but I’m also pretty pumped about the trip!  Can’t wait for the St. Regis Mallorca!

Life could be worse...

Life could be worse…

First… the details:
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