...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Orbitz no longer allowing American Airlines bookings...for now

I was genuinely surprised to see the announcement hit my inbox this morning:

As a customer who has purchased an American Airlines ticket through Orbitz in the past, we want to let you know our fares are no longer on orbitz.com. You can still find American Airlines and US Airways fares through other online and brick and mortar travel agencies.

To book future travel on American Airlines or US Airways and easily search for our lowest available fares with no online booking fees, visit us on aa.com. Only on aa.com will you find convenient booking options, online check-in, flight status notifications, and the ability to earn AAdvantage® miles on flights, hotels, cars and more – providing an all-in-one experience from booking to takeoff. You can also add options like Main Cabin Extra seating to your itinerary, giving you up to six inches of additional leg room.

For more information, visit aa.com/orbitz.

Thank you for flying with us.

I'm sure this mostly has to do with $, as a few years ago Orbitz and AA couldn't get on the same page initially but eventually did.  I'm thinking the same thing will happen again this time around.  Since I do virtually all my booking on AA.com anyway (to get the upgrades squared away and use the 24 hour hold feature), this won't affect me too much.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Aspirational Hyatt Stays...where to go?

For those of you who regularly read this blog and/or know me, if asked about hotel choices my first is typically a Hyatt property.  In fact, over the last number of years I've found myself structuring trips and vacations around Hyatt stay possibilities, simply because the experience is so superior to other properties and chains.  I used to believe that Hilton gave me a better experience, but after doing some comparing (and taking into account award options and Hilton's big devaluation some time ago), Hyatt is at the top of my list.

So which properties are my top choices?  I have one primary location for travel in Europe - The Park Hyatt in Zurich.  I could never afford to stay here normally, but with points options it's very doable.  My last review of the property can be found here.  With its location in the center of Europe and easy train access via Zurich Hbf, the rest of Europe is at your fingertips.

There are other Hyatt properties that are on my aspirational stay sheet #myluxlist:

I keep reading great reviews about the Paris Vendome, although I don't have a big desire to visit Paris again (not a great experience the first time).  

Who wants to stay in a bungalow out over the water?  That would equal 'paradise' at the Park Hyatt Maldives.  And...you can snorkel in between.

A trip to New Zealand and Australia has long been on my list as well. The Park Hyatt Sydney would be a great stepping stone to seeing the rest of the area. It was also recently rated as a top stay location in Travel+Leisure.

Many choices, so I'm saving up my points.  Each property has a different category threshold, so be sure to check on what is required by visiting Hyatt's website and viewing the chart.  If you're fortunate to get the Hyatt credit card, you've got two free nights at any of the properties you want!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hyatt Fall Promotion 2014 - Every Five Nights Through Nov 30

I've been curiously waiting to see if Hyatt would do another promo for fall - last year, I was able to score some bonus points for a few stays I had as a result of conference attendance and general travel.  And lo and behold, I got a promo email today!

This models a similar promo from years past: every five nights you stay, you earn a bonus 5,000 points - up to 50,000 total on stays through November 30th.  It's not as great as the free night promo from a few years back, but I'm sure we'll never see that again anyway.

Please note the terms and conditions:

Yes, you read that right - mLife properties do NOT count for this promotion, so no quick and cheap Vegas nights to get you the points. Also note that only stays booked after September 1st are eligible to be counted. 

Will you be taking part in this promotion?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Miles for Dining...reminder!

One of the easiest ways of accruing miles is by dining - something you may already do in earnest each week.  If you're not already signed up for a mileage program to not just pay your bill but get miles in the process, why not do it?

AA has a promotion going (via email) for their dining program:

United also has the Mileage Plus Dining program (of which I've done a lot of mileage banking).

And don't forget...if you can do 10 dines at $40 each during the rest of August, you'll get up to 10,000 miles added to your account!  (I've got two more to go)

Friday, August 15, 2014

US Airways posting to AA follow up

As a follow-up to my last post about the time it takes for US Airways miles to post to AA accounts, I'm happy to report that my flights have finally posted.  Just about a week past. 

I hope that this is one area that is corrected soon as a result of merger synergies.  Waiting that long (especially if it hinges on a mileage redemption or needed bonus of some sort) seems pretty excessive these days given computer and system processing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why does it take so long for US flights to post?

I know they're in the midst of merging, but I continue to be baffled at how long it takes for flights on US Airways to post to an AA account.  Yes, I realize I probably shouldn't be baffled at all.  But if the systems are already interlining for flights across both platforms, then how hard could it be for flights to post in cross accounts quicker than 6 days?  If you fly on AA they post the next day.  But almost a week the other direction?

I'm thinking that the programmers need another cup of coffee.  Or a break in general.

And I'm hoping this isn't a forecast of things to come in the merger down the road.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My 2014 mid-year status check-in

It's the halfway point in the year, and like last year, I thought it might be good to do a quick check in on where I'm at with re-qualifying for the various programs I'm a part of:


Sadly, not much flying for me on United this year with the introduction of the PQD requirement.  While I've been very loyal to UA in the past, I made the decision to go with the best option for accruing this year, and that is American.  I'm hopeful to get back to some type of status with UA in the future, but it's not looking good.  In the meantime I'll keep trying to get miles via dining and CC use.


My effort to focus on AA this year has been pretty good, although I feel like I'm lagging a bit in flights and miles.  That's partially due to fares being so high during summer - just to go home would cost me $500-600, where last year it was only $300-400.  I think I'll make Platinum again for sure...Exec Plat will be tough without some international travel involved.


I've had very limited stays at Hyatt properties so far this year, with only four stays happening through July.  I'll keep Platinum status via the Hyatt CC - Diamond is a stretch unless lots of conferences or trips pop up at the last minute.

Overall, I'm down a bit in my overall travel for the year.  That's partly due to scheduling and time off, and partly due to the cost of travel.  I'm definitely on the look out for bargains but being much more choosey given the high costs.

How has your travel been this year?