Tag Archives: SPG

Trip Report: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

I arrived at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa mid-week in September.  The resort is situated on prime beach front real estate and the views are fabulous.  8,000 SPG points were offered for attending a promotional review of their timeshare presentation, so that was a nice bonus as well.

The Flights

I could have done a separate review of United First Class, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Sure the seats are wider and there was food service in first that presumably coach did not get, but the seats were not lie-flat.  United did have 120V electricity outlets on each seat, which was nice.  The first flight from Denver to San Francisco had WiFi, but there was no entertainment system. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu did not have WiFi and the DirecTV entertainment system went offline soon after leaving the airport, but movies were still available.  Despite this being a fairly long First Class flight, one doesn’t get United Club lounge access unless you have a membership or Star Alliance Gold status from any carrier but United.

Domestic United First Class

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My Go-To Airport Hotel for Positioning Flights

There are two types of miles/points travelers when it comes to positioning for flights, especially international flights: those who live in major hubs and have tons of options, and those who don’t. I was reminded of this yesterday during a conversation with Grant. He’s in a hub location (San Francisco) and I’m not (San Diego). I may be based out of America’s Finest City, but when it comes to getting anywhere overseas, it’s anything but the finest. Funny how all cities call their airport an international one :)

Probably 99% of the time, I have to go to LAX or SFO or some other hub city to start my trips. And when I send my award trip requests to my award booking team, they’ll remind me of this and send me some itinerary options based on my needing to position for my flight.

Just in case you’re one of the lucky ones who has never needed to position to start or end a trip, or in case you’re just getting started in miles and points based traveling, let me offer a very basic explanation. Often, for various reasons, using miles/points to book a trip will have you start or end in a city that’s not your home airport. You’ll either need to fly (using other miles/points or paying cash) or sometimes drive to get started or to get home.

It helps to have some hotels that you think of as your go-to hotels at the cities you’re most likely to be positioning from for those times when you need to overnight before or after a flight. As award tickets become more challenging to book, I find myself positioning to cities I’ve never been to before and so I have no idea what hotels would work best if I need to get in the night before or stay over before heading home.

It occurred to me, given what I’m assuming is the diversity of locations for TWG readers and the diversity of our travels, that we could start helping each other by having TWG compile a list of the recommended hotels and the ones we wouldn’t recommend. To start off, here’s my favorite LAX hotel.

I started using the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles years ago when I lived in Hawaii and came to LAX to start almost all my flights. Even the award flights to Asia from Hawaii seemed to start at LAX!

View of Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles. Image source: http://www.sheratonlax.com/en/gallery

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My March App-O-Rama Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses Post

Good morning everyone, I hope you are all having a great week.  By the time you read this post, I will be ATVing around the island of St. Kitts (I know, tough life).  Anyway, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite topics – credit card sign up bonuses.  In March, I discussed Which 10 Credit Cards am I Considering for my March App-O-Rama and then in early April, I wrote about my March App-O-Rama Results.  In this post, I will share with you my plans (if any) for redeeming my miles and points.  If you have any better suggestions than the ones I share in this post, please let me know in the comments.  Thank you!

To get started, I was approved for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card and the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card.  Both credit cards offered 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles after spending $1,000 in 3 months along with an Alaska Airlines Companion Ticket (which can now be used on Virgin America).  I have a few other Alaska Airlines Companion Tickets in my Alaska Airlines account, so I will probably not use them all.  60,000 Alaska Airlines miles is worth ~$900 to me (valuing Alaska Airlines miles at 1.5 CPP).  I don’t have an exact use in mind, but I like flying on Virgin America first class when I fly from SFO to JFK.

Alaska Airlines Personal Business 30,000 Mile Bonuses Posted

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How to Search & Book an Avianca LifeMiles Award Ticket (SFO-LPB in Business Class)

Good morning everyone, greetings from beautiful Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.  A quick thank you to those of you who provided helpful trip recommendations on my earlier post.  I am enjoying my time at the Marriott Saint Kitts Beach Club (timeshare property) with my family and I wanted to wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day, especially my mom – thank you Mom for everything you’ve done for me (and for letting me use some of your miles and points from time to time).

Back in December 2016, I was approved for the Avianca Vuela Credit Card that offered 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles after your first purchase.  The 60,000 LifeMiles posted to my account in January 2017 and I just booked an award flight for January 2018 to fly to La Paz, Bolivia.  In this post, I will show you how I searched for the award space and booked the business class award ticket.  First, sign into your LifeMiles account, click the Use tab, and click Airlines under the Travel header.

Search Redeem Avianca LifeMiles SFO-LPB 1

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Trip Recommendations for Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  Tonight, I am going on a family vacation with my parents and brother to Saint Kitts and Nevis (which is in the Caribbean).  Here is the routing for my flight (thanks to Great Circle Mapper):

  • San Francisco (SFO) to Atlanta (ATL) to Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB) on Delta Airlines using 27,500 Delta SkyMiles + $15.60 in taxes/fees
  • I will visit the SFO Centurion Lounge tonight and then visit a Delta Sky Club Lounge in ATL in the morning (both free since I have the American Express Business Platinum Charge Card)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB) to Miami (MIA) on American Airlines using 10,000 British Airways Avios + $53.46 in taxes/fees
  • I have a long layover and need to go from MIA to FLL – I think I will stop by the beach for some lunch before going to FLL
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to San Francisco (SFO) on Virgin America using 8,094 Virgin America Elevate Miles + $5.60 in taxes/fees

Unfortunately, I did not write down the flight prices at the time I booked these flights, but I remember getting pretty good value out of my miles when I booked these flights.

SFO-SKB RT Great Circle Mapper

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