Author Archives: Tonei Glavinic

About Tonei Glavinic

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan travel expert, educator, social justice advocate, and digital nomad currently based in Mexico City. Find them on Twitter @tonei.

Three Weeks in New Zealand – Without A Car!

Buenos dias everyone! Back in November, I was able to snag two economy tickets from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand for a jaw-dropping $395 per person roundtrip, nonstop on Air New Zealand. (My understanding is tickets twice that price would still be a good deal – right now, the lowest price I see for these flights through the end of 2018 is $1,150). I used Citi Thank You Points from my Citi Prestige Credit Card to book these tickets at a value of 1.25 cents per point (so a little over 63,000 points total).

At first, I avoided making any further plans because I thought the tickets might get canceled – but after a couple of months, I was pretty confident that they would stick. I eventually booked tickets from Mexico City to San Francisco (using American Express Membership Rewards points with the 35% AMEX Platinum Card rebate), and a few days before our trip, I finally started sketching out our plan.

A map of Tonei's route in New Zealand, as described in the article

Map created on Travellerspoint.com

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Amtrak Quietly Makes Big Negative Changes to Cancellation & Refund Policies

Buenos dias everyone,

For a long time, Amtrak has had a very generous cancellation policy, similar to Southwest Airlines – as long as you canceled your ticket before departure, you could get the full amount paid back as an eVoucher valid for one year. And depending on the type of fare you purchased, you could even get a refund back to your credit card (possibly with a 10% service fee depending on when you canceled your ticket).

This has all changed. For tickets purchased starting March 20, 2018, most tickets will be hit with a 25% service fee when refunding to an eVoucher. Unfortunately, the news of these changes is buried in the fare rules on Amtrak’s website and on their Refunds and Cancellations page – and even that doesn’t note that there’s been a change, or when it went into effect.  Here’s the breakdown of the new policy (credit to AmtrakLKL on Amtrak Unlimited, via NovaEngr on Flyertalk):

Advance Purchase Saver Fares

  • Full refund to original form of payment (or eVoucher) within 24 hours of purchase
  • 75% refund to eVoucher after 24 hours, as long as you cancel before departure
  • No refund for no-shows

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Trip Report: ANA 767-300 Business Class NRT-HKG

This is part two of my trip report for my ANA flights from Mexico City to Hong Kong – read the first part here.

My connecting flight to Hong Kong boarded promptly at 9:35am, and we even managed to push back a few minutes early.

Narita to Hong Kong

My onward connection to Hong Kong was on a 767-300 operated by Air Japan (an ANA subsidiary). This plane has a somewhat unusual 2-1-2 configuration in business, so I chose the middle seat in row 2 (someone warned me that people often use the row 1 bulkhead to move between the two aisles). The center seat has more storage than the others: a side console with a large storage compartment, as well as two smaller compartments for glasses and a water bottle. All the seats have a seatback pocket and a literature slot next to the footwell, plus generously sized tray tables, but there’s a lot more storage room and elbow room in the middle seat.

A photo of the back of an ANA business class seat, showing the TV screen and storage pockets.

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Planes, Trains, and More Planes, 2017 Edition: Asia for the Holidays

Buenos dias everyone,

Like last year, I just left Mexico City for a long international trip over the holidays – this time to Asia instead of Europe. This time the trip wasn’t built around a mistake fare, but rather a desire to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha and the Chengdu Panda Base, both in western China.

I started planning the trip in mid-September, and found that Asiana Airlines had pretty good business class availability across the Pacific for the dates we were looking at. I tacked on United economy flights between Mexico City and LAX (though this resulted in an overnight layover in each direction, since United only has one flight per day between those two cities), and added a domestic Air China economy flight from Shanghai to Chengdu after a one-week stopover.

A world map centered over the Pacific Ocean showing the following flight routing in red: MEX-LAX-ICN-PVG, SHA-CTU

Map generated by gcmap.com

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