Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

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jhogue
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by jhogue » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:03 pm

See also the many passenger reviews at cruise critic.com.

I discovered rather quickly that I basically suck at ballroom dancing, but I caught on right away to afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream.

The pheasant was the best that I have had since we hunted on Grandpa's farm.

Had to work out at the on-board gym and walk the deck every day to keep from gaining too much weight.

Internet service was available but too expensive for my taste (I did without while at sea).

About the only thing missing was a personalized seminar on the Permanent Portfolio.
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A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by bedraggled » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:14 am

Another question on airport/airline lounges:

Which are the best cards to have for free access to these lounges? We are discontinuing our Chase Sapphire Preferred card that gives us access to many lounges

American Express may provide good access but I don’t know. We are not looking to break the bank on credit card fees.

Your thoughts are appreciated.
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sophie
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by sophie » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:56 am

The cruise option is definitely pricey and scheduling is severely limited (1 trip/month), but I will absolutely keep it in mind for my next trip to Europe. I'd only use it for the outbound leg, which is where I try to get first class upgrades wherever possible. It is SO worth it: you get a seat that folds back completely so you can lie down and get some sleep, and you get to take a shower in the airport lounge right after you get off the plane. Those two things make you feel almost human on arrival.

I've done this routine so many times I've got it down to a science: take a red-eye, pop a melatonin and (if needed) a Xanax on the plane to get to sleep. Even just one hour makes a huge difference. After you arrive, STAY AWAKE and spend as much time as possible outdoors with e.g. a walking tour. And NO NAPS. Don't take long bus or train rides because you'll fall asleep. Go to bed at the appropriate time, and take another melatonin before hitting the sack. That will put you on the correct sleep schedule and you'll be around 90% adjusted the next day. Except for GI issues, since that system has its own clock and takes much longer to adjust. It helps to take a daily fiber supplement.

Flying coach class is just fine on the return trip. After I return, my productivity is super high for a few days due to waking up raring to go at 4AM. Just don't plan any evening social events for a few days if you can avoid it.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by bedraggled » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:20 pm

Thanks, Sophie,

Point of clarification:

We found that sitting in a quiet airport lounge was much better than sitting by the gate waiting 3 hours to board a plane. Wifi and free wine, beer or spirits helps. Don't forget snacks, sandwiches and, in Boston, seafood chowder. To continue the experience would be great. We have found the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to have diminishing value going forward. (It was spectacular these last 2 years). There are other cards out there that provide access to these wonderful lounges but their annual fees, from $450 to $550 inspite of any credits, appear to make them expensive.

After the $300 credit on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, our cost will still be $150 for this card. Am I being penny-wise and pound foolish re the "expensive Chase card- a secondary question to my original call for assistance?
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by pugchief » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:02 pm

bedraggled wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:20 pm
Thanks, Sophie,

Point of clarification:

We found that sitting in a quiet airport lounge was much better than sitting by the gate waiting 3 hours to board a plane. Wifi and free wine, beer or spirits helps. Don't forget snacks, sandwiches and, in Boston, seafood chowder. To continue the experience would be great. We have found the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to have diminishing value going forward. (It was spectacular these last 2 years). There are other cards out there that provide access to these wonderful lounges but their annual fees, from $450 to $550 inspite of any credits, appear to make them expensive.

After the $300 credit on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, our cost will still be $150 for this card. Am I being penny-wise and pound foolish re the "expensive Chase card- a secondary question to my original call for assistance?
I'm not clear what it is that you are asking. If you fly more than once a year, the net $150 cost for the card is easily offset by the free food and beverage in the lounges. Do the math: 2 trips = 4 lounge visits. Assuming 2 travelers, that's food & booze for 8, which is a bargain for $150. If you fly a third trip, the benefit is even greater. Ad Orientem infinatum.
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by bedraggled » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:48 am

Pugchief,

Thanks. Good point.

Also, I was reading about the AmEx Platinum card and, although there is a $550 annual fee, I can combine with Delta and make better use of the Delta experience. (I think, at this moment).
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by bedraggled » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:51 am

Anybody visited the website flyer talk.com? It was recommended on Bobleheads. I just started a perusal late last night.

Finally, over the last year, I found some benefit at the website thepointsguy.com.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by technovelist » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:10 am

bedraggled wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:51 am
Anybody visited the website flyer talk.com? It was recommended on Bobleheads. I just started a perusal late last night.

Finally, over the last year, I found some benefit at the website thepointsguy.com.

Any thoughts?
Flyertalk.com is great. That's my go-to for EVERYTHING about miles and points. I have had probably $10k worth of free travel from reading there and following the rules on credit card bonuses.

Thepointsguy.com is okay but not nearly as in-depth. He also cheerleads for his advertisers (credit card companies), although not absurdly so.

If you're really interested in getting the most for your miles, or bargains on paying cash for premium seats, try firstclassflyer.com; they are the experts on not flying in coach. Although it is a paid service, they have a free trial period.

Also, to find the often hard-to-get award tickets, I recommend expertflyer.com. They will check availability for you automatically and email you when and if they find it. They have a 5-day free trial (once) and it's $99/year after that. I've used them to switch to better times for award tickets when the only thing available at original booking was 6 AM or 11 PM.
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Re: Flying !st class with a free upgrade?

Post by jhogue » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:14 am

sophie wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:56 am
The cruise option is definitely pricey and scheduling is severely limited (1 trip/month), but I will absolutely keep it in mind for my next trip to Europe. I'd only use it for the outbound leg, which is where I try to get first class upgrades wherever possible. It is SO worth it: you get a seat that folds back completely so you can lie down and get some sleep, and you get to take a shower in the airport lounge right after you get off the plane. Those two things make you feel almost human on arrival.

I've done this routine so many times I've got it down to a science: take a red-eye, pop a melatonin and (if needed) a Xanax on the plane to get to sleep. Even just one hour makes a huge difference. After you arrive, STAY AWAKE and spend as much time as possible outdoors with e.g. a walking tour. And NO NAPS. Don't take long bus or train rides because you'll fall asleep. Go to bed at the appropriate time, and take another melatonin before hitting the sack. That will put you on the correct sleep schedule and you'll be around 90% adjusted the next day. Except for GI issues, since that system has its own clock and takes much longer to adjust. It helps to take a daily fiber supplement.

Flying coach class is just fine on the return trip. After I return, my productivity is super high for a few days due to waking up raring to go at 4AM. Just don't plan any evening social events for a few days if you can avoid it.

Hope this helps!
Sophie,
Thanks for the tips on how to overcome jet lag. You are, of course, also correct that the worst effects are on the east –bound flight. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with claustrophobia induced by shrieking infants of inattentive parents, and clueless non-stop hacking coughers one row back who don’t know how to cover their mouths?

The trans-Atlantic cruise option works best for travel that can be planned far in advance, and longer stays, such as an academic sabbatical. What the transatlantic cruise does do is expand available options beyond what has become an unpleasant choice between cattle class and pay-through-the-nose class of commercial air travel.
“Groucho Marx wrote:
A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
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