Award Magic Blog

REVIEW: Four Points Ventura Harbor

August, 19th 2014

 

REVIEW: Four Points Ventura Harbor

Our one-night stay at the Four Points Ventura Harbor was more of a necessity than anything else. Sarah and I were dying to try out Tierra Sur - the best kosher restaurant in California - and we knew we'd need to stay the night; not only was it over an hour from our home, but we knew we'd have plenty of wine as well. To be completely honest, I had very low expectations; but from the time I ... Read More >>

 

Dinner at Tierra Sur: California's Best Kosher Restaurant

August, 11th 2014

 

Dinner at Tierra Sur: California's Best Kosher Restaurant

For those that know me, you know there's little in the world I love more than eating a delicious meal at a nice restaurant. I've been to kosher restaurants all over the world: from Bangkok to Buenos Aires, from Vancouver to Venice. While this isn't meant to be a post rating the best (kosher) restaurants on earth, I can confidently say this post is a review of the best kosher restaurant... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: TAM First Class 777-300

July, 21st 2014

 

REVIEW: TAM First Class 777-300

For those following along, here is a recap of what this trip report includes: 

REVIEW: Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)

REVIEW: Cathay Pacific NEW 777-300 First Class 

REVIEW: TAM First Class 777-300

REVIEW: TAM First Class A330

This, my first TAM experience (in any class of service) began at the JFK check-in counter. There was a dedicated first ... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: Cathay Pacific NEW 777-300 First Class

June, 24th 2014

 

REVIEW: Cathay Pacific NEW 777-300 First Class

There's no denying the fact that Cathay Pacific has one of the best first class offerings in the world. Not only are the seats, food and service top notch, but it's become more and more exclusive by the day. First, Cathay stopped releasing much of the award space we had become accustomed to. Then, they announced they were retiring their 747 aircrafts and replacing them with B777-300ERs, wh... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)

June, 16th 2014

 

REVIEW: Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)

About three weeks ago I had some friends in Vancouver asking me to visit. Unfortunately, I needed to be in Sao Paolo for a prior commitment around the same time, but I tried to work something out that allowed me to do both. I knew going to Sao Paolo, I wanted to experience TAM's first class product, but I hadn't given much more thought to it than that. After working with award availability... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: USAirways Business Class (Formerly Known as "Envoy") A330-300

June, 6th 2014

 

REVIEW: USAirways Business Class (Formerly Known as "Envoy") A330-300

It was finally time for our final flight. We finished our time in Iceland, had an overnight in Oslo and had a quick stay at the T1 Oneworld lounge at LHR. As much as I try to avoid flying on American-based carriers internationally, it's a bit tough to avoid sometimes when everything you do is with miles. I have flown the USAirways "Envoy Suite" product on their A330s, but this was to... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: British Airways (Terminal 1) LHR Lounge

June, 3rd 2014

 

REVIEW: British Airways (Terminal 1) LHR Lounge

I was quite excited about our visit to London's Heathrow airport (LHR), as I've come to quite enjoy British Airways' First Galleries lounge. They generally offer a nice selection of hot and cold dishes, several wine options and some great pastries. Unfortunately however, since we were flying out to Philadelphia on USAirways, we were departing out of LHR Terminal 1 rather than Term... Read More >>

 

The World's Worst Customer

June, 3rd 2014

 

The World's Worst Customer

I'm sure we've all witnessed our fair share of angry (or maybe even offensive) customers. But as those of us who travel often know - well, I'd hope everyone knew this, but I know I've learned a lot in the ways of customer service as I continue to travel more and more often - the kinder you are, the more you smile, the more likely you are to get your way. Even in situation... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: Icelandair Saga Lounge at KEF

May, 29th 2014

 

REVIEW: Icelandair Saga Lounge at KEF

​Of all the lounges we visited on this particular trip, the Saga Lounge at KEF - that's the airport code for Reykjavik's airport, Iceland's capital, even though the airport itself is located in Keflavik (about 40 minutes away) - was our favorite. The design, the food selection and the overall "vibe" were far superior to those of the SAS and BA lounges. It certainly wasn... Read More >>

 

How to See Iceland Without Organized Tours

May, 21st 2014

 

How to See Iceland Without Organized Tours

Iceland is a beautiful country with an incredibly unique landscape. Unfortunately, I (like most people) had a relatively short stay in the country and considered the "Golden Circle" to be the most important/worthwhile part of my trip. While there is so much more to do and see in Iceland than just this "standard" one-day tour, most other activities are further inland and don'... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: Park Inn Hotel, Reykjavik - Corner Suite

May, 20th 2014

 

REVIEW: Park Inn Hotel, Reykjavik - Corner Suite

When planning our trip to Iceland, Sarah and I had two choices. We could wait for Starwood to open a new property in Reykjavik or think about what other options we have. This is a perfect example of why it's important to diversify your points! While we much prefer to stay at SPG properties, we understand it's not always an option. As a result, in addition to the SPG AMEX card, Sarah and I ... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: SAS Lounge at London Heathrow

May, 15th 2014

 

REVIEW: SAS Lounge at London Heathrow

After a great five-day stay in London, it was time for us to fly to Rekjavik, Iceland! Unfortunately, if you're looking to redeem Star Alliance miles for travel to Reykjavik (KEF), you're limited to SAS' service out of Oslo. Lufthansa does fly in/out of KEF from Duseldorf, but that service is only seasonal. Sarah and I were booked on the SAS flight from London to Oslo and then ont... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: Park Lane (Sheraton) Hotel, London - Park View Suite

May, 11th 2014

 

REVIEW: Park Lane (Sheraton) Hotel, London - Park View Suite

This is post number three in my nine-part trip report on the London/Iceland getaway I took with my wife, Sarah, last month. 


REVIEW: New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal)
REVIEW: New Lufthansa Business Class 747-8
REVIEW: Park Lane (Sheraton) Hotel, London - Park View Suite
REVIEW: SAS Lounge at London Heathrow
REVIEW: Park Inn Hotel, Reykjavik - ... Read More >>

 

How to Make Good of a (Questionably) Poor Decision

May, 7th 2014

 

How to Make Good of a (Questionably) Poor Decision

By now, we've all read or heard about Etihad's new out-of-this-world A380 layout. In addition to economy, business and first class seating they also have a "Residence" product on board which features a three-room suite, including a living room bedroom and private bathroom (yes, shower included). And while the "regular" first class - keep in ind, that product alone seems... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: New Lufthansa Business Class 747-8

May, 6th 2014

 

REVIEW: New Lufthansa Business Class 747-8

​Welcome to part two of the trip report! To recap, this is a nine part series reviewing different airline, hotel and lounge products - as well as some tips on touring around Iceland - which Sarah and I were able to try out as part of our London and Iceland adventure a few weeks ago. This is how the the trip report will be split up:


REVIEW: New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Tom Bradley I... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal)

May, 1st 2014

 

REVIEW: New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal)

This post is the first of several, that will review the trip Sarah and I took a few weeks ago. Our time away included five days in London, three days in Iceland and one afternoon in Oslo - though no posts are going to be written about that short visit. We booked the flights as a business class award using 100,000 USAirways miles each (while they were still in the Star Alliance)... Read More >>

 

When Expectations Get in the Way

April, 2nd 2014

 

When Expectations Get in the Way

I recently took a short trip down to San Diego with my wife and was very excited to try out the US Grant Hotel - a Luxury Collection property in the Starwood chain. I booked it on a cash-and-points rate and was upgraded to a very nice suite, with a separate sitting area and TV. What this post is really about though, is the gift that was waiting for me upon arrival. 



When I wa... Read More >>

 

New Emirates A380 Promo Video: "All Time Greats"

March, 28th 2014

 

New Emirates A380 Promo Video: "All Time Greats"

If you're a fan of soccer and luxury travel, this video is right up your alley. Given how much I love to fly in style - more specifically, on the Emirates A380, shower and all - and how much I enjoy watching international soccer - after all, I'll be in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup this summer - I couldn't help but post this video. I see hundreds of pictures, videos and blog posts abou... Read More >>

 

Qatar Unveils New First Class

March, 5th 2014

 

Qatar Unveils New First Class

Qatar Airways has finally unveiled seat-plans for their much anticipated A380. Today, at the ITB Travel Trade Show in Berlin, Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar al Baker shared the news together with some spiffy-looking photos. Despite recent trends towards eliminating the first class cabin - currently, Qatar only offers first class on their A340-600s, none of which fly to North America - the ... Read More >>

 

REVIEW: American Airlines' New Business Class

February, 20th 2014

 

REVIEW: American Airlines' New Business Class

As an American Airlines flyer with Executive Platinum status - that's their highest level, which generally requires 100,000 flown miles annually - I am entitled to unlimited upgrades on all domestic AA flights. And while it's nice to have a slightly wider seat, the reality is that most of my intra-US flights are under three hours; do I really need (or even care about) a bigger seat for suc... Read More >>