Author Topic: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report  (Read 10245 times)

Offline Eli

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A note for those of you reading this.

1. It's very long.
2. If you wish to reply, please don't quote the whole post, just the part you would like to comment on.
3. I have a lot of info including maps and phone numbers and addresses of things we did on this trip, I just don't have the time right now to post it. Feel free to ask.


Hong Kong and Macau, China

Hong Kong - Macau Trip Report
 Monday morning, 7:00am

We got to JFK at 7am, a full 3 hours before our Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Check in for Business Class was an absolute breeze, as was the special security section. As an added bonus, we met Steve Martin at security, and got his autograph. We proceeded to the British Airways Terraces lounge, which we had access to because of the Cathay-British relationship. The lounge was nothing crazy, but it was pretty nice. Two of my friends took showers in the lounge which they said were awesome. The lounge had a full, self-serve bar with plenty of beer and some pretty expensive booz. I just had a bowl of cereal and some orange juice...all on the house of course.

Business class on our Cathay flight was pretty good. The seats were similar to what I sat in last year, on First Class with Virgin. Each seat is private and has a 17" screen with enough TV shows, movies and music to last the 16 hour flight. The seat is a lie-flat seat, so after takeoff I arranged my seat that way and got some much needed sleep, although I found it to be much more comfortable to sleep in the reclined position, as opposed to lie-flat.

When we arrived, we hopped over to the Macau Ferry Transfer desk and bought tickets for the turbo-jet. The tickets were $29USD each. Our departure time on the ferry was not for another couple of hours, so we chilled in the airport, visiting random stores and checking the place out. There is a 7 minute bus to the ferry, and the ferry takes about 35 minutes to get to Macau. The regular economy seats on the ferry are fine for such a short trip.

We didn't go through immigration in HKG, so upon arrival into Macau we needed to do that. The lines were pretty bad, but luckily we got off the boat first so we made it through in under ten minutes. It just so happens that we only had carry-on with us, but if you have checked luggage, the ferry company will get your luggage for you and have it available when you get to the Macau port.

Upon exiting the Macau Ferry Terminal, we took a cab to our hotel, the Holiday Inn on Rua De Pequiem. We went to sleep almost immediately and woke up at 4am. After enjoying the microwave meal mart meals we brought along, we went walking around. Our first visit was to the Wynn Macau, and then to the MGM Grand. After that we took a cab (about $50HKD, or $6USD) to the other island and visited the Venetian. The tables here in Macau have very low minimums. You will find some which are $10HKD which is about $1.30USD. Others are $25HKD or $50HKD, still a cheap thrill. After the Venetian we came back to our hotel, did some food shopping, and went back to sleep for a few hours to be able to stay up the rest of the day.

(You should not plan much for the first day after travel. Even travelling in business class and having the luxury of a lie-flat bed will not prepare you for how jet-lagged you will be.)

When we woke up we checked out of the hotel and took the free shuttle to the ferry terminal. If you have bags to check, you should get there at least a half hour before. You also need to go through exit customs where they stamp your passport so give yourself some extra time, but there's definitely no need to get there more than an hour before.

When we got back to Hong Kong we went to check in at our beautiful Courtyard by Marriot Hotel. We felt like we were the only ones there, as there were 6 people at our beck and call helping us when we walked in.

From the hotel we took a taxi to the "Peak Tram" to Victoria Peak. The price for the roundtrip tram is $37HKD, or $49HKD for the tram and access to the skytower, which, for the extra $2USD is definitely worth it.

The Peak is absolutely stunning, with views on a clear day for miles. There's also a whole shopping mall at the top of the peak. Be sure to visit Haagan Daaz if you're not Makpid on CY. (Make sure to check the lids of the containers for an OU-D.)

After the peak, we went to Shalom Grill, which is less than a 20 minute walk from the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal. The food there was decent. There's also a small grocery inside the restaurant, and there's a shul upstairs.

The next morning some of us went to Shachris in the Chabad at 61 Connaught Rd (same building as Shalom Grill) and (from what I hear) there was a full catered breakfast available afterwards.

We headed out by cab to the Star Ferry Terminal and from there boarded the Big Bus Tour. Unlike what they have in London, here there are no live guided tours, rather you must listen to the recorded voice on the headphones. The tour was pretty interesting. We did not get off at all in Hong Kong Island although if you do get off, you can hop on the next bus a half hour later. The cost of the Bus was high, but we bargained the girl down to about half of what she originally wanted.

When we got back to the ferry area, about a 75 minute ride, we took the ferry across to Kowloon. From there we walked along the boardwalk for about 15 minutes (beautiful views and picture opportunities) and then did another short 5 minute walk to the Mul Hayam restaurant in the Wing On Plaza at 62 Mody Rd. The steak there was excellent and the service was as well. There's a shul on that same floor if you require.

After eating our hearty lunch, we hopped on the Big Bus and got off at the stop that was just a few blocks away from what's called the "Ladies Market" and walked there. Don't let the name fool you...there's plenty to be had here. From fake Gucci, Prada and Burberry purses, to copies of Rolex, Brightling and Cartier watches, and little chachkalach of all sorts, you can find anything. There's an electronics market a few blocks away, and a street called Temple known as "Night Market", but I visited neither of these.

One thing you must know about Hong Kong (and China in general as well), is that everything is negotiable. Aside from Department Stores and upscale retailers, you should never pay the price they ask for. If they want $170HKD for a pair of sunglasses, offer $20HKD. I'm not joking. Stick with the lower offer and they will keep coming down in price. Walk away from them and they will call you back and offer you the item for cheaper. You will quickly get the idea of how to haggle just by doing it a few times. It's actually quite easy and really fun!

After hours of walking through the market, we ran over to Jantzen Tailor in the Bank of China Building. Before I tell you about this guy, let me tell you about everyone else. When you walk in Kowloon you'll have 40 people and their grandmothers coming over to you offering you custom suits and shirts. They have guys walking the streets just doing marketing. They'll start at $3,000HKD and before you know it you've haggled your way down to $1,500 or even less. I don't know what type of job they do...maybe some of them are good, but with tactics like they have, I'd prefer to stay away. Enter Jantzen Tailor shop. A kind gentleman by the name of Ricky helped me. He told me that their steady stream of happy returning customers keeps them very busy and they don't need to and never needed to resort to street people doing advertising, or flying overseas to get business. This tailor shop does not negotiate...maybe a couple hundred HKD, but not by much. Suits start at $3,200HKD and shirts start at $300HKD ($412USD and $38USD respectively).

Although I was wearing a cap, Ricky immediately noticed I was jewish and asked me if I will be wearing the suit primarily for Shabbos or for work. He also told me that they use no linen in their suits so I need not worry about Shaatnez. He was very helpful in picking out a fabric, although I felt like the selection wasn't broad enough in the darker style most of us would wear on a Shabbos or to a wedding.

With shirts, they have literally hundreds of designs to choose from, even in the white-on-white department, and of course everything is fully custom, from the sleeve type, to whether the collar stays are built in or not. Of course the same is true about the suits. He even measured my blackberry (Bold, a little wide) to make the small coin pocket found in most pants fit my phone. I was able to choose pocket style, pleat style, belt loop style and position, stitching...you name it. He measured and re-measured about 15 positions of my body and wrote everything down.

I admit though that I did something a bit stupid, but I had no choice. Normally you come in there, get measured, and come back a day or two later once the suit is ready for a fitting, and then they make the final minor adjustments. I did not have that luxury since I walked in at 9pm Thursday night and was leaving Hong Kong at 9am the next morning. So he's shipping me the suit and 2 shirts I ordered (shipping cost: $400HKD) and I'll hope for the best. I figure worst case scenario I'll bring it to my local tailor for some minor adjusting.

A word of caution though about Janzhen. Although they seem very professional, they charged me more than they had originally told me once I pulled out my credit card. For example he specifically told me the suit fabrics I was looking at were $3,200HKD each, but then charged me $3,500. When we walked in he said shipping was $200HKD, but my friend and I were both charged $400. When I approached him about this after seeing the bill he said "come on my friend...it's no big deal." If you plan on going, I would recommend making sure he is absolutely clear with the pricing.

Friday morning we woke up early to go to the airport. Instead of taking a cab which would have been about $350-$400HKD, we opted to take the Airport Express; a bullet train which gets you to the airport in under 30 minutes. The cost was $100HKD per person. One advantage is that you check in for your flight at the Airport Express station before you even board the train, instead of at the airport, where lines can be long. Remember that every flight out of Honk Kong airport is considered an international flight, so you will need to go through immigration and exit customs before you go to your gate.

We went to the Cathay Business Class Lounge across from gate 2 which I had heard is supposed to be one of the nicest in the world, but it was far from it. Maybe that article I read was referring to the lounge by gate 63. It's a shame I missed it. I was looking forward.

Business Class seats on the 3 hour Dragon Air flight from HKG to Beijing were decent. They lean back pretty far and there's plenty of legroom, but it's nothing compared to the first Cathay flight we took. The seating arrangement in the A330 Business Class is 2-2-2.
       
Next up... Beijing.           
-Eli

Offline Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 04:26:57 AM »
Beijing, China

Friday morning we got to Beijing and were met at the gate by a woman who took us to a waiting Audi A6 from the St. Regis. Note to self: it wasn't worth it. We thought they get you your luggage and whisk you through customs ahead of the lines but this was not to be. We waited in lines, we waited for baggage...the only thing we got was a special elevator to the parking garage.

The ride to the St. Regis with the 4 of us was a bit tight. We should've just taken 2 cabs. Oh well. $90USD poorly spent. Lucky for us we got upgraded to the St. Regis Suite for all 5 nights we were there, with a complimentary rollaway bed. After shmoozing with our personal butler for a few minutes, we went downstairs for a quick swim and jacuzzi.

Once we figured out how to get out of the hotel over shabbos without going through any automatic doors, we headed over to the Silk Street Market, which is an indoor mall with a store every 8 feet...literally...no, I'm serious...literally. My favorite activity of Silk Road Mall was not buying the insanely cheap fakes that they sell of just about everything (they call them "good copies"), rather it was walking down an aisle which has about 25 stores on each side and ignoring all the chinese women saying "excuse me sir", "would you like to buy some shirts", "excuse me you need plastic buddha statue?", "please come in new styles special for you!"

Everything here is "great quality" and "new styles" and "great price". For those of you who don't know, here's the deal. You walk in and ask how much for that pair of Oakley shades. They pull out a calculator and type on it "650" and say "this best price for you." You go ahead and press clear and type "50". They laugh and type "500" and say "ok ok you funny." You press clear and type "50" and keep repeating the above steps until they go down to 100. You pull out 75, hand it to them and say "for 75 you have a deal." Believe it or not, the above story is exactly how it happened for me, and I now own a pair of "real, fake, good copy, real, good quality, fake" Oakley shades. All for $11USD. It's fun. I don't need shades but I would've easily paid $20 to get that whole thing on camera.

The Chabad of Downtown is a hop, skip and a jump away from the St. Regis Hotel. Literally right around the corner. When we walked in for Mincha we were greeted by Rabbi Mendy and Rebbetzin Raskin who hosted us for Davening and meals over Shabbos. What a wonderful couple they are. All the way out in Beijing and willing to give of themselves for whatever we needed. After Mincha we joined the Raskin's and about 20 other people for a delicious home-cooked meal. Food was amazing and plentiful, and the singing and Divrei Torah flowed. The same was true the next day after the much anticipated 11am Shachris.

Moitzei Shabbos we went out to an area called Back Lake, which is a bunch of stores and bars surrounding a beautiful lake. Pretty cool. The 15 minute cab ride there only cost 21RMB which is a joke at about $3USD.

Sunday morning we headed out to Tiananmen Square. Apparantly some people got killed here 20 years ago but if you don't care very much about that, it's basically just a HUGE square. We walked around and walked around until we got sick of walking around, and then we walked across the street to The Forbidden City. Again, just a huge area surrounded by a bunch of buildings. Two of us weren't so interested and were pretty hungry so we took a 30 minute cab to Dini's, the only Kosher Restaurant in Beijing. The price for the cab was pretty steep, at $3.50USD, but after taking a second mortgage out on the house, we came up with the cash.

Dini's had some pretty good food. We had the sizzling beef, shnitzel, and fries. The prices were very regular...no over-charging in this place.

In the afternoon we chilled in the hotel. Some of us went out touring a little bit and some of us chilled in the pool. For dinner we went back to Dini's and ordered some other stuff. Food was pretty good once again. We ordered in advance for the next night so we have food delivered to our hotel right when we get back from our "Great Wall" tour.

Note about Dini's: As of the day we were there they closed the restaurant and made it take-out only. This is because their old location was demolished and they had moved temporarily to the Freundlich's house. Remember to call them first to confirm details of their location.

Initially we had scheduled to be in Beijing until Wednesday afternoon but we switched our OneWorld reservation to the same flight on Tuesday afternoon in order to spend an extra day in Tokyo.

Monday morning we hired a driver to take us to The Great Wall. We got a really good deal at only 450RMB including tolls, although we had to pay a little extra (90RMB per person) at the Great Wall for the tour. Our tour guide spoke a pretty good english and we were very happy with him. On the way to the wall we stopped at a cool Ming Vase factory - handmade everything.

The great wall was really nice. We walked from the parking lot to the cable car, and then from the top of the cable car along the wall a few towers. We could've walked a lot further but once you see a little, you've basically seen it all.

We then continued to the Olympic Village. It's unfortunate how this entire area is beautiful, but now that the 2008 Beijing Olympics are over, the buildings are just rotting away. We walked around for a half hour, and then our tour guide took us to Dini's to pick up our food before dropping us off at the hotel.

That night we went back to the Silk Market and bargained a little more, and also picked up a suitcase to shlep everything that we had bought over the last few days.

Tuesday morning we decided that we just couldn't get enough of the Silk Market and went back one more time for some last minute shopping. To be honest I think I've spent most of my time in Beijing in the Silk Market. And in 7-11 buying Coke's.

We took a cab to the airport and went to the Air China Lounge which is in the E gates section. This lounge is pretty nice with about 100 leather couches and seats, and plenty of drinks, although not a full open bar like the Cathay lounge in JFK.

Next up... Tokyo.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 12:33:33 AM by Eli »
-Eli

Offline Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 04:27:41 AM »
Tokyo

We got to Tokyo at about 7:15pm and immediately took the N'EX to the Tokyo Station. The best idea for using the N'EX is to buy the N'EX Suica card for 3,500¥ (about $36USD) which also gives you 1,500¥ to use on the almost all trains, buses and subways, and a 500¥ deposit returned to you when you give the card back.

This next part is a little confusing. According to the Rov I asked, Tokyo is Halachically one day behind what they say it is. Therefore, when we left Beijing Tuesday afternoon, we arrived in Tokyo Monday night (Halachically). This worked out very well for us as we were in Tokyo on (their) Thursday which was a Ta'anis and we were also in Honolulu on (the real) Thursday. (This was because we took a 10pm flight (their) Thursday night and arrived in Honolulu on Thursday morning.) The Rov I asked informed me that I needed to fast only once starting from when it got light on the plane on the way to Honolulu. Please, ask your own Rov when it comes to travelling to Tokyo and Honolulu.

From the Tokyo Station we took another train (Keiyo Line to Maihama) to the DisneyWorld Resort area, and from there took a monorail to our hotel, the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay. That night we just chilled in the hotel, as there was free internet in the lounge and we all had some things to take care of. We went to sleep pretty late so the next morning was a late one. We finally left the hotel at 11am and proceeded to downtown Tokyo to see the Tokyo tower. As I type this now from the top observatory deck of the Tokyo Tower (820¥ to the middle floor, another 600¥ to the top), I feel like I'm on a boat. This tower sways about a foot in each direction and it's kind of scary when you're 250m above the ground. The views are breathtaking though, so be sure to bring a camera.

After the Tokyo Tower we walked for what seemed like hours until we finally reached King Felafel, the only Kosher restaurant is Tokyo. We had a few felafels there and took a few to go. From there we took a 2 hour trip back to our hotel by subway/train/shuttle/walk which was ridiculous. If you are coming to Tokyo, it's better not to stay in the Disney Resort as we did. Stay closer to the center of town where you can be near the Felafel shop and near the main attractions.

The next day (Thursday in Tokyo, Halachically Wednesday for us), we stayed in the hotel the whole day, mostly because we weren't feeling well and partially because we couldn't find anything worthwhile to do in Tokyo, and the last reason because downtown Tokyo was too far. At about 6pm we took the shuttle from the hotel to the airport which cost us 2,400¥. We got to the airport a little early for our flight so we chilled in the lounge for a few hours before boarding the JAL Business Class flight to Honolulu.

Next up... Hawaii.
-Eli

Offline Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 04:28:45 AM »
Honolulu & Maui, Hawaii

Before we left Tokyo we arranged with Yudi Weinbaum at Oahu Kosher in Honolulu to ship to us in Maui (airport) our food for Shabbos. We ordered about $160 worth of Challah, Kugel, Shnitzel, and Cold Cuts, plus there was a delivery charge of $75. Pretty steep, but when you think about it, it's the only Kosher food available in Hawaii.

After going through immigration and customs in Honolulu, Hawaii, we booked over to the Mokulele Airlines counter and got on the earlier flight standby to Maui. Mokulele is a relatively new airline and the plane was very comfortable and nice. The $50 roundtrip fare was not bad as well. One cool thing about this flight is that about 4 minutes after the pilot turns off the fasten seat belt sign, he turns it back on for the descent into Maui.

We rented a car from the airport for the 3 days we were there. We stayed at the Sheraton Resort and Spa and, of course, got upgraded to a really nice large 2 bedroom suite right near the pool (there are 5 buildings here but ours was the closest).

As I already mentioned, Thursday in Hawaii was a fast day so there was not much to do. We went to Safeway a few minutes away to pick up food for after the Ta'anis. Safeway here is very expensive. Either because they are open 24 hours or because we're in Hawaii. Probably the latter. For example, a package of Sara Lee bagels which would normally be $2.50 - $3.50 in NY are $5.99 here. Orange Juice and Cream Cheese was expensive as well.

Friday morning we went to the airport to pick up our food from Oahu Kosher. It was being stored at the refrigerated cargo area. On the way back we stopped at Avis and got a 4 door Jeep Wrangler because the Check Engine light on our Trailblazer was on. When we got back from the airport we checked out of the Sheraton and checked into the unbelievably gorgeous Westin a few doors down. We got the luxury suite which was enormous, and with 3 balconies, we certainly weren't complaining. For the rest of the day we basically just chilled at the pool area which has 5 pools and a jacuzzi.

Shabbos was really nice. We had plenty of extra food which is always a good thing, and being able to chill in a large room made Shabbos a lot nicer. Sunset on west Maui is the nicest sunset you will ever see. Guaranteed.

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and took our 4 door Jeep Wrangler with the top down out to the beautiful "Drive to Hana". It's hard to explain just what this drive is, but it's basically a very small road, with very low speed limits, and a lot of curves, that takes you through breathtaking scenery to a little town called Hana. It's not Hana that's the nice part, in fact, Hana didn't have much to see at all; rather it's the drive with the waterfalls and ocean views that are not to be seen anywhere else. This drive is said to be one of the nicest drives in the world.

From there we headed to the airport and boarded the 19 minute flight back to Honolulu. When we got there we rented a car and checked in to the category 6 Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We got upgraded to a 2 floor Spa Suite but the room smelled less like a Spa and more like a sewer, so we switched to a Junior Suite with an ocean view. Unfortunately the pool closed at 7 so we chilled in the room that night. We had leftover pastrami and corned beef from Shabbos that we brought with us which really hit the spot for dinner.

The next morning, after hitting the beach for a few minutes, we sadly bid farewell to our vacation and headed to the airport. We were scheduled to be on a 12:50pm flight to LAX, connecting to an 11:55pm flight to JFK, arriving at 8:30am. When we got to the airport, we were notified that there was a maintenence issue and there would be at least a 3 hour delay. Right away a line piled up at the counter for people trying to be placed on the 2:40pm flight, or people worried about connections. I was concerned about both things, and immediately got A"A International Award Travel on the phone. I confirmed that there were mileage seats available in First Class for the 2:40pm flight, and had the rep move us over to that flight without needing to wait on line. Also advantageous was the fact that we could've possibly not made the 2:40pm flight since there were others in First Class on the line waiting to get moved, and if they would've gotten to the counter before my phone rep made the change, we might've missed it.

The Boeing 767-300 we were on had what's called Next Generation Business Class Seats. They sell it as First Class because there are only 2 cabins, but the point remains. In my opinion, these are from the most comfortable Business Class seats I've been in. The seat goes about 90% flat, and there's tons of legroom. Unfortunately our flight did not come equipped with personal video screens, but other than that I loved the seats.

When we got to LAX, we had about 45 minutes for our connection, so we went to check out the Admirals Club. Even though this was a domestic flight, we were allowed in since it was a trans-continental flight. (A"A has a list of cities such as JFK-LAX, where just being booked in First or Business allows AC access.) The lounge in Terminal 4 is really nice. Not too much to eat or drink, but some of the cookies were OU-D and we enjoyed those.

The Business Class of our flight from LAX to JFK was not great at all, but one thing you can't beat, which I've never had before on a flight, is WiFi on board. And using Dan's promo code to get it for free instead of paying $10 is how I'm posting this on Dansdeals.com at 35,000 feet.

Vacation over. Oh well. We had a really nice time. Major Kudos to Levi for planning most of it, and getting us upgraded to a suite in just about every hotel we stayed at. If anyone has any questions about our trip, feel free to post them and either I or Levi will try to help you out.

Thank you for taking the time to read this insanely long trip report. I hope it will help you on your future travels, and maybe even encourage you to write your own trip report next time you go somewhere exciting.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 05:12:54 AM by Eli »
-Eli

Offline moish

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2009, 08:47:11 AM »
thanx for the report! it sounds like you had a great time! few questions though, how did levi get you upgraded, is it solely due to platinum status? also were the flights all mileage?

Offline Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2009, 09:15:57 AM »
Yes, being Platinum with SPG and talking nicely will get you upgraded.

The flights were booked as a OneWorld reservation which is 130,000 A"A miles for up to 20,000 actual miles flown (Business Class). Our flights came out to something like 19,750 so it worked out beautifully.
-Eli

Offline abetobee

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 12:04:59 PM »
Yes, being Platinum with SPG and talking nicely will get you upgraded.

The flights were booked as a OneWorld reservation which is 130,000 A"A miles for up to 20,000 actual miles flown (Business Class). Our flights came out to something like 19,750 so it worked out beautifully.
great post eli, sounds like a real bargain to fly business for so few miles. were there any "gateway" flights, whereby you can tack on other flights at no extra miles. also how long does such a trip take to plan, and how far in advance is optimal in order to get all the bookings you prefer. power on guys
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 03:59:51 PM by Dan »

Offline moish

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 01:43:16 PM »
Yes, being Platinum with SPG and talking nicely will get you upgraded.

The flights were booked as a OneWorld reservation which is 130,000 A"A miles for up to 20,000 actual miles flown (Business Class). Our flights came out to something like 19,750 so it worked out beautifully.
interesting... is that booked from the oneworld website?

Offline Charles The Govenor

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 04:39:02 PM »
Wow very nice report very well written isn't there an issue with staying in hawai in shabbos?
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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2009, 09:17:05 PM »
You can take as many business class flights as you can handle, up to a total of 20,000 actual flown miles, on any OneWorld carrier, as long as you don't land back at your origination city until the last flight, for 130,000 A"A miles.

We booked it over the phone with A"A International Award reservations but I see now on aa.com that it looks like you can do it there.

The Rov I asked said that it's absolutely no problem to be in Hawaii over Shabbos, but each individual should ask his local Rabbi.
-Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2009, 11:18:15 PM »
Great Post, Eli!!!!

Did you book all the hotels on points? Besides for 130,000 AA miles for each of you how many starpoints did you use in total?

Offline Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2009, 02:40:01 AM »
6 of the nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday Night X 2) were booked using a "free weekend night after 2 paid stays" award with Starwood. The other hotels were booked with Priceline or directly through the hotel.

Aside from that I think maybe one night was a C&P reservation.

The trip took a while to plan, but here's a word of advice (from Levi): if you are 4 people, each person should have a different job and he should make sure to research the heck out of whatever he is in charge of. For example:

1. Hotels and Flights
2. Kosher and Jewish contacts in each city.
3. Trains, buses, shuttles, taxi costs etc.
4. Activities in each city.

Everyone needs to work together but if you split it up like that you will make sure to cover all ground, so you don't end up in Tokyo one day with nothing to do.
-Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2009, 03:37:36 AM »
6 of the nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday Night X 2) were booked using a "free weekend night after 2 paid stays" award with Starwood. The other hotels were booked with Priceline or directly through the hotel.

Aside from that I think maybe one night was a C&P reservation.

The trip took a while to plan, but here's a word of advice (from Levi): if you are 4 people, each person should have a different job and he should make sure to research the heck out of whatever he is in charge of. For example:

1. Hotels and Flights
2. Kosher and Jewish contacts in each city.
3. Trains, buses, shuttles, taxi costs etc.
4. Activities in each city.

Everyone needs to work together but if you split it up like that you will make sure to cover all ground, so you don't end up in Tokyo one day with nothing to do.

Or you could just get all of the info from the only person who'd actually been in all of those places before...Thanks Levi!

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2009, 02:02:58 PM »
Or you could just get all of the info from the only person who'd actually been in all of those places before...Thanks Levi!

Thank you! Your input was used heavily and greatly appreciated. I hope you are enjoying your own trip now in Beijing now and we are looking forward to your trip report on Perth and the other places you've been to.
-Eli

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Re: Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu and Maui Trip Report
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2009, 04:15:39 PM »
"6 of the nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday Night X 2) were booked using a "free weekend night after 2 paid stays" award with Starwood."

WOW!! This means you paid for 8 separate nights at starwood hotels over the past few months to get to get 4 weekends night free!!!! You really went all out to plan this trip!!!!