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What card did you just get approved for? Thought I’d start a thread similar to the “where are you posting from” or “what award itinerary did you just book” threads that is geared more towards CC apps.

I’ll start:
Hilton Aspire
CIP 100k (BRM)

August 20, 2018, 08:54:22 PM
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Re: Master Thread of Discussion on Marriott / SPG Merger For those who still have Plat match it ASAP at https://mrrewardsplus.com/en_US/ as the site is live.
August 22, 2018, 03:22:04 AM
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Re: Master Thread of Discussion on Marriott / SPG Merger
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August 23, 2018, 11:55:00 AM
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Re: From the Parthenon to the Eiffel Tower to the Canals, a week across Europe Amazing TR and pictures!
March 03, 2019, 04:08:07 PM
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Re: Around the World in 23 days, A Honeymoon TR by Wizmanison EGYPT:

We landed at 4:30pm and Cairo’s airport was rather interesting. The outside looked rather nice and modern, whereas the inside was not nearly as much. They did not have Wi-Fi, which is just truly inconvenient these days.



Customs/immigration and getting a visa was pretty simple. Just had to pay $25 each for the visa. We hired a guide for $205 for the next 25 hours or so hours we spent in Egypt. We shopped around until we negotiated the best price we found for this guide. This included rides to and from the airport, all the entrance fees, lunch (Which we obviously did not take advantage of), and a camel ride by the pyramids. Our guide Laila was kind, knowledgable, and highly recommended. I will post her contact information because when seeing only a few others post theirs it was really helpful. The company was Egypt Tailor Made and her email was: Lailahassan33@gmail.com She mentioned how tourism has been really bad since the revolution and most people think Cairo is not a safe place, which in turn has a real effect on everything from wages to taxes and so on. She mentioned there were only 12 jews living in Cairo but that they had 25 synagogues and that she did not know of any hatred towards jews although it is pretty clear that there is no separation between state and Islam… I didn't care or want to delve any deeper about the 12 jews or synagogues as we were exhausted and we fell asleep on what must have been at least an hour drive from the airport to the Bazaar. Regardless, we felt safe and had no problems throughout our stay here which will hopefully shape the thoughts of the countless people who warned us how unsafe Egypt was and how we must be crazy to go there…

In regards to Egypt and its infrastructure, driving in Egypt is quite hectic to say the least. Although there are lane lines they are simply a recommendation and not an enforced rule. Just like seat belts, texting and driving, stop lights, and the list goes on. Cars and motorcycles confidently drive inches away from each other and I can say that in the short time I spent in Egypt I heard more car honks then I have in total all my life. They honk for any and every reason. The traffic is likely always terrible and it can take hours to get from the airport to the old city.

Our first stop on our tour was the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. Here we simply walked through the Bazaar passing by shops, cafes, restaurants, in a souk like format. There were some tourists and lots of locals as this seems to be the place to hang out at night. The Bazaar streets are filled with historic buildings as well as several Mosques. We were not here for long before we left as there was not much to see.

On the drive to the old city from the airport









Popular spot for locals to hang out at night





Driving by the Nile River

Our drive to the Le Meridian Pyramids in Giza took us quite a long time (about an hour) with the traffic. Upon arrival, like almost everywhere else in Cairo (not exaggerating), we had to go through metal detectors and the bag check machine. When checking in I had already confirmed an upgrade prior to arrival to a pyramid view room. The lobby was pretty nice and we were to exhausted to properly check out the property so we went straight to our room. As I emailed every property before our stay how excited we were to stay, blah blah blah, celebrating anniversary, birthday, honeymoon, as well as the holidays as it was Christmas time (which all happened to be true) to heighten my chances of upgrades at every hotel they also brought along gifts like birthday cakes, champagne, rose petals decorations and so on… It’s a shame the cakes and the champagne had to go to waste every time so we just gifted it to the bell man or the cleaners every time. Whether they understood what we were saying or not was beyond me.









View of the pool from our Balcony

Balcony night view from our room with Pyramid View

Besides the Balcony view of the pyramids, the room was nothing special. We lit our 8th day of Chanukah candles on the balcony overlooking the pyramids, ate our food that we had the hotel store and heat up for our short stay, and then called it a night. Since the Wi-Fi was truly terrible and was constantly turning on and off I called the front desk to complain and they sent a technician over to install my very own modem for the room which actually helped a lot.

Being able to light our last night of Chanukah candles with the view of the Pyramids was surreal

Just to show how the meals were labeled

Olive Chicken made by me :)

Schnitzel and cous-cous that we made



The following morning was super stressful. I intended to check into my Emirates flight scheduled for that evening to MLE only to see that my wife’s flight was under a different name! I had booked this ticket using my Merril+ points and this was the first time I ever used them. I booked using the portal and only realized the day of that her ticket was booked in some other name I definitely have no recollection of putting in. I found it truly strange as her birthday and all the other info was correct but whatever... Just another issue to deal with on this trip! I only had a couple minutes to deal with this as our tour guide had just arrived downstairs to start our days journey. Just my luck the power in the room seemed to go out taking out the modem. I had no time to call and get someone to fix it so I came to peace with the situation and decided to not let it ruin my morning activity of visiting one of the 7 wonders; the Giza Pyramids.

April 10, 2019, 01:09:25 AM
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Re: Narrow-body across a wide-body (of water) Phenomenal TR!
July 05, 2019, 03:57:57 PM
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Re: Free night Hilton Certificates Selling 2 weekend certs with short expiry. Same account with diamond status. One expiring Dec 20th 2019 and the other the 29th. $150 obo

DP: Thought it was impossible but just got my nights extended for another 3 months. Called to ask if I can use free night on the date of expiration and she insisted on extending both my expiring certs.

December 17, 2019, 05:08:05 PM
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Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold?
Is there a way not to get charged for the compulsory X-mas dinner at SR?

Yes. I got it waived by explaining I don’t celebrate Christmas cause I’m an observant Jew. They waived it no problem. 

June 29, 2020, 01:18:41 PM
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Re: What Do You Do For Kosher Food While Traveling?
I'm by no means a food expert, so don't take my word, but I used to buy toaster ovens and leave them behind, on my last trip I took along a Betty Crocker and it worked out really well
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K05AZ3W/?tag=cl03f-20&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Do you recall if you needed a transformer for this? Looking to use this for the Maldives

October 14, 2020, 09:37:18 PM
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Maldives Round 2 - Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi MALDIVES ROUND 2 TRIP REPORT:

Breakdown of costs:
280k AA + $190 YQ
480k HH
Infant fees: $282
Boat transfer fee: $1,450


PLANNING:

I thought I would start this trip report while on the trip or like my other trip reports, I won’t make the time to finish them. So, here I am on my LAX-DOH flight starting the TR!

What inspired this trip was a couple of things. We had a big France-Israel-Italy flight planned for June of 2020 but COVID got in the way of that and with our son turning 2 we wanted to make a trip before we have to start paying for his own seat. After my wife, son, and I all contracted covid early September we decided to just book the Maldives for end of October and see how things pan out.

I first booked the 5 nights with points (5th night free) at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives and checked availability every couple days for Q suites for our outbound trip. There was no availability for QR flights on our initial 5 nights booked but I found flights leaving LAX the following day with a mixed class itinerary on J LAX-DOH (9 hour layover) and then DOH-MLE in Y, while hoping that the second leg would open up by the time we have to fly.

However, there was no longer availability with WA if I wanted to change my 5 nights hotel to start the next day. A quick email to WA MLE reservations got that sorted out and was even able to change my double bed queen to a king reef villa (which was not showing available online for the standard rate). Now finding the return flight took several weeks. QR had nothing available for our return on November 2nd and I always wanted to fly something new, preferably a shower class. So my other alternate was using Aeroplan to fly Etihad back. However, that gave me unfavorable times leaving MLE and I had to pay close to $600 for PCR tests to transit through AUH. Regardless, we booked MLE-AUH-LAX and MLE-AUH-JFK-LAX (Hoping I could convince my wife to take the detour for shower class) just incase since Aeroplan’s cancellation policy was free. A week later Aeroplan changed my itinerary and looking at EY’s website it seems they cancelled all flights for that week from AUH-LAX. JFK was still an option but with the PCR test and the multiple stopovers it just wasn’t ideal. So I cancelled all my Etihad flights and began looking into other options. Here is a pic of my idea board:




Unfortunately, there wasn’t many great options. I considered routing through London and spending a week there but the quarantine rules seemed pretty strict and flying Turkish just didn’t seem exciting with both the actual product and the multiple stops and long layovers. So we ended up finding and booking QR for the way back. I was only able to book one mixed class itinerary for MLE-DOH in Y (9 hour layover) and DOH-LAX in J and one full Y ticket for both segments. Up until the trip I was checking twice a day, if not more, on BA and AA hoping that segments would open up in J to upgrade. Nothing at all ever opened up for MLE-DOH or DOH-MLE in J and I think QR just stopped opening up seats because from October through the end of the year there was 0 availability in Business. But, 12 hours before our flight there happened to be 1 seat in business class open up for both segments and I was able to upgrade the full economy ticket to all business which was amazing.

A week before the trip we cooked, packaged, and froze our own food for the trip and put it in our polar bear cooler. We made a food itinerary for the whole trip and worked from there. We froze milk and yogurt as well for the baby:


Some pics of the food under the foil

We actually had planned to return to the amazing SR MLE at the glitch rate of 240k for 5 nights in an OWB for the summer last year but we had to cancel it for a family wedding. (Coincidentally, I ended up helping book the SR MLE for their honeymoon shortly after). After cancelling SR MLE actually agreed to honor that rate again up until a year after original booking but with covid and our new plans we never took them up on it. Although we truly loved the SR MLE on our last stay (unfinished TR :(), our favorite hotel we have stayed at so far (writing this on the way to the WA MLE…), we wanted to try something new and the WA MLE seemed amazing from @israshot  TR and had a great kids park.


Now what was really difficult about this booking was that since up until 12 hours before the flight, our flights were mostly booked mixed class. And QR and AA refused to ticket an infant award on it. Constantly giving me the runaround saying the other airline has to ticket it. AA told me they don’t even handle Infant awards and when I got a supervisor to finally agree to ticket an infant award after quoting me the price and everything. When she tried to ticket it she said it was impossible on her end since it was mixed class and to call QR. Qatar took a lot of HUCA’s before someone could help me even start the infant booking process. And I was finally able to book the infant on the economy ticket no problem for my wife original return flight in Y (cost $170) and on the mixed class it seems that one of the reps were either uninformed or didn’t care but he pushed through an infant award all in economy for both segments. When asking him if that would be ok he said it shouldn’t be a problem. Something didn’t add up so throughout the week I called and spoke to like 5 people and they all confirmed that both infant tickets were all good.


THE TRIP:

I have never seen LAX look so empty.




Thankfully I came to the airport early, which I rarely ever do, and when I got to the checkin desk there was a massive issue with the infant ticket.  As mentioned above the infant award that was booked by the agent incorrectly had to get upgraded to business for the leg we were in business. The agents at the counter had absolutely no clue what to do and we were waiting there for 2 hours until they finally fixed the issue and ended up charging me $160 to upgrade the infant ticket to business. But for those 2 hours they said they had never encountered this issue before and that they don’t think they can do anything. At one point they said they would not be able to get me on the flight today which is when I said that was not possible as I have a whole itinerary planned and arguing so on and so forth. Then they said they can maybe do it but it would cost me $1,400 which I demanded they pay for. With only 20 minutes to spare before flight leaves they figured it out and said they would have to charge me the $160 upgrade fee. With there being no time to argue I gave them the CC to charge and I guess I will just have to figure it out later. (Open to any suggestions on if I should push any further to get that money back or if I should maybe dispute). We had someone escort us to the gate and we definitely were clearly the last ones on the plane holding it up.

The flight was relatively empty. Face masks and face shield were required to enter the aircraft but once you were in your suite it seems that none of the passengers were wearing either masks or face shields and the flight attendants didn’t care. Economy was pretty much completely empty except for a few seats here and there.


The business class seats were not full but also not empty. We sat in seats 11F and E and it was basically a section of the airplane that was cutoff from economy and cut off from the main business class. It was amazing! There was only one other person in the corner which basically gave us 7 seats to use.



The Q suites were simply stunning and they let us use any suite we wanted for anything. We had a suite for our bags, a suite where I would daven, and another 3 for lounging/sleeping.







We opened the partition in the middle and had an extra seat just for the baby to sleep.

Please excuse my mosaic jetblue socks they are just so comfy and soft!



With Q suites you can have 4 seats. Two of the four don’t have a wall in between



But the other two do have something in between. However, you can lower the partition in between but only heads would really be visible and the middle partition can be moved to the side so everyone has a view of one another.




Bathroom has a window also which was interesting. And here was the sunrise view:

 

Service was amazing and the flight attendants were really nice and relaxed. Seats were comfy, infotainment was great and found it really cool that they have a iPhone like device that is really responsive to control the main display.


Kosher food was catered by Emunah and although I forgot to take a picture it was a chicken and mushroom herb with rice and veggies that didn’t taste too bad but was pretty dry for my liking. The breakfast was omelet with hash browns that were not so bad.



My initial concern was that since I am flying Y on the second leg then I wouldn’t be entitled to the business class lounge access. But according to flyertalk and one world if you have a layover more than 5 hours and you arrived in premium class then you are entitled to lounge access. If not my backup plan was to pay around $250 for the Doha Airport Hotel or just slum it in the priority pass Al Maja lounge.

After landing, I stopped by the transfer desk to see if they would be able to bump up my Y flights to J for the next leg but they weren’t willing. The airport was really nice, clean, and modern. All the shops looked open and it was not at all busy or crowded but a decent amount of people flowing through.






We went straight for the business class lounge, Al Mourjan. They denied us entry stating that since our flight was an “upgraded flight” (which it was not. Rather, it was an award flight which should have no restrictions) the standard rule for allowing mixed class itineraries was not applicable. I asked for the supervisor and he was no help so we left and headed for the priority pass lounge Al Maha. The lounge was pretty small and nothing special. With no private areas for family and just chairs and tables. I left my wife and son there and headed back for the business class lounge to argue my way in as something didn’t sound right about their policy.

On one worlds website it states:

Quote
“https://www.oneworld.com/airport-lounges?location=DOH
* Connecting between oneworld marketed and operated flights:
    * First and Business Class customers connecting on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, can access the lounge when travelling between an international long haul (a oneworld international long haul flight is defined as an international flight marketed and operated by any oneworld carrier with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours) and an international short haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).
    * Lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
    * You must be prepared to show your boarding pass or itinerary showing travel in First or Business class on the international long haul flight, in order to access the lounge before your international short haul or domestic flight.”

After showing this to the supervisor, he still didn’t budge. So I demanded he showed me whatever policy he was going off of. I told him I just got off the phone with one world (not true) and they told me I should have no issue getting into the lounge. He agreed to look further into it and after 10 minutes he told me that I can go bring my family and they will let me in. He apologized for the confusion and said that because my inbound flight was “American airways” and my second leg was Qatar Airways they were having an issue looking it up. I didn’t care to ask any more questions and came back with my family to enjoy the lounge to get the tour.

The lounge was beautiful and massive:



Behind these curtains you can see the runway with several aircrafts.


Stairs lead to the sit down Restauraunt which I didn’t even bother going upstairs to see.


Restauraunt is on the second floor (seen in this picture)


They took us straight to the family area. On the way there you see several different lounging areas:









As well as other type of rooms like a “Parent’s room” which at first looks just like a play area


But, behind the brown doors you have like a 2 bedroom small Appartment with a mini cold kitchen!






Near there you have a game room which looked pretty boring:



Whereas the game room in the business center part of the lounge looked more exciting (thinking emoji)



There seems to be 3 options if you’re trying to take a nap:

Sleep pods (self explanatory):




The quiet area rooms, which is smaller than the family room and not as nice.





Family area room. Which is the biggest of all and the nicest IMO.







As I am writing this while in the family room. The plan is to just stay here until departure or maybe an hour or so before and we’ll walk around the airport with the baby as there seems to be some kid play areas. Internet in the lounge seems to be the same internet you can get for free outside the lounge. It wasn’t great.


Although we had some hiccups to start with. The 16 hour flight was amazing and hopefully the rest will be smooth sailing!

October 27, 2020, 02:08:41 PM
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