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Hotel for Wedding Night? Hey Guys --

Need suggestions for a hotel on my wedding night.

Getting married in NJ, so need hotel in either NJ or NYC.

Random thoughts:

I'd love to have a jacuzzi in the room.
I'd love not to spend a boat load.
I am a Hyatt Diamond member until 8/31.
I have ~100,000 Chase UR points.
I have ~12,000 Starwood points.

Thoughts?

August 17, 2011, 03:23:31 PM
2
Acronyms Thread for the Uninitiated Wiki list of abbreviations: http://www.dansdeals.com/wiki/Acronyms

As suggested by another DDF poster, I wanted to start this thread to translate some of the acronyms used here on DDF and elsewhere.

To make this as useful as possible, I'd suggest the tangential comments be limited to a minimum. I'll start with a few:

AFAIK - As far as I know
IIRC - If I recall correctly
CL - Credit line
CB - Credit bureau
PL - Priceline
IANAL - I am not a lawyer
IME - In my experience
AFAICR - As far as I can remember
IMHO - In my humble opinion

and my personal favorite, TWTCSIN - The worse they could say is no.


October 06, 2011, 11:07:58 AM
4
Re: Dating Spots Master Thread
Chill out...this is a forum not a courtroom

I'm not sure what in there has you believing that I'm not chilled, but if its the fact that a) I'm responding to being called, essentially, the opposite of a mentch for not alerting another poster that I had consulted my LOR before posting, or b) that I find a certain opinion somewhat non-sensical, I'm gonna have to say, I am as chilled as a cucumber 8) and

this is a forum

Take it or leave it.

November 30, 2011, 03:26:07 PM
1
Re: Is It Ethical?
Is it ethical to take advantage of another person if he makes mistake? I'm referring to the elal tix

You question begs the question.

August 08, 2012, 02:20:10 PM
1
Next Vacation - Ideas Would like to go on a week or so vacation in April 2013 and am looking for ideas.

Some options we're considering are:

1) BOB
2) LHR + VCE
3) HKG + BKK

(Note, we don't want to go to Hawaii in April as we plan on using a free one way to get there on the tail end of the April trip using either AA or UA miles. Yes, I realize that BOB doesn't work so well with this.)

So, what were your top 2-3 vacations (aside from HA)?

Any recommendations on our potential picks?

October 11, 2012, 10:20:29 AM
2
One World Award Search Tips Well, there's a master thread for star alliance search tips, here's the one for One World.
November 10, 2012, 10:12:53 PM
2
SkyTeam Award Search Tips Well, there's a master thread for star alliance search tips (and now for One World),  so here's the one for SkyTeam.
November 10, 2012, 10:15:17 PM
2
Re: BBQ Grill recommendation Weber. Period.
December 28, 2012, 10:10:24 AM
1
AJK's YVR Surprise: A TR by His (Much) Better Half Without further ado, as promised, I introduce my wife (with limited explanatory comments from me throughout):

The week was a busy one.  I had four people coming for dinner Friday night and an additional four stopping by for dessert. AJK had mentioned the previous week that he may have a huge surprise in store for me on Saturday night.  [I told her to expect it on Saturday night so as not to have her inspecting my every move in the days leading up to the actual surprise.]

Though he offered me some hints, I refused, as I was pretty certain that he had booked a nice hotel in the city for us to go to.  The week was made crazier by the fact that AJK seemed completely overloaded at work.  He came home every night no earlier than 11:30 and some nights even much later than that.  He seemed completely out of things and seemed to be on his computer and phone at every moment.  However, this is not an altogether unusual occurrence during the busier weeks, so I dismissed it completely. [I was busy at work so that I could get everything done by Thursday afternoon so I could leave for the weekend.]

Although, I normally would do all my Shabbos shopping on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, this week AJK offered to do it with me when he got home from work on Thursday night. While I appreciated the offer, I knew that it would mean doing all my cooking late Thursday night, so I tried to graciously say that I could do some of the shopping without him so at least I could start my cooking. After all, I didn’t want to discourage this display of husbandly help but I definitely didn’t want to be up till two in the morning cooking. In response, AJK seemed very disappointed at the suggestion, so figuring that he must really want to go to the grocery store, I quickly backtracked and said that I wouldn’t dream of going shopping without him. [I offered to go shopping with her to ensure she wouldn’t start cooking for 8 guests she wouldn’t end up having!]

After a long day of running errands on Thursday, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch.  At about 6:00 p.m., AJK walked in the door and seemed particularly excited for our trip to Shop Rite.  Completely taking me by surprise, AJK announced that I needed to quickly pack a bag because instead of going to the grocery store, we were going to a lodge in upstate PA for the weekend—a place we had once been before for an extreme zip-lining course.  I was completely floored.  I wasn’t expecting any sort of surprise until Saturday night.  My first response, though, was that it would be pretty awkward when our 8 guests came over the following night and no one was home.  I was promptly informed that all of our guests had known we were going away since the past Sunday and none of them were expecting to come to us.  [Each time my wife invited someone, I immediately left the room and uninvited them with the explanation of what I was planning.] I was dizzy with excitement.  I love surprises and this was a big one.

Apparently, as AJK explained, he had found a deal coupon for the penthouse of the lodge which had three floors, was recently renovated, had an indoor and outdoor pool and usually cost $3000 a night.  AJK went further and added in some details such as telling me that lots of wealthy people from Long Island rented out this penthouse for their families when they wanted to get away. I rushed to pack for our little getaway. [I made this lodge part up, with all its attendant details, to get my wife to pack for the weekend without thinking we were actually leaving the country.]

As AJK was putting his things into his duffel, he nonchalantly mentioned, “You know what we could do? If you want, we could stop by JFK on the way to the lodge and watch some flights landing and taking off.” While this may sound to some people like it has the entertainment equivalent of watching paint dry, to us, this is a really fun night. [During the weeks prior, both of us had discussed going to an airport for this activity, so I knew it wasn’t going to be that much of a stretch to get her to go along.] Both of us love planes and, according to my husband, there is a very cool lounge past security with a great vantage for watching the large jumbo jets land and take off.  He also said that, in order to get access to the lounge (which is past security), he had booked one-way refundable tickets to Hong Kong. Then, when we were done watching the planes, we would just leave the airport and he would cancel the tickets.

AJK was quick to tell me that if I wasn’t up for it or was too tired we could just do this activity a different time.  [Rule #1 in surprises: make it seem like their idea!!]  It sounded really neat, so I assured him that I was up for it.  I told him that I would pack everything for the weekend and then we could just leave it in the car while we went into the airport to make things easier. [This comment I did not anticipate and therefore didn’t plan for, but I had to think quickly on my feet.] “Actually,” AJK responded, “the security agents may get suspicious if they see people travelling internationally without any luggage, so let’s just bring our bags in with us so we don’t get stopped.” [Yes, this is a bunch of baloney, but I needed some excuse to have my wife believe we needed to take our baggage through security with us.  My wife would love being surprised, but would not love it if she had no clothes while AT the surprise!]  I was so excited that I thought that made sense, so we finished packing, got in the car, and we were off to the lodge with a quick detour through JFK.

We arrived in JFK and got on the Air Train from the parking lot to the airport, but were dismayed when it stopped after just one stop, and the conductor announced that it was undergoing construction and passengers would need to transfer to bus service to the airport.  I was quite carefree and kept remarking to AJK that it was lucky we didn’t actually have a flight to catch that night because otherwise this detour could be quite stressful. [Little did she know! Meanwhile, I had been checking my watch constantly.]

After much chaos of packing onto a bus, with what seemed like hundreds of other passengers, and having it crawl at the rate of a handicapped snail to every single terminal, we finally arrived at the Cathay terminal.  We walked to the check-in counter where I was quite nervous that they would catch on that we weren’t actually planning on flying to Hong Kong that night. However, the ticket agent just handed us our boarding passes and pointed us towards security.  At security I was very relieved that they didn’t choose to question us about our one-way, refundable tickets and we walked right through and straight to the lounge.  In the lounge, AJK explained that when they called our flight we would have to leave the lounge and pretend to go the gate.  In the first class lounge they personally inform you when your flight is departing so it’d look rather suspicious if you accept that information and then continue to sit there sipping on your ‘livit 15 on the rocks.  About twenty minutes later, we heard the boarding call for flight 889 with service to Hong Kong.  We reluctantly headed out of the lounge as we had just been informed that we could have Kosher food made for us by the Executive Club chef!

As we walked out, instead of leaving the airport as I thought we would do, AJK mentioned that we should go to the gate and let them know that something had come up and we wouldn’t be on the flight.  Apparently, because the refundable tickets he had booked were in first class, they would repetitively page us and may even hold the plane for us until we showed up, especially since they knew we were in the lounge at one point. [I had to tell her something to get her to the gate!]

When we got to the gate, AJK simply handed the boarding passes to the gate agent...but made no mention of us not getting on the plane!?  :o

I discreetly asked him what he was doing, and he responded “I’m really desperate to see what the first class cabin looks like on Cathay Pacific,” he said. “Let’s just go on quickly, look around and then I’ll tell them I had a work emergency and we’ll get right off.” At this point, I was incredibly nervous about that idea. I mentioned that I didn’t think they would refund our tickets once we actually checked in for the flight, and I was also petrified that they wouldn’t let us off the plane once we got on and then we’d be the proud owners of $10,000 first class, one-way tickets to Hong Kong. [I told her, “Don’t worry, first class passengers can do whatever they want—even get off the plane if they need to. Ha!]

AJK, however, seemed gung-ho on this idea and quickly started off down the jetway. While I’m up for any adventure, I wasn’t certain this was a smart one, but I dutifully followed him. I did, however, mention that should his idea to get off the plane before take-off fail, I was going on the record that I had warned him against this course of action and would not be held responsible for us ending up in Hong Kong.

As we got on the plane and took a left to first class, no fewer than three flight attendants descended on us and started offering us drinks and warm towels.  I, however, clutched onto my coat and carry on as they tried to take and stow it.  I kept darting nervous looks at AJK as he gaily snapped pictures of the first class seats (which are the size of small sofas), and the area around the seat (about the size of 4 regular economy rows).  Then he actually sat down, allegedly to “see how the seats feel.” As the flight attendants hovered about, I whispered out of the corner of my mouth, “Now! Tell them right now that we have to get off this plane.” He begged me to just sit down, to try and enjoy the experience before we had to get off the plane. Then, my worst fear was realized: the pilot’s voice came on announcing that we were about to pull back from the gate and my heart stopped.

“AJK!” I whispered furiously, “let’s go right this second!” I gripped my coat and bag and charged into the aisle. At that point, he grabbed my arm, pushed me gently into the seat and says, “One second, we’re actually going to Vancouver, which is the stopover this flight makes on its way to Hong Kong.” My heart actually stopped then. I was floored. My brain couldn’t even process this change in plans.  Three hours earlier, I had been asleep on my couch. Then, I had accepted that we were going away for the weekend. And now, instead of being trapped hostage on a plane to Hong Kong we were actually willingly on that flight and going to Vancouver one of my favorite cities in the entire world….what?!

AJK was almost delirious in his smugness at having pulled off the greatest coup known to mankind. He had actually gotten me on to the airplane without me knowing that we were even going anywhere. Apparently, he had been planning this feverishly for the past week. The whole charade of feigning nonchalance about whether I even wanted to go to the airport was a piece of acting that definitely deserved more than a nod at the Oscars. I collapsed into my oversized sofa-seat as the fluttering flight attendant buckled me in. I sat there for a good few minutes just trying to process what had just occurred.

A few moments after take-off, when I had finally collected my jaw from the floor of the airplane, the flight attendant asked if we would like to eat dinner at AJK’s seat or mine. Now, if one is not accustomed to flying in first class this question might make no sense at all. However, the way the seats are situated in first class, they open up a table in front of the main seat and there is another seat for a guest across the table. They set our table for us with proper linens and brought our meals.

Now, there is a certain look that comes across the face of every flight attendant forced to serve kosher meals in first class. It is the same grimace someone would give if they were forced to make up a futon for someone staying in the penthouse at the Ritz. It is the grimace of someone who is serving frozen, slimy, half-baked food, wrapped in so many layers of saran wrap you need a machete to get through it, to someone who ostensibly has paid $10,000 for the privilege of being served in your first class cabin. You can tell they are embarrassed to be giving this to you for dinner, and they try everything in their power to try and make it more appealing for you. They beg to serve it on their china, or they place napkins in your lap and bring you wine glasses.  Or, in this case, they just bring you so much Jonny Walker Blue Label that they are hopeful you won’t notice that you are eating prison food while the person across the aisle from you is having filet mignon, lobster bisque and Dom. [I think I may have finished half a bottle of Blue Label by the time dinner was done. Though, I must say, the Kosher meal JFK-YVR was of the best Kosher meals I’ve had on a plane.]

After having a lovely meal across from each other, looking out the windows at the sparkling lights 25,000 feet below, the flight attendants offered pajamas (designed by a famous Hong Kong tailor no less), and escorted us to the first class bathroom. Upon returning to our seats, our whole area had been converted into a flatbed made up in beautiful linens and the lights were turned to a calming glow.  The beds were wide enough for two people to sit next to each other and therefore were quite comfortable when you were sleeping on it. Once lying flat in bed, your television screen could pop out of the wall and be angled for optimum viewing. [An amenity sorely lacking on LH’s 744 in F with a separate bed.]

We both slept for a few hours [me hoping I wasn’t going to have a hangover] and when we awoke it was time to land. While in the bathroom changing out of our pajamas, the flight attendants unmake your bed and clean up your area before your return. As the plane slowly glided into Vancouver International Airport, I was sad that the flight was over but filled with unspeakable excitement at being in Vancouver.



Couple of points:

1) I hope you enjoyed, and 2) No, my wife doesn't call me AJK ;)

February 16, 2013, 10:28:55 PM
3
I've Had It! The Grammar/Punctuation Hall of Shame Master Thread
Quote
“The greater part of the world's troubles are due to questions of grammar.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Quote
“The rule is: don’t use commas like a stupid person. I mean it.”
― Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Quote
“A man's grammar, like Caesar's wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Quote
“People who cannot distinguish between good and bad language, or who regard the distinction as unimportant, are unlikely to think carefully about anything else.”
― Brian Reynolds Myers

Quote
“Ill-fitting grammar are like ill-fitting shoes. You can get used to it for a bit, but then one day your toes fall off and you can't walk to the bathroom.”
― Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

Ladies and Gentleman,

This thread is, unfortunately, long overdue.

As such:

Fail to use appropriate capitals? You'll earn a place on this list.

Fall asleep on your keyboard so your posting style LOOKS LIKE THIS THE ENTIRE TIME? You'll earn a place on this list.

Fail to use proper commas? You'll earn a place on this list.

Fail to use punctuation? Yup, you'll get a spot here.

Use more "!!" than are completely necessary? Absolutely on this list.

Use run-on sentences such that it makes "TLDR" seem wholly and utterly inadequate in the message it's intended to convey? Come here to find yourself in infamy.



Keep in mind, the above list is descriptive, not exhaustive. I will let the DDF community judge the fates of you, the individuals who have no regard for the English language, your fellow deal-seekers, and indeed life itself.


May 30, 2013, 02:23:10 PM
2
Re: Wyoming Photography Trip W.o.w.

You took all these?

Amazing.

July 17, 2013, 12:56:28 AM
1
Re: New Austrian Airlines Business Class All flights do. Great product.
October 17, 2013, 11:54:35 AM
1
Re: Learn Photography Master Thread Right after I choose a NEX  :-X

 ;)

October 29, 2013, 11:56:26 AM
1
Re: Learn Photography Master Thread True,  true. Only so much time I can devote to this. Coming from a P&S,  I'm sure the quality will blow me away as it is.
October 29, 2013, 05:54:24 PM
1
Re: Chicago Master Thread
I'd go straight to Milt's and a late dinner at Shalott's without a doubt.
Sushi, signature steaks, and desserts at Shallott's are all 10/10.

Uch. I hate you.

Top reccos from Shallot's? Yeah, I read the TR.

November 26, 2013, 04:12:27 PM
1
Re: 10 Years Of DD, What Were Your 10 Favorite Deals? I wasn't being quite literal; it's just that card that was my first taste of crack cocaine.
October 07, 2014, 07:16:45 PM
1
Re: Business and First Class Products Master Thread They have F, but like other airlines sometimes do, they don't sell it on that route.

Sometimes it's given to J pax FCFS, or full-fare pax, or elite members.

November 05, 2014, 07:11:06 PM
1
Re: Kosher Caviar That's like saying you had BBQ brisket as part of a Borenstein meal and deciding you're not a fan.
November 06, 2014, 08:19:53 PM
1
Re: Kosher Caviar No.

Sturgeon caviar is black.

Not all black caviar is sturgeon based.

November 10, 2014, 05:49:51 PM
1
Paradise Found: A "Holiday" to New Zealand in the Chariots of Kings
A Waterfall on the way back from Milford Sound

Introduction:

The catalyst of this trip to New Zealand was that during a brief stint earlier this year, upon US Airways’ (US) entry into the OneWorld alliance, US neglected to impose and collect fuel surcharges on British Airways (BA) redemptions, which normally amount to hundreds of dollars per passenger per way.  Knowing full well that I’d likely never fork over this “ransom for loyalty” (at least not as long as I am able redeem miles on other airlines and avoid these pesky evil charges), the odds of my experiencing BA First Class were slim.

Armed with the knowledge of this “glitch” I set out planning. And down the rabbit hole I went.  Considering US’ lax routing rules and their quite attractive pricing from USA to North Asia (where business class is 110,000 miles/person round trip, and for a nominal 10,000 miles more—120,000 p/p—I could do the whole thing in First Class), I booked the following beauty:

JFK-LHR (BA F)-DXB (QF F)-HKG (CX J) // HKG-DXB (CX J)-LHR (QF F)-JFK (BA F)



With two segments in BA F, two segments in very-hard-to-snag Qantas’ (QF) First Class (the only 5th Freedom QF F flight), and two segments in Cathay Pacific’s business class, a sure contender for the best business class in the market, I was quite content.

At the time, however, I didn’t know where our ultimate destination would be. I figured I could work that out later.

[Skip the following if easily bored when regaled with passionate tales of the birth pangs of a masterpiece award booking]

Two months after booking (but several months before departure), I got notified of a schedule change (from Award Wallet actually, and not US or BA), that not only one of my BA flights had been cancelled, but both had been.  While we wouldn’t lose our opportunity to fly BA F, we were automatically moved onto the BA flights that immediately followed our originally scheduled flights.  Ordinarily this would not have presented a problem, but the fact that we were moved onto a later departing flight meant that our already short connection in LHR would become “an illegal connection,” and we wouldn’t be able to make our flight to DXB in QF F. That part I was less content with.

Upon trying to fix this issue, I learned that unlike other airlines, US will almost never accommodate a schedule change on an award by booking you into a revenue fare class, especially so in a case where, as here, the schedule change was not the fault of US, but of another airline, BA. You’re restricted to award availability only, and there was none, so I waited.

A couple days later, I noticed that BA had apparently fixed the illegal connection issue on their own: I was now booked JFK-LHR-DXB all in BA F, with everything else remaining the same. As above, however, I didn’t want to replace the superior QF F segment for an inferior BA F segment, even sans YQ, but I knew I’d have an excuse to call back when/if something opened up that suited me better. If worst had come to worst, I’d simply cancel the award, and go back to the rabbit hole (which I’ve become quite fond of).

Sure enough, in August, while in Singapore, I got notified that the two seats on the non-stop flight from JFK-HKG in Cathay Pacific First Class had opened, something that very rarely happens three months before departure, considering two seats account for 1/3rd of their first class cabin.  Because I had only flown CX F on a “short-haul” of five hours JFK-YVR, and this afforded us with an additional 36 hours of vacation time, I popped out of bed and rang US.

Initially, I was given some push back. “Oh, we see you’ve already been accommodated, and there is no longer an illegal connection, sir.” When I firmly explained that I had no part in choosing that particular fix, and then explained once and twice again, the US rep made the change after speaking to a supervisor, stating “this is an absolute exception, sir, and we will not make any more changes to this booking without imposing a change fee of $150 per/person.”

Success!

Now I was booked: JFK-HKG (CX F) // HKG-DXB (CX J)-LHR (QF F)-JFK (BA F)



So I had us booked to Hong Kong, but knew that I didn’t want that to be our final destination, so when Singapore Airlines (SQ) upgraded one of their daily flights from Singapore (SIN) to New Zealand (AKL) to an A380 with Suites Class, and correspondingly made available two seats on nearly all of those flights (something that is akin to a miracle), I jumped on it.

Despite the miracle, however, someone seemingly beat me to the punch and the flight I needed from SIN-AKL was unavailable, so I booked the first part of our return, AKL-SIN, in SQ Suites instead.

We were going to New Zealand!

We had wanted to visit for a while, but especially since our return from Cape Town, South Africa, when we told the Lufthansa crew how jaw-droppingly beautiful Cape Town was and their unanimous response was “wait till you see New Zealand, my friend!”

Now, for all you paying attention at home, you’ll realize I still needed flights from HKG to AKL, as well as a flight from SIN to HKG to hook up to my original award. On the to-do list it went.

Sometime later, I was smiled upon when SIN-AKL opened up in Suites Class, which I booked.  The award was beginning to take shape.

Unfortunately, the HKG-SIN segment, which SQ also operates with an A380, was not available, and I had to waitlist the segment, but doing so I made a rookie mistake (which I’ll explain later). To be safe, thought, I booked the HKG-SIN segment with CX in economy as a placeholder. So I was fully booked on my outbound:

JFK-HKG in CX F; HKG-SIN in CX Y; SIN-AKL in SQ R.



Now to finish the return:

For reasons that aren’t worth explaining (having to do with the scheduling of the SIN-HKG on the return), I realized I needed to substitute the AKL-SIN segment in SQ Suites with something else.  After some research I decided to take advantage of what is perhaps the best redemption on the United Airlines award chart: Oceania <> North Asia in First Class for 40K per person and $25.00.

I found availability for AKL-SYD-BKK-HKG in Air New Zealand (NZ) Economy, Thai (TG) First, and TG First and put it on hold.

The only problem was that the BKK-HKG leg arrived after my HKG-DXB was scheduled to depart, so I had try and move the HKG-DXB flight from the first of the day, at 1:30AM, to the second and final flight of the day, at 4:50 PM. So back on the phone with US I went, expecting that I’d definitely need to pay the change fee this time.   

Of course, the US rep saw the note that the previous rep put on my reservation: “Absolutely no further changes to award without collection of change fee” and would only change it for $150/pax. I light bulb went off in my head and I pushed back and said “Well, if you’ll notice, I had two flight cancellations, one on the outbound, and one on the inbound. The note you’re seeing refers only to the outbound, which I had a say in fixing, but the flight I want to change is on the inbound which I have not yet had a say in fixing.” Nothing doing.

Escalate to supervisor.

Back and forth.

Back and forth some more.

Finally, with the call nearing 60 mins, the supervisor relents and changes me to the later flight without a fee!

I login to check the changes (as you should always do), and am horrified to discover that she did in fact change us, but put us in coach! If the flight was only a couple hours, I wouldn’t have cared, but this HKG-DXB leg was nearly 9 hours and a lie flat bed on a flight of that length definitely makes a difference, so even though I dreaded the thought of having to call US again, I decided to pick up the phone.

I explained the situation and the first US rep I got said “Oh, I see this clearly was a mistake, let me fix that right up for you.” And with that, it was complete. <sigh of relief>

Booked this way, I saved myself about 100,000 miles + $600 in taxes and fees. 

A week or two before departure, I got an email informing me that my SQ waitlist on the HKG-SIN had cleared.  I had gone from a 12.2 to a 9.36!

Except I hadn’t. 

As I alluded to above, I made a rookie mistake: I had waitlisted the HKG-SIN segment on a separate PNR. Even though I suspected the
answer, I called to see if SQ could merge the PNRs, or, at the very least, add the waitlist to my main PNR and insta-confirm me since I had already gone through the process. No dice.

A couple days later, I noticed that SQ R was available outright in Saver for the HKG-SIN segment, so I called and asked them to confirm me because it was clearly available. Though it wasn’t explained well by the SQ agents, it was clear I was rebuffed again for reasons of “married segments.” The only thing I could do at the time, they said, was to book it separately outright. Ha, no thanks, considering it’d cost me an additional 75K SQ, whereas if I added it onto my original booking, it’d cost me 0 additional miles. So I waited.

Alas, all is well that ends well, and about 24 hours later, my HKG-SIN leg was confirmed in Suites! Now I was officially at a 9.36 :)

[Those bored folks can continue here]

After much tinkering, then, my main award(s) getting me to New Zealand and back were set:



Red = US Award of 120,000 per passenger + $150 taxes/fees
Green = SQ Award of 63,750 per passenger + $200 taxes/fees
Orange = UA Award 40,000 per passenger + $25 taxes/fees

Outbound: JFK-HKG in CX F; HKG-SIN-AKL in SQ R; AKL-SYD in NZ Y.

Inbound: SYD-BKK-HKG in TG F; HKG-DXB in CX J; DXB-LHR in QF F; LHR-JFK in BA F.

Next up:

Intra-New Zealand Flights & Hotels

December 14, 2014, 05:55:54 PM
1
Re: WSJ Article: How to Perfect Your Credit Score
Quote
Olympic divers and college-bound test-takers have a valuable lesson to teach U.S. borrowers: Getting a higher score can really pay off.

Lenders make well over $1 trillion in loans every year based in large part on credit scores developed by Fair Isaac Corp. , a firm based in San Jose, Calif., that attempts to quantify which borrowers are most likely to repay the money on time. Borrowers with higher FICO scores are generally eligible to get bigger loans at lower interest rates.

But turning a good score into a great one can win you an even lower interest rate, and save thousands—even tens of thousands—of dollars for borrowers who take out a mortgage, buy a new car and use credit cards, experts say. In addition, consumers with sterling credit often have their pick of lenders and can sometimes use that leverage to pay lower loan fees.

ENLARGE
Tens of millions of Americans carry credit scores that are just under the highest range. Some 32.8 million people have FICO scores between 700 and 749, on a scale of 300 to 850, and another roughly 36.4 million people have scores between 750 and 799. About 38.6 million are in the 800-to-850 range. Roughly 1% of the people with FICO scores, or around 2 million individuals, have a perfect 850.

Most lenders consider people with FICO scores of at least 720 to be prime borrowers, and generally charge them interest rates that are low—but not the lowest available.

When the best deals kick in can vary by lender and type of loan. But the benefits can be substantial.

RELATED

Millions More to See Their FICO Scores (Jan. 12, 2015)
Nearly Half of Home Buyers Don’t Shop Around for Mortgages (Jan. 13, 2015)
Lender Drops Challenge to Credit-Card Comparison Website (Jan. 12, 2015)
For example, home buyers with FICO scores between 700 and 759 could get an interest rate of 3.983% on average on a $400,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 25% down payment, as of Jan. 6, according to Informa Research Services, a market-research company based in Calabasas, Calif.

Home buyers with FICO scores in the 760 to 850 range could get an interest rate of 3.821% on average under the same circumstances, which means they would pay $6,194 less in interest in the first 10 years and $13,366 less over the life of the loan. On “jumbo” mortgages, which are common in pricier real-estate markets, the savings could be greater.

Borrowers who want to boost their scores can take certain steps that will pay off within a month or two, and others that will raise their scores over many months or even years.

Here’s how to make your score stand out to lenders.

How FICO Scores Work
The first step is to understand how FICO scores are calculated—and the role your score plays in lending decisions.

ENLARGE
Five factors go into a FICO score. The most important is your payment history, which accounts for 35% of the score. If you want a high score, the first piece of advice is the simplest: Pay your debts on time.

The second factor is the overall amount of money you owe—including how close you are to the limits on your credit cards—which accounts for 30% of the score.

Another 15% of the score depends on the extent of your credit history, which favors borrowers with a long track record, while 10% is determined by whether you have shown an ability to manage different types of credit. The remaining 10% depends on whether you have applied for credit recently.

The three main credit-reporting firms—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—then plug the information they have in your credit reports into the score calculation. The information each firm has may differ, so your scores from the three firms may vary.

Cody Goebel, who is 51 years old and lives in Silver Spring, Md., says he found out in late December that his FICO scores were 795, 806 and 807 when he applied to refinance his mortgage.

“I just try to manage my finances carefully,” says Mr. Goebel, a financial-markets policy analyst. He maintains a variety of loans, including credit cards, mortgages and private student loans he has cosigned for his two sons. And he regularly checks his credit reports to make sure there are no errors or fraudulent accounts that have been opened in his name—a problem he encountered about a decade ago.

Checking scores is getting easier. FICO has reached deals with a growing number of lenders to show their customers whichever of the FICO scores the firms use in lending decisions, at no charge.

Later this month, for example, Citigroup will begin showing customers who have Citi-branded credit cards their FICO scores. Lenders who already provide the service include Discover Financial Services and Barclaycard, a unit of Barclays .

Consumers in such programs also can see brief descriptions of what is holding their score down. In some cases, they can see when their score went up or down.

It also is possible to get access to your FICO score by paying a fee. Experian began offering that service in December, and Equifax already does, as does FICO through its consumer website, myFICO.com.

Prices vary by company and can range from $14.95 to $21.95 a month, and often include related services. For example, Experian also lets customers run scenarios which show how their scores might change if they pay down credit-card debt or take other similar steps.

Several firms run ads saying that they sell or give consumers credit scores free. But many don’t provide FICO scores, instead offering ones that are rarely, if ever, used by lenders. The scores can be significantly different from their FICO score, which can catch consumers off guard when they apply for a loan and find out they aren’t as creditworthy as they thought they were.

Keep in mind that the FICO score isn’t the only factor lenders consider when deciding whether to offer you a loan or what interest rate to charge. The size of a down payment or the extent of your relationship with a lender also can play an important role. Many lenders also have their own proprietary credit scores.

A Quick Payoff
Two fast ways to boost your FICO score are to spend less on your credit cards and to pay off card balances. In some cases, those moves can help raise a borrower’s score within as little as a month, says Ethan Dornhelm, principal scientist at Fair Isaac, also known as FICO.

If you want a FICO score of 800 or above, you should aim for a “debt-to-limit ratio” of no more than 10%, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame.com, a credit-management site, and a former FICO manager. For example, if your total spending limit on all credit cards is $50,000, try to use no more than $5,000 at any one time.

The FICO formula also penalizes individuals who have too many credit cards with balances, Mr. Ulzheimer says. Instead, consider using no more than two credit cards and choosing the ones with the highest spending limits, he says.

Paying your credit-card bill in full when the statement arrives isn’t good enough if you want to keep your debt-to-limit ratio low, as the balances on your credit reports at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are based on the most recent month’s credit-card statements, Mr. Ulzheimer says.

One trick: Pay the lender soon after you use the credit card, well before the statement closing date. Online payments often are processed in one to three days.

“I’ve been putting all my purchases [when] possible on credit cards and paying them off every week,” says Andrew Colucci, 29, a doctor in Boston. “I’m paid weekly, so when there’s a direct deposit I just send the payment.”

Mr. Colucci says his FICO score, which was 791 last summer, helped him to refinance approximately $120,000 of federal student loans at fixed rates as high as 6.8% into a private student loan at a 2.63% variable interest rate with Darien Rowayton Bank in Darien, Conn., in August.

Know Your Limits
As for increasing your spending limits, pay attention to the pitches you receive from card issuers. More issuers have been telling existing cardholders they are eligible for increases in the past year or two, says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, a credit-card comparison website.

But if you want to boost your FICO score, don’t use that extra credit. Also ask the card company if it would make a formal request to check your credit report before approving the increase; that alone could lower your score, Mr. Ulzheimer says.

Beware of store credit cards, which tend to come with relatively low spending limits. Consider using charge cards, such as those issued by American Express , as their balances often aren’t included in the credit-card debt-to-limit ratio in certain FICO scores that lenders use, says Mr. Dornhelm of FICO. Most charge cards don’t have a spending limit, since cardholders must pay the bill in full each month.

Consumers can check how issuers report charge-card activity on their credit reports, which they can access free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Lastly, try to use each credit card you have at least once a year, says Mr. Ulzheimer. Card issuers sometimes shut down unused cards, which can hurt your score.

Take the Long View
Other strategies can take months or years to boost your score, which is worth keeping in mind if you are planning to make a major purchase such as a house or a car down the road.

Building a credit history and demonstrating an ability to manage different types of debt—such as credit cards, car loans and mortgages—both take time.

The good news is that if you manage debt responsibly, your FICO score should increase and the benefit should endure for years. When borrowers successfully pay off car loans or mortgages, the information stays on their credit reports for 10 years from the date of the last payment, according to credit-reporting firms.

There is an important exception: If you miss payments or default on a loan, that information stays on your credit report for seven years. So if you encountered financial difficulties during the financial crisis, say, waiting a little bit longer before taking out a new loan could be worthwhile.

The impact of missed payments is usually worst in the first few years, but 96% of people with a FICO score of 785 or greater have no late payments on their credit reports, according to FICO.

Time your loan applications wisely, as well. Consumers should look for the lowest interest rates on mortgages, car loans and student loans. Shop quickly: Such credit inquiries aren’t factored into your FICO score within their first 30 days on file. They can affect the score after that period but are treated as one inquiry if they occur within a 45-day window.

If you take more time, the inquiries could count as multiple requests, which can lower your score, Mr. Ulzheimer says.

Inquiries can stay on your credit reports for 24 months, he says, though the FICO score factors in only inquiries up to 12 months old.

Take Advantage
Once you boost your FICO score, make the most of it. Some lenders don’t draw a distinction between a borrower with a score of 740 and a score in the 800s.

Find lenders that do. The payoff may come in the form of lower interest rates or lower fees. For borrowers who are seeking a $1 million mortgage with a 25% down payment and who have a FICO score in the 740 to 759 range, Salt Lake City-based Zions Bank, a unit of Zions Bancorp , has recently been charging an origination fee equal to 1.375% of the loan amount, or $13,750, and charging an interest rate of 3.625%, says Jeremy Lowry, a senior vice president at the bank.

Borrowers with a FICO score of 760 or more pay a 1% origination fee on the same loan.

Car buyers can benefit handsomely, as well. A car buyer with a FICO score of 730 would get an interest rate of 6.837% on average on a five-year loan to buy a new car, as of Jan. 6, according to Informa.

But borrowers with a FICO score of 800 could get such a loan with an interest rate of 3.24% at Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Bank, according to Informa. That would result in $2,750 less interest on a loan of $27,799, the average amount for new-car loans in last year’s third quarter, according to Experian.

The larger the loan, the bigger the potential payoff. Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp , for example, sometimes offers lower interest rates to borrowers with FICO scores over 800 than to borrowers with FICO scores from 760 to 800 for jumbo mortgages—home loans that exceed $417,000 in most of the country, or $625,500 in pricier markets such as New York and San Francisco, according to Informa.

Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at AnnaMaria.Andriotis@wsj.com

January 30, 2015, 01:02:53 PM
1
Re: You might be a DDFer if... Well, stuff has just gotten real.

A text from Mrs. AJK this morning:

Mrs AJK:  Do you know about new egg?
AJK: What about it (thinking she wanted to order something)?
Mrs. AJK: Mrs. @MarcoPolo told me it's like sbs except u get cash!
AJK: Yep. We've done it.
Mrs. AJK: Did we max out?

#nachas
#wivesofDDFchattingaboutCCdeals
#widowsofDD
#maxingout
#sbsinjuly
#freemoney
#studentsbecometeachers

July 24, 2015, 10:48:54 AM
2
Re: MP and Co's Trip Around the World in Thirteen Days Great TR! Empty F cabins are a joy.

But, dude, you really should focus on *enjoying* the vacation you're writing about instead of writing it  to satisfy the insatiable DDF masses.

It may not be the popular choice, but enjoy first, write second.

And, for the love of God, the halacha police need to vacate the premises. If you have a concern about someone's religiosity, the proper form of communication is PM, not calling him out in public.

August 02, 2015, 09:28:43 AM
1
Re: Melbourne Master Thread
I think that's a personal preference. Personally I prefer a minyan on shabbos over a nic(er) hotel, but to each his own.

There's a minyan 5 mins away from PH MEL...

East Melbourne Synagogue; Rabbi Dovid Gutnick. Supposed to be a great guy.

November 03, 2015, 12:02:12 PM
1
Re: Elite Member Groups!
Any status for highest poster of the year? As the year is almost over I was looking around and I was blown away by David smith's  post per day count. I know he only joined this year but it's pretty impressive. (Could be there are others with higher ones but I didn't find any.)

My point is CONGRATULATIONS David to a great year Iy"h many more to come!

Post count per day (or period) is not something we want to be encouraging.

As always, quality > quantity except with $$$.

December 30, 2015, 03:31:18 PM
2
Discussion of DDMS Posts/Deals Use this to discuss DDMS posts/deals, so you can avoid the minefield that is the DDMS comment section.
January 20, 2016, 02:54:06 PM
1
Re: Wrigley Field Softball Game DO
Assuming I can get the green light from my LOR, I'd be interested.
Though I haven't actually played a sport in decades...

I'd be in just to see you run. 

July 14, 2016, 01:59:28 PM
1
Re: Pictures/Video (*You've*) Taken from Drones Not taken by me (I know, I know), but this was just too good not to share:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIoxwT_BJ7q/

August 03, 2016, 10:51:14 AM
1
Re: New Like feature
Imagine a thread with 1000 posts where you can get 90% of the content by reading 10 of the posts. The above two enhancements would save you loads of time reading and processing information.

Amen.

August 31, 2016, 09:18:27 AM
1
Re: Transferring points No. But you can book saver AA flights with BA Avios.
August 31, 2016, 02:06:01 PM
1
Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Guys, listen up, I still haven't seen any real data that CPC does anything. Many people have reported getting approved instantly online and in branch while being over 5/24 without CPC.

Now if someone would come with a story that he was over 5/24 and was declined for that reason and his banker overturned the decision because of his PC status that would be data.  Until then I don't wanna hear any talk about CPC.

You want a story? Fine.

Applied for CSR.  Declined for 5/24. Then another hard decline after recon for 5/24. Then my CPC banker called and got me approved (though it did take some pushing).

Tada...





September 01, 2016, 10:44:19 AM
1
Re: Business and First Class Products Master Thread
I found it to be true as well but I don't think it took away from the experience. When I pushed the call button, it wasn't even three seconds until the fa was there. I was shocked. Anytime I stood up, they were also there to see if I needed anything. If I was just sitting down and watching my movie, they didn't bother me. I'm pretty low maintenance so I prefer that to being asked every 30 seconds if I need another sip of sprite added to my glass.
If you think SQ is bothering you every 39 seconds to fill up your glass, you don't get SQ service.

They don't bother. They anticipate your needs by monitoring the cabin discreetly. Then, when you think, "hey, I'd like more coke," the coke is brought to you before you finish the thought.

September 01, 2016, 11:18:47 AM
1
Re: Lucky's Latest Adventure You're welcome  >:(
September 01, 2016, 09:51:21 PM
1
Re: Business and First Class Products Master Thread
I can feel AJK's blood boiling here
Yes, as much as it makes my blood boil when someone says, "Yeah, I much prefer a Kia to a Bentley. Much smoother ride."

At some point, you just have to nod, smile, and hope he can get home safely by himself.

September 04, 2016, 12:14:26 AM
3
Re: AJK's Trip/Route Planning Thread When you're in a place as small the one we are, there ain't no large car rental chains offering one ways back to the mainland of Vancouver. So you improvise...

September 11, 2016, 05:24:59 PM
1
Re: Law School The LSAT is the single most important test a lawyer will ever take in his career.

Spend the extra money and go with fish.

September 25, 2016, 01:09:15 PM
1
Re: HOT!!! Aluminum iPhone Stand .99 + $1 Digital Credit (Normally $6!) Like it a lot. 
October 05, 2016, 02:02:13 PM
1
Re: $20 Starbucks Credit For $10 With Visa Checkout In for one, thanks.

Got confirm $10 will come w/in 24 hours.

November 29, 2016, 01:23:47 PM
1
Re: Re: AJK's Trip/Route Planning Thread Pic from North Maui:


December 15, 2016, 01:21:32 PM
1
Re: AJK's Maui And Big Island 2016 TR Without further ado:


December 16, 2016, 01:09:07 AM
1
Re: Combining two separately booked Itineraries Cannot combine itineraries, and unfortunately, AA has changed their policy about interlining bags, so you'll have a tough time asking an AA agent in JFK to check your bags all the way to TLV, though it doesn't hurt to ask.
January 16, 2017, 09:31:48 AM
1
Re: Hard Inquiry - Bankof
hi

i called to the number back of my card to have a increase of my limit, i specifically ask a few time to the rep if i will have a Inquiry (didn't mention hard or soft) for that, she told me NO.

and now i login to 'credit sesame' and it show me a hard pull form Bankof !!

so i called and speak now to a specialist credit (this what she told me) and she told me that they will lessen to the tape of my call in, and if i am right they will turn the inquiry from Hard to Soft.

she will call me back after the week-end with the result

my question is : do i can force them to take it off completely ? and if yes how ?

or what other option i have here ?

Thanks !

* it is a BankAmericard CASH REWARDS VISA

The option is to have it turned from hard to soft, and for your purposes, doing that is what you want. If they do that, you're good.

February 24, 2017, 12:12:13 AM
2
Re: AMEX Return Protection: Did They Make You Return The Item?
Has this happened with anyone else? Lately I noticed amex wanting receipts and taking over a week to process a claim (whereas it used to be 48 hours or less). Thanks :) (and it's not just me, this happened with some friends of mine too).

The better question is how often are you submitting claims that you know what Amex is "doing lately?"

Perhaps Amex is scrutinizing claims more because people on here and elsewhere have been submitting claims that are perhaps less than genuine.

I may be wrong, but this program is to be used on those rare occasions that you make a purchase that you cannot return; it is not to be used to deliberately buy things you know you wouldn't keep and then submit a clam hoping you'll get to keep the item.

Let's not kill a fantastic benefit, shall we?

March 15, 2017, 02:07:33 PM
3
Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread And now we all realize we're going to hell.

I booked my flights with Expedia going on American and returning on Hawaiin. They say that uf I cancel I'll get airline credit but will have to pay $200/per person per ticket totaling $800 in fees!!!! That's crazy! It seems like r"l we had a miscarriage and that's why we can't go, but even with a doctors note they don't guarantee they'll waive the rebooking fees. Can any of you help please??

Yes, please HUCA until you find the rep who will waive the fees. Also, although it's booked through Expedia (and therefore the airlines may not touch the ticket), you can try your luck directly with airlines by explaining the situation.  Alternatively, you can cancel now, and then write the airline for fee reimbursement once cancelled. 

I'm sorry for your pain.

March 28, 2017, 02:30:20 PM
1
Re: Law School Personally, all things considered I'd take Chicago at 75k over either other option.
April 20, 2017, 02:34:47 PM
1
Re: BBQ Grill recommendation
Weber. Period.

April 21, 2017, 12:04:34 PM
1
Re: Amex waiting 6-10 weeks to issue 50% rebate on Business Platinum bookings!
My hunch is this is a system delay and will be back up and running again soon.
Here's trying to be positive.

That hunch is belied by the fact that multiple reps at AmEx seem to be saying something changed on 4.11.

April 21, 2017, 01:00:29 PM
1
Re: Law School
Don't read or brief cases. Waste of time
Unless you get cold called by the professor in front of 100 people at which time he or she proceeds to make you look like an imbecile for not having brief the cases.

April 25, 2017, 07:22:50 PM
1
Re: Law School
and then the shame passes and you're stronger than before.
How do you think I became AJK?

April 25, 2017, 07:37:53 PM
2
Re: Law School
I'm a big fan of getting notes from someone who took that professor last year. They rarely add new materials and you know what they emphasized last year.

This.

April 25, 2017, 10:54:52 PM
1