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Greece Master Thread I'm considering going to Greece this summer with my wife.
There isn't a master thread, I was wondering if anyone had any input advice etc.

PS. My other options are Paris, or Milan (neither of us have ever been) with Hyatt FFNs, so feel free to tell me that I'm crazy and should just hit one of those cities.

It would be a 4-5 day stay

June 27, 2010, 01:28:45 PM
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Re: Rafi And Talia's Trip Log.
I can only imagine the stories Rafi go's back to school with... hope the other kids arent jealous
Probably don't believe him.

So I had a bed on the plane... Don't think most kids have even heard of that lol.

February 16, 2016, 05:54:05 PM
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Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH This trip report will be in a similar format as the recent Icelandic one, with me doing the bulk of the writing and whYME and Cat In The Hat adding their thoughts, pictures, and commentary. As with Iceland, color coding will help maintain an easy flow.

So without further ado, here it goes.


Photo by Something Fishy:




Photo by whYME:




Photo by Cat In The Hat:


August 15, 2016, 02:04:50 AM
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CS91's Bar trip to Asia (ICN, CNX, USM & HKG) Here goes part 1! Gonna do my best to actually finish this one but it may be a bit slow because haven't written up anything yet and I'll be quite busy over the next month between moving and starting work but I'll try my best!

Background

A few months after I was done booking my MLE trip, I started thinking about what to book for my Bar trip in August. For those of you who don’t know what that is, most law students, after graduating and taking the Bar, book a big trip as a way of celebrating and getting away and enjoying life one last time before starting work. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere far because once I start working, even when I do take vacation, I wouldn’t really have enough days to blow two days travelling.

We were aiming for about a 12-15 day trip, and originally we were thinking about going to Hawaii and splitting our time there between two different islands. But then I realized that I’d have about a week and a half off between my last exam and my graduation in May, so we decided to go to Hawaii then for 6 days (Hawaii TR, yes, I know, I never finished it) and choose a different destination for my Bar trip.

So it was back to the planning board. I read through some TRs and asked on the Next Vacation – Ideas thread, and MarcoPolo suggested Thailand as a great place to take a kid who will be one at the time of travel, and to add a country or two on the way there and back. I went to Thailand (Phuket and Phi Phi Island) and Hong Kong as a kid with my parents and remember it being beautiful, and thought it would be cool to take my wife and kid, and see other parts of Thailand.

We originally thought of doing Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, but after seeing SQ’s unfavorable lap infant policies (10% of revenue fair) and realizing that I didn’t have enough points for 3 seats on SQ F/R, we decided on South Korea instead (KE charges 10% of award fair for a lap infant). Now that we decided on the cities that we’d be visiting, it was time to book. I’ve read about people encountering headaches and issues when booking award travel, but I was not prepared for the curveballs that I was about to be thrown… If you're not interested, feel free to skip the flight portion as it's pretty lengthy.

Booking

Flights: Before looking for flight availability, I did a quick search for the hotels that I wanted to stay at to see if there was availability for the dates that I was targeting. Thankfully, availability seemed wide open so I started working on the flights.

The plan was to fly on KE for the JFK-ICN-CNX flights, PG for the CNX-USM-HKG flights, and CX for the HKG-JFK flight. I started with CX because I know that was the hardest to find availability on. I was lucky enough to find 3 J seats available (as expected, there was no F availability) for the dates that I needed, so I called AA to put the flights on hold. The plan was to book my seat under my account (I had enough points for the one seat), and my wife and daughter’s seats under DW’s account (she was about 20k points short, but had just hit the bonus on her Citi AA Plat. card and the statement was closing two days later so I thought I was good). More on this later. Once the CX flight was on hold, I looked at KE availability, and found two F seats (Kosmo Suites 2.0) available for the dates that I needed, and called them up to put that reservation on hold. Side note – every airline should strive to provide customer service like KE. Their reps are extremely pleasant to deal with. After just a couple of minutes on the phone, the reservation was on hold so I got to work on the PG flights. That’s where I encountered my first curveball.

I looked on EF and found availability that would be bookable through FB for the two PG flights. After being reminded by D93 (this is going to be the first of many times that he gets thanked in this TR; to say that he came in the clutch for me while booking this trip is an understatement) that MR to FB transfers are instant, I decided to wait until FB confirmed that they could book the flights before transferring. I picked up the phone, called FB, and was told that two days ago FB got a notice from PG that they were terminating their relationship and therefore they couldn’t book the flights. Bummer. But I decided to so some of my own research. I googled and googled and found nothing about this apparent termination. I then looked on FB’s website and it said that they are affiliated with PG. Time to HUCA! So I called back, landed on a representative who saw the availability and put the reservation on hold for me and told me to go ahead with the transfer. Score, right? I saw the reservation on my end under my login, and the rep told me that he had to put me on hold for a minute but that I should go ahead and transfer in 40k points to my FB account. I logged on to Amex, input 40k, was about to click transfer, and for some reason, and I have no idea why, I didn’t click. I decided to wait for the rep to come back on the line so that I can confirm that everything is set one more time. After a few minutes, the rep came back and the first thing that he said was “please tell me you haven’t transferred the points yet!!!” I told him that I hadn’t, and he said that while I was on hold, the system didn’t allow him to go to the next step of booking it and when he inquired why, he was told that the relationship had been terminated and the flights weren’t bookable. I dodged a bullet, but now I had to figure out how else to get this booked.

So I did some research, bothered D93 a bit more :), and learned that AB, CX, EY and JAL were my other options of booking PG flights. I had a lot of MR points and not that many extra SPG points, so I started with the first three choices. AB couldn’t find availability (can’t search for the type of fair that these airlines need to be able to book on EF), CX was impossible to get a hold of and partner award bookings need to be done by submitting a form and waiting 7-10 days for an answer – no thanks. Before trying EY, I decided to give JAL a call and see how many points it would be and if they could find availability. I landed on an extremely nice rep named Erica who was able to find availability on the flights that I needed. She told me that because of the current promotion, both flights combined would be 10k JAL miles per person (they use a distance based award chart), but that unfortunately she wouldn’t be able to hold the flights for me. So I decided to transfer 20k SPG points to JAL and keep my fingers crossed that there would still be availability once the points showed up in my JAL account.

While waiting for the JAL transfer to go through, I went back to ticketing my CX flight. Problem was, the 5 day hold was expiring on Shabbos afternoon (the day after New Years), and while DW’s Citi AA statement had closed and it showed that she earned the points, the points had not posted to her AA account within the standard 24-48 hours. I called Citi on Thursday night (New Years Eve) and they said it could take up to two weeks, so I called AA and they said that they were experiencing delays because of the Holidays. So I thought about what to do and then I remembered that somewhere deep in the Citi AA thread, someone had reported that AA allowed them to book a flight and have a negative point balance because they conferenced in Citi who confirmed that the points were en route. So I called back AA, landed on a rep who knew about that process but informed me that in order to do that, they needed the help of AA Customer Service who was closed until Monday morning because of the Holidays. I tried getting them to extend the hold, HUCA’d countless times, but kept getting the same answer – they can only do such things on AA flights, not partner airlines. So I had two options: A) release the hold before Shabbos and hope that it goes right back into inventory, or B) let the hold expire on Shabbos afternoon and then log on right after Shabbos and hopefully the seats went back into inventory and haven’t been scooped up yet. I didn’t like my chances with either, so I went back to my savior, D93, and Whatsapp’d him on Friday morning (15 minutes before Shabbos for him) and asked him if he’d be so kind to log on to my wife’s AA account after Shabbos was over for him, and if the points posted to have it ticketed (I gave him my cc number), and if the points didn’t show up, to release them and see if it went back into revenue. He said that he’d be happy to help me out and that he’d let me know what happened after Shabbos. Needless to say, I was sitting on pins and needles all Shabbos, and right after Maariv, ran to my phone, opened Whatsapp and saw a text from D93 saying that the points hadn’t showed up, but…he released the hold and the tickets went back into revenue!!! New 5 day hold to work with. Phew! So I waited until Monday when customer service would be open and called and asked to have me account in the negative once Citi confirmed the points were on the way. I HUCA’d and HUCA’d (at least 15 times) but nobody knew what I was talking about and I was ready to throw in the towel. I decided as a last attempt, I’d call Citi to see if there was anything that could be done. I called Citi, told them the situation, and they looped in AA CS. AA CS told me that they didn’t see the points anywhere but that they’d make a “special” exception and let me ticket the reservation anyways and go into the negative because Citi confirmed that the points were earned. Finally!!!! In order to do that, they looped in Advantage reservations, who looped in a supervisor (at this point there were 5 of us on the call) and after about an hour and a half, the tickets were on request! I honestly thought about making a Kiddush ;D.

The next morning, I woke up, checked my JAL account and the points had shown up! I picked up the phone, called JAL, landed on Erica again (!), and booked the PG flights. All that was left was to contact PG directly to add the lap infant to the reservation. PG isn’t reachable by phone unless you speak Thai so I sent them an email and took care of it all that way. (About a month later, once I had recuperated from the AA fiasco, I finished the KE booking that I had on hold.) Finally, thanks to a little luck, a lot of persistence, and D93 being my savior, the flights were taken care of!

Hotels: Once the flights were taken care of, I took care of the hotels. I called SPG and booked the LM Chaing Mai for 6 nights (base room), and then called the Sheraton Samui and booked a base room there for 5 nights.

Then I called Hyatt to book the Hyatt TST in HKG, and of course, the hotel was booked and there was no more award availability. I flaunted my Diamond Status, told them that because there were base rooms available for revenue bookings that they had to let me reserve it on points according to the T&Cs, and after pushing them a little, I got a supervisor to book me into the room and confirm my reservation.

For our hotel in ICN, it took me a couple of weeks to decide whether we should stay at the new Hyatt in Incheon which is supposed to be beautiful, or at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul. Pro of staying in Incheon would be being able to take advantage of the free tours that KE offers, and pro of staying in Seoul would be the better location. After talking it over with a friend who’s been to Seoul many times, we decided on the Grand Hyatt Seoul for a few reasons. 1) better location if we just wanted to walk around at night, 2) if we stayed in Incheon and wanted to actually see a decent amount of Seoul, we would’ve had to do two of KE’s Seoul tours which would have been a lot of bus rides back and forth between Seoul and Incheon, 3) doing two of KE’s Seoul tours wouldn’t have left enough time to see the DMZ, and 4) most DMZ tours provide pick up from your hotel in Seoul which is convenient.

A couple of days after I finished booking the Thailand hotels, the bonuses for our Citi Hilton Signature cards (75k each) posted, and I decided to look and see if the Conrad Koh Samui was available for the dates that I’d be there. It was, so I quickly applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve card (we were booked to be in USM for Shabbos) and kept my fingers crossed that it would still be available when the certificates posted to my account. Why not go for gold, right? Fast-forward a month and a half. Free night certificates from Hilton Reserve card posted to my account so I called up and booked us at the Conrad Koh Samui for 5 nights and cancelled the Sheraton Samui. Once I got the points back for the Sheraton Samui, I called back SPG and upgraded to the Executive Suite at LM Chiang Mai. NOW we were set!!

Total Cost
JFK-ICN on KE F (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 199,500 KE Miles + $501.59 YQ
Grand Hyatt Seoul (1 Night): 1 Anniversary Night
ICN-CNX on KE J (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Included in above mileage and YQ
Le Meridian Chiang Mai (6 Nights–Executive Suite): 44,000 SPG Points
CNX-USM on PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 20,000 JAL Miles + $247.50 YQ
Conrad Koh Samui (5 Nights): 2 Free Weekend Nights Certificates + 228,000 Hilton Points
USM-HKG on PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Included in above mileage and YQ
Hyatt Regency TST (2 Nights): 1 Anniversary Night + 15,000 Hyatt Points
HKG-JFK on CX J (3 seats): 165,000 AA Miles + $167.28 YQ

Total Dollar Value of Flights and Hotels: $50,783.93

August 31, 2016, 10:20:23 AM
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Re: The funny/strange/interesting video thread...
Except that Orthodox Jews make up a small percentage of that 6MM. "Haredim" even less than that.
The greatest statistic i saw in Israel is that in 2012, two 100 year old well know figures in Judaism died, Harav Elyashiv and Benzion Netanyahu... R' Elyashiv had 1600 descendants and Mr Netanyahu had 12....

September 05, 2016, 12:18:24 PM
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Paypal Digital Gifts Hacked IMPORTANT I apologize if this is in the wrong forum, but it is being reported by Doctor of Credit that the Paypal Digital Gifts system was hacked in August. If you bought any gift cards from Paypal Digital Gifts in the last 2 months, check your balance immediately. I just checked and 2 of my Best Buy gift cards have a balance of $0.


September 05, 2016, 04:05:12 PM
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A little different Maldives TR I'm sitting right now in the Conrad Rangali Island and while I can't quite manage a live TR I wanted to open this so that I won't be lazy when I get back and make sure to write it.

We're watching some football, about to head out snorkeling as soon as the game is finished but for now GO Broncos, from the Maldives!

September 08, 2016, 11:19:19 PM
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Re: Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l Thanks everyone, glad people are enjoying it. I wasn't sure whether I should post it or not, glad I did in the end.
September 12, 2016, 12:35:18 PM
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Re: America's Got Talent
Can someone please explain why in the world Tape Face, and Victor Kee made it to the finals???

Where is the talent in either of their acts?!?
tape face is amazing. its  dumb comedy but done brilliantly. very unpredictable his moves

September 14, 2016, 05:26:56 PM
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Re: America's Got Talent I personally dont think standard singing acts should have a place on this show. There are enough platforms dedicated to that.
September 15, 2016, 02:52:00 PM
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