Hello MMS readers! Lounge pass giveaway time!

Hi everyone!  Well Daraius of millionmilesecrets suprised me by running my Friday interview a week earlier than anticipated.  I was planning on doing a giveaway next week Friday however due to the circumstances lets try to do this starting today!

So I am going to giveaway 2 sets of 2 American Airlines Admirals Club passes that expire on Dec 31st 2013. To win one set of these passes please simply:

-Follow me at twitter=   @pointspinnacle

AND

leave a comment why you want the passes AND include #pointspinnacleAAgiveaway

If you don’t leave a comment or the # then you wont be entered in to win. I am going to randomly select the 2 winners. You must enter by Monday night December 2nd at 9PM. I will mail these to by the end of that week.

Thanks for entering and have a look around the site. I am planning some interesting blog posts by the middle or end of next week!! Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!!

-pointspinnacle

November App-o-rama recap!

 

Earlier in the month I applied for some new credit cards.  I had not applied for a credit card or had my credit pulled for exactly 6 months when I was denied (for the first time ever) by the Barclays (man they can be stingy) crew.  I will typically apply for 3 cards every 3-4 months on the same day or so depending on the scenario. This time I applied for 5 cards which was my most aggressive round of applications!

Here are my results in chronological order:

Barclays Arrival: I made sure to apply for this card first as this was the card I wanted the most. After completing the app it went into pending and needed further review!!  I hate that! Anyhow I checked my application status right away and to my surprise it was already showing approved!! I thought I would have to call and probably get rejected like they are known for however I got the approval after being patient for 6 months.

US Bank Club Carlson (Business): I already have the personal version of this card and it has come in handy time and time again! We made great use of these points for 6 nights in Ireland. Anyhow after the application submission I was granted an instant approval! Off to a nice start!!!

Chase Hyatt: This is a card I have wanted for a while but there are so many other great Chase cards in my opinion that it kept getting pushed to the back-burner. Finally I pulled up the app, hit the button, and got the pending! I called the reconsideration line which is saved in my iPhone contacts! After speaking with a super friendly employee he was able to  move some credit from my Southwest card to get the Hyatt approved.  Batting1.000 so far!

BOA Virgin America: I want this card to transfer to hilton as I am planning a Koh Samui trip for 2014 and the Conrad is on my radar! After the quick app entry I got another instant approval! At this point I was content and was able to hit all my goals with these cards however I figured lets go for one more. So……

Chase United Explorer(Business): Just like my Hyatt application I received pending status. I let it go for a week and found a letter in the mail notifying me of my decline after careful review. I figured to give them a call once again.  Again after a more lengthy discussion this time with a rep I was approved by moving credit around.

PointsPinnacle Breakdown

Five for Five! Here are the miles/points I will receive after clearing the spending hurdles.

-Barclays 40,000 after $1000 spend within 3 months.

-US Bank 85,000 Club Carlson points after $2500 spend within 3 months.

-Chase Hyatt two(2) free nights at any Hyatt in the world which is equal to 44,000 Hyatt points today or 60,000 points after Jan 7 2014 (rates increasing).

-BOA Virgin America 20,000 miles after first purchase and another 25,000 after spending $2500 within 3 months. So 45,000 total which I will try to convert to 90k Hilton Honors points.

Chase United 50,000 miles for $2000 spend with 3 months/90 days.

I can probably redeem these points for over $5000 worth of travel conservativley! Love traveling and love collecting miles and points!

Thanks for reading!

-pointspinnacle

 

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 10) Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG-ORD

The way home.

We were sad to see our trip come to an end but at the same time we were ready to come back home. It was just the right amount of time away from home/work.  We took a cab to the MTR station and took the train back to the airport. We checked in and made our way back to the lounge.  We were traveling home on Cathay Pacific business class.   I had a quick lunch at The Wing lounge before boarding.

DSC02512Lunch in the lounge.

CX806  /seats 18D and 18G/  Departing 11:55am

DSC02514Boarding begins!

DSC02518Forward shot of the cabin.

 

DSC02515Rear shot of the cabin.

DSC02517Our seats

DSC02516Window seat

DSC02523 Seat controls

DSC02526 Pre-departure beverage

DSC02527 Headphone storage

DSC02528Menu

DSC02529

DSC02531 DSC02530

DSC02534The smoked creole salmon was tasty!

DSC02535The chicken breast.

DSC02536Lemon meringue pie!

DSC02537Fell asleep without putting my seat in bed mode! hehehe

The flight was very smooth and we were well taken care of.  I am now a big fan of Cathay Pacific! This was a very comfortable way to travel and not possible for us without the AA miles we earned from our credit card sign up bonuses. Before you knew it we deplaned, zoomed through pre-check in less than 2 minutes and grabbed our bags. We had about a 30 minute wait outside for our shuttle bus back home and another 2 hour ride home!

DSC02540Back to reality!

PointsPinnacle Breakdown

So we were able to use our AAdvantage miles earned from the Citi cards I spoke about earlier (see here again for best offers). The flights cost 55,000 miles per person.

AA

 

Our email confirmation above.

aa1

 

Ticketed receipt. Only $116 total cash outlay!

It was such a great journey and adventure for us both. Just 2 years ago I never thought a trip like this was in our cards or even possible.  Just imagine what miles and points can do for you and all the amazing places on earth you may have only dreamed of visiting. We feel very blessed and we are very appreciative of this amazing time!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the photos and commentary!! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any feedback in the comments!! Thanks!!

-pointspinnacle

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 9) Conrad Hotel Hong Kong

 

Conrad hotel-Hong Kong

June 26-30, 2013

Our main hotel while in Hong Kong was the Conrad, located in Central.  We really liked this hotel and overall thought it was better than the W.  Due to the heat/humidity we spent a lot of time in the hotel.  When we checked in they brought us to a special checkin desk for Hilton members with status. The executive club checkin was just off the lobby and the executive club lounge was actually located downstairs off the lobby as well.  This was due to the actual lounge up on the 59th floor being renovated. I am a Hilton gold member due to having the Hilton Honors Reserve card from Citi. The card grants you gold status for as long as you’re a card holder. Hilton gold is actually very worthwhile in my opinion! To have access to the club lounge for afternoon appetizers/cocktails and free buffet breakfast everyday saved us a lot of money! We were given a room just one level below where the normal lounge resides on floor 58 if I recall correctly. There was hardly any noise from the renovations which was good news.

DSC02386 IMG_0500 Nice bathroom

IMG_0501 Bathroom entry

IMG_0502 Shower/tub

IMG_0503 Gotta have a rubber ducky at a Conrad.

IMG_0504 Had the option of Shanghai Tang or Aromatherapy amenities. We tried them both!

IMG_0514TV in bathroom

IMG_0505 Watercloset

IMG_0506 shower

IMG_0507 Minibar area

IMG_0508Room entrance

IMG_0509 Bed

IMG_0510 TV

IMG_0511 Desk and welcome amenity of fruit and chocolate.

Below is a video walkthrough of our room.

The lounge staff was absolutely superb!!! There was a young gentleman that went above and beyond making sure to bring over new plates of food and always bring our favorite beer and wine as we got empty.  He was telling us some things to do and see everyday and really left an impression on us! I forgot his name but would have really liked to pass a note on to the GM letting them know how much he was appreciated.

IMG_0518 Breakfast

IMG_0519Breakfast

IMG_0523Lounge offerings!

IMG_0513More lounge offerings.

My wife really liked this hotel after leaving the W!  She would much prefer here as its a little more luxurious feeling and not so trendy/hip.

PointsPinnacle Breakdown

We stayed 4 nights at the Conrad.  The first two nights I used a combination of cash and points! So I used 25,000 Hilton Honors points per night plus 1007.57 HKD (which is $136). Only 50,000 Hilton points and about $270 for the 1st two nights at the Conrad!!

conrad1

Rate confirmation above and currency converter below.

converter

For the 3rd and 4th nights at the Conrad I simply used both of my free night certificates from the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve card signup bonus. These nights have to be used on the weekend so I used them on Friday and Saturday nights!  So these were “free” or the equivalent of 50,000 points per night at the time of the booking (Hilton has since devalued their points substantially however the free night certs can be used at most Hilton properties up to category 10).

conrad2

Rate confirmation for Friday and Saturday night above.

All in all, 4 nights at the Conrad for $270 out of pocket!!! Typical rates of $350 per night! Below is a random weekend date in Feb 2014. You can see the best possible rate is $383/night with full prepayment required!

Conrad3

I love that our points can help get us 5 star accommodations all over the world!!

Thanks for reading and up next is the finale of the trip-Cathay Pacific Business Class to Chicago!

-pointspinnacle

 

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 8) Activities in Hong Kong

 

Activities in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a lot of energy and tons of people almost everywhere you go!  We had the chance to explore quite a bit, however in the end, Hong Kong wore us out!!   Everyday we did at least some type of excursion or made sure to see some of the sites.

The Big Buddha

We took the subway over to the Island where the Big Buddah resides.  It was the longest subway ride we took while in Hong Kong requiring getting off the train twice if I recall from Kowloon.  Typically you can then take a cable car over the land all the way up to the statue but it was down while we were visiting! The alternative is a long, slow and winding bus ride but we made it to Lan Tau Island!!

DSC02264

DSC02289

Continue reading

United Lounge Pass Giveaway!!!

Hi everyone! I realized I have 6 United lounge passes that expire 11-30-13! I know these expire soon but Im sure there are many people traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays that can still use them. I am going to be giving away 3 sets of 2 passes each!!

How to enter:

  1. Leave one comment below telling me why you want the United passes. You MUST leave your comment by Saturday at 9PM central standard time.
  2. Follow me on twitter @points pinnacle. You MUST follow me on twitter and tweet telling me why you want the United passes. Include the “#pointspinnaclegiveaway”

I will pick one winner from the comments and two winners from twitter.  I will choose completely random! Again this giveaway ends Saturday11-23 at 9pm central time!! No exceptions.

I will mail these on Monday morning using overnight mail and hopefully people will have them Tuesday.  I cannot guarantee when you will receive them but at the latest you would get them is Wednesday depending on where you live in the US.

Thanks for visiting and good luck!  Checkout the blog and I hope to grow it and add tons of content soon!!

-pointspinnacle

 

Trip Report: Hong Kong and Bali (part 7) W Hotel Hong Kong

 

 

W Hong Kong

So this being our second time arriving at Hong Kong International Airport we knew the drill.  We hopped on the airport express and exited at  Kowloon station.  From there you take the elevators up however you don’t need to get a shuttle bus to the W since its conveniently located above the Kowloon stop and elements mall. So we just followed the signs to the W.

Checkin was a breeze, there was a small line of maybe 2 people. The hotel lobby is not on ground floor but the 2nd floor I recall.  The W staff was the most attentive W staff I have come across. They were offering to do pretty much everything which sometimes the W’s can be a lot of flash with less substance however the Hong Kong property was great all around. I had been in communication with the hotel director of rooms and requested an upgrade to harbor view if at all possible. When I was given the room key the front desk agent said I hope you enjoy your room but made no mention of an upgrade and I didnt ask. So I was pretty happy when I saw the room was indeed in the the corner when walking down the hallway.

We were given room 2717 which is a cool corner room.  It was kind of funny as there is a mirror directly in front of you as you open the door and I startled myself thinking I saw someone else in the room when it was just my reflection haha!  They had the music blasting as I walked in which isn’t a surprise since the W is more of a party hotel. The room was plenty big and had some interesting views out to Victoria Harbor.  Too bad the ICC building blocks a big portion of the view but that is a great building to have block some of your view at least.

DSC02236 Victoria Harbor view from the room-left of the ICC building.

DSC02237 Victoria Harbor view from the room-right of the ICC building.

DSC02238 Harbor activity   Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 6) Cathay Pacific Business Class DPS-HKG

 

Journey to Hong Kong

CX 784 DPS-HKG
June 24 2013
Departure: 4:45pm
Seat 88k

We were sad to leave Bali but at the same time excited to experience Hong Kong.  We were driven from Sayan to the airport in a new BMW X5.  The driver removed our bags and we were on our way. The day before this flight I checked BA.com to see if there were any available business class seats as I had originally booked economy seats with Avios originally.  Sure enough, due to an equipment swap to a 747 a bunch of business class seats opened up. I had to pay to upgrade and I debated for a minute and asked my wife what she preferred (she didnt care). I figured to get to fly in the upper deck and and get the better service and product it was worth it.

The line for checkin was huge for economy class and that right there made my decision to upgrade a good one.  We were given our boarding passes and lounge passes.  We stopped in the lounge for a bit to grab a snack and check it out.

DSC02223Lounge food

DSC02224Part of the lounge

DSC02227747 business class upper deck. Straight ahead is the flight deck.   Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 5) Four Seasons Sayan

 

Four Seasons Sayan

The final installment of the Bali portion of the trip report will be detailing the lovely Four Seasons Sayan. While we stayed 4 nights in Jimbaran Bay we then moved to Four Seasons Sayan for 3 nights.  They are really very different resorts with a very different feel. The Sayan property is set in a lush, tropical jungle setting.  Walking into the property amazing and it really knows how to make an entrance.  When you arrive you are greeted and given a small flower and escorted across a long suspended bridge over to the main building entrance. Here are some pictures of the property.

DSC01978Arrival deck.

DSC01980Walking down to the lobby bar level.

DSC02017Lobby seating (getting set up for a Balinese dance in the lobby).

DSC02022More lobby seating.   Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 4) Bali Activities and Excursions

 

BALI ACTIVITIES AND EXCURSIONS

We ventured outside of the resort area everyday and simply booked the Four Seasons provided transportation.  Now this can get to be pricey however the accommodations are great and our primary driver became like a good friend to us! Not only do they drive you around but he was able to tell us very personal stories of Bali and even his private life at home.  He told us about how bad the economy was back in 2002/3 when there were terrorists bombings in Kuta and how much the Balinese people struggled since so many jobs are directly tied to tourism.

The drivers can escort you on your excursions and take pictures of you if you would like.

DSC01645 Entrance

DSC01646We enjoyed the views!

The location of the temple is beautiful right on a cliffs edge! We were told to go around dusk for the best scenery and to stay for the Kecak performance and I would recommend that for the best views and pictures.

DSC01661 A young bride and groom-a perfect spot for wedding photos.

DSC01665Uluwatu perched at the edge of the cliff.    Continue reading