Sunday, November 25, 2012

Summer of Travel 2012: China (Part 5 - JW Marriott Beijing)

(Don't forget to check out Part 1, United BusinessFirst JFK-SFO-PVG here, Part 2, Westin Bund Center Shanghai here, Part 3, Shanghai to Beijing here, and Part 4, St. Regis Beijing here)

Though I'm a pretty devoted Starwood fan, I was traveling with a colleague on my trip to China, and Marriott was his program of choice. If this had been a short trip of only a few days I probably would've pulled rank, but given that we were spending over a week in China (and across two cities), I thought it was only fair to throw a few Marriott nights into the mix. Hence my last stop, the JW Marriott Beijing.

I'd never stayed in a JW before, so I was excited to check it out.

Beijing is enormous. So despite the fact that it looked to be pretty close to the St. Regis on the map, it ended up being about a 10 minute taxi ride. My first impression was quite favorable, as the lobby area was very nice:

Lobby area at the JW Marriott Beijing

After checking in, I was escorted up to my room and got settled in.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Uh Oh - Turns Out Frequent Flyer Programs Are Just a Big Scam!

I know, I know - I'm as shocked as you are. But apparently it's true!

Guess we'd all better go ahead and cut up our cards and let our miles expire. You all go ahead, I'll be right behind you ;)

(HT View From the Wing)

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why I'm Status-Matching to Virgin America

Virgin America is currently offering a status match to frequent flyers with elite status on United or American. United Premier 1K or Premier Platinum matches to Virgin's Elevate Gold status, as does Executive Platinum on American. UA Gold, UA  Silver, AA Platinum, and AA Gold all match to Elevate Silver.

I've only flown Virgin America once before, on a red eye back from a bachelor party in Las Vegas a few years ago. It was nice enough, but I can't see myself flying them much in the future. Their route map is pretty limited, and the only direct flights from New York are to Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (things are much better if you live near LAX or SFO). Side note: that's why it never made sense to me that the management consultants on Showtime's House of Lies fly Virgin America - I recognize that they're paying for that placement, but it just doesn't make any sense! They also always fly in wide bodies, even though Virgin America doesn't have any in their fleet - but don't get me started on that...

Silly Showtime, management consultants don't fly Virgin America!

In addition, their Elevate program doesn't really appeal to me since you earn miles based on how much you spend, rather than how far you fly (similar to Southwest and JetBlue). The only way to build up a nice, big stash of miles is to spend a lot of money, and I just don't see that happening for me - especially given the limited route network (as previously mentioned).

All that said, I did jump on this match offer and here's why...