After living in Honolulu for three years, my wife and I pretty much go back there once a year to catch up with friends and see what has changed. Here , here and here are some past posts. We do try and stay at a different property every time in order to try new things. This time we got a good deal at the DoubleTree at Alana-Waikiki. This property is located away from most of the major hotels on the strip and is right across from Ft. DeRussey. The advantage to military members is that it is close enough to walk over and use all the amenities at the Hale Koa whenever you want. I used a free weekend night cert from the Citi Honors CC to save about $200 on our stay.
Its a nice ten minute walk to the beach if you go through Ft. DeRussey.
Like a lot of Hawaiian properties, check-in is on the second floor, not the first.
Our King beg was quite nice and comfortable.
The rest of the room was good sized by Honolulu standards, but some folks might think it is small if they didn’t realize how expensive floor space is in Hawaii.
I did like the bathroom and the closet with a safe in it.
We were on the 14th floor (upgraded due to Diamond status) with nice views. Kind of junky if you look down, but keep your eyes on the mountains or ocean and you are fine.
The hotel has an outdoor lap pool and a decent gym.
A change from the past is that the complimentary breakfast is a full breakfast, not a continental one as in the past. It was quite good and you could get eggs cooked to order.
On the whole a very nice, reasonably priced, property at a good location. My only complaint was the slowness of the elevators, but at least they are working on that problem!
I had reviewed this lounge in its previous version a few years ago when it was an Aspire lounge. It was a pay for play lounge which obviously didn’t get enough customers and closed a couple of years ago. Now it has been completely renovated and opened as The Club. The Club is a rapidly spreading chain of private lounges that take Priority Pass for admittance. I was really glad when they re-opened this lounge as it really sucks to wait around for your flight in the main terminal seating. I guess you could call me spoiled. I also like the fact that Alaska moved their flights to the D Terminal from the C Terminal to be closer to this lounge. So let’s check this out.
The directions say they are at Gat D10, but it is really closer to D11 so keep walking until you see this sign.
Show your card and sign at the front desk and enter. It is not the largest lounge in the world – but it is the only one in the domestic terminals at BWI.
Even though it is small, there was plenty of room for my wife and I.
There was a nice variety of food, but it was mostly cold food. I did like the fact that they had granola bars to grab and have on the plane.
Not to mention the essential coffee machine
Even though they are not part of an airline, they have a nice board to make sure you don’t miss your flight.
So this lounge definitely gets my recommendation whenever you need to travel through BWI.
Courtesy of one of our readers, and occasional contributor, Chuck. Here are four Delta Have One On Us drink coupons. They expire on 15 Dec, so make sure you are flying before then. Same rules as before, simply reply to this post and I will randomly draw names and email the vouchers to those lucky few.
I have four AS Gold Guest Upgrades that expire 12/31/17 and will give them away to people posting a reply to this post. These upgrade certificates are actually more valuable than in the past because Alaska has reduced their F class from four rows to three on most flights. They did this to install Premium Economy in the first few rows of Economy which have increased legroom along with drinks and snacks. Kind of a poor man’s F. My wife, who is a MVPGold75K and myself, merely MVP Gold, have had a harder time getting free upgraded due to the reduced F seating. That means using one of these Gold Guest Upgrades is more valuable since you jump ahead of all of us waiting elites. To be fair, when I say it is harder, that means my wife’s upgrade % went from 90% upgraded to only 75% upgraded so it is still really good to be an elite on Alaska! As a mere Gold, I was upgraded 95% last year (got lucky), but only 75% this year.
I have had an issue in the past where people grabbed these because they were free, but then never used them (yes, I can tell if they are used). So this year, the rules are that I will notify the winners on Sunday and then you have two weeks to book a flight, otherwise they go to another random person who posted a reply. I just feel that is fair. Remember that when you book the flight, you can’t use them on the cheapest fair. You need to check the “Gold Guest Upgrade” box to see eligible fares. This will bring up a separate column with the eligible fare class. Also, note the “F” for each leg. Colored in “F” boxes mean it is immediately available for an upgrade to F, but a non-colored in box means you are on the list for an upgrade.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them.
I have flown my fair share of business class, but Emirates exceeded all my expectations – no surprise if you have ever flown Emirates. My first flight ever with Emirates was in 2002 and I was on a full Y fare and then upgrade into Business. Only they didn’t tell me that I had been upgraded so I thought this was their Coach and was extremely impressed! Back then, Business was a reclining seat and nice food. The flight I took with my wife showed just how far they have gone into making Business an unbelievably fantastic experience.
Taking two shots of the seat, you can see the nice seat right next to a mini-bar.
What looks like a TV in this photo is actually the tablet which controls everything in your cabin. The papers in this photo are the menu for dinner and a sheet to fill out for what you want for breakfast.
The dinner arrived and was really something to enjoy.
Apologies for the darkness of the photos, but everything was spectacular.
I am showing you the amenity kits, the woman’s on the left and the men’s on the right. Similar except for the compact vice the shaving gear.
Wandering around the cabin, I loved the circular bar and lounge area in Business Class. Made me feel like I was on a 747 in the 1970’s!
When I returned, the FA had set up my bed. Time to get some sleep. I don’t think I have ever had 8 hours of great sleep on a plane before…
We spent a lot of Alaska miles to get this trip, but it was totally worth it in my opinion.
Here is our annual list of all the various free meals that veterans can get. I wanted to get this out a few days in advance so you can plan for where you want to go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – or all three! Use this as an excuse to take a veteran to a meal to thank him or her for their service. If you know of other meal deals, please post them as a reply.
Note the date of each deal as they are not all on 11 November and several have specific times. Be prepared to show an ID verifying you are eligible. Pretty easy for those of us still serving, but veterans should show a Driver’s License with veteran status on it, or a VA card, even a DD214 should do. Most of the time, they just take your word for it, but you don’t want to be called out in a restaurant because you couldn’t prove it. Enjoy!
Denny’s – 0500-1200, 10 Nov., Free Build Your Own Grand Slam Breakfast
IHOP – 10 Nov., Free Red, White, and Blue pancakes
BJ’s Restaurant – 10 & 11 Nov., Any meal under $12.95 is complimentary along with an alcoholic drink worth up to $6 if you are over 21.
Spaghetti Warehouse – 10-12 Nov., BOGO free on any entrée. You need to print out the coupon on their website. http://www.meatballs.com/
Applebee’s – 11 Nov., Free meal from special menu
Black Angus – Opening – 1500, 11 Nov., Free top sirloin steak dinner and non-alcoholic beverage
Bob Evans – 11 Nov., Free select menu items
California Pizza Kitchen – 11 Nov., Free items from special menu
Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – 11 Nov., Free 8 0z. steak dinner
Chevy’s – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Complimentary Fresh Mex 3-item Combo
Chuck E. Cheese – 11 Nov., Free cheese pizza
Cici’s Pizza – 11 Nov., Free pizza buffet
Cracker Barrel – 11 Nov., Complimentary Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake
Dunkin’ Donuts – 11 Nov., Free donut
Famous Dave’s BBQ – 11 Nov., Free two meat combo
Friendly’s – 11 Nov., Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Green Turtle – 11 Nov., Free meal up to $12 or $12 off a more expensive meal
Hooters – 11 Nov., Free meal
Logan’s Roadhouse – 11 No., Free American Roadhouse Meal. Not valid in CA, NC, SC or Augusta, GA. Note that vets always get 10% off throughout the year.
Little Caesar’s Pizza – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Free $5 lunch combo
Menchie’s Frozen yogurt – 11 Nov., Free 6 oz. yogurt
Mimi’s Café – 11 Nov., Free items from special menu
Mission BBQ – 11 Nov., Free sandwich and slice of cake (while it lasts). On a personal note, try to eat here at noon on any given day and watch what happens!
On the Border – 11 Nov., Free combo meal
Outback Steakhouse – 11 Nov., Free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage
Outback Steakhouse – 12-16 Nov., military members get 20% off
Outback Steakhouse – 17 Nov. onwards, Military, police, and fire get 10% off
Ponderosa Steakhouse – 1600-close, 11 Nov., Free buffet
Red Lobster – 11 Nov., Free appetizer or dessert
Ruby’s – 11 Nov., Free adult entrée
Ruby Tuesday – 11 Nov., Free appetizer
Shoney’s – 0600-1100, 11 Nov., Free All You Care to Eat breakfast
Sizzler – Before 1600, 11 Nov., Free lunch and beverage
Texas Roadhouse – 11 Nov., Free special veterans lunch
TGI Fridays – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Free lunch
UNO – 11 Nov., Free entrée or individual pizza
Village Inn – 11 Nov., Free Inn-Credible breakfast
White Castle – 11 Nov., Free breakfast combo or Combo Meal #1-6
Wienerschnitzel – 11 Nov., Free chilidog with small fries and small Pepsi
World of Beer – 11 Nov., Free beer or $5 off check
Golden Corral – 1700-2100, 13 Nov., Free dinner
Country Cookin’ – 1400-2000, 14 Nov., Free meal
Not sure why Chipotle picked 1700-closing on 7 Nov for their Veterans’ Day Deal, but it is here and you should take advantage of it. Open to any military (active, guard or reserve), veterans, and even military spouses. Buy one burrito, bowl, salad, or taco and get another one free. I will generously offer to take my wife out for dinner tonight…
Using our AS miles for a Business Class flight from BUD to DXB and then on to IAD two days later was costly in terms of miles, but the 105K miles were worth it. One of the benefits that I really enjoyed was enjoying the Emirates’ Business Class Lounge at DXB. We lived in Dubai from 2000 to 2002 and we enjoyed the old Business Class Lounge (you only had to be Silver in the Emirates program to get access), but this new lounge was over the top. If you are familiar with Dubai, “over the top” should surprise no one.
Business or First passengers get sped through the terminal. A short walk through Duty-Free gets you to the entrance to the lounge. So I should probably start out by explaining how different the Emirates lounges are. They cover the entire floor of the terminal. Yes, each one. This photo should explain it well.
See the Duty-Free on the bottom floor,, then the next level up is the First Class Lounge, then the level I am on is the Business Class Lounge. Why does each lounge cover the entire terminal? Because you load the aircraft directly from the lounge!
So when you enter the lounge, they actually need to direct which way to go so you are close to your boarding gate ass shown by this sign. We arrive six hours before our flight so they apologized that they only had half the lounge open.
Needless to stay the lounge is expansive. Plenty of sub-divided areas make it seem more intimate than the size would suggest.
They have several kids areas. So plenty to keep the kids occupied if you are spoiling your kids by flying them in Emirates Business.
And several areas to take a nap. Note the blanket and eye mask that come with each lounger. Note that some are more secluded than others, so look for those behind a screen if you don’t want to be disturbed. Just make sure you tell your spouse where to find you!
And there is food, plenty of food. There are at least four major dining areas where the staff will serve you what they have on hand.
You’ll notice that the bar is co-located with the food and the staff is happy to serve you whatever they have in a bottle.
And for desert, help yourself to all the Haagen-Daz you can handle!
I should mention that the bathrooms all have toothbrushes and shaving kits if you want one. We spent six hours here and ate more than I care to remember – four time I think? Anyway, time to board the flight and enjoy the good life even more,..
We splurged on Emirates Business Class on the way back from Budapest with a stopover in Dubai. We lived in Dubai 15 years ago and hadn’t been back since. We heard it might have changed just a little…
For our stay, I got a good deal at the Conrad Dubai located near the head of Sheikh Zayed Highway. For a reasonable fee, the hotel sent us a driver to pick us up at the airport and take us to the Conrad at one in the morning.
As expected, opulence is the key to any hotel in Dubai.
We were given an upgrade to a deluxe room on the 41st floor due to my Hilton Diamond status.
On the right of the second photo, that is a window into the bathroom with shades that you can raise or lower by remote control. A little weird, but hey, it’s Dubai…
The bathroom was very large with both a bath and a shower. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without terry-clothed robes.
The manager gave us little candies and dates along with a whole bowl of fruit which we couldn’t finish even over our two day stay.
We faced the ocean, but the haze only allowed us to see the neighborhoods around the hotel. Pretty typical for Dubai.
The executive Lounge was both well-stocked and spacious. Spent a lot of time up here.
The Dubai Metro station is directly in front of the hotel and connected by a walkway. Made getting up and down Sheikh Zayed Highway very easy. You can visit several malls by taking the Metro.
It was great to get back to Dubai after so many years. The Conrad was a great hotel and I would stay there again if given a chance to go back. Everyone in the hotel treated us wonderfully.