Category Archives: United

SEA 2014: Booking a Round-the-World Award for My Sister

For my Southeast Asia trip, I met my sister in Bangkok as she had considerably more time to travel last summer than I did. She was planning on going to numerous places throughout the summer and had briefly mentioned to me the idea that she was going to buy a round-the-world cash ticket for many thousands of dollars. I told her to NOT buy anything before consulting with me, as I knew that she had a small stash of United miles that could be put to very good use given United’s generous award routing rules.

Here’s the list of places she wanted to go:
Tel Aviv
Bangkok
Awesome time with me in Southeast Asia starting in Hanoi and ending in Singapore
Tokyo
Taipei
Bali

The bulk of this itinerary was booked as two awards:
1) USA to TLV (stopover) to BKK; (open jaw) DPS to USA for 65k United miles in coach (pre-deval)
2) SIN to HND; (open jaw) TPE to DPS for 30k United miles in coach (pre-deval)

One “trick” that I employed is that travel from North America to the Middle East (USA to TLV in this case) is more expensive than travel from North America to South Asia. BUT, you can transit the Middle East on the way to South Asia, and South Asia is a more powerful zone than the Middle East (terminology taken from TravelIsFree), which means that by making TLV the stopover on the way to BKK, I saved my sister miles. (One caveat to note is that you can’t transit the same airport more than once while going one direction of travel. In this case, the most convenient routing was through VIE to get to TLV from the US, as well as to fly through VIE again to get from TLV to BKK, but that’s a no-no, so I had to reroute her through IST on the way to TLV from the US so I could use VIE as a transit to get to BKK).

I didn’t completely “maximize” the awards, as she still has one stopover leftover in the second award. She could have done something like, SIN to HND (open jaw); ICN to TPE (stopover); TPE to DPS (implicit open jaw since you didn’t return to SIN) if she had wanted to also tack on a visit to Korea.

Even though United miles aren’t as good for premium cabin travel after the devaluation, coach prices haven’t risen too much, and the routing rules are still generous for roundtrip travel. By taking advantage of the one stopover and two open jaws, you can visit many more destinations. If you’re interested in more stuff like this, I strongly suggest you read the complete guide to United routing rules on Travel Is Free.

SEA 2014: United Global First Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT)

The United lounges at NRT and HKG are regularly cited as the best United lounges in their network, which is perhaps more a testament to the fact that US lounges are pretty crappy. But on my layover at NRT between my two Singapore Suites flights, I decided to stop by the United Global First lounge to check it out (I have previously reviewed the United business class lounge at NRT) before heading to the more renowned ANA Suite Lounge.

To get to the Global First Lounge, you need to go up a floor from the normal United Club. There’s an elevator just inside the entrance to the club, and the lounge dragons will tell you if you’re eligible to go up. Essentially, you need to be flying first class on a Star Alliance airline to get in.

Elevator up to the Global First Lounge

Elevator up to the Global First Lounge

The Global First Lounge is a nicer replica of the business class lounge underneath. It’s a large open space with tons of seating and some nice apron views. While the United Club can get very crowded given that it’s open to business class passengers, people with United Club memberships, Star Alliance Gold members, and people willing to shell out for a day pass (or who have free day passes courtesy of a credit card), the Global First Lounge is a relative wasteland since it’s the same size with a small fraction of the number of passengers. I think I saw three other passengers during my visit.

Quite similar to the business class lounge downstairs

Quite similar to the business class lounge downstairs

But so much less crowded

But so much less crowded

With maybe a couple more design flairs

With maybe a couple more design flairs

And much more peace and quiet

And much more peace and quiet

I think people generally get excited about the United lounges in NRT and HKG because they offer more food options than the United Clubs found in the US. While there are more food options, none of them looked particularly appetizing to me. And the sushi is definitely some of the worst sushi I’ve ever eaten.

A taste of Amurrrica

A taste of Amurrrica (chicken nuggets)

Dumplings

Dumplings

Don't know why people get excited about this food...

Don’t know why people get excited about this food…

More food

More food

Hard liquor

Hard liquor

Beer machines

Beer machines

Wines

Wines

I did end up taking a shower at the United lounge instead of the ANA lounge because I feel like the ANA showers can get a little too toasty.

Shower room

Shower room

If you have access to the United Global First Lounge, then you have access to the ANA Suite Lounges, and in almost all cases, I’d choose the ANA lounge over the United lounge, but that’s mostly because the food at the ANA lounge is significantly better than the food here. This lounge was very peaceful and quiet (even the ANA Suite lounge can feel overcrowded), and I do enjoy the apron views. I was also pleasantly surprised by the service in this lounge, and they speak English in this lounge by default, if that matters. All in all, if you want to eat, go to the ANA lounge, but otherwise, I’d go to this lounge again if it were more convenient for my departure gate.

Thailand 2014: United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco (JFK to SFO)

Introduction
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge The Pier Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Patara Elephant Farm
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai to Ko Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Check-in and Lounge Bangkok
EVA Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok
Louis’ Tavern First Class CIP Lounge Bangkok
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Suites Seoul to New York
United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco


UA 642
New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)
Depart: 11:30am
Arrive: 2:57pm
Duration: 6h 27m
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Seat: 3A

I’ve previously reviewed United’s PS Service between JFK and SFO, but this was my first flight with the new seats (which aren’t that new by now). Disclaimer: I was really, really tired by the time I got on this flight, so this flight review will be short, as I essentially passed out after the meal service and didn’t wake up until we were landing.

The seating configuration is 2×2 in business class. I had a window seat for this leg, and it definitely feels narrower than the aisle seats. The footwell seems narrower, and the under-seat storage is smaller. Even though I normally don’t like sitting in the bulkhead, the bulkhead on these planes on the lefthand side seems to have much wider footwells, so I’d try to get 1A or 1B in the future.

PS Seats

PS Seats

Foot cubby and IFE screen

Foot cubby and IFE screen

Outlets and some storage

Outlets and some storage

Seat controls

Seat controls

The IFE was responsive and had a large selection for a domestic flight. The programming was also started on the ground, which I really appreciate (like what else are you supposed to do during boarding if you take advantage of earlier boarding?), although it cut out once we started moving. There was also a nice pillow and blanket at every seat, and I was offered a pre-departure beverage, menu, ear plugs, eye mask, and toothbrush. These touches definitely make the flight seem much more like an international flight.

PS Service menu

PS Service menu

I had pre-ordered a VGML, and I have to admit that I think that United serves the best VGMLs of any airline that I’ve tried (well, maybe Singapore does a better job, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare Singapore Suites to United business). The vegetarian food is hearty (i.e. not just vegetables) and flavored decently. The appetizer was a salad and some lentils, and the entree was some vaguely Indian chickpeas with vegetables and cous cous. Nothing crazy or wonderfully delicious, but it’s all reasonably healthy and fine, and it’s actually enough food and calories to keep me satisfied for 5 hours.

VGML appetizer

VGML appetizer

VGML main course

VGML main course

As I said before, after the meal service, I passed out until we got to San Francisco. The seat does go fully flat, and as long as you’re okay with the slightly narrow/cramped seat, it’s pretty comfortable.

Foot space when fully reclined

Foot space when fully reclined

I’m actually a little disappointed that I slept for most of the flight since the service on this flight was probably the best service I’ve ever had on United. The crew was wonderful, and they did things that I generally only associate with Asian carriers like calling me by name when I deplaned.

I still have yet to fly American’s A321 from JFK to SFO, but United’s ps service is a solid product.

Random Thoughts on 2/3/14

I’m going to be on vacation (actual vacation!) for the next two weeks, so expect more sporadic posts. In general, this blog is increasingly hard for me to update with real content given my work and travel schedules, so I’m not sure exactly what to do. I clearly don’t have the capacity to make it a one-stop shop like many of the other blogs, but I also want to write more than just trip reports, which is all I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks. I’m thinking of briefer posts that touch on things that are on my mind. I also have a number of friends who say they want to read my blog to learn more about the miles and points world, and I know that I do a bad job for beginners, so I’ll try to work on that.

Here’s what’s on my mind now:

1) I jumped on the Citi Executive AAdvantage card for 100,000 miles after $10,000 of spend in 3 months, $450 annual fee, and $200 statement credit. I got the card in the mail Saturday morning, went to CVS and bought 10 Vanilla Reloads, and am halfway to the minimum spend requirement. I love that I didn’t have to call Citi about the charge (on the other hand, I hate US Bank for constantly declining my Club Carlson cards). I’m debating whether or not to try to go for $40,000 of spend for the 10k bonus AA EQMs, as I’m mostly debating whether or not to try to hit AA Executive Platinum for next year. I currently have about 50k EQMs booked, but I just don’t know if it’s rational for me to really fly 100k paid miles on AA every year. I would probably just do it if there were a closer source of VRs to me, but I think I need to get in a car (which I don’t have) to find them reliably, which makes this proposition less appealing.

2) I really don’t think that you’ll be able to combine EQMs from American and US Airways for status on American next year. Most bloggers seem to think otherwise, but I don’t understand why since you can credit flights to either program for EQMs. Why would they allow this AND allow you to combine EQMs? Seems like too good of a deal to be true.

3) I am constantly reminded of how much United sucks and how good of a decision it was to switch to American. I helped a friend book a flight from Thailand to the US, and Thai decided to cancel one of his flights and move him to a flight that left him a 5-minute connection in Hong Kong. Clearly, this doesn’t work, but United didn’t even email him to tell him his itinerary was now impossible. Thankfully, I was able to fix things, but I honestly don’t understand how normal flyers deal with United.

4) More United bashing: a reader told me that a United agent told him about new restrictions that will be placed on United awards along with the devaluation. If this turns out to be true, I think anyone who burned most of their United stash will be very glad that they did…

Review: United Club Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT)

The United Club in Tokyo Narita was actually the very first airport lounge that I had ever visited. At the time, I was amazed that you could shower at the airport and that there was free food (although the food was devoured almost instantly whenever a server would put out more food as the lounge was extremely full).

Returning to this lounge on my most recent visit, my expectations weren’t very high as I’ve since been to some awesome lounges like the Emirates First Class Terminal in Dubai, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, and the Qatar First Class Premium Terminal in Doha. This lounge offers some great tarmac views, and it’s a pretty large space, but it’s often ridiculously crowded, and it can be hard to find a good seat.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by my visit to the United Club this time. It’s definitely showing its age, and the lounge was still crowded, but there were definitely seats available, including some coveted seats by the windows.

Seating

Seating

Coveted window seats

Coveted window seats

One thing I was a little surprised by was the fact that there were very, very few Asian people in the lounge. It honestly felt like I was back in the US. Is this just because all of the Japanese people go to the ANA lounges?

Even though I had already showered at the United Club in Hong Kong, I figured I might as well take another shower in Narita. The United Club in Tokyo has many showers, and this time I didn’t have to wait at all to get a shower room.

Shower

Shower

I was glad to see that there are more food options than there were when I last visited the club. The first time around, people were stalking the servers waiting for the one plate of sushi to come out, and it would be gone almost instantly. Now, in addition to sushi and edamame, they have things like noodles and soups. For what it’s worth, there are two main food stations, one with more savory foods and the other with more sweet foods, so definitely check out both stations.

Beer machine

Beer machine

Alcohol

Alcohol

Sushi

Sushi

Edamame

Edamame

Noodles

Noodles

Soups

Soups

Desserts

Desserts

This United Club is a little old and could use some updates, but the amenities offered are better than just about any other United Club. It can get quite crowded at times, but it’s still a good place to take a shower, grab a beer, and eat some food. That being said, I would almost always choose the ANA lounge over the United Club, so unless you’re getting lounge access through a day pass or a United Club membership, I would probably head to an ANA lounge instead.

Review: United Club Hong Kong (HKG)

The United Club at the Hong Kong airport is supposed to be one of the best United Clubs out there, so I was excited to check it out when I flew out of Hong Kong back to the US.

Entrance to the United Club

Entrance to the United Club

Upon entering the lounge, I asked to take a shower, as I got to the airport pretty early and didn’t have the chance to take one before I left. Since it was quite early in the day, the lounge wasn’t crowded at all and the shower was free, so the desk agent led me to the shower immediately. There’s only one shower available, so you might have to wait a while later in the day if you want to use it, but then again, Hong Kong isn’t a huge Star Alliance connection point.

The shower room and the shower itself were large, and the water temperature and pressure were good. The only negative was that the shower room smelled a little funky when I entered.

Shower room

Shower room

After showering, I checked out the food options, and I don’t think I’ve seen any United Club with more food offerings than the United Club in Hong Kong. There were a couple of salads, some snacks, pastries, several hot food options, and a sushi bar.

Salad bar

Salad bar

Alcohol selection

Alcohol selection

Pastries

Pastries

One of the hot food dishes

One of the hot food dishes

Sushi bar

Sushi bar

The food wasn’t particularly good (the scrambled eggs looked disgusting, and the sushi was pretty terrible), but at least they offered more than just snacks, and I was able to put together a decent breakfast with the food offerings.

The club also offers ample seating, or at least when I was there in that morning there was plenty of room. It did not feel overcrowded at all, unlike almost any other United Club that I’ve been to. There are also pretty nice views of the tarmac, if you like to watch planes.

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

View of the apron

View of the apron

My only other complaint about the club was the wifi. Every 5 minutes or so, I’d have to reconnect as the wifi would cut out, and I’m not sure if I was the only person having the problem. But otherwise, yes, the United Club in Hong Kong is one of the nicest United Clubs I’ve been to, but that’s only because domestic airport lounges in the US are almost all not very nice. Compared to other international lounges, the United Club is decidedly mediocre in terms of the food offerings, but the space is nice, and I appreciated the views and ample seating.

United.com No Longer Showing Singapore Award Space

I was searching for award space on SQ 2 from Hong Kong to San Francisco for a friend in economy class, and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t even SEE the flight on United.com, especially since I found space on ANA’s website (which does show availability for economy space, just not for premium cabins on long-haul routes).

Well, I wasn’t going crazy, as UA Insider has posted on Flyertalk that they’re no longer going to display Singapore Airlines award inventory at all starting December 13th.

Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you an early heads up about an upcoming change to the Star partner award availability you see displayed online. Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines inventory from our award flight search results on united.com and on the United Mobile App. This will take effect starting tomorrow, December 13, You will still to be able to book and change award reservations involving Singapore Airlines by calling our reservations lines.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines

United is continuously making me glad that I decided to leave them for American.

Burn, United (Miles), Burn: United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco

Introduction
Planning
United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco


UA 504
New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)
Tuesday, November 5th
Depart: 9:00am
Arrive: 12:35pm
Duration: 6h 35m
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 (old config)
Seat: 9B

This flight was on one of the few remaining old configuration United PS planes with three classes of seats, although it’s sold and served as two classes of service. I selected a seat in row 9, which is renowned for its unlimited leg room, and while not actually unlimited, it’s far more leg room than a single person could need. One of the other passengers in row 9 was at least 6’5″, and he had no problems, and you could probably lie down in the space between seats and still not reach the seat in front.

Old business class seats (not row 9)

Old business class seats (not row 9)

Unlimited leg room for row 9

Unlimited leg room for row 9

These planes and seats are definitely showing their age. The seat controls were pretty old school, and my seat mate was alarmed that some of the plane parts around the emergency exit seemed to be falling off.

Very old seat controls

Very old seat controls

Power ports and open storage space

Power ports and open storage space

The service on the flight was typical for a US carrier i.e. adequate but not great. They passed out the tablets used as in-flight entertainment soon after takeoff, and I asked if I could get one later if I declined to take one now, and they told me that no, they’d be too busy to give one to me later. Of course, later in the flight, since the cabin was only half full, they spent most of the flight sitting in row 5 and talking to each other…

In-flight entertainment

In-flight entertainment

The choices for breakfast were an omelette, french toast, or cereal, but I had pre-ordered an Asian vegetarian meal (well, when I called, I just asked for a vegetarian meal, but I’m pretty sure the phone agent was Asian and saw my Asian last name and said, “Asian vegetarian meal, right?”, and I just kinda went along with it). The AVML was some sort of chana masala-like chickpea sauce on top of fritters, which was pretty tasty for United food.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Asian vegetarian meal (AVML)

Asian vegetarian meal (AVML)

After eating, I tried to get some sleep. While the seat reclines very far back and there’s unlimited leg room, I could get the leg rest to go up very far, so the ample leg room went to waste. I slept okay for a recliner seat, but I’m looking forward to flying the flat-bed config early next year.

Seat 9B in reclined position

Seat 9B in reclined position

Overall, the flight was fine. Almost anything is going to be a let down after three long-haul flights in ANA and Lufthansa first class, but the food on this flight was decent enough and the in-flight entertainment kept me entertained when I chose to use it. The most remarkable parts of the flight were the very tall man also sitting in row 9 and my very talkative seat mate who had much more anxiety/neuroticism about flying than I would typically expect from someone flying in business class and seated in one of the best seats in the cabin.

Burn, United (Miles), Burn: United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)

Introduction
Planning
United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco


I’m not going to cover my domestic flights to get to Dulles, so I’m going to start off the trip report with the United Global First Lounge at Washington Dulles airport (IAD).

I generally don’t expect much from domestic lounges, but I was interested to see what a United Global First lounge was like, as one might assume that they’d have to be on par with international lounges since the only way to get access is to the lounge is to fly a Star Alliance flight in first class.

Entrance to the lounge, near the end of the C terminal around gate C2

Entrance to the lounge, near the end of the C terminal around gate C2

When I entered the lounge, the lounge attendant told me that the ANA lounge was open (by which she meant the Lufthansa lounge that ANA passengers use), and that while I was welcome to use the United First lounge, I should consider going to the B gates to go to the ANA lounge. I would normally take this to mean that I wasn’t really welcome, but after poking around the lounge, I think the attendant was trying to do me a favor because she knew that the United Global First lounge was a pretty disappointing lounge, particularly since it’s supposed to be for first class passengers.

At 8:30am on a Saturday, I was the only one there, and for the 15 minutes or so that I poked around, only one other person even attempted to come in (and he was denied access).

Completely empty lounge

Completely empty lounge

The food offerings were sparse for a first class lounge, although good compared to a domestic business lounge, which isn’t saying much. There were no hot options to be seen, and the continental/cold options for breakfast seemed a little sad to me. I did appreciate that there were some berries in the fruit plate instead of the conventional melon and unripe banana assortment. The drinks were self-service, but I wasn’t interested in trying anything after coming off a red-eye.

DSC03183

I'm assuming this fridge is usually fuller?

I’m assuming this fridge is usually fuller?

DSC03184 DSC03185

The lounge is small, although since the only way to get access is to fly first class on a Star Alliance flight, it should never get that crowded. There was a storage facility for luggage and a small business center where you could make copies, but there were no showers or other amenities.

Business center

Business center

After a quick walkthrough, I decided to leave for the Lufthansa lounge in Terminal B, mostly because there was nothing compelling to make me stay. I wanted a shower, which I couldn’t get in this lounge, there weren’t good views of the tarmac, and the food wasn’t particularly appetizing. Overall, disappointing for a first class lounge, but it’s a step up from your typical United Club.

Burn, United (Miles), Burn: Introduction

Introduction
Planning
United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco


By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the upcoming United devaluation/slaughter of their award chart (and if you haven’t, you need to start following other blogs). In all honesty, it’s really not that bad for most people who are just looking for economy redemptions, as most of those awards haven’t been increased that much. But the ugliness starts to appear in the business class redemptions, and the horror appears in first class redemptions.

Like any good travel blogger obsessed with miles and points, I aspire to try as many aspirational premium cabin products as possible, but since I’m relatively new to the scene, I haven’t actually tried that much. In my last trip around the world, I got to try Emirates, Qatar, and British Airways, and I have plans to try Cathay Pacific, Asiana, Thai, and Singapore in the coming months. But with news of the United devaluation, I saw the possibility of sampling Lufthansa and ANA disappearing.

Part of the reason why I haven’t tried Lufthansa or ANA is that both airlines generally don’t release much or any award space in first class in advance, and as someone who holds a full-time job, it’s hard to plan around the possibility of space opening up. In addition, I have a lot of travel booked in the next couple of months, so finding time to take an additional trip to burn my United miles before February 1, 2014 wasn’t looking promising.

But this weekend happens to be one of the better weekends in the next three months for me to take a spontaneous trip, so I started looking for award space for a trip around the world this weekend. Yes, I’m flying around the world again. My goal was to find space on Lufthansa first class, to depart out of Frankfurt in Lufthansa first class to experience the First Class Terminal, and to try out ANA’s First Square product on their Boeing 777-300ER.

I managed to find an itinerary that does exactly those things, with minimal other ugliness: I’ll try ANA First Class on the 777-300ER, Lufthansa First Class on the A380, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and Lufthansa First Class on the 747-400. The total trip cost: 140,000 United miles (I already had 70k in my account, and I transferred in 70k from Chase Ultimate Rewards), $94.40 in taxes and fees, and a $50 close-in booking fee (I’m United Silver). I also need a hotel room for one night in one city, and I’ll have public transportation costs in New York where I’m staying with a friend and in San Francisco to get to/from the airport.

Crazy? Yes, but so is the United devaluation for first class travel on Star Alliance partners. I’ll post my exact routing once this trip gets going. For now, I leave you with my theme song for this trip.