Pic: Bart at the Brooklyn Bridge Walkway in New York (Jan 2014)
Back in Nov 2013, a Flyertalk member reported it was possible to book all United flights without fuel surcharges via Norwegian site Wideroe. As fuel surcharges can make up a significant portion of the cost an airline ticket, the airfares at United were greatly reduced by this error. After some quick search queries, I found tickets from Amsterdam to New York for as low as €122 round trip! I wasn’t convinced the fares would be honored, as Wideroe was a small website and thousands of tickets were booked throughout the weekend of Nov 23-24. Turned out, a Wideroe employee had posted the error on Flyertalk, as they had figured out the problem wasn’t at their site, but at GDS Amadeus. In the end, the fares were honored and I traveled from Amsterdam to New York for just €122! The two United flights also earned me 7278 status miles with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. As of 2014, I’ve switched from Lufthansa Miles & More to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles for most of my Star Alliance revenue flights, as M&M drastically reduced the number of miles earned on economy flights. The United flights of this trip (booking class K) would have earned only 25% of the flown miles at Lufthansa Miles & More versus 100% of the flown miles at Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. Turkish Airlines status matches elite cards from other airlines, including Star Alliance partners. I status matched my Lufthansa Miles & More Senator card with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Elite, both Star Alliance Gold cards.
Pic: View on Empire State Building from my room 1704 at Holiday Inn Midtown 31st St.
For my two night stay in New York (Jan 17-19), I booked two IHG properties. On Friday night I stayed at Hotel Indigo Brooklyn, on Saturday night at Holiday Inn Midtown 31st St. Both hotels offer an exceptional rate with includes 25,000 IHG Rewards Club bonus points. The fact you get 25K bonus points per stay might not always be exceptional price wise, as the rate is substantially higher than the lowest available rate. However, what makes the rate exceptional is the 25K bonus points count as elite qualifying points. With 60,000 elite qualifying points in one calendar year you (re-)qualify for IHG Rewards Club Platinum status. My two stays in New York City earned me 54180 elite qualifying points (4180 base points + 50K bonus points) which is only 5820 points short of re-qualifying as Platinum member!
Macchiato and Banana Cake at Culture Espresso near Bryant Park (Jan 2014)
Some of the nice venues/parks I discovered during my weekend trip:
Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn)
Bryant Park (Manhattan)
Mile End Delicatessen (Brooklyn)
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (Brooklyn)
Cafe Luluc (Breakfast, Brooklyn)
Food Gallery 32 (Korean & Japanese, Manhattan)
El Centro (Mexican, Manhattan)
Culture Espresso (Coffee, Manhattan)