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Best last minute hotel booking apps + promo codes

In preparation of my TravelMagic 2013 presentation, I’ve been reviewing a number of last minute hotel booking apps.  I’ve selected 3 mobile applications which provide the best hotel deals.  Summary:
JustBook: Use voucher code ‘N24’ for €20 discount on your booking. (Update Oct 2013: N24 code expired, use ‘CJ2URGSCC’ for €10 discount on your first booking) 
You’ll also earn 500 Lufthansa Miles & More Award miles on your first booking + 2 miles per euro spent.
HotelTonight: Use promo code ‘BLAPERS’ for €20 discount on your first booking.
VeryLastRoom: Use promo code ‘$LAPERS’ for €15 discount on your first booking.

JustBook


The Justbook app offers discounted rates for hotels in +100 European cities which can be booked up to 7 days in advance.  The real deals are last minute, posted on the day of arrival at 10am.
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Lufthansa A380 First Class: Frankfurt – Singapore


Pic: Lufthansa First Class tickets – Frankfurt to Singapore on A380 (Jul 2013)
Back in December 2012, I gave my parents two Lufthansa First Class round trip tickets to Singapore as their Christmas present.  They had never been to Asia before, so I promised them I would join as their tour guide.  “Two First Class tickets on the A380 to Singapore, that must have been expensive”, I hear you say.  At the time of my booking, Lufthansa was charging €15210 for the two tickets.  Instead, I used 315.000 Miles & More miles + €930 in taxes & fees. Now, I didn’t really book a ticket for my parents, I booked one for myself and my father as I wanted to use the Miles & More Senator Companion Award benefit.  There were only two First Class award seats available on flight LH778 and LH779 in Dec 2012, so I booked my mother in Business Class with the idea that if Lufthansa did not release more First Class seats, I would take the dentist chair and have my parents in First.  Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary.  Six days before departure Lufthansa released more F Class seats our outbound flight LH778.  It was an even closer call for the inbound flight, where I had to call the Singapore Miles & More service center less than 24 hours before departure to get ahold of my third First Class award seat on our return flight LH779.  Unfortunately, I had to pay the full 210,000 miles + €465 in taxes & fees for that third First Class award, quite a steep number of award miles compared to other Star Alliance award redemption charts.  Our total came to 525,000 miles + €1395 in taxes & fees for three First Class award tickets BRU-FRA-SIN-FRA-BRU with the segments between Brussels and Frankfurt in Lufthansa Business Class.

Pic: Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (Jul 2013)

Pic: At the entrance of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in FRA (Jul 2013)
Flying First Class with Lufthansa means you can use their famous First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.  This terminal is a dedicated building just for Lufthansa First Class passengers, which has its own security, à la carte dining, spacious bathrooms, sleeping rooms, cigar lounge, bar with exclusive liquors and champagnes, etc… All included in your First Class ticket, of course.

Pic: Bathroom at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt  (Jul 2013)

Pic: Panasonic Relaxation Chairs at Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Jul 2013)

Pic: Make you own cocktails bar at Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Jul 2013)

Pic: Villiger Cigars Humidor at Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lufthansa First Class Porsche Cayenne Chauffeur Service (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lufthansa First Class Terminal Chauffeur Service in Frankfurt (Jul 2013)
There is no need to walk to the gate when you’re flying from the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport.  You will be escoreted and driven onto the tarmac in an exclusive car right to your plane!  We had the pleasure of enjoying a Mercedes S and Porsche Cayenne ride.

Pic: Lufthansa Airbus A380 ‘Peking’ at Frankfurt Airport (Jul 2013)


Pic: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Cabin – 8 seats out of 526! (Jul 2013)

Pic: My First Class seat 1A on Lufthansa A380 flight LH779 (Jul 2013)

Pic: Pre-departure drink in First Class: Champagne, of course!  (Jul 2013)

Pic: Alfred Gratien Cuvée Paradis Brut Champagne (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lufthansa A380 First Class – Caviar Service Cart (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lufthansa First Class – Caviar with the traditional garnishes (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lheraud Cuvee 30 Petite Champagne Cognac at LH First Class (Jul 2013)

Pic: One of the two spacious Lufthansa First Class bathrooms (Jul 2013)

Pic: Full Flat Bed in First Class on Lufthansa A380 to Singapore (Jul 2013)

Pic: Lufthansa First Class beds 1D and 1G with privacy screens up (Jul 2013)

Pic: My Lufthansa A380 First Class bed 1A on flight LH779 from SIN to FRA

Pic: With my parents in Lufthansa First Class on the Airbus A380 (Jul 2013)

Presentation: Luxury Travel on a Budget


On May 16, I spoke at a seminar for hospitality professionals called Hotel ’13.  Afterwards, I translated my presentation to English and posted it on SlideShare which featured it as ‘Top Presentation of the Day‘.  Result: a whopping +24,000 views in 24 hours! 🙂

TravelMagic 2013 – The Hotel Brussels


Pic: TravelMagic 2013 – Saturday September 21 at The Hotel Brussels Belgium
It is with great excitement that we announce our first TravelMagic 2013 speaker:  one of the most influential travel bloggers on the planet… Ben Schlappig!
About Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) 
Ben is a travel consultant, full-time travel blogger at One Mile at a Time and avid points collector living in Bellevue, Washington.  He travels over 300,000 miles per year and spends around 100 nights per year in hotels. He has visited over 40 countries on six continents, and loves sharing tricks about how others can use miles and points to do the same.  Ben has been cited as a travel expert in various publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many more.
About TravelMagic
The first edition of TravelMagic, the seminar for Luxury Travellers on a Budget, took place on Dec 1, 2012 at Holiday Inn Brussels Airport.  With more than 50 participants and many raving reviews, it was a huge success.  For the 2013 edition, organizers Bart Lapers and Erlend Debast have set the bar even higher.  The brand new 5* The Hotel Brussels will host TravelMagic 2013 on Saturday September 21.  The seminar will feature a Beginners and Advanced track with national and international speakers with proven track record in luxury travel on a budget.  Registration for TravelMagic 2013 isn’t open yet, but interested travel fans can sign-up for our mailing list at TravelMagic.be

Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class: SYD to SIN

Fiji Trip Report Index
Introduction: Belgium to Fiji in 13 flights (26561 miles, 42746km)
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Grand Suite at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Singapore Airlines First Class: The Private Room @ Changi Airport
Singapore Airlines First Class: SQ211 Singapore to Sydney B777-300A
Opera King room at Park Hyatt Sydney
Beachfront View room at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
Singapore Airlines Business Class: SQ232 Sydney to Singapore
Thai Airways First Class: Royal Orchid Spa, TG920 Bangkok to Frankfurt A380
Singapore-Airlines-Business-Class-A380
Pic: Singapore Airlines Business Class on A380
For my return from Fiji to Singapore, I used the same Singapore Airlines glitch as I did for my outbound flights.  I booked Nadi-Auckland-Sydney-Singapore at 25K United miles + $115 (€96) Taxes/Fees with NAN-AKL in Air New Zealand The Works Economy Class, AKL-SYD in Air New Zealand Business Class and
SYD-SIN in Singapore Airlines Business Class on the A380.  I had 23500 miles left in my United MileagePlus account at the time of booking, 1500 miles short to book the award.  20K miles were bought (€348, $452) via a United 40% discount offer on purchased miles in Apr 2012, the remaining 3500 miles still in my account from the Continental OnePass / United MileagePlus merger.  As I had to act fast to make use of the Singapore Airlines glitch, I accepted the United offer to buy the remaining miles at $70 (€58) for 2000 miles.  Must have been the most expensive miles I ever bought!  Total cost: 20K miles €348 + 3500 miles in account + 1500 miles bought during booking process €58 + Taxes/Fees €96 = €502 for an award ticket with a revenue value of  > €3000!  Unfortunately, I suffered food poisoning after eating a Subway sandwich in Auckland, so I didn’t have any food nor took pictures on my Air New Zealand AKL-SYD and Singapore Airlines SYD-SIN Business Class flights.  Guess I’ll have to fly them once more to make a picture report and enjoy the food! 🙂