Bart Lapers

I travel too much!

Bart Lapers Samsonite Brussels Airlines The Loft
I travel too much… at least to keep this blog up-to-date! ūüėČ In first 5 months of this year, I visited¬†20 destinations in 12 countries.¬†Some stats:

Trip Highlights

Bart Lapers BMW 7 Series bmw 730ld
Pic: Driving the all-new BMW 7 Series
In January, Belgian television magazine ‘Telefacts‘ made a documentary about my luxurious travel lifestyle.¬†BMW provided me the all-new 7 series for our¬†drive from Brussels to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. You don’t get to drive a ~150.000EUR car every day!Bart Lapers BMW 7 Series Executive Lounge
Pic: The all-new BMW 7 Series with Executive Lounge
The new SWISS Boeing B777-300ER
Pic: The new SWISS Boeing B777-300ER
On February 8th, I had the pleasure to fly the new SWISS B777-300ER on the first day of commercial operations. I also spent a few hours in the new SWISS Senator lounge at Zurich Airport Terminal E.
New SWISS First Class Cabin on B777-300ER
Pic: New SWISS First Class Cabin on Boeing 777-300ER
First Class Seat 2A on the brand new SWISS B777-300ER
Pic: First Class Seat 2A on the brand new SWISS B777-300ER
Awesome runway view before take off in Zurich
Pic: Awesome runway view before take off in Zurich
Garuda Indonesia B777-300ER First Class Seat 2A
Pic: Garuda Indonesia B777-300ER First Class Seat 2A
Mid February, I enjoyed one of the last Garuda Indonesia 5th freedom flights between Amsterdam and London Gatwick. With just 45-minutes up in the air, it was Europe’s shortest First Class flight.¬†The best short haul I have ever flown!
Garuda Indonesia First Class Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut Champagne
Pic: Duck & fruit salad with Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut Champagne
Garuda Indonesia B77W First Class Bart Lapers
Pic: Garuda Indonesia B777-300ER First Class lunch
Brussels Tokyo All Nippon Airways ANA B787 Dreamliner Business Class
Pic: All Nippon Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class
In March, I flew non-stop between Brussels Airport and Tokyo Narita Airport with All Nippon Airways (ANA) on the B787 Dreamliner in Business Class. I used IHG Rewards Club points to stay at The Strings By InterContinental Tokyo (video) and InterContinental Tokyo Bay (video). I also visited Osaka and Kyoto where I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto using a combination of Hyatt Gold Passport Points + Cash and the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee.
Bart Lapers at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Pic: Bart at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Japanese pancakes at Brothers Café in Osaka
Pic: Japanese pancakes at Brothers Café in Osaka
The Great Sphinx of Giza Cairo Egypt Bart Lapers
Pic: The Great Sphinx of Giza in Cairo, Egypt
End of March, I visited Cairo for the first time. Highlights were the Pyramids of Giza and Tutankhamun’s mask at the Egyptian Museum. Hotel wise, Cairo offers excellent opportunities to burn Hilton HHonors points. I stayed two nights in¬†a Junior Suite¬†at¬†Hilton Ramses for just 10,000 points per night.
Qatar Airways A380 First Class Doha to Bangkok
Pic: Qatar Airways A380 First Class from Doha to Bangkok
From¬†Cairo, the¬†trip continued with Qatar Airways First Class to Bangkok. Thanks to a very lucrative GOL Smiles promotion back in May 2015, I managed to fly Qatar Airways First Class six¬†times for less than 250EUR per flight in the past year. The best miles redemptions I’ve ever made!
Qatar Airways First Class Oscietra Caviar Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne and Belvedere Wodka
Pic: Oscietra Caviar, Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne and Belvedere Wodka
Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach Phuket Thailand
Pic: Soaking up the sun at Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach
The first week of the Easter vacation was spend at Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach. Another great points redemption at just 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night. As IHG Rewards Club Platinum member, I was upgrade to a nice Pool Access Suite.
Pool at Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach , Phuket, Thailand
Pic: Pool at Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach Phuket, Thailand
Bathroom Rubber Duck Conrad Macao Cotai Central
Pic: Rubber Duck at Conrad Macao, Cotai Central
Followed by 3 nights at Conrad Macao Cotai Central booked using Hilton HHonors points. A triple upgrade to a Deluxe City View Suite and fantastic club lounge experience thanks to my HHonors Diamond status.
Rooftop pool at Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island
Pic: Rooftop pool at Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island
With the Cotai Water Jet, it took me less than an hour to get from Macao to Hong Kong. The sunny rooftop pool at Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island was a real pleasure after 3 days in foggy Macao.
Mo√ęt Rose at Cathay Pacific First Class lounge The Wing in Hong Kong
Pic: Cathay Pacific First Class lounge The Wing in Hong Kong
When in Hong Kong, one must visit the legendary Cathay Pacific First Class lounges. I visited both The Wing and The Pier¬†where I relaxed at a cabana and had a blissful foot massage at Gentlemen’s Tonic.¬†
Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge Cabana Hong Kong Airport
Pic: Cabana at Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge
I used British Airways Executive Club Avios + Cash to book Cathay Pacific First Class on the B777-300ER from Hong Kong to Bangkok.
Cathay Pacific ‚ÄéFirst Class ‚ÄéHong Kong to ‚ÄéBangkok B777-300ER
Pic: Cathay Pacific ‎First Class ‎Hong Kong to ‎Bangkok B777-300ER
Cathay Pacific Business and First Class lounge Bangkok airport
Pic: Cathay Pacific Business & First Class lounge in Bangkok
Lufthansa First Class Dubai Munich A330-300 Cabin
Pic: Lufthansa A330-300 First Class Cabin
Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle ‎Lufthansa First Class ‎Champagne
Pic: Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Р‎Lufthansa First Class
For my return home, I redeemed 62000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles + 217EUR in taxes & fees to book Dubai РMunich in First Class on the A330-300. The required miles were earned with my Brussels Airlines American Express card.
Magical landscapes of Iran seen from my Lufthansa flight from Dubai to Munich
Pic: Magical landscapes of Iran seen from my Lufthansa flight
Lufthansa First Class Caviar Service
Pic: Lufthansa First Class Caviar Service
Lufthansa First Class Breakfast Service
Pic: Lufthansa First Class Breakfast
Lufthansa First Class Delicious Dessert on approach Munich
Pic: Delicious Lufthansa First Class Dessert
Mercedes-Benz S-Class ride to the plane Lufthansa First Class
Pic: Mercedes-Benz S-Class ride to the plane
My throne onboard Finnair A330-300 Business Class Helsinki to New York
Pic: Finnair A330-300 Business Class Helsinki to New York
Breakfast onboard Finnair A320 Business Class Oslo to Helsinki
Pic: Breakfast onboard Finnair A320 Business Class Oslo to Helsinki
Amazing views of Greenland from my Finnair flight
Pic: Amazing views of Greenland from my Finnair flight
In May, I flew twice to the West Coast using a Oneworld Business Class error fare from Oslo. The first trip was a long weekend in Seattle where I stayed one night at Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport using 25,000 points and two nights at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Everett for just 5000 points per night! (IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks) With the Boeing Everett Factory only minutes away, a perfect location to visit the largest building in the World by volume! There was also room for nature, a beautiful day at Mountain Rainier National Park.
Bart Lapers at Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center Everett Factory
Pic: Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett, Seattle.
Space Needle Seattle
Pic: Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, USA
British Airways Business Class seat 53K Airbus A380
Pic: British Airways A380 Business Class seat 53K
One week after my Seattle trip, I visited the US again. This time I was flying to San Francisco with one of my least favorite European airlines, British Airways. Their Club World Business Class is a joke, I still don’t get it how people can pay >¬†2000EUR for such inferior experience. I’ve now flown Club World on the B777-200, B747-400 and A380-800 and all I can say is, if you really need¬†to fly BA Club World, make sure to fly it on the A380 and go for seat 53K. One of the rare seats with ‘private’ aisle access.
Business Class meal service British Airways A380 London to SanFrancisco
Pic: British Airways Business Class meal service
salt ponds on final approac -San-Francisco airport
Pic: Salt ponds on final approach San-Francisco airport
bart lapers blue hawaiian helicopters kauai hawaii
Pic: Blue Hawaiian helicopters on Kauai, Hawaii
From San Francisco, I continued to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. As there are six Hawaiian islands to choose from, I found this infographic helpful to decide which island to visit. Kauai was an excellent choice with the Na Pali Coast as absolute highlight. I booked two helicopter flights over the garden island, a luxurious comfortable ride with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and a more adventurous doors-off flight with Jack Harter Helicopters. Amazing!
The mind blowing Na-Pali Coast in Kauai Hawaii
Pic: The mind blowing Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii
Conclusion: I’ve travelled a lot in the past 5 months, in fact, my travel pace has never been higher. If you don’t want to wait until my next blog post, make sure to follow me on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. ūüėČ Thank you¬†for¬†your likes and support!

Arctic Adventure: Svalbard

svalbard ice cave trip spitsbergen
Mid-February, Visit Svalbard invited me to discover¬†the¬†Norwegian archipelago Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is¬†the¬†northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Longyearbyen,¬†the largest settlement (2100 inhabitants) on the island of Spitsbergen¬†is located 1338 km (831 mi) from the North Pole and 2313 km (1437 mi) from Oslo. Since Svalbard is located north of the Arctic Circle it experiences polar night in winter. In Longyearbyen, polar night lasts from October 26 to February 15. During my visit, February 18-22, it wasn’t possible yet to see the sun as it was blocked by the mountainous terrain. It takes until March 8th before the sun reappears in the sky, an event which is celebrated by the locals during¬†Sun Fest Week in¬†Longyearbyen.
dog sledding svalbard longyearbyen spitsbergen
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Tips & Tricks to Book Cheap Flights

1. Use powerful flight search engines

Use aggregators to check airfares on many OTA sites (Online Travel Agencies) simultaneously. My favorites:

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Welkom Telefacts kijkers!

This post is published in Dutch as I was featured on Belgian television program Telefacts
Reizen in luxe met een beperkt budget is een fantastische¬†hobby. Het stelt je in staat de wereld te verkennen op een zeer comfortabele manier. Toch is het¬†niet voor iedereen weggelegd. Het maximale uit je reisbudget halen vraagt veel¬†tijd, inspanning en flexibiliteit. In deze post verwijs ik alvast naar een reeks tips & tricks om je van start te laten gaan. Sommige zijn eenvoudig toe te passen, anderen zullen meer inspanning vereisen¬†om ze onder de knie te krijgen.¬†Vragen? Laat gerust een comment achter, ik help je graag verder.¬†Welkom in de wondere wereld van reizen in luxe met een beperkt budget! ūüôā

Gratis op hotel, zo doe je het!

Volg mijn tips in het artikel verblijf gratis in luxe hotels! Te veel moeite? Lees dan toch zeker mijn 5 tips om goedkoper hotels te boeken.

First Class vliegen aan fractie v/d prijs?

Wil je ook graag First Class vliegen zonder duizenden euros te betalen? Dan zal je aan de slag moeten met airline miles. Neen, je hoeft niet veel te vliegen om de nodige mijlen te verzamelen!

Als eerste stap kan je best gratis frequent flyer accounts aanmaken bij volgende luchtvaartmaatschappijen: Brussels Airlines Miles & More, American Airlines AAdvantage, Avianca LifeMiles, United Mileageplus, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Iberia Plus en British Airways Executive Club. Om deel te kunnen nemen aan promoties bij het aankopen van mijlen zal je frequent flyer account reeds aantal weken moeten bestaan. Vandaar dat ik je adviseer nu al deze accounts aan te maken. Tip: Je kan je verschillende frequent flyer accounts makkelijk beheren met behulp van

Wist je dat je ook airline miles kan verzamlen met bijna al je aankopen en betalingen? Met de kredietkaart van Brussels Airlines verzamel je mijlen in de supermarkt, bij het tanken, je online aankopen enz. Bij het aanvragen van deze kaart krijg je alvast 12000 mijlen om mee van start te gaan!

Qatar Airways First Class voor¬†~‚ā¨900

American Airlines AAdvantage verkoopt regelmatig mijlen met een extra bonus. Op die manier kan je de nodige mijlen (40,000) aankopen om van Europa naar het Midden-Oosten te vliegen in First Class voor slechts ~800EUR. Reken daar nog een kleine 100EUR bij aan taxen en fees en voor minder dan 900EUR vlieg je Qatar Airways First Class. Maar voor diezelfde 40,000 mijlen kan je bijvoorbeeld ook in een Etihad First Class Apartment vliegen! Let wel, vanaf 22 maart 2016 zal American Airlines AAdvantage 60,000 mijlen aanrekenen voor diezelfde First Class trip. Boeken voor 22 maart is dus de boodschap, vliegen kan tot maart volgend jaar!

Mis geen enkele deal!

Follow Bart Lapers on Twitter
Elke week zijn er een heel aantal deals te scoren voor zowel vliegtickets als hotels. Ik post regelmatig goede deals op mijn social media accounts. Volg mij op Twitter & Facebook en blijf op de hoogte van de laatste promoties. Daarnaast kan je ook mijn reizen volgen via Instagram.

SWISS First Class A330-300: Zurich to Dubai

SWISS First Class review A330-300
Early October, I flew¬†Swiss International Air Lines First Class on the A330-300 from Zurich to Dubai. I used 62500 Miles & More miles and paid ‚ā¨208 in taxes & fees for my¬†one-way flight. The price of a revenue ticket for my flight would have been ‚ā¨4705! SWISS First Class is rather hard to book with miles as you need to be a Miles & More Senator or HON Circle member¬†to have access to the award seat inventory. Both¬†elite status levels require a lot of paid Business or First Class flying to obtain them. I’m still a Senator from back in the days when you earned 3126 status miles with a ‚ā¨99 Brussels Airlines flight…those were the days! ūüėČ
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