Takeoff To Travel

Hi everyone! The travel bug hit me at the age of eight on my first flight and ever since then I’ve loved planning vacations for my friends and family. My goal is to try out new hotel chains and sample the many airline cabins out there. Having been both a city boy and living in the suburbs, I love traveling to all destinations both big and small.

Review: Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Business Class to San Diego

Background: I was heading down to San Diego in February to visit friends, and was planning to take Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Irvine to San Diego. I’ve been on the Pacific Surfliner before, taking it from Los Angeles Union Station to Santa Barbara. It’s a nice experience and helpful in avoiding LA traffic. Additionally, the Irvine Station allows for free parking for 72 hours, so I could park there and avoid paying over $50 in parking at my San Diego downtown hotel. It was $12 to upgrade from Value Coach to the Business Class offering, for a total of...

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Penthouse Review: Signature at MGM Grand Las Vegas

Background: A couple friends and I were going to Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday during the MLK Long Weekend. Having stayed at most of the hotels on the Strip, I always wanted to try the Signature at MGM Grand and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity with a group of friends. The reason for that is because the One Bedroom Balcony Suite is 900 square feet has a kitchen and 2 full bathrooms. And to top it all off, it was only $170 a night including the resort fee, which was quite the deal for a...

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Executive Suite Review: Marriott Irvine Spectrum

Background: My friend was coming down from Seattle, and we needed a night in the Orange County, California area before taking the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego the next day. In trying to find a hotel, I remember a relatively new hotel opened in the Irvine Spectrum area, and rates were $120 a night. So, the Marriott Irvine Spectrum was booked! Disclaimer: I stayed at the property in February of this year before the COVID-19 situation worsened. Suite Night Award Upgrade: Since my friend is a Platinum Elite member, he had a Suite Night Award to apply. The...

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Suite Review: THE US GRANT San Diego

Background: About 2 years ago, I stayed in a standard room at THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection hotel and really enjoyed my stay. So, I was really excited to return back on my weekend visit to San Diego. My friend and I arrived in San Diego Saturday morning on the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak and walked from the train station to the hotel which only took about 10 minutes. Disclaimer: I stayed at the property in February of this year before the COVID-19 situation worsened. AMEX FHR Benefits: My friend has the AMEX Platinum Card, so we booked the...

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Review: Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Weekend Getaway

Background: In summer of 2017, Beverly Hills got a new luxury hotel, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. As I was living in Westwood at the time, I often passed the new hotel while going around the city. I made a promise to myself that I would indeed stay at the Waldorf for a weekend getaway or for a fun event. Then, the perfect opportunity arose as I had a weekend night certificate that I got from my AMEX Hilton Aspire Credit Card. Note: due to the Coronavirus, Hilton has implemented a policy where all unexpired and new reward certificates...

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I Got My Cancelled easyJet Flight Refund In A Month!

BACKGROUND ON EASYJET REFUND: Back in January, I booked a July Trip to Europe. One of the legs was on easyJet from Rome to London Gatwick. As we all know, the COVID-19 situation got worse, and I pretty much knew by March that I wouldn’t be taking this trip even if things started improving. Given that, I wanted to wait for the flight to get cancelled by easyJet because if I proactively cancelled, I would only be eligible for a travel voucher. I previously posted about my positive refund experience with Norwegian Airlines, where I received my money back...

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Wow! Norwegian Airlines Surprises Me with a Refund

Background on Norwegian Airlines Refund: Back in January, I booked a July Trip to Europe. One of the legs was from London Gatwick to Boston in Norwegian Airlines’ Premium Economy Cabin, which I was very excited to try. As we all know, the COVID-19 situation got worse, and I pretty much knew by March that I wouldn’t be taking this trip even if things started improving. I wanted to wait for the flight to get cancelled by the airline because if I proactively cancelled, I would only be eligible for a travel voucher. Norwegian Bankruptcy, Cuts Services: Norwegian was...

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First Vegas Buffet to Reopen This Thursday

The Las Vegas Review Journal reported today that The Buffet at Wynn is scheduled to reopen this Thursday, June 18th, being the first buffet on the Las Vegas Strip to announce reopening since all resort buffets were closed due to COVID-19 concerns. A New Way to Buffet: The buffet will now be more like a hybrid of a traditional full-service restaurant with the experience of an all you can eat buffet. In the news release, Wynn stated that now the buffet dishes will be brought by servers, where guests will order from a menu. Guests will have the ability...

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American AAdvantage Awards Online Cancellation Not Working

BACKGROUND: So last week American apparently simplified the refund process to cancel American AAdvantage award tickets. Instead of having to call, they made it easier stating that miles will automatically be reinstated within 48 hours of cancelling your trip online. Currently, this is valid for tickets purchases through May 31, 2020, and for travel through September 30, 2020. American Airlines says it only works for these circumstances: The reservation is for a single passenger American Airlines flights only The traveler and the AAdvantage member whose miles were redeemed are the same The ticket was purchased directly with American in...

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My Tour of UCLA’s New 4 Star Hotel On Campus

Background: The 4 star UCLA Luskin Hotel and Conference Center is located right on the heart of UCLA’s campus. Being in the Westside of Los Angeles, it’s quite convenient to many LA hotspots like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. It opened in 2016 when I was just a freshman and I’ve never been inside of it despite passing it almost every day on my walks to class. I decided to tour it, and boy was it nice! If only my dorm room was this hotel (kidding!) 🙂 The Lobby: The lobby is quite grand and welcoming, with the restaurant...

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