Tokyo, Chengdu, Taipei and Shanghai: Introduction


American Airlines Flagship Lounge – Chicago
American Airlines – First Class – Chicago to Tokyo Narita
Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
Two Days in Tokyo
Asiana Business Class Lounge – Seoul, Korea
Asiana Airlines – Business Class – Seoul Incheon to Chengdu
Fraser Suites Chengdu
Chengdu, China: Pandas, Pandas and Pandas!
Air China (Star Alliance) First Class Lounge – Chengdu, China
Air China – Business Class – Chengdu to Taipei
Forte Orange Hotel Kaifong (Taipei)
Taipei: Highlights
Eva Air Lounge – Taipei Taoyuan
Eva Airlines – Business Class – Taipei Taoyuan to Shanghai Pudong
Marriott Executive Apartments, Shanghai, Tomorrow Square
Chinese New Year in Shanghai
Dragonair/Cathay Pacific Lounge – Shanghai Pudong
American Airlines – First Class – Shanghai Pudong to Chicago

Earlier this year we visited 4 cities in Asia as part of our annual “sister trip”.  Our itinerary was as follows:

Tokyo- 2 days
Chengdu- 2 days
Taipei-6 days
Shanghai-2 days

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How to Maximize Ultimate Rewards Points When Booking Hotels

If you have a credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards and are looking to book a paid hotel stay, a great option to maximize points earned is to book on using the Ultimate Rewards portal.

There are a few reasons why I often pay for hotels rather than redeeming hotel points.  Sometimes I don’t have enough points or I am saving my points for free airfare.  Other times the price of the hotel is not worth the number of points it would take for an award redemption.  In many cases, I visit destinations where there are few or no hotels from the major hotel chains or there are some chain hotels but none I want to stay in.

Since I am a big fan of Ultimate Rewards, I often end up booking hotels on, going through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal and paying with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  This way I can “double dip” and maximize the number of points I earn for a paid hotel stay.

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Another Good Credit Card Sign up Bonus: United MileagePlus Explorer 55,000 + $50 Statement Credit

The most recent credit card getting a lot of attention for its sign up bonus is the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card.  The official sign up bonus for the United MileagePlus Explorer is now 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months plus 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user.  You will also receive a $50 statement credit after the first purchase.  


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Marriott Offering Extra 1,000 United Miles For Hotel Stays

Marriott is offering United MileagePlus® members a bonus of 1,000 United MileagePlus®  miles on select Marriott hotel stays.  The extra 1,000 United miles are in addition to the Marriott Rewards® points or MileagePlus award miles that you will earn for staying at a Marriott property.

The details of the promotion are as follows:

  • Offer valid for bookings made by September 5, 2014 for stays between July 23 and October 31, 2014 at participating Marriott properties.
  • Participating Marriott properties include select JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, and Marriott Hotels located in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Here is the complete list of participating properties.
  • A maximum of 1,000 bonus miles can be earned per stay and a maximum of 5,000 total bonus miles can be earned with this promotion.
  • Registration for this promotion is required. Here is the link to the registration page.

While 1,000 United miles is not a huge amount, if you are planning on staying at a participating Marriott property in the next few months it is worth registering for this promotion.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Officially Increased to 70,000

Update as of 8/21/14: has officially lowered the sign up bonus to 50,000. There are still offers of 70,000 available on the internet.  Here is one link:

If you were considering applying for the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card in the near future now might be the time to do so.  Chase has officially increased the sign up bonus for a limited time on its Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card to 70,000 (the bonus is normally 50,000 points).   I say officially because sometimes there are 70,000 offers available on flyertalk.

In order to earn the sign up bonus, you will need to spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  Upon opening the card you will also receive a free night stay at a category 1-4 hotel.

The 70,000 sign up bonus is enough for 9 free nights at a lowest category Marriott property and 1 free night at a highest category Marriott or Ritz Carlton property.  Here is the link to the award chart for Marriott and Ritz Carlton properties.

Other features of the card include:

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10% Discount on Protea Hotels for Marriott Rewards® Members

Protea Hotels will be joining Marriott Rewards sometime in 2015, but currently Marriott Rewards is offering its members 10% savings on the best available rate for bookings made at Protea Hotels.


Protea Hotels is Marriott’s newest brand and has over 100 locations in South Africa as well as Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  Protea Hotels will join Marriott Rewards as a fully participating brand sometime in 2015 at a date yet to be determined.  At that time Marriott Rewards members will be able to earn and redeem points and miles, as well as enjoy elite benefits at Protea Hotels. Continue reading

Should You Enter Wyndham Rewards One Million Dollar Sweepstakes?

We both received emails today from Wyndham Rewards regarding its Wyndham Rewards One Million Dollar Sweepstakes.  While we both entered as it literally took less than 30 seconds to enter, you might not want to bother if you cannot attend a prize drawing event at a yet to be determined date and place in the U.S.

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20% Bonus On Transfers From Starwood to AA and US Airways – Is it a Good Deal?

I received 2 separate emails from both AA and US Airways today that they are offering a 20% bonus on Starpoints transferred through July 31, 2014 to either AA or US Airways miles.

Normally, a transfer of 20,000 Starpoints to AA or US Airways earns a 5,000 mile bonus, resulting in 25,000 AAdvantage or US Dividend miles.  Through July 31, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, you will end up with 30,000 AA or US Airways miles.

Here is more information from US Airways and AA.

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