The most recent review published on The Higher Flyer evaluates international business class onboard American Airlines’s now-retired fleet of Boeing 767s. There’s nothing particularly exciting nor noteworthy about the experience, but with lie-flat seats, direct aisle access for all passengers, and upgraded dining options on offer, your expectations for a product marketed as “Flagship Business” are likely going to be met but not exceeded. It delivers all that you could want in decidedly-average fashion, but because the fares are prohibitively expensive, it’s nearly impossible for me to recommend it. When compared to significantly cheaper, if not better, alternatives, it’s the textbook definition of a terrible deal… although some might disagree with that assessment. There’s an inherent ambiguousness to higher flying reflected here, and that poses an interesting question: what makes a “good value” good?
Spending lots of money without getting any tangible pleasures in return isn’t fun, no matter how important a purchase might be. Nobody likes saving and then subsequently dropping thousands of dollars to, say, repair the roof. A leaky ceiling sure is problematic, and you’d save a bit on heating costs in the long run, but no one is getting hyped about buying new shingles. That necessary investment can’t compare to the thrill of driving a luxury car straight off the lot, or better yet, flying around the world in first class.
When you go to book a flight, it’s not uncommon to be prompted to purchase trip insurance on top of your fare. If you decline the option, you might get a warning: “You may be responsible for cancellation fees and delay expenses” or, if that doesn’t scare you enough, “The average out-of-pocket costs of medical emergency transportation outside the United States can be as high as $25,000.” Those are potentially frightful consequences, but you should think twice before handing over the extra money. It’s probably not in your best interest as a higher flyer, and believe it or not, getting it might cost you more than it’s worth.
Former President Obama recently professed his preference/appreciation for Hampton Inns. While they’re far cries from the penthouse suites he enjoyed during his time in office, there’s a certain comfort in the consistency. As Obama put it (as quoted by The Washington Post), “In the Hampton Inn, there’s like one light switch, one bathroom door, and the bed, and the TV remote; I’m good.” But there are thousands of locations (2,500 or so to be specific), and naturally, not all of them are created equally. In the spirit of the former president’s comments, here are some of the top Hampton Inns for him to visit on his future trips.
Higher flying doesn’t necessarily refer to the top tier, most-luxurious accommodations. If something presents a good value for your money and makes sense for you and your travel goals, indeed, that option can be just as valuable as one that costs significantly more. If you don’t believe me, ask Barack Obama instead! The Washington Post recently quoted the former president singing the praises of Hampton Inns, one of Hilton’s budget-friendly brands and not one that you would associate with some/one of the most powerful people in the world. They’re far from glamorous, but if they’re good enough for Obama, certainly they can suffice for everyone else.
The title of this article is arguably the most important question in higher flying and yet there’s no clear answer to it. Unlike real currencies (i.e. Dollars, Euros, etc.), there’s no authority to objectively assess and define how much a mile is worth. This task instead falls to the users of them — higher flyers mostly — all of whom have different perspectives on how award points should function and how they’re best redeemed. No one’s valuation is any more right or wrong than another one’s, but nevertheless, here are The Higher Flyer‘s own for your consideration.
If you own Hyatt’s cobranded credit card, you may have heard about an exciting, albeit controversial, promotion valid from September through to the end of 2017: you now only need 20 nights to qualify for the program’s highest elite status, Globalist level. You previously needed 60! Continue reading “On Hyatt’s Globalist “Fast Track” promotion: is it fair?”
I kinda want to go to Saipan
Don’t ask me why, but I’ve long been fascinated by obscure travel destinations. Saipan, the largest island in the Northern Mariana chain, is a new intrigue for me.
I realize that it may not be the best place to be right now, given North Korea’s threats to that region, but this is more of a speculative post. One day I want to go there, and here are some of the considerations I would take when planning this trip. Continue reading “Higher Flying to the edge of the Earth?”
While The Higher Flyer would be considered by many to be a travel blog, it focuses primarily on the journey instead of the destination. There are many talented writers who’ll prominently feature their experiences on the ground, closely documenting the sights they see and the foods they taste, while largely ignoring how they actually got there. I prefer to write about airlines and hotels and the like — and that’s fine, everyone has different interests and styles — but I also like to fancy myself as an “iPhone photographer.” I think one of the best ways to experience a place is to explore it and take pictures of what you find; it forces you to not only seek out interesting spots… Continue reading “On the inclusion of photo tours”