Pa R.'s Profile

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Pa R. commented on the post Credit Card Denied? Call These Reconsideration Phone Numbers
Cap1 cards are very useful IF you know what you are doing. They offer good targeted signup bonuses for their Spark 2% cashback cards ($500) and their 1.5% cashback cards. 40K for the Venture is also pretty decent and worthwhile if you're running out of cards to apply for. Because of the Venture card's useful feature, I now put all my spend on it rather than the "better" 2.2% Arrival. Ease of payment overwhelms the extra 0.2%...plus it's easier to redeem charges against. 3 hard pulls are a red herring as most people have plenty of spare "pull capacity" on the less commonly used credit agencies (for me, 90% of my pulls are on Experian, so the occasional pull on TU and EQ are effectively meaningless - and to miss out on $500 cash offers with cards that have useful benefits for MS is a crying shame). Plus Cap1 is surprisingly nice to use - redeem cashback/points in any amount at any time and cashback/points post as soon as the charge posts (no waiting for statment to close or payment made).
March 21, 2015
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Pa R. commented on the post Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Bonus Offers - April 2017
MR transfer bonus to Avios is 40% until end of the month. You mention in the PRG comment that it's currently 20% (which shows how outdated this post is)
January 17, 2015
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Pa R. commented on the post Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Bonus Offers - April 2017
Looks like Citi AA Exec 100K offer is dead as of today per reports on FT. Links no longer work.
July 11, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Conrad Koh Samui Review
We found the beach front villas much more private and serene - no roofs to look over and significantly less "crowding" from adjacent units as you seemed to suffer. . The buggy service isn't necessary unless you are completely out of shape. But when we used them, buggies usually arrived with 10 minute notice. . I'd strongly suggest requesting beach front villas if at all possible - we were unit 103, which is very quiet. I'd try to get 101 thru 104 if possible. . We also booked using predevaluation Axon rates. Ridiculously good value. And even at post-devaluation rates, if staying 5th night free, only 76K/night peak season. If do MS with Surpass, get points at 0.2c, so $152/night. Still very good value at that price (some peak season pricing seems to get $1K/night range). I'd have no hesitation booking again at current HH award rates. . Funny, we booked with Mr Samui as well - and despite texting to confirm pickup the day before, he was late and we had to call (arrived 5 minutes later). He was on time on the return - the van was nice. . Koh Samui Public Works needs to hire a pavement grinder to smooth the roads. Would make that 45min trip a lot more enjoyable...
April 19, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Conrad Koh Samui Zest Restaurant Review, Menu and Prices
Was at Conrad KS 10 days ago for an 8 night stay. Zest was above par for a hotel-specific restaurant. Not haute cuisine, but perfectly acceptable - and a fairly extensive selection. Methinks you're quibbling about the pastries. The croissants were good - and fresh. The sugary pastry stuff usually tastes exactly as it looks - sickly sweet, so I rarely bother (unless I'm in Paris etc). I liked the Thai Benedict - nice curry touch, but not over the top. The fresh squeezed bottled juices (found by the egg station in the ice) were very good - better than the fresh OJ that was served. Recommend the fresh Guava and Pineapple. We sat outside every day to enjoy the excellent view - usually a small breeze out there - only got uncomfortable when the sun got high enough to shine directly on you (the hillside blocks the sun until ~10:00 AM or so). Much nicer than sitting inside (but we noticed almost all the families - thankfully only a few - ate inside - easier to keep the munchkins in line methinks). They indeed tone down the spiciness from our convo with the waitresses. So "hot" is what I'd call mild. Think you need to specifically tell them to make it "Thai Hot" - but even then the staff is likely used to toning it down. (The Chef and Manager both seemed to be German, so not sure they have any tolerance for spice). Overall, thought Zest was perfectly acceptable/enjoyable experience. We are Diamonds and everything on the menu/buffet was comped. Found the same thing at the Conrad Bangkok executive lounge - not as extensive selection, but more than satisfactory - many seemed to be using the lounge for dinner (which is what we did a few nights) - also free drinks. As Diamonds, were upgraded to beach front villa at KS and a Suite next to the Presidential Suite on the top floor (32nd) in Bangkok. Overall, very happy with how Conrad treated Diamonds (much better than we expected - from what I had read, HH Diamond isn't supposed to be much better than Gold).
April 19, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Emirates First Class A380 Review: Hong Kong to Bangkok
Did you use miles to book this flight? If so, how many and how?
April 19, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Buy Alaska Airlines Miles with 40 Percent Bonus: Top 5 Awards for 100K Miles
CX is still flying 747 with F to JNB until Sept 1. But probably very tough to find any remaining space unless a few days out. Problem with AS miles (and AA/BA) is only getting access at 330 days vs ~350/355 when seats are released on CX/QF. Those days are when almost all the F seats disappear. You can only realistically hope to book J using AS/AA/BA on the popular routes. As such, I find MRs transferred to AsiaMiles a lot better for F awards on CX/QF (but at much higher point totals).
March 12, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Amanjena Review, Marrakech
What is the cost? Other than "expensive"? Any discounts available?
March 08, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Maximizing Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Awards
CX stops flying F to JNB from HKG on Sept 1 - I got screwed on the 140K AS redemption as had F booked on Sept 12. Now it's 2 class J on 777 instead of 3 class F on the 747. Didn't get any compensation for the downgrade - said since I still got F on one leg (SFO-HKG), they considered it an F redemption - total baloney, but hard to really complain for 140K...
February 16, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post AMEX Retention Bonus Offers
25K MR for retention on personal Plat. Plus $100 credit for AA/US after March 22. Have to put on my calendar to get a gc.
January 19, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Top 10 Best Ways to Earn AAdvantage Miles
You missed UFB Direct debit card that gets 1 AA per $2. Limited to $1500 day transactions and 120K AA/yr.
January 12, 2014
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Pa R. commented on the post Alaska Airlines Buy Miles with 35 Percent Bonus: Cathay First Class U.S. to South Africa for $1500
Alaska regularly has 40% sales, so only do this if you have immediate need to top off your account. That said, ability to do CX redemptions to Africa/ME for 140K r/t is a steal, even if you buy all your points. But I'm sure they will devalued sooner than later, so take advantage while you can. I just booked SFO-HKG-JNB r/t next September in F on CX and found good availability if booking 330 days out. Sadly, BoA is killing their debit card in May so those cheap debit card miles will be a thing of the past.
November 08, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post 500 SPG Points for Declining Housekeeping at Starwood Hotels with Green Choice
How much do you tip per night?
September 29, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Four Seasons Paris Review
Hmm. 22K pts a night from a credit card signup bonus (50K UR from Ink) or some low cost 5x office supply MS vs $1K a night at the FS - and you really say you'd take the FS over the PHV? Sorry, but that's an absurd suggestion...unless you are comped your rooms and the staff is informed who you are in advance? Begs credulity.
September 13, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome Review
How is it possible that the Concierge made a reservation when the restaurant was to be closed for the month? Something very fishy there. PHV needs to get with it. There was an article in the Le Monde today about hotel staff going on strike because they outsource housekeeping to a private company and they feel overworked. I suspect there is bad employee relations/morale souring guest experience. That said, how can you beat 22K for a night? A few visits to the local office supply store saves you $1K. From that perspective, the notion that someone would rather pay $1K to stay at the FS is ludicrous.
September 13, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Four Seasons Paris Review
Until the Four Seasons starts offering an award program, I'll continue to pass. Why pay $$$$ for the George V when you can stay at the PH Vendome for a fraction of the cost using points? I presume you were comped this stay? And if so, isn't it appropriate to mention that?
September 06, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Corinthia Hotel London Review
WTF? The kid has a tatoo? Are you effin nutz?
August 28, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post New Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Big Oaf's Wallet
PRG is the most attractive Amex card these days thanks to 2x gas/grocery and it's 15K MR bonus on $30K spend. Put $30K on grocery and get 75K MR, plus whatever signup bonus you get (I rec'd the 75K bonus offer in February). And if you can take advantage of Amex's transfer bonus specials, you can get close to 3x sometimes (I transferred 175K MR to BA for the 35% bonus and use for short/medium flights). While MR has limited transfer partners, they do give the ability to transfer to at least one airline of each alliance. That more than makes up for SPG's large transfer options (give me ~2-3x over 1.25x any day)
August 02, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Best Frequent Flyer Miles for India Award Travel for Families
I presume they want to travel as often as possible. So using the extra miles on business class isn't really a great choice. Nor is simply signing up for cards to get bonuses a viable long term plan. Their best choice would be to get a few Ink cards and churn at office supply - each card would give them as many as 250K UA miles a year, every year.
July 27, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post SPG: 35% Points Discount for Select Starwood Hotels Worth It?
You can't transfer SPG at 1.25 in anything other than 20K blocks. So you'd need to transfer 120K SPG and get 150K JAL. 100K SPG would only get you 125K. I dislike how many people ignore the limitations of SPG. Happens way too often and people need to be more careful as it makes SPG appear a much better program than the lousy program it truly is. The 35% "discount" is a joke. Compare 95K HH needed for Conrad Koh Samui at peak season - it "seems" that HH is a lot more expensive, right? But with Hilton's standard 5th night free promo, rooms cost 76K per night on average. And since you can earn points at 5x/6x (vs 1x for SPG), it means equivalent $ spend is $13-$15K per award night vs $26K spend on SPG even with the so-called 35% "discount". As such, if you were silly enough to have a SPG card, you'd effectively be paying 73-100% more to stay at a lesser property (W isn't as nice as the Conrad) even after the so-called "35% discount" SPG is a complete joke on the upper end - they need to offer 75% discounts to be remotely competitive - and need to do it all the time. As for airline transfers, they are indeed the best option if you have been duped into churning SPG. But since there are MUCH better options for both hotel and airlines, getting involved with SPG is a big waste - of time and $.
July 19, 2013
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Pa R. commented on the post Hilton HHonors: Use Citi and AMEX Cards to Maximize Points
One of the best posts on grabbing Hilton Hhonors points that I've seen. If you have a Significant Other, you can effectively double your points. Plus the Citi Hhonors cards are supposedly churnable every 91 days, so even more points available. Surprised with such relative ease of getting Hilton points that you don't use them more often. While Hilton's aren't usually my first choice, being able to get long stays for very low cost in some decent hotels make these very attractive. You can also grab the Virgin Atlantic card and convert to Hhonors at 2:1 similar to BofA/BofH Hawaiian miles. VA had 50K offer earlier in the year, so another easy 100K Hilton (x 2 if your spouse gets one as well).
November 20, 2012