THE LONG WAY TO NEW YORK

Trip Planning - The Long Way to New York

FLIGHTS

My long way to New York will see me go into Down Under in Economy Class, trying out three different seats, namely the A330 (Singapore-Sydney), A380 (Sydney-Los Angeles & Melbourne-Singapore) and the B787 (San Francisco-Melbourne), seats that Qantas offers on its long haul routes. 

I had a short domestic transfer from Los Angeles to San Francisco which allowed me to clear Pre-Check quickly, due to the quick connection time. This turned out to be a blessing, as with my clearance in Los Angeles, I was considered to be on a domestic flight when I landed in San Francisco, so I no longer needed to clear anymore customs, which meant I avoided a potential bottleneck.

The beautiful Qantas A380.

I won’t be doing a review on all of these flights due to time constraints (drop me a comment if you need something), but I’ll do a short one on the B787 that Qantas has really impressed me with. For the transcontinental hop over to NYC, I’ll be flying with Alaska Airlines.

The main reason I am flying with Qantas though is because of the superb mileage accrual it accrues with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. A staggering 100% on discount Economy Class fares! Qantas was only crediting 25% on these fares! Sadly though, these earning rates are no longer available, they have been scrapped since the beginning of 2020. This is also how I managed to secure my MVP status with Alaska Airlines easily, which gives me 50% bonus on mileage accrual with their partner airlines, which includes Qantas and now Singapore Airlines. All these flights with promotions netted me a cool 29,431 Alaska Miles, which I value at $620. For 50,000 Alaska miles, you could actually fly Business Class from New York to Hong Kong, with an additional leg from Hong Kong-Johannesburg. Spectacular am I right?

Glad I secured this before it was gone!

HOTELS

I’ve heard elite recognition for American hotels is rather diluted, due to the ease of securing elite status with the proliferation of credit cards in America. Sadly, that is rather true.

I’ll still be reviewing some hotels, but for this trip, I’ll be mainly staying with my friends. During my first week in San Francisco, I’m catching up with friends who are studying at Berkeley, and a long-time friend up in Davis, a town near Sacramento, whom I met in Milan 3 years ago. For the first few days, I’ll be putting up at the San Francisco Financial District, right in the middle of San Francisco. 

preview of entering the Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Moving on to NYC, I’ll stay a few nights with a dear friend whom I’ve known for almost 10 years. We are both tennis fanatics, and while we are priced out of the US Open final tickets, I booked us a sweet room in the Hilton Times Square, where we will get to catch the finale with the billboards for company. I’m definitely looking forward to that! 

Since I’m flying back from San Francisco, I have to fly back to the West Coast, and I decided to stay around for a few more days, to do some last minute shopping and a food tour in San Francisco. I booked a stay at an Embassy Suites (pre-dominantly found in USA), and an airport hotel, and do some airplane spotting before flying home. I’ve never stayed at an airport hotel before, so it will be fun to see what they offer.

ending things with some plane spotting.. wonderful!

I do have Gold status with Hilton, so that will get me some free breakfast, and hopefully a few decent upgrades! Nothing wrong with being hopeful..

conclusion

This is my second time to the United States, almost a decade on when I first visited the West Coast in 2010. I don’t remember much from that trip, so I’m treating this one as a fresh experience.  I’ll attach my flight sequences for ease of reference.

This will also serve as a good basis of comparison on the state of hotels between the USA and Europe, since I’m visiting Europe at the end of the year. 

Stay tuned!


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