Hilton – Beijing Wangfujing

Hotel Review

This is my second stay at this hotel right in the heart of Beijing and a 10 minute walk from the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square.  It is located right off a major shopping area that includes shopping malls and a food market just down the street.

On this stay, I was upgraded to a corner suite that was absolutey gorgeous and probably the size of my first apartment.  I don’t often post pictures of rooms but this one warrants at least a few looks..

 

The staff at this hotel are extremely customer focused and their English speaking skills are very high.  The fitness center and spa had very good Precor equipment, including some weight training equipment, and really nice pool.  I had a massage in their spa and it was done very well and very professionally.  The executive lounge here is excellent and offers breakfast, afternoon tea, and happy hour with free drinks and canapes and hors d’ouevres.

I was able to arrange a sightseeing tour in advance of my arrival via the concierge desk and they were very prompt in their communications and options.  TripAdvisor consistently has this property rated as one of their top hotels in Beijing and I could not imagine any reason I would go anywhere else unless it would be the Waldorf-Astoria they are currently in the process of building directly across the street from this property.  Even then, it would be hard to imagine getting a better experience and I’m sure the pricing will be much higher so I suspect this will continue to be my “go to” hotel in Beijing.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

I booked this room with advance payment to take advantage of the Any Weekend, Anywhere promo combined with the Facebook 24 hour promo event.  My total bill was $1,331 for the three night stay and this earned me 13,108 base points, a 50% MyWay bonus, and a 50% Diamond bonus.  In addition, I will earn 1,000 per night for the Q1 promo plus the 2,500 bonus points from the FB promo.  I also earn 1,000 MyWay points since this is a mainline Hilton and 500 points for booking on-line with my HHonors AMEX.  This bring my total to, before spend partners, to 33,216 HHonors points.

I will also earn 2,012 Delta Skymiles as part of that promo for a 2 night stay and I will earn 9 points per dollar since this was all charged to my HHonors Surpass AMEX card.  This will bring my HHonors points haul to a total of 45,195.

China Eastern / Shanghai Airlines – SHA – PEK

Flight Review

For my trip from Shanghai to Beijing, I booked one-way on China Eastern, a Sky Team carrier.  Most domestic flights from Shanghai fly out Hongqiao, but you always need to check and make sure as Pudong also carries some domestic traffic.  As a Sky Team Elite, I was offered expedited check-in, I was able to change to an earlier flight with no charge, and had use of the China Eastern lounge (shared with other carriers) before my flight.

The two hour flight was actually operated by Shanghai Airlines, who was acquired by China Eastern in 2010, on a Boeing 767 aircraft.  Departure and arrival were on-time and we had a lunch service on the flight that was fine.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

My ticket cost $208.  For this, I earned 667 MQM’s.  Flying on this partner airline does not earn bonus miles for my Diamond status.  I don’t believe I will get double miles on my DL Platinum AMEX for this purchase so my total miles comes only to 875.

Hilton – Shanghai, China

Hotel Review

This is my second stay at this hotel in the old French Concession area of Shanghai.  While many people focus on The Bund area or over in Pudong district, if they are on business, I would be hard pressed to stay anywhere other than this location.  It is just down the street from a major subway station at Jing’an and has close access to many of the major tourist areas including the Shanghai Musuem, Jing’an Temple, the Xintiandi area, and, one of my favorite areas, Tianzifang (Taikang Lu).

As a Diamond member, the staff has treated me like royalty and their Executive Lounge is one of the nicest I have experienced at Hilton.  Their is complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, and extended happy hour – generally from 6:00 -8:00 p.m. – with free drinks and a nice selection of canapes and hors d’ouerves that can easily serve as dinner.  The level of English speaking from the staff is very good.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

I booked this room with advance payment to take advantage of the Any Weekend, Anywhere promo combined with the Facebook 24 hour promo event.  My total bill was $753 and this earned me 6,564 base points, a 50% MyWay bonus, and a 50% Diamond bonus.  In addition, I will earn 1,000 per night and 5,000 for the weekend for the Q1 promo plus the 2,500 bonus points from the FB promo.  I also earn 1,000 MyWay points since this is a mainline Hilton and 500 points for booking on-line with my HHonors AMEX.  I also continue to get a 1,000 point bonus as a residual to the 2011 Anywhere, Any Weekend promo.  This bring my total to, before spend partners, to 26,128 HHonors points.

I will also earn 2,012 Delta Skymiles as part of that promo for a 2 night stay and I will earn 9 points per dollar since this was all charged to my HHonors Surpass AMEX card.  This will bring my HHonors points haul to a total of 32,905.

Delta Skymiles – Q1 Earnings

I got off to a relatively slow start this year due to some surgery over the holidays but still had a pretty good Q1 and have just hit my Diamond Status qualification for next year as we close out Q1.  This year, I am working on being a bit more diligent in paying attention to my miles earnings and making sure I am taking advantage of partner opportunities.  For instance, this quarter, I earned 12,072 bonus Skymiles in the Q1 promo with Hilton that awarded 2,012 miles for two night stays.

Here is where I earned my 183,799 Skymiles this quarter:

  • Delta Flights MQM’s = 28,695
  • Delta Flights Diamond Bonus = 35,034
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Program = 627
  • Hilton 2,012 Promo = 12,072
  • 1-800 Flowers Promo = 5,050
  • Diamond Choice Benefit = 25,000
  • DL AMEX Platinum spend = 57,321

From a MQM perspective, I rolled over 80,099 from last year and have received 20,000 MQM’s from threshold spends with both my Delta AMEX Platinum and my new Delta Reserve AMEX Business card.  This brings my MQM’s for the year to 128,794 so I’ve earned my Diamond status again for 2013 and everything the rest of the year will be for rolling over to next year’s qualification.

Delta Airlines – China Roundtrip

Flight Review

For this trip, I basically inverted my flights from last Fall with a flight into Shanghai’s Pudong Airport through Detroit and a return from Beijing coming home through Detroit.  My CRJ flights back and forth to Detroit were unremarkable.  Both of my long-haul flights were on Boeing 777 aircraft in Delta’s Economy Comfort product.

The Ecomony Comfort product does offer a bit more leg room and are definitely better than normal coach but the same width and certainly don’t come close to reclining enough for a good sleep experience.  These aircraft featured the slim-line seats Delta is using which can feel a bit hard after a few hours.

I would have loved to be in the Business Elite cabin that features the lie flat seat in a herringbone pattern but the price differential was steep and the back of the plane was not oversold which is the only way that even a Diamond can get bumped to the front.

Service was competent on all flights and every flight was on-time.  On return through DTW, the showers that are available in the Sky Club are a great way to get freshened up if you have time between connections.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

My ticket cost $1163.  For this, I earned 14,769 MQM’s plus my Diamond bonus miles of 18,461.  Add in the 2,326 miles I’ll get from charging it to my DL Platinum AMEX and my total comes to 35,556.

Hyatt Regency – New Orleans

Hotel Review

A trip to New Orleans for a business conference brought me to the Hyatt Regency hotel right next to the Superdome and ground zero in the days after Katrina.  In fact, this hotel only opened last October after nearly six years since the storm.  By chance, I actually arrived the day of a spectacular fund-raising event at the hotel headlined by such stars as Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Brees, Sheryl Crow and several other luminaries.

The hotel is obviously huge and was hosting the benefit, the SEC basketball tournament, the professional conference I was in town for, and some type of pharmacy convention.  It was understandable that there were no suites available when I tried to use one of my Diamond upgrade certificates.  My room was on one of the executive floors but nothing fancy.  I did not have a lot of opportunity to use the executive lounge but it seemed nice.

While the stay was fine, housekeeping was not typically to my room before 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon which I found a bit surprising.  But, my major complaint had to do with the business service for the conference – specifically, the in-house Audio-Visual support.  The sound system was inadequete, there were problems with playing audio in almost every session, I got 20-25 seconds of unanticipated random music when I was on-stage, and my mike was not on for the first 3 minutes of my presentation.

I know the conference organizer was very displeased with the service and I would imagine he would be hard-pressed to bring his group back to this location unless serious improvements are made to this important aspect of a hotel such as this one.

Final Grade: C

Points and Dollars

This stay marked two milestones for me with the Hyatt chain this year.  It completed my 12 nights within 90 days Diamond Status challenge (based on my HHonors Diamond status) and put me pass the 8 nights mark for the Q1 promo.  My room costs were $830 and I netted 3,500 base Passport points, 2,050 bonus points for Diamond status and 8,000 for my threshold achievement in the Q1 promo for  a total of 13,550 plus the 1,660 Ultimate Rewards points I will earn for charging my expense to my new Chase Ink Bold MasterCard.

Delta Airlines – LEX – ATL – MSY Roundtrip

Flight Review

My success on Delta continues this year with this roundtrip to New Orleans for some basketball and some business.  My CRJ out of Lexington was one of the new configured ones with four rows of First Class with 1/2 configuration.  I also got to fly one of Delta’s MD90’s whose FC seemed newly configured with four rows in a 2/2 configuration.  This does not match SeatGuru.com’s profile and felt pretty fresh so may be new.

With inflight wifi on all flights, 100% upgrade success as a Diamond medallion, and every flight on-time, I continue to have a nice run of servce from Delta this year.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

My ticket cost $464.  For this, I earned 2,000 MQM’s plus my Diamond bonus miles of 2,500.  Add in the 928 miles I’ll get from charging it to my DL Platinum AMEX and my total comes to 5,428.