Atlanta’s New International Terminal

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had a chance to visit the new international terminal in Atlanta on a long layover and then I flew through it last week.

The new terminal is certainly nice, fresh, and has a spacious feel as one would expect from a brand new facility, especially one that cost this much.  The Delta Sky Club is nice but not much different from the many remodeled ones on other concourses.

 As someone who connects through Atlanta, I’m unlikely to use the new terminal from the perspective of arriving and departing through it, but will benefit when connecting through since I will not have to claim my checked baggage and rechecking it on arrival back in the USA as always been the case here.

If you live in the Atlanta area, your entire experience will be different as you will enter the airport, check-in, and go through security in an entirely new facility.  Likewise, on arrival home, you will be able to claim your checked baggage without having to recheck it in the customs area.

Avis Preferred Enhancements

I received an email this week alerting me to some new enhancements to the Avis Preferred program that started yesterday, June 7th.  Basically, theyAvis Preferred are giving an option similar to National Car Rental’s Emerald Aisle.

In Avis’ case, they will still pre-assign you to a specific vehicle but, if you don’t want that one, you can go to their “Select & Go” area to exchange it.  They will also be moving to a system where there will not be a contract in the vehicle.  Instead, the contract will be printed as you exit the parking area.

This clearly seems to me to take away the differentiation of other rental car companies.  I will try it on my next trip to see how it works in practice.

TSA Pre-Check Program

I had my first TSA Pre-check experience today and I have to say it was wonderful.  I was flying out of Orlando, FL (MCO) where the lines can be long, especially during summer months.  There is a dedicated line for TSA Pre-Check which I qualify for as a Global Entry participant and Delta Diamond Medallion.

There was no one in this line.  I did not have to remove liquds or my laptop from my carry-on bag.  I did not have to take off my shoes.  I did not have to empty my pockets.  Total time from entry into line until through security couldn’t have been more than 90 seconds.

I like this program.

Hilton Garden Inn – Pineville, NC

Hotel Review

For a quick trip to the Charlotte area, I was very happy to find a $89 room rate at a Hilton Garden Inn convenient to my meetings.  Check-in was easy and I had welcome letters from the property management both in my check in packet and in my room.  The room was typical HGI with a nice Aeron desk chair and high speed internet that worked very well for me.

They have a nice little fitness facility and pool.  The fitness room has a treadmill, elliptical trainer, and recumbent bike plus their is a nice selection of dumbbells and a bench for lifting.  The cooked to order breakfast was good and service friendly.  On arrival, I noted that their bar had to be the smallest one I had seen in a long time since it had room for exactly two people but noticed this morning that is was gone so it makes more sense knowing that it is a rolling, temp set-up.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

For my one night stay, my total bill was $102.57 with tax. As a result, I earned 4,088 points based on the following breakdown:

  • Base points = 890
  • “Points and Points” bonus = 445
  • Diamond 50% bonus = 445
  • AMEX on-line booking bonus = 500
  • Q2 Double Points bonus =890
  • HHonors Surpass card by AMEX (9 points per dollar) = 918