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Flying through Sydney Kingsford-Smith's International terminal isn't always a pleasant departure, seeing as you're probably looking at 8-13 hours on a plane. Thus, those pre-departure hours are key for both relaxation and business, and the airport is finally upping its game in those areas with the debut of two completely new lounges.
Here's what you need to know about accessing and enjoying either:
It’s the season for tender Christmas specials. Here is ours.
“A pre-Christmas Conversation in 2014: Presented by Jaunted.”
Well-heeled suburban mother: “Hello, son. What would you like for Christmas this year?”
Recent college graduate: “Nothing, mom. Robust, overdue cultural conversations about social justice can’t fit under a tree, and I’d rather you not engage on my behalf in a vacuous exercise of consumerism that only serves to line the pockets of the fat cats on Wall Street.” [Turns off CNN; sighs]
Well-intentioned suburban mother: “That’s nice. What would you like for Christmas this year?”
Purpose-driven member of Generation Y: “If you insist, I’d love a little time to get away from the oppressive banality of our privileged cul-de-sac. Maybe — a getaway to somewhere sunny? You know I’m having a hard time getting my hashtag-activism think tank off the ground, and until my idealistic spirit is broken enough to accept the drudgery of a job that does not immediately excite me, I’d appreciate a little time away to reconnect with my spirit and expose the unenlightened masses to new, indigenous craft beer varieties through my Instagram account.”
Airline Lounges / AMEX / Credit Cards / Airports / Airport News / American Express / Centurion Lounge / → All Tags
We love love love to report on airline lounges here at Jaunted, mostly because they're mysterious spaces within the realm of that jet set style that's inspirational, but mostly aspirational. There's also the fact that airlines typically don't publish more than a basic, small photo of a lounge on their site, and it's difficult to gauge what to expect from a teensy-weensy thumbnail peek.
Our most recent obsession has been with a chain of lounges accessible to anyone with an American Express card&151;the Centurion Lounges. For what you lose in exclusivity (and it's obvious airlines these days aren't exactly keeping a tight door), the Centurion Lounges makes up for with amenities. We're talking open bar, comfortable tarmac-view seating with power outlets, complimentary hot food, and a shower suite.
Already we've walked you around the original Centurion lounge, in Las Vegas-McCarran International, but where else may a traveler relax in this airside paradise?
Airline Lounges / AMEX / Credit Cards / LAS / Airports / Airport News / Photo Galleries / Las Vegas Travel / American Express / Centurion Lounge / → All Tags
An empty airport can be a very loud place. Moving walkways squeak, the soundsystem blares with a soundtrack of Rihanna and Nickelback, a carpet cleaner steers his roaring machine ever nearer and, in the particular case of Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, slot machines on low volume still ring, ting, beep and buzz.
During a 10-hour overnight layover at LAS this last weekend, we were faced with a dilemma: pay a Friday night room rate (plus resort fee and taxi) at a Vegas hotel or suck it up and hunker down for the night on the floor at the airport. Partying was outwe'd just flown in from Hong Kong and our greatest desire was only for warm food and a few hours of horizontal-ness.
After settling for an Auntie Anne's pretzel dinner, we sauntered around the terminal on sleeping zone reconnaissance and, somewhere near the start of the D gates, we spotted our salvation in the form of a stark white wall and two doors of lapis lazuli blue. The American Express Centurion Lounge!
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Trust the fun new social media stuff to be released during the SXSW Interactive Festival these last few days. The one we're most immediately excited for can actually benefit people outside Austin, but ya gotta be an American Express card holder and a Twitter user.
Got an AMEX in your wallet and a Twitter handle? Okay, great. Read on:
Register your AMEX with the short online form here, get a confirmation email (see sample image below), then go about tweeting specific hashtags to score automatic AMEX statement credits based on your purchases at participating vendors...like Virgin America, the first travel brand to experiment with this technology.
Travel Contests / Coffee Travel / Food Travel / American Express / Credit Card / JetBlue / Airline News / → All Tags
It's Friday and, therefore, of course something crazy pops up that we just have to share. So there we were, checking our American Express balance when an offer caught our attention: the Sweet Life Sweepstakes. Apparently, all you have to do is register your AMEX to win JetBlue flights for one year, if you use your card at Dunkin Donuts in February. Um, nobody has to goad us into going to Dunkin, and this sounds awesome. Here's the whole deal:
If you have an AMEX card, and you've had it longer than since Dec. 31, 2010, you can go here and enter your basic card info. Visit a Dunkin three times this month, pay with your registered AMEX, and you'll get a $5 DD gift card mailed to you. But it gets better: "This month only, every time you use your American Express Card at participating Dunkin’ Donuts you’re automatically entered for a chance to win sweet prizes." Now about those prizes...
The corporate sharks at American Express apparently see no reason why Delta, United, and American should get to levy random fees while they have to settle for regular, reasonable, generally accepted fees. How old fashioned! So the credit card, which is cobranded with Delta, JetBlue, Hilton, and Starwood Hotels, is introducing a new fine for customers who are late on their bills.
Not only will those customers have to pay all the normal late fees, but they'll also have to pay an additional fee if they want the points that they've earned to get transferred to their hotel loyalty accounts or frequent flier programs. According to Yahoo, it works like this:
British Airways announced this week that it's partnering up with American Express's Membership Rewards program, so cardholders can convert their points into Executive Club miles. But in this economy, are frequent-flyer miles still a good deal?
Prior to this agreement, only British cardholders could harness the power of their green cards to buy miles in the Executive Club for British Airways and its Oneworld partners. Earn enough points and members might even be able to take advantage of BA's newest Caribbean routes bowing this fall.
Think having an American Express Gold, Platinum or Centurion card is only good for large spending limits and getting you into first class airport lounges? Think again; it'll go so far as getting you behind the scenes and at the runway during next month's New York Fashion Week.
The past few Fashion Weeks have flirted with the concept of letting the curious buy their way into the shows, but maintained the industry mystique by keeping the cardholders hidden away behind darkened glass in the "AMEX Skybox." This year, however, the economy is showing designers that these eager fashion fiends are worth their weight in gold. Already, Diane von Furstenberg has announced that she will stage a second entire show for the benefit of AMEX paid guests, which will include the added bonus of a discussion between the designer and Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley,
Packages for shows, occasional backstage glimpses, and entrance to the AMEX lounge cost $150, which is reasonable considering what some starry-eyed girls do to get regular access. New York Fashion Week runs from February 13-20, a time when the city lights up at night with exclusive parties and boutique openings. It's an ideal time to visit the Big Apple if you don't mind high hotel rates and brunching next to Japanese trendspotters. Get the coveted show tickets, however, before they go out of style.
· Diane von Furstenberg to Stage VIP Show for American Express [WSJ]
· Fashion Travel coverage [Jaunted]
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that American Airlines clubs are now a little less exclusive. They've opened their doors to American Express Platinum and Centurion card holders, in addition to the old guard of high rollers and miles mavens.
The partnership between the world's largest airline and the elite credit card company gives high-limit Amex holders entry into 44 Admirals Club lounges around the globe. The new program allows them to bring a couple of traveling companions past the velvet rope, too.
· Amex Cardholders Get Access to American Airlines Clubs [WSJ]
Ellen DeGeneres just finished up her "Ellen on a Plane" broadcast here on the east coast. The show was coordinated by American Express and Delta Air Lines who put Ellen on a brand new circumcised Delta plane as it flew from LA and New York and waited for hilarity to ensue.
Even before Delta Airlines filed for bankruptcy back in September 2005 we had pretty much written off the stodgy old airline.
Why? Delta flights always seemed to be the most expensive, frequent flier miles seemed virtually impossible to redeem, and we hated the thought of stopping in Atlanta every time we flew from the Northeast to California.
However, just last week we found ourselves on a Delta Shuttle from LaGuardia to Boston, and guess what? It was a surprisingly impressive experience.
Let's set aside the whole "on time" departure thing, as every flight from New York to Boston seems to get mired in tarmac hell.
So what impressed us?
·The shuttle left from Terminal A (Marine Air Terminal) out of LaGuardia, which meant afforded us simple check in, short security lines, and smaller terminal crowds.
·Baggage claim, which we all basically have to deal with at this point, was simplified and quick--Delta placed your bags in a certain area at baggage claim instead of making you do the carousel rigamarole when you arrived at LaGuardia.
·Free newspapers and Southwest style boarding (no seat assignment).
·The addition of the new Powerstop Lounge, located in Terminal A at LaGuardia, which includes: wireless high-speed internet, connection to ten workstations with power outlets, four iMacs with working web connections, Microsoft Office and printer access, and a VIP conference room that can be used for conference calls.
Not bad right? Delta doesn't expect to emerge from bankruptcy until mid-2007, however, it appears the airline is at least doing things right on the shuttle side of things, but what about longer flights? Let us know, by commenting below, or sending us tips should we start considering Delta for longer flights as well, or just stick with the shuttle?
·LaGuardia's Historic Marine Air Terminal Gets A Facelift [American Express]
·Delta PowerStop [Delta]