My Week in Points: Breakfast in Europe and China

I missed last week and about to miss this week, so call this a partial update. I last checked the blogs 11 days ago according to my RSS reader. I loaded up a bunch to read on my flight to China and instead slept the whole way until the United matrons woke me with their noisy breakfast service. A bit tried chasing around Europe for business, then fun, and battling British Airways’ atrocious customer service to get back to NY in time to do laundry, collect gifts for my in-laws and fly out for China 11 hours later. All for posts to catch up another day.

A few quick miles and points observations:

  • OneWorld has a decent array of members that have good earning with AA. Asia falls short, as with other alliances. Glad that Finnair and Iberia earn equal to BA, because BA is now my airline to avoid.
  • Why do Western Europe chain hotels fight so much over breakfast for elites? Classic experience at the Radisson Blu Paris-Boulogne where, “We have upgraded you to a Business Class room.” “And breakfast is included?” “No, when we upgrade we do not include breakfast.” “So the upgrade means I get a jet-engine sounding Nespresso maker?” The manager came out and argued the point, but conceded in giving me breakfast. Yay, croissants and dumpy cold cuts. Last night I checked in to the Radisson Blu Beijing, “We have upgraded you to a Deluxe Room and included breakfast as you did not book breakfast.”
  • My Amex Platinum Mercedes-Benz annual fee is due. Haven’t found a good business card offer to swap and haven’t decided if to downgrade or apply for an EveryDay card to keep my Membership Rewards balance active. Centurion lounges are not important to me. Boingo access is ok on the occasion that it works. I have Starwood Gold already for the year. Other travel benefits I do better with Citi Prestige.

Blog highlights from the past couple weeks, partial list as I catch up:

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  • Shannon

    why no BA? Aren’t they better than AA in service?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – in short my flight this week all had big delays or cancels and BA online and call centers totally useless, can only book other BA flights which don’t exist, only the airports can problem solve and for the last one I was a 5-hour drive away from CDG and it was a huge mess.

  • Shannon

    Your conversation with RB Paris-Boulogne is funny. To be fair it is not included unless you are Concierge..Gold won’t get. I guess it won’t hurt to ask anyway. The French manager must have thoght you are a very aggressive American to ask for breakfast. How is RB Beijing? Are staff friendly?

  • I totally agree about Radisson Blu and their no free breakfast policy. It is my biggest gripe of the program. As for AMEX MB Plat, you can’t convet/downgrade a charge card to a credit card, only to another charge card.

  • Jim

    Stefan, if you have time I think it would be fantastic if you wrote a few posts about things to do/places to stay/etc. in Beijing/Shanghai. I’m sure these posts will be useful to those that took advantage of the recent mistake fare or will be traveling to China in the future.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – the irony in it is that the big selling point of Business Class rooms is that they have breakfast, so for points redemptions with family it can be a good deal to redeem for those at the 50% premium. If they had upgraded me to a Deluxe room or something it would be no issue, but making a point of it being Business Class then denying it’s best feature was an only in Western Europe thing.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Grant – I was meaning downgrade temporarily to a Gold or Green and then back up to Platinum in a couple months, I wish it were possible to downgrade to an EveryDay, don’t want to use an inquiry or Amex credit card slot.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Jim – will do, I have some old ones that I can freshen up.

  • Shanno

    Yes, please do Beijing and Shanghai for 72 hours like NYT but less fancy hotels and expensive restaurants…

  • Shanno

    that’s a good point which never occurs to me I was happy to be upgraded several times and never thought business class room includes breakfast as well. Will try next time

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – wouldn’t know what the later 2 are like! Had great zha jiang mian for lunch today in Beijing.

  • I am not dead yet!

  • Dave

    How was the RB Beijing? Rec it? I’m between that and the Park Plaza for a 30 hour stop in Beijing.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Dave – RB is an old hotel with new brand, rooms have been renovated, not all the public areas yet, very average. Location is convenient for the airport, Emirates uses it for crews, and near one of the exhibition centers, not in the think of it for tourist activities.

  • John

    I was upgraded to a business class room on a Club Carlson award and it included breakfast…unfortunately, I didn’t know about it until after I checked out!