My Week in Points: Serve Up Some Woe, I’ll Shake it Off in the Caribbean

This little hobby (I agree with milenerd of the fatuousness of calling it ‘The Hobby,’ however well it may work for marketing) emerged from holiday slump to bits of news will mean a whole lot less Walmart trips for many.

I had put off switching to Serve and signing up for Nationwide Buxx until I had some slack time in December. Without access to Walmart, both were small ball and hard for me to justify huge effort. I got them up and running smoothly just in time for them to be killed off. That’s the problem with teenagers, you never know what to do with them. I have four namesake in my household that will be idle. A lot of MS is easy to speciously justify, just not rationally justify, unless it can be efficiently scaled, and that’s not me and my situation. More on that separately, though the answer is not reselling.

I was in Vegas at CES for work. Last year everything was a flat rectangle touch screen or iPhone case. This year they want to annoy every aspect of your lifestyle with devices that belong in Brookstone. Las Vegas gets me grouchy. I like some of the eating outside the Strip and the nearby scenic options are great. For work I am in the think of Strip and it’s not for me. If Vegas is for you, here you go: troubleshooting Hyatt-Mlife status matches, mattress running in Vegas for Hyatt status, and the Mlife Southwest partnership.

Is it the first warning sign of cheapening out when the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge now has two starch items to fill you up? The risotto is pasty and the pasta limp. I don’t want to be too hard on them because I have never seen persimmons in an airport lounge. Fruit is the way to my heart with airport lounges (see, Lima Sumaq grenadillas, Incheon Sky Hub rambutans)Centurion Lounge LAS Starches

Centurion Lounge LAS Persimmons

New York LGA still serves a great breakfast (determined by my berry vs melon test that United Clubs have recently failed). If you didn’t know, the international Centurion Lounges are totally different and pretty lame. I have visited them in Mexico, Brazil and India, while the word from Sydney is not arousing.

I did almost gamble because of the tremendous luck of my Wednesday inbound united flights to Chicago and on to Las Vegas were both early. Yes, United. Tuesday was a day of funny weather in Vegas that caused major delays for self-styled tech disrupters. Client from Seattle said that Delta canceled several shuttles in a row and swapped everyone on to a big plane that was cleared to come in.

I qualified for United 1K by a nose in 2015. I was 1K once before on a status challenge and then Platinum. The differences are minor and unless you want to pay to play on the GPU gamble, the benefits are slim. Both get the fee waivers I love and the Star Alliance Gold I enjoy. Upgrades are so rare, in 2+ years of flying I think I have had 2. ORD-LAS it got me up to 17 of 52 on the upgrade list. Not much better on half-full LGA-ORD or the also lightly filled return. Yet, as I say this, I did log in to United and notice that my midweek trip to Bahamas is now upgraded both ways, doubling my lifetime total. Someone is really telling me to gamble. Why no email notification, United, why not share the good news?

There are crazy fares to the Caribbean right now, follow The Flight Deal, so this winter in a series of quick trips I will finish my Travelers Century Club circuit with my final 5:

  • Bahamas (United revenue ticket, $236, paid with 19,508 Citi ThankYou Points)
  • Guadeloupe & Martinique (Norwegian, $176, paid with cash)
  • Jamaica (United revenue ticket, $366, using 20,000 US Bank FlexPerks Points)
  • San Andres & Providencia, $35, using 20,000 US Bank FlexPerks Points)

Into 2016!

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  • ABC

    Is it possible to use Citi TYPs on Norwegian?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @ABC – unfortunately, not online at least. Citi says you can call for airlines not listed on the website (primarily for Southwest), though I have never had any success for any of the airlines I have tried and did not bother with this one. Some I have tried recently are Air Greenland and flyDubai.

  • Brandi

    Great post, and a refreshing attitude! We took advantage of the Norwegian fares to Guadeloupe too. There is a great English guidebook pdf written by a local, she has it available on her blog.

  • john

    Dont mean to be negative, but wanted to warn you that San Andres may be a big let down. Go in with NO expectations! Are you taking the boat or plane to Providencia?
    How are you getting between Guadeloupe and Martinique? (Those are very nice by the way!)

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @john – my expectations are such from my earlier research that I will be there 8 hours.

    Guadeloupe and Martinique have multiple Air France and Corsair flights between the two each day, and I have an expiring AF voucher to use from when BA canceled a flight, put me on standby for AF premium economy and only could get me in economy. For BA’s problems I got compensation from AF and nothing from BA.

    I had been booked for those two two years ago. A hurricane and LIAT stranded me in Dominica several days instead (after I had been stamped out of the country).