Austria, Germany, China 2013: Part 6 – The Flagship Austrian Airlines Business Class Lounge in Vienna

This is part 6 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

This is another of our lounge reviews from around the world. I had another 6 hour layover in Vienna before my flight so I was looking forward to spending some time in the Flagship Austrian Lounge.  After the night I had had, I was hoping that there was a sleeping area there too!  The surly attendant at the front got a little angry when I took this picture (even though I was trying to get a picture of the desk more than her!)20140425-204848.jpg

The lounge had plenty of room and wasn’t too crowded.20140425-204925.jpg

They had a few Austrian snacks on offer and some some regular snacks as well.20140425-204956.jpg 20140425-205015.jpg

There was a nice view of the airplanes and gates from the lounge.20140425-205127.jpg

They had a business area with computers and printers.20140425-205056.jpg

And an entertainment area with some comfortable seating and a TV.20140425-205148.jpg

And most importantly they had 4 of these awesome chairs!20140425-205210.jpg  I snagged one then knocked out for a few hours, setting my alarm to make sure I woke up in time to catch my flight to Beijing.

Ibiza 2013: Part 8 – The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

This is the eighth and final post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

People who read this blog know I love lounge access.  It is one of the biggest benefits of flying in premium cabins in my book.  I mean who wouldn’t want comfortable seating, showers, free snacks and cocktails while you wait for your flight?  I had around a 2 hour layover before my flight left from Toronto to Charlotte on US Airways so naturally I wanted to find a lounge.  Star Alliance flights often take a bit of work to get lounge access since by the firm and fast rules, you are only allowed in if your next leg is a transcontinental one unless you are Star Alliance Gold.  Since I am not Star Alliance Gold, I didn’t qualify but oftentimes if you just go up to the attendant and are friendly they can make exceptions which they did in my case.   So my advice is to always give it a shot if you are flying in a premium cabin because I have had pretty good luck!

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

IMG_7061 The lounge was nice and spacious with two different wings of comfortable seating surrounding a buffet style center area.Maple LoungeThere was also a media room with a TV which I thought was a nice touch and gave you somewhere else to wait for your flight.IMG_7062The whole lounge was lined with windows so you could watch the planes coming and going while you waited for your flight to board.IMG_7063I grabbed an apple from the buffet and a Molsen Golden on tap and enjoyed my couple hours before my flight back home via Charlotte.


Another Ibiza trip is in the books and it only gets more and more magical.  DC-10… Amnesia… Bora-Bora… Uffff!  I’m already planning my next one and you should be thinking about it too!  Each time I go, I learn better ways to do things, get to know more people and have an even more amazing time than the last.

If you want to get started now, my top pick is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with the ultra flexible Ultimate Rewards points and its 40,000 point sign on bonus.  If you still need to build up your credit history, check out our top 3 cards to build your credit article.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!


Ibiza 2013: Part 6 – The Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt

This is the sixth post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

In the points and miles world, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is the stuff of legends.  A whole separate terminal at the airport restricted to just First Class passengers.  And not just any first class passengers: Only Lufthansa First Class passengers.  A place where unicorns roam freely and mermaids serve you drinks out of a conch shell.  Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit there, but it is awesome.  Let’s start with the building itself which is completely separate from the main terminal.

photo 5You can either enter at the dedicated drop off area on the top floor, or walk over like I did from the main terminal and enter on the bottom level then take the elevator up.  As soon as you get there, someone quickly approaches you, confirms your Lufthansa First Class status and gets your personal concierge for your time in the FCT.  At this time, they will take your checked baggage and lead you through a dedicated metal detector before you enter the terminal. My first stop was the sleeping area for a nap since I arrived right when the terminal opened at 5:30 AM and I was still a bit worn from Ibiza.IMG_7019My flight didn’t leave until 2:15 PM so I had time for a couple of hours nap before my flight left. My next stop was a relaxing soak in the bathtubs they provide in their shower rooms (yes, they have bathtubs in the airport lounge).photo 4They had an assortment of Etro products to choose from to make your soak and / or shower a pampered 3 (1)I was upset to find out that they were out of the signature Lufthansa Rubber Duckies that come when you reserve one of the bathrooms with a tub.  They did have a nice selection of past duckies that my friend Scott would love.IMG_7044I then took a stroll around the terminal and checked out the extensive amenities.  My first stop was the cigar lounge.
IMG_7020There was a nice selection of complimentary stogies.IMG_7043The lounge was very comfortable and had all sort of chairs that you could lounge in depending on your mood.
IMG_7021I started with an excellent Bloody Mary from the attentive bartender.IMG_7026I was a bit hungry at this point so I decided to try their sit down complimentary dining that was available. They had an Oktoberfest special going on.IMG_7024You could also order from a comprehensive menu.IMG_7036I decided to just roam around the buffet and see what looked good.
The freshly shaved pork was particularly yummy.IMG_7034For drinks they had a comprehensive water bar.  Yes this is a whole bar of different types of water from around the world.IMG_7030If you wanted something a little stronger they also had an area devoted to other liquors including a ton of different whiskies.IMG_7031After I ate, I still had a few hours to relax before my flight and have a few beverages.
IMG_7022I have a pretty big sweet tooth so I was happy to see all sorts of candies spread out through the terminal.IMG_7025If you needed to get some work done or check your Facebook, they had private offices available with computers.IMG_7027They had these things called “PowerKiss” that you could get for your phone to wirelessly charge it on any of the tables around the lounge.IMG_7029I found these amazing rocking massage chairs and was in heaven.

IMG_7028Just when I got comfortable in this chair, an attendant came up to me and asked for my passport so he could go get my immigration stamps and he offered me some champagne.  Ummmm, I don’t mind if I do!  He brought back my passport when it was time to board and took me downstairs to the limousine department for my Mercedes ride over to my waiting plane.
IMG_7045I have to admit that the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt surpassed all of my expectations.  This is truly a different way to fly and now that I have experienced it, I want more! 🙂 If this sounds like something you would enjoy (and really who wouldn’t enjoy this) then why not apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred today and get 40,000 points as a sign on bonus?

In our final article, I will review the First Class flight home on Lufthansa that was in their old first class seating.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Ibiza 2013: Part 2 – Lufthansa First Class lounge in New York – JFK

This is the second post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

I started off at the same JFK Lufthansa lounge that I went to on my Eurotrip 2013, except this time instead of going to the Business Lounge, they let me into the keyed elevator to go to the top floor Senator Lounge.


You could tell a difference immediately with the quantity and quality of the wines and liquors compared to the somewhat limited Business Lounge downstairs.IMG_6866They even had Patron in case I was in the mood for shots before the plane!

IMG_6870From the top floor First Class lounge you had a great view of the gate where your plane was.IMG_6873One of the differences between First Class and Business Class is the availability of sit down multiple course dining in First Class.  I had been traveling since 8:30 in the morning so was excited to put their kitchen through its paces.IMG_6874The menu had several tempting a la carte options in addition to the salad bar and hot buffet.IMG_6875I chose the Seared Sea Scallops which was a great choice!IMG_6876I enjoyed the desserts as well from the buffet. For the purposes of the article I had to try them all!

IMG_6871 IMG_6872I had about 4 hours to enjoy this lounge before my flight so I after my leisurely lunch I decided to take a shower before my transatlantic flight.  The bathrooms which were located down on the Business Lounge floor did the trick to refresh me before my third flight of the day.IMG_6877

I enjoyed a few beers and the free wifi while I waited for my plane to start boarding. In the next article I will cover the First Class experience in the Lufthansa A-330.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Eurotrip 2013: Part 17 – Lufthansa Business AND New First Class FRA-IAD on Boeing 747-800

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This is the seventeenth and final post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

After almost 3 weeks in Europe I was ready to sleep in my own bed, but there were a few more flights to make.  Since Lufthansa availability for partners opens up two weeks out, I had been checking online trying to get my Dad and I upgraded from Business Class to First Class.  We were booked on the massive 747-800 and while our seats were reserved in the upper deck Business Class, First Class for the first time was what I was really after.  With about one week left, I was able to snag one First Class seat for my Dad but another one never opened up for me!  Looking at the bright side, I would be able to review both the Business and First Class on the 747-800.

When we arrived at the Frankfurt airport, we went our separate ways as he went to the First Class Lounge and I to the Business Class lounge (we split up because I wanted some pictures of the First Class lounge as well).  The Business Class lounge was busy but spacious with tons of snacks, drinks, and other things to make you comfortable.

IMG_6643 These chairs were motorized rocking chairs and played this soothing music through built in speakers in the headrest.  So relaxing!IMG_6645 The bar was fully stocked with premium liquors, wine and champagne.IMG_6646 Here are the pics from the First Class Lounge in Frankfurt.  Note that this is the First Class Lounge not the First Class Terminal.  My Dad didn’t want to walk over the the FCT so he missed out on the private driver to his plane, but he was quite happy with this lounge he said. There was sit down multi course dining available.First Class Lounge... Frankfort... A large selection of delectable desertsFood bar in First Class LoungeThere was also a good assortment of hot and cold dishes.DSCN0286 You can see the cigar lounge at the back of this picture if you want a stogie while you wait for your flight.DSCN0290

After a few hours enjoying the lounge, it was time for the main event.  The 747-800 has two different Business Classes, one upstairs and one downstairs and the 8 First Class seats are located in the nose of the plane with the pilots above it. I was in the Upper Deck Business Class which was amazingly quiet and isolated from the rest of the passengers below.

Lufthansa 747-800For the first time I was able to take the stairs to the upper deck of a 747-800!

IMG_6647 I had one of the side seats and luckily had no one next to me. That seat was reserved for my Dad but when he was upgraded it remained empty.IMG_6648They offered a somewhat standard Business Class amenity kit with products by Nivea, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, a sleeping mask, and a stylish striped bag to hold it all.IMG_6653The Business Class menu looked quite tasty.

IMG_6650 I started with the King Prawn Confit with Avocado and Bean SaladIMG_6652 Here was the salad but I forgot to take a pic of the beef tenderloin I had!IMG_6654My Dad on the other hand was living it up in First Class downstairs at the very front of the plane. You can see a huge difference in the First Class seats right away.

DSCN0294I have to admit, I was a little jealous of my Dad’s first class experience, but he seemed ok leaving me slumming in Business Class 🙂DSCN0296Here I am with some of the great Lufthansa staff that took care of him.DSCN0297My Dad is 6’1″ so I am sure he appreciated all the room to stretch out
DSCN0302 Caviar service is included in First ClassDSCN0304 It looks like he chose the fish entree.DSCN0306I am sure the cheese platter was his favorite part of the meal!
DSCN0307 How happy does this guy look!?DSCN0308

After landing in Washington IAD airport, we spent a little time in the Lufthansa lounge there before taking our respective flights back to Fort Lauderdale and Nashville.

IMG_6655Overall this was an incredible trip and I am glad I was able to spend some time with my Dad galavanting around Europe.  I will treasure it always.

Eurotrip 2013: Part 5 – The JFK Lufthansa Lounge

This is the fifth post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain.  Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Longtime readers will know one of the perks I enjoy the most is lounge access in airports. Comfortable seating, free snacks and food, free wifi and free alcoholic drinks! Lounges are one of those places where foreign airlines usually pull ahead of the US Domestic ones so I was happy to head to the Lufthansa Lounge in Terminal 1 of JFK Airport instead of a United lounge. We arrived to the lounge about 2 hours before our flight and showed the front desk our boarding passes and were ushered right in. This was a nice lounge!

They had a special media room with several TVs and comfy chairs similar to a home theater.


Several German beers were on tap, many liquors were on hand to make your own drinks and they had a wide assortment of food including healthy choices like salads, wraps and mini sandwiches and some not so healthy candies like M&Ms and gummy bears. 🙂

IMG_6173 IMG_6174 IMG_6175

We could see our plane on the tarmac from our seats in the lounge and were able to wait until the last minute to board. I enjoyed some beers and a little last minute Facebook before the 7 hour flight to Brussels and the 2 hours in the lounge went quickly and comfortably! Did I mention I love flying business class for the lounge access?

By the way, if you want to have lounge access whenever you fly even in coach in addition to a whole lot of other benefits you might want to think about getting the Business Platinum Card from American Express. It also currently has a 25,000 membership reward point bonus.

Eurotrip 2013: Part 3 – The Orlando Star Alliance Gold Lounge and the first change of plans


 This is the third post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

I had a quick layover in Orlando and was able to check out the United Club Lounge while I was there.  First off, I wanted to talk about Lounge access within Star Alliance.  Lounge access is one of my favorite things about flying in premium cabins due to the free wifi, snacks and alcohol.  I was on the first leg of a convoluted itinerary that would take me from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando to Charlotte to New York to Brussels to Frankfurt to Dublin.  Whew!  I had built in a 15 hour layover in New York to ensure that we didn’t miss our international connection and also to maybe see some sights around the JFK area.

I am somewhat famous for missing my flights but this time I was meeting my Dad in New York so I arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport two and a half hours before my flight.  I wasn’t sure what the lounge situation would be in my terminal but I was happy to see a United Club lounge since my itinerary was booked with United miles.  I waltzed into the lounge and produced my First Class tickets (although they were on the Star Alliance partner US Air) and a quite surly woman at the front desk informed me that “This was a club lounge and they don’t have a lounge for First Class passengers.”  What?  I explained that my itinerary was booked all by United and was all in business class and first class and should have lounge access.  She informed me that since my flight wasn’t until the next day from JFK to Brussels that it was only before that flight that my lounge access would be available.  Bummer.  There are few things more disheartening that being turned away from a lounge when you are flying on a First Class ticket!

So off I sulked and immediately started researching what the lounge access criteria was for award tickets on another Star Alliance carrier. This wouldn’t be the first time that an airline employee had told me something incorrect. It turns out the old bat was right!   Evidently, domestic first class just isn’t good enough which is amazing for the price they pay!

So as I got to Orlando with another 2 hours before my next flight I saw a sign for another United Club lounge.  This one was designated Star Alliance Gold lounge, but I knew that the next day rule for lounge access still applied unless I have Star Alliance Gold status (which I don’t). But I am not afraid of rejection so up I marched with my two first class tickets in hand.  The guy at the entrance looked weathered but a bit more friendly than the shrew at the Fort Lauderdale location.  Armed with the information from the last encounter, when I saw that my flight coupon wasn’t scanning for automatic entry, I announced that I was on an international itinerary (which was true) and that it wouldn’t let me print my international boarding pass yet (also true.)  While he was checking who knows what on the computer I chatted him up about the weather and flight status and he ended up waving me through.

Milano Cookies in the Orlando Lounge. Yum.
Milano Cookies in the Orlando Lounge. Yum.

The lounge itself was sufficient with a staffed bar, Milano cookies and other snacks.  I had a couple of complimentary beers as I waited for my flight to Charlotte.  I normally like to wait as long as I can to get to the gate since the lounge is much more comfortable and today was no exception.  When I finally headed to the gate, I saw the bad news!  My flight to Charlotte was delayed an hour which meant I would miss my 50 minute connection to New York.  Since it was so late in the day, I knew that there weren’t any more flights to New York from Charlotte so I started to panic.  Visions of my Dad alone in New York trying to check into the hotel which was in my name came to mind…  There was a long line of people at the desk trying waiting to talk to the gate agent so I tried to call United while I was waiting because I know sometimes they can rebook you even faster than waiting for the gate agent.  The person on the phone gave me the bad news that there were no other flights and my alternative was to stay in Charlotte for the night! Ugh!  Luckily the gate agent about that time called out for anyone with a connection to New York to come up front and when I came up she told me they had rebooked me on an American flight direct to New York, but it was in coach class.  Well, beggars can’t be choosers so I hustled to make it to the gate on time and was finally on my way to New York.  I hope my bag gets transferred over right….

Admiral’s Club Lounge in Miami


I always hate when my flights are delayed (like my flight to Cancun for BPM is right now), but when you are in an airport lounge with complimentary snacks and alcohol it certainly makes it nicer. I am perpetually running late it seems so this is actually the first time I have used the Admiral’s lounge in Miami. Lounge access is one of my favorite benefits that comes along with a premium cabin fare such as business class or first class.

While most lounges internationally are nicer, even domestically you can count on free wifi, some TVs, comfortable seating, a business center with printers, free snacks such as fruit and pretzels, and some sort of complimentary alcohol. International lounges usually add premium liquors and may have showers and sleeping rooms. When you have an extended layover especially after long flights a shower might be just what you needed to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

The Miami lounge is quite large and includes sodas, some domestic beers, house liquor, and house wine choices for free with a full bar available as an up charge. Their snack selection was quite limited with just chips, trail mix, and some fruit. They did have a full menu available for purchase though and some of the items I saw being brought out looked quite tasty.

I am sure this won’t be the last time I use this lounge, and while it is a solid domestic lounge, the international lounges, especially in Asia are much nicer and have expanded food and drink offerings that I prefer and actually allow the lounge to be a spot to grab a light meal before your flight.



Happy New Year from the Admiral’s Club in Nashville, TN


As I wait for my flight back to Miami and sit in the Admiral’s lounge in Nashville sipping on my complimentary beer, I reflect upon my last year. One year ago I was fresh off my Around the World trip and decided to start this blog. I knew I didn’t know everything but I knew enough to share some things I had learned with my friends.  I wanted everyone to have the amazing experiences I have had.

Since then I’ve travelled to back to Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Santiago Chile, changed my life at Burning Man, and spent an amazing month in Europe for the Ibiza closing parties and the Amsterdam Dance event. Of course I can’t forget coming home to Nashville for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I did it all using miles paying basically only taxes to travel! Plus I have learned SO much more about ways to earn and spend miles.

I know a lot of you are curious about what I am doing and have asked me about it. Well, don’t be afraid to ask questions! One thing I like almost as much as traveling is helping others do the same! A few friends of mine have started down the same path and I am happy to see their eyes opening and them becoming a miles junkie like I am. 🙂

I want you to be next! I truly feel like I have stumbled upon this loophole to an incredible lifestyle and I want others along with me for the ride! So do yourself a favor and make a resolution for 2013 to travel the world for free! I don’t care if it is a quick trip to Vegas or a trip halfway around the world, set yourself a goal and put a plan into motion to accomplish it!  You can start with our Getting Started Page, then depending on your credit score, go to either our Credit Repair 101 page or straight to the Easy Quarter Million!

As a New Year’s gift, in one week, I will pick a random person from the responses to this post to take under my wing and help them get the points to go on an amazing trip.  It will require one on one coaching for an hour a week, an open mind, and a guest article or two about the process.  If this sounds good to you then post a reply and let’s travel!

Lima, Peru Airport Lounges

After missing my flight in Santiago (mental note, always check in 24 hours ahead of time), I ended up with a 12 hour layover in Lima from 12 AM to 12 PM. I wasn’t sure until I arrived in Lima if I would be able to make an earlier connection so I didn’t arrange a hotel or hostel ahead of time. I also would have needed to go through immigration and security again if I had left the airport so I decided to check out the lounges and camp out until I my flight left. When I had been in Lima previously, I had used the “VIP Club” lounge which while a bit crowded had a good food selection.  I had noticed another lounge called the “Sumaq VIP Lounge” but had assumed that it for for a different airline than LAN which I was flying.  This time I decided to ask and found out that like Santiago, you can use either lounge when flying business class with LAN.  As I walked into the lounge, I could already tell it was a bit nicer than the VIP Club lounge with plush furniture and a glass cabinet showing off some silver items which really gave it an upscale feel.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

There was also a very nice wood paneled bar with many different liquors on offer and an accommodating bartender ready to chat the night away if needed.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

Since I had been in the airport all day the day before and arrived after midnight, I was happy to see that they not only offered showers for your use but also had a rest area room with these comfortable looking chaises where you could get a bit of rest if needed.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

The food was typical if a bit lighter than the VIP club room.  In the morning they had hard boiled eggs, cereals, toast and jellies.  They had the requisite fancy coffee maker for your latte or expresso needs and even a fresh squeezed orange just machine that would cut and squeeze you a class when you fed it the supplied oranges.  The internet was shared with the other VIP lounge and in typical Peruvian fashion it was quite slow with 380K down and 100K up.  I certainly would get frustrated trying to send any large files here!

Having a shower and then napping for a few hours made my long layover much more enjoyable and made me refreshed and ready to tackle the 7 hour flight back to Miami.  Particularly for overnight layovers, I would recommend the Sumaq lounge instead of the VIP lounge in Lima.