Austria, Germany, China 2013: Part 5 – Frankfurt, Robert-Johnson, and Timewarp

This is part 5 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!

We elected to get a hotel in Frankfurt instead of Mannheim because it was just an hour train ride away. We figured there would be more to do in Frankfurt since the festival was the only thing in Mannheim.  In retrospect, getting a hotel in Mannheim at least for the nights after the festival would have been a good idea since we ended up at the after party which was in Mannheim anyways.

The first thing I always do when traveling to avoid huge roaming charges is to get a local SIM card for my unlocked iPhone.  This also gives you a local number for communicating with friends and calling hotels, etc. I found a Deutsche Telekom store and took my passport and was able to get a prepaid card with I think 500MB of 3G data for €20 and then I put another €20 on there for calls and texts.

The hotel prices were really expensive the first two nights we were there for some reason and we hadn’t booked an advance reservation for the hotel so we ended up getting one of the hidden deals on for $126 a night that was the Westin in a great location in Frankfurt right near the pedestrian street Zeil.IMG_7902

Since I have Gold status with SPG, they gave us an upgraded room even though they didn’t have to since it was a Hotwire booking.

There was even a mall with a neat glass climbing wall and waterfall right in the middle of it!IMG_7901

The Westin had great beds which was important so we could get a good night’s sleep and get over our jet lag.  I don’t normally get too lagged but this time with the combination of a coach flight and then our layover in Vienna, it hit me pretty hard.

Friday night, we headed to the famous Robert Johnson club for Magda and Troy Pierce with my friend Jean-Carlos who drove up from Rammstein. We were a little worried since the club is very hard to get into sometimes and we arrived after midnight, but we were able to walk right in.  Magda was playing great but we left around 5 or so to save our energy for Timewarp the next day.  Andres was excited to be back in Europe so he could have a proper döner kebap.IMG_7906.The next day we moved to the Ramada near Hauptbahnhof that I found for a rate of only E49 a night!

Jean-Carlos drove up and gave us a luxury high speed ride to Mannheim.IMG_7910

Timewarp was pretty incredible.  There are six different stages and it was hard to decide sometimes which was the best.  Here are some pics and videos that I took from the festival.

I also ran into my friend Bart from Belgium who I met at the Ibiza closing parties.  It was great to see him again!

IMG_7934After the festival we ran into some DJs I know and they told us about a semi private after party at a little club called Zimmer in Mannheim that we could go to.  We had been up all night at this point so decided to go back and shower and change before the after party.  This was when a hotel in Mannheim would have been the better option.  We walked through a bit of Mannheim and it looked like a nice little town when the madness of Timewarp wasn’t happening.IMG_7944

The after party was legendary with a who’s who list of DJs both spinning and just hanging out right beside and with you. Seth Troxler, Dubfire, Jamie Jones, Nick Curly, Mathias Tanzmann, Marco Carola, and more.IMG_7947

IMG_7951  Such an amazing experience in a small intimate setting.  The party ended at around 4 and we caught the first train back into Frankfurt where I could sleep for an hour or so before heading to the airport.  It was time for Andres and I to part ways: He was going back to Miami while I was continuing onto Beijing aboard an Austrian Airlines 767-300 in business class!

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 4 – The Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Munich

This is the fourth 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.

I had a pretty tight connection to Ibiza in 1 hour and a half but made it through immigration and customs quickly.  When I saw the huge line to go through immigration though I began to panic.

IMG_6911I luckily saw that the Lufthnsa First Class Lounge was right next to the huge line so I stopped in to see if they could skip me to the front of the line since I was traveling first class.  But when I went inside and asked them they said “No, First Class passengers don’t have to go through that line.  We have a dedicated immigration officer just for our First Class Passengers located right here in the lounge.”  Whaaaaat?IMG_6918So I go up to the window and in 30 seconds I was through immigration and actually had some time to enjoy the lounge before my flight!  The staff then asked me when my flight was and told me when it was time to board to go downstairs to the limousine department where a car would drive me across the tarmac to my plane.  Whaaaaat? 🙂

I decided to take a shower since the I had been flying for hours.IMG_6916They also have some rooms with bathtubs if you would rather have a nice soak to forget all about the stresses of traveling (although First Class is decidedly not stressful). IMG_6917After my shower I wandered around and took a look at the amazing assortment of goodies available for the taking in the lounge.IMG_6910A healthy number of Pretzels (hey, we are in Germany) and a nice assortment of breads and cheeses. IMG_6912They also had some healthier choices such as fresh fruits.IMG_6919Since I have an insane sweet tooth, I was happy to see pastries, all sorts of candies and even candy apples!IMG_6923They even had little glasses of candies spread out all over the lounge (here showcased next to the awesome Bloody Mary they made me).IMG_6913When in Rome……IMG_6920Although I didn’t have time to enjoy it they also had fine dining available.IMG_6922I was still stuffed from all the food on my flight so I just snacked, but it looked like a good assortment of choices.
IMG_6921I took a quick look around and saw the sleeping rooms they have available which comes in handy when you have a long connection or a flight delay and want to work on your jet lag.
IMG_6925When it was time to board, I went downstairs and was whisked into a waiting Mercedes which drove me across the runways directly to my plane. No walking to the gate for this guy!IMG_6926IMG_6928As I flew over the Bavarian Mountains on the way to Ibiza, I reflected on my my First Class flight experience. Flying this way is truly a different way of traveling and I really enjoyed it!IMG_6930The flight from Munich to Ibiza (which FYI doesn’t fly every day of the week) didn’t have a first class cabin so I was in their business class which is just a row of coach seats with the middle seat blocked off so no one is sitting next to you.  They still have upgraded food and free drinks. IMG_6931As the island of Ibiza came into view, I started to get the butterflies in my stomach that only Ibiza can bring, full of not expectations, but possibilities.IMG_6932In my next article I will show you the amazing condo we rented in a great location near Pacha.

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

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 16 – 22 hours in Frankfurt

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This is the sixteenth 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.

One of the great things about using frequent flyer tickets is that you can build in mini trips as part of the larger trip by utilizing layovers.  For example, our flight home from Dublin on Lufthansa routed through their hub in Frankfurt.  On an award ticket, it is the same number of miles if you have a 2 hour layover or up to a 24 hour layover.  So if you are travelling through an interesting city as part of your routing, consider not taking the first available next flight, but instead building in a mini-trip in that city! Since I hadn’t been to Frankfurt and because of the business class availability on the return flight I ended up booking a flight that arrived at 3 PM and didn’t leave until 1 PM the next day. This gave us 22 hours including an overnight to see the city.Frankfurt Skyline

The Frankfurt skyline was nice and you really felt that this was a center of commerce for Germany.  We took the train into town from the airport for 5 Euro and checked into the Holiday Inn Express that was right near the Hauptbahnhof at a rate of 114 Euro. It was nice, clean and in an urban neighborhood which was close enough to walk around and see some sights. We started by walking along the Main River which was a beautiful spot.

photo (3)We started off in the Römerberg area and saw the Frankfurt Cathedral.


There was an Iron Man Triathlon that day too which created a good crowd watching experience. Frankfurt was a neat city and one that I will definitely explore again.

We had a couple of good German beers but then slept reasonably early because we had plans to check out the lounges in the Frankfurt airport. Next stop, our Lufthansa flight on the 747-800.  I was really looking forward to flying on the upper deck in Business Class and I was able to get my Dad upgraded to their new First Class which I was excited to see.