[Travel] Cathay Pacific The Pier, Business Class Lounge

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Travelled to Hong Kong again last month and flew back with Cathay Pacific on their A350-900 Premium Economy cabin. That was good. But I enjoyed their lounge the most.

CX Lounge Map

CX Lounge Map

In Hong Kong International Airport which is the home hub for Cathay Pacific, there are not 1 but 4 Business Class lounges for departing passengers.

  • The Wing, Business (Level 6, Terminal 1 near gate 1-4): Noodle Bar, Long Bar, Coffee Loft, Shower Rooms, Workstations
  • The Bridge (Level 5, Terminal 1 near gate 35): Bistro, Bakery, Long Bar, Coffee Loft, Shower Rooms, Workstations
  • The Cabin (Level 6, Terminal 1 near gate 23): Health Bar, Deli, Workstations
  • The Pier, Business (Level 6, Terminal 1 near gate 65): Noodle Bar, Tea House, Food Hall, Coffee Cart, Shower Suites, Relaxation Rooms, Bureau

So with my Marco Polo Club Elite Silver membership, I can go to any of these lounges for free. So which 1 should I go to? As my flight is near gate 65, The Pier, Business is a natural choice as it is near to my gate, newly renovated and with the best facilities across all these lounges. Will be keen to try out The Cabin in the future.

CX Business Class Lane

Checking in at CX Business Class Lane

CX Business Class Counter

CX Business Class Counter

CX Lounge Invitation Card

CX Lounge Invitation Card

CX The Pier, Business Class Lounge

CX The Pier, Business Class Lounge

CX The Pier, Business Class Lounge Reception

CX The Pier, Business Class Lounge Reception

Artwork on display

Artwork on display

Signature Dan Dan Noodle in Noodle Bar

Signature Dan Dan Noodle in Noodle Bar

Dim Sum and Wonton Noodle

Dim Sum and Wonton Noodle

JING Tea and Cakes in Tea House

JING Tea and Cakes in Tea House

Relaxation Rooms

Relaxation Room

Food Hall

Food Hall

Coffee Cart

Coffee Cart

Luggage Lockers

Luggage Lockers

Bureau

Bureau

Happy Anniversary!

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This site was started 1 year ago to share about what I know and love.

How to use credit cards to earn your next trip?
How to travel in style with the least money?
Where are the good deals?
What gear am I using?
What membership cards are useful?
What mobile applications are making my life easier?

Here’s a video to wish this site Happy Anniversary with many more years to come.

[Travel] Cathay Pacific (CX) Premium Economy Class HKG-SIN: Booking Award Flight

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Another flight in 2 weeks time again to Hong Kong. As usual, flying out on Singapore Airlines Suites on boxing day morning using my miles. Will be in The Private Room on Christmas night to enjoy my Christmas dinner.

So what’s new on this trip? Let’s start off with the return flight. This time round, I will not be returning on a Star Alliance carrier. I will be returning to Singapore on Hong Kong’s flag carrier: Cathay Pacific. (CX)

So why CX?

  1. It’s Hong Kong’s flag carrier. I have been to Hong Kong quite a few times but have never tried it. Have friends who are fans of CX. All ask me to give them a try.
  2. CX took delivery of their Airbus A350-900XWB recently. So got to give this plane and CX’s new cabin product a try. I’m an Airbus guy.
  3. Got my Marco Polo Club Silver status for free. (Usually cost: USD100 and flights worth 300 club points.) Thanks to a corporate benefit from CX for the company I work for in my day job. Benefit: Business Class lounge access for any travel on CX’s flight. SCORE! Will be going to the Pier!

    Marco Polo Club

    Marco Polo Club Silver (OneWorld Ruby BTW!)

  4. Miles transfer. Most banks in Singapore only allow transfer of credit card points to 2 programs: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and CX Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles. (Citibank and American Express allows transfer to more programs while Standard Chartered allows transfer over to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer only at a pretty lousy rate of transfer.)

So I transferred 10,000 miles from UOB using 5,000UNI$ (Due to block redemption requirement.) and 14,000 miles from Citibank to redeem a Premium Economy Class ticket on CX’s A350-900XWB from Hong Kong to Singapore one way for 260HKD. (SG$49.16.) That’s a total cost savings of 7200HKD. (SG$1,361.35. 97% savings!)

CX Redemption

CX Redemption

CX Cost

CX Cost

Let’s see if I can score an upgrade on this flight…

[Travel] The Haven by JetQuay

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On my recent trip to San Francisco, I took the chance to try out another lounge in Changi Airport Terminal 3 before departure and that is The Haven by JetQuay.


A quick tour around lounge.

So here are some unique points about The Haven by Jetquay:

  • The only landside lounge in Changi Airport. (Air travel 101 time: Landside vs Airside. Landside means before immigration/public/unsecured area while Airside means after immigration/restricted/secured area.)
  • Most lounges will have shower, business Centre, meeting rooms, TVs and F&B. This goes 1-up: Nap rooms. An alternative to airport hotel.

Here are some photos on my Facebook page.

For the lounge portion, I thought this is like a smaller version of JetQuay. Small, cosy and provides the necessities. Food is made to order for breakfast and they have some bread, cereals, snacks, instant noodles and drinks available. For the nap rooms, I did not sleep there but I took a peek. Not very big rooms. But looks comfy for a short nap.

So which card will get you in?

Priority Pass

Priority Pass

The Priority Pass card will get you into the lounge with food for 3 hours per visit. (Excluding Nap room and conference facilities.) The following credit cards will give you complimentary Priority Pass membership with 2 free visits per year.

PremierMiles

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card

Altitude Visa

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card

[Travel] U-Tiny Boutique Home Suvarnabhumi Bangkok

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Usually I will try a top 10 ranked local hotel (Not under any international chain and manage by locals.) based on TripAdvisor ranking when I visit a country for the 1st time. (Hotel Icon for Hong Kong-Rank 2, Dandy Hotel TianMu for Taiwan-Rank 3 and Hotel Ryumeikan for Tokyo-Rank 2.)  So for my recent Bangkok trip, I choose U-Tiny Boutique Home Suvarnabhumi Bangkok which is currently rank 8 on TripAdvisor. So how was it?


A quick tour round the room.

A quick tour round hotel.

That was 2 Facebook Live broadcast that I did from U-Tiny. Hope it gives you a good look around. So here are some photos taken at U-Tiny.

Lobby and Breakfast

Lobby and Breakfast

Cosy Corner

Cosy Corner

Pool

Pool

Pool at night

Pool at night

Rooms

Rooms

View

Greenery View

Breakfast

Breakfast: Western

Spring Roll

Dinner: Spring Roll

Green Curry

Dinner: Green Curry

Green Curry

Dinner: Green Curry

Inside Room

Inside Room

More photos here. (Room photos etc.)

What I like about the hotel:

  • Convenient. (Near airport and complimentary airport transfer. Additional pickup from Lat Krabang station at night chargeable at 100THB or about SG$3.87.)
  • New place and facilities.
  • Homely feel.
  • Nice public area. (Lobby, Living Room, Lawn and Pool etc.)
  • Friendly staffs.
  • Well prepared family style meals.
  • In house massage service available. (Highly recommended!)
  • Super spacious and comfortable rooms.
  • Free WIFI!

Things to improve:

  • TV reception not good. In room antenna needed a lot of adjustment. Gave up and relied on my trusty tablet instead.

[Travel] Singapore Airlines SQ976 A330-300 SIN>BKK Business Class 7 May 2016

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Is not my first time travelling on A330-300 Business Class with Singapore Airlines. (Did that to Hong Kong before. My 1st adventure in a premium cabin.) However, it is my first time travelling with Singapore Airlines on my birthday in a premium cabin. So this is how it went. In this post, I will focus more on new experiences and some interesting points.

Blue Ticket

Green (Old Economy Class. Now is Premium Economy Class. Not done that yet.)/White Ticket Checked. (Economy Class.)
Blue Ticket Checked. (Business Class.)
Gold Ticket Checked. (Suites.)
Only left Red. (First Class.)

Champagne

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne served at SilverKris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2. Same as inflight.

Gate E20

Gate E20.

A330-300

A330-300.

Priority both on and off the ground.

Priority both on and off the ground.

Deliciously Wholesome: Namyu Cabbage Roll and Jinlen Eggplant and Beancurd with Brown Lamien Noodle and Wood Ear Mushroom

Deliciously Wholesome: Namyu Cabbage Roll and Jinlen Eggplant and Beancurd with Brown Lamien Noodle and Wood Ear Mushroom by Zhu Jun. (Book The Cook.) Not a common choice says the Stewardess. But good pick. Side dishes: Thai Style Salmon and New York Cheesecake as Dessert.

Hidden Menu: Birthday Cake!

Hidden Menu: Birthday Cake! Have to call in to SQ to request. Available for all classes of travel.

Packed for off flight enjoyment. (AKA: Supper)

Packed for off flight enjoyment. (AKA: Supper.)

[Travel/Deal] Travel Insurance from Changi Recommends

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Usually I do not recommend Changi Recommends (Pun intended.) for their Overseas WIFI Router Rental service because of their Fair Usage Policy (FUP) which is quite a deal breaker. I will rather touch down and buy local prepaid SIM or use Singtel DataRoam Saver Plan for places like China where I don’t have to worry about limit/VPN etc.

Recently, there is finally something from them that I can recommend. They are now running a promotion for single trip Travel Insurance to Thailand and Hong Kong underwritten by ACE Insurance. Free prepaid SIM card for Thailand or Hong Kong upon purchase.

Changi Recommends

Good deal!

Travel insurance costs SG$28 for Thailand and SG$36 for Hong Kong. Counting in SG$13 for Thailand prepaid SIM and SG$15 for Hong Kong prepaid SIM, it costs SG$15 and SG$21 respectively for travel insurance. Good deal eh? I have collected my Thailand prepaid SIM at Changi Recommends and will be using it on my Thailand trip!

Thailand AIS SIM

Thailand AIS SIM

[Travel] Bangkok Bookings

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For those who have been following this site on Facebook, (If you have not, please follow it with a like. I promise to do more Facebook Live as it now support Android on unverified pages too!) you should have seen that I have booked a trip to Bangkok as usual on Singapore Airlines using miles.

SQBKBusMiles

17,000 KrisFlyer Miles + SG$102.80 for flight out on Business Class.

SQBKBusCost

Normal cost? SG$1,050.80! Save SG$948! (90% Savings.)

SQBKEcoMiles

10,625 KrisFlyer Miles + THB2,722 (SG$108.97) for return flight on Economy Class. Paid THB707 (US$20 or SG$28.30) more for Exit row seat.

SQBKEcoCost

Normal cost? THB6,797! (Inclusive of Exit row premium.) Save THB4,075. (SG$163.13. 60% Savings.)

So this leads to a total savings of SG$1,111.13 (84% Savings!) with 27,625 KrisFlyer Miles. Comparing it to savings on my previous trip to Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines Suites/Economy Class with KrisFlyer Miles, this is not as worth it. However, I got some special plans.

SQSecretMenu

Notice something special? I have Booked The Cook as usual but this time it will be Namyu Cabbage Roll and Jinlen Eggplant and Beancurd with Brown Lamien Noodle and Wood Ear Mushroom on their Deliciously Wholesome Menu. You can also see a special meal requested: Birthday Cake! You can call in to KrisFlyer Membership Hotline to request if you are flying close to your birthday or significant anniversary dates.

Hotel wise, TripAdvisor and Agoda called upon again to help me with decision making/booking, This time round, I book using Agoda’s UOB portal and that got me 7% off my stay at U-Tiny Boutique Home Suvarnabhumi Bangkok which is currently ranked 7 on TripAdvisor. Review looks good and I will be contributing my review as well.

Agoda UTiny

Booked on 1 of their 3 Executive Garden Access Rooms. Shall see how good is this.

Upon arrival in Suvarnabhumi Airport, I will be able to go on Immigration Fast Track as I am travelling on Business Class. Airport Transfer will also be provided by U-Tiny. Upon arrival back home, JetQuay will be waiting for me.

Look forward to reviews here and have a good week ahead!

[Travel] Changi Airport: Behind the scenes

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Woke up pretty early on 3rd March 2016 morning around 5:11am and saw a message from Wilson (Global Travelogy) that was sent at 3:31am. He was travelling in New Zealand and saw an email from Changi Rewards about an insider visit to Changi Airport. (That’s when time difference works in your favor.)

Changi Rewards Email

Changi Rewards Email.

Since I have more than 500 points in Changi Rewards account (DFS shopping, dining and gold tier status FTW!), I quickly lock in my redemption and proceed to Changi Airport to make payment for myself and an additional slot for Wilson on the same day. However, I was told that there was no more allowance available for additional slots when I wanted to make payment. Not good news for Wilson. But thank goodness, an additional slot was made available for us and I went down to make payment for Wilson a few days later. On actual day last Saturday (19 March 2016), we discovered that my redemption was 2nd on list. Guessed that helped Wilson in securing his spot. He is a happy man.

So on 19 March 2016, woke up early in morning and head down to Changi Airport on an UberX. Comfy ride as usual even though it is not a limo. This driver provides charger on board for mobile devices. Not bad. The best I have seen so far is charger + drinks + sweets. It is my preferred mode of transport for Airport other than MRT as it is competitively priced against taxis with no midnight surcharge, comfortable and no queue.

Uber

UberX

Upon arrival at Changi Airport, I jumped into action immediately. Started my first Facebook Live broadcast at entrance. After that, I took some photos and met up with Wilson at Terminal 2 Staff Canteen for breakfast. It is quite easy to find the place with prominent signs.

Changi Staff Canteen Breakfast

Changi Staff Canteen breakfast from pancake stall. Had peanut pancake as well. Not bad.

After breakfast, we head down to Changi Airport Group’s office to register and collect airport visitor pass. There are some interesting sights there too.

Changi Airport Group Logo

Changi Airport Group Logo.

Starwars

Star Wars!

Changi Airport Model

Changi Airport Model. I love taking Panorama shots like this using my Sony a5100. No tripod and minimal to no post editing required.

So here are some pictures of our day in Changi airport. Thanks to Changi Airport for hosting us!

Sunflower Garden

Sunflower Garden.

Enchanted Gardens

Plant in a ball.

Enchanted Gardens

Enchanted Gardens.

Koi

Koi

Orchid

Orchid

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool.

The Social Tree

The Social Tree.

Butterfly

Butterfly

More Butterfly

More Butterfly.

Dom Perignon

Dom Pérignon at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Wine for sampling

Wine for sampling at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Bus

Bus for airside tour.

Firefighting Gear

Firefighting Gear.

Water blast

Water blast.

Redbird

Redbird

Changi

Good to see this whenever landing in Changi.

Disclaimer: Drink responsibly.

[Travel] JetQuay: Changi Airport CIP Terminal

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So Madonna Rebel Heart tour is over in Singapore. How did she arrive and leave Singapore?
Private Jet: Yes
Terminal 1/2/3: Neither. CIP Terminal

Wait a minute. VIP is familiar to most people but what is CIP? CIP stands for Commercially Important Person. Examples of CIPs include Madonna, Gordon Ramsay and Lady Gaga just to name a few. Whenever a private jet or CIP lands in Changi Airport, they will be received and handled by CIP Terminal: JetQuay.

JetQuay Logo

JetQuay Logo

As mentioned in my previous post, I have decided to try JetQuay for the first time when I touch down in Singapore from Hong Kong. So here was my experience as a CIP.

Buggy Ride

Buggy ride from gate to JetQuay. My check-In luggage was retrieved in parallel by their staff.

Arrival in style

Arrival in style.

Bar

Bar

Food

Food

Drinks

Drinks and light food.

Drinks

Drinks

Food

Food

Table and bench

Table and bench: Casual

Cosy

Cosy: Homely

Group

Can fit group comfortably.

Exotic

Exotic corner.

Relax

Relax

Family

Family friendly.

Corner

Corner

Chill while waiting for DFS purchase.

Chill while waiting for DFS purchase.

Business

Can do some business.

Computers

Computers

Spiral

In front of JetQuay’s signature spiral stairs.

So this place looks very exclusive right? It is actually more accessible than many people think. All you just need is Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard Credit Card which only require annual income requirement of SG$30,000. Any freshman who start work can access this. You can just call JetQuay for booking. For details, check my previous post.

Manhattan

Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard Credit Card