I’ll see you in the morning.

West End Beach, Isle Rotan, Honduras. 10/18/2010. 


Back to the grind tomorrow.  Excited for my next trip to Asia next month.

Going for a month.  Looks like my itinerary is looking like Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Thailand.  I have some planning to do.

I just booked a ticket to Toronto for this weekend.  I didn’t have much to do out here in San Francisco so I booked a trip to Toronto for tomorrow.  I haven’t booked my return flight yet, but I figure I’ll just book one when I get there.  After talking to my friends, I actually might stay in Toronto for a little longer until Canadian Thanksgiving.

Miles are great, used 12.5k for a One Way 2 day advance purchase ticket otherwise costing $600.  Even if you travel infrequently, I highly recommend signing up for the frequent flyer program.  The benefits, if used properly, can be quite rewarding.

Delta Airlines

I accumulated quite a few Northwest miles a few years back which was a airline and program I loved.  However when Delta purchased the airline and merged the Worldperks program with their program, Skymiles, I discovered their mileage–(which some have dubbed skypesos)– to be virtually worthless.  Every time I looked, I either couldn’t use my points for redemption or the rates were astronomical.

Since I realized I didn’t have much to do over this winter, I checked on their website for tickets out to Taipei.  The only option that was given to me was for 240k miles roundtrip in business class!!!  Considering all of the competition sells those tickets for half that amount, I figured an alternate routing properly inputted by a human for an alliance ticket was necessary.  The first and second customer service agent both had no clue what they were doing.  Even though I gave her great suggestions, both blew me off like they were reading a script.   Both were of no help, so I did what I recommend for anyone not getting the response they want from a call center– hang up and dial again.

The third representative listened to my suggestions and came up with a surprising routing that impressed even me.  The result: for 120k miles plus 200 in taxes gets me a Roundtrip Business Class airline ticket.

Lesson learned:  hang up and dial again.

So in 2008 I moved into my house…

I got a lot of free “hand me down furniture” from family and friends.

Much of it dated back from the 70’s and 80’s.

As useful as some of the furniture was, I’m feeling it’s about time to buy my own.  I want to start with a couch for my living room that reflects my preferences in style and comfort.  Unfortunately, every couch I’ve seen has something wrong with it.  I’m looking for what Goldilocks was looking for…a couch that was JUUUUSSSSST right.  If anyone has suggestions on which stores to check out in the SF Bay, I’m open.

So I’m still looking…and I think it might take a long long time.  Until I get my house the way that I feel comfortable in, it’s just a house, not yet a home.

When I was a child, I always liked getting postcards from friends when they traveled. If you’d like to get postcards from random locales when I travel, please email me your name and address and I’ll add you to my mailing list. If you’ve already received postcards, there is no need to email me unless you’d like to get more.

Please email me at:  postcardATjonathanchao.com (replace AT with “@” symbol)


This is only really good for those based in the USA.

I’m used to seeing credit card promotions offering between 10-30k miles for signing up for a branded credit card.  Although generous, you can’t really redeem them for much.  At most, you might be able to redeem a round trip domestic coach ticket.  However, once in a while a great deal comes around.

British Airways and Chase have teamed up to offer an incredible deal.  You receive 100,000 British Airways miles for signing up to the British Airways Signature Visa and spending $2000 within 90 days.  According to their partner award chart, 100,000 miles on British Airways gets you your choice of the following:

2 RT tickets to Asia from LA/SF/NY on Cathay Pacific in Coach


1 RT ticket to Asia from LA/SF/NY on Cathay Pacific in Business Class


4 RT US Domestic airline tickets on American Airlines.

2 RT flights to Asia are worth about 1200, 1 Business Class ticket is worth about 3,500, and 4 domestic RT tickets probably are worth in the ballpark of about 1200.  There are more options available based on the One World alliance.

Now you COULD use the British Airways miles for flights on British Airways planes, but the fuel surcharges British Airways levies on award tickets are horrendous…typically 400-500 dollar range, more if you’re in Business Class.  If you use the miles on Cathay Pacific, you’re looking at about 1-200 in taxes.

So for about $75 out of pocket plus about 200 in opportunity costs (assuming you use the 2%  rebate Schwab card) for a Business Class round trip flight to Asia from any Cathay Pacific gateway (NY, SF, or LA).

Good deal, no?

Interested in going to any of the following? Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Mongolia, Russia, S. Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan?  What about to Europe?

US Airways is currently having a promotion awarding double miles for all miles purchased.  Normally I don’t recommend purchasing miles because the purchase rate on miles is abysmal and availability of award seats can be spotty.  However, with the benefit of this promotion the value proposition changes greatly.  While that doesn’t do much for inherent nature of limited availability on award tickets; it does become possible to get a real cheap business class ticket if you have some flexibility in your departure/return dates and routing.  Remember, the key for any award ticket is to be FLEXIBLE.

A roundtrip USA-North Asia (and vice versa) ticket using US Airways miles on a Star Alliance carrier is currently 90k miles + tax.  Currently each mile costs $0.0275 and due to the promotion, the cost is cut in half.  The offer is limited to the first 50,000 miles purchased (which can net you a maximum of 100,000 miles).  So the math for a RT Asia ticket is as follows:

(90,000*.0275)/2= $1237.50 plus sales tax and ticketing taxes for a Business class ticket from the USA to the aforementioned countries!  Normally a business class ticket to Asia would go for about $3000!

Now, if your desired destination is another country in the Southern Asia Pacific region, you can fly into Hong Kong, Taipei, or Macau and fly elsewhere using a low cost carrier such as Air Asia or Tiger Airways.

If you want to fly into Europe, the mileage cost is 100k miles or (100,000*.0275)/2= $1375+taxes.

Now while using miles to purchase a coach ticket is a waste, using this promotion to snag a premium class award ticket makes this promotion a steal.  Essentially to fly to Asia, you’re only paying a few hundred in premium for a round trip ticket to fly business versus a paid coach ticket.  The premium –for me– is well worth it.   My jetlag is reduced because I can actually lay out and sleep and add to the fact that I probably can drink my body weight in champagne and scotch makes this a steal.

Here is a link to the current award chart to see if you can find any other deals.

Enjoy the champagne and don’t forget to write me postcards

I heard this today and it made me laugh.

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

Gotta love it.  Going to my favorite restaurant TODAY.


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