The Long Way to New York: Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DCA

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
DC’s Greatest Hits
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN

After a solid week in NY it was now time to venture over to Washington DC to visit some of the most iconic sites in America and perhaps see if I could get my name on the ballot for November. Given the way this election cycle is heading, I quite fancy my chances.

For the uninitiated, Washington DC is serviced by 3 airports- Regan (DCA), Dulles (IAD) and Baltimore (BWI). DCA is the most conveniently located if you want to be around the Washington Mall/Capitol Hill area. However, Dulles has the most international connections. So if you’re flying from outside the States you’ll probably fly into IAD, and if you’re flying from within the States you’ll want to try to get to DCA.

I wasn’t able to find a United routing that worked for me (United has abandoned JFK and only operates out of EWR/LGA now) so I started looking for alternatives. I ended up booking a Delta flight for about S$236 because of Crossover Rewards.

Starwood and Delta have a marketing tie-up called Crossover Rewards.

Image result for crossover rewards delta

With Crossover rewards, SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Plus, SPG Platinum members enjoy elite benefits when traveling with Delta, such as Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades, and first checked bag free.


My Crossover rewards benefits applied seamlessly- in the system I was already set up to receive 1 free checked bag and my name was added to the upgrade list.

Now, SPG Platinum members have the absolute lowest upgrade priority so it would take something of a miracle for you to really get one. That said, I felt confident when I checked in and saw I was 1 of 1 for upgrading to First Class, with 2 seats available.

So naturally when I checked the list 2 hours before departure I saw I was now 15 of 15. Easy come easy go I guess. Come check in, I was unceremoniously assigned an aisle seat about midway through the plane.


I was amused that the security buckets at American airports have now become advertising mediums. It’s clever, no doubt, and I have no doubt they originally considered putting a firearm in the promotional shot for Narcos only to realise the potential issues that would have caused.


Delta operates out of T3 and T4 in JFK. Although the system told me to check in at T3, I still ended up having to transfer terminals.


It’s not that complicated really. You clear security at T3 and then take a Delta shuttle bus to T4. The route is very well marked out and you have nice friendly agents barking at you every step of the way so you know where you’re going.


Delta calls its shuttle bus service at JFK the JITNEY. As I captured the lens flare on the shuttle bus I smiled to myself, knowing that I could finally produce photos worthy of the Instant Gram that young people these days use.


I used my Priority Pass to get access to the Wingtips Lounge. If you’re flying Business Class with SQ, pay attention because this is the same lounge you’ll get access to (First Class passengers get the Virgin Clubhouse, an amazing place which I’ll write about soon)

The Wingtips lounge is located on the second level of the T4 departures area.


Yes, it’s the village bicycle of T4, taking pretty much everyone


The lounge can seat perhaps 80-100 people. It’s not the largest of lounges but it was close to empty when I popped in for an 845am departure.



A quick glance at the departures board suggested the reason for the emptiness- most of the international departures from JFK take place at night. During the day JFK is mostly domestic.


A look out the window confirmed as much


The main attraction in the lounge is really the food- don’t expect spa treatments, games stations or anything else here.


This was a morning flight so the choice of items reflected as much. There was cereal (why does no one offer lucky charms anymore, I wondered)


Fresh fruit





Hard boiled eggs


A selection of bread


And every American’s favourite thing, oatmeal. I don’t get what the deal is. Oh, there was chicken soup too.



The best thing about the lounge was they had the full alcohol selection out even though it was 7 in the morning.




That’s not all. There was actually sparkling wine.


I didn’t care that it wasn’t champagne. I didn’t care that it was probably some local brand with a french name. It sparkled, and that made it good.


There was also a fridge full of soft drinks and beer (Tiger beer too, surprisingly)


And a coffee machine dispensing coffee of questionable quality.


Around the corner there is a little annex with a smaller snack selection



The flight itself was a little more than an hour on an Embraer E-170 jet. The configuration was 2-2 in economy and I had an empty seat next to me.


Although the plane is a small regional jet, it still had some modern day conveniences like power sockets




And a tray table.


And a loo.


And soap.


The flight was uneventful, really. There was no time for drinks or any sort of meal service. I turned on Mr Robot and tuned out.


I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again- when you’re flying domestic in the States and paying your own way you really should go for price above anything else. Although United would have earned me miles I could use,  their base price was just too high to justify using them. The free bag I’d get with Delta also saved another $20 or so versus flying with another airline like American.

We landed on time in DC and I just had to find the relevant authority to file my election papers with.

The Long Way to New York: Hilton New York Midtown

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge, JFK
A Day in DC
Element Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN


We were scheduled to be in New York all the way till Saturday morning, but I only had enough Starwood points to get us till Thursday. So on Thursday my dad and I checked out and walked the 2 minute walk to the Hilton New York Midtown, where he had some HHonors points yet to burn.

Although the Midtown Hilton is almost as old as the Sheraton Times Square, it has aged a lot better. The lobby is a lot more spacious with more natural light, and felt newer than the Sheraton’s.

Some of my photos mysteriously vanished so here’s the publicity photo for the lobby.


My dad and I are Hilton Diamond members, but benefits at US-based properties are rather scant. No room upgrade, no full breakfast, no guaranteed late checkout. Instead we got access to the executive club and premium internet. Oh, and a “thank you for your loyalty”, which made everything worthwhile. To be fair, this isn’t a Hilton-specific problem, it’s an America specific one. Sheraton offered only club lounge access for being a Platinum member, with nothing beyond that.

Our room was standard sized- but as you can see from the floor plan below the rooms are as cookie cutter as can be- I don’t think there was even a single suite on our floor.


That said, the standard room we booked was a lot bigger than the Sheraton. I remember in the Sheraton there was very little space between the front of the bed and the desk under the TV.



As you can see here, there’s a solid amount of space in front of the bed for walking around.


There was a full sized work desk with a safe under the TV.



You could tell this room had not been fully refurbished yet because it had Hilton’s last gen alarm clock on the bedside. Yes, people notice such things.


This is the last gen standard issue Hilton alarm clock

Image result for hilton alarm clock

And this is the current gen model. I don’t use the alarm clock in any hotel, but you can take this as a quick proxy for when the room was last refurbished.

The room had an iron but not an ironing board. I suppose you had to call down for it.


The bathroom was definitely on the small side, and everything inside was standard Hilton


Peter Thomas Roth skin care amenities are still miles better than Sheraton Shine.


And is it just me, or can US hotels save a lot of space in the loo by just providing shower cubicles? I can’t think of a single person who would soak in the tub at such a place.




The room didn’t have much of a view


But fortunately to compensate for the lack of a view they provide you with this heavy coffee table skyline photobook!


One last interesting quirk about the room before we leave. The Hilton Midtown made headlines in 2013 when it became the first major hotel chain property to do away with room service.

In August, the New York Hilton Midtown, in the heart of Manhattan, will discontinue food and drink service to all 2,000 of its rooms. In its place will be a new self-service Herb n’ Kitchen stocked with grab-and-go items. A spokesman for the hotel, which is part of the chain that also operates the Waldorf, cited declining demand for room service as the reason; some hotel industry experts see the elimination of the labor-intensive amenity as a way for the chain to save money.

John Fox, a consultant for the hotel industry, said nearly all hotels lost money on room service, which requires maintaining a staff of waiters and kitchen workers throughout the day, even though orders typically dwindle after breakfast and come in sporadically afterward. “Everybody’s doing what they can to engineer their properties to make more profit while still supplying the services their guests demand,” he said.

Well, that sort of did and didn’t work. Only a few months after the announcement, Hilton had to walk back their experiment by offering room delivery, albeit in the form of a paper bag without the usual tray and trolley service.

The end result is still in effect today. You can order room service from this menu, but  it’s basically some member of staff going downstairs to pack the food for you and bring it to your room, for a fee of 15% + $5.50. The service is not available throughout the day, and you can only order between 6-1030am and 530pm-1030pm. I’m unclear what happens if you go downstairs and pick up the food yourself.



On to the lounge- I much preferred the executive lounge selection at the Hilton over the Sheraton, because they actually had hot items in the spread.

During happy hour you can get pita bread


Crackers and cheese


Salad. Or at least an assortment of individual cut vegetables.


Chicken wings (what is the American obsession with chicken wings, I do not understand. They’re like the least meaty part of the chicken)


And potato skins with melted cheese.


As decent as the food selection is, it’s still an American property so you don’t get free booze. They’ve created an interesting system where you can swipe your room key to get wine, with the corresponding $5 charge billed to your room.


These WineStations are the wave of the future people. Get used to it.


Beer dispensing is significantly less high tech though. You pour your own and fill out a card with your room number.



The lounge had a good amount of seating although it really filled up during happy hour.



It also had complimentary printing facilities, just like the Sheraton



The Midtown Hilton is not going to win any awards for design, style or hospitality, but it’s a comfortable enough place to pass a night or two. It’s definitely a cut above the Sheraton Times Square, although that’s a rather low bar to clear.

It was now time to move on to DC for some new sights and sounds.

The Milelion Directory has been Updated for October

Hi everyone

The Milelion directory has been updated for October. More useful articles on travelling better for less await.

Note that this is not an exhaustive list of every article on the site. I do not mention below timed promotions or limited period offers which will eventually expire. For these you need to watch the main page (and click through to older articles at the bottom).

You can always find the latest directory here. As of October, the directory reads as follows-

Airline Programs

Credit Cards


Rental Cars

SIM Cards

Reviews of Flights and Hotels

Other useful stuff

[Last updated: 11 Oct 16]

Travel Better for Less