Tag Archives: airlines

Epic Mileslife 4X dining promotion- up to 12 mpd until 9 July

Mileslife launched in Singapore a few weeks ago, giving you the opportunity to earn bonus miles on dining and other lifestyle spending.

They launched with a series of promotions, including 100 miles for linking an FFP to your Mileslife account, 1,500 miles for signing up through this link and spending S$39 within 30 days, and a 3X bonus on dining for miles, meaning that if a restaurant was ordinarily offering 3 mpd, you’d earn 9 mpd until 20 June.

Well, 20 June has come and gone, but here are two new offers:

(1) From 21 June to 7 July, you can enjoy 4X the miles when you dine at Mileslife merchants and pay using the Mileslife app. So if the regular miles earning rate is 3 mpd, you’ll get 12 mpd. 

(2) There’s a new promo code that applies to both existing and new users. Anyone who enters ML621 on the Mileslife app will get 500 bonus miles with their next purchase. This code is valid till 9 July, and you must spend within one month of entering the code.

You might like to know that Mileslife is launching travel package bookings on its app with 4X miles till 9 July. I’ve not looked at any of the deals in great detail, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve decided to use an OTA for your stay. As always, you should compare prices with other OTAs and ensure that you’re paying about the same price, and if not, that the bonus miles are worth the additional money.

Final point: Mileslife is a new platform and there will be teething problems. You’re going to meet staff who haven’t heard of the app, and there may or may not be wonky transactions that don’t post properly.  If that happens, I’d encourage you to reach out to the Mileslife team at [email protected] as they’ve been quite good at resolving problems and getting miles retrocredited.

Also, remember that Mileslife currently codes as a professional services purchase, so it will not earn 10X points with the DBS Woman’s World card. They’re working on getting a new MCC that will let you maximize your 10X online spending bonus, and I’ll update you when that happens.

You can use this link to download Mileslife, if you haven’t already done so.

How I’m dealing with the Qatar travel blockade

Everyone by now should be aware of what’s going on in Qatar and the broader region. I’m going to stay far, far away from any political commentary and talk about what this blog vertically integrated e-commerce media conglomerate is focused on- the travel implications.

As you may remember, I need to get from DAR to DOH for my RTW trip. I had identified that it was cheaper to fly DAR-DOH-DXB instead of directly from DAR-DOH.

DAR-DOH direct- $2.6K
DAR-DOH-DXB, $811!

At first I was thinking of throwing away my DOH-DXB ticket, but then realised that DOH-DXB was booked as First Class, as that’s the level above Economy on inter-gulf flights. That was fantastic, as it meant I would get a chance to review the Al Safwa First Class lounge in Doha. It also meant that I got to spend my weekend in Dubai instead of Doha.

Image result for qatar airways first class lounge

As you can guess, the current flight restrictions have wrecked that plan, with Qatar Airways banned from flying over or landing in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.

I quickly worked out an alternate routing from DOH-DXB that involved transiting in Muscat and taking MCT-DXB via Oman Air. My understanding is that Qatar is working to rebook affected flyers to DXB/AUH via KWI or MCT. With this in mind I called up QR to see if they’d rebook my proposed routing for me.

Now, Qatar Airways’ official policy regarding the current situation is that rebookings for flights affected by this disruption can be done within 72 hours of flight departure. I say “official”, because it seems from what I’m reading online that this is a classic case of YMMV. But this is also a classic case of the benefits of HUCA (hang up, call again).

Case in point- I called up the Doha office at the 72 hour mark and got a CSO who insisted on rebooking me on DAR-MCT-DXB, entirely on Oman Air. This made no sense at all to me- wouldn’t QR rather keep the revenue they were earning on my DAR-DOH-MCT legs at least? Why would they want to do the whole flight on a different carrier? But she insisted there was nothing else she could do, and to top it all off the flight she proposed left from DAR one day later than I originally intended. I hung up.

I called again and got a CSO who was perfectly ok with the routing I proposed, but said that they were not able to book this for me until 24 hours before departure. 72 hours is already cutting it way close but 24? I asked about the 72 hour policy and he said that where rebooking was happening via other Middle East airlines, the policy was 24 hours as they’d seen airlines like Etihad/Emirates cancelling bookings that were done by Qatar.

I called again (a day later) and got an extremely cheerful CSO who listened to my proposed flights, said “no problem sir” and after a 5 minute hold told me it was done. I got the e-ticket shortly after hanging up. The whole call took less than my wait time.

My revised itinerary looks like this:

DAR-DOH Depart 1630 Arrive 2345
DOH-MCT Depart 0730 Arrive 1010
MCT-DXB Depart 1425 Arrive 1540

Why would I do such a long layover in Doha? Counter-intuitive as it sounds, it’s so I can get a better rest. I could easily have connected to a QR flight that departed DOH just after midnight, done a 5 hour layover in MCT (at 330am no less) and reached Dubai around 9am, but that would leave me knackered (plus, a 5 hour layover in MCT is no joke).

My new arrangement allows me to spend the night not in a transit hotel, but in the QR First Class lounge. That’s right, one of the cool features of the Al Safwa lounge is that it has sleeping rooms. Not darkened areas with recliner seats, but proper, hotel-style private rooms with beds and an attached bathroom.

Image result for qatar airways first class lounge bed

My reading of this FT thread tells me that –

  • No reservations for the rooms are allowed, they’re allocated on a first come first serve basis
  • Rooms are only available if you have >4 hours till your flight leaves
  • A maximum of 6 hours use is allowed, beyond which QAR 450 is payable for another 6 hours
  • Only bottled water is allowed in the sleeping rooms.

All of which suits me just fine. The only beverage I’d take to bed is champagne, and now that it’s Ramadan the QR lounges in Doha are dry anyway…

So assuming I make it to the lounge around midnight, I can do a 6 hour stay and wake up to grab breakfast, take photos and then head on over to catch my flight to MCT. And I save one night of hotel expenses.

The other interesting development, aviation-wise, is that QR is now operating a different kind of A320 on the DAR-DOH route. Qatar used to operate the version that had your standard regional business class recliner seats, which aren’t great for a flight that’s decidedly medium-haul.

Image result for a320 qatar airways business class
photo credit: airlines and me

But because of the blockade, QR1348 now needs to take a longer route from DAR-DOH, adding about 90 minutes to a flight blocked at 5h 50 mins. You can see the diverted route here:

I don’t know if it’s an aircraft range issue or just QR wanting to redeploy narrowbody aircraft it can’t use on intra-gulf routes anymore, but the A320 on this route has been switched to the version that has full flat seats in business class.

Image result for a320 qatar airways first class
photo credit: one mile at a time
photo credit: bangalore aviation

This is the same aircraft that normally plys intra-gulf roots and which premium cabin is sold as first class, but because of the current restrictions is getting redeployed elsewhere (sidenote: it does seem like such a waste of resources that QR would normally deploy a flat-bed seat aircraft on routes that are 2 hours or less)

Image result for oman air b737 business class
oman air business class

I’m not thrilled about a 4 hour layover in Muscat, but at least I’ll get to review the Oman Air lounge in Muscat and try their 737 regional business class. Hopefully their lounge is decent enough to get some solid work done.

It’s amazing if you sit back and think about our supposedly connected world. By denying Qatar air links and passage with its neighbours, what should have been a no-nonsense 1h flight between DOH and DXB stretches to almost 5 hours including transit. And involves flying in the “wrong” direction between each destination.

No one has any idea how long this will last, but it’s sure to have an impact on your travels if you’re heading to the region anytime soon. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and we’ll see a restoration of something approaching normality soon.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a QR itinerary that’s been affected by what’s going on, it’s good to call up customer service with alternative routes already in mind. And if the first CSO tells you no, don’t take that for a final answer. Keep trying until you find a CSO who can accommodate you.

Krisflyer offering 50% off Silkair award tickets for limited time

Krisflyer has recently started offering a spate of discounted award redemptions for tickets on Singapore Airlines and Silk Air. Here are the ones we’ve had in recent memory

May 2015: 50% off SQ and MI economy awards
Feb 2016: 30% off SQ and MI economy awards
July 2016: 50% off MI economy awards
October 2016: 50% off MI economy awards
November 2016:  30% off SQ premium economy and economy awards 

Well, another promotion is back, this time for Silkair business and economy class saver awards.

Click here to see the full details.

You can get 50% off the miles required when you book from now till 11 July 2017, and travel between 1 July and 31 October 2017. There are 53 different Silkair destinations up for redemption this time round, including popular ones like Koh Samui.

Note that you will only enjoy the 50% if your award tickets before 11 July 2017. That is, if you remain on the waitlist as of 11 July 2017 and your waitlist subsequently clears, you will pay the regular price, notwithstanding the fact that you got on the waitlist before 11 July 2017.

Also note that this is a “genuine” 50% discount, unlike the past few promotions where the headline would read “50% discount” but in practice it’s be 35%, because you’d enjoy a 15% discount when you redeemed your Krisflyer miles online anyway.  Now that the 15% online redemption discount doesn’t apply anymore, your savings are really 50%. Whether you see that as half full or half empty, well…

I’ve never flown Silkair’s business class product before so enjoy these two artistically washed out photos from Silkair’s website

Image result for silkair business class

Image result for silkair business class

It might be tricky finding economy saver space that’s immediately confirmable on the dates you want, but there seems to be better business saver space on most routes. And at 50% off, why not? It’ll give you a chance to experience the Silver Kris lounges in T2 and T3, if nothing else (Silkair operates from T2 but you can take the skytrain across and get access to the T3 lounge).