Award Upgrades – Is there any logic?

Award Upgrades – Is there any logic?

I am at a loss about award upgrades


I recently booked flights on Emirates business; Heathrow to Dubai and then onward to Bangkok.

I registered for the award upgrade alerts. Frequently, usually timed just after 4am and 11am I received an email informing me that n upgrade was available. I logged onto the Emirates website anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after the email alert. (After all I am usually asleep at 4am!) Often the upgrade was no longer available. Occasionally the upgrade from Dubai to Bangkok remained available for just over 50000 points. This felt a lot to me so I reset my alerts and left it.


Today I received another alert. This time for London to Dubai. I was almost not bothered. However, I clicked on the “upgrade with miles” link and noted that this upgrade was for something like 36000 miles. Why was this different form the Dubai to Bangkok flight as they are similar durations? No idea.


I also noted that this DXB to BKK upgrade (previously at over 50000 miles) was still available. I ticked the boxes on both upgrades and clicked on the “recalculate miles button”. The miles needed was just over 68000 rather than the almost 90000 that I had been expecting.


So why the difference?

I cannot see why there is;

  1. There is a different in the mileage between different legs of a similar duration
  2. Why it is cheaper to upgrade 2 legs rather than one.

Thank goodness I did not upgrade the DXB to BKK leg when first offered.



I am sure there are omplex algorithms behind the calculations and offers but for me it is a black art.


Learning points

  1. Do not rush in at the first opportunity.
  2. Wait until close to departure of all outward or inbound legs are available to see whether a multiple flight upgrade is better than individual ones.
  3. There will always be a risk. It may be had I waited longer then I would have got a better deal.
  4. Upgrade when you are happy with the deal. So  i have upgraded and will have 2 great flights to Bangkok soon in First. I will not worry if I could have done better, I have done OK!



Logic? Not a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding this. Play the odds and enjoy it!!!

Have I found my “mojo” again?

Have I found my “mojo” again?

So following my last blog have I re-found my mojo?


Yes, I think I have.


It took a while. Usually as soon as I get into the airport departure hall I am excited and looking forward to my trip. On the last occasion that did not happen. It took a few days.


Why did it take a while?

I think I was quite stressed and very tired so it took a few days to unwind and calm down.

Even when I arrived in Bangkok and then travelled to eastern Thailand I was not my usual self, despite some glorious countryside.


I found it in Cambodia

It was not until I got to Phnom Penh that I truly felt myself and started to enjoy my holiday

The city was different and interesting and a marked contrast to Bangkok


The Royal Palace was lovely and the city generally had a good feel. It was clearly rapidly developing.

Well worth the visit and the restoration of my excitement for travel

Where has the excitement gone?

Where has the excitement gone?

I am sitting in the Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2. I am about to get on a plane to Bangkok. I have done, and loved, long haul flights before. I am flying with Thai airways, an airline I have liked. I am going to a destination I enjoy and I am also going to a spend a few days in a Phnom Penh, a place I have wanted to visit.


Where is the excitement?

So why am I not excited? Is it that I am completely knackered from my day job? Is it that I am meeting a friend and spending some time with him and his family, something I have done before and enjoyed but am worried it could be different this time? There is a different culture between Europeans and Asians and sometimes  intentions are difficult, if not impossible, to read.


This time it’s different

I simply do not know why but for the first time my holiday does not seem to hold the excitement it usually does.


This is worrying as my holidays are special and are adventure away from the stresses of work and filial responsibility to an aged parent.


Perhaps that’s it. I know when I get back in a week it will all be the same and whilst I am away there is the anxiety of an impending crisis and the stress of the difficulties of dealing with it 6000 miles away.


This is worrying. It has not been a problem before and should not be now. Little has changed except anno domini.


Let’s hope that when I arrive the worries will fall away with the excitement of a diffierent culture and new places to see and experience.


Any room for clothes?

Any room for clothes?

I am currently sitting in a rather small room in a Mercure Hotel. No upgrade, again, despite my platinum status. Hotels always seem to be full when I book which is unlike other bloggers who always seem to get upgraded.


Wardrobe for clothes or what?

Anyway, my comment today is not about this but the wardrobe. I was mildly amused by seeing it full with a fan, iron, ironing board and safe.


Where do you put the clothes?

Thank goodness I was only here for a night and had nothing to hang. If I had needed anything smart I suppose I could have ironed them before wearing as I would have had to store them creased in my suitcase!

Safe – anything but

I also noticed the safe was secured to the back of the wardrobe by a single small and flimsy screw. So not so safe.

Smile through grittted teeth!

So at least there was some amusement to overcome the irritation of a small doubleroom, noisy neighbours and no upgrade.

Cold Brew Tea

Cold Brew Tea

I have discovered cold brew tea.

This is a minor revelation to me and having read about cold brew coffee  as a good way to make iced coffee I suppose I should have thought about the same process to make iced tea, but it never crossed my mind.

However, I recently travelled to Taiwan. This is a country that loves its teas both traditional and up to date by way of “bubble tea”.


I was in a tea merchants in Taipei. Here I was tasting some teas and also a green cold brewed tea.


I found this very refreshing. I was told that you somply needed to put the tea into cold water and leave in the fridge overnight.

I have tried this with green, black and jasmine teas. All seem to brew really well and it seems that if left they do not deteriorate or become bitter, ie become over brewed.

I just use a cafetiere.

So this is a great discovery that I will be using frequently.

Duty Free Frustration

Duty Free Frustration

I thought I would vent my duty free frustration today.

I have recently returned from a great holiday in Taiwan.


On the way through the airports I wanted to buy some duty free gin.

At Taipei I was told that as the plane stopped and Bangkok I had to buy my liquor there. I suppose I should have challenged this but the explanation seemed reasonable.

However, at Bangkok they told me I should have bought it at Taipei and they showed me a card stating that when transiting though Bangkok form certain countries they could not supply alcohol.

I was very frustrated and never got my duty free gin!


I have emailed the Everrich duty free customer after sales service and will be interested in their reply. There was clearly no discussion to be had with the staff in Bangkok and it was very clear from the paper they showed me that they were correct and the staff in Taipei were not.


Next time I will know!



Senator vs standard

Senator vs standard

I am off on my travels again. Another week’s leave from my usual work.

As often seems to be the case I am passing through Heathrow Terminal 2. My usual first stop is the Lufthansa Lounge.

Senator vs Standard

As a Star Alliance gold card holder I get access to the Senator Lounge. This is accessed through the main lounge.

I have been here a few times and each time my observations are the same. It is much busier than the standard lounge

Is it better?

I have yet to work out what extra you get to justify “squeezing”  into the Elite section.

I think on this occasion I noted that ther was a rather limpid chees board and Bombay rather than Beefeater Gin. The wines were slightly different. Otherwise it looked fairly similar.

I actually preferred the increased space and less busy standard lounge



Interesting I am writing this sitting in the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge.

It is really empty, I would say quite but there is always one…

Even here where I can see less than 10 people one group is chatting at a volume that would suit the Senator lounge.

C’est La Vie!!!


The vagaries of hotel booking sites

The vagaries of hotel booking sites

I am off on my travels soon and was looking to book some hotels.

In one place I am going I cannot find any well known hotel chain so instead of booking direct to get loyalty points with the hotel I thought I would look at these hotel agency sites particularly those that give some benefits such as airline points etc.

Interestingly I ended up on one site and looked at pricing for the same hotel and dates using my pc and my ipad. To my surprise the prices were different.This seemed odd as I was looking at the quotes simultaneously


Is this dynamic pricing?

I found this irritating. Is this what is known as dynamic pricing?

The only thing different was the IP address. but it was 2 computers. I suppose I was logged in on both so the system could see it was the same “logee” looking on 2 computers. The prices were only a few pounds apart but why any difference at all?



I suppose it shows the vagaries of the system and that pricing is so variable; whether you use a hotel website, a web trawling or price comparison site. Many sites will all take commission and it seems this is complex and so prices are very likely to vary from computer to computer as well as minute to minute.

Again I feel frustrated as a user but that I simply have to accept this. Do my research and press “buy” accepting that had I searched a few minutes later or even on a different computer I might have got a different price.


“A gap year for every resume”

“A gap year for every resume”

I am starting to feel really old!!

As I write this I am listening to a live webcast about the digital nomadic life.

So far I have listened to comments about teaching English and house sitting. All explaining how to live on the internet rather than be country based. Otherwise known as “location independent”

The presentations are from a group of entrepreneurial young people. I wish they had included older people as they have a huge experience to offer.


However I struggle to frequently use the word “awesome”. It seems that if you work on the internet then it is de rigeur to constantly say “awesome”.


“A gap year to every resume”

I have just heard this comment. I never had a gap year and would encourage anyone to take a gap year whatever you plan to work, not specifically internet working. This is a completely appropriate comment.


An older gap year

It is clear to me that a gap year at any age is important.

I am not sure “awesome” needs to be said every 10th word but some of the comments are really interesting and are equally applicable to someone int heir 20s, 30s 40s 50s or even 60s.


Although rather promotional the comments are interesting and I would suggest listening








Elite status – Likelihood of room upgrade

Elite status – Likelihood of room upgrade

How often do people with elite status that states upgrade get it?

I have elite status with a couple of hotel chains and have paid for hotels through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings.

In all these cases the booking states that there will be an upgrade “if available”.

I do not think I have travelled at particularly busy periods but it is fair to say that I reckon I have been upgraded no more than 50% of the time.


50% – is this good odds?

I have no idea whether getting an upgrade half the time is good or not. On some of the blogs I read I the distinct impression that some people get upgraded almost all the time, even to suites at times.

When I have been upgraded the room has been good and I, of course, have been very pleased.


Am I being paranoid?

I know that I am not a famous blogger, film star, rich business man, politician or an incredibly heavy user of the hotels so I suppose I do not get any VIP annotation to my booking. This must mean I am low on the pecking order of elite status holders to be offered an upgrade. Or am I being overly paranoid.


Keep trying

As I continue my travels I will continue to offer my loyalty and keep a running total of my successes and I will update these comments in the future.