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Old May 9, 17, 5:32 am   #1
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RTW in 9 Days- Flying SQ J LAX-ICN-SIN-MLE, PH Maldives, + EY J MLE-AUH-LAX

At the end of April 2017, my fiancée and I burned a lot of Ultimate Rewards points, Hyatt points, and ever-less-valuable AA miles to fly around the world in 9 days. Eager to test out my Glob(alist) status abroad, and with a hefty balance, we booked the Park Hyatt Maldives for her birthday.


Since we didn't have much time off of work, a quick trip around the world would have to suffice. It is about the journey, not the destination, right? I had a decent balance of Ultimate Rewards points from by Reserve sign-up, so we booked LAX-ICN-SIN-MLE on Singapore pre-devaluation in business... I wasn't deterred by so many flights in SQ business, after all the fun reports I've read on here over the years. I was eager to try out the product myself.

We didn't have enough to get us back to the US comfortably, so we burned some AA miles on one of the best uses in my opinion, on Etihad business. We previously flew their fabulous Business Studio product from IAH-AUH last year, so we were eager to get back on board and try out an older product on the 6th longest flight in the world, AUH-LAX.

That left two overnight layovers in ICN and AUH, and a few spare weekend nights before the trip in LA, so we booked the newly-renovated Hyatt Regency LAX, the Grand Hyatt Incheon using a free Cat. 1-4 night from my Hyatt card, and the Hyatt Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi out of pocket. Despite my anger over qualification requirements for Globalist this year, the status treated us really well this trip, and I'll be going for it again in 2017!

I'll tease a few photos here as I get my words together.... thanks for reading! I'll also be posting this same report with more pictures on my blog. If you're on the Instagram, I can be found @JacksonJetsetting as well- would love a follow!






Last edited by TheTravelPlaybook; May 16, 17 at 11:18 pm
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Old May 9, 17, 9:38 pm   #2
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Looking forward to this! Photos look awesome already.
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Old May 10, 17, 3:54 am   #3
  
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Looking forward to it!
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Old May 10, 17, 6:53 am   #4
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Part I: Phoenix to Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines

Because we wanted to stopover in LA to visit friends, we decided to pay with points for a Southwest Airlines flight to position ourselves for our Sunday Singapore Airlines departure. Normally, we'd try to tack on a free flight under the same award from Phoenix to our gateway city, but award rules/regulations aren't what they used to be! At less than $50 worth of points each way, it wasn't a major expense.

Southwest Airlines operates out of Terminal 4, which is also where American Airlines and a number of international airlines operates their flights as well. This makes flying Southwest excellent out of PHX, because of lounge access.

For me, I use the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite credit card to access American Airlines' Admiral's Club lounges when traveling and don't otherwise have access. They're not the best lounges out there, but I've liked the newly-redesigned ones, and I always appreciate their liberal olive spread on the buffet. I do have, like 4 Priority Pass memberships at this point from various credit cards, but the lounge in PHX is pretty atrocious and it's usually reserved for BA flyers in the afternoons.

Phoenix has three Admiral's Club lounges at PHX, with two in the A concourses and one in the Bs. It's not super convenient for Southwest flights, which depart out of the other side of the airport, but if you don't mind a long walk for some free food, it can kill some time during a longer layover.


We had a few glasses of red wine to get the trip started, and some delicious carrot soup (Big fan of AA's soup game lately). It ain't the QF F lounge, but it'll do!

We made our way about 20 minutes before boarding to our departure gate in the D Concourse. Our flight, we found out, was a bit delayed coming in, and we boarded about 10 minutes late. Since we had A boarding group, we had 8th row aisle and middle seats for our short 1 hour 15 minute flight.

Unfortunately, LAX's air traffic control struck again, and we were trapped waiting at their mercy for about 30 minutes. Thankfully, we managed to squeeze in a new landing time, and we were off. While this trip, it made sense for us to fly into LAX with all our friends overpaying for beachside Santa Monica closets/apartments, I would avoid it if possible. Burbank (BUR) is just as convenient for those visiting parts of LA not on the coast, and don't have the ATC issues I've seen. With construction on the mid-field terminal at LAX, it's only gonna get worse. Same goes for Long Beach and John Wayne, though those are less convenient for LA visitors. I have had only 2 on-time flights in the last 8 into LAX from Phoenix, but perhaps I'm unlucky.

Thankfully, we arrived, and were quickly out of the terminal area with our carry-ons to make our way to the Hyatt Regency LAX.
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Old May 10, 17, 7:15 am   #5
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Part II: Hyatt Regency LAX

After arriving at LAX, we had a choice to either take the shuttle bus to the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, or walk. Since Terminal 1, where Southwest arrives, is the closest to the hotel, we thought the 5-minute walk would be better than a shuttle that would stop at the 7 other terminals before arriving at the hotel. This alone makes the Hyatt Regency my new go-to for LAX layovers. Seriously, LAX is going to be an amazing airport in 2100 when all the construction is done, but until then, it's going to be miserable getting in and out of.

Rates were about $126 per night plus tax, so the two-night stay came out to $292.54. Luckily, though, we were able to find 20% off Hyatt gift cards, which drastically brought down the price for us out of pocket.



Arriving at the hotel, I was impressed with how Mid-Century Modern it was. It definitely felt in-theme with how the idyllic Los Angeles would look like my mind had I hopped off a plane in the 1960s, though perhaps with a lot more cigarette smoke. The check-in agent immediately assisted us, and informed us that we would have a King Suite on the top floor as an upgrade!



For my first "real" check-in as a Globalist hoping for a free suite upgrade, I was happy! The lounge is still under construction, however, so breakfast would be served at the Unity LA restaurant.





Upon entering the room, I was blown away. The interiors, freshly renovated, continued the Mid-Century Modern theme from the lobby. While definitely a studio suite, the living area was sizable, plenty of room for two people at 814 square feet!


Directly to the left of the door as you enter is the wet-bar area, with an Illy Coffee machine, sink, and refrigerator.


The fridge was stocked with four cold-press juices, as well as some Evians. I phoned down, and discovered these were complimentary with the suite. At $10 per juice, which is ridiculous and soooo #LA , it's a nice benefit.



The living area was immediately in front, with a sizable 55-inch TV facing the couch.



Walking back towards the king bed, you saw another 55-inch TV on the other side of the partition.



To the left, you found the closet and bathroom area, which weren't otherwise very large by suite-standards.



There were, however, plenty of bath products from Hyatt Regency's standard brand KenetMD, including foot lotion which is a new one for me.



I also loved the view from the room, which was over the famous LAX light towers and the runway beyond.

We spent our two nights in Venice this trip, which isn't too far away from LAX, as well as a quick jaunt down to Disneyland on Saturday. We have a friend that works for ABC, so tickets were free.


I got to also use the top-floor temporary gym during our stay, which had excellent runway views. Free bottles of waters and towels were in the gym, too.



Each morning, though, was reserved for breakfast. Choices for Globalist were either ordering off the menu at the UnityLA restaurant, or picking the gigantic buffet. We chose the buffet both mornings.




Offerings included very Southwestern-styled dishes, like Huevos Rancheros, as well as the standard breakfast items like croissants, bacon, fruit, and toast. It was all very high quality, and I paired each morning with a lovely iced coffee.

Overall, I was impressed with the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, becoming my favorite layover hotel at LAX (well, besides the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey). Stay tuned for our next installment, where we hop aboard Singapore Airlines to Incheon!

Last edited by TheTravelPlaybook; May 10, 17 at 7:21 am
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Old May 10, 17, 8:17 am   #6
  
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Looks a nice hotel you stayed in at LAX.

Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.
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Old May 10, 17, 9:51 am   #7
  
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Looks like a great start - looking forward to the rest!!
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Old May 10, 17, 11:45 am   #8
  
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Looking forward to this one!!!

Love the new Hyatt Regency LAX. Before Hyatt took over and renovated, it was so ghetto lol
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Old May 14, 17, 10:50 pm   #9
  
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Very interested to hear of your EY return.
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Old May 15, 17, 8:45 pm   #10
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Wow, that hotel at LAX looks awesome! Looking forward to the next part.
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Old May 16, 17, 11:25 am   #11
  
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Subscribed! Great photos, keep em coming.
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Old May 16, 17, 11:42 am   #12
  
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Great start - looking forward to the rest of it.
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Old May 16, 17, 12:08 pm   #13
  
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I am also looking forward to this report
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Old May 16, 17, 11:13 pm   #14
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Part III: Star Alliance Business Lounge LAX

Rather than wait for the shuttle after check out, we decided to get a few steps in and walked to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Since we couldn't OLCI, we headed to the business class check-in, which was open and had no line for us. After confirming our onward flights from Malé, likely for customs reasons, we were on our way to the business class lounge. TBIT's security is always long and annoying, and this trip was no exception. My box of Clif bars were flagged for extra screening, which isn't surprising as I'm sure it looks suspicious on the screen.

After retrieving our bags, we headed through the terminal, up the elevators, and into the Star Alliance Business Class lounge with no problems. While my fiancée handled some last minute business, I explored a bit of the lounge.

As a OW flyer normally, I hadn't had the chance to visit the Star Alliance Business Class lounge yet. Color me impressed.


I loved the outdoor terrace, for one, and the "LA" theming in the lounge, like the quotes on the wall.




The indoor terrace was equally cool. TBIT is my favorite terminal in the US, by a long shot.


I had a light snack from the buffet, and a few Tiger beers, and maybe a glass of champagne for good measure. Sorry, forgot to snap a photo of the food, but it was a good mix of international foods- I believe we had some grilled veggies and chicken.



We managed to snag a library-themed room with a door that closed, since we had to make a few phone calls. It felt VIP enough for us!

Overall, I liked Star Alliance's business class lounge more than oneworld's lounge. It seemed more thoughtfully themed, and the outdoor/indoor terraces make it ever more impressive by design. We had about an hour in the lounge, until we decided to make our way to the Singapore boarding gate to begin our flights around the Pacific and Indian Oceans!
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Old May 17, 17, 12:40 am   #15
  
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Love the wine bottle wallpaper!
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