Standard Suite at the Hilton Americas-Houston Review

On a recent stay at the Hilton Americas-Houston, I booked a standard room with Hilton Honors points and we were upgraded to a standard suite with our Hilton Honors Diamond status. A standard king room was going for about $208 (with tax) and was available for 38,000 points which comes out to about .54 cents per point which isn’t bad for Hilton Honors points. We went with Points and Money and booked the standard room for around $55 plus 12,000 points which I felt really good about.

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Hilton Americas-Houston check-in desk.

At check-in and upon request, we were given an upgrade to a standard suite due to Hilton Honors Diamond status and we were off to the 18th floor to room 18007.

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Hilton Americas-Houston hallway.

Since this was a suite with two adjoining rooms, we actually had two doors though we always just went through the door that took us through the living room since it was closer to the elevator.

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Hilton Americas-Houston Room 18007.

The standard suite is essentially two adjoined standard rooms with one room furnished as the bedroom and the other as a living room (both have their own bathroom). The doors separating the units remain in place and so you’ll have to open them up from the inside of each room. It’s kind of an odd set-up, but I like having the ability to close-off one section of a suite from another. I think you can even connect a third room to open it up to a 2 bedroom suite as well.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

The suite

As soon as you enter the suite, there’s a large closet with an iron board, pillow, and plenty of room for your luggage.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

Right next to the closet is the Cuisinart Coffeemaker along with two complimentary bottles of water.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

Below that is a bit of cabinet space and a mini-fridge, which while compact, is still always welcomed in a room by me.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

I’ve heard that if your room doesn’t have a mini-fridge you can request one (and a microwave as well). I haven’t tested that out yet, so I’m not sure if they will honor your request.

The suite felt very spacious with 686 square feet and I also liked that in the living room there’s a number of different sitting options.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

There’s an L-shaped sectional couch taking up most of the room and sitting across from a large 37″ LCD TV. It’s got a sleek coffee table in front of it with some trendy striped art hanging over it which gives the room a modern feel.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

My only issue with couch is that it was very firm and not very comfortable. There was another armchair seat with an ottoman and two cube cushion-seats as well, so you could find sitting room for a number of people in this suite if you were having a little get together.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

The desk is also a great working station, as it’s pretty big and I liked the office chair and found it ergonomical. It’s also pretty cool to be able to look out from your desk and see the Houston skyline.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

Each room had 3 to 4 lamps which lit the room up nicely — there was even a lamp that hung over artwork on the wall.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

The bedroom was almost a mirror image of the other room, just with a king bed in place of the couch. The bed and bedding were very comfortable and I got great sleep. It was also nice having an outlet/USB on the side of the bed with the alarm clark.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

The bedroom also had an additional desk, TV, coffee maker, mini-fridge, and also had its own bathroom.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

The views

I’m big on views so my favorite feature of the room had to be the view. From the 18th floor we had a fantastic view of the Downtown Houston skyline, and I really enjoyed watching both the sunrise and the sunset.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.

I work on the other side of the Downtown Houston, so I don’t always get to appreciate the skyline from this side of the city.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.

It’s also pretty cool to be able to look down and see the roof lit up on the Toyota Center.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite view from the 18th floor.

This view was much different from the view at the Marriott Marquis that we had last year, I really like both views so it’s hard to choose one over the other, especially since the Marquis’ view of the lazy-river looks sick at night as seen below.

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View from the Marriott Marquis Houston.

The bathrooms

The bathrooms in each room of the suite were identical. The sink and vanity were nicely lit with a decent amount of space on the granite countertop.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.
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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

The bathroom amenities offered were from PeterThomasRoth. I tried them out and I thought they were at least decent. No complaints there.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

The shower was a bit of a let down. I gauge hotels a lot on the quality of the shower and the tub/shower combo never does a lot to for me. The tiled walls surrounding the tub/shower, curved shower curtain bar, and deluxe shower head did give it a bit more of a luxurious look, however.

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Hilton Americas-Houston standard suite.

Final word

My experience in the Hilton Americas-Houston Standard Suite didn’t blow me away with elegance but it was still a very good hotel room. Having the amazing views of the Downtown Houston skyline certainly made the room feel a lot more luxurious and it was nice having so much room to roam around in the suite. I wish the showers were a bit nicer and the furniture more comfortable (besides the bed) but all things considered this was a solid room that I very much appreciated being upgraded to.

The Hilton Americas-Houston Executive Rooftop Lounge Review

The Hilton Americas-Houston Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge is located on the 24th floor of the Hilton Americas hotel. It’s a beautiful lounge with floor to ceiling windows which offer panoramic views of the Houston skyline (and surrounding area). The lounge has plenty of open space to relax in and also offers snacks, a hot breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and serves up drinks at its bar. Here’s a review of the Hilton Americas-Houston Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge on level 24.

You can access the lounge by booking a room on an Executive Floor but we were able to get access to the lounge because we had Hilton Honors Diamond status. (One of the big differences between Hilton Gold and Diamond status is that you get Executive Lounge access regardless of what type of room you stay in whereas Gold requires you to be upgraded to a room that offers lounge access.)

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Executive lounge hours

The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Lounge is open daily from 6am to 10pm. Note that these hours can fluctuate depending on what management feels like doing, so it’s possible that the lounge could stay open later until 11pm.

The lounge

The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Lounge is a beautiful hotel lounge — there is no doubt about it. It’s very open, relaxed, and while we were there on a Friday the lounge never got very busy so there were always plenty of open seats or tables for us to choose from (during peak business hours this could be a different story).

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge.

The bar area looked pretty nice though as I mention below we didn’t try it out.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge bar.

You’ll find a few large HD flat screen TVs located throughout different parts of the lounge as well as modern furnishings and decor that offer a nice touch. Parts of the lounge even feel quite cozy.

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What makes this lounge stand out is the perspective of the city of Houston. With floor to ceiling windows all around the lounge, you get sweeping views of the Houston skyline as well as the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, Discovery Green, and other iconic structures in the city and the surrounding area (you can even see Houston Medical Center and The Galleria). It’s a terrific place to catch the sunrise during breakfast or the sunset later on in the day while winding down.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge views.


Near the bar area, you’ll find the snacks available to you throughout the day. They had an assortment of nuts, snack bars, cookies, and a small selection of fruit while we were there (apples). I didn’t try any of the mixed nuts, but I did try one of their cookies and as someone with a huge sweet tooth, I wasn’t too impressed.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge snacks.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge snacks.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge snacks.

The mini-fridges were loaded with still and sparkling water as well as a variety of sodas. You can also find coffee in the lounge as well, which I believe was brewed or at least branded with Starbucks.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge snacks.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge snacks.

Overall, while I wasn’t thrilled with the one snack I tried, there’s plenty up there in the lounge to help you hold yourself over in between meals and it was nice to see the Pellgrino available.


The lounge offers a continental breakfast plus some hot breakfast items. For a while this lounge offered limited breakfast options but after the Houston Marriott Marquis opened up next door, it seems the Hilton Americas stepped up its breakfast game to compete.

We were the first two guests to get breakfast when we arrived at 7am (on weekdays I’m told that breakfast opens up at 6:30am). Breakfast should last until 10am or 11am depending on when you visit so check with the hotel when you arrive for specifics.

The food is served in a smallish room that’s located outside of the lounge. It’s a bit tucked away so you’ll need to look for it to the left of the entrance of the lounge. A hotel staff member was there directing people where to go while we were there the entire time, so someone should be able to help you out if you can’t find it.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.

For hot food items we could choose from: oatmeal, potatoes, eggs, and sausage.

The quality of the breakfast items was okay. This was one of those times where extra salt, pepper, ketchup, etc. might was needed on the eggs. At hotels, I’ve found eggs can range from gourmet to something that doesn’t even resemble eggs in taste or texture. This was somewhere in-between. As for the the sausage, it was bit so-so. The seasoned potatoes, however, were very good.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.

They also had other options, such as yogurt, boiled eggs, cereals, fresh fruits, and pastries (even gluten-free pastries). Juices such as orange juice, apple juice, and cranberry juice were also available. I tried the orange juice and while it was bit pulpy, it was very fresh and I enjoyed it. Brad did his usual fusion of juices and had good things to say as well.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.

The fruits were very fresh and one of the highlights of the breakfast.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.

I tried one of the pastries and once again it was okay, but not quite the level of freshness that some other hotels offer, and I found the selection to be a bit limited given the size of this massive hotel.

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.

After we got our food, everything was going great — we had our nice table with a corner view, I was starting to finally wake-up, and I was ready to dig in for a nice hearty breakfast until… I went to take the below photo and I saw a nasty red smudge on my glass of OJ. I’m guessing it was some type of crusty red lip stick stuck on the glass but whatever it was, it was pretty gross.

This was not the first time I’ve noticed something like this after taking a photo for a review so it really pays to take these photos!

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The Hilton Americas Rooftop Executive Rooftop Lounge breakfast.
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I know things like this get missed at hotels and restaurants sometimes so this wasn’t a huge deal to me, but I’m glad I noticed it before taking a sip.

Ultimately, I judge a hotel’s breakfast based on whether or not I can get comfortably full without having to eat anything that I don’t prefer. In this case, the potatoes and fresh fruit made up for the so-so sausage and eggs and the pastry wasn’t bad, either.

So overall, I would say the breakfast is nothing special (for a hotel of this magnitude) but it gets the job done (minus the disgusting residue left on the glass they offered to me). If I had to eat here for several mornings in a row I wouldn’t necessarily be ecstatic but I would be okay with it.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Hors d’oeuvres

They also serve hors d’oeuvres beginning at 5pm which I believe goes on until around 7pm. At this time, the bar is also open although they don’t serve complimentary drinks. I’ve decided to cut back on alcohol for the time being so I didn’t try out the bar while I was there.

The hors d’oeuvres actually surprised me a little bit, as I found them more filling and tasty than I thought I would.

During our stay they served nachos (with quality queso) along with some sort of stuffed-shrimp taquitos + sweet chili sauce, and potato skins. I was very hungry when we hit up the lounge and these hors d’oeuvres hit the spot.

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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.

They also had a roasted tomato platter along with fresh fruit slices and berries.

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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.
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Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge hors d’oeuvres.

The hors d’oeuvres definitely help make up for the somewhat mediocre breakfast.

Final word

Overall, the Hilton Americas Executive Rooftop Lounge did not disappoint. It’s a gorgeous hotel lounge with exceptional views of the city and catching the sunrise from the lounge during breakfast is a great way to start your day. The snacks and breakfast could be improved some but they aren’t horrible and I really enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres. If this lounge offered complimentary drinks during a happy hour it would easily be one of my favorite lounges but it’s still a pretty good lounge based on its current offerings and I would gladly return.

How to Create The Ultimate Honeymoon with Credit Card Rewards

Imagine boarding a plane destined for your honeymoon and entering a private suite with a full-sized double bed and sipping a glass of Dom Pérignon while you wait to take off to your long-awaited exotic location. Now imagine paying the same amount of money for this experience as you’d pay for a night out at the cinema. It sounds unbelievable, too good to be true, etc., but it’s very possible to do with credit card rewards.

Planning and paying for a wedding can be the perfect time to capitalize on credit cards rewards that you can utilize to put together the ultimate honeymoon. But in order to do that, you’ll need to be able to put a plan into motion to make it all happen. Here’s some advice and tips for couples hoping to make their honeymoon dreams come true with the help of credit card rewards.

Singapore Suites First Class double bed.


If you’re looking to use credit cards to take your honeymoon to the next level then try to give yourself as much time as possible to accumulate points and redeem them at your own convenience.

Giving yourself 6 to 12 months to earn your credit card bonuses and use your points on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses is recommended. Remember, you’ve got to earn your credit card points first and then find travel dates that work with your schedule and what’s available for awards.

You’ll usually find it easier to find open awards 6+ months out so it’s good to give yourself at least that much time. If you’re trying to put together a very complex itinerary, however, giving yourself closer to 12 months will be ideal.

Earning sign-up bonuses

Credit card sign-up bonuses are where most of the value of credit card rewards is at.

These bonuses typically require you to spend a certain amount in a specific time period, such as $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. This is known as your “minimum spend requirement.”

The time period in which you’re covering wedding expenses is often the most opportune time to sign up for credit cards because you’ll be able to hit so many of your minimum spend requirements so easily.

Try to inquire with all of your services to see if they’ll take credit cards (and which ones). If they only will take a check you can look into services like Plastiq to cover those expenses. Plastiq can help you pay rent, car payments, student loans, and even contractors making it easier than ever to hit your sign-up bonuses.

Also, many people like wedding photographers will be open to receive payments via PayPal, Venmo, or other methods that will allow you to make charges to your card. You’ll incur a small transaction fee with these methods but the sign-up bonuses you’ll earn will far outweigh any fees paid.

Tip: Many times there are multiple offers out for the same credit card with one offer being much more lucrative than the other.

Earning points via every day spending

Since you’ll have so much time before your wedding day, you’ll also be able to earn credit card points via your natural spend. Many times it makes sense to grab a card that earns you points based on your specific spending habits.

So for example, if you spend quite a bit on dining out you might want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve which offers 3X on dining and travel or if you spend a lot on groceries the Amex EveryDay Preferred could be a great choice since it earns 3X on groceries (along with a possible 50% bonus). Both of these cards will earn you points that you could utilize on valuable travel redemptions but you’ll be able to find all sorts of different cards that earn extra points on major categories, such as travel, dining, groceries, gas, mobile/online purchases, and entertainment.

Tip: You can often earn tons more miles and points by utilizing shopping portals when doing at type of online shopping.

Two-player mode

One of the greatest things about getting into credit card rewards as a couple is that you can double-up on your rewards. This isn’t a huge advantage for flights since two tickets will be needed but it’s perfect for covering hotel stays.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Jamaica

If you have more than a year to plan out your travels think about getting a card like the IHG Rewards Credit Card. This card comes with a 60,000 points sign-up bonus and a low annual fee of $49 that’s waived the first year. The biggest perk is that after your first year anniversary you get a free night certificate that can be used at any hotel category.

A lot of cards restrict your free nights to lower categories but with the IHG you could use yours to redeem a night at a high-end InterContinental hotel that would normally cost as much as $700+ a night! And if you and your partner double up on this card, you’d get 120,000 points plus two free nights which could cover several nights at one of the top hotels in the world.

Other quality hotel cards are the Hyatt Visa Card, American Express Hilton Surpass, Marriott Rewards Credit Card, and American Express SPG Card.

Tip: Programs like Hilton and SPG will grant you a 5th night free if you book four consecutive award nights so that’s another great way to capitalize on savings.

Hotel status

Nothing is better than arriving to your hotel and getting upgraded to a suite and getting exclusive access to the hotel’s executive lounge where you can relax and unwind with complimentary meals, happy hour, etc.

Happy hour at lounge in the Westin, Cape Town.

The American Express Platinum Card is fantastic for achieving hotel status, as it offers automatic Hilton Honors Gold, SPG Gold (and thus Marriott Gold). These are mid-tier statuses which can still get you upgrades, free wifi, and free breakfasts in some cases. If you don’t want to pay the high annual fee of the Platinum Card, hotel credit cards will usually provide you with lower-tier status and allow you to bump up a tier by putting spend on the credit card.

Hotel suite at the W Dubai Al Habtoor City.

If you’re on your honeymoon, you definitely want to mention that when making your reservations or arriving at the hotel, because it will often end up with an upgrade but if you’ve got elite status with that hotel, that upgrade might be even better.

Tip: If you want to take your status game to the next level, you can learn about status challenges, where it’s possible to achieve an even higher level of hotel status that comes with even better perks.

First class flights

Traveling in a spacious first class seat like the Etihad Apartment to an exotic location for a romantic honeymoon is the dream for many people. But to earn enough miles to make this dream a reality, it takes a little bit of legwork because you need to learn about:

  • How to find the most valuable credit card sign-up bonuses for your goals
  • Credit card application rules and restrictions
  • Award charts and redemptions best for your location
  • How take advantage of airline partners and alliances
  • How to avoid high fees and surcharges

Because of all of those factors often differ from person to person based on their travel goals, it’s hard to recommend a single card that’s best for first class flights, but I recommend reading my free beginner’s guide to start learning about how to best utilize your points. In there, you’ll find everything from credit score basics to how to find the best sign-up bonuses.

The key is to have a loose plan of where you want to go and how you want to get there.

For example, if all you know is that you want to fly business class or first class to Japan but don’t know anything beyond that (dates, activities, etc.), you already know enough to get started. From there, you can start building a plan where you and your future spouse will target a couple of credit cards that will earn you the right type of miles and points to utilize for your trip.

If you can devise a plan before you start dropping wads of cash on all of your wedding expenses, then you’ll easily be able to earn the points needed and you’ll be off sipping champagne into the sunset before you know it.

The Etihad First Class Apartment.

Keeping it simple

If you’re not necessarily interested in taking an extravagant trip that will require extra work to achieve and you would prefer to keep the travel rewards process more on the simple side, then consider going for a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Reserve card will allow you to redeem points through a travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point (which is very high compared to others).

The best part about this is that you don’t have to worry about dealing with black out dates and transferring points to airlines and hotels. You simply find any available room or flight and book it.

Other cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also offer simple redemption solutions where you simply opt for a statement credit to cover your travel purchases. These two cards often come with sign-up bonuses worth close to $500 in general travel expenses so they can easily help reduce your overall cost of your honeymoon.

Sometimes you don’t even need a credit card to take advantage of savings because you can utilize online travel agencies. When I book boutique hotels, I often book through websites like and earn fantastic savings (sometimes up to 40% back).

Lounge life

More credit cards than ever now offer airport lounge access where you can relax on swanky furniture in a comfortable and quiet setting, enjoying complimentary food, drinks, wifi and sometimes even showers and massages.

Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH.

Accessing airport lounges can make your travel experience much smoother and also add a luxury element to your travels that’s perfect for setting off on a honeymoon. The American Express Platinum Card is one of my favorite cards for lounge access because it gives you Centurion Lounge access, which are some of the nicest domestic lounges found in select airports.

Other cards that offer Priority Pass airport lounge access can be great options too which include the Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige. For those only looking to access a lounge on a single occasion, the United MileagePlus Explorer card offers two free annual passes to United lounges.

United Lounge at IAH.

Southwest Companion Pass

If you think you’d like to keep your travels mostly in the US or Mexico/Caribbean, then you might want to consider getting the Southwest Companion Pass. With this pass, your partner can fly for free for up to two years and it’s often easily obtainable via Chase Southwest Credit Cards. This is a perfect way to stretch your points throughout a year or two and a perfect option for couples interested in weekend get-a-ways.

Splurge on your experiences

One of the best things about covering your flights and hotels with credit card points is that you can then splurge on experiences while on your honeymoon. For me and my partner, this has meant more exhilarating experiences like private helicopter tours and shark dives. Without the savings from credit card rewards, we would probably only have experienced a fraction of our most memorable travel experiences over the past few years.

Helicopter tour over Cape Town, South Africa.

Final word

With so many expenses and all of the stress that comes with putting together the perfect wedding day, you might as well reward yourself with the ultimate honeymoon. If you can put in a little bit of work to learn some of the basics and have some patience, you can use credit card rewards to have one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

Just remember that you want to pay off those credit card balances. Travel rewards cards come with high APRs so you definitely don’t want to treat them like loans and aim to pay off your balances entirely each month.

Several US Airlines Banning “Smart Luggage”

Smart luggage has been an emerging trend for early-adopter tech travelers. Many of these bags like those from Bluesmart rose in popularity over the past couple of years through crowdfunding and people continue to be interested in the gadgetry.

Smart luggage comes with a range of features, such as chargers, digital locks, GPS, weight scales, and even the ability to follow you hands-free. Some like Modobag — known as the “carry-on that carries you” — even allow you to “ride” them through the airport….

The ban on smart luggage

Regardless of the variety of smart luggage bags, many people who have purchased smart luggage might be facing some serious issues when it comes to getting through airports. That’s because American, Alaska, and Delta are going to ban these bags from being checked due to possible danger from the lithium ion batteries.

The exception to the rule is that if you can remove the battery from the luggage then you should be able to check in the bag or bring it on board. However, they are not allowing you to even bring smart luggage on as a carry-on if the batteries are not removable.

Here’s Delta’s statement: 

Effective Jan. 15, 2018, Delta and Delta Connection will no longer accept as checked or carry-on luggage so-called “smart bags” or smart luggage with non-removable lithium-ion batteries, due to the potential for the powerful batteries to overheat and pose a fire hazard risk during flight.

Alaska also provided a statement:

Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it’s possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.

If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.

If it’s not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won’t be allowed on the plane.

So as long as you’re bag can have the battery removed, you should be able to bring it on as a carry-on or have it checked-in. But if you do check it in, you’ll likely have to carry the battery with you on board. If you can’t remove the battery from your luggage then you probably don’t want to rely on that bag after January 15, 2018.

We still haven’t heard from some of the other major carriers like United, Southwest, and JetBlue but I’m sure we’ll probably hear something soon and it will likely mirror the same restrictions we’ve already seen.

I know there are a lot of folks out there who have already purchased their bags (which aren’t very cheap) and now might be stuck with a luggage bag they can’t use. Fortunately, I’ve read that some of these start-ups who manufacture smart luggage are trying to fight for the acceptance of their product.

For example, Blue Smart released a press release and stated:

To overcome this, we have organized meetings with the world’s leading airlines to make sure that your Bluesmart will be exempt from such rulings. During these meetings we will be demonstrating how our products meet all safety requirements and regulations. We expect to have developments and positive news about these agreements within the coming weeks and before the various carriers implement these new regulations.

Blue Smart is very confident that their batteries are in compliance with all the relevant standard and they believe that they will be excepted from the new regulations. Hopefully that’s the case but if not I hope to see these companies work with affected customers and offer new products that do comply with the new regulations.

Why Is Special

There’s usually always opportunity to earn some value back in the form of reward currency when booking a hotel room. So one of the biggest factors I consider when booking a hotel with a loyalty program or an online travel agency (OTA) is what kind of return I can get on my stay. is special because it offers some of the most rewarding returns out of any loyalty program.

For the most part, I remain loyal to Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) where I have my highest elite status, which is Platinum. As a Marriott Platinum Elite member, I’m able to get returns of around 12% when booking a stay with Marriott due to a 50% bonus on base points. (If I didn’t have status the return would be around 8%.)

But that’s the return I get when booking directly with Marriott.

I’ve booked Marriott stays through and earned over 30% back, allowing me to earn $100 back in value compared to the $38 in value I would have earned by booking directly with the hotel. That’s an additional $60 in my pocket just because I clicked through BonWi to make my booking.

This is why BonWi stands out (and why I believe in the company).

With Bonwi, I’ve been able to earn as much as 40% back on stays. That’s over triple the amount that I’d earn as a top-tier elite member at many hotel chains. That type of return is huge for a couple of reasons.

First, the fact that I can earn more value with BonWi than I’d earn with top-tier elite status is significant on its own since you wouldn’t ever think that an OTA would be more lucrative than having top-tier status with a major hotel chain.

Second, it’s very common for rewards programs to offer you points on a single stay that won’t do you any good because they’re simply not valuable enough to use in any meaningful way. This is a big problem for people who don’t do a lot of frequent traveling.

When I used BonWi to earn 40% back on a singly stay at a Hyatt Regency, it netted me over $350 worth of travel which could easily cover a number of different type of travel expenses. If I had gone with rewards from other programs and OTAs, my earnings would not have come close to that. And again, I earned all that money back on a single stay for only two nights.

I got 40% back on a stay at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

And Marriott elites have it great when it comes to OTAs, because they will honor your elite status benefits. On BonWi stays, I’ve been upgraded to suites, received free breakfasts, free wifi, late check-out, etc. I don’t earn Marriott points, but I still receive more return in value from BonWi than I would with Marriott, so it’s been a win/win situation.

And when staying at boutique hotels that would otherwise offer no points in return, it’s often a no-brainer to go with to book a stay because all of the savings.

Upgraded suite at the Marriott Renaissance in Downtown Phoenix.

The only way I’ve been able to come close to the rewards I’ve earned with through other programs is by stacking portal cash-back earnings and special bonus promotions but even then those earnings still usually fall short. So as a traveler who is also seeking to earn the maximum amount of value back when booking, I think BonWi is extremely special because it offers you rewards that often outweigh what other programs would offer you.

Earn Bonus Miles with Holiday Shopping Bonuses

Shopping portals are once again allowing shoppers to earn extra miles for their holiday shopping via special shopping bonuses. American, United, and Southwest are each offering opportunities to earn bonus miles when utilizing their shopping portals. As usual, the offers are similar but not identical between the different airlines.

If you’re not familiar with shopping portals, read my article on them here to find out how you can earn extra miles through them.

Here are the details:


  • Spend $150 earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $600 earn 2,000 bonus miles
  • Spend $1,200 earn 4,000 bonus miles
  • Expires November 19th


  • Spend $150 earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $750 earn 2,500 bonus miles
  • Spend $1,500 earn 5,000 bonus miles
  • Expires November 19th 


  • Spend $150 earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $500 earn 1,000 bonus miles
  • Spend $1,000 earn 3,000 bonus miles
  • Expires November 20th

All of these bonuses are earned in addition to the earnings you receive based on your purchase. Over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for special bonus rates for certain stores. You might be able to earn 10 miles per dollar or more at certain stores but these bonus rates may only hang around for a day or so, so try to monitor your stores as much as you can. You can often click on the “offers” tab to see what some of the special rates being offered are. Websites like are perfect for scanning rates for multiple portals at once.

How To Travel Round the World (Without Giving up Your Life at Home)

This is the first guest blog on UponArriving. It’s written by Daniel Kao, the creator of Dan’s Travel Guide, who also writes about how to travel without breaking the bank. This article is about a round the world trip he took in business class, consisting of 12 flights and 12 bucket-list worthy countries.

At the beginning of 2017, I traveled around the world. I visited 12 countries on my bucket-list. And met countless amazing people.

I experienced Business Class seats on 12 flights, enjoyed over twenty lounges at various airports, and got to see cultures I have never seen. 

I tasted food that I have never tried and I got to experience something I’ll never forget.

A lot of people who travel the world do it for an extended time. Many even leave behind or drastically change their careers, lifestyle, and home.

Hats off to those who can take such a big leap of adventure!

But if you’re like me, such a big change was just not realistic.

So I decided to take my own leap of adventure…and travel around the world without changing my life, using much of my savings, or quitting my job. 

And I had an unforgettable experience.

Here is how I did it:

Flights: Round the world flight on Business Class

For flights, I booked a Round the World (RTW) ticket on Star Alliance using points.

I used 240,000 American Express points transferred to Singapore Air for the RTW ticket on Business class.

The Round the World ticket allows up to 15 destinations on 28 of their airlines partners as long as you follow their round the world guidelines.

A couple of the main guidelines are:

  1. The journey has to start and end in the same country (though it does not have to be the same city).
  2. The journey needs to follow one global direction (East or West) and cross the Atlantic and Pacific only once.
  3. Have a minimum of 3 stopovers and maximum of 15 stopovers. A stopover is a stay of at least 24 hours.
  4. The journey cannot exceed 29,000-39,000 total flown mileage (depending on the ticket and class)
  5. You’re allowed 1 pc of baggage up to 20kg for economy RTW tickets and 2 pcs of baggage up to 30kg for business class and up to 40kg for first class.

In other words, the RTW ticket with Star Alliance opened the door to let me travel most anywhere I wanted to go!

But how did I accumulate 240,000 points in the first place? I really didn’t change much of my lifestyle or spending. And I accumulated those points in about a little over 1 year.

I signed up for three credit cards that gave me generous bonuses:

  • Chase Business Preferred Card – 80,000 bonus
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – 100,000 bonus
  • AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card – 50,000 points

(each card also gave me not only points but 2X or 3X points on certain categories such as gas, travel, restaurants).

I did have to plan my spending a bit more carefully to meet the minimum requirements.

So I would consolidate my bills onto one card in order to make sure I got the bonus. However, on most of the cards I only had to spend a little over $1000 each month to cover the minimum (most minimums are about $3,000-$4,000).

I chose Singapore Air because they had one of the best redemption rates for business class and their customer service was impeccable!

After only about a year, I had the amount of points I needed from the bonuses I got on three credit cards.


(photo of my $35/night hotel in Malaysia)

For cheap accommodations, I stayed with family and friends around the globe. It gave me a chance to reconnect with a lot of people!

In places I didn’t know anyone, I stayed in hotels and hostels.

In Asia, I stayed in several 4 star hotels for around $30-40 USD/night.

A few notable hotels I stayed at Asia –

Hotel Cosmo Kuala Lumpur: Beautiful, newly renovated hotel. It was extremely clean, new, and very spacious. There was complimentary breakfast and was located very close to a lot of great attractions. I was even able to walk to the KL towers from the hotel!

Posh Hotel in Old Quarter, Hanoi: What I loved about this $30 hotel in Hanoi was it was simple but very clean. The complimentary breakfast was excellent and always had a fresh assortment of fruit, local snacks, and a hot cooked-to-order entree. Service is also what you can expect from any high-end hotel. They had excellent concierge service, super cheap dry cleaning, and reliable hotel transport for inexpensive.

In Europe, I stayed in hostels for about the same price.

On a few occasions, I didn’t mind just staying in the lounge and airport at night. In Singapore, London, and Israel, I showered, ate, and slept at the airport the night before my flight.

In Singapore, I slept at the 24-hour lounge on one of the couches in the back. Sleeping there was popular enough that the lounge even provided free blankets!

In London & Israel, I had to be more creative. I’m not as fond as sleeping on the floor so I found a quiet place, pushed a few seats together, and slept on that.

Most airports don’t mind sleeping travelers. In fact, sleeping in airports has become some popular, there’s an in-depth guide (including tips from other travelers) on how to sleep in airports around the world.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the most comfortable staying at an airport but it was actually kind of fun! You don’t end up sleeping much but it feels like an overnight lock-in adventure.

If I could have done it any differently, I would have spent more time accumulating hotel points (on SPG, Hilton, Marriott, etc.).

Everything Else

(the complimentary breakfast at my $30/night hotel in Hanoi)

All my other expenses consisted of food, basic necessities, some local transportation, and entertainment (which included admissions to museums, experiences, etc.).

Since a lot of my travels were in Asia, all of those expenses were very low. Typical meals averaged around $3. Transportation was a few dollars here and there. And experiences were very cheap also!

For example, I went on a day tour to the UNESCO heritage site Halong Bay in Hanoi for about $40 and went to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur for about $5.

When I got to Europe, everything was a bit more expensive but I still save a lot of money by getting groceries instead of eating out.

I also rarely took transportation unless I really needed to. I chose to walk as much as I could because it gave me a chance to see more of where I was visiting.

Quite honestly though, I tried to save where I could but I really didn’t sweat the details. I wasn’t particularly trying to stretch every dollar since it felt more like a vacation.

At the end of the trip, I spent about $3,000 + 240,000 points for the entire one month trip around the world.

This included the airline fees & taxes you’ll need to pay for your round-the-world ticket.

Here are some (brief) highlights from the trip…

I flew on 12 business class flights and ate at 20 airline lounges around the world!

(The new Royal Laurel Business class on Eva Airlines)

(Eva lounge at LAX airport)

At my first stop, I spent almost a week along the beautiful shores of Northern Taipei in Taiwan.

I visited Hanoi, Vietnam – home of the UNESCO world heritage site – Halong Bay.

From there, I stopped by Bangkok, Thailand for coconuts and some incredible food.

I toured the beautiful and culturally rich Singapore. The food was quite amazing as well…

I visited the Batu Caves and tasted equally flavorful cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

From there, I started my journey around Europe. But first, I went to the finest lounge I’ve ever seen in Istanbul, Turkey.

The lounge in Istanbul Turkey is massive. There’s two stories and each story is like a mall! There were at least 4-5 buffet areas filled with hot foods, snacks, local delights, and drinks.

There was a remote car race track for travelers to kill some time racing cars. There was a virtual practice golf swing area. A spacious movie theater with popcorn was available. And then all the best amenities: clean showers, luggage storage lockers, couches, workspaces, etc.

I experienced the incredibly rich history and beautiful architecture in Rome.


And met awesome entrepreneurs who brought me into the largest home & decor show in the world in Frankfurt, Germany.

I took a quick detour and toured the beautiful and historically-rich Tel Aviv, Israel.

Before heading back to Europe to travel the U.K. I went around London on a double decker bus and had the best scones.

And visited the British Islands to see the beautiful island shores of Guernsey while visiting family…

I explored Toronto, Canada and visited a few more lounges.

Before finally taking my last flight back home to Dallas.

I traveled to my heart’s content and saw the world in an unforgettable experience.

There were many stories I didn’t include in here and so many incredible people I met I did not mention. 

Indeed, traveling opens your horizons to a whole new world outside of your own. And the world really is far more different than I could have ever imagined.

The best part was getting to experience all of this without having to drastically change my lifestyle at home.

Why? Because having traveled for about 6 years for work, one thing I’ve realized about travel is — as far as you can go, as much as you get to experience, as different as you see how the world is — one thing that still remains constant across every culture and place is having somewhere you can call home.   

For some home can be wherever life takes them, but for me, home is here in Dallas, TX.

I hope you travel more for less. But always have a place you can come home.

Are Apple AirPods Worth it?

I originally thought the Apple AirPods were ridiculous. The look, the price, and the apparent lack of necessity were all reasons I strayed away from them. But I finally decided to stay open minded about them and tested out the Apple AirPods for close to a month. Now, I’ve finally arrived at an opinion on these things…. After being skeptical for months, I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of the Apple AirPods! And heres why I took a 180º turn.

They work great (most of the time)

The Apple AirPods work surprisingly well most of the time, and I rarely have any issues with connectivity. Occasionally, there’s a quick interruption when I’m listening to music, but I suspect this is because I mostly stream from Spotify and use a third-party app on my Apple Watch to control the music that can be a little buggy at times.

In any event, the issue does not happen frequently enough to make me frustrated with the AirPods performance, so I am generally impressed that they do what they are supposed to do the vast majority of the time.

Also, Bluetooth ear pods are notorious for their latency shortcomings that arise from the Bluetooth signal being transferred from one ear pod to the other. Since each Apple AirPods receives its own Bluetooth channel independently at the same time, there’s little to no latency.

As far as sound quality goes the AirPods are good enough for me. I know that there are other wireless headphones offering higher quality sound but I’m by no means an audiophile, so these work just fine for me. I do wish they didn’t let in as much ambient noise at times (when working out I can still hear the TVs in the gym that others refuse to turn down), but it’s not a major negative to me.

They are simple to sync

One of the beauties of the AirPods is that they are so simple to use. They come equipped with the W1 chip, which makes them easily synced to iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches. As soon as you open up the case near your iPhone (assuming your blue tooth is on), a window appears for you to connect your AirPods, as demonstrated in this video. And just like that you’re ready to go.

If you’re signed in to iCloud, your AirPods are set up automatically with any of your supported devices that are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. For instructions on how to pair your Apple AirPods to other Apple Devices read on here. 

Also, in case you weren’t aware, Apple AirPods can also be used on other non-Apple devices, since they act as standard Bluetooth devices.

They charge lightning quick

There’s nothing worse than having some useful piece of tech only for it to lose power and be unavailable for hours at a time. One thing that I love about the AirPods is that you can get up to three hours of power with just a 15-minute charge. That’s a life saver. Now when I forget to charge my headphones before a workout, I can just plug them in and wait out around 10-15 minutes and then I’m right in the gym.

The AirPods will hold a charge for 5 hours of listening time and 2 hours of talk time, which is more than enough time for me. The charging case (which everyone agrees looks like a pack of dental floss) can maintain up to 24 hours of battery life and connects via a Lightning USB cable (wireless charging capabilities should be out next year). The charging case is a sweet little case that the AirPods fit perfectly into and seals shut magnetically. I like to carry around the case in my pocket when I’m using the AirPods so I always have a safe place to store them.

I do find myself monitoring the power levels of the AirPods and the charging case a lot, though. Luckily, it’s not hard to do. You can check it via your battery widget on your iPhone, on your Apple Watch, and by clicking the Bluetooth or volume icon on your MacBook. One of the easiest methods is to just open up the case (when the AirPods are inside) near your iPhone and the battery levels of both your charging case and AirPods will pop up. You can also just ask Siri what battery level your AirPods are at.

They are functional (though still a bit limited)

The AirPods don’t come with a lot of functionality but there’s still some there. You can program them so that when you double tap your AirPods you activate the following functions:

  • Use Siri to control your audio content, change the volume, or do anything else Siri can do
  • Play, pause, or stop your audio content
  • Skip to the next track
  • Go back to the previous track

I use Siri on my right AirPod and the skip to the next track function on my left, which I found to be practical when working out. Also, if you get a phone call, you can double tap to answer the call.

With “automatic ear detection,” AirPods sense when they’re in your ear and receive the audio from your device. So as soon as you put them into your ear, sound begins streaming in from your synced device. AirPods also pause and resume playback when you remove one of your AirPods, or stop playback—and won’t resume—when you remove both.

This is very convenient when someone comes up to you very quickly to speak with you and you can just pop one of them out of your ear to pause your music. But it works differently with other uses. For example, if you’re watching a YouTube video on your MacBook you can expect the video will continue to play through your MacBook once you take out (both of) your AirPods so be prepared to mute if necessary.

AirPods are trendy

Initially, like many other people, I didn’t like the appearance of the AirPods. Whether it was toothbrushes, cigarettes, or some other random object, people drew a lot of unfavorable comparisons for what the AirPods resembled.

To me they just looked silly, since they literally looked like standard Apple headphones with the wires cut off. But the look slowly started to grow on me. I started seeing other people in airports and lounges with them and I started to become more intrigued about their potential.

And now,  after trying them out for about a month, I think Apple AirPods are actually trendy. It’s almost like Apple has made Bluetooth headsets cool once again and these pieces are a bit of a fashion statement. I guess that’s just the power of Apple?

The AirPods stay in (for me)

The AirPods have a slightly modified design that is supposed to fit our ears better (EarPods are a bit more round and AirPods are slightly more contoured). I’ve personally never had an issue with the EarPods fitting and staying put in my ear and the AirPods are just the same, if not better.They even stay in during activities. I don’t feel like they will fall out even if I go for a jog on a treadmill. Obviously, this will vary from person to person but in my own experience, the AirPods fit fantastic.

If these little things didn’t stay snugly in my ears this would be a deal breaker, though. I’d be way too worried about losing them and it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Speaking of losing them, that’s just a risk you have to take with wireless ear pods. You can always buy some type of attachment for your charging case to help keep tabs on them but at the end of the day you’re just going to need to be more attentive.

They are the great with the Apple Watch

To me the Apple Watch is incomplete without the Apple AirPods. Now that you can have take calls on your Apple Watch and stream Apple Music, I feel like AirPods are pretty much a necessity if you want to get all of the value that you can out of your Apple Watch.

I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the microphones in the AirPods, too. Each AirPod has a microphone (though you can program it so that only one AirPod functions as the mic). I’ve handled a number of calls with these AirPods now and nobody on the other side of the phone call has had any complaints about voice quality.

AirPods are fantastic during workouts

I love to workout with my (sweat resistant) AirPods. I can place my iPhone on the gym floor/in a bag while at the gym and not have to worry about getting a wire tangled up (which probably happened to my clumsy-self way more than it should have). I don’t have to worry about my heavy iPhone swinging in my pocket when jogging or slipping out when doing things like bench press. It’s just an overall smoother workout experience. Also, if you have the Apple Watch, you can easily control the volume for your AirPods and navigate through playlists.

Wired headphones are now inferior

This will no doubt come down to personal preference, but I really feel like my wired headphones are just inferior now and will be on the verge of obsolete in the near-future. I should note that this was my first experience with wireless headphones so to me the feeling of not being attached to to a device was very new and exciting the first time I put these things in my ear.

Now when I go back to wired headphones, they just feel old-school. I quickly realize how much I appreciate the freedom to move about from my laptop around the house or device in the gym. It makes getting comfortable when working, relaxing, meditating, etc. much easier — I honestly never realized how constricting headphone wires were until I didn’t have to deal with them any longer.


The price point is around $159. This is a bit high for many but it’s not so outlandish when compared to Bluetooth headphones offered by top brands out there. Originally, I was skeptical about the price point being worth it but now I feel like these AirPods were worth it. AirPods are dominating the Bluetooth headphones market though and so your oder might even be put on delay right now.

Are AirPods good for travel?

Obviously noise cancelling headphones are going to be the most useful when trying to find peace and quiet when up in the air at 35,000 feet or in any noisy environment. But that doesn’t mean AirPods aren’t suited for travel. They are an effecient way to communicate when on the go given how easy they are to take out when needed and how good the microphone quality is.

They also are great for planes or other forms of transportation where your headphone wires would normally be getting caught on trays, dishes, seats, etc. It’s just a lot easier to manage without wires, at least for me. So I think the AirPods are great for travel and I will certainly be brining them along with me on all of my future journeys.

Final word

I think one of the major reasons I love these so much is that they’ve been my first experience with “truly” wireless headphones and I just can’t get enough of the freedom that comes with that. But I also really value some of the unique features of Apple AirPods.

I really like how simple AirPods are to sync and to use and how they are somewhat of a fashion item now despite the rocky entrance they made into the fashion world. They also help make the AppleWatch much more practical (and vice versa). They’ve made my life easier in the gym and while traveling and since AirPods fit my ears so perfectly and the sound quality is more than sufficient for me, I think I’m going to be rocking with these for a long time.

Is Singapore Airlines Business Class Overrated?

Singapore Airlines is one of the most highly rated airlines but surprisingly some people are actually very underwhelmed by the business class experience for a number of reasons. I think that ultimately Singapore has one of the best business class products out of any airline but only for people with certain preferences. Here’s my take on whether or not Singapore business class is overrated.

Different products

There are a few different types of business class on Singapore Airlines. They’ve got an angled flat product that you’l often find on many regional flights (e.g., flights to Australia) and two other products that you’ll find on most long-haul flights on the A380s, A350s, and 777s.

The older product came out in 2006 and the revamped product came out in 2013. I’ll focus on these two products since that’s what I have experience with and it’s what you’ll find on the long-haul international flights.

2006 Singapore business class product.

2013 Singapore business class product.

Note: Singapore Airlines will be operating new business class products in late 2017/early 2018 on the A380/A350 (and another new product on its regional A350 and 787) and the new products should be revealed on November 2, 2017.

The first thing you’ll notice about the seats is that they are very wide, probably the widest business class seats in the world. With such wide room, you’d expect them to be one of the most comfortable seats but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are the major complaints about the business class seats.

Sleeping comfort

The biggest knock against Singapore business class is probably the sleep comfort and this complaint is the result of a few factors.

Diagonal sleeping

The seats in the A380s, A350s, and 777s are designed to force you to lie/sleep diagonally. This is due to the footwells that are built into the seats in front of you on the side. You can clearly see this pictured in the photo of the A380 below.

Singapore A380 business class.

This is less of a problem if you are shorter than around 5’10” and like to sleep curled up or in a diagonal position. If that’s the case then you probably won’t have many issues because the seats are very wide and make is easier to get into a comfortable curled position.

However, if you’re 6’0″+ and like to sleep with your legs stretched out straight, these seats will cause you problems because it’s simply not possible to sleep like that. This is why so many people have complaints about these seats. On an ultra-long haul, it’s very hard for these people to stay comfortable.

Limited footwell space

The second issue which is related to the first is that the footwells or “cubbies’ are not very spacious. On some aircrafts they are more spacious than others. For example, the 777 new style business class is slightly more spacious than the A350. The 777 also has slightly more room in the footwell than the A380 with the old style business class seats. But still, the space is limited and if you’ve got big feet, this can compound the issue of being forced to sleep diagonally.

Singapore A380 business class.

The solution is to choose the bulkhead seats. The bulkhead seats on Singapore Airlines will give you so much more room that it’s like flying an entirely different type of hard product.

11F (bulkhead) on the A350.

For example, I sat in 11F on the Singapore A350 (which many claim is the best seat on the entire plane) and I had a very comfortable (and quiet) experience with plenty of room. You can also choose the bulkhead seats on the windows but they’ve got slightly less space and the two interior bulkhead seats seats 19D/F are very close to the busy galley area and can get noisy.

Window bulkhead on the A350.

Sometimes these seats are blocked off when choosing a seat, so you might try calling in to reserve them. It’s possible that they will not allow you to reserve them as some have had issues with that and unfortunately I’m not aware of any sure-fire way to get around the seating blocks.

Flip-down bed

Another complaint is that the seat does not recline directly into a flat sleeping position. Instead, you must flip down the seat to form the bed. People that like to switch between lie-flat positions and reclining throughout a long-haul flight find this tedious and disrupting.

The flight attendants will generally help you fold down your seat into a bed and it’s honestly not hard to do (once you figure out how it’s done), so this isn’t a major issue for many. However, I do prefer to be able to slide my seat in and out of a lie-flat position at will since sleeping can be an issue for me on planes, so this option is not ideal for me.

Hard bed surface

Many people don’t find the bed surface comfortable because it’s just too hard.

Singapore A380 bed.

I agree that the bed surface is not soft but with the the thin “mattress pad,” pillows, and blanket offered I was still able to get comfortable. I was even able to lie on my stomach in this seat and get a little bit of sleep. My head/face was a bit crammed in that position, but it worked out at least for a couple of hours. 

Singapore A380 bed.

The hardness of the bed surface is something I don’t understand and hopefully will be something that will be fixed next go-round. Also, on some aircrafts, the seat may not align perfectly with the footrest when made into a bed, making for a slightly annoying experience.

Cramped cabin space

This complaint is mainly directed toward the A350 since others like the A380 have plenty of cabin space.

Spacious A380 upper deck business class cabin.

In the A350 people find the cabin, aisles, pitch (when seated) and even the lavatories to be confining since the A350 is little over a foot more narrow than the 777. Personally, I didn’t feel like this was a major issue on the A350 but it was noticeably less spacious (even the upper deck of the A380 is wider than the A350).

The positives

There’s a lot of positive to the Singapore Airlines business class experience, however.

The service on Singapore in business class is still exceptional. Every now and again, it might not live up to expectations but when the crew is “on,” it feels like you’re in first class. And that’s because they are super attentive and happy/courteous like you typically find in first class.

Singapore business class dining.

Also, I’ve really enjoyed the dining and drinking experience in Singapore business class. From Singapore Slingers to chicken dishes and seafood, I’ve been impressed by the presentation, quality, and options offered by Singapore.

Singapore business class dining.

Singapore business class dining.

Final word

I think Singapore Airlines is somewhat overrated for many people. If you’re over six feet tall, like to sleep straight, and can’t get a bulkhead, there’s a chance you’ll struggle to be as comfortable as you’d like. However, if you can get the bulkhead seats then Singapore can offer one of the most comfortable business class seats out of any airline. And if you’re flight crew is “on” that day, it will feel like first class — the furthest thing from being overrated.

Surviving the in Heart of Harvey

Harvey is wreaking unprecedented havoc across the state of Texas. The Houston area is especially getting hit hard right now, including exactly where I live. This is the worst natural disaster I’ve ever experienced by far, and I thought I’d share what’s going on from the heart of the storm.

Last night, we experienced torrential downpour for hours upon hours throughout the night. It was also probably the most intense lightning display I’ve experienced in a very long time (if not ever in my life). Our apartment stayed lit up by lightning flashes for hours and several lightning strikes landed right outside with insane thunder. Tornado warning alarms and notifications sounded off about every 15 minutes (over 100 have ben issued) and our area has received over 20 inches of rain since the storm landed. That’s more than half the annual rainfall that we’ve received in many years. 

I saw huge national guard trucks roaming through the parking lot last night and picking people up who lived on the first levels and I could see roads flooded up to extremely high levels (think up to stop lights).  I’ve seen a number of these scenes play out on the news as well.

I’m located in one of the worst hit areas around Houston and I’ve seen photos in my social media feeds with flood water levels coming up just a foot or so below the second-story balconies of apartments, just mere minutes from our place. We are located on a top floor at our apartment so flooding is not really a direct threat to us but several vehicles were flooded below us, including our Jeep, which was likely totaled due to the flooding.

Several people I know have had water enter their homes and have been relocated or are in the process of being evacuated by the Coast Guard/National Guard/etc. Several hospitals are being evacuated in Houston, too. For those living near bodies of water, such as rivers and bayous, they are in great danger of catastrophic flooding right now and in the days coming. The general consensus for people who have been living in this region for decades is that they’ve never seen anything quite like this before. It is truly scary.

The bands of storms that are hitting us right now are lessening to a degree but they are still capable of producing high levels of rain and even tornadoes. In fact, we’re currently under a tornado warning right now (along wth around 5 other areas around Houston). We are also getting pounded by rain and I can see water levels on the rise once again. Thankfully, we have not lost power for any significant stretch of time and our apartments have tremendous draining capabilities so the high water levels are being managed quite well.

This is an extremely tense situation for everyone along the coast of Texas. And while I feel relatively safe from these flash floods that are wreaking havoc in many places, I’m extremely worried about friends and family and hoping for the best for them. There’s going to be tons of property damage but obviously the highest priority is the safety of everybody in these locations.

Cover Photo Geof Hauger

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