Girls’ Beach Getaway via SW Companion Pass

One of the perks of the Southwest Companion Pass is that you can change companions three times a year. What better way to plan a long weekend at the beach with a girlfriend?

We flew to Harlingen, rented a car, and drove to South Padre Island, staying at the Holiday Inn a block from the beach using points+cash! The first order of business was some delicious fish tacos at Pier 19, which was the old bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

After driving to the end of the road on 100, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

The next day was shopping, the beach, and some sightseeing. We enjoyed the Sea Turtle Hospital and the Birding and Nature Center.

Overall, it was a great trip despite the wind! And next up, Spring Break in Morocco!

 

Frankfurt and home via Lufthansa!

(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip had a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

This is the last of my summer trip report. Thanks for coming along on the journey!

We took our fourth and last chauffeur ride in Frankfurt to our hotel, an IHG booked with points (with a value of $456)! We were glad to get a room that looked out on the Main River. We had been there before, so we just enjoyed walking around the city…

The next day we flew home on Lufthansa, using 52,000 miles and paying $323 for a business class ticket, with a value of $5,793! It was a great flight with the nicest flight attendants, one who alerted us we were flying over Greenland!

I love to travel, but there’s nothing quite like “home sweet home!” 

Next up, girlfriend getaway on the beach via SW Companion Pass! 

Abu Dhabi, St. Regis + Etihad!

(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip has a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

When we arrived in Abu Dhabi, our chauffeur took us to the St. Regis. We could have used points to stay at this Starwood hotel, but prices are so inexpensive there in the summer, we paid for our two nights. It was great to get early check-in and here are some pictures of this amazing property!

 I had read about the grand mosque and really wanted to visit, so I took a cab there. The design, architecture, and opulence of this $545 million building are unreal! It covers 30 acres and was finished in 2007, built by the late president of the UAE. More than 40,000 people can be accommodated inside and it has the world’s largest carpet, which weighs 35 tons! The chandeliers have millions of Swarovski crystals and the marble walls and floors are inlaid with floral designs made from mother of pearl. Take a look…

One day we went to the Emirates Palace for tea. It’s a luxury hotel which describes itself as, “Beyond five stars.”

 Another day we went to the Hyatt Capital Gate, which leans eighteen degrees, AKA, the “Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi.” We went to 18 Degrees, the Hyatt restaurant on the 18th floor. Later, we got a tour of the Hyatt hotel, which occupies floors 18-33. (That’s a lot of 18’s)!

Our third chauffeur ride was to the airport to experience the brand new Etihad First Class lounge before our last flight to Frankfurt! We had a complementary spa treatment and breakfast.

 

Sydney via Etihad First Class Apt!

(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip has a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

Sydney is a very cosmopolitan city, and I previously visited New Year’s Eve, 2014-15, but it’s always fun to revisit. We stayed at the Intercontinental right near the harbor, and my son was able to meet us so that made it extra special! And the views of the harbor and opera house from their top floor are fantastic!

Even though it was wintry and cold, we still took the ferry to Manly Bay so we could enjoy the harbor.

 We walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens on our way to the Queen Victoria Building, with its’ amazing clock, architectural structure, and unique shops!

After Sydney, we flew Etihad first class to Abu Dhabi. We were able to book Etihad first class on the A380 using 100,000 American Airlines miles and $85 for Sydney to Abu Dhabi, stopover, then Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt. The value of this flight was $13,692! This was an amazing redemption, not only because of the first class apartment, but we also received chauffeur rides FOUR times (sorry it’s no longer available when you book with miles). Since we got to Abu Dhabi early in the morning, we went to the arrivals lounge, before leaving via chauffeur to our hotel! The first photos are the lounge in Sydney…

Next up, Abu Dhabi and the new Etihad First Class Lounge…