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April 04, 2011

The American Express Platinum Card Just Shot Up in Value

Over the past couple of years, as a growing number of credit cards have significantly upped their travel perks, the American Express Platinum Card has watched competing cards eat its lunch. But AmEx is fighting back and, starting tomorrow, will sweeten its travel benefits considerably. If you're a frequent international traveler--especially one who flies in coach--the Card could now be a money saver for you. 

When the newest Platinum Card benefits are officially announced tomorrow, you'll be able to find more details at AmericanExpress.com/TransformTravel. The new perks are:

Continue reading "The American Express Platinum Card Just Shot Up in Value" »

November 08, 2010

Onboard the World's Longest Non-Stop Flight

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There are only 100 seats on Singapore Airlines' all-business-class planes that fly between Newark and Singapore non-stop. (Photos shot with my iPhone.)

The worst part of any trip is the flight to get there, right? Well, not if it's the all-biz-class flight flown by Conde Nast Traveler readers' favorite airline between Newark and Singapore. At nearly 19 hours, it's the world's longest regularly scheduled non-stop. But it hardly feels that way, thanks to 30-inch-wide seats that convert into comfy 76-inch-long lie-flat beds and personal TV screens with about a thousand different entertainment options. The flight (which is priced in the $7,000 to $8,000 range) will spoil you rotten and likely ruin all future airline travel for you. 

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My Conde Nast Traveler colleagues Kevin Doyle, Deborah Dunn, and Trish Harnetiaux in the seat behind mine on the return flight from Singapore to Newark, October 21, 2010.

How did we Conde Nast Traveler staffers luck out and end up on such a fancy flight?  Well, we couldn't miss the magazine's 4th annual World Savers Congress, held this year in Singapore. (Plus, the advertising side was paying.)  If you missed our live coverage of the Congress here on Truth.Travel, or the real-time photos of our Singapore shenanigans that I posted on Twitter, then sign up for The Perrin Postcard: The upcoming November edition includes links to many of those Singapore souvenirs.
April 23, 2008

Wi-Fi Woes Worldwide . . . and the Fixes I've Found

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That's my laptop, with wireless USB modem attached, on the roof of the house I rented in Andalusia, Spain, in February. The roof was the only place where I could get a signal and thus get online. Too bad it was always raining.

by Wendy Perrin

If you've read my Perrin Report column in Conde Nast Traveler's May issue, you're well aware of the migraines I've had on the road trying to access the Internet from my laptop so that I can blog at you everywhere from China to Algeria to Russia to Jost Van Dyke to the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. You also know that I've found zero relation between a hotel room's rate and the presence of user-friendly wireless. You also know that some of the tech solutions I've discovered came from readers of this blog: Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek fame, for instance, suggested JiWire's Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder (for scoping out hotspots at your destination before leaving home) and the GoldLantern WiFinder (for locating wireless signals within 300 feet of wherever you are). You also know that my life improved big-time after I got a Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U USB Modem (thanks for the tip, Gizmodo) that is compatible with my Apple MacBook (thank you, David Pogue).   

What you may not know--because I didn't know it myself until I read it on Chris Elliott's blog--is that now, instead of buying a wireless aircard, you can RENT one by the day from a company called RovAir (apparently for as little as $5.95/day). I was thrilled to learn about this . . . until I found out that the cards don't work overseas. And now, it turns out, the 875U is being discontinued. Which brings me to my question: Does anyone know of a way to rent aircards for international use???

As for my article about renting a house in Andalusia, it'll be in Conde Nast Traveler's June issue.

April 08, 2008

Taken for a Ride in Montreal

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Warning: Loyal reader ripped off by taxi driver at Montreal Airport. 

by Wendy Perrin

Frequent globehopper Joe_Kayaker reports that he was "taken for a ride" when he landed at Montreal International recently:

"It was late in the evening, the shuttle bus to the Airport Novotel had stopped running at 10 p.m., and none of the taxis would take me on such a short trip. Grrr. I finally found a taxi driver who would take me. As we were driving to the hotel, he said he didn't understand why the Novotel was called an airport hotel since it's not really that close to the airport. We drove for quite a while, and the ride cost $30. When checking into the hotel, I asked how much a cab ride from the airport is supposed to cost and was told, 'No more than $15.'  I overpaid by only 15 bucks (well, Loonies), but how does one avoid being taken in by unscrupulous taxi drivers?  Thanks, Joe"

Joe, you paid $15 in what I call "tourist tax." I've been taken on circuitous routes and overcharged by cab drivers in many a city -- Cairo, Beijing, Moscow, New York -- but I have to say I'm surprised to hear of this occurring in orderly and lawful Montreal. Here's my test-driven advice for avoiding unscrupulous airport cabbies:

Continue reading "Taken for a Ride in Montreal" »