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This is part of the Around the World 2015 Mega Trip
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Washington DC
- Etihad Business Studio – IAD to AUH
- Review: Etihad Arrivals lounge and Etihad Chauffeur experience
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi, AUH
- Etihad Pearl Business Class – AUH to JNB
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
- Blue Train Johannesburg to Cape Town
- Queen Victoria Cape Town
- Chitwa Chitwa Sabi Sands Luxury Game Reserve Kruger National Park
- Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge – Victoria Falls
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport
- Review: S(h)ongololo Lounge JNB
- Cathay Pacific Business Class – JNB to HKG to HND
- Ritz Carlton Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo, NRT
- American Air Flagship First Class – NRT to LAX
By now, you may know that I kind of loved my Etihad flight in their new Business Studio, but I was also very excited to try out their lounge at AUH. Let’s just say I wasn’t let down. The lounge combines both First and Business class passengers and it also includes a spa where you can get massages, a salon where you can get shaves, haircuts, etc, and obviously food and drink. Bling, bling.
Hmmmmm which way should I go?
The lounge is enormous with multiple eating stations, resting areas, work centers, showers, a prayer room in addition to the Spa and Salon. It’s a great lounge, but when we were there it was CROWDED. I actually wasn’t anticipating this many people occupying the lounge, and certainly didn’t think we would have as much trouble as we did finding a table to eat at, but we circled for a bit. We also were able to make appointments for a massage, although we did have to wait over an hour to get in. It’s worth noting, as well, that we purposely funneled through this lounge to check it out, as our flight was leaving from a different terminal and that terminal’s lounge was under construction. I’m guessing that is why the lounge was so crazily crowded.
I do have to say, if I were flying first, I would have been a little let down. Other international first class lounge I’ve been in have minimal guests and certainly there is always a place to sit. In here, it was like being part of the herd.
But, we were lowly business class travelers headed to South Africa for roughly $30, so how could we possibly complain!!!!
After we had our massages we settled in for a snack and some free wifi.
I really liked the lounge. It had great massage facilities, a salon, plenty of options for food, coffee, and other beverages, and provided an extremely well done lounge facility to relax in between flights. But, how does it compare with the new United lounge in LHR or the Sakura First class lounge in Tokyo? It competes, and both of those lounges are first class. Is it the nicest, most luxurious lounge I’ve ever been in? No, I wouldn’t go that far. Would I rank it high on the list? Absolutely. I suppose a fair comparison would be their lounge at IAD. That lounge is a great lounge, one that provides a distinctly premium experience of sit down food, and in lounge boarding. This does neither of those, but it’s a high volume lounge that extremely nice. If you end up in transit or in Abu Dhabi was a destination, it’s worth checking this lounge out if you have time.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.