When you have flown almost 100 segments in the last 3 years you are bound to mess one booking up. This happened to be my one true goof up so far.
We checked into HK Air this morning from Naha to Hong Kong and was slapped with a $40 name change fee right at the check in desk. I was not alone as the SOFA couple next to me was red in the face arguing the exact same fee! So I didn’t bother and paid $40 to add a middle name to our reservation. Luckily my parents never bother to give me a middle name, so I was spared, but my wife and kid on the other hand got charged!
The error happened when I booked the flight, the first name box asks for both the first and middle name (see above). So be warned that you might have a bad start to your trip because you booked without reading the fine print. I just booked a JAL flight VIA British Airways with a very similar misleading website. The BA site doesn’t ask for your Middle Name either, but the call center says they only need first and last. Lets see if I get screwed again!
I had a string of good luck here. There have been hotels in Japan that have extended the Active duty discount for Military. They are listed below:
||Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport
||Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel (club)
||Kobe Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers (club)
Don’t always rely on agoda or orbitz to get you the best rate. Sometimes its better to book directly with SPG, Hilton, or Hyatt and ask for the govt rate! This way you can get all the free upgrades with status. Oh, and don’t forget the New Sanno (Tokyo) and Dragon Hill (Seoul). Those are always overbooked, but are defiantly super duper cheap. (only have stayed at the New Sanno btw).
On May 1, 2015 the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications made it mandatory to have all cell phones sold in Japan to be unlocked. I was excited to see this done as Japan is one of the most carrier restrictive countries with no possible legal unlocking of any phone from the big three of AU, DCOCMO, and Softbank.
In a typical Japanese style of customer service I have asked for my iPhone to be unlocked several times only to have been dismissed in saying the law was very unclear on what companies needed to do to be compliant. So instead of being a good company and unlocking all phones, they just said they could not follow the law. This is how gambling is illegal but pachinko parlors are abundant due to this very clever work around. I was told that I should seek illegitimate unlocking options such as paying some dude in some back alley to unlock it for me, and I was told that AU would turn a blind eye to this. This was their official policy!
It has taken until now for AU to become compliant and offer to have only newly purchased iPhone 6S to be unlocked after 180 days of service. So upon my two year anniversary with my Mom’s phone I went ahead and signed on for another two years. They charged me 97,080 or $802.51 for the 64 GB iPhone 6s split over 12 months for $66.87 a month. I had the option to split it over 24 months ($33.43), but I will be PCSing before then and would be stuck with the remaining balance on cancellation. So each month I have a discount of 2435 jpy ($20.12) with a total cost of $46.75 per month for a phone I can use on the Verizon network when I get home.
We have been enjoying my wife’s new shiny *A gold status. We even got her the Marriott upgrade to gold for free! This means free breakfast at Marriott hotels! Link can be found here.
As I get ready for a dinner party with the Generals tonight (the night of 10 stars they call it), I realize there are perks to being married to a Field Grade Officer, going to be the only O-3 there, feeling so bougie! Then when I was booking for our Guam trip to visit our good friends (and blog reader) I realized how awesome it is to be married to a United Gold member as well! I debated booking under my account or under my wife’s, but when I book under her’s I get to pick economy plus sets for free right away!
Usually as a silver premier member you cannot pick economy plus until 24 hours before the flight.
I also got good intel from an O-6 select that this route usually has open spots in business and very few premier status members. We are very likely going to get the business class upgrade. I see only one opening on the way there, and It looks like I might have to let my wife fly in style by herself. Hopefully we both get up there on the way back.