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Most of the hotels process the elite based room upgrades during the overnight shift on the day of arrival and you can see them by checking the status of your reservation online.

Reminder To Check Hotel Reservations For Upgrades (And Sometimes Take A Screenshot)

As long as the hotel’s in-house reservation system (usually Opera) is connected to the chain’s proprietary one, the room upgrade information is transferred to Holidex (IHG), MARSHA (Marriott) etc. and is for you to see online as well. [click to continue...]

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Some airlines such as Cathay Pacific have already issued travel waivers for Bangkok bound passengers due political instability in the country that appears to be leading to a military coup.

bangkok-update

Yellow shirts want to oust the current prime minister, who is the sister of a former prime minister that has been convicted of fraud and is living in exile outside of Thailand. The red shirts are for the current government. [click to continue...]

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There have been a couple of examples this fall that have reminded me that I should advise readers to think twice (or more), if they decide to transit via countries that requires them to have a visa to enter the country itself.

voa-stranded

The problem lies if you happen to misconnect in any of the Schengen countries (list here) to a third country and you would need a Schengen visa to enter the country. [click to continue...]

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Hong Kong has been offering an automated frequent travelers immigration channel for many years, but the name of this service was recently changed to just e-Channel.

hong-kong-e-channel

The beauty of e-Channel is that after enrollment you can use these automated gates for coming and going from Hong Kong at the airport or ferry terminals bypassing those sometimes long immigration lines. [click to continue...]

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The cabin personnel of Finnair are scheduled to go to on strike this weekend, that would halt most of Finnair’s flights that the airline is not able to crew using management personnel. The latest news is that the strike may not happen, however.

finnair-plane

I was supposed to meet a friend in Bangkok that was scheduled to fly on Finnair Flight A095 on Saturday. The flight is not scheduled to be operated if the strike occurs, and the earlier flight to Bangkok that would operate was totally zeroed out in all cabins. [click to continue...]

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T-Mobile (US) is abolishing its international data & text roaming charges starting on October 31, 2013. Customers can use data at Edge speed (128 KBPS) and text messages (SMS) free at more than 100 countries.

You can read more about this development on Cnet’s website here.

t-mobile-internet-roaming

128 KBPS is enough for emails and using data light apps such as Twitter/Facebook/Whatsapp, but you really cannot make voice calls over Skype using connection this slow or stream music/movies. [click to continue...]

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When you are checking out of a hotel, at a retail outlet or withdrawing money from an ATM, you may be asked if you would like to pay in the currency of your card instead of the currency of the country you are in.

This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and you should ALWAYS decline.

whine-whednesdays-dynamic-currency-conversion

The merchant is offering (read PUSHING) this service because the company that is providing this facility is splitting the 2.1% to 4% foreign exchange margin with them. [click to continue...]

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LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me the following question earlier this week about canceling a prepaid rate that is not cancelable:

room-cancellation-help-jpg

I always advise people to be very careful when making advance bookings using rates that are noncancelable or nonrefundable. You should only book these rates if your plans are 100% firm or you can to live with the fact that you will end up throwing away reservation or two once in a while. [click to continue...]

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Guangzhou is the third Chinese city that will allow, starting on August 31, 72-hour visa free transit for citizens of 45 countries. This same 72-hour transit visa was introduced to Beijing (used to have 24 hour) and Shanghai (used to have 48 hour) on January 1, 2013 (read more about the previous change here). There is a piece on South China Morning Post about this that you can access here.

china-guangzhou-visa

There are few things that you need to note here: [click to continue...]