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🤑 Business-class suites for $54 (and no points)

Plus, Delta fans are probably going to be excited about this one...

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 18 seconds

📚 What I’m Reading: For all of you fans of travel and food, I highly recommend reading Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. It’s really entertaining and will teach you a lot about the world… and food. His books never get old, and always get me excited to travel and eat. 🍽️

Good morning from 36,000 feet over India! I’m on my way to East Africa for a very special event.

But first, I’ve got a nice, long flight - and a lot of time to share some sweet travel tips with you.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the newsletter:

🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move

As I mentioned earlier, I am back on the move and headed to the remote Mbeya region of Tanzania!

This is actually a place I’ve been to many times over the years since my best friend of 27 years lives there.

So, although my focus this week is preparing my best man speech (in English and Swahili 🙃), I am certainly having some fun with how I get there…

To kick things off, I’m flying Qatar Airways from Jakarta to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, with a nice 19-hour overnight stop in Doha.

Qatar Airways booking from CGK to DAR for 37,500 points

And no, I’m not flying business (even though it was available to book)… and here’s why:

While flying Qatar Qsuites is freaking amazing, many of Qatar’s planes are less luxurious… in fact, one of the planes I’m flying doesn’t even have lie-flat seats.

So, I decided to save my points, fly economy, and enjoy luxury in some other ways… 😏

For example, remember when I told you about that British Airways status match a couple of months ago?

Mike's BA account, showing his new Gold Status

Because of that match, I now have OneWorld Emerald status, meaning I was able to use priority check-in, priority boarding, and lounge access in Jakarta before my Qatar flight.

More importantly, this status gives me access to Qatar’s world-class business lounge in Doha before I depart for my connecting flight.

Qatar's Business-class lounge in Doha

All of these benefits are pretty epic, considering I’m flying economy.

But it gets even better…

Last week, I also told you about how the [[ hilton-honors-american-express-surpass-card.name ]] and the [[ hilton-honors-american-express-card.name ]] are currently offering Free Night Awards as part of their welcome offers.

I am using one of those Free Night Awards to stay at the Katara Hills Resort in Doha tonight during my overnight layover.

Photo of the Katara Hills Resort in Doha

This ridiculously over-the-top hotel consists of only villas with private pools and amazing views of downtown Doha.

To make things even better, it is one of Hilton’s most expensive hotels, costing 120,000 points minimum for a standard room.

Katara Hills Doha bookable for 120,000 Hilton points

Needless to say, it’s the best use of a Hilton Free Night Award I’ve ever had!

Have you ever had an overnight layover in a new city or country?

If so, where?

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But look… I’m a guy who likes a nice business-class seat, too.

Thankfully, I have plans to try some REALLY cool ones.

After arriving in Dar Es Salaam, I will fly on Air Tanzania (one of my favorite airlines in Africa) to Mbeya city.

But this isn’t just any flight… You see, Air Tanzania is the first African airline to buy brand-spanking-new Airbus A220s, my favorite plane in the world.

Air Tanzania Airbus A220

These planes feature a dedicated business-class cabin that looks quite nice, especially for a small African airline.

I wasn’t planning to fly business class with them since there’s no good way to book it with points.

But when searching for my flight, I looked up the cost for this new business-class seat just out of curiosity.

I was surprised that although economy class costs $120, business class only costs $160.

Sample Booking on Google Flights from DAR-MBI for $164

So, obviously, I booked business class… 😎

And this isn’t the only example of crazy business-class seats I’ve booked this month…

In a few weeks, I’ll be trying out Air India’s new business class on their A350 planes.

Air India's A350 Lie-flat suites

These seats are lie-flat suites with closing doors, similar to those on Qsuites, British Airways, and other world-class planes.

But guess how much I paid for it…

I’ll just show you:

Sample Booking on Air India business class for $54.

There’s a lot going on in this photo, but it’s such a ridiculous deal…

That’s right, folks. To celebrate the delivery of these new Airbus A350s, Air India is flying them around on domestic routes, some of which only cost $54.

My route, in particular, will take me from Chennai to Mumbai to Bengaluru (also for $54), allowing me to experience this lie-flat seat with closing doors for almost five hours for just $54.

Air India flight from MAA-BLR for $54 in busies class

Bonkers…

But here’s the takeaway from these examples:

When you’re searching for cash fares, it’s important to play around with cities, routes, etc., and even search for business fares.

There are plenty of “sweet spots” out there that will allow you to travel in luxury and have cool experiences without breaking the bank or even needing to use points!

And if you think these are the only examples of cool business-class seats I’ll be trying out in the near future… think again.

But I’ll save the rest for another newsletter. 😉

✈️ Anyone want some Delta miles?

Personally, I think Delta miles have been devalued beyond recognition over the years…

It’s hard to value them when you need a TON of them to fly basically anywhere.

But that’s exactly why it’s so exciting that you can earn a TON of them thanks to some new credit card welcome offers.

Photo of a Delta Plane

These offers are pretty solid, with the [[ delta-skymiles-reserve-american-express-card.name ]]  offering almost 100,000 SkyMiles for signing up.

If you’re a frequent Delta flyer and don’t currently have one of these cards, now is as good a time as any.

But even if you aren’t a frequent Delta flyer, you might still want to consider these offers.

Delta often has fairly solid rates on shorter international routes, like this flight from Chicago to Mexico City for just 10,000 miles.

ORD-MEX for 10,000 Delta SkyMiles

That means that even the LOWEST offer from these cards could still get you three round trips to Mexico.

I’ve also noticed plenty of excellent deals for booking partner airlines with Delta miles.

For example, I’m currently in Indonesia where it’s possible to use Delta miles to book long-haul flights on Garuda Indonesia for really solid rates.

This flight from Tokyo to Bali, for example, only costs 22,500 Delta miles and just $26 in taxes and fees.

Tokyo to Bali for 22,500 Delta SkyMiles

For a 7.5-hour flight, that’s a stellar deal.

Given the massive roster of SkyTeam airlines around the world, there is no shortage of ways to use your Delta miles with airlines like KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Korean Air, and many more.

A graphic showing all of the skyteam airlines logos

So here’s the bottom line:

Delta cards currently have elevated welcome offers.

Whether you like flying with Delta or you want a nice stash of miles to use around the world with partner airlines, this is a great time to do either.

🍺 A new study about drinking on planes

Here’s a fun one: It turns out that alcohol might not be super healthy for you.

Who knew? 🤷🏼‍♂️

But actually, there’s a new study that was recently published indicating that drinking on planes (specifically at cruising altitude) might be way worse for your body than previously thought…

A photo of champagne on a flight

Wow… AI is getting really good at making these photos…

Anyway, check out this article. It’s very short, but definitely interesting for those of you who enjoy the occasional (or frequent) drink on board.

But before you go, tell me something:

Will this information stop you from drinking champagne/beer/wine/etc on your next flight?

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That’s all for today! I’m really excited about some of my upcoming travel experiences.

And with all of those Delta miles, I hope some of you are excited to book some fun experiences of your own. 😉

Take care, and see you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

22°54'43.8"N 71°24'16.1"E