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Unread 21 Jan 17, 10:51 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Join Date: May 07
L.A. to Vegas to L.A. - The airmiles trip August 2017

Version Two


This is version 2 of my pre-trippy. Unfortunately most of V1 is now null and void thanks to virgin cancelling Manchester->Las Vegas flights on Tuesdays.

I've left the original here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...d.php?t=984122 as it contains the introductions and background to the trip.

I originally booked my flights back in September and October 2016 with Virgin Atlantic using Virgin air miles. Manchester to Las Vegas on Tuesday 15th August 17 returning two weeks later. I got the 4 of us in UpperClass Outbound and my wife and upper class Inbound with the kids in PE.

After saving the air miles, getting my leave approved and getting the flights I wanted I was feeling a little bit pleased with myself. I was paying less for the flights than 4 economy tickets LHR->MIA return cost me in 2015.

Anyway over Christmas I happened to log in to my Virgin Atlantic account to check my miles balance, to see if I could do anything useful with the remaining miles. By chance I looked at the booking to see the flights had been moved from Tuesday to Thursday If I'd have been able to I'd have just taken the new dates but unfortunately it didn't fit with my leave.

What really annoyed me about this is that I didn't get any communication from Virgin not an email, a letter, a text or a telephone call :angry: So there I was happily booking things for my trip totally unaware I wasn't going to be there on the dates I was booking for.

Fortunately all my bookings were refundable so I haven't lost any money but that was more down to good luck than management. So just a note for anyone booking flights and accommodation independently a long way in advance - prepare for a change.

The next morning I was straight on the phone to flying club. I spoke to a nice man in upper class bookings. This is where it starts to get better He told me that Virgin had changed their summer schedules and that my existing flight was no longer flying. I gave him the dates I had and told him I didn't mind where I went from or to as long as it was west coast USA. He said he would work on it and call me back later in the day with some options.

A couple of hours later he came back with Heathrow to LAX (return) on the same dates in the same class leaving at 13:00 hours. A flight I would have booked if they had of been available at the time but there wasn't 4 reward seats made available. So I'm more than happy with how it's turned out. Oh and a couple of days ago I got an email from Virgin to say that my original flight to Las Vegas was now on another date !

The new plan


Heathrow


Getting There


We live about 230 miles away from Heathrow and about 120 away from Manchester so wherever we go from we have a bit of a trek.

We are going to let the train take the strain this year. It will be our local station to York. York to Kings Cross. Then either the underground to Heathrow or Paddington and the Heathrow express.

An open return is about 219 with a friends and family railcard. If I was brave and went for restricted singles could get this to about 80 for the four of us but it's very risk on the way back

A rail card saves you about 1/3 of the cost. They are normally about 30 but you can get them for 15 worth of tesco clubcard vouchers.

secure.tesco/clubcard/bo.../UK-002022.prd

6250 Virgin Airmiles will also get you a 25 voucher at virgin east coast trains.

Heathrow Hotel


When flying from Manchester I have to stay at the Raddison. I just love it and for our original flight we had a suite booked for the bargain price of 240 (the current price is 340).

At Heathrow I've gone to the other end of the scale. We are staying at The Premier Inn London Heathrow Airport (Bath Road) Hotel.


At 29.50 per night I've booked two rooms. It's right at the end of the runway so very handy for the airport. It gets very good reviews on TA.
tripadvisor/Hotel_...n_England.html

I looked at the more expensive chains but they were coming in at 150 per room for not a great deal more.

Some YouTube Reviews of the hotel



To get to and from the hotel we will probably just use the Heathrow Hoppa. For 16 return (the kids go free)
heathrow/file_source/...-terminals.pdf

The Steak and Lobster restaurant at the Raddison just over the road is probably where we will go on the night.
steakandlobster/

The Flight


We are on VS141 to L.A. leaving at 13:00. I think it's the 2nd of 3 flights Virgin run to L.A. It is showing as a 787 (The Dream liner). We have booked Seats A1 to A4 which face the wall (or rear) of the middle row of seats at the front of the cabin.

But before the flight comes Virgin's clubhouse. This is something I have always wanted to try and one of the main reason I was actually happy to fly from Heathrow. We don't have breakfast booked at the hotel so we will be getting up and going to the lounge for breakfast.


Video review of the lounge

Video review of the plane


The First Night


From The Airport


My Original plan was to stay the first night near LAX then pick the car up the day after. However the chain hotels (Hilton, Crowne Plaza etc) were about $300 per room. There were cheaper hotels but I'm not too sure of the neighborhoods they were in and when the TA reviews mention drug dealers and hookers you know you are at the wrong end of the market !

Also the car hire was more expensive, about 100 more, than hiring the same car in town !

My current plan is to get a private mini-van. The hotel do one for a $118. This also means I can sample virgins hospitality

The Hotel


For the first night we are staying at the Radisson Suites Hotel Anaheim Buena Park. It's just down the road from Knotts Berry Farm. At 107 for a one bedroomed suite it's quite reasonable. I may cancel this rate and pay using points its 28,000 club carlson points for the room.

radisson/reservation...AD_25549595359

There is a hertz less than 1/2 a mile away and lots of places to eat nearby.

The Hire Car


The plan will be to pick the car up the morning after we arrive and then drive to vegas. After we return to vegas we will go to Universal for a couple of days before moving to Anahiem.

I was thinking of keeping the car in Anahiem but I think we can do without it. Disney is in walking distance and if we want to venture further afield we will use uber and/or the metro. We can return the hire car just up the steet in Anahiem for no extra fee and it will safe $18 a day hotel parking fee in addition to the cost of the car.

It means we will need the car for about a week. It looks to be in the region of 230 for an SUV.

Las Vegas


We will have two full nights in Las Vegas, which for us will be plenty. We want to got to the Pawn Stars shop, go on the stratosphere rides and look round the casinos. They kids are too young to gamble and I'm too tight ! Other than that we will just be taking in las vegas.

Hotel


I've gone for a one bedroom suite at Hilton Grand Vacations on the strip. It's at the top end of the strip without a casino but with the kids that suits us fine. 183 for two nights with expedia.
www3.hilton/en/hotels/nev...SGV/index.html

I may change it to the marriott las vegas chateau. Again it's a suite
hotel only a little bit more expensive but a bit closer to the heart of the strip.

Grand Canyon


After our second night in Vegas we will be getting up and driving to the Hoover Dam for a stop and tour. We will then be driving out to the skyrim to take in a bit of the grand canyon.

Laughlin


From the skyrim we are going to drive to Laughlin ( visitlaughlin ) this is a few hours south of the skyrim on the Colarado River on the nevada/arizona border. It's going to be hot here in August (100F+) but I like hot. The upside of this is that it is considered low season so hotel prices are very attractive.

I've gone for the Golden Nugget, mainly because it has a Bubba Gump on site, in a deluxe queen room for 83 (on a Friday night)

goldennugget/laughlin...Fe4y0wodSY4Kpw

It's somewhere different and it will be a different piece of desert to drive across.

Universal Studios



We will have a lazy drive across to Universal City. I've got two nights booked at Sheraton Universal for $125+6000 Starwood points per night as opposed to $300 per night. This is the LA version of an onsite hotel but you don't get the front of line passes.

On Saturday afternoon we will pop down into Hollywood and do the sites before going to City Walk on the evening.

Originally we were just having the one night for 12,000 starwood points and doing the park the next day then driving to anahiem after the park. I thought it would be more relaxing to go to the park early in the morning, come back to the hotel in the afternoon before returning until closing on the evening then returning to the hotel before driving to anahiem the following morning.

I think we will just be getting the one day tickets unless the two days are hardly any more money.

Anahiem


For the rest of the trip we will be staying in Anahiem at the Residence Inn by Marriot Resort/Convention Center. It's on West Katella the bottom of Disney's California is across the road. It's a 10 to 15 minute walk to the parks.

I have a one bedroom suite for 8 nights for $180 per night (inc taxes) including a buffet breakfast.

It was an existing hotel taken over and refurbished last year by Marriot. It is starting to get some good reviews and is a very good price for the location.

The Timetable


My rough plan as it stands. I've got plenty of detail to add especially around the second week but this is where I'm up to as of today.
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Unread 21 Jan 17, 11:16 PM  
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KarenG
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Wow! It looks like an incredible trip! I would have been pretty mad to find out my flight had been cancelled without having been informed. It's great it's all worked out for you
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Unread 22 Jan 17, 05:20 PM  
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hawki
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Sounds like a fab trip! Well done on the reward flights. I started saving miles too about a year ago after reading Olivers thread .
I have managed to get reward flight in upper back from Orlando & Delta flights from LAX to Orlando also with Virgin airmiles.
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Unread 23 Jan 17, 06:07 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
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Originally Posted by KarenG View Post
Wow! It looks like an incredible trip! I would have been pretty mad to find out my flight had been cancelled without having been informed. It's great it's all worked out for you
Thanks Karen. Virgin really let themselves down with their lack of communication. I think it must be done on purpose so they don't overwhelm the call center with people trying to change reservations !
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Unread 23 Jan 17, 06:08 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
Join Date: May 07
Originally Posted by hawki View Post
I started saving miles too about a year ago after reading Olivers thread .
.
Well done on your flights. Oliver was my inspiration too
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Unread 23 Jan 17, 06:18 PM  
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Lisa_Lollipop
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Join Date: Oct 12
What a great trip you have planned... we are doing something very similar in May! Also flying out from Heathrow on the 1pm flight and staying at the PI Bath Road the night before

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip as the plans come together (I also love your planning spreadsheet... I may have to pinch that format as it is much better than what I have put together!)
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Unread 25 Jan 17, 09:11 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
Join Date: May 07
Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your post.

Originally Posted by Lisa_Lollipop View Post
What a great trip you have planned... we are doing something very similar in May! Also flying out from Heathrow on the 1pm flight and staying at the PI Bath Road the night before
Sounds good I'd love to hear what you think of it :-)


Originally Posted by Lisa_Lollipop View Post
(I also love your planning spreadsheet... I may have to pinch that format as it is much better than what I have put together!)
You're welcome I think I borrowed it from someone on the DIBB :-) I have lots of other columns, not shown, with things like reservation numbers, addresses,estas and costs. All in all its the only document I end up taking and I just keep it on my phone.

Hope you have a good time on your trip

Phil
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Unread 23 Sep 17, 07:51 AM  
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dozy
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dozy's Reviews
Hotel Reviews: 2
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looks amazing
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http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=886432
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