Friday, June 16, 2017

東京 [Tokyo], Zagreb, and Paris - Entry 003

Greetings from Boracay in the Philippines!

I want to first and foremost give thanks and appreciation to all those that have viewed, read, shared, even glanced or skimmed my website!!! It means a lot to me, and I want to continue to turnout great material that is worth reading and valuable to others.

I have concluded thus far, that between my trips, I shall develop posts that are catered to answering Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] about fashion, travel, and so on. These shall supplement the actual trips since I am far from being sponsored of the sort.

Another point I would like to add is all the hyperlinked website are directly to explained websites respectively. There are no ads, nor do I feel I shall ever allow them to be here. I do not make any money from your clicking on the links, so please click away! If anything changes, I shall absolutely state and share for transparency purposes.

I decided to include a map of the crazy flight path of what I took during Spring Break 2017. Map is courtesy of Great Circle Mapper.


What I have learned [and knew in the back of my head], is I talk way too much. Therefore, I am working on getting to the heart of these posts - The content. Therefore, the trip reports will be a bit longer, but the posts in between shall be sweet and concise.

In terms of Japan, it is my favorite country to re-visit. It definitely has a lot of "playback value" not for only Tokyo; moreover, the country as a whole. Thus, you can find me in Japan every year, and potentially multiple times in any given year!

Fashion: The every day menswear is actually quite conservative, especially business attire. Black is the way to go, and they are simple suits. Two to three buttons, single-breasted, white shirts, very little color in the tie, and black dress shoes. Coming from the United States where navy has become a conservative palette that allows some color, it was quite boring! However, blending in, I found ways to make the seemingly typical Japanese style of suiting up - In my case, a black double-breast suit by Indochino, black double monk strap shoes by Paul Stuart, and of course, colored socks, tie, and pocket square. Blending in while still standing out!

Photo Credit: Maggie

Flights: In terms of the flights, I was fortunate that I had a majority of points to utilize, yet I paid for some of the flights as well! Since some of the flights were last-minute, they were as "good" as they could be. When contemplating whether to use miles or points verses purchasing, one needs to see if the routing and time spent is any better. In short, if miles do not get you where and when you need to be - It is probably better to buy a more direct path. With that being said, the following are the costs in terms of miles and money:

  • John F. Kennedy to Narita; in Japan Airlines first class; one-way - 80,000 American Airlines [AA] miles and 5,00$ USD in taxes
  • Narita to Doha to Zagreb; in Qatar Airways business class; one-way - 75,000 American Airlines [AA] miles and 37,30$ USD in taxes
  • Zagreb to Istanbul to Cairo; in Turkish Airlines economy class; one-way - 303,32€
  • Cairo to Charles de Gaulle/Orly to John F. Kennedy; in Air France business class; return ticket [round trip] - 1.381,67$ USD

Uniqueness: What I wanted to start doing was offering my experiences on approaching airports and where to go. I can only imagine countless times from asking for assistance and being strong-headed, attempting to winging it on my own - We need guidance sometimes! Therefore, if given the opportunity [preferably rehearsed - though I suppose I can edit], I shall add videos of airport walkthroughs. In this case, flying into Zagreb!

Arrivals Edition: Zagreb Airport [ZAG]

Anyhow, that wraps up this trip back in April 2017!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Question & Answers - Entry 002

Greetings from Southern California!

Since introduced to traveling in a loyal manner, my obsession for flying has taken off exponentially. Whether it is for holiday, academics, or the seldom business trip - People notice! Once people notice, they consider you a resource. This is not only pertaining to travel, but anything that takes form in one's life, and observable by others.

With that being said, I have decided [for now] to posts between my trip experiences answering the most important questions: Your questions! My beloved audience and will remind myself that I am always writing for my audience - The every day person that wants to travel more, and for those of the menswear persuasion, how to do so in a fashionable sense. As of now, here are the following questions I have received recently:

Question, do you have experience with those online custom dress shirts?
-Mark 2017 May 06

Which travel credit card would you recommend to have for earn[ing] miles as well as to have?

-Anonymous 2017 May 08

Why [would I want to hold off on using credit card points to purchase a desired flight, as oppose to transferring to] who is their partnered compan[ies, or something else altogether]?

-Jeanne 2017 May 07

All excellent questions with varying degrees of answers and segue into deeper aspects respectively. Let's jump right in:
  • Answering Mark's question - I was first referred to Indochino by a close colleague [and grateful to call a friend] Boggs. A scholar and gentlemen, his style exudes truly of an English gentlemen. He turned me onto Indochino, a Canadian-based company in making made-to-measure (MTM) suits. Personally, I have turned over a leaf to a New York City-based company called Black Lapel. In either case, my experience was exponentially better once I was measured with one of their personnel. Exceptionally difficult if one lives outside a city where a pop up shop resides; however, this is far from the only companies that offer such services. In fact, if one has ample time, they could have the entire process done in a foreign country, and a lot quicker as well! One example was in Shanghai, China. I had two two-piece suits done in two days! Personally, I think the best aspect is to be measured by said company's employees; otherwise, grab known good measurements from a tailor you do have, and apply appropriately. Of course, results may vary, yet it was monumentally better than taking a tape measurer, fooling and convincing myself I knew precisely what I was doing.

    Black Lapel's Customization Options
  • Before diving into answering our anonymous person's question, I first want to admit - Yes, I do have a plethora of credit cards. In fact, I have the following:
    • Three [3] business cards;
    • Four [4] regular or consumer cards;
    • Two [2] cards where I am an authorized user; and
    • Three [3] checking accounts
      The biggest takeaway is - What do you want or expect out of your credit card? 

      people starting out in credit card game, I think generic points provided by the card's program is the most flexible. The reason is, if anyone gets an airline's credit card, they can earn miles only with that airline! Granted there are exceptions of how these airline miles can be utilized, yet we shall save that for another time. My favorite to discuss are the following cards in alphabetical order and their reward programs respectively:
      • Chase Sapphire Preferred [Visa] - Chase Ultimate Rewards - 99$ USD annual fee; and
      • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express - Membership Rewards - 195$ USD annual fee
        Now do not go applying for these cards immediately! Please research and ask questions beforehand, and avoid rushing into things. Also, it should be mentioned that the above cards are issued in the United States. As I have learned recently from international sources - International credit card programs are far less lucrative compared to those of the United States. Therefore,
        I promise to do my best to balance out the content and not go "credit card crazy" as this is the purpose and uniqueness for this information - For the every day person! People that may not have an abundance of credit utilization to apply for cards. Instead, to strategically go about different methodologies to find those desired flights, deals, and trips we want.
        Using Membership Reward Points to Transfer to a Partner

        Using Membership Rewards to Purchase a Flight Directly
  • Lastly, this ties in with what was mentioned earlier. Jeanne was inquiring about whether to use her points on her Chase Sapphire Preferred to purchase the flight or not. Or at the very least, an explanation why. In short, the dollar value the program reports it gains an "extra value," is marginally worth it. In fact, the actual dollar value verses the points used to pay through the program's flight portal is less at times! Therefore, it ultimately depends on what is the objective or goal one wants to attempt with said credit cards. Most people, including yours truly, transfer points from a card's program to a desired airline partner.

    Ultimate Rewards Dashboard upon Login
I want to thank everyone for this terribly long post! Much appreciation for those that made it to the end. I shall mention it again, yet all the links are the public versions of the websites discussed respectively. It shall always be in the interest of the audience when they are clicking on something that garners an advantage over everyone else. Otherwise, stay tuned to the next post, as it shall be about my crazy flights back in April to Asia and back from New York City using a combination of points and money! As per usual, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section.