Tag Archives: Insider Tip

How to catch a Taxi in Bangkok

Here I am. Back in Bangkok,  Thailand. This time staying with a mate in the old town part of the city. Meaning no BTS sky train or MRT station nearby. The only way to get from our hotel to Downtown Bangkok with all the shopping malls (like MBK, Siam Paragon and others), are taxis. Unfortunately many Taxi drivers don’t speak English. So I used the “Bangkok method” to get around.

Getting from hotel to downtown/other places

First look for a small business card of the hotel at the reception desk. This will later be important when you want to go back to the hotel. Most hotels can give you a business id card which contains the address of the hotel in Thai letters and/or a small map of where the hotel is located. DONT FORGET TO TAKE ONE BEFORE LEAVING.

The easiest and simplest way is to ask the reception desk, or if available, the bell manager for a METERED Taxi and tell him/her where you want to go. He/Her will then use his radio to hail a cab for you and tell the driver in Thai where you want to go. This helps to avoid lost in translation situations. 😉

After entering the car make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he doesn’t, insist on it or you may end up with a “special price”, which can be twice or triple the official amount. Side note: One of the drivers offered us 200 THB special price, we insisted on the meter and ended up with 68 THB (rounded up to 70)

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

 

Getting back to the hotel

Hailing a taxi on the street is an almost impossible mission.
Here’s the easy way: Just go to the next shopping mall.

Most shopping malls have a so called “taxi queue” or taxi stand at the ground level. When arrive at the front of the line give the taxi coordinator the card from your hotel. He will then ask all taxi (or tuk tuk) drivers nearby if anyone wants to take you to your destination. Jump into the one the he/she points at. Other drivers may try to pursway you by smiling or winking at you to take their taxi/tuktuk instead. Be careful this could lead to either a very expensive ride or a trip to an unknown destination.

After entering the taxi handover the card from the hotel to confirm your driver got the right address and double-check that he/she turned on the meter.

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

Tips

  • Make sure you have a business card of your hotel
  • Double-check that you have all belongigs before leaving the car. Getting it back is an impossible mission.
  • Write down/take photo of the vehicle number (often a sticker on the inside of the window) if you want to report any bad incidents to the taxi queue service
  • Taxis have different designn (pink, yellow-green, orange), but the metered rates should be the same

 

 

Star Alliance Gold – The Fast way [Insider tip]

Welcome to part 3 of my series of posts about the Star Alliance Gold Status. If you missed part 1 “Star Alliance Gold – Introduction“, you can read it here. Or want to read my article about the different member airline benefits?

In this article I will reveal how to get the Star Alliance Gold status with a long-haul round-trip ticket or in other words with 20,000 status miles.

 

Miles & Bonus Gold / Star Alliance Gold
Miles & Bonus Gold / Star Alliance Gold

Have you ever heard about the Greece based airline “Aegean Airlines”? I guess you didn’t. Even in Europe most people outside of Greece don’t know it.
But the important point here is, it’s part of the Star Alliance. Which means you can accrual miles on their frequent traveller program, even if you’re based in Australia or other countries.

Aegean has only 3 status tiers.  No status,  Miles & Bonus Blue and Miles & Bonus Gold. For Blue you need 4,000 miles. Blue status has basically no benefits outside of Greece, except for priority waitlist if you missed your flight.

Now to the good part.

After you achieved Blue you only need 16,000 miles to get “Miles & Bonus Gold“, which equals Star Alliance Gold.
4,000 miles + 16,000 miles = 20,000 miles

20,000 status miles sounds awesome, right? Let’s make it even better: Aegean Airlines has currently a promotion. Sign up for their frequent traveler program and get 1,000 status miles as a bonus. That means, you only need to accrual 19,000 status miles.

Eligible miles

I achieved my Star Alliance Gold status with one round-trip ticket from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand on Singapore Airlines. (11 614 status miles for each direction)

The distance between Sydney / Kingsford Smith (SYD) and London/Heathrow (LHR) is 10576 miles (via Singapore). That means, you can collect 21152 status miles on a round trip ticket when flying economy class.

Have a look at the “Earning miles” list at http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/earn-miles/#linkTop
When booking your flight, make sure to book a fare that has at least 100% accrual factor.

In general, the cheapest booking classes are not eligible for miles accrual.
The difference between the cheapest fare and booking class W on Singapore Airlines for my flights between Europe and New Zealand was just 200 bucks.

Info: Not sure about fare class when booking a flight? Send me an email or contact me on Facebook. I’m happy to help!

Benefits of Star Alliance Gold

Holders of this status (like me) enjoy the following Star Alliance benefits:

  • Priority reservations waitlisting No seats left on your preferred flight? this will give you priority over others if a seat becomes available.
  • Priority airport stand-by  Missed your flight? even if the next flight is fully booked, you get priority.
  • Priority boarding Board the plane at the same time with business and first class passengers (if available)
  • Priority airport check-in You can check-in at the business class or first class counter (depending on the airline)
  • Priority baggage handling Sick of waiting for your bags at the baggage claim? Your luggage gets a special tag and will be among the first unloaded.
  • Additional checked luggage allowance of 20 kg (or one extra piece where the piece concept applies)
  • Airport lounge access to designated Star Alliance Gold lounges (over 950 worldwide)

Web links: