Edition 8 | Japan's reopening (for real!), redeeming 47,000 Amex points for Japan, and more.
Also: How a 500-year-old village in Oman transformed into a thriving Airbnb.
In this edition.
An isolated Omani village transformed into an Airbnb.
Japan is reopening: How I last traveled there on points.
Where in the world am I going next?
1. From remote Omani village...to thriving Airbnb?
Meet Hilal and Mohammed Alshereiqi. Two cousins and hospitality entrepreneurs who live in a remote, 500-year-old village in the Jabal al Akhdar region of Oman.
I arrived to the village after a 30-minute drive from the Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel, and hiked about 20 minutes to where dinner was being served.
Over the last five years or so, Hilal and Mohammed, along with other family members, have transformed their once-desolate community into a now-thriving hospitality business.
Consider this: Until 2005, foreigners were forbidden from even entering this area as the Omani government maintained a military presence close by. There was no electricity or running water until the mid-2000s, too.
But over the last decade, a gravel road was built nearby and an irrigation system was created to better connect the village.
Hilal and Mohammed come from a family who can trace back their roots in this very location for 350 years. In order to preserve the village’s identity, they opened its doors to the world.
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Now, with 11 rooms and a recent rebrand from “The Cliff Guest House” to “Al Suwgra,” (the actual name of the village), the family that runs this village-slash-Airbnb is ready to keep on growing.
This is a true local experience, and one where you don’t want to miss even if you’re staying the night at the luxurious Alila down the road. (You can swing by for a meal, but reach out to the family first.)
Here’s a link to their boutique hotel and Airbnb.
2. Japan reopening: How I got there earlier this year on points.
If you haven’t heard, Japan is (finally) opening to all tourists on Oct. 11, 2022. No quarantine or testing necessary.
While I last entered Japan in 2019, I actually transited Tokyo-Haneda Airport just a few months ago at the end of March.
I redeemed 47,000 Amex points to fly New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND) onboard ANA’s new first-class product, dubbed “The Suite.” While I didn’t enter Japan, I was thrilled to experience first class with ANA and transit through Tokyo on my way to Vietnam and Thailand.
Since I wanted to fly in first, I needed 60,000 Virgin Atlantic points for a one-way ticket from New York to Tokyo.
But it gets better, all thanks to the power of transferable credit card points — and the occasional bonus promotion.
The kicker is that American Express ran a promotion that offered a 30% bonus when you transferred Amex Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic. And right now, through Sept. 30, 2022, Amex is running the same transfer bonus promotion.
Here’s the full story that outlined this redemption but note, availability appears limited through the rest of this year.
3. Upcoming travels: NOLA, Baja California, and more.
First, be sure to follow me on Instagram to see some serious AvGeek (and luxury LAX airport) content this weekend 👀
I’ll be in New Orleans next week for my first-ever in-person CardCon, a conference where credit card-related media, issuers, publishers, and enthusiasts all gather. (If you’ll be there, be sure to say hello!)
I’ll also be exploring NOLA as much as I can, especially the food scene and more unique attractions that some of you recommended to me (thanks for that!)
Finally, I have some exciting hotel reviews and stories in the pipeline in the coming months so stay tuned.
New here? My travel philosophy is to enjoy the finer parts of travel without sacrificing human connection. How?
First, that means being savvy: Leveraging points and finding cash deals to sleep in luxury hotels and fly at the pointy end of the plane.
But at the same time, it’s about digging deeper to find out more about a destination: Connecting with locals, learning more about a place straight from the source, and discovering experiences that are slightly off-the-beaten path.
No matter how you travel, I hope the things that I learn inspire you to be a more Multidimensional Traveler.
Anything you want to see in this newsletter? Just want to chat travel or points? Let me know. Respond to this email or shoot me a DM (@thechrisflyer) on the socials.
Until next time.
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