A DDF Day For The Books And The Joys Of HUCA, Take 2

Update, 11am: Got home thanks to United and the kind AA phone agent.  One unlucky guy on the plane came up to me and thanked me for the $490 Delta deal nonstop to Israel that he was just coming back from.  Why poor sap? He used miles to fly on the American flight and when he went to checkin learned that all of their nonstop flights were cancelled.  They refused to accommodate him on United so he shelled out some $500 that United wanted for the one-way, more than his round-trip from NYC to Israel!
Don’t worry, I chastised him for not having 10K United miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points that would’ve saved him the $500…

Side note: How awesome is this story on United!?!
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Related:The Joys Of HUCA

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As any of the 6,300+ members of DDF can tell you, HUCA means to Hang Up and Call Again. It’s pretty good advice for anything. Most phone reps are incompetent or not willing to help, so it can take many phone calls to find someone helpful.

If you’ll click on the related post link above you can read some of the examples I gave for it last time.

I’ll share another great example of it that I just encountered, but first the background story.

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I flew yesterday from Cleveland to NYC for 9,000 Avios. American wanted $1,176 for the round-trip as they require a 3 night minimum stay for a discounted fare, so not a bad use of miles.  This is why I love Avios.  It fills the gap that other miles have.  I feel guilty using American or United miles on a domestic trip as those so valuable internationally.  BA Avios aren’t great for most long-haul international flights (though there are a few notable exceptions) but they are oh so awesome on domestic short-hauls.

I’ll be flying into or out of the Cleveland airport for 3 days in a row. There should be a prize for this stuff ;)

When I landed in NYC I headed straight for Pizza Da Solo, the first authentic Neapolitan kosher pizzeria in the world.  But I didn’t go just for the food, I got to meetup with several members of my DDF family and trade stories and tips for a couple of hours.

As far as the food goes, the pizza was very good and unique, the calzone may have been even better. My calzone had ricotta, homemade mozzarella, eggplant, basil, caramelized onions, and garlic with sauce on the side.
2 of the guys ordered the $38 Truffle Pizza. The Pie didn’t look it had any $100/ounce truffle shavings on it, but one person speculated that it must have been really fine shavings that they missed! When I went back to get some sauce for my calzone I mentioned that the triffle pizza disappointed as they were not even visible. Turns out they forgot to add the truffle shavings to their pie! Not something that should happen for $38, but they did get a whole new pie out of it. And it still wasn’t worth $38, but at least this time they were able to say that authoritatively. If you do get it ask for them to go light on the arugula which drowns out the truffles.

A extremely thin crust Pizza with San Marzano tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, basil, parmesan, and garlic, $9.

Invisible Truffles.

Truffles, Take 2. ($38)

Calzone ($13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just 8 strangers sharing a lunch together. But not just any guys, Guys who let the world know about offer matching, the $330 El Al tickets, and more via the DansDeals Forums. I’m easy to find here, the only one with a beard :)

Next stop was checking in at the Aloft Brooklyn. I booked it for 7,000 Starpoints though now it goes for a ridiculous 12,000 Starpoints. It’s very kitchy and not really my style.  The room is somewhat refurbished, though the HVAC unit is a real eyesore. If this is what all Alofts are like I’d stay at a Hyatt Place any day over it.

Lobby

Elevator

 

No enclosed shower and shampoo dispensers. Plus the water never got hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny place for a fridge.

 

I went to Avis next to the Aloft to trade in my $25/day ridiculously humongous Infiniti QX56 SUV and got a Jetta in return. No shocker here, but in Brooklyn a QX56 with 4WD is a real pain…just about impossible to park anywhere. Some upgrades to $70,000 cars just aren’t always welcome. Boy I would have loved to have that car on the Big Island of Hawaii though, could have done some serious damage in it.

 

Then the highlight of the day, dancing the night away and saying L’Chaims (which may or may not be influencing my writing style right now) at AsherO’s wedding in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. AsherO, who joined DDF the very day that it was launched, is one of the most prolific posters over at the DansDeals Forums with over 18,000 helpful posts.

The coolest part? There were at least 20 DDF members who came to dance at AsherO’s wedding, most of whom only know him via his online persona or who perhaps met him once or twice at a DDF meetup in the past.

Yet we got together to dance with the happy groom. Or as he put it, his virtual family. When a non-DDF member broke into our DDF circle AsherO called him out for it, “noobie!”:D

The camaraderie among the active DDF guys was just awesome, really something special that I can’t explain in words.  It’s just very cool to start to make new friendships via an anonymous online forum.

 

Another fun story. While waiting for the Chuppah to begin a few DDF’ers went into the local Crown Heights bookstore.  I had a $25 GC there to burn and picked up $26.50 of stuff.  When I asked if I could put the balance on my Freedom card (hey, 13 miles is 13 miles!) the cashier asked, “What is this a DansDeals thing? I’ll take cash!” We all just rolled out of the store laughing uncontrollably :D

 

So, about that HUCA story I promised.

American cancelled all of their morning and afternoon flights from LGA to Cleveland for later today.
I called to find out my options but nothing was very good. Especially because I need to get back to catch another flight on Friday!
When I asked about being moved over to United (which still shows all flights to Cleveland as on-time) I was told:
-We can’t do that if the delay is for weather.
-We can’t do that unless we have no other flights that entire day.
-We can’t touch reservations made by British Airways.
-We can’t help you until you go to the airport.

Finally on the 6th call I got a helpful rep who moved me over to United after a nice amount of cajoling.
The ticket is even booked in full-Y class so I should earn a nice amount of elite and redeemable miles which is always fun on an award ticket.

And that was today’s excitement. Sorry for the rambling, it’s been a long day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a sight I see every day but one that can be done with persistence.  A BA 4.5K Avios award on AA being operated by United in a fare class that will earn 150% United elite miles.  But most importantly, switched without having to fight for it in the airport and that American was pulling the “weather” card as the reason for the mass cancellations.

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45 Responses to “A DDF Day For The Books And The Joys Of HUCA, Take 2”

  1. whYME Says:
    1

    “but in Brooklyn a QX56 with 4WD is a real pain…just impossible to park anywhere. Some upgrades to $70,000 cars just aren’t always welcome.”
    -1
    You just need to learn how to park ;)

    ReplyReply
  2. heshy Says:
    2

    Dan are you still in NY?

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @whYME:
    True, I did manage to parallel park it once but it wasn’t pretty.
    In my neck of the woods we have these things called free parking lots which make Clevelanders really bad parallel parkers :D

    @heshy:
    Hopefully just for a few more hours!

    ReplyReply
  4. Cbs Says:
    4

    @whyme in ohio they dont teach you parallel parking!

    ReplyReply
  5. hunch Says:
    5

    Wow! Sounds like fun!

    How can AA put you on UA? They aren’t even in the same alliance. . .??

    ReplyReply
  6. heshy Says:
    6

    @Dan:
    Oy voy! I would of loved to meet you already for once, why didn’t you let us know?

    ReplyReply
  7. Gaby Says:
    7

    the cashier asked, “What is this a DansDeals thing?

    Hahaha :)

    ReplyReply
  8. Rots5 Says:
    8

    I feel like “we” missed out on a hopping wedding and great DO :-). Great write up

    ReplyReply
  9. Keep em coming Says:
    9

    Love the trip notes
    Waiting for the Singapore one :)

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @hunch:
    Jedi mind tricks.

    @heshy:
    I did :D

    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=5257.msg425933#msg425933

    @Gaby:
    A classic.

    @Rots5:
    @Keep em coming:
    Thanks guys.
    Just have to get around to typing it up…

    ReplyReply
  11. joe Says:
    11

    I know some of those guys! Now gotta match screen names to faces! ;)

    ReplyReply
  12. David Says:
    12

    Dan-

    Mazel Tov!

    Is there seating inside Pizza Da Solo?
    Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @David:
    There is a lot of public seating (as seen in the pic) in the Sony Atrium, but he restaurant itself is just take-out.

    ReplyReply
  14. Yossi Says:
    14

    Dan you are the best let us know nextime so we can all meet now tell us how many flights u got off that second pizza pie? The first one probably paid for your sons bar mitzvah on a cruise to israel for 2 weeks ….

    ReplyReply
  15. Achas Ve'achas Says:
    15

    Ok Now which one is mickyG :)

    ReplyReply
  16. mickeyg Says:
    16

    @Achas Ve’achas:

    Why so interested?

    ReplyReply
  17. DanR Says:
    17

    After pizza, You guys could have gone upstairs to the “free” Sony Wonder Lab

    (Check site for details and free tix) http://wondertechlab.sony.com/

    FYI to the DDF community !

    ReplyReply
  18. anon Says:
    18

    @joe:

    are you joe or yossi?

    ReplyReply
  19. yk Says:
    19

    “but in Brooklyn a QX56 with 4WD is a real pain…just impossible to park anywhere. Some upgrades to $70,000 cars just aren’t always welcome.”

    Very funny, my father had the exact same situation in Florida. Got the QX56 and traded it for a smaller car because it was too big.

    ReplyReply
  20. yk Says:
    20

    “Another fun story. While waiting for the Chuppah to begin a few DDF’ers went into the local Crown Heights bookstore. I had a $25 GC there to burn and picked up $26.50 of stuff. When I asked if I could put the balance on my Freedom card (hey, 13 miles is 13 miles!) the cashier asked, “What is this a DansDeals thing? I’ll take cash!” We all just rolled out of the store laughing uncontrollably”

    Thats great! Little Did the cashier now…

    ReplyReply
  21. ddawg Says:
    21

    How did you get an infiniti for 25 a day from avis?

    ReplyReply
  22. Levi Says:
    22

    Not interested in every detail with pics of each meal, thanks

    ReplyReply
  23. sam Says:
    23

    Is this the 1st time you stayed in an aloft?
    Once stayed in one.. was horrible. Its like a glorified dorm room.

    ReplyReply
  24. levi sucks Says:
    24

    @Levi: if you dont like it then dont read it you [Language censored]

    ReplyReply
  25. yk Says:
    25

    @Levi: No one cares what you are interested in. Your welcome.

    ReplyReply
  26. hunch Says:
    26

    “I chastised him for not having 10K United miles”

    Its only 10k? Isn’t it 12.5k ?

    ReplyReply
  27. noturbizniss Says:
    27

    @Levi: Not interested in your opinions.

    ReplyReply
  28. Achas Ve'achas Says:
    28

    @mickeyg: Come on he’s a legend (no worries, all in good spirits)

    ReplyReply
  29. MMark Says:
    29

    Dan – how long did you have to wait on hold for your six calls total? You must be very patient. Most people would have given up and settled!

    ReplyReply
  30. Dan Says:
    30

    @Yossi:
    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=5257.msg425933#msg425933

    @DanR:
    I had a wedding to catch :D

    @ddawg:
    Voucher.

    @Levi:
    Will try to remember to use the More feature next time. I got it just for you :D

    @sam:
    First time.
    Pretty horrible indeed. Dunno what SPG is thinking!
    And yet the rate last night was $400…just crazy.

    @hunch:
    10K for short-haul under 700 miles.

    @MMark:
    The first 5 rejections didn’t take much holding. Even when I asked for a supervisor most of the time they denied me.

    The last one took a while on hold, but that was fine as he hooked me up :D Plus that’s what speakerphone was made for.

    For the record the AAdvantage phone number was more helpful than the EXP line.

    ReplyReply
  31. Davidd Says:
    31

    Dan,
    10k United miles to save $500 How do you figure?

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @Davidd:
    He paid $500 for a one-way LGA-CLE.
    If he had 10K United miles/Chase points he could’ve used those instead.

    ReplyReply
  33. Davidd Says:
    33

    would united have @Dan: would united be REQUIRED to accept points instead of cash if he is trying to fly out that same day?

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    @Davidd:
    Of course not.
    They just have great availability, it was open for every flight.

    ReplyReply
  35. chilzech Says:
    35

    I had the same exact story, except I couldn’t get a flight w/o being bounced back and forth between BA and AA a few times. Yes I got mileage for the flight, plus 2 free bags each passenger with my united club card!!

    ReplyReply
  36. Anonymous Says:
    36

    @yk: @yk:
    Get a chairmans

    ReplyReply
  37. needmax Says:
    37

    Way to go max 500.00 !!

    ReplyReply
  38. yk Says:
    38

    @anonymous huh?

    ReplyReply
  39. Jay Says:
    39

    Dan-
    I love what you do, but have only two questions:
    1. Do you have a real job (can’t figure out how you have the time to do all you do and find time for a job at the same time!)
    2. Could you please print somewhere the explanation for your Rashei Tavot? It would sure help some of us disadvantaged ones.
    TY

    ReplyReply
  40. Ephie Says:
    40

    Can someone explain to me how all these guys are buying up miles and still making money . What is that business all about? And where can I learn to make like that? thank you for any info.

    ReplyReply
  41. mmermss Says:
    41

    @Jay
    1. Theres this really cool site that Dan runs…its called dansdeals.com….you should definitely check it out!
    2.http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=10531.0
    Whats TY?? :-P

    ReplyReply
  42. Jag Says:
    42

    @Dan I’ve looked for flights NYC to CLE and they always come up as 12.5k, what am I doing wrong? ;-)

    ReplyReply
  43. jj1000 Says:
    43

    @Jay: 1. Rude much?
    2. http://wiki.dansdeals.com/Acronyms

    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=10531.0

    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=13317.msg163429#msg163429

    ReplyReply
  44. Jay Says:
    44

    @jj1000:
    Sorry if you took it as “rude”—it was said out of amazement.

    ReplyReply
  45. zz Says:
    45

    is this pizza place appropriate for an afternoon date?

    ReplyReply

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