First Time in New York – Intro and Planning

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Intro and Planning
Sights of New York City
Eats of New York City 
JFK-LAX on American Airlines A321 Business Class Review

I recently spent 3 days in Toronto with family and 5 nights in New York for fun.  It was our first time in New York and didn’t know what to expect. I honestly did not expect much from New York because I heard it was going to be very crowded, smelly, and very humid in July.  However, New York definitely exceeded our expectations and we had great weather during the few days we were there.  I’ll talk about how we got there, where we stayed, the sights, and food.  This will be a mini 3 part trip report.

The Big Apple

The Big Apple

How We Got There

We got to New York on the no longer existing free one-way trick on American Airlines where you can add on a free one-way leg after stopping at an international gateway.  This is my last trip taking advantage of the free one way trick, and I am sad to see it go away.  We were in Bora Bora in April, so we added on Toronto afterwards in economy since PPT-LAX was in economy (PPT-LAX-YYZ).  For our trip in the future, we added on JFK-LAX in business class to our LAX-??? (secret for now).  Therefore, we got the LAX-YYZ and JFK-LAX portions completely for free without paying additional miles.  Originally, we had a flight from LGA-CMH-LAX, but I was able to switch to JFK-LAX a few days before to experience the new lie-flat business class seats (amazing).  Keep in mind that a change in routing with AA, upgrade in class, or date changes are free with the AAdvantage program, which is why I think AA is the best frequent flier program.

We booked a short Avios flight from YYZ-LGA to get in between Toronto and New York.  It was quite an adventure getting from YYZ-LGA in a middle of a thunderstorm.  In short, our AA flight got cancelled and we were transferred to WestJet that was delayed for a few hours, but finally got on safely with no further problems.  Makes me thankful that we don’t have these kind of weather problems in southern California.  I will review the JFK-LAX business class flight on the new A321 in another post.

Where We Stayed

We stayed 3 nights at the Wyndham New Yorker on 14,000 points per night when it was a price mistake.  I think I had bought 16,000 Wyndham points for about $55 a while ago, so it was a steal staying there.  The Wyndham New Yorker is quite close to Times Square and in a touristy district.  It was conveniently located next to the Penn Station metro.  There isn’t much to say about the hotel.  The rooms were quite clean, small, and had a Nespresso machine.  The hotel itself is going under renovations and was quite busy the whole time we were there.

We stayed another 2 nights at the Radisson Martinique Broadway, which I thought was much more spacious and a bit more upscale than the Wyndham New Yorker.  I used 50,000 Club Carlson points to stay 2 nights with its buy one get one free on award nights.  I thought this was amazing value because the Club Carlson credit card earns 5X Club Carlson points on every purchase.  That means you only need to spend $5,000 to get 25,000 points, which is the one night cost of many high end Club Carlson properties.  With SPG, you would need to spend at least $12,000 for something comparable.  I’m sure the Club Carlson program is due for a devaluation in the near future.  Although the hotel was nothing special, I found the location even better because it was a bit less touristy, more quiet, and right above the Herald Square subway. I also liked it was next to NYC Koreatown, which is more like a long street of Korean restaurants and stores.  It was also next to a outdoor food market, Broadway Bites, which was pretty nice to walk around.  I’ll be sure to expand on the sights and eats in the next post, stay tuned!

Radisson Martinique Standard King Room

Radisson Martinique Standard King Room

View from the Room

View from the Room



I strongly recommend staying at the Radisson Martinique Hotel on Club Carlson points. Although the hotel is in no means amazing, it is in a great convenient location and does the job. In a city like New York, a great location and a clean room is almost all you need because New York City is not a place to sit and relax in your room.  Most of the time we were out exploring and seeing the sights.  I don’t recommend staying at the Wyndham New Yorker, unless you can get a dirt cheap rate.  I think the area is too busy and not as appealing looking.  I don’t think you need to be too caught up in getting an awesome hotel in New York.  I would rather save my hotel points to stay at a nice hotel in a more relaxing place such as Hawaii.  If it is your first time in New York, don’t spend too much time or points on the hotel because there is plenty to do in NYC.

12 comments for “First Time in New York – Intro and Planning

  1. August 4, 2014 at 5:21 am

    hi Rom,
    thank you for this post!
    I have booked HI this Nov. does this mean I can ask for an upgrade in class since I am an Executive AAdvantage member?
    If so when do I request for this?
    Thanks for your input!

    • August 4, 2014 at 5:48 am

      If you pay the difference in mileage. Sorry to make it clear, you would have to pay 25K aa miles because hawaii first costs 37.5K one way. They would not charge you a change fee. One useful example would be booking business class on Cathay pacific and first class opens up then you can pay 12.5K to upgrade without additional fees.

  2. Mari
    August 4, 2014 at 5:36 am

    I’m your follower 😉 I’m leaving to NYC for the week!! What to do and see?!?! Thank u Romin!

    • August 4, 2014 at 5:50 am

      Top of the rock, biking Central Park, Staten Island ferry to see Statue of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, Chelsea high line, time square, soho, chinatown, and more..

      • MDR
        August 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

        The Rockefeller Center tour is a good way to learn a bit of history of the city, as well as learn about the art and architecture of the Rockefeller Center buildings. It’s a ~2hr walking tour of the premises. They give you a closed-circuit headset so that you can hear the guide as you are walking around outside amongst everyone else. I believe you can buy a combination package that includes both the tour and the Top of the Rock observation deck.

  3. Hilde H
    August 4, 2014 at 6:38 am

    club Carlson buy 1 night get 1 night free. Do you have to have enough points to cover two nights and then get a refund? or can you book two nights with points for one?

  4. Shawn
    August 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Are us going to post about Toronto? Heading there next week. Staying Hyatt Regency. Would love some suggestions!

    • August 7, 2014 at 5:51 am

      I stayed with family. Check out the farmers markets and Kensington street. I don’t have much to say about canada but I’ll post something maybe

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