SMD5 Take two... Master Thread

Discussion in 'SMD5 (Star MegaDO #5)' started by tommy777, Jul 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
    Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

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    PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS. THANK YOU!

    SMD5 -- North of the border to the desert to the sea

    The big 5 is here! Yes, it has been 5 years since I came up with this very very bad idea and with YOUR support, it has turned out to being the highlight of the year for many in the miles & points community. Past highlights:

    The FIRST group in the world to go inside the 787
    The FIRST group to charter the first north American 787
    The ONLY place you can powwow with the likes of Jeff Smisek, Doug Parker, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Hoyt Harper, Jaan Albrecht, Mark Schwab and many many many more executives.
    The 737-900ER returns as our charter again this year

    Yes, it is the ultimate travel junkie fieldtrip!

    What? North of the border to the desert to the sea

    When? October 22nd-25th

    International portion? No, not this year as we’re doing the MD80 MegaDO in Scandinavia just a month before SMD5

    Partners:

    Air Canada
    Marriott
    Rimowa
    Star Alliance
    United


    Sponsors:

    Milepoint
    Pointshound.com
    The Points Guy
    Million Mile Secrets

    AwardWallet.com

    Highlights

    The return of the 737-900ER from SMD3
    New hotel partner, Marriott, all participants will receive their top tier Platinum through 2/2015
    Longest MegaDO flight ever, over 1800 miles
    Miles awarded on both Air Canada and United
    AMARC inside tour. That’s right we’re going here:

    [​IMG]

    And not only that, we’re going to hang out with the guys who fly the A10s ;)

    A once in a lifetime opportunity for sure...


    The program

    Tuesday October 22nd arrival Toronto, no program (optional, you can of course some in in Wednesday)

    Registration open from 6-7PM at the host hotel (Ritz Carlton Toronto or Toronto Marriott Downtown)

    Wednesday October 23rd

    Breakfast at the host hotel, registration opens at 8AM

    0930 Buses to Rimowa's factory. Tours and BBQ

    1100 Buses from the airport to Rimowa's factory for people arriving Wednesday morning.

    Make a suitcase and have a super hands on experience at the Rimowa factory!
    [​IMG]

    Return back to the hotel at 4PM

    Welcome reception at the Ritz Carlton Toronto hosted by Marriott

    Thursday October 24th

    Breakfast

    A Day with Air Canada.

    0930 Buses to various destinations for a day with Air Canada. Return to the hotel at 4-5PM

    [​IMG]

    630 PMReception hosted at the Marriott Eaton Center by Air Canada

    Friday October 25th

    0730 Buses to YYZ, charter departs at 0930. Arrival TUS at 1115AM. Buses to the AF base, return to TUS at 230, departure at 3PM, Arrival at SFO at 530PM

    In Tucson, there will be one program for non US citizens and one for US citizens.

    It will NOT be the standard tours for neither!!

    For US citizens, you will have boots on the ground, you´ll get access to the adjacent base and meet the A10 crew.

    For none US citizens, we´ll have an alternate tour lead by me of course (who´s a non US citizen) which includes a non public tour at AMARC, Pima Air Museum and a boots on the ground visit to Ascent at Tucson airport.

    Flight continues to San Francisco after 4 hours on the ground in Tucson

    Hangar party hosted by United Airlines from 6-830PM, buses to designated hotel downtown San Francisco.

    [​IMG]

    Event ends Friday night.


    The charter: This year it will be operated on a United 737-900ER

    [​IMG]

    http://seatexpert.com/seatmap/669/United_Airlines_Boeing_737-900_Version_1/

    Prices

    All prices includes two flights YYZ-TUC-SFO all transfers, meals, receptions, give aways, miles, points and Platinum with Marriott

    Coach: 999USD (new, lower price)
    Economy Plus: 1299 (new offering, 12 seats available)
    Tommy Class: (middle seat blocked) 1799 (was sold out, but equipment change opens up 4 seats)

    Tommy Class Emergency Exit (middle seat blocked) 1999 (was sold out, but equipment change opens two seats)

    First Class: 2799 (First Class is sold out)

    Prices which include:

    7 hours on our own MegaDO charter, two flights
    Upgraded catering and free on board service, everything included onboard
    Bus transportation at all locations per the program
    All meals, including 3 evening dinner receptions
    Hotel and Airline points with a campaign attached.
    A boatload of swag


    Miles miles miles… and hotel points..

    Miles will be awarded on both Air Canada and United, you have to pick where you want them ;)

    Coach: 5000 PQM/RDM/Lifetime + applicable tier bonus
    Tommy Class and Economy Plus: 7500 PQM/RDM/Lifetime + applicable tier bonus
    First Class: 15.000 PQM/RDM/Lifetime + applicable tier bonus

    Marriott
    Everyone participating will get Marriott Platinum status awarded valid to 2/2015!

    Marriott will have an awesome campaign that will launch August 15th and go on for 60 days. When I say awesome, I mean the best MegaDO hotel campaign EVER. (I´ll probably "stay" at a Marriott Rewards property for the next 2 months ;))

    There will aslo be a very generous offer for your stays at the various properties we´re visiting.

    MARRIOTT: In addition to existing offers already public for members, Marriott Rewards will offer a 5,000 point bonus for every 2nd stay to anyone participating in SMD5 between August 15th and October 15th 2013. This is unlimited based upon your Marriott stays during the promotional period.
    AND the following promotional contests
    oGrand Prize: 7 Nights @ any participating Marriott Rewards hotel in the world, Platinum Premier status w/ Marriott Rewards and Platinum status with United MileagePlus. The Grand Prize will be awarded to the member that spends the most eligible revenue at participating Marriott Hotels worldwide between Aug 15th and Oct 15th.
    oMonthly Prize: Aug 15th to Sept 15th, Three free nights to the member that stays at the most number of unique Marriott Rewards brands.
    oMonthly Prize: Sept 15th to Oct 15th, Three free nights to the member that stays in the most number of unique Marriott Rewards hotels.


    Rimowa
    A special one of a kind Rimowa carry on will be available for the participants to purchase. You will receive your suitcase before the event.


    Hotel and hotel costs. BOOKING LINKS!

    Toronto Marriott ($216 per night)

    http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trav...omDate=10/22/13&toDate=10/25/13&stop_mobi=yes

    Toronto Ritz-Carlton ($310 per night)

    https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Toronto/Reservations/Default.htm and enter group code: SMDSMDA

    SFO Marriott ($139 per night, rate good until Oct 31)

    https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_ei_new&eventID=10722696


    Instructions to the folks who´ve already purchased tickets.

    If you´ve purchased a coach ticket at the old price, you will receive a refund for the difference automatically within the next few weeks.

    All other ticket holders will just be transfered over and we´re trying to keep the exact same seats or comparable seats. You will receive an email with your new seat assignment.

    If you want to upgrade, please contact Melinda at ftef dot net and she´ll get you squared away on a first come first served basis.

    So there you have it, folks. I hope the hard work to make the event more attractive is appreciated.
     
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  2. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Folks,

    Let me introduce the three new members of the MegaDO volunteer staff.

    They will be serving on a new advisory board in addition to helping out.

    Rehoult, Pat+ and Horse

    These fine folks will be helping out answering questions in the threads.

    So if you hear it from them, it´s official ;)

    Thanks for stepping up!
     
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  3. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Wait a minute
     
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  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Cheers!
     
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  5. JetAway

    JetAway Silver Member

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    Excellent! Hard to see how it could be any better. Thanks to the Organizers for all their hard work.
     
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  6. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Although I managed to snag executive class, wait, I mean business first now... I'm glad they managed to work out a lower price for economy and hope this helps many decide to pull the trigger. Also looking forward to my first Ritz Carlton stay, just don't think I will be able to live in one for 3 months Tommy :D
     
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  7. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I'm weakening since you're in my home town and I'm only a couple of blocks away from the two Marriott venues. The alternative Tucson program is really the deal maker/breaker for me as a "foreigner" -- even though I have PreCheck on my boarding passes now you'd think I could get onto a US military base! It would be 5/5 or 6/6 since I'll be doing the ScanDo2 too.
     
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  8. JetAway

    JetAway Silver Member

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    I don't understand why Canadians are considered "foreigners" by the US military considering how many work at the Pentagon and even on US bases. Heck, even the airlines consider them "domestic." Be that as it may, it looks like the "foreigner" tour is a step above the usual tourist drive-by and has some nice features of its own. So don't let that be a "deal-breaker." This will be a great and unique mega-do.
     
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  9. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    Enough can't be said about the USAF, and in particular the base commander, and their willingness to accommodate our trip. But while there really isn't much 'secret' going on there (and even if there was, Joe Citizen wouldn't be allowed to see it either), the no-foreigner rule isn't one they can bend for us. While obviously there are exceptions (as you noted), the Canadians that work in the US military have gone through a level of background checks that isn't plausible to complete on every foreign SMD participant.

    For what its worth, I'm also a dirty foreigner, and I'm very excited about the alternate event that we've got planned.
     
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  10. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Being a Hilton fan boy, I can't be the only person curious if Marriott Platinum was recognized at Ritz Carlton given they have their own program. For those that were curious like me, this will save you the google search on reciprocal benefits. If I'm going to cheat on Hilton, I have slightly more interest in seeing Ritz Carlton than Marriott properties.

    Retrieved from: http://www.marriott.com/Multimedia/PDF/us/rewards/mr_Ritz_FAQ.pdf
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Allsystemsgo

    Allsystemsgo Silver Member

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    Practically speaking, Platinum benefits at RC are more limited than at FS Marriotts. 1000 pts for platinum amenity as opposed to 500 at FS. No lounge access. Free internet. Limited upgrade opportunities usually to best available room in category booked. Not to say that some properties go above and beyond.
     
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  12. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have just signed up after reconsidering following the program changes. I am excited, especially about the non-US citizen tour. I'm hoping Tommy will allow me go be a non-US citizen for the tour. After all one of my passports is non-US so I am truthfully a non-US citizen in the eyes of Brazil, anyway, an Tommy, I hope.

    This will be my first Mega-DO so I'm twice as excited shout it.
    Now if only my upgrade clears.
     
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  13. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I have RC Gold status converted from Marriott and it's exactly the same recognition anywhere, it really is the same status and you're a part of both programs. Marriott generally don't upgrade to suites, neither does RC, but you do get club access with Plat at Marriotts, but not at RCs
     
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  14. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I've got second to the top security clearance with the Canadian government (could read cabinet documents and attend meetings, but not high enough to work in the PMO), had no problem getting clearance from the British Navy to spend a week on one of their destroyers and live at the Portsmouth naval station, but I suppose I can't achieve the level of trust with the US government that was cavalierly given out to Mr. Snowdon. So it goes. But for that matter, it was even more ludicrous at the SMD3 when they wouldn't let us onto the DEN tour which is a civilian airport! Better not tell the USAF that the head honcho at NORAD is a Canadian general as was the man in charge of the Libyan air missions.

    (This is not a pitch for reconsideration, just amplifying the stupidity of the USAF.)
     
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  15. JoeCortez

    JoeCortez Silver Member

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    Very swish. Excellent work Tommy and advisory board - thank you for your hard work and keen eye to detail!

    So for those of us who purchased the original trip at $1199 each...will we be given the chance to either upgrade or downgrade? If so, when will that be taken care of?
     
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  16. JetAway

    JetAway Silver Member

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    Bottom of Tommy's initial post lays out the financial/upgrade details. For upgrades, contact Melinda at the address in Tommy's post.
     
  17. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    Organizers will not be contacting each individual to ask their plans. If you are happy in economy, you don't have to do anything, and we will issue a refund for the decrease in price. If you would like to upgrade, you should contact Melinda (Melinda at ftef dot net) with your request. Please note that we don't have much available above economy class, so it may not be possible to get you the upgrade you desire.
     
  18. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Both Marriott Gold and Platinum get club access (50 and 75 night levels). Marriott does upgrade Platinums to suites in Asia and South Pacific based on availability. Have been upgraded to suite at Sydney Harbour Marriott for example. I have sometimes received suites else where - Chicago San Francisco etc

    Question:

    Top of thread says two hotel choices - RC or Downtown Marriott. Later the thread says RC and another hotel for 140CAD$. Is the $140 CAD hotel the Downtown Marriott or the Courtyard??? Great deal if the Downtown Marriott is 140.

    In either case - if you want to go and party - Marriott Downtown or Courtyard would be the preferrred location (over RC - my view - but great price for RC).
     
  19. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    I assume the refund includes the extra $50 if one paid the higher amount when first offered?
    For regular attendees if paid $1249 - $50 - $200 or $250 refund - net cost $999
    For regular attendees - if paid $1199, then $200 refund - net cost $999
    For Gold/Plat Megado members ($2K/$500 membership) - $1199 - $50 - $200 or $250 refund (net cost $949)

    Correct?
     
  20. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    error (typing from gogo)
     
  21. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    But in general, they don't. Just trying to manage expectations.

    Question:

    Top of thread says two hotel choices - RC or Downtown Marriott. Later the thread says RC and another hotel for 140CAD$. Is the $140 CAD hotel the Downtown Marriott or the Courtyard???

    In either case - if you want to go and party - Marriott Downtown or Courtyard would be the preferrred location.[/quote]


    Option #2 in Toronto has not been confirmed, only where the reception will be.
     
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  22. tommy777
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    Everyone will pay 999, if you're a premium member, there's a small discount
     
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  23. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I don't really understand the pricing model for TC.

    I thought TC was supposed to be 50% more than coach so that the 2 people in TC seats paid for the empty middle?

    -David
     
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  24. theflyingnun

    theflyingnun Silver Member

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    For what it's worth, I have been a Marriott plat for several years, and I have found that if you enquire politely about a possible suite upgrade, you will get it. I love their program.
     
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  25. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    Historically, yes. But TC seats are located in E+, so it would be $3900 / 2 not $3000 / 2. It's actually slightly discounted at $1799 (should be $1950), but by the time you take into account the weight/food/booze savings it's in the ballpark.
     
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