Joann and I rushed over to the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver since we had a NEXUS interview soon. It was a short walk further into the center of Vancouver. While the main street of Robson reminded me of Times Square and Fifth Ave with all its shops, Shangri-La’s West Georgia St. really reminded me of the business district in Manhattan.
After a good night’s sleep, we woke up [late] and meandered around Richmond, where Joann’s cousins live, and then headed in Vancouver to our next destination, the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. It’s located inside One Wall Centre, a pretty amazing building in the center of Vancouver. As per Wikipedia:
One Wall Centre is 48 storeys tall with a total height of 491 feet (150 m). The first 27 floors of the building are the 4 Diamond Sheraton Hotel. Floors 28, 29, and 30 are the Club Intrawest Resort floors; which are operated independent of Sheraton. The remaining 17 floors are residential condominiums. The One Wall Centre tower part of the Wall Centre complex owned by Wall Financial Corporation and was largely the vision of Peter Wall.
This flight marked Joann’s and my first time traveling in international Business Class. Needless to say, I was super excited. We arrived at JFK’s Terminal 7 a little over 2 hours before our flight (thanks Ern!) and got a bit lost trying to find Cathay Pacific Business Class check-in counter. Hint: It’s to the left and around the corner once you enter the terminal.
We were promptly checked in and given our lounge invitations. Cathay Pacific uses British Airways’ lounges at JFK. The British Airways Terraces (Business) Lounge is pretty nice. It’s got a large footprint and had ample seating. It also has a nice, calming fountain right in the middle of it. There is a nice spread of the standard fruit, cheese, and crackers. There was also an espresso machine along with, my favorite, a self-serve full bar. Joann and I found some comfy seats in the quieter section and proceeded to hit up the bar for some beer, white wine, and I finished with a Jameson on the rocks. Once 10:00 rolled around, we packed up and headed toward the gate. That was a great way to relax before our flight.
Ever since our visit to Vancouver en route to a Whistler snowboarding trip, Joann and I have wanted to go back to enjoy the city for a few more days. Things fell into place when she scheduled a long weekend off – she’s a nurse and works odd schedules. Along with her free weekend, the other driving factors were visiting family, fulfilling the Hotels.com promotion, and completing our NEXUS interviews.
NEXUS approval comes with Global Entry which is a great perk to have while traveling. See The Points Guy’s review on Global Entry. The TSA is also piloting a new Trusted Traveler program to Global Entry and NEXUS users that will allow these users to use expedited security lines. Expedited security lines??? Sign me up! Anyway, let’s plan this trip…
There aren’t many nonstop options to Vancouver. My first thought is always Continental or Star Alliance because I have the most miles with them and they are Newark-based. Air Canada, a Star Alliance member, is 1 of only 2 nonstop flights from the NYC area to Vancouver (YVR). Unfortunately, that flight had no availability for our strict dates.
Plan B was Cathay Pacific. We have flown their nonstop JFK-YVR service and enjoy the airline very much, at least in Economy class. Also, Joann and I have hoarded a lot of British Airways miles (over 300k) so we might as well use them! Remember, there’s no prize for who has the largest mileage account! BA miles are best used, in my opinion, for their oneworld partners. BA’s most luxurious partner is probably Cathay and any time you can fly in their premium cabin, I’d call that a great day. Take a look at this series of screenshots for a quick and dirty way to book a partner award flight on BA’s site.