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California was another destination on my "must visit list". I had a week in September 2005 to kill, so I decided to make a visit. With only a week and California being a rather large place, I decided to restrict myself to the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. I'm well aware that this is only one small part of the state and that California has many outstanding areas of natural beauty, but I can always come back and see those when I have more time.

Planning - Flights

I initially intended to fly in to San Francisco, but I soon discovered some availability for a Club World flight to Los Angeles (upgraded with miles from a purchased World Traveller Plus ticket). This being an 11 hour flight, I decided that I couldn't really resist such luxury and value! I decided also to fly between LAX and SFO, rather than drive - a difficult decision, but in the end I'm happy that if I want to hire a car for a couple of days in SFO and do some day trips then I can do that more easily. After dabbling with the possibility of flying AA First class, I plumped instead for an economy class flight with United, which, with my Star Alliance Gold card meant I would get an Economy Plus seat and get closer (slightly) to retaining my status on bmi.

Planning - Accommodation

Having shelled out for Intercontinental Ambassador status within the Priority Club programme, it was obvious where I would try and stay in San Francisco - the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental. And luckily there were some good rates available on the IC Hotels website. For my couple of days in Los Angeles I decided to take advantage of some good rates at the Crowne Plaza in Beverly Hills, also a PC hotel.