Greetings from from the beautiful LAX Hilton with its spectacular views of parking lots and planes.
Okay excuse the snarky introduction it is a nice hotel, especially because I'm simply here to play chess. This morning I commence play in the two day schedule of the Lina Grumette Memorial Classic this morning. This is my third time playing in the event. Hopefully I'll avoid encounters was annoying kids, unrated ringer fathers of a grandmaster, and manage to get to my round on time. Though playing the two day schedule doesn't really give one much time to wander too far from the hotel. If I'm lucky I might make it over to Carl's Jr. for a sandwich.
True confession: I'm a airline miles junkie. I'm a sucker for elite status in American Airlines frequent flier program. The airlines suck you in once you get it one time. The benefits are so nice you want to keep it up year after year. I get free luggage check, priority check in, good seat choices, upgrades, etc. I'm a sucker for this stuff, but sometimes I have to get really creative to come up with trips that max my miles. Going to Nashville via Chicago in April did that for me. But also the ticket was a third the price doing it that way.
Once a year American has a promotion where one can get double elite status miles if they fly during certain periods. I did this trip last year on that promotion, so figured I'd do it again. Since I don't have the benefit of winning a free trip to Spain on one of American's partners like last year I figured I'd better book a couple of trips using this promotion. That's why in two weeks you'll be getting updates from Las Vegas for the National Open.
I did this trip on the cheap. I flew Saturday instead of Friday. That saves a hotel night, and the flight is cheaper by not flying on Friday of a major holiday weekend. I took the later flight which also saves money. I take a red eye out Monday night. That saves another hotel night. I may regret all of this by Tuesday.
It was a big gamble taking a 6:45 pm flight out here. My normal rule of travel is to leave as early as possible. I would be up the proverbial creek if my flight got screwed up. Getting stranded at Newark Airport would have really sucked. Fortunately the flight left right on time, and we actually got into LA early! How often does that happen? I also got an upgrade so had very comfortable flight and got wined and dined for 5 hours. Woo hoo! Maybe these things are good signs for the weekend. Or perhaps I've used up all my good fortune at the airport.
Stay tuned for updates after my rounds today. Time to go play some chess.