New Seoul and Hanoi hotels, book Swiss First Class, no more cheap JAL awards on Emirates, 50% Avios award sale, Air France Joon’ adds more routes, Norwegian to add Singapore hub?

– my favorite neighborhood in Seoul is Hongdae and it’s finally getting a new chain hotel – look out for the Holiday Inn Express Seoul Hongdae

Hanoi is loosing its backpacker charm with yet another upscale hotel addition (after the new Intercontinental Hanoi) with the Four Seasons Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake

– if you are looking at awards to Europe and beyond using Aeroplan (or transfer from American Express) look at the pretty staggering Swiss First Class availability suddenly

– I never found reason to book Emirates First through JAL but suddenly the airline is adding huge fuel surcharges to these awards – avoid!

– British Airways Executive Club has a 50% off sale for awards on British Airways flights using Avios

It look tempting at first but the huge fuel surcharges make this a non-starter – some airports are just excluded downright.

Reward flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available at all on some routes including Sydney, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Grenada.

However awards FROM Hong Kong should have minimal fuel surcharges – unfortunately the BA engine could not price it when I tried.

– Air France’s Joon which is competing against LEVEL and Norwegian competitor is adding more routes

On Nov. 30, Joon further-detailed its network plans, announcing Cairo (7X-weekly), Cape Town (3X-weekly) and Tehran (3X-weekly), plus additional short-haul services to Istanbul in Turkey (7X-weekly), Naples (14X-weekly) and Rome (49X-weekly) in Italy and Oslo in Norway (18X-weekly).

I would have never guessed Iran!

Norwegian is fancying a hub in Singapore to compete on routes from the city state – alas does it have enough cash for such far flung adventures?