What’s the strangest way you have redeemed your points?

July 24, 2015 - 4 Responses

First off, some news on the Road Warriorette homefront….the Warrior Twins have arrived!  They were each a little Warrior Twinsunder seven and a half pounds (which makes me feel justified in all of my complaining in June—that’s 15 pounds of baby!). They are super sweet and love to snuggle with us and each other. :)

With two newborns and an almost three year old, there are a lot of things we just never have enough time for these days.  One of those things is laundry.  No matter how hard the Home Warrior and I try to keep up with dirty laundry the loads just keep piling up.  Before the twins arrived we had a washer and dryer that dated back to around 2007.  The washer required you to slam the lid at the beginning of a wash to get through the cycle without locking up, and our lovely dryer required a wrench to start because knobs would no longer turn the dial.  The Home Warrior had these startup techniques down to a science, but I never could slam the lid hard enough, and could never find that sweet spot on the wrench turn of the dial so that the dryer would run a full cycle.  Oh the joys of life on a budget!   Read more of this article »

Posts from the past

April 29, 2015 - Leave a Response

What was going on this time in years past?Post from Past pic

2014

2013

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Road Warriorette Weekend Express

March 14, 2015 - Leave a Response

Hey readers! Got a question or something you want to discuss this weekend?  Here’s the perfect opportunity!  Whether you want to share an Weekend Express picinteresting travel story, a packing tip, an etiquette tip, or anything else going on in the business travel world, comment here and we’ll have a discussion.

Travel tip of the week:

  • Plan your meals to save money on trips.  If you don’t have a plan for your meals before your next trip you’ll most likely end up eating badly and spending more money than necessary.  If I’m traveling somewhere unfamiliar I’ll first look to see if any of the restaurants around my hotel are in my rewards card dining portal program.  If so I’ll check Yelp or Urban Spoon for reviews to make sure it’s a good restaurant.  Next I go to the restaurant’s website to see if they have any coupons or special offers.  Sometimes the front desk will have coupons for restaurants surrounding the hotel so be sure to ask them at check-in.   Finally, I check out the restaurant’s happy hour times.  Sometimes you can find things half off during happy hour and save a bundle.  Another way to save money is to go to a grocery store to buy food, especially if you have a fridge in your room.  Not only is this a healthier option in most cases, it can be a big money saver as well.  Speaking of healthy eating—be sure to check out my post on eating well during business travel if you haven’t already.  Many hotels offer a free breakfast, but I’ve stayed at plenty of places that go beyond that. Embassy Suites offers free happy hour and Homewood Suites has hot meals most nights. The food isn’t always great, but if you’re really trying to save money it’s a good option to consider.

Week in review: Read more of this article »

Rapidly declining Rewards

March 12, 2015 - Leave a Response

Remember the good old reward programs days? When airlines at least appeared to value their customers and the 3-12-15-1time they spent with them?

In the last year and a half or so, it seems like it’s been a race to the bottom for airline loyalty programs. First Southwest makes a change to their Rapid Rewards program requiring more points for their ‘Wanna Get Away’ tickets.  Then United changes its frequent-flier award program to require more miles on certain flights followed by Delta who announced the same a week later.  Then Delta ups the ante by changing their SkyMiles program from an award based on miles flown to an award based on ticket price.  Soon after American gets in on the action and increases the number of points necessary for certain award tickets.   Then United changes their MileagePlus program to reflect a revenue-based reward program similar to Delta.  Recently American makes a move closer towards the revenue-based rewards pot by offering bonus miles to customers that purchase eligible First or Business Class tickets based on class and fare type during 2015.  And now Southwest (providing about two months notice) has said that starting on April 17th the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and other factors.  It’s hard to keep up!

What does this all mean?  Read more of this article »

Which credit card should I get?

October 29, 2012 - 8 Responses

Now that I’m about to go back to work (and start traveling again) my mind has returned to maximizing my points and miles. Since I haven’t been able to travel for the last several months I have lots of ground to make up!

The first step for us is a new credit card. We have had the Citi Aadvantage card for six years. Overall we’ve been pretty happy with it, but due to American Airline’s continuing issues we think it’s a good idea to change to a non AA focused card. We’re considering three cards right now, and I am very interested in your input.

Amex Platinum. The benefits? Numerous. Access to lounges, $200 credit for incidental airline fees, membership in global entry, and 25,000 in points with $2000 spend in the first two months (among others). The cons are the hefty annual fee of $450, they’re not accepted everywhere, and the fact that you have to pay your bill in full every month. (We pay our bill in full every month, but it’s nice to know that you don’t have to if something crazy happens.)

Chase Sapphire Preferred. The benefits for this card are the double points on travel and dining, 40,000 points with a $3,000 spend in the first three months, it’s a Visa so it’s accepted virtually everywhere, and there is no annual fee the first year. The cons are the $95 annual fee after the first year (right now we pay $75), the high interest rate, and, well, it’s not the Amex Platinum so there’s no lounge access.

Chase Southwest Premier. This is the only airline-specific card we are considering. The benefits are the 25,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first three months, tier qualifying points, an anniversary bonus, and it’s a Visa so it’s accepted everywhere. The cons are the high APR (15.24% right now) and the $99 annual fee.

So, Readers, which card do you think is best? Do you think we should keep our Citi Aadvantage card around? Or are there other cards we should consider?

And speaking of travel rewards, don’t forget to enter our current contest! You could win two free nights from Country Inns & Suites!

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Travel Perks I Love

April 19, 2012 - 3 Responses

I love perks. Of course, who doesn’t? I collect them as much as possible—from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and anyone else who will pass them out. Not only are they a nice little reward for all the time and money I spend on their services, they make travel that much nicer. Since I travel so much, I am constantly striving to make every trip as easy and streamlined as possible, and am always on the lookout for perks to make that happen. Here are a few of my favorites.

Executive lounges in hotels. I have enjoyed the lounges on executive floors in Hilton and Marriott hotels, and think they are well worth the higher room cost. I usually make the extra cost back by enjoying the breakfast offerings. It is also very nice to have a hotel employee nearby, dedicated to helping business travelers. My best experience with a hotel lounge was the Edsa Shangri-La Garden Wing in Manila. Not only was there a fantastic breakfast and happy hour spread, guests in the Garden Wing had expedited check in and check out, a back door entrance, and fast and easy money exchange. I will always, always stay there when traveling to Manila in the future. (I’ve also noticed on Executive floors the toiletries are often upgraded, which I love.)

Priority security line at airports. Going through the priority security line by having a first class ticket or having elite status with an airline loyalty program is the biggest time saver. I have seen airports (I’m thinking specifically of Chicago Midway, although this has happened all over the place) where the  normal security line is backed up all the way to the entrance, and there are fewer than five people in the priority line. If I ever lost status this is the perk I would miss the most, even over boarding first.

First class upgrades. The other great thing about elite status with an airline is getting upgraded to first class on a regular basis. The extra room alone makes it wonderful, but of course the extra attention and free drinks don’t hurt!

No check in when renting cars. Many car rental companies don’t make their frequent renters check in, therefore avoiding long lines. This is a huge time saver, allowing me to simply walk from the airport gate to my car, and go.

Points. Of course, points. Who would pass up free stays in hotels, free flights, and free car rentals? I make sure I am registered for the loyalty program for all airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies I use. I also keep an eye out for double points or other promotions, to make sure I maximize my points.

Readers, what perks make travel easier for you? What are your favorite travel perks?