Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spend $100, Get $100 with the NYRA

I love no brainer promotions! As long as Christine and I each bet $100 this weekend at the Gotham Stakes, we'll get a $100 account credit from the New York Racing Association which we can use at the Wood Memorial or the Belmont. Of course we're both going to take advantage of this.

Come to the Gotham at the Aqueduct this weekend everyone!

It is the 3rd of the Fifty pointers on the Road to the Derby.

Who to root for???

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
1 In Trouble J. Rocco, Jr. A. Dutrow
2 Financial Mogul S. Bridgmohan R. Violette
3 Uncle Sigh C. Nakatani G. Contessa
4 Noble Cornerstone K. Desormeaux W. Ward
5 Monopolize C. DeCarlo T. Pletcher
6 Deceived R. Maragh L. Gyarmati
7 Classic Giacnroll M. Franco L. Guerrero
8 Samraat J. Ortiz R. Violette
9 Extrasexyhippzster J. Pimentel M. Trombetta
10 Master Lightning C. Velasquez T. Pletcher
11 Harpoon I. Ortiz T. Pletcher

Okay so Samraat is probably going to be who I cheer for, but we'll see. People also think Old Sigh will do well. I think I'm going to give Samraat 5$ in the Derby future pool before the race starts, and maybe also 5$ on Havana who will be running in the Swale Stakes in Florida that day instead.

Here is how people were thinking at the end of future pool #2 

Here are the points so far:

And remember, if you want to go to the Derby, you can always grab an AA flight to Cincinnati for 4500 BA miles!

PS If you'd rather bet with TVG, they offer a bonus also.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LifeMiles Card Bonus

I just read over at View From the Wing that Lifemiles signup bonus from US Bank is up to 40,000 miles. This is rather valuable, as Lifemiles are worth almost 2 cents a piece. Here is their award chart. This is the application landing page. They also have a secured card for those with bad credit, probably the best secured card around. The Aeromexico might be better since you get double miles on gas and groceries. Lifemiles also sells miles for 1.5 cents, so it is a great program for top offs. For example, a 60k award could cost the sign up bonus plus $300.

One of the coolest things about Lifemiles is you can use it for hidden city ticketing to get to Japan. Basically what you do is book a one way award flight to Guam, which counts as domestic, but connect through Japan and miss the last flight. This is pretty awesome. Scott from milevalue always has the coolest ideas on redemption.

One should keep in mind that US Bank can be difficult and may require some freezing of minor credit bureau reports. 

New Paltz Area, Hudson Valley, NY

On Sunday Christine and I drove up to New Paltz for a great country afternoon and dinner. We started out at Robibero Vineyards, which had some great wines. Unfortunately, their reds were rather expensive. However, the dry rose called New Yorkie and the Seyval were both really good and reasonably priced. It was really nice to meet both of the wine makers, who were working the tasting room that day.

Next we went on to Tuthilltown Spirits for a tour. We had an appointment, which is supposedly important. The tour was pretty interesting, but dragged on a tad at times with a bit of excess personal history. If they could aim for a 40 minutes tour instead of an hour, that would be better. They showed us the full process though, which was great to learn about. Luckily production wasn't running that day so we weren't on top of everything. After that we did a tasting, where you get three quarter ounce servings. I chose the half moon gin, the baby bourbon, and the four grain bourbon. The four grain bourbon is over forty bucks for a 375 ml, but it is quite good. It has corn flavor like a bourbon, but has some mellower and smoother notes you'll more often see in a Scotch. I didn't buy any though, as it seemed a tab overpriced and I have a bunch of whiskey. We did get the Half Moon Gin though. Christine also tasted an Apple "Vodka" which I thought should be called a Eu de Vie or a Brandy when I tasted it. I certainly recommend visiting this place. They also sell syrups, bitters, and some other random stuff.

Next we went to Whitecliff Winery. This place was great and we joined their club. The guy working there was really educated and their wines are served in some pretty nice restaurants in NYC, eg Gramercy Tavern.I also really liked their whites, and their reds were great if one likes a lighter bodied red. I recommend their club if you live nearby, you just buy 6 bottles twice a year and you get free tastings and a wine discount. They don't ship unless you ask them to. The guy at Whitecliff recommended a great BYOB restaurant in New Paltz called Main Course. We decided to go there and had a really good meal. The entrees were reasonably priced and we drank a bottle of wine we got at Robibero with no corkage fee.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Great offer from Lufthansa and the Economist

Lufthansa and the Economist are running a great special!

At one can buy 10k LH miles for 1.6 cents each ($160) and get an annual subscription to one of the best magazines, the Economist. I value my LH miles at 2 cents plus.

 I have the Lufthansa Barclay's card and just hit 60,000 miles (two RT bargain fairs to Europe, probably to Poland because of low YQ). I would definitely definitely do this if I were trying to go for 100k (many more options). I recently confirmed my Miles and More card counts Amex gift card purchases online as a regular awards earning purchase, so it might not be too hard.

I would probably prefer Italy to Poland so if I can get a flight from Warsaw to Italy on this I would do it, but I am saving my LH miles for 2015, so it is hard to tell what will be available. On the other hand, worst case scenario is I book a UA domestic one way and break about even if I have extra miles. 

Here are the Mileage Bargains. There are plenty of intra-Europe 10k bargains, so even if one has no current LH miles, you can score a round trip intra-Europe flight just by buying the Economist

If I hadn't bought so many magazines on cyber-monday in the AA rewards mall, this would be a complete no-brainer. However, Christine is certainly starting to think they are cluttering up the house.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Achieving the stackable Megabonus

About a month ago, I wrote about buy 2 get 2 at Marriott. This turned out to be an incredible success for Christine and I. Here is how we fulfilled it. On Valentine's Day / President's Day weekend, we traveled to Nova/DC for the Baptism of our godchild, Emrys. On Valentine's Day itself we checked into the Fairfield Inn in Chantilly, we paid around 70 bucks. This hotel was great! They gave us a suite upgrade on check in, they had great wifi, they had an indoor pool with a nice hot tub, they had free hot breakfast, and it is very convenient to anything you might do on Route 28 or in Fairfax City. The upgrade was with no status whatsoever, as you have to have a new Marriott Rewards account for the stay 2 get 2.There are about 5 Marriott properties with 150 yards of this place.

Next we had to check out and check into a different Marriott for the next bonus. We were hanging out around Herndon and Sterling on Saturday, so we chose the Courtyard on Herndon Parkway. This place was about the same price, but it sucks compared to the Fairfield. No pool, no free breakfast, not even free coffee. They have some rinky dink fake starbucks bistro thing in the lobby. Do not go here. The rooms were fine however.

The rewards posted right away!

Now for the planning phase.

Debating between two nights at the JW Marriott in Beijing or the Marriott City Wall or a brand new hotel! Here are the Category 4 hotels in Beijing:

or maybe this brand new category 4 in Shanghai or this one right in the middle of Shanghai's Tomorrow Square

 There are lots and lots and lots of Marriott properties in Nova, many of them for $50 - $60. Even if you have no reason to go to a hotel, this is a mattress run worthy deal. Remember, it is two stays, not two nights. Here is the link again

then you have to also register for the megabonus. 

I essentially got about $500 worth of hotel for $140 or so in spend.

Amex giving you $5 for 5 minutes of work

Amex giving you $5 for 5 minutes of work. Details over at Million Mile Secrets, but the meat of it is you go to and you enter your card number then you write a trip advisor review.

Orbitz promotion

Orbitz is currently running a promotion for the next few days. Save 15% with promo code: PACKUP! Valid 2/1/14 - 2/23/14. Looks like it ends February 23rd. One good strategy is to always use Orbitz through the Chase Rewards Mall to get an extra Chase UR point.
Btw, this is my first actual affiliate link from this blog, which is through the Flexoffers affiliate network.

Fun things to do along I-78 in PA

Christine, Ellie, and I went to Carlisle, PA and Whitetail the first weekend in February. Getting there is a tad under three hours, but Ellie and I decided to make a few stops along the way. The whole route is I-78 with a little bit of I-81 once you hit Harrisburg. Unfortunately for her, due to rampant speciesism in our society, she was not allowed into many places.

We had a good start on us, so the first stop was Pinnacle Ridge in Kutztown, PA. This place had some great wines. Tasting is free if you purchase any of them. I really liked the unoaked Chardonnay and the Chambourcin, two things that are generally good in the Mid-Atlantic. Prices were in the twelve to fourteen dollar range.

Shortly after that Ellie and I stopped at the Dietrich's Meat store. Here we got a bucket of smoked pig's feet for $5. We got some amazing samples of liverwurst and we bought some bacon horseradish cheese and a giant salami stick. This place is definitely worth pulling off the highway for, as it has great prices and all sorts of food goods from the Amish people nearby.

Last stop along the way was in Hamburg, PA. Right next to the giant Capela's is a giant Humidor / Cigar Store / Lounge / Bar called Cigars International.This place has rows and rows of cigars and the selection is kind of overwhelming. The employees were very helpful though and they had $2 wine specials at the bar. They also had $3 call drinks, including one of my favorites, Tullamore Dew on the rocks.

After pulling myself out of Cigars International, Ellie and I got on the road to meet Christine for a dinner in Carlisle. The next day we went to Whitetail for a day of skiing. Skiing is always fun, but I cannot endorse Whitetail on a weekend. There is no bar since it is in a dry county.

The 4 hour flex pass was $65 and rental was $45, meaning we shelled out $220 plus tax for two people. We loved being around all the people that went there with us, but next time we go skiing, Whitetail will not be on our list. Remember to check Liftopia if you are going skiing or boarding, but you probably won't find a Whitetail discount there.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Help Alamo get cars out of Florida

I learned from First2Board blogger DealMommy today that Alamo has too many cars in Florida. If you help them get them out, you can get a cheap one way car rental.

This is quite fun if you are looking to start in Florida and then head up the coast. Orlando to Charleston, SC is a six hour drive with St Augustine, Hilton Head, Savannah, and Daytona all along the way.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Free flight from Volvo

One lesser known way of getting a cheaper European car and sometimes a free or reduced price vacation is to take European delivery of your car. You fly to Europe, pick up your new car, and drive it around for a week or longer, return it, and then it comes to the states by boat. The car companies love this because it saves on import taxes. Volvo even flies you to Gothenburg, Sweden and puts you in a hotel for a night for free! You get to fly on SAS or BA. BMW and Benz give you small Lufthansa fare discount and a hotel night.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hotel Deal

I have been trying to figure out if I want to hit a Big Win from IHG or qualify for my Marriott megabonus or what for Q1. Marriott, at stay 2 get 2 after the stacking was coming out ahead. I might still do this.

However, I just booked a great room on Miami Beach at an unaffiliated hotel thanks to Just Another Points Traveler telling me about an $85 credit at Travel Pony

I'd love it if you use my link and you'll get $35, then use promo code KATE50 on a booking $200 or more and you'll have $85


If I change my mind, I'll just cancel, but I bet Christine will prefer to stay on the beach over the airport Marriott next to Little Havana I had in mind.

New Norwegian Air Route

Quoting at length from Ghetto IFE:
Currently, the airline operates the Stockholm to New York JFK route three times a week. It seems the route is a success with a 4th service to be introduced: DY7005 DEPART ARN 17:35 ARRIVE JFK 2005JFK 788 x246 DY7006 DEPART JFK 21:30 ARRIVE ARN 1115+1ARN 788 x246 Revised operation commences 4th May 2014 Services operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays Booked Equipment: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The new addition operates on Sundays. - See more at:

This is great, new transatlantic options out of New York on low price carriers are exciting! This one often advertises seemingly too good to be true fares. You often have to act fast to get them though. Christine is of Norwegian heritage so they are definitely on our list as a place to visit. Are you ready for magical Stockholm? They have a strange frequent flyer program, it seems you can get 2% back on your flight price and then apply that money towards bags and fees. They don't have any earning partners I can find.

Chase United VIP Superbowl lounge

Times square was an absolute mess for the Superbowl. It seemed like the entire population of Connecticut and their out of town cousins were all there. One bright spot was the chase united VIP lounge. If you had the card, you could get a party of four into guy fieri's grill. With an authorized user, you could get a party of eight in. The line to get it was rather short, we waited ten minutes on Saturday and less than five on Friday. On Friday there were free wings; meatballs; salad, etc. On Saturday they had burgers instead of wings. The place was like an upscale Fridays. Everyone got free drink tickets with Don Julio, Grey Goose and JWB flowing heavily. A $300 value per night was pretty straightforward if one brought friends. On top of the other perks, this makes the AF seem cheap. Thanks chase!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Citi AAdvantage Card Perk

I am not sure how I didn't realize this until today. But Citi and AAdvantage give reduced price domestic ticket awards to card holders. Be careful when redeeming AA awards that you didn't waste an opportunity to use Avios miles at a better rate. The list of cities changes periodically, with a few months notice.

This is the AA Page listing the cities.

There are some tricks here; if you miss your connection you could potentially get a low priced award to a transcontinental flight that isn't on the discount list. For example, JFK-SFO-FAT with a missed last connection could get you the discount on at least half the trip. SFO - JFK - Some random east coast place, could do the same for the way back. The discount is pretty substantial, 7500 miles or at least $100 worth of miles valued conservatively.

Here is the table of current options. Make sure to use the discount code.
Class of Service Round-trip Award Miles One-way Award Miles Award Code U.S. Fee Canada Fee
First Class42,50021,250 UD21X2E / AVM13 Up to $10Up to $124
Main Cabin17,5008,750 TD8X7E / AVM12 Up to $10Up to $124
DestinationFebruary 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014
Abilene, TX (ABI)XXXX
Albuquerque, NM (ABQ)XXXX
Alexandria, LA (AEX)XXXX
Amarillo, TX (AMA)XXXX
Aspen, CO (ASE)XX  
Atlanta, GA (ATL)XXXX
Austin, TX (AUS)X   
Baltimore, MD (BWI)X X 
Baton Rouge, LA (BTR)XX  
Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX (BPT)XXXX
Birmingham, AL (BHM)XXXX
Bloomington, IL (BMI)XXXX
Boston, MA (BOS)X   
Brownsville, TX (BRO)XXXX
Buffalo, NY (BUF)X   
Calgary, Canada (YYC)XXXX
Cedar Rapids, IA (CID)XXXX
Champaign, IL (CMI)XXXX
Charleston, SC (CHS)XX  
Charleston, WV (CRW)XX X
Charlotte, NC (CLT)XXXX
Chattanooga, TN (CHA)XXXX
Cincinnati, OH (CVG)XXXX
Cleveland, OH (CLE)XXXX
College Station, TX (CLL)XXXX
Colorado Springs, CO (COS)XXXX
Columbia, MO (COU)XXX 
Columbia, SC (CAE)XXXX
Columbus, OH (CMH)XXXX
Corpus Christi, TX (CRP)XXXX
Dayton, OH (DAY)XXX 
Denver, CO (DEN)  X 
Des Moines, IA (DSM)XXXX
Detroit, MI (DTW)XXXX
Dubuque, IA (DBQ)XX X
Durango/Purgatory, CO (DRO)  XX
Evansville, IN (EVV)XXXX
Flint, MI (FNT)XX  
Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)X   
Fort Smith, AR (FSM)XXXX
Fort Walton Beach, FL (VPS)XXXX
Fort Wayne, IN (FWA)XXXX
Fresno, CA (FAT)XX  
Gainesville, FL (GNV)XXXX
Garden City, KS (GCK)XXXX
Grand Island, NE (GRI)XXXX
Grand Junction, CO (GJT)XXXX
Grand Rapids, MI (GRR)  X 
Green Bay, WI (GRB)XXXX
Greensboro, NC (GSO)XXXX
Greenville/Spartanburg, SC (GSP)XX  
Gulfport/Biloxi, MS (GPT)XXXX
Gunnison/Crested Butte, CO (GUC)XX  
Harrisburg, PA (MDT)XX  
Hartford, CT (BDL)XXXX
Houston Hobby, TX (HOU)XXXX
Houston, TX (IAH)XXXX
Huntsville, AL (HSV)XXXX
Indianapolis, IN (IND)X   
Jackson Hole, WY (JAC) X  
Jackson, MS (JAN)XXXX
Jacksonville, FL (JAX)XXXX
Joplin, MO (JLN)XXXX
Kalamazoo, MI (AZO)XXXX
Kansas City, MO (MCI)XXXX
Killeen, TX (GRK)XXXX
Kitchener, Canada (YKF)XXXX
Knoxville, TN (TYS)XXX 
La Crosse, WI (LSE) XXX
Lafayette, LA (LFT)XXXX
Lake Charles, LA (LCH)XXXX
Laredo, TX (LRD)XXXX
Lawton, OK (LAW)XXXX
Lexington, KY (LEX)XX X
Little Rock, AR (LIT)XXXX
Longview, TX (GGG)XXXX
Louisville, KY (SDF)XXXX
Lubbock, TX (LBB)XXX 
Madison, WI (MSN)  XX
Manhattan, KS (MHK)XXXX
Marquette, MI (MQT)X XX
Memphis, TN (MEM)XXXX
Midland, TX (MAF)XXXX
Milwaukee, WI (MKE)X XX
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)XXXX
Mobile, AL (MOB)XXXX
Moline, IL (MLI)XXXX
Monroe, LA (MLU)XXXX
Monterey, CA (MRY)XXXX
Montgomery, AL (MGM)XXXX
Montreal, Canada (YUL)XXXX
Nashville, TN (BNA)XXXX
New Orleans, LA (MSY)X   
Newark, NJ (EWR)XXXX
Norfolk, VA (ORF)XXXX
NW Arkansas Regional, AR (XNA)XXXX
Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)XXXX
Orange County, CA (SNA)X   
Pensacola, FL (PNS)XXXX
Peoria, IL (PIA)XXXX
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)X   
Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)X X 
Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU)XXXX
Rapid City, SD (RAP)XXXX
Richmond, VA (RIC)XXXX
Rochester, MN (RST)XXXX
Rochester, NY (ROC)X   
Roswell, NM (ROW)XXXX
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)   X
San Angelo, TX (SJT)XXXX
San Antonio, TX (SAT)XX  
San Francisco, CA (SFO)X   
San Jose, CA (SJC)X   
Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)XX X
Santa Fe, NM (SAF)XXXX
Savannah, GA (SAV)XX  
Shreveport, LA (SHV)XXXX
Sioux City, IA (SUX)XXXX
Sioux Falls, SD (FSD)XXXX
Springfield, IL (SPI)XXXX
Springfield/Branson, MO (SGF)XXXX
St. Louis, MO (STL)XXXX
Steamboat Springs, CO (HDN)XX  
Tallahassee, FL (TLH)XXXX
Texarkana, AR (TXK)XXXX
Toledo, OH (TOL)XXXX
Toronto, Canada (YYZ)XXXX
Vail/Eagle, CO (EGE)XX  
Vancouver, Canada (YVR)XXXX
Washington Dulles, DC (IAD)XXXX
Washington Reagan Nat'l, DC (DCA)XXXX
Waterloo, IA (ALO)XXXX
Watertown, NY (ART)XXXX
Wausau/Stevens Point, WI (CWA)XXXX
West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)XXXX
Wichita Falls, TX (SPS)XXXX
Wichita, KS (ICT)XXXX