TBB Mission: To Entertain, Educate and Inspire. Aim to at least do one well!




Yomadic‘s Hottest European Destinations for 2014. We are talking off the beaten path here…

Berat Albania

Berat Albania


The World’s Largest Monastery Library is in Austria and it’s Beautiful. By Twisted Sifter. Wow, this is mesmerizing. I always liked the site of monasteries…

Admont Abbey monastery Austria Benedictine

Admont Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located on the Enns River in the town of Admont, Austria. Photo by Jorge Royan


Couchsurfing’s Sex Secret: It’s The Greatest Hook-Up App Ever Devised. Wow, really?



There was a lot of stuff in the blogs about killing deals. So, Travel is Free writes “Why I Don’t Kill Deals“. Good reminder to make everyone more aware who is the true hobbyist vs the “shrewd businessmen” who only surfaced recently when they smelled the dinero :-)   There are some commenters there who rip TIF and praise Milevalue. I am speechless!!

Mile Nerd in a mini rant “Be Clever“.  I think the first paragraph is a MUST read for all!

Nomadic Matt interviewed Raffles of Head for Points, the go to site for UK travel hackers “How to be a Travel Hacker in the UK” Raffles is a TBB reader and commenter. Great interview, good to know more about you!

Milenomics on “Using our Avios, AA and UA Miles for a Hawaiian and European vacation” Solid post! Not done yet, added “Using our Avios, AA and UA Miles to Travel to Cancun and Asia“. On a roll with fantastically solid posts! This is why Milenomics was added to the “Blogs I Like” list!



I am staying at the Radisson Blu in Chicago. I thought my incredible charming techinques at checkin willl work magic to get me upgraded to a suite. Instead, I got me a corner room ten square feet larger than a standard room. They wanted $50 for a suite and $30 for business lounge access. Nada about Gold Club Carlson welcome amenity. I knew from Flyertalk that I should not be expecting much. But what bothers me is the effort to pass the corner room as an upgrade and the great view (of surrounding buildings!) in a cheering mode. Maybe that would fly with others but not with me lady! Gold club, as expected, is not that big of a deal with Club Carlson really. The room is nice but a bit a little too far to the modern feel. When I came in the room it was freezing (choosing to travel in the coldest day of the year was a contributing factor!).



Speechless: The Polar Realm. Incredible images in this Vimeo vidoe, wow! First found at The Adventure Blog

The 45 Best Perfectly Timed Photos Of 2013. By Buzzfeed

Perfectly timed picture dog peeing

The perfectly timed “say ahhhhh!” picture. Found here


If you missed the MMS interview from last Friday, don’t worry about it.


And I leave you with this….Put The Phone Down!

cell phone overload overuse

Found at seriouslyforreal.com



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46 comments on “Berat Albania, Admont Abbey, Couchsurfingsex, Not Killing Deals, Head for Points interview, Milenomics on burning, Chicago Radisson Blu stay in progress

  1. Milenomics rocks! And don’t use that phrasing very often!

    Regards from shivery PDX. We really are not used to so many days of temps in the teens. Stay warm in Chicago.

    • ‘Great interview, good to know more about you!’

      You would actually have found out a bit more, but Matt (sensibly) cut out a few paragraphs of me rambling about my background and family history!

      A couple of other people with, ahem, modest readerships have asked me for interviews recently but with a request up-front that I link to the interview from my site! Perhaps uncharitably, I see this as an attempt to generate clicks from my readers (over 1,000 people from my site clicked to Nomadic Matt to read the piece, after I mentioned I’d done it) and benefit from my Google ranking. I didn’t do those!

  2. I’m not sure I get the novelty with Milenomic’s posts. The topic has been covered by numerous blogs (MV, TPG, the miles professor etc) in the last year or two. Or did I miss something?

    Regarding Radisson, I stayed at Radisson blu in Zurich last year. My room had a strange smell, so I called the reception. They came up to the room and mentioned that customers tend to complain about the funky smelling furniture on that floor. Most seem to think they smell like marijuana. I was moved to a different floor.

    • I like Milenomics because he really takes a very systematic approach. It is not just “here’s a great new card” or some new take on MS with little rhyme or reason beyond the latest cc affiliate link being pushed. He considers his time as an important variable and often comes up with opinions that run counter to the status-seeking, mileage-running bloggers out there. He responds in great detail to questions and his approach to earning and burning dovetails quite well with mine. I was on vacation when he started posting on F2B and actually went back to read his posts in order of appearance. Yes, not all was new info but his take on things and excellent explanations suit me well. JMHO!

    • I can point you to some destitute ex-mining towns in Northern England, where I grew up, which probably see single-digit tourist influxes annually :-)

  3. Damn insomnia. Thanks to all bloggers for covering the pointshound special. I went to pointshound, checked out the prices, and then got rooms for $13 less per night via Priceline NYOP. (in doing so, I lost 1050 AA points; oh well.) Pointshound is helpful in estimating just how much more commission you can strip from hotels/booking sites when bidding.

    And remember kids, among infrequent leisure travelers, only fools and suckers care about earning Marriott/Hilton points when booking.

  4. The MMS interview last week was interesting. This is a site I didn’t know but which claims to focus on European loyalty programmes, so I felt obliged to look. Except it doesn’t.

    Here, for eg, is a list of recommended online shopping malls from a recent post:

    Air Canada Aeroplan Store
    American Aadvantage Eshopping
    Delta Skymiles Shopping
    Hawaiian Airlines EMarket
    Hilton HHonors Shop To Earn
    United MileagePlus Shopping
    US Airways Dividend Miles Storefront

    Er, OK. Just the sort of list that a European wants to see. No BA, no Virgin Atlantic etc etc. It is almost as if someone in Europe is trying to set themselves us to try to get US credit card links ….

  5. Congrats to Gary on his million unique page views

    Glad to see at least one of the old-time pioneers walking the walk when when they talk about this being a hobby…. he could’ve easily cashed out for a handsome sum, but still is a posting machine

    Added bonus, he doesn’t need a staff to do the dirty work, and he actually knows the routing rules of US airlines!

  6. Club Carlson room upgrades CAN be good. Not that it matters, of course: if you’re staying 2 nights in a place with a decent Carlson hotel, you should probably be redeeming your points there if you have a credit card for their BOGO offer.

    Both in Budapest and Cape Town this year, I got upgraded from low-view rooms to waterfront rooms thanks to my (credit card) status. In CPT, I had to ask (nicely) for the upgrade.

    The free room amenity has never been much (so far this year, I’ve gotten mini cakes, caramel corn and fruit) but it’s just icing on the cake for a crazy award deal — especially since you earn Club Carlson points at 5x per dollar on the credit card.

  7. @nv: Congrats, it’s an exclusive group of Numero Unos :-)

    @Big Habitat: So, so close. Be like Avis? :-)

    @TWA44: I agree!

    @AgendaGuy: Yes it was

    @Raffles: Yeah, I can see what you mean. Very informative interview nevertheless

    @ ABC: TWA44 gave the perfect explanation about Milenomics. In addition, I like the hard work put into these posts, you can tell nothing is mailed in. I am sure the absence of aff links sure has something to do with the appeal of the content! I also like the freshness in the approach about this hobby.

    @ TWA44: Great explanation, thanks!

    @Andrew: Yomadic’s stuff is off the beaten path. I especially liked the brave trip into that Albanian weed capital of Europe lol. He is taking off for Kurdistan in a few days, looking forward to his blog updates.

    @harvson3: Yeah really, not interested in these Pointshounds and Rocket Miles outfits. But for road warriors and company picking up the bill it is probably worth a visit. I could get accounts and push the referral links but I did not (not like anyone is using mine anyway lol)

    @Raffles: Yep, sure looks like it. I wonder how this is all handled by the US companies and tax filing requirements and all that…But that is another very complicated subject!

    @Steve: Yep, I agree. I wonder how he does it. Workhorse is an understatement. And expertise is right up there near/at the top.

    @iahphx: I agree with everything you said! I had a fantastic upgrade in the Radisson LAX last year! The fitness facilities in the Chicago Radisson Blu are the BEST of any hotel I have ever visited, WOW!

  8. The World’s Largest Monastery Library is in Austria and it’s Beautiful. By Twisted Sifter. Wow, this is mesmerizing. I always liked the site of monasteries…

    I, on the other hand, think that monasteries’ locations are always ill-advised.

    I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by. As a friend tells me frequently, “you know, you’re a real ass.”

    @ABC: Haven’t gotten to that article yet.

  9. Sorry George, but Albania is off the beaten path? Just because the roads have more potholes? Or because of the Albanian mafia, famous thanks to “Taken”? How about Moscow? This is the real shit, you want mafia, you want potholes, you want guys coming to the brand new Nina Rici store demanding money and the manager – a French dude who had no idea what he signed up for paying without any hesitation… Sorry, but this is just regular cr@p, no different than any other corrupt Eastern European country. And seriously, nothing in the UK is “off the beaten path”. The world has not been off the beaten path for a long time.

    • I have no idea where you get your information, but no one in 2013 Moscow would walk into the store and demand payout. What you’re describing is the 90s. If anyone tried a stunt like that, they would be taken out feet first. Doesn’t mean there is no corruption in Russia–there is more than ever–but all the payoffs of today are being done behind the scene. It’s FSB (ex-KGB) who have long ago replaced mafia and assumed their “responsibilities”.

      Seriously, man, your photographs are out of this world. Just stick to something you know.

    • Howie used to be pretty good. Back in the days when Rick’s site focused more on quality content, he made some really good posts about his traveling for work experiences.

      It’s a shame he went the way of RIck and turned into a credit card salesman instead

      Has that site brought down more quality bloggers or what? Rick, Howie, Ariana, Andy and on and on….. all people who at one point or another used to be great bloggers

  10. A compliment from Steve? I never saw that blue moon coming. Yep, we all sold out to Da Man and now get to play the game with a paycheck :) . Seems like a great deal to me.

    “Comments. Comments. Get your Comments here”

    • For the record, I think Steve is very fair ;-)

      I am typing this from my Park Suite at the Radisson Blu having the Guest Services guy profusely apologizing and wanting to make it right and enjoy my stay. Next stop: the lounge when it opens at 4.30 pm!

    • “Yep, we all sold out to Da Man and now get to play the game with a paycheck :) . Seems like a great deal to me”

      …. but a terrible deal for that poor woman who will open a US Airways credit card thinking it will get her that LH ticket to Europe for 35K roundtrip

      Woman calling the US help desk: “Hi, I’d like to book a LH round trip to Europe”
      US: “Ok, that will be 60K”
      Woman: “No, I’m booking an off peak trip”
      US: “Sorry, that doesn’t apply to *A flights, only US metal”
      Woman: “Are you sure? Rick’s blog, he being the world expert on these things told me so”
      US: “I’m not sure what he’s an expert at, but it sure as heck ain’t US off-peak awards”
      Woman: hangs up, no vacation to Europe

      **** This is not an actual real conversation that happened, for those (Rick) who can’t figure it out on their own

  11. Breaking news from MMS and his staff….

    Chase Freedom category bonuses for 2014 have been announced!!!!

    How late is he on this news? I think even DWL covered it already

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