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


I am off to Greece on Saturday to spend Christmas with my mother who is a recent widow. Needless to say do not expect the same intensity of blog reviewing/posting. I will take it easy as I really need the break from the intense Feedly related activities I do! I am not sure where TBB will go from here. I renewed domain and hosting this week so I am not going away. This will be the second year I am going to show a loss for my blog “business” in my tax returns and I do not want to make it three in a row! Obviously I have a “mental issue” with this monetizing thingie :-)

In the meantime please continue to support the blogs that appear in my “Blogs I Love” and “Blogs I Like“. A reader tweeted today to me he picked one of these deserving blogs to do his next round of credit card churning and that was great news to me!

I am flying Lufthansa and Aegean Business Class on United miles from Detroit to Thessaloniki, Greece via Germany (Frankfurt and Munich). It may be the last time I get to enjoy doing so after the UA miles devaluation massacre that recently occurred. To keep up with my trip the best way is through Twitter so please follow me @FlyertalkerinA2

Please email me any MUST TBB Worthy blog posts I should be aware of as my time in Greece is a blur of running around to help my mother take care of things and Greek bureaucrats testing my patience, homemade food eating, non stop getting togethers with gazillion relatives and barely keeping up with some work email/issues. Really, this is no vacation!



15 of the Most Majestic Caves in the World. By Bored Panda.

Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland

Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland. Photo credit: skarpi


Live and Let’s Fly has an interesting report and pictures from Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan Apostolic Church

Apostolic Church in Yerevan


Stunning Photos of London

London’s Canary Wharf

London’s Canary Wharf

London’s Canary Wharf with the spikes of the O2 Arena barely visible

London’s Canary Wharf with the spikes of the O2 Arena barely visible




Loyalty Traveler wrote “Hotel Chain Best Rate Guarantee Policies Compared“. Nice to have an updated blog post with all of them in one place.

DansDeals wrote United Plan B: Pretty Much The Most Awesome, Underutilized, And Underappreciated Thing Ever.  Great stuff!

Head for Points wrote BA changes Household Account rules – you can now redeem for ANYONE I hate it. Why? Hear me out. Because I feel it may be a softening up of the members for a devaluation. That 4,500 one way mega deal for short distance trips is not going to last most likely. I so hope I am wrong!

Some nice cards at Hack My TripBigger Sign-Ups for Alaska, Lufthansa, Delta, and BA“.  Of course I get nada with Delta and wife got 50k offer, no gracias (and we are not moving to Seattle!). I would probably go for the Alaska cards but leaving for Greece tomorrow. It is time to get these cards soon after my return, Alaska is getting better and better. We are already shut out for more BA cards. Holding out for the Lufthansa cards too.
For the record, I saw the Alaska 50k offer first at the Canadian Kilometers blog post here (which has a confirmed non affiliate link).

View from the Wing has a 50k Amex Premier Rewards Gold credit card offer. If you can get it. We got a rock!

The Most Disgusting Airline Omelette Ever“. By Frequently Flying. WTF is this thing? “It was by far the driest, crustiest and most tasteless thing I think I’ve ever had on United.”

United omelette disgusting

United so called omelette

IHG Rewards will bring back the Big Win promotion (which I skipped last time as it was not lucrative enough). Hope this second time around it makes more sense to participate.

United started removing Singapore Airlines online award bookings. The “lets become more hated than Delta” process continues…



I received my email from AMEX telling me the “news” on the Platinum card. NO refund whatsoever given. All this tells me I am no longer valued as a client. My three clients will be so bummed when I do not renew it. The end of an era I guess…

I have a total of 3,150 Choice Hotels points. And 350 expire December 31, 2013. This is so inconsequential but it still bothers me :-)   Ideas?

I redeemed my 3 nights at the Hampton Inn Oakland Airport Alameda before/after our trip to Maui next April by burning 30,600 Barclays Arrival points. Which, by the way, has been busted by Alaska Airline’s cancellation and I just have not gotten around to get American Airlines to come up with an alternative acceptable routing. First attempt was totally not adequate (code word for “useless”). I am overusing this card to now work for the car rental refund next :-)


The Best Photos of 2013

Belgian riot police foam

Belgian riot police, not aliens
Reuters/Yves Herman


Malta gostra feast of St. Julian

A man runs up a pole covered in grease as part of the feast of St. Julian in Malta.
Reuters/Darrin Zamit Lupi


Madiba’s Wisdom: 20 Timeless Quotes From Nelson Mandela “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.”



The Frugal Travel Guy (the blog) staff is hard working as they managed to break the record in affiliate links in a single post: 73. Speechless. I believe the last record was Miles Momma at 71 or 72?  I am going to keep track of some blog records in an Evernote file going forward. Any other category for records? How about number of blog comments :-)   (giving away crap comments of course does not count!)

By the time I make it down here now my brain is just fried…

Thank you for reading TBB!


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43 comments on “Traveling to Greece, Caves, Yerevan, London, BRGs, UA Plan B, BA Household, more credit card offers, IHG Big Win Dos, Mandela

  1. Spencer F: Congrats. You now belong to a special group indeed!

    The common man: Come on, common man! You are 30 minutes late already. Where is everybody? Must be getting ready for the weekend action or something…

  2. I have cooked/burned and served many of those overcooked artificial egg omelets in my past f/a days. The key was to smother it with the sauce to hide it. You don’t want to know what goes on behind that galley curtain……………..My biggest airplane galley disaster was on an old 727-100 (only 1 mid cabin galley for f/c and y to share on this short version 727). It was in the 70′s so everyone on board was getting Filet Mignon steaks for dinner. I forgot to check the lock on the aft facing ovens before takeoff. You guessed it, 42 steak dinners, set on airline dishes came crashing out on to the galley floor on liftoff. Full flight of course, and the galley was thick with steak grease and slippery like an ice rink. Wish I could say I never made that mistake again.

  3. “The Frugal Travel Guy (the blog) staff is hard working as they managed to break the record in affiliate links in a single post: 73″

    So is this part of Rick’s grand plan to move the game back to more of a hobby?

    Or is it part of the much more frequently-implemented plan of his, which is “do as I say, not as I do”

      • Why would I ever call him out for that? Don’t be silly. I’m sure he is at the top of his game.

        And to think he gets it all done while still doing his other job, being George’s new “Go To Guy” for calling bloggers out. You gotta wonder what the pay is though? George gets nothing for all the hours in the “time suck”. Oh wait, he wrote down 15 blog names in the last year on three lists as his accomplishments (talk about a year full of filler posts) and got thousands of comments. “Comments get your comments here” and continued giving the “angries” a place to vent their frustration at the successes of others that they obviously could have done themselves in a much more professional manner.

        Except, oh wait, talk is cheap. That would mean the “angries” would have had to do something other than complain about others. Nah, its easier to complain.

        “Winners laugh and tell jokes while losers piss and moan”

        Welcome to the “Angries” Blog

        • You should see this new movie “Papadopoulos & Sons”. I got to see it flying LH Business Detroit to Frankfurt. It has a great message about life in general, money, success, etc. Billionaire loses it all because he over leveraged himself. Goes back to where it started it all…his tiny fish & chips with his brother years ago. There is a line in the movie about what success is. “It’s the joy you feel”. Make no mistake about it, if this blog did not provide me any joy it would not be in existence.

          Emails like this below I received yesterday mean the world to me and bring me joy:

          >>>>>Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much I appreciate the Blog Reviews section of your blog. ….Since credit cards will probably be my primary method of accumulation, I’m particularly sensitive to blogs that pimp them non-stop. I don’t begrudge anyone an income stream but it’s a bit much. Thanks for being so candid.

          Best of success to you however you define it.

    • Speaking about lawn mowing: When I bought our first house I was all psyched to start moving the lawn. I researched lawn mowers and got me a great deal on one. Well, I mowed the lawn once, just once! I absolutely HATED it! The same guy has been cutting my lawn ever since, 20 years later, god bless him. I just don’t get along well with lawns :-)

  4. Have a safe and wonderful trip with mom. Thanks for all he hard work you do here – it’s the FIRST blog I check

    Happy holidays my friend!

  5. I made a comment that mile value’s content seemed to be improving. He now has a sticky at the top of his blog telling folks to hurry and get the Luftansa card. I take back what I said. My bad folks. Sorry for thinking that site could improve.

    • Sounds good to me. Hammering them non stop for a year was long enough. The legacy of that was my three blog lists. I intend to update them. And I will always support readers supporting the blogs in my two good lists. So, you watch it now ;-)

  6. I dumped the Choice hotel chain about 4 years ago, after they dramatically ‘adjusted’ their redemption rates. My favorite 8000 point ROC hotel went up to 12000.

    Now for my rant. After having limited internet access the past ten days while I was away in SAN and LAS on vacation/business, now I read that you’ll be away. How will I sign up for my mileage earning credit cards if you’re not around?? Whose links should I use?? #OhDear

    Have a nice trip.

    • I have not stayed in a Choice hotel in years, so many other better choices!

      As far as links go, definitely not in 2013! Who knows, maybe sometime in 2014? If I do not fold “like a cheap” suit first ;-)

  7. If that tiny amount of lost Choice Privileges points bothers you, I believe you can contact them and they’ll extend the duration. I recall reading a post on flyertalk awhile ago that said this. If might be a YMMV type of thing, though. If it works, let us know. I always use up my points from the annual Discover America promo, but maybe some year I won’t.

    • It bothers me out of principle. I don’t care about Choice points, I have no idea how I got them even!

      I recently emailed Delta Skybonus and asked them to credit my account about 2k points to get it up to 30k so I can order Delta Skyclub lounge passes. They did and may give the passes to clients or maybe give them to a reader as a giveaway. So your advice is solid! Worst thing that can happen is they say no :-)

  8. I had always wondered why everyone always pushes the US Airways purchase promo as a great deal, but after doing some looking, it appears that they all get commission for it. It is through commission junction as close as I can tell. However, we won’t know because no one ever puts a disclosure.

    • I was wondering about that today when I saw so, so many posts about it. I thought it had to be commission based given the number of posts on a Sunday no less. Fortunately, I had just booked an award yesterday on USAirways and put it on hold. Today, when I decided to book it I cannot even get through to USAirways to finalize the reservation! Waited for 30 minutes and still could not get through. Guess I am glad it is already booked, but wish I had gotten it done completely before the blog fiesta!

      • Finally got through and all set with ORD✈MUC✈IST✈NRT✈ORD with stopover in Istanbul and Tokyo as the destination all in Business for two for 180,000 miles. I will really miss USAirways and their award chart sweet spots. Flying LH, TK & NH. So although bloggers are reporting mixed results booking these babies, I snagged one without any problem. Maybe I should book another! Those US miles were burning a hole in my pocket. Now on to book hotels with Hyatt before Jan. 7 and Club Carlson because that one cannot last either! More burning on horizon.

  9. Breaking! Must credit me!

    Citi Dividend categories for Q1 2014 are gyms/fitness clubs, Macy’s, and drug stores. Who’s pre-paying the year of gym membership and getting 5% back for up to $6000 in annual purchases? This guy.

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