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




Mountain Shadows. By Twisted Sifter.

Mountain Shadows Scott Hotaling

Seen here is the triangular shadow cast by Mount Hood in northern Oregon, USA. The photo was taken by Scott Hotaling who made the ascent from the south side during pre-dawn hours.


10 of the world’s weirdest airports. (HT to Travel With Grant)


Gisborne Airport New Zealand  train

Gisborne Airport, New Zealand. Look at the choo choo train, WTF!


Visions of Vietnam: 21 Beautiful Faces from Saigon, Hanoi and Beyond
Read more at http://www.vagabondish.com/gallery-faces-saigon-hanoi-vietnam/#sWS6D6kMWC2mCyPv.99

Visions of Vietnam: 21 Beautiful Faces from Saigon, Hanoi and Beyond. By Vagabondish

Vietnam faces Hanoi Saigon

© Davidlohr Bueso



This is weird. I have two positive news to report. I am talking true enhancements. Far Out!

Breaking the Cycle of Free Upgrades: Delta’s latest Changes for Medallions By Milenomics. I guess it is an enhancement to see Elites getting to fly up front internationally. But it is all not peaches. Jab, jab, jab, Hook! I am thinking of going back to claim a Tiffany & Co bag tag. Bwhahahahhahahahahhaha

Alaska to Count Miles from British Airways, Cathay, Korean, Qantas Towards MileagePlan Status. By Frequent Business Traveler. Very welcome move of course. Take that Delta bullies :-)

Why the Era of Mileage Running is Over.By View from the Wing. Well, I have been saying that since I started blogging in November 2012 :-)

Manufactured Spend Guide Part 1: Buying Money Orders with Debit Cards. By Miles Abound. Very well written. Lays out all the real risks. Not sure why all the pushback on this one, this has been around for so many years! Flyertalk personality extraordinaire Marathon Man lays out even more risks in his usual dramatic fashion in the comments :-)

Now That the Draw is Over–Fly to World Cup in Brazil for Free. By The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook. Well, obviously I am interested. Lays out some options via Buenos Aires. I need to look at finding SPECIFIC game tickets. Anyone with any suggestions please comment. I have not looked at all into game tickets but now it is time to start with the groups and locations set!

Why I’m Leaving United Airlines. By Hack My Trip. I think Scott captures it al on what is wrong with United. I found this shocking! “One of the most shocking experiences I’ve ever had as a United customer was when friend introduced me to a United corporate employee at Star MegaDO 4 — a great opportunity for outreach and brand promotion — and that employee looked me in the eye and said, “Oh, you. We don’t care for your blog.” And that was it. I offered to have a conversation and see if anything could be done to work together, but he literally turned his back on me and walked away.“  #UAjustdoesnotgetit



I had a great lunch catching up with Flyertalk friend Win in Chicago on Tuesday!

I got upgraded to a Park Suite my last night at the Radisson Blu in Chicago. Very nice gesture by the Guest Services manager. The suite is great, much nicer than the standard room But what I liked the most was the Business Lounge, one of the best looking lounges I have ever been in!



Weather-Related Events of 2013

Floods Europe Germany

Garden with a swimming pool is inundated by the waters of the Elbe river in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt



Maltapoints is joining Boarding Area. Malta??? Sometimes I wonder how Randy picks them :-)

13 Best Hate Comments of 2013. By Young Adventuress. This is a fantastically amazing rant. I miss those comments you guys :-)   (HT to GirlandGlobe)

Bitch please fabulous



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44 comments on “Mount Hood, Gisborne Airport, Faces of Vietnam, Delta(!!!) & Alaska enhancements, MS Spend, Mileage runs, World Cup travel, Best Hate Comments

  1. i always check back here right after I post to see who was first and who almost was first lol.

    @Amol: You are numero Uno!
    @Jay: Numero dos is fine, they try harder like Avis!
    @Scott: Yeah absolutely loved that picture!
    @Mark: You are late…again. I challenge you to get better :-)

  2. So nice to see our mountain leading off TBB! I have seen many Mt. Hood shots but this one is most unusual! Quite lovely, too. I love my adopted state.

    • I need to get the handle on game tickets. My brother is okay driving he said. We want to hit all 3 Greece games. But I am hesitating….can’t take so many days off. But first is the game tickets…#developing

  3. Looking forward to today’s travel challenge, where the entire FTG staff shows you how to fly roundtrip from El Paso to Australia for 40K miles round trip by opening a British Airways Visa and using the miles on their SkyTeam partner LOT to connect through Moscow

    • Why Steve you sound jealous that you are not getting paid to spend your time writing about the hobby?? Is it jealousy that brings you back day after day to complain about FTG and others? Envy? Oh I know it is your social commitment to others you are such a loving guy. That’s it. I got it now.

      BTW if you read the papers you are delivering between lawn mowing jobs, you’d realize today is Wednesday and the 95% correct Travel Challenge is on Thursdays. You know you could always send in correcting comments if you wanted to make it better tor the newbies. Oh wait. I forgot again. That would be a positive thing, and really not your style.

      Heard an old saying years ago. ” winners laugh and tell jokes while losers piss and moan” It really is true.

      • “Heard an old saying years ago. ” winners laugh and tell jokes while losers piss and moan” It really is true”

        Agreed 100%

        As such, I will continue laughing about the biggest joke of them all – the Travel Challenge

        Thanks for the input!

        • The joke is on you Steve as the challenge brings in newbies day in and day out. And we all know what newbies do. See a link. Click a link.

          It is really amazing how capitalism works, and IB pays lots of salaries with those clicks.

          Don’t be an “angry” Steve. Start your own blog and see the world at prices you can afford.

          “Angries got be Angry”

          • “The joke is on you Steve as the challenge brings in newbies day in and day out. And we all know what newbies do. See a link. Click a link.”

            Wait, the purpose of the Challenge is a filler post designed to pump credit cards to unbeknownst newbies?

            No way, get outta town!

            Next tell us about how Cathay F is a more comfortable seat than Ryanair

            • Filler post? Why would you call it filler? It accomplishes exactly what is intended. Teaching people they can see the world at prices they can afford.

              “Angries gotta be angry”

              • I’d call it filler because the real intention of the post isn’t to show people anything

                You had it right the first time – sucker in newbies, the types who are easiest to sucker into clicking affiliate links. And the types that wouldn’t know that you can’t use 35K US miles for a roundtrip on Lufthansa.

    • How about a real travel challenge?

      Tickets to Brazil during the World Cup.
      Flying inter Brazil to the different WC venues
      Burning points at hotels during the WC (lol)
      How to find game tickets at specific games and specific stadium sections

      Is there a template for that? :-)

      • Flying in Brazil is going to be very difficult. It’s a good thing I’m not really a fan and don’t mind staying put. I’m content with getting to Rio, watching a couple good games and spending 5-6 lazy days in Buzios. Shouldn’t be very difficult to achieve. Burning hotel points in Brazil won’t be easy since there are so few chains and too few hotel rooms in general. Rio in particular only has a Marriott and two SPG hotels out of the way, although Marriott is in a dream location.

  4. What was the United guy supposed to say to Hack-my-trip: lie on the floor and beg for attention? Geez. He admits in his blog that he is not a good customer…

    • I think the point is he could have been a bit more polite. Just telling the guy he doesn’t care about him is not particularly, erm, “friendly” as united like to sing about.

    • It is basic PR! When you blow off people, some go on and write “Why I am leaving United” and many eyeballs see it in this social media/blog world. At least listen. Totally unacceptable behavior.

      I met a Delta Guy during one of those frequent flier awards during MegaDo2 and at least he made fun of himself and its company when I joking asked “So, what are YOU doing here?” :-)

      • If the blog only has ‘Travel Hackers’ as an audience, UA will celebrate the fact that “Why I am leaving United” blog entry is posted. If you talk to Scott O’L. (who probably snubbed Scott H. at SMD4) he has tons of anecdotes on how ‘Travel Hackers’ maxed out copensation payments and complimentary SDCs to maximum effect on a regular basis. pmUnited just used to grind their teeth and bear with it. COdbaUA doesn’t put up with it, DL is nowhere close to it, and I’m pretty certain HPdbaUSdbaAA will go the same route. I recall Doug Parkers comment about FTers at SMD2… not posting it here or else this comment will be stuck in the profanity filter ;)

        • I agree with everything you said. It assumes ALL of HMT’s readers are of this “entitled” crowed. I am sure he gets other readers (in spite of the “Hack” in the blog’s name which I have told him it hurts him) so even if one is persuaded to steer away or not give UA a try…UA loses. In the grand scheme of things the guy just should not be a total a*s about it, that’s all. :-)

        • I’ve received about $800 and 10K miles (across my wife’s account and mine) in three years as a 1K on United. I’ve used a SDC twice. While I may talk about such opportunities, the suggestion that I use them every single time and am responsible for bleeding the company dry is ridiculous.

    • I told a Marriott representative, with some softer language, that I thought her rewards program was relatively worthless. She admitted she has a different target market than my blog but otherwise didn’t take too much offense. She certainly had cause.

      With the United rep, all I did was say, “Hi.” I wasn’t expecting him to bend over backwards. I was expecting him to say “Hi” back.

  5. I think when you really look at the people in any place, rather than just looking at the place in a vacuum, your life is much improved for your efforts. That being said, Vietnam is such a fascinating place to me. I have a love hate relationship with all things VN.

    I’m in the free agent world for two years now. This year United will finish with having flown me and my friends nearly 100K miles BIS on United booked tickets, much in business, and their cash from me is around $300. Delta gets a couple hundred too from early in the year. That’s it for my cash for tickets this year.

  6. Mommy Points is having a sleepover night at the Manhattan 5th Ave Andaz for daughter and cousins from Connecticut. Very pretentious if you ask me. Why not visit and stay with the cousins in their decorated Connecticut home, like the rest of us do with relatives. More rewarding than little children on the streets of Manhattan. That may not be the safest and best idea.

    • We have stayed with relatives in CT before, but there is one bathroom and no bedroom for guests, so while it is fun in the “cozy family time” sort of way, it is a much more comfortable and less stressful experience for everyone to have a little fun and leverage the perks of this hobby to have a memorable weekend. I strongly encourage people to do everything possible to ensure family trips are enjoyable and not designed in a way that is destined to fail (which 6 adults and 3 kids in a very small space is almost guaranteed to do). Not sure why it is pretentious to stay at a hotel with family, and not by yourself, but different strokes for different strokes I suppose.

      Central Park in the summer and a family friendly Broadway show will be quite fun, and likely very safe, but I do appreciate your concern!

      • We have a stay with family coming up (in small town England) and for 5/9 nights we will be using ihg points, but then we are tapped out of points for chains anywhere near. So, we are going to squeeze 2 extra adults and 2 extra kids into a house with a tiny guest room and have the cousins all bunk together in the kids’ bedroom (4 total children). We will enjoy the wake up to bed time family togetherness. But I am nervous about my young kid staying on a different floor from me in a house they are not familiar with. All that is a long way of saying, I understand.
        I do worry a bit about getting my kids too used to 4* hotels and business class seats. But I think you make sure that you are mixing in more modest vacations and it should be a good enough balance.

        • Well at least there is a guest room to squeeze into! I have found that visiting family where you don’t have any of your own space to even squeeze into to be nothing but a bad idea for anything more than a night for us…of course, if we didn’t have the option of a hotel then we would make it work as best as we could.

          I also think it isn’t just making sure you mix in modest vacations, but you also teach how things are earned and lead a balanced life overall. Our next stay with our daughter is at a St. Regis, and the one after that a Comfort Inn, but I think those details are less important than keeping an overall importance of travel/visiting family and a concept of hard work and helping those more in need than ourselves whenever possible.

          All that being said, I’m not sharing one bathroom with 6 adults and 3 kids on anything that resembles a vacation when a better option is easily available. Ever. ;)

    • I take the approach “Miles/points are yours; you can spend them however you like”. I was never into scientifically calculating values per mile/point and going on a massive effort to get the best “bang” for your mile/point. Sometimes it’s just easier/simple to burn if it feels right and make you happy :-)

      That reminds me I need to follow up on that Hyatt Diamond thingie…

  7. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich last week, for cash (in 2 rooms, at their crazy rates) to avoid the 4 of us crashing on a friends floor!

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