We bring you news of Covid-19 pandemic ending, the awful United miles massacre, pending Airbnb end, all the airline refunds policies, the best Covid-19 coverage online guaranteed or your mask back, we go on virtual tours again, the story on that White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand, all the helicopter money trying to keep the economy floating, a shocking story of a natural born dangerous scammer, how an innocent man can live in prison for 46 years is beyond shocking, the story of another scammer who was actually a moron, more excellent photography, bloggers fight when they have too much time on their hands not selling much plastic these days, one of the happiest days of my life happened 32 years ago, sometimes I wonder what the hell I am doing here, if it was not for your support comments and emails I would have quit back in 2013…
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Great Twitter thread starting out like this: “We are now almost six months into this pandemic, which began in November in Wuhan, with 50,000 Americans dead and 200,000 more around the world. And yet we still don’t really know how the disease is killing us.” Which mimics how I have been thinking about this pandemic…how we have so much to learn about this #$&!ing virus.
Great read from Leonard Pitts of the Salt Lake Tribune: “I will not die of stupid”. You may not like it if you like the current US President.
The more you learn, the more you want to stay home. Especially after reading something so shocking as this! 32 Days on a Ventilator: One Covid Patient’s Fight to Breathe Again. Jim Bello, 49 and healthy, fell gravely ill, highlighting agonizing mysteries of the coronavirus. Doctors’ relentless effort to save him was a roller-coaster of devastating and triumphant twists. The guy was super healthy by the way…if it can happen to him at 49…maybe our haircuts can wait!
Great read, we need to fix our health care system. Like you didn’t know about this already. But this pandemic really brought it home! What the Coronavirus Crisis Reveals About American Medicine. I think we are already starting to see a return back to the US in making things (masks everyone!) and not be so totally dependent to China (which we of course still are so maybe it is not the best time messing with them, you know, until we are past this pandemic, just a thought!). Article also goes deep into the ridiculous policies of the FDA and CDC and hopefully we will see improvement. And maybe we don’t forget about this whole global tragedy still unfolding and pull funding away from…protecting us!
I still hope that scientists will eventually save us. Maybe it is this Chinese virologist whose nickname is “bat woman”. How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus. I think going deep into bat caves is not on my to do list!
So many offshoots of the pandemic. Including this: Coronavirus has created a crisis for primary care doctors and their patients. How the coronavirus is making America’s health care access problems even worse. Doctor visits have fallen steeply during the coronavirus pandemic.
The threat to independent practices is a matter of simple economics: They do not have the same amount of capital or reserve funds to fall back on that hospitals and large systems do. It’s the same reason that solitary rural hospitals are more threatened during the coronavirus crisis than academic institutions or systems composed of several facilities.
And now, a word from our sponsor, Alex Jones. LOL. How the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory went from fringe to mainstream. Despite what the internet might be telling you, cellphones did not cause the Covid-19 pandemic.
I almost skipped this article. I am so glad I did not, it is probably the best article in today’s TBB post: Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not. Must read. It clearly shows what form the proper response and communication to the public should take. And I am comparing it to the Greek government’s response and just marveling how amazingly text book it has been. And how just plain awful our own has been here from the federal government and many states. Kudos to the public health officials in the Seattle area! And of course we are not all surprised of the awful performance of New York’s mayor De Blasio. But I have been surprised how even New York’s Governor Cuomo is praised for his…which I think it was very highly flawed! Read the whole thing. You are welcome!
Nothing new here: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Could End. We don’t know yet…
…the end game will most likely involve a mix of everything that checked past pandemics: Continued social-control measures to buy time, new antiviral medications to ease symptoms, and a vaccine. The exact formula—how long control measures such as social distancing must stay in place, for instance—depends in large part on how strictly people obey restrictions and how effectively governments respond. For example, containment measures that worked for COVID-19 in places such as Hong Kong and South Korea came far too late in Europe and the U.S. “The question of how the pandemic plays out is at least 50 percent social and political,” Cobey says. The other 50 percent will probably come from science.
I guess I am not the only one who thinks sending positive tested or people with symptoms back home to isolate themselves was nuts. Especially after seeing how the other Cuomo bro (the one at CNN) infected his wife and then one of his kids even being isolated in the basement! We are not learning from countries that do this well still! The successful Asian coronavirus-fighting strategy America refuses to embrace.
At press time…I read how there are more cases among young children of the rare Kawasaki disease. I had never heard of it, when I hear Kawasaki my mind turns to…motorcycles! It is appearing in the UK and Italy when…all along it was more observed in Asia. This virus is just so befuddling…wow!
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: New: The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum now offers 70k AA miles. There is an offer for the United Explorer card offering 60,000 miles. The IHG Rewards Club card offering 140k points too, highest ever. For a standard workhorse card I recommend the 60k Chase Sapphire Preferred card. For a standard premium card I recommend the 50k Chase Sapphire Reserve card. For a standard 2% cash back card I recommend the Citi Double Cash card. Available with my links. Lets move on!
There have been just two credit card conversions in the month of April in my blog. That is the bad news. The good news is that they were both for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with a current signup bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points! It is still considered the workhorse in this hobby. There have been numerous posts about it because we bloggers LOVE when readers apply for the card with our links because we get paid well for each one. So read another post glorifying this travel rewards credit card and please come back to apply for it HERE, thanks! What I’d Do With 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points – Maximizing the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Mile Nerd now only posts once a month. Something I should be doing myself here but I intend to continue to post on Mondays and Fridays in the month of May, we’ll see what happens in June. So, if you want to laugh a lot, see Mile Nerd’s May 1st post, it is hilarious. It is about his diary in this Quarantine Life, LOL.
Here is American Airline’s top elite ConciergeKey status website.
United continues its descent to hell. If you see a blogger blogging about doing mileage runs on United you can tell them WTF is wrong with you! If you are not a road warrior (who are now grounded for who knows how long), why you are not a free agent when it comes to choosing which airline to fly is beyond me! You are blogging about mileage running when everyone is distracted with securing enough toilet paper and Lysol? United Airlines Removes MileagePlus Partner Award Charts. So, you will expect bloggers to lower the valuation of United MileagePlus miles, right? Yeah, right! You expect said bloggers to stop trying to sell you so enthusiastically the United credit cards, right? Hell no…remember, it is all about conversions lol. That pretty much eliminates all US legacy airline loopholes to burn a logical amount of miles flying up front. Now they are all revenue based…But with business so shot, we may see super bargains in airfare in the months ahead. But when things go back to normal…expect pain in our hobby, so sad.
United Airlines is using a “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste” strategy. While the world is dealing with a pandemic and United avails itself of billions of CARES Act taxpayer money, they must think now is a great time to push through all the negative changes such as putting a strict cap of earnings on partners (read more here) and now this removal of award charts. The airline is counting that MileagePlus members don’t realize these changes when they are dealing with existential issues. Make no mistake. United plans to essentially rape MileagePlus members and lower the liability associated with unredeemed miles.People should have a look at their wallets and make sure that no spend goes to any of the United affiliated cards. That will hurt the airline the most.I was surprised last month when I was searching for awards within Asia how uncompetitive MileagePlus was already back then. Awards that were requiring 30K AAdvantage miles would have been close to 50K had I decided to burn some of my United ones. Hotels and airlines should understand that members are not stupid, and there is not much loyalty or goodwill left.
Speaking about pain: The Next Shoe Drops: Here Is United’s Newly Devalued Unpublished Award Chart #UnitedUnfriendly. About a 10% rise among almost every award it appears. You were warned here while you were continually cheered how you can fly for freeeee in credit card selling blogs. Sure, you can still fly for free but it takes a whole lot more credit cards to do so, assuming you can overcome the bank restrictions. Or you can stick with cash back cards and then buy your tickets instead.
It looks like we will all be wearing masks when we fly again, it will be weird. JetBlue implemented this policy first…
I am not seeing this take hold, maybe it will in the (near) future: Pay now, book later: Hotels sell credits, offering deep discounts for future stays.
Could this come true? Is this the end of Airbnb? Well, like I have been saying…it depends on the virus.
The numbers are devastating. According to AirDNA, an online rental analytics firm, new bookings on Airbnb are down 85 per cent; cancellation rates are close to 90 per cent. Revenue generated by Airbnb’s platform in March was down 25 per cent year-on-year, wiping out $1 billion in bookings. With much of the world still on lockdown, those numbers are unlikely to pick up anytime soon.
According to GlobalData, a growing number of Airbnb hosts are deleting their listings and moving their properties to month-to-month platforms that are less lucrative but potentially more reliable.
“People who were leasing apartments to put them on Airbnb in major metropolitan markets – those businesses are decimated and most of those companies will be out of business if not now then in the next few months,…”
This is a stunning read from that horrific volcano explosion in the White Island in New Zealand recently. The Eruption Of Instagram Island. Also stunning they were allowing these tours for so long in an active volcano. I remember us visiting the volcano in Hawaii’s Big Island and was thinking “what if it explodes now, we are dead!”.
From the WSJ Middle Seat column, here is a table how airlines are handling refunds:
When it is behind us, we will hear some spectacular stories of greedy connected people who feasted on free money from the government who clearly did not need anything…while mom and pop shop owners went bankrupt because, well, they were not as connected. Just heads up!
To get a better idea how much money is being thrown at us: America’s pandemic safety net. No, I have not applied for any help, there are so many who need it a lot more than me! Remember when Obama “printed” money back when he inherited a giant crisis and screams of “Socialist” were thrown at him? That bailout pales in comparison, I mean, it’s not even in the same league! No peep at all from the governing party in this crisis, how hypocritical is that! But noooooo, the lockdown protesters are bitching about freedom of choice and how communist it is for state governments to…protect public health….Oh the hypocritical insanity!
Ok, this is behind the Wall Street Journal payload, sorry. But I am throwing it in here because as several bloggers were all selling how smart they were to leverage themselves up in their eyeballs buying and renting Airbnb real estate properties and encouraging their readers to do the same, I was the only one warning you all here that it is NOT a good idea! ‘A Bargain With the Devil’—Bill Comes Due for Overextended Airbnb Hosts.
Stefan, of Rapid Travel Chai, blogs about his own experience: SBA PPP Woes? Try These Lenders. I Got Approved in a Day After Chase Kicked Me to the Curb.
ODDZ & ENDZ
The Lazy Traveler with a must bookmark resource post: Best Free Online Courses: COVID-19 Hands You Lemons? Make Lemonade! There is no excuse now not to forward my blog to both your mother AND mother in law lol. Ok, what I meant to say is there is no excuse not to learn something new and maybe it is best if you stop wasting time watching your favorite movie for the nth time!
This is one of those special stories. Of a guy who just can not stop scamming people. A natural born asshole. No empathy at all of course. Were they born this way? Yeah, probably. I started reading it and I could not stop, wow! The Talented Mr. Khater. When 23-year-old Callie Quinn moved from Texas to Chile, she counted on finding a beautiful country, meaningful work, and interesting friends. She had no idea she’d set off a manhunt for an international con artist. No excerpts, read the whole thing. Enjoy. You are welcome. Thank you for your…one click lol.
How can you spend 46 years in jail while innocent, wow! An innocent man spent 46 years in prison. And made a plan to kill the man who framed him.
Never before seen photos of the liberation of Paris in World War II.
Click play, sit back and go WTF! Top 15 Countries By Military Spending (1914-2018).
Since we are on the subject of natural born assholes, here is another one. Bellagio Bandit: How One Man Robbed Vegas’ Biggest Casino and Almost Got Away. What a moron! Son of a respected judge by the way, smh.
We are now entering BLOG BUZZ, a section for advanced hobbyists and veterans of this fast imploding hobby and also a section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life because it helps me feel better about myself.
It is getting extremely awful to credit miles to United these days: United Slashes Premier Qualifying Point Earnings On Partners Effective July 1, 2020.
I had never thought of the IHG Rewards fourth night free benefit much. A decent strategy for the Chase IHG Rewards credit cards. Oh, by the way, the card’s signup bonus is still 140,000 IHG Rewards points available with my links…and suddenly I feel so dirty again lol.
Is it just me or is it that miles and points blogs are now turning into personal finance blogs or what? And you know blogs are struggling for content when you see posts like how to cut your grocery bills and, please sit down, writing a list is one of the ways…wow, thanks!
It is always fun when bloggers fight, especially these two!
Milenomics expanded. As in now helping produce podcasts. Which become part of its “Podcast Network”. For Patreon subscribers only. I continue giving away everything for free whining about clicks because I am a man of the people. Or just a moron…For the record, TBB has no intention to ever do a podcast, you heard it here first!
Will there be any travel company with a “loyalty” program that does NOT have the rewards be revenue based? You know, whatever the computer spits out. Welcome to the club IHG Rewards too. Next? I have no idea how Loyalty Lobby does it, consistently break stories and then…all bloggers copy it and back link to each other except LL, sad!
What happened to Middle Age Miles?
Now for something personal. Every May 1st I get very nostalgic. No, not for the Labor Movement celebrations many in Europe are so fond of, nope. It is that on this day back in 1988 I experienced one of the happiest moments of my life. It gives me chills to this day. My LARISA hometown soccer team AEL won the Greek championship league. It is the first (and last) time a team won it that was not based in either Athens or Thessaloniki. It is one of those VERY rare and special moments in sports, think equivalent to the USA Miracle on Ice caliber.
I was a junior in college in the US at that time. This is a team I have followed since the first time my dad brought me to see a game (I think eating the potato chips he got me may had something to do with it). We all grew up in Larisa idolizing our local team, different era back then, now everything is so professional and money rules. Back then it was all local boys from the city and surrounding villages except our goalie who was from a city in the north and two foreign players, a Bulgarian and one from former Zair (both substitutes). Everyone else was local! Now in Greece most players of pro soccer teams are all foreigners, the game has changed so much.
Anyway, the players have been playing together for years, it was like a true family back then. The stadium was sold out (or nearly sold out) in most games while now attendance has sunk across the league, different era, remember? Back in 1979 we lost two players in a car accident when they were going to Athens to play for the national team. One of them had a girlfriend in my neighborhood and when he came out to the balcony us kids playing in the yard used to try harder and show off lol. The other one was from a village nearby and my dad knew his parents. I remember vividly going to the funeral and for the first time seeing a dead body, I was so shocked I avoided going to funerals for decades! There was a third player in the car who was sleeping with a pillow…and that saved his life. He returned and stayed with the team for the rest of his career refusing to transfer to a much richer team in Athens. All these players are heroes in town, true legends.
Anyway, there were three games left in that glorious season. If we won two of the three we would be crowned champions, something totally unthinkable even to this day. So, I made an excuse to my professors that my grandfather was dying and I had to fly back to Greece. First game back we won easily 3-0 with a team in the lower ranks, no surprise at all.
Next game was the BIG one. A win and the last game would not matter at all. The pressure in the days building up to it were unbelievable, we could do something that will mark us for the rest of our lives. Packed stadium, many could not get in! I was right behind one of the goals in the main fan section. The stress is something I still feel. The opposing team apparently was promised some big bucks from another team not to lose. We kept attacking but…that goal that meant EVERYTHING would not come. Stress kept building up. Still no goal. And then magic happened around the 87th minute. Our defender captain saw the ball coming and with a leap and shot he became immortal with a goal for the ages…
the ball landed in the left corner (here is a video of the goal, not the greatest quality but you can “feel it” I hope)
and then, to this day, I have no idea how I came to land from the very top of the stands right to the ground near the gate leading to the field. Still, to this day, I have a hard time remembering what happened afterwards, how the seconds kept on ticking and fans could not help but coming on to celebrate on the field only to be chased by cops and team players and officials not to ruin it and let the seconds tick away…As the seconds ticked away we all realized that this will go down in history for ever. And the final whistle happened and then the parties did not stop for a week in the whole city. I would love to see this happen again but there is no way in hell in the current state of affairs, sad.
And I leave you with this…
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