Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as how it is to be cruising again, the best hikes in each state, the biggest ponzi scams in modern history, the new Covid panic, a guide on renting a car in Greece, the economic risks from anti-vaxxers, we go deeper on all things Delta the variant not the airline, Giannis became an NBA legend and it could not happen to a better human being, best selling car in America, parents reunite with kidnapped son after 24 years and prepare to cry, we go into the latest action in the miles and points world where it is currently raining free travel from the banks if you play this game the right way that is and lots more!
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If you missed my trip report from Tehran in Iran, check it out!
If you wondered what cruising is like now, this post is for you: My First Cruise in 502 Days – Here’s What Happened.
I saved this post for obvious reasons: The Best Hikes in Every State.
If you are traveling to Greece: 8 Things to Know About Driving and Renting a Car in Greece. Need to make sure I remember to get an International Driver’s Permit before I fly to Greece in November. And please pray for me on those roundabouts, what the hell!
“Traffic already on a roundabout has to stop and give way to traffic entering the roundabout.”
Finally! Canada border will open to vaccinated US citizens starting Aug. 9. The US did not reciprocate which does not make much sense…
I share the same worries, sadly. The Economic Risks from Anti-Vaxxers.
America is now fighting three simultaneous Covid related battles, and not doing well in any of them:
– Variants/Mutations are increasingly infectious/deadly;
– Vaccinations have become politicized;
– States and Counties with low Vaxx rates have higher infection rates.
We are so close to putting this pandemic behind us, it would be a shame after spending trillions if we manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The author Jonathan Clements blogs about taunts he has heard over the years. Playground Taunts. We financial planners hear the same things all the time.
1. “It’s easy to beat the market.”
2. “You’re market timing.”
3. “Beware the bogeyman.”
4. “Why would anyone own bonds?”
5. “This article is so unsophisticated.”
6. “The author’s an idiot.”
Be careful out there! The Biggest Ponzi Schemes In Modern History.
As mentioned in the previous section, I am starting to worry about them breakthrough infections as Delta appears to be a hell of a variant! The New COVID Panic. Must read.
For a more pessimistic view on the Delta variant you should read this Twitter thread. You have been warned.
It’s Too Late. So sad…
Ok, maybe I am being too negative. For a more positive view on Delta, here is an update from Andy Slavitt. I feel better now…
Hey look, remember when lots of scientists came out and said “Investigate the lab leak theory”? Well, one of them already changed his mind: New Data Leads To Rethinking (Once More) Where The Pandemic Actually Began.
ODDZ & ENDZ
Giannis is special and this could not happen to a better person, so proud! Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 50 points in Game 6 of NBA Finals, Milwaukee Bucks win club’s 1st NBA title since 1971. That performance was legendary! “Obviously I wanted to get the job done. But that’s my stubborn side. It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else. It’s easy. … I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship.” Those darn stubborn Greeks you know.
Too much Toyota, we need more Ford! The Best-Selling Car in America, Every Year Since 1978.
This will get to you, wow! Parents Who Never Stopped Searching Reunite With Son Abducted 24 Years Ago. I could not imagine what they went through, respect! Archived link.
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 100k CHASE Sapphire Preferred, 100k CHASE United Quest, 75k CHASE Ink Cash, 75k CHASE Ink Unlimited, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 60k CHASE Sapphire Reserve, 80k CITI Premier, 20k CHASE Freedom Flex & CHASE Freedom Unlimited, 150k CHASE IHG Rewards Club Premier (& a free night) and many more, including many American Express cards! Please check out my Affiliate links. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
If you do not see a credit card with my affiliate links, perhaps I could refer you? Contact me!
This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! Feel free to skip this section and parts of the next one if this is not for you.
Newbies: The 100k Chase Sapphire Preferred card is now available with my links. If you are totally new and looking for a keeper card I think THIS is the card. Apply for it, get approved, do the required minimum $4k spend, get the 100k points signup bonus, transfer the points to United or Southwest or Hyatt or just cash out for $1,250 spend for groceries using the “Pay Yourself Back” feature assuming you do eat, right? For the annual fee of only $95, COME ON, do the math! Ok, here is the math: $1,250 – $95 = $1,155. So, if a bank offers you all this money what is your problem? Just ALWAYS make sure you NEVER EVER carry a balance ok? If you currently have the card, you can refer your spouse or significant other or third cousin or travel starved friend and you the referrer can earn 20k Chase points for the referral and the referred still get the full 100k bonus. You may even get the annual fee waived if you go inside a branch if you are that brave and have that much free time.
Look, getting more credit cards WILL lead you to spend more. So, go into this realizing that. Or feel free to skip this section, especially if you are a Dave Ramsey fan or something. It is perfectly fine if life is working for you! Just don’t trust the big bloggers in this hobby who try to sell you plastic EVERY day! Ever wondered how they can love so many credit cards? Well, yeah, they never write about credit cards that do not pay them a sales commission.
Case in point. There is an amazing offer still out there right now for the personal AmexPlatinum card. And these bloggers do not inform their readers but instead keep them in the dark and try to sell them MUCH inferior affiliate offers for the same credit card. You can find this offer in this post. It is for 125,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6k in the first six months and, please sit down, 15 points per dollar on restaurants and “small businesses”. My son got this card and this 15x points haul is starting to add up FAST! Again, DO THE MATH!
We will be canceling his Chase Sapphire Reserve card this weekend (no need for two premium cards) , wait a week or two, and then he will apply for the 100k Chase Sapphire Preferred card (outlined above) and we hope the 100k offer is not pulled by then. Yeah, paying $695 annual fee is ridiculous but the 125k points signing bonus and 15x (on up to $25,000 for restaurants and “small businesses”) should make up for that. Again, do the math! To lighten up on the $695 fee it will be no problem getting the full $200 Uber credit and I am getting my New York Times $17 per month credit paid for as my handling fee lol. Need to pick an airline for the $200 airline credit and I guess he will go for a free CLEAR membership. I’ll book a night or two in a hotel using the portal to get $200 off as well. And buy some crap at Saks.com for
$50 $0 every six months. He is excited to enter Centurion lounges, last time he did was with his dad in world travels as a kid, good memories lol.
Understand something. The vast majority of you have no reason to get a card with a $695 annual fee! Even if the math works out. It works out for us who breathe this stuff!
What qualifies as a small business with Amex? Here is a locator.
You also need to understand something else. The signing bonuses for travel rewards credit cards right now are the highest ever! If you are looking for inflation, well, this is it! If you told me that even Citi will get into the dance offering the Premier card with an 80k signing bonus I would not have believed you. And now you can turn the 80k points into AA miles making the Citi Premier is the Best Earner for American Airlines AAdvantage Miles (For Now). If I did not have the $6k Platinum minimum spend outlined above and then another $4k for son’s CSP card I would go for this pronto. Then again I also have another CSP on target for daughter who turns 19 in early August and debating right now to go for it or wait for her to turn 19. I transferred 15k of cash into her Chase checking account to increase her approval odds. I am not sure how long the 100k CSP offer will last…So, I need to slow down you guys 🙂 Torn between realizing these mega offers may not last and how to keep this hobby under control because all this takes mental bandwidth!
Also higher offers with Hilton cards. Heck, the no annual fee card offers 100,000 Hilton Honors points and the others with annual fees go even higher. You know, you could spend several nights for freeeeeeee in these properties: Hilton Honors 5,000 & 10,000 Points Per Night Hotels (July 2021). I predict Hilton will kill the 5k category before the end of the year, the devaluation writing is on the wall, so to speak. Across the board.
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 appears that this may be true: Citi Getting Tougher with Approvals, Is There a New Rule in Place? Or it could be the “amazing” IT of this bank!
Just be aware that the transfer of Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines is not instant. Transfer Times from Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines: Miles Posted 12-13 Hours Later.
We have New Offers on Blue Business cards. While credit card selling blogs will make these sound so “amazing” so they can trick their readers to apply for them so they make more money, at least you can count on Frequent Miler to always do the right thing and tell you what is going on. As in, “Overall, these new offers are lukewarm: better than the typical offers on these cards by some measure, but not nearly as hot as offers we’ve seen on other cards recently.”
Starbucks has another game out. I already won a free drink and two 50% off coupons. You can get two plays for free every day, no need to pay!
I am VERY slowly jogging again, taking it REALLY slow listening to my body. I think running personal records are past me. At this stage I just want to be out there running slow and managing the pain….maybe even one day get back to the pain free days. I am not giving up on my dream to run AND finish the Athens Greece Marathon in November! Je suis stubborn lol.
Wow, from 1994. Björk : w/PJ Harvey – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction 1994 BRIT Awards. First minute kind of sucks but then…you won’t believe what happens next.
Let me leave you with this…
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Good you are running again.
Thanks for the Ponzi links. It is important those be remembered.
If the GFC did not happen, Maddoff’s scam would still be going on!
Nick @ PFD says
Tether coin may be up there with Madoff when all is said and done.
My best bet is they are working on an exclusive crypto version and just need more time 🙂
Hi to all,
Have some questions.
Southwest changed flight so we will spend last in Salt Lake City instead of Moab, UT. Any ideas for BEST bangs for a hotel there?
Trying to reconcile how Amex calculates the 15x earnings on restaurants and “small businesses” on the Resy offer is MEGA difficult. Can’t figure it out, it seems so variant, no pattern wow!
The Olympics started and I am not feeling it. At all.
Nick @ PFD says
The positive and the negative Twitter covid threads don’t really seem too different to me. The upshot is that the Delta variant is spreading, unvaccinated people will get hammered, and vaccinated people are mostly okay though not bulletproof. I’m debating whether I need to start wearing a mask again–I gave them up in May. Do masks actually reduce the viral load when you’re exposed to somebody with covid, or do they keep you from infecting others, or both, or neither?
I think it is both. I still wear my mask at grocery stores, massage place, chiropractor and generally indoor places. I prefer outdoor restaurants but I have been indoors in some of them but still not feel too comfortable because I know people around me are not all vaccinated. I want to avoid getting it AND spreading it. Then again, my daughter is out there every day and not keeping her guard up. If I do get it, I hope it is a hell of a lot less painful as what counts as “mild”.
Agreed, wear masks indoors as indicated by the manufacturer. We’ve seen Delta coming for months. And this is the “low” spread summer season! Nobody should be a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. Even Fox News gets that! But hey Gary at VFTW knows better. It’s time to remove masks in airplanes! Because a cheap form of prevention doesn’t work?
Fox News followed by Gary at VFTW…trying to trigger me? 🙂
Nick @ PFD says
I don’t know who needs to see this, but here’s the most frugal man on Twitter:
Carl Pietrantonio says
Oh, now THAT is funny! Thanks muchly as I needed a good laugh this morning.
Bookmarked it and only saw the post about saving on water bills…LOL!
Expect bigger veggies soon (but what about taste?)
Chuan He perturbed RNA regulatory pathways to make essentially ANY plant gigantic! Giant potatoes! More rice! This is a huge deal for world hunger
Björk makes me think about a time when MTV exclusively played music videos. And PJ Harvey make me think about Nick Cave..
The Olympics, those 1998 Holocaust “jokes may catch up with you.
This RNA thingie may not end well I am afraid…
Don’t feel like watching the Olympics at all.
David F. says
Just passing this along as an FYI.
I am sure you don’t need me to tell you the current nightmare on US Passports – but right now it looks like Global Entry renewals are being processed very quickly
We separately applied for Renewal for my Son and Spouse these past 2 weeks (I did mine earlier this year) – both were approved within 48 hours and we had new cards in the mail within a week.
These were renewals – not new applications.
Daughter waiting on new passport. Told her she can’t cross any borders and pray it arrives before Thanksgiving!
Good to know about Global Entry!
Contact your two senators
Contact your two senators…. it may help
The Masked Poster says
And with your contact of the senators, don’t forget to enclose a check. Otherwise, only a polite reply will be sent. “Thank you for your concerns, etc.” Money talks.
Hey Buzz, good afternoon.
Have stayed at the Kimpton Monaco a couple times in SLC, more than satisfactory. There’s some good restaurants in the area, if they’re still open.
Just got back from our daughter’s wedding in Alaska. Lotsa folks not wearing masks. Sad to say that their whole family came down with Covid within a week of the wedding.
Thanks for the Andy Slavitt link, even though my wife and I only got the J&J vaccine, it helps the mind.
Have a great weekend!
Thanks for the Kimpton suggestion. Not a huge Kimpton fan and I am almost out of IHG points but maybe I have enough for a night.
Congrats on your daughter’s wedding! Sorry about the Covid breakout. I think I am beginning to think we will all catch it eventually 🙁
“ vaccines being used in the UK are between 91 and 97 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation.”
J&J’s better than that. Bottom line, get vaccinated. They save lives!
Marshall Jackson says
Thanks for the link. We’ll see when I sail again. Probably going to hunker down for the winter, send off the passports for renewal, and hope they’re back by 2022. 🙂
Just checked the Covid numbers from yesterday…cases almost 118k…Holy motherof*&%$
My November trip to Greece is…fading….
Watching women’s 3 vs 3 basketball game… (one basket!). Almost more exciting than the NBA. Perfect type of game for James Harden, no defense needed!
What’s next 4 vs 4? Sometimes I wonder about these new Olympic sports smh. Have not caught anything on that sport yet. Loved the drones in the opening ceremony. I had to look up what ROC was. Saw a soccer game 4-4, need to find replays of that one. Weird Olympics
Good morning Buzz,
Ahhhh, the humanity. When will we ever learn? This morning I have a dilemma for you and any of your readers that care to chime in. I was made aware of the situation late last night.
A minor child,14 years old, is visiting her father for a month of summer visitation. The child was due to return home this past week. The return home was delayed as her father contracted Covid. The child has not been feeling well and tested positive 2 days ago.
The birth mother is apparently quite upset and demands the child get on a plane and take a 6 hour flight home, knowing that her child has Covid and is not feeling well. And of course, could infect others at the airport, on the plane, etc. An awful situation for the child.
Who do you call? Do you call anyone at all? The questions are endless.
I talked to the airline last night, they were not overly concerned. The CDC sent an email, could be helpful. Certainly don’t want to put the child in an uncomfortable position, but the mother has already done that. The mother sent the stepfather to pick up the child for a 5 hour drive to the nearest airport. The two are due to fly home tomorrow.
Did I say good morning yet?
Oh man, what an awful situation to be in, wow!
Told my family today to make a plan for the eventuality “I got Covid” situation…
Really sad, especially for the child.
Whether I like it or not, I’m in the process of doing the “right thing”…which has only taken about 6 hours on the phone. The airline, then CDC, health dep’t, CPS,TSA and back to the airline. I am amazed and appalled at the amount of time it is taking. Good thing it’s only a pandemic.
Enjoy your weekend!
Best thing to do is to isolate and wait it out (with doc on call of course). Why put the kid and so many others at risk? CDC/TSA/airline: I have no idea but I would bet this is what they would say…Sorry about the situation!
Hurry George, now is your chance:
I am going to contact her and tell her that I know about an amazing Amex Platinum card offer. From Resy. And I can’t wait to share it all with all theTPG community. You think I got a chance? 🙂
Loving the Hilton in 20-21. I would normally hate dynamic pricing but its been the gift that keeps giving. Spent 60 days in the Hilton Bangkok last year and this year average price (after all the amazing bonuses per stay and per 5 nights and 5th nights free) of 7-8k. So the 5k rate that they have in Bali (haha which still has my backpack from March 2020!) prob won’t go away as long as the hotel goes rack rate for $30. Now trying to use my Hilton Resort Credit here in Phuket but I don’t have the card, guessing its not gonna work.
Marriott on the other hand, I stayed at the JW Marriott for Thanksgiving, got upgraded to the 2BR ocean front villa, and it was $80 for the room. Or if I wanted, 80k points! When am I going to be somewhere again where the points rate makes sense vs the cash rate?
Yeah, dynamic pricing is working out now…but at some point when we are back to normal it won’t, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Heard recently you can buy gift cards at Hiltons that sell them and it will work for the $250 resort credit. Which I still need to do on my Aspire card!
On your Marriott question: Probably…never 🙂