I go on addressing many issues about this blog and just whatever voices in my head tell me to type. Whatever, hope you enjoy.
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Happy July 4th, enjoy your holiday!
It’s been a while since I did a “voices in my head” type post. I reserve those when I do a brain dump. Just sit down and type whatever is in my head…It just makes me feel better about myself. So, here we go:
Bankrate is the company that owns The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets. It is also the company that handles creditcards.com which many of us bloggers in this space use. In other words, this company just dominates the marketing of travel rewards credit cards! It was bought out yesterday by “digital marketing company” Red Ventures for $1.4 billion. I have no idea what this will mean for the blog space I am covering here for you. I never heard of Red Ventures. Of course, there will be changes. We just need to let this play out. If you have any info please let me know, thank you!
There will be no more Saturday blog posts here. This is one promise I will do my best to keep. Maybe at some point I will start to take the weekends off. We will see.
An update on our upcoming vacation to the San Francisco area. First four nights were to be in the city and I had three out of four hotel nights taken care of. I was debating whether to stay at four different hotels as I gave up on a specific Hyatt property I was targeting (sold out). Clearly, Mrs. TBB was not thrilled about having to move every single day. So, we will stay in three different hotels then as I moved my Platinum free night from the Berkeley Claremont to the San Francisco Fairmont where we will now stay for two (free) nights. I changed the Claremont reservation to a paid one at a rate for $249. We will use gift cards for it. This gets us to another FREE vacation. Three round trip award flights on Delta and 13 free hotel nights using a combination of free night cert, hotel points and gift cards. High Five!
After repeated requests in the past several years, I added it!
As Amazon revenue has dried up and credit cards revenue is so uneven and now appears to be set for changes, I decided it was about time! Support good blogging before we give up! And thanks to the reader for encouraging me to upgrade my personal Paypal account to a business one. Hey, almost five year into this thing!
I have not figured out how to do the page thanking you after you do the donation…so let me thank you in advance!
This comes up periodically. I have 283 blogs/websites in my Feedly account! Creeping towards 300 again, smh. Yes I got a problem.
How do I extend Copa miles, I have four accounts 🙂
BestOffersPatrol is not going anywhere. I have received feedback that it is great to get an update on what BEST OFFER cards are available here. You will see more comments, not in the body of the post. Unless the Paypal Donate button goes bananas.
Three readers had offered to do a guest blog post. I have not heard back. I am still interested! Yeah, doing them trip reports is incredibly time consuming!
I am very open to more guest posts. Trip reports to interesting places we don’t see many trip reports from are very welcome. I like practical info, make them educational for my readers.
I give guest post writers a $75 Amazon card going forward. Nobody likes to work for free 🙂 And I promise I won’t use your content to litter it with credit card applications like these blogs do!
This blog is my baby.
The travel hacking space is so changed (devalued) from the early 2000’s that it is just unrecognizable. Amazingly, bloggers keep coming in thinking they have something unique to share. Which is so so wrong. If you are going to bust your butt to succeed in this crowded field about a hobby with such awful prospects, maybe, you are a fool. In other words, do something else more valuable for your time, learn some marketable skills or something. You are welcome.
In July my daughter will be practicing driving in the streets of Ann Arbor. This is a warning.
In my household, there is a Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus credit card. Anyone knows what will happen to them? Eventually product changed to the Ink Business Preferred? If that’s the case, I better look to apply for that one for the 80k bonus soon. Yeah, after almost a two year break, I think I am back into the Chase play field. Going forward, I think I am going to be all non-Chase apps while Mrs. TBB slowly gets back into being almost exclusive with Chase (and limited apps not impacting 5/24 of course). That will not help me get below 3 million points/miles which was my goal after I started my plastic diet. But, there is a chance my mother will visit and spend the winter in Michigan so I may splurge for us traveling on flat beds and all.
Goal is to get out to Portland this year for a TBB reader meetup. No idea when. It appears I may be going to Greece sometime in September. It depends. Very unclear phase in my life right now. Maybe it is a 50 year old thing?
If you have any info about the blogs/bloggers I am covering please let me know. It does not have to be shocking 😉
There is nobody more shocked than me that I am still at this blogging thingie almost five years later. I have learned and am learning a lot and enjoying the ride. Excuse the whining, I know I sometimes over do it. But it helps me cope with that deflating feeling…you know, every day from June 12-27 when this blog made just 57 cents. The mother of all streaks I guess!
I am doing a fasting type diet all this week. About time to stay away from tempting food, it will be good for me. Enjoy the grilling you guys!
I wonder if there will be interest for a TBB reader meetup while we are in Sunnyvale about a month from now…
The Ann Arbor Art Fair DO is coming. You don’t need to pay money to hang out with us. I would like to do the party at my home again the night before the DO but it appears I may have to say no to many as it was very popular last year. I am no TPG, I don’t live in a mansion! So I am up in the air on this one…
TBB is a family operation. Son has done some guest trip reports. And now my daughter said yes to do the research for you: See how many of the Million Mile Secrets Friday interview blogs are still alive. And yes I am paying her!
Any personal finance topics that you would like me to write about that are not covered elsewhere or under reported? I don’t want to write about stuff that has been written to death. I have hit a giant brick wall on my personal finance writing. And this blog is the biggest block to it…It’s like crack I can’t quit or something. Full Disclosure: I have never done crack.
Yesterday I received 7 hits coming from ESPN.com. WTF was that all about? #odd
Anything on your mind go ahead.
Thank you for visiting and reading what I have to say in my little corner in da internet. Still pretty cool to communicate with more than a few at a time!
Me and my daughter backstage in the Garden Theater in Detroit before her dance performance. I am drinking beer. Yes it was free lol. Wearing all black makes me look not as fat. And yes, I am inhaling!
Meet my new research assistant who rocked the house in Detroit in her solo dance.
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Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Still on the porch. JFK got me. Try tonight.
Thank you for being first in the comments and using the Donation button.
Hope the flight works out tonight.
In the air.
Congrats on the donate button. Transparent.
Thank YOU! And enjoy the trip amigo!
That dancing picture would fit soo much better if she was holding some kind of Chase credit card in the hand 😉
Actually, as a birthday gift, my wife and daughter agreed to do pics holding cards. As a parody of course. But I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. 🙂
Thanks for the donation, Meijer has a great sale on gum, I will buy not one but two sticks with it 🙂
I see bad vibes in that changing hotels every day. Lots of time spent non-vacationing.
I has a friend who did that in New York-found two hotels with free night payoffs for best rate guaranties. Found some website with cheap rates and whacked away at both hotels. BRG was only on first night, so every morning they got up, checked out, walked across the street and checked in.
Free is free ya know.
Well, the first night is at an airport Hyatt. 2nd is at an Intercontinental in the city and then the two final nights are at the Fairmont SF…Not too bad. Then we get to relax by staying 5 straight nights at a Country Inn & Suites hotel 1.1 miles away from son’s apartment in Sunnyvale. After that we have another one of those one nighter hotel streaks!
Fairmont Berkeley Claremont
Interontinental The Clement Monterey
Hyatt Carmel Highlands
Back at the Sunnyvale Country Inn and Suites before flying back from SFO next day
Hey, gotta do what you gotta do to travel for freeeeeee 🙂
Another smashing quarter, working on quarterly invoicing today…how long can we keep this baby=bull going?
first nite – go to your hotel in the city. Why stay at the airport? Dumbest thing ive ever watched you type over and over again? Are you 80 yrs old? you telling me you land at SFO and cant get into the city to your hotel? crazy stuff man.
The SPG hotels suck and I dont jave that many left!
The Hyatt I wanted are sold out and the others are not good deals on points.
2nd night burning a free IHG night at the Intercontinental. It is nice but NOT willing to burn 60k pts for another night.
The airport hotel is a good enough deal with Hyatt points.
There is a method to my madness. I want free and a good deal.
Plus I like to make things a little challenging too!
Nick @ Personal Finance Digest says
I don’t know much about Red Ventures but they’ve been growing like crazy. Here’s some local coverage:
Great feedback on this company, thank you!
Oh, they own that SimpleDollar blog? They’ve been after me to publish a link to your credit card “reviews”. Total hack job omg! It’s just links to affiliate credit cards, every single one of them. And the text in the emails to me are like they are talking to a moron…Wow! I ignored them as I do 99.99% of them. If I had integrity I wouldn’t lol.
They have staff in Sao Paulo, Brazil. And they received an investment themselves from a private equity company. Interesting.
Looks to me like a collection of too many and too different online things. Resembles Internet Brands in a way.
It will be VERY interesting to see what they do with TPG and MMS. Daraius clearly wants a way out. TPG got along very well with Bankrate…will see how he does with this new company. I hope they move him to Charlotte so he can invite you to his parties 🙂
I didn’t volunteer, I possibly even missed the first call for a guest post but if trip reports to interesting places that are not often covered. However, I have a trip to Turks & Caicos coming up on Saturday if that sounds interesting to you. It’s our fourth trip, so maybe the coverage has increased over the years but I found very little helpful info and tips prior to our first trip.
It’s hard to insert tons of links when the island doesn’t have any chain hotels or airport lounges not allowing for many conversions for your standard blogger post. There are no Globalist nee Diamond member amenities given at the local resorts, but there are the occasional free rum punch parties, and that’s an even trade in my book!
Glad to hear you are somewhat limiting the hotel switches in SF, I always had serious doubts about that aspect of your trip. Don’t forget to watch Joey Chesnut eat 19k calories today, have a happy 4th!
Very interested in a trip report to the Turks & Caicos if you can put it together. I prefer places where we entitled don’t travel to and stay for free 🙂
As far as my Hyatt status goes, I am now a Survivalist! Bwahahaha, just came to me.
I am working today. It’s all good.
Haha I like the Hyatt Survivalist, that’s a good one! I will see about putting together a Turks & Caicos report. For the East Coast crowd it’s a 3-hour quick flight and somehow still gets no coverage other than when a celeb rents a 20k a week villa, I’m talking about you, Oliva Munn!
That will be great!
OK, George! I told you a couple times to put the Donate button. Now I see it and have tested it out! Happy Fourth of July!
I move very slow when it comes to this stuff…Thanks for your persistence.
Enjoy the holiday Carl and all!
And thanks for the donation!
RenesPoints blog post headline today:
I Went for 4 New Travel Cards This Round – 3 Approved and 1 Pending. What Cards Did I Go For?
I am going to do the same one today and hosted by BestOffersPatrol
for you Bluecat 🙂
My latest music fix is this song:
The desert is mine
Tenere, my homeland
We come to you when the sun goes down
Leaving a trail of blood across the sky
Which the black night wipes out
The desert is hot
And its water hard to find
Water is life and soul
To all my brothers I say
The desert is jealous!
A jealous desert
Why can’t you see
You are a treasure
I’ve seen the world
I love you better
You are the treasure
Of my soul
Your daughter is gorgeous.
She was pure terror when she was little. Crying fits non stop. We almost stopped funding her college account too 🙂 But she has grown to be a smart confident hard working pretty young lady…so thanks again.
Did I ever post a pic of her as a toddler with the knife of some hotel in Tahiti? It’s a classic! NO resemblance at all to this day!
Richard Toscano says
Love your blog!
#1) As for finance topics, try to simoky explain what are annuities, should everyone have them, and which are best to get (very confusing);
#2) As for guest posts I have 2 blogs, one “Around the World in 90 Days” (www.ToscanoWorldTrip.blogspot.com)
where I took my daughter out if school and
http://www.GringoWithTheLingo.com, where I try to explore travel through learning and speaking languages (not many have covered this area.)
Thanks for the kind words.
I added your Gringo blog to my Feedly list, you are now #284 blog I am following!
I do remember reading your 90 day trip blog posts one night. But then I lost the links or forgot to bookmark them. What a great trip and memories. I bookmarked it this time and will link to it sometime later this week, thanks.
As far as guest trip reports here, I am looking for original work from (mostly) non bloggers. And from interesting not heavily visited places. For example, like the two Kazakhstan posts earlier this year:
http://travelbloggerbuzz.com/20629-2/ <------Astana and Amaty
Annuities are a contract, usually between an investor and an insurance company. They come in many varieties but the simplest is one where the investor gives the insurance company money and the insurance company promises to give the investor a regular, fixed payment periodically (eg, monthly) for life.
The principal plus is the fixed payment for life, which provides certainty. The negatives include not being able to get out of the deal for many years without a huge fee. This is because of the fat commission paid to whoever sold the policy. Many annuity salespeople make travel blogger titans seem like Mother Teresa.
This is a thumbnail overview of a pretty complex subject with sub-topics like tax benefits and annuities with variable payments based on stock market returns. Study up a lot, or stay away. Far away.
Richard Toscano says
Thanks, Sam! I will stick with Vanguard Index Funds.
I do too 🙂
Ooops, I forgot to address the annuities part, sorry! I see Sam has done a decent job at it.
It is a complex topic, so many out there…
But if I can simplify it, IN GENERAL, here we go:
Equity Index Annuities: RUN and STAY AWAY
Variable Annuities: Look, hard to have your cake and eat it too. Wait, how does that one go? U know what I mean. There is nothing wrong with the concept. BUT you ALWAYS pay dearly for them guarantees.
Fixed Annuities: They have a place for very risk adverse investors. But darn rates are too darn low to lock up your capital for god knows how long.
Longevity annuities: Newer product, sounds appealing. You give them money and they don’t pay it out to you until age 85 but then it is guaranteed as long as you are alive. You can live it up in your 70s up to age 85 and then live off it. Sounds nice. But it requires you to part with your capital NOW and then hope you make it to age 85 and live for a very long time.
So, in terms of sales commissions: The Equity Index Annuities are the absolute worst. We are talking MAJOR scam bags (again in general). Folllowed by variable annuities, very high commissions but lower than EIAs. Guess what? Fixed annuities don’t pay much in commissions…so they are not sold much. Hey, it is similar to bloggers selling credit cards, isn’t it? I have not looked much into longevity annuities yet.
Hope this helps.
Richard Toscano says
Thanks for the explanation. I will continue with Vanguard Index Funds.
I am featuring your Around the World link tomorrow….STOP me before it goes live if you don’t want me to!
Good call to stay away from the annuities. They train very well to sell these and they sound so great…unless you discover the steep fees in page 126 of the prospectus 🙂
Suck It Alan H and Gary says
Best post ever!
Already added it for tomorrow’s post.
WTF is wrong with Japanese men!
Funny you should mention the guest blogs on MMS. You articulated what I thought for awhile. He asks the same questions every interview and many times the answers are identical. Seriously, how many times do we need to be told the best way to get points is to open credit cards.
The questions never changed!
Same old canned replies from bloggers so excited they will get a bunch of clicks from MMS and they are all so ass kissy about it.
Ass kissing is definitely not for me! I understand it thought…it is the “right” thing to do to grow your blog. But conforming to shit like that just turns me off…
I think I may be the only blogger out there who has refused to do a Friday interview at MMS!
Happy Last day to get a Delta Amex! Can’t wait to see the count.
Well, please note I have not gone off today like so many other bloggers selling it like a MUST get credit card (pic coming in tomorrow’s post). I just did not feel right doing the same. Plus bluecat is ready to let me hear it lol.
But you can go ahead and be #4 (assuming three of them end up paying out).
This is an operation around here that is a rounding error at TPG Inc.
But, damn it, he does not beat me in integrity. And you can take that to the bank…oh, oopsie, this did not come out just right 🙂
George, you mention “moving your a Platinum free night” to a certain hotel, which Platitumcard is it that gives a free night?
As for Trip reports, I am probably in a minority with this comment, but I find they have too many photos (time consuming to clean them up) and too many words with everything someone did (time consuming). Nor do I need to see what a bottle of champagne look likes, or the toilet in First Class etc.
I prefer learn how the trip was put together, Miles used from which website, ground transportation and only attractions that were a either a surprise to someone, Off beat, the strange, interesting bars, food, cafes, and the forbidden. The run of the mill and ordinary stuff can be found anywhere.
I was looking for FC or BC direct flight from NYC area to Beijing non stop in October. I first went to Aeroplan as I have. a lot of miles but nothing came up.
I saw the United website had a Air China FC Miles ticket (I believe it was 105k). I called Aeroplan and gave them the Air China FC Flight found on United and booked it over the phone for 77k Miles! The only thing they would not waive the $25 booking fee.
I hope that all make sense because maybe that information in a Trip report would help someone in their future bookings.
Great Job, George and congrats to daughter.
Free Platinum – As a lifetime Fairmont Presidents Club member I get one free night every year. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Thanks for the feedback on trip reports. There are SO many ways to do them. I personally find the ones by OMAAT excruciating while others obviously like them. I am not going to do hotel reviews or flight reviews here, I find them way too boring. I think personality, uniqueness, useful practical info, nice pics all contribute. Oh, and places that we don’t see much of. Just different.
Mine are long, done in chronological format, lots of pics and personal aspects along with humor. I write them for me and as a diary to show my grandkids (God willing) one day. You liking them is a bonus. I know some readers hate them. As always…
We are all different 🙂
I was thinking of finding an award expert who likes to pitch in here guest posts once a month or so. I think it is an area that can be covered better. Especially with the ongoing restrictions and crap airlines put in front of us.
The above sentence contained a hint. Contact management 🙂
Thanks to the two readers who sent a donation later today on July 4th. Much appreciated.