We blog about credit card year end checklists, 2020 key tax law changes, Airbnb IPO, AA elite enhancements, Amex shutdowns, my strategy to achieve Hyatt Globalist, the best Covid-19 coverage, catch up on the latest happenings, the best humor imho, worthy hotel promos and airline developments and SO much more to keep you busy reading stuff that will add value to your life I hope.
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This goes out to subscribers via email the day it is posted at 8 am. After that I may add something new in the body of the post and I indicate it like this: Update.
This is probably my largest blog post to date (excluding trip reports). I should be breaking this post into several parts and post more than once a week. Take your time to get through these until the next blog post, whenever it comes. Everything here is on a short term basis by just one strange dude who does this to make the world a better place…
If you are not into the frequent flyer miles/points game please feel free to skip the MILES & POINTS and most of the BLOG BUZZ section.
Stay positive, test negative!
Top picks are not excerpted at all. I recommend you find time to read every word!
This one will get you up to speed on where we stand with the virus situation and what we still don’t know…
Nothing to add here but if you are too lazy to click it, here they are: Aging World, Urban Evolution, Rising Middle Class, Rising Wealth Inequality, Environmental Pressures.
I picked this as a Top Pick for its vicious attack on venture capitalists…I loved it and you will too…unless you are one of them lol.
We all know the industries that have been decimated due to the pandemic. But one we hardly ever talk about that has been wiped out is the one with all the people working at live concerts. I remember many years ago I talked to a prospective client looking for help with his finances. His job? Sound stage main dude who traveled constantly with big bands on tours….I could not believe how much money he was making back then! And then it all stopped… These road warriors were planning on a huge year. Seven months into the pandemic, they’re struggling to get by, dealing with crippling mental health issues, and contemplating new careers.
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 75k Chase Ink Cash, 75k Chase Ink Unlimited, 70k Chase United Explorer, 100k Chase Ink Business Preferred, 60k Chase Sapphire Preferred, up to 80k for all three personal Southwest cards, 60k Citi Premier, 65k AA CitiBusiness Platinum Select, 50k AA Citi Platinum Select, 20k Chase Freedom Flex & Chase Freedom Unlimited, 60k AMEX Gold, 50k Chase World of Hyatt, 130k AMEX Hilton Business & Hilton Surpass, $300 AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, $300 AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, 140k IHG Rewards Club Premier, 100k IHG Rewards Club Traveler, 100k AMEX Marriott Business, 125k AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Please use my Affiliate links.
If you do not see a credit card with my affiliate links, perhaps I could refer you? Contact me please, thank you!
Offers that stand out are the 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the no annual fee Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited business cards, the 70k Chase United Explorer card and all three personal Southwest credit cards now offer up to 80k Rapid Rewards points to sign up.
Must click: Credit Card Recommendation Flowchart. Click on any of the two links on the top to bring it up. Updated due to the pandemic. Amazing work. For newbies: MUST read the section titled “Notes for Newbies”. Chase Bank is being extremely stingy in approving business cards lately, fyi.
Hyatt is leading the hotel promotions and many of us are thinking/considering going for Globalist elite status. But it is important to get the timing right: Tips for timing your Hyatt credit card spend. For the nth time, I do not have DIRECT credit card affiliate links so there is a bit more work to track them down to support the site. If it is not clear, ASK! The World of Hyatt credit card now offers 50,000 points for $6k spend and it gives double the elite nights (TEN nights instead of just five). Remember, you can reach Globalist elite status at 30 nights (instead of 60) in 2021 and keep it until February 2023. I explain more what I plan to do in the BLOG BUZZ section below. If you decide to get the card and you do not want to spend a few extra minutes tracking it down in my links, please use my REFERRAL link, thank you!
Hyatt is also giving out 500 World of Hyatt points if you stay in one of its new hotels, find a list of them HERE.
Oh dear God, no! Visa to launch credit card that offers bitcoin as a reward. I bet credit card salesmen posing as “travel” bloggers would do their best to sell this baby if it came with a sales commission. Save your clicks, stay away from this crap! No wonder my conversions totally suck LOL!
This is always useful at this time of the year: Year-End Credit Card Checklist for 2020: Travel Credits, Spend Reset, Application Strategy & More.
Make it a habit to call the bank to do this. And read the tips at the bottom of this post: My December Credit Card Retention Calls: 2 out of 4 Successes ($300 Statement Credits Total). I am a slacker in doing this, I need to change.
The fees keep dropping…Delta Eliminates Change Fees for International Flights. Well, as is often the case, United copied Delta and…here is a quick reference chart with all fee changes by the airlines.
If you plan to stay in a Best Western hotel, register to get triple rewards points. I would not even bother with this if it was a double points promo. Because, well, it is Best Western!
More positive changes coming from American Airlines. This is so weird, what is wrong over there lol. American Airlines Platinum Pro Benefit Changes & Elite Choice Rewards Launch. So, son is Platinum Pro until January 31, 2022. He was going to achieve AA Executive Platinum in 2020 but then Covid happened. I think he is entitled to make one elite choice reward or maybe they become available when he requalifies. When business travel starts back up he is going to hit that we think…Love freebies!
I recommend you stay at home to help contribute to beating back the virus and in turn help our fellow citizens, our communities and the world! But if you had the virus I guess your antibodies are fine: Places Americans Can Visit Without Needing to Quarantine.
Yikes: Lufthansa to Cut Nearly 40,000 More Jobs. STFU about not getting your pre departure drinks next time okay? Real people are really suffering out there! Speaking of suffering…please sit down with this next one from the Wall Street Journal ($ paywall!) titled: From Pilot to Truck Driver—Airline Careers Grounded by Pandemic. I felt really sad reading this, a few excerpts that stood out:
The pandemic will cost some 4.8 million aviation jobs…Airlines alone are forecast to shed 1.3 million jobs.
A senior pilot can make as much as $350,000 in the U.S. The job can also lead to well-paying gigs overseas.
That is all over now for younger pilots. The cuts are hitting the newest, least-experienced pilots first, due to union rules in much of the Western world that require furloughs to start with the last to be hired.
I loved this one, I did not know how this design came about! Into the Heart of the Atrium Hotel. In the 1970s, new downtown hotels often boasted soaring atrium lobbies, filled with glass elevators, bars and restaurants. What’s inside this uniquely American building style?
One day I would love to do this…while I still can! What’s It Like Cycling the World’s Most Dangerous Road?
Love this article about the Chinatown in New York City! Chinatown: Time Travel Through a New York Gem.
By the way, I love the guys I hire for snow plowing service at my home. If I was in this place though…I would have to pay a little bit more lol. How to Clear a Path Through 60 Feet of Snow, Japanese Style. Snow Canyon in Toyama is both visually stunning and quite the technical feat.
Doubt I’ll make it over to Kashmir one day, maybe when a Hyatt opens lol: Animal attacks taking their toll in Kashmir.
Things I learn while blogging. I did not know about the Floating Islands of the Uros. Fascinating, even if it does smell like a tourist trap!
Love the pictures, wow! Hotels fit for a KGB officer: Soviet cities in the twilight – in pictures.
V-Day, it has begun! Grandmother, 90, is the first to get COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.
I think we may have too many vaccines to choose from soon? Here is another vaccine tracker.
I am sure you may have seen this study from South Korea recently that made you take pause in how you handle yourself indoors. Small Data, Big Implications.
If you just want the results: one person (Case B) infected two other people (case A and C) from a distance away of 6.5 meters (~21 feet) and 4.8m (~15 feet). Case B and case A overlapped for just five minutes at quite a distance away. These people were well beyond the current 6 feet / 2 meter guidelines of CDC and much further than the current 3 feet / one meter distance advocated by the WHO. And they still transmitted the virus.
Instead of beating up on the Chinese like so many other blogs out there that cater to readers (and their $ clicks) I bring you material that stick to the blog’s mission. And most likely you do not find anywhere else. So, we need to give some credit to the Chinese scientists here! The Pandemic Heroes Who Gave us the Gift of Time and Gift of Information. As safe and effective vaccines make news, let’s remember the heroism of China’s scientists and medical workers. A Chinese scientist published the genetic sequence on January 10, 2020…without that there would be no vaccines okay?
I think, with the virus raging everywhere in the US, this article is helpful: What To Do If You Test Positive For The Coronavirus This Winter. Or just do not do what asshole Rudy Giuliani was doing!
If you mention herd immunity without a vaccine here TBB management will ask you to leave, WTF! Can We Finally Stop Talking About “Natural” COVID-19 Herd Immunity?
I want to go up and slap every one I see with a mask not covering their nose. And punch everyone wearing it under the chin! How to Use Masks during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
With the death toll nearing a horrific 300,000 in the US, you know, it could have been handled differently. If it was only as bad as the flu or magically disappeared….How Melbourne eradicated Covid-19.
Podcast by Andy Slavitt: Toolkit: Where and When Can I Get the Vaccine? Wow, I think we may get them sooner than we all expect…
Devastating: Where ICUs are near capacity.
A friend of mine just traveled to Thailand. And he has been messaging us from his two week quarantine prison in a Hilton hotel. He only gets out to walk up to 2 miles in an enclosed area just outside. Well, you see how strict they take the virus in other countries and how we here have reacted in such “freedom” ranting ways smh. It boggles the mind that we have managed to totally phuck this up with almost 300,000 dead and over 200,000 new Covid cases every day. Meanwhile, “There Was A Pandemic?” What Life Is Like In Countries Without COVID.
And I am going to leave you with something extremely sad…
Airbnb had a mega IPO pop…Sometimes when things happen there is no logical explanation. I wonder if they in turn buy a hotel company…or two lol.
A new tax season is coming, always exciting! Key tax law changes for tax year 2020.
Not shocking that Technology topped this list: Which Industry Boasts the Most Billionaire Wealth?
This is pure perfection. If you are a fan of Donald Trump this is not for you. Actually, wtf are you doing here? You are welcome to stay so you can be saved lol. A political obituary for Donald Trump. I should have added this as a Top Pick but I don’t want to get my blog too political. The previous sentence was all sarcastic by the way. Our democracy survived…well, assuming we are all here for 40 more days.
No wonder that Elon Musk dude wants to get to Mars soon! Visualizing the Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface.
When someone you love has crossed the other side. It is SO hard to save them at this point. This may help a few readers: It can be hard to hear your mum thinks the Earth is flat. But saving a loved one from conspiracy theories is possible.
The aliens are already here! Former Israeli space security chief says extraterrestrials exist, and Trump knows about it. I always found it peculiar how we have seen so many “releases” of UFO videos lately and…I have been wondering if we are being conditioned for the big reveal. If they could only come and abduct Trump lol.
WTF is that Olympics Committee? Breakdancing will be an official sport at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
ODDZ & ENDZ
This probably belonged in the Top Pick section: Rare Octopus With Transparent Head Caught by Blackwater Photographer. Amazing!
You almost never hear anything from a former Japanese Kamikaze pilot. Until this guy: He Escaped Death as a Kamikaze Pilot. 70 Years Later, He Told His Story. Wow. Kazuo Odachi is one of the last living members of a group never meant to survive. He wants to remind Japan that before its modern success came the sacrifices of the young pilots who gave their lives.
What a tragic story and sad ending: Tony Hsieh’s American Tragedy: The Self-Destructive Last Months Of The Zappos Visionary.
Long piece on Stephen Colbert: “Look At What We Love. It’s on Fire”: Stephen Colbert on Trump Trauma, Leadership, and Loss. One thing for sure, the Biden presidency will be a lot more boring. But I think we are all ready for boring! I don’t know about you but I feel exhausted with all the constant batshit crazy stuff coming from Trump. I wish we could fast forward January 20. Until then, buckle up!
Enjoy these: The Ten Best Short Films on Netflix.
Balls of steel…NOT!
Ok, let’s keep LOLing…with brilliant Stu.
The US is not included in this. No surprise Italians stick around. But South Koreans moving around so fast, wow! Where People Stick With Their Jobs.
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.
Finally, this happened if anyone cares: Elite Status Alignment Between Mileage Plan and oneworld Alliance Announced Officially.
Did you hear that, did you hear it? It was yet another wave of Amex Shut Down Points & Miles Fanatics Abusing Spending Rules. I am not going to comment more on this…
I should read this before I was sucked into going for Hyatt Globalist: Shop Talk: Keep These Things in Mind Before Pursuing Hyatt Globalist. Screw it, I am still going for it! Here is my thinking: I get 5 elite nights for being a World of Hyatt current credit card holder. I will get another 6 elite nights for $15k spend until my September card anniversary (and earn another free night cert). I just booked 10 nights in a nearby Category 1 hotel for 50,000 points and I expect a 25% rebate so net cost will be 37,500 points. Since stays in Jan/Feb count as double elite nights this gives me another 20 nights. So I will have 31 nights, hello Globalist! By hitting 30 nights milestone award I earn another free night cert. So…and then I started thinking oh oh. At 40 nights I can earn 5,000 points or a $100 Hyatt gift card. If I could do another $15k spend between September and December that could give me another 6 elite nights so now I am up to 37 elite nights. I still plan to visit Greece in November 2021 and I love staying at the Thessaloniki Hyatt or I can hit the brand new Grand Hyatt in Athens so doing three more nights should be very easy. And then, wait for it, if you hit 50 elite nights you get the much coveted confirmed Suite Upgrade awards to ensure you make an aspirational stay (probably in 2022 sometime) really aspirational instead of relying on “suite space availability”. Hmm, do I do another 5 night award stay at a nearby Category 1 hotel to get me 10 elite nights to get to 47…and easily hit 50 for sure? Hmmm, I have not pulled the trigger on that…yet. And then, when you look at 60 elite night milestone award you see yet a free night cert (up to Category 7!) AND two more confirmed suite upgrades and Hyatt concierge…oh boy…maybe I book another 10 night stay at a nearby Category 1 hotel to get me to 57 you guys 🙂
Ok, the above paragraph is nuts. Do NOT do what I am doing. You need to understand that I am a blogger so it is in my interest to keep you hooked so I can keep serving you opportunities to keep selling you credit cards to make a lot of money off you. Since only one has obtained a travel rewards credit card from my links this month…obviously this is not working so well. But I can assure you this is how the other mega commercial pumping bloggers are thinking! I keep saying the BEST thing to do to keep it simple and enjoy other aspects of life is… to get a 2% cash back card and leave all this crap we in this hobby do. This hobby was a lot more lucrative years ago. Not anymore. It all started going downhill ever since the first blogger at The Frugal Travel Guy got paid selling his first travel rewards credit card. Since then the hobby has been destroyed by so many “experts” who all they do is keep selling plastic to their sucker readers. If this was not the case ALL 98%+ of them would NOT be blogging! Only the true hobbyists would remain. I am one of them. I am a moron…But if I ever went down the rabbit hole you would be sure I would never sell out so early 😉
One final note on going for Hyatt Globalist. Well, I have never been Globalist. I just want to scratch that off my bucket list I guess. Oh, having over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferable 1 to 1) to Hyatt probably helps thinking crazy thoughts lol.
I tried to find some pics from my first school field trip back in Greece to Delphi. But I could not. But I did find this picture of my 11th grade high school basketball team. I still keep in touch with some of those guys. Some have disappeared. The coach was our Physics professor who was clueless about basketball. And card carrying member of the Greek Communist party LOL. Nicest guy though, still beloved by his students. I am sitting, last one to the right if you did not figure it out yet. I could be doing posts about 69 ways I love credit cards that pay me..but I don’t!
My PSA to my travel friends on Twitter 🙂
Update on my running: Bulging disk issues. Doing PT and light walking and yes…slow jogging too. I will be back…in 2021 I hope!
Thanks to all who have supported the site. If it was not for you and your positive feedback I would be long gone!
And I leave you with this…
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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.