A Coastal Road Trip

Road trips are fun. We recently returned from a 500-mile route in the EV and a great time was had by all.

We spent 5-days / 4-nights on the road, visited an aquarium, an amusement park, and a few beaches, and had some delicious sushi and greek cuisine.

Travel hacking was involved, naturally. All 4 hotel nights were “free” and we spent ~$0 on fuel.

Let’s explore.

(more…)

Resort Report: Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago

Advertiser Disclosure: This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

In an effort to reignite travel spending from its cardmembers, American Express released a slew of new benefits to their Platinum credit card in 2021 — one of which was a $200 yearly credit for prepaid hotels through the Amex Travel portal.

Finding ourselves in Chicago for a weekend gave us the opportunity to put this credit, and a new property, to the test at the Four Seasons. Here’s how it went.
(more…)

Resort Report: Miraval Austin

Advertiser Disclosure: This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Recently my wife I stayed at the Miraval Resort in Austin, Texas, a luxury wellness spa on the banks of Lake Travis just a short drive from downtown. This was an aspirational property for us and since it’s bookable with Hyatt points it was within reach given our stockpile of points that we’ve been sitting on due to limited international travel over the past year. We stayed for two nights in mid-October while celebrating my wife’s birthday and were blown away with the experience.

If you’re thinking about booking a stay here, here’s what you can expect.

(more…)

Autumn Adventures – Using 7 Hotel Free Night Certificates

Advertiser Disclosure: This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

These past couple of years have been light on travel, obviously. All of our best laid plans had to be postponed or cancelled.

Even though the travel industry has had to deal with a lot of adversity, some of the big players did try to do right by their customers. For example, extending status, extending point expiration, and the best of all, extending the expiration date on the hotel free night certificates offered to holders of certain credit cards.

Which is how we found ourselves with 7 free nights that had to be redeemed in the near future.

(more…)

Renewing Global Entry Just Got Easier

Advertiser Disclosure: This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

I remember the first time I heard about Global Entry with its promise of quick and easy re-entry to the U.S. from international trips without having to wait in the ridiculous lines that so often pile up at immigration. Not only that, it came with TSA PreCheck which allowed skipping some of the inconveniences involved with domestic travel – all for $100 and valid for five years. Sign me up!

Recently, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started piloting a new option whereby you can renew your Global Entry subscription via a remote interview vice in-person. I tried it out and was surprised with the result!

(more…)