Showing posts from September, 2017

Mosaic status challenge came through!

As I mentioned earlier this year, JetBlue ran both a status challenge and status match promotion where you could quickly earn elite status with them.

My husband already has Mosaic status, but unfortunately he was not on-track to make it again for next year. He was about to book an expensive Mint flight to California for work and realized that flight would earn enough points to qualify for him the status challenge.

Well this email showed up last week...
and along with it came the 15,000 bonus points (worth $210) that you get when you qualify for Mosaic the normal way. I mention this because in several online forums many were wondering if people doing the challenge would receive this bonus.

On top of that, this was apparently his 10th Mint flight so he got an additional 1,000 points for the "Never a Dull Mo-Mint" badge as well.

My post about the actual value of Mosaic status is here.

How much did I make on Chase Sapphire Reserve's Bonus Categories?

Well the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a year old now, so I figured it was time to look back on a year's worth of spending to see how "worth it" the card was beyond the amazing 100,000 point signup bonus. (We spent our 100k bonuses on our upcoming Japan trip)

I kept my Amex Premier Rewards Gold card, but shifted most of my dining and non-airfare travel to the Reserve to take advantage of their 3x points in both of those categories. So how many extra points did doing that get me?

After looking it over I made a total of 29,617 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining. If I'd charged that dining to Amex (which only has 2x bonus in that category), I'd have only made 19,547 points. Those extra 9,892 points are worth about $200 (I value my Amex points around 2¢ each).

The card has an annual fee of $450, but when you subtract the $300 annual travel credit and Global Entry fee reimbursement ($100 every 5 years), the effective annual fee is $130. So just on dining alone the c…

Puerto Vallarta Guide

Updated Jan 2019

For our 10th anniversary in 2007, we decided to take our first trip to Puerto Vallarta. What we thought was going to be a one-time thing has turned into an annual tradition. It’s a shabby-but-cute gay village on a bay that used to be a giant volcano. It’s old Mexico charm surrounded by high rise condos, all-inclusive resorts, Walmarts, shopping malls, an actual jungle, and an ocean full of whales, beautiful fish, and pelicans.

November through June, it’s also full of Canadians, Californians, cruise ship tourists, retired snowbirds both gay and straight (easily identified by their “NO! I dont want a &@%# -ing timeshare!” T-shirts), and of course lots of locals trying to hustle up a living by catering to all of the above.

I’ve put together a bunch of tips for visiting and staying here, with an emphasis on old Vallarta.

(Quick Sidenote: I moved this guide here from because I'm unsure if Medium will be around much longer.)
SectionsGetting hereBasicsGet…

The Mexican reach-around

Right after I posted this I heard about a huge quake in Mexico City. Here's a list of ways you can help! ❤️๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Over the years I've heard a bunch of interesting, somewhat under-the-radar tricks that frequent fliers have used to fly for less. One of them involved buying a Star Alliance Round The World First Class ticket at the airport Venezuela using local currency. At the time, their currency was rapidly devaluing and you could score this ticket for a fraction of what it would cost anywhere else in the world. You saved so much money it more than paid for the cost of flying yourself there to make the transaction. Among my friends these things inevitably end up with wacky and suggestive nicknames.

Well, after last year's interesting attempt at getting onto a one-way flight back from Mexico without paying extortionary rates (seriously, all the normal booking channels wanted more for a one-way than a round-trip!), I found that local travel agencies could book the ticket for a …

๐Ÿ‚ Let's earn some bonus points together ๐Ÿ‚

Here's my referral links for several other popular credit cards and services! If you sign up through these links we both get a bonus (Click the links to see the bonus offer)

Amex Premier Rewards Gold - Personal Card

Amex Premier Rewards Gold - Business Card

Amex Starwood Preferred Guest - Personal "Luxury" Card

Amex Everyday - Personal Card





Using the Priority Pass restaurant credit

As I mentioned earlier, Priority Pass recently added a new type of benefit to their airport lounge access card – a $28 per person credit when used at participating restaurants and shops within the airport terminal. Since most airport lounges only have free snacks and I'm often looking for an actual meal when I'm in an airport, this is a welcome new option.

UPDATE Nov 2017: I knew this setup was too good to last – Priority pass has implemented new rules to stop you from using the credit for "merchandise and bottle sales". I still think it's a great program, just a little less great than during the initial rollout.
Right now, Portland, Oregon (PDX) is a trial run for this. I had a dinner-time flight to JFK from PDX in Economy and wanted to bring a meal with me, so I stopped in to Capers Market and took a look around. I was surprised at the variety of things they had available. In addition to things you'd likely eat/drink on board or in the airport, there were a…

JAL's new tool to help you spot Mt. Fuji from the air

Japan Airlines just launched a new tool to help you figure out where to sit if you want to see Mt. Fuji from the air. Just enter your flight info and it'll tell you which side to sit on.

➡️ My other posts about Japan.

Sometimes Economy has more room than First

As I've mentioned before, unless you're on a special, premium transcontinental flight like JetBlue Mint or United PS, domestic USA First class means a recliner seat with about 6 more inches of legroom than Economy. United likes to think those inches and (if you're lucky) a meal warrant a 300% increase in price. Delta usually prices theirs around 200%.

But if you use and are willing to poke a little bit at the seat map during the checkout process, you can sometimes land yourself way more legroom than First without having to pay those ridiculous markups.

I'm just booked a flight from Portland (PDX) to JFK and was planning on sitting in Economy but after consulting Seatguru I figured I'd click the Comfort+ option to see if 19F was open, and lo and behold it was! So for $70 I get early boarding AND infinite legroom. Theoretically I'll also get a pillow, blanket, and amenity kit for that money.

But as I learned from my Hello Kitty plane experience, thou…