Alaska Residents Earn Frequent Flyer Miles on Groceries!

Set it and forget it. Earn Alaska Air miles at Safeway
Set it and forget it. Earn Alaska Air miles at Safeway.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Safeway have partnered to allow Alaska residents and visitors to earn frequent flyer miles shopping for groceries.

This is one of those “set it and forget it” deals.  You won’t earn a ton of miles, but rather can get a steady stream of miles that can keep your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan balance growing and active.

Alaska Airlines Shop & Fly — Here’s the Deal

If you are a Safeway or Carrs Club Card member, you can earn air miles when you grocery shop in the state of Alaska with your Safeway Club Card.

Once you enroll online at, you can earn 100 Mileage Plan miles for every $300 you spend on eligible purchases.  Carr’s shoppers can enroll here.

That’s not a ton of miles, but it is essentially free miles.

There are a few catches.  Your enrollment expires after one year, so you need to remember to enroll again annually.

Also, big ticket items are excluded from earning miles.  For example:

Beer, Wine, Spirits, Tobacco, Fuel, Milk, Prescriptions, Bus Passes, Fishing/Hunting Licenses, Postage Stamps, Money Orders, Lottery Tickets, Phone Cards, Gift Cards, and Sales Tax.  

This isn’t the motherlode of airline miles, but for the minimal effort required, it may be worthwhile for some readers.

See the Intrepid for Free!

Visit the Intrepid for free!
Visit the Intrepid for free!

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum  is is a military museum in New York City that showcases the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier and houses the submarine USS Growler, the Concorde SST, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Admission tickets usually cost $33 per person, but on Saturday September 23, 2017, admission is free thanks to the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live program.

This year, 1,250 museums and cultural institutions across the country are participaing in the Smithsonian program, which offers two free tickets to those who register online.

If military museums are not your thing, you can visit the City Museum of New York or the Cooper Hewitt design museum for free.  However, you must download you tickets in advance for this September 23, 2017 event.

If you’re in Washington, DC, you can get free tickets to the Kreeger Museum of modern art, the National Building Museum, or the Newseum.

Find a museum in your locale with this online search tool.

Museum Day Live! is an annual event.

Tour a Dozen Scottish Distilleries for Free!

Friends of the Classic Malts Free Pass
Friends of the Classic Malts Free Pass

This past summer, I spent a glorious two weeks in Scotland.

The primary object of the trip was to partake in the incredible Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Because I also wanted to see the countryside, I signed up for a small group tour to the Isle of Skye with Rabbies.

One of the surprise stops on the tour was a visit to the Dalwhinnie distillery.  Whisky isn’t my cup of tea.  But who could resist sampling an intense glass of hot chocolate with a wee dram of whisky?

A basic tour of the Dalwhinnie distillery costs £12 but you can get in free if you join their club, the Friends of the Classic Malts.

What’s more, as a Friend of the Classic Malts, you are eligible for a free tour of twelve Scottish distilleries, along with a complimentary dram of single malt Scotch whiskey at each stop.  Basic tours at the distilleries can cost between £5 to £12.

Most locations also offer a more extensive tour that typically includes extra tastings.

To take advantage of this great offer, you can sign up  with Friends of the Classic Malts online.  Download your pass, and bring it with you when you travel to Scotland.

The following classic distilleries participate in the program:

  • Blair Athol
  • Caol Ila
  • Cardhu
  • Clynelish
  • Cragganmore
  • Dalwhinnie
  • Glenkinchie
  • Glen Ord
  • Lagavulin
  • Oban
  • Royal Lochnagar
  • Talisker

At your first distillery visit, show your pass and request a “Friends journal.”   You can collect stamps in the journal at each distillery that you visit.  If you collect all twelve stamps, you are rewarded with a Quaich, the traditional whisky sharing cup!

Earn “Extra” Club Carlson Points via Online Shopping

Earn extra points shopping via Club Carlson app
Earn extra points shopping via Club Carlson app

Club Carlson is out with an update to its app that includes a new feature called “Extras.”

The “Extras” feature allows you to earn Club Carlson points if you initiate your online shopping in app.

At launch, only a few online businesses are participating.

  •  8 points per $1 spent
  • Jet:  6 points per $1 spent
  • eBay:  6 points per $1 spent
  • iTunes:  6 points per $1 spent
  • Groupon:  10 points per $1 spent
  • SeatGeek:  10 points per $1 spent

Certain types of purchases are specifically excluded so be sure to read the terms and conditions extra carefully.

With the exception of Hilton, most hotel chains do not operate online shopping portals.  Club Carlson’s in app “Extras” feature, while not the most lucrative offer, may be of interest to some.

$30 Amazon Gift Card from Country Inn & Suites

$30 Amazon Gift Card for 2 Stays at Country Inn & Suites
Club Carlson Summer 2017 Promo

Club Carlson is out with its summer promo and it’s a twist from the usual offer.

Instead of earning bonus points for stays, Club Carlson is offering an Amazon gift card.

The offer is fairly straight forward.  Stay two nights at a Country Inn & Suites hotel in the U.S. or Canada by September 4, 2017, and receive a $30 Amazon gift card.

Remember to stack this promo with points or cash back by booking your stay through a shopping portal or via the Club Carlson app.

Travels with Mitzy

Me and Mitzy at the Four54 Grill in Lancaster, PA
Mitzy and I at the Four54 Grill in Lancaster, PA  Photo by Joel Shprentz

Have I mentioned Mitzy, our ten year old cockapoo?

We don’t often travel with our dog, but last weekend’s road trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the exception.

When looking for a dog friendly place to eat, we turned to

The Four54 Grill in central Lancaster was rated 5 bones, so we thought we would give it a try.  The restaurant is located right next door to the Lancaster Science Factory.

There was ample outdoor seating and the patio was well shaded.

Upon arrival, the owner immediately greeted us with a giant water bowl and biscuits for Mitzy.  We ordered inside, and they brought the food out to us.

The Four54 Grill  claims to have the best burgers in Lancaster County and they may well be right!

 Pet Friendly Hotel in Lancaster, PA

Courtyard Marriott Lancaster, PA
Huge front lawn at the Courtyard Marriott Lancaster, PA
Photo by Joel Shprentz

We chose the Courtyard Marriott in Lancaster because of its pet friendly policies.  The Courtyard welcomes dogs under 75 pounds, and the fee is a reasonable $15 per night.

Upon checkin, we received a goody bag Mitzy.  The hotel is surrounded by lots of grassy areas for exercising your dog.

Where to Eat in Bel Air, Maryland led us to a surprising find in the historic downtown of Bel Air, Maryland.  The Sunny Day Cafe is a breakfast and lunch place with lots of outdoor tables.

Sunny Day Cafe in Bel Air, Maryland
Sunny Day Cafe in Bel Air, Maryland

The cafe was hopping on  a Sunday afternoon.

The menu features brunch items like omelets, crepes, and a few Greek specialities.

But the big surprise was the daily special:  a gigantic crab cake with a cup of Maryland crab soup for $11.

We are always in search of the best crab cake in Maryland.  Well, we found a serious contender at the Sunny Day Cafe in Bel Air, Maryland!  Moist, spicy, not a lot of filler — and quite the deal!

Sad News in Bel Air

Heroin Overdoses and Deaths
Heroin overdoses and deaths year to date

Bel Air, Maryland is the county seat of Harford County.  The county is due north of Baltimore County, with a rural and suburban population of just 250,000.

The county is battling a public health crisis of epic proportions.

2017 NOAA Fish Fry


2017 NOAA Fish Fry
2017 NOAA Fish Fry

Do you love seafood and live music?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring the 42nd Annual NOAA Fish Fry on Wednesday June 14, 2017 from 6 9 p.m.

The Fish Fry will take place in the Department of Commerce Courtyard, at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC.

16 to 20 chefs and vendors will display their seafood to bring awareness to sustainable marine fisheries.  The guest chefs come from locations around the United States from Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay.

Expect to sample a wide variety of fish, crab, scallops, salmon, shrimp as well as side dishes, beer and wine.

Both wild caught and aquaculture raised fish and shellfish will be served.

This event attracts some 1,500 participants and usually sells out early.

Ticket are $35.   Ticket sales begin May 10, 2017 at 1 p.m. EDT on Brown Paper Tickets.

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be T-Mobile Tuesday!

If you haven’t gotten on the T-Mobile Tuesdays bandwagon yet, listen up!

Every Tuesday, T-Mobile releases a bunch of giveaways to their customers via the T-Mobile Tuesdays app.

Between my husband and myself, we have enjoyed:

  • Four large pizzas
  • Two dozen donut holes
  • 25 cents per gallon off gas
  • Four pairs of $2 movie tickets
  • Two pairs of socks!

Without a doubt, the best deal for us has been the movie tickets!

But if you’re lucky, you may win other prizes like gift cards, Lyft credits, hotel discounts, and more.

If you have a T-Mobile subscription or a prepaid plan, you are eligible to participate in T-Mobile Tuesdays.

I’ve written before about our cheapie Walmart T-Mobile plan that costs just $30 per month.  The freebies we’ve been winning lately have more than offset the cost of our monthly plans!

My sweetie got me these funky T-Mobile socks for Valentines Day
My sweetie got me these funky T-Mobile socks for Valentines Day


How to Benefit from T-Mobile Tuesday Deals

If you are a T-Mobile customer, it is easy to win free stuff every week!

Just download the T-Mobile Tuesday app from the Apple App Store or Google Play and register with your T-Mobile phone number!

Have you scored any deals on T-Mobile Tuesdays?

Free Admission to Mount Vernon February 20th and 22nd

Visit Mount Vernon for Free on February 20 and 22
Visit Mount Vernon for free on February 20 and 22

Washington locals and visitors alike can celebrate President’s Day in style by visiting George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

This year marks the 285th birthday of the first President, and lots of festivities are planned at George Washington’s historic home and estate on the Potomac River.

You can enjoy period music, character performances, story-time, tours of the mansion and birthday cake with General Washington.

Regular admission to Mount Vernon is $20 for persons age 12 and older but admission will be free on President’s Day — February 20, 2016 — and on George Washington’s actual birthday — February 22, 2016.

There is lots to see including the historic mansion, many outbuildings where trades were practiced, the slave memorial, gardens, a pioneer farm, and George and Martha Washington’s tomb.  The setting is on the Potomac River is quite spectacular, making for a pleasant family outing.


How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall . . . on the Cheap?

$25 gift card with ticket purchase
$25 e-gift card with when you pay with Masterpass

The old Carnegie Hall joke is a cliché, but here’s a deal that will get you in to concerts there for as little as $5.

Carnegie Hall has partnered with Masterpass to offer concert-goers a $25 MasterCard eGift card when purchasing a ticket valued at $30 or more.

You need to purchase the tickets online at, and checkout with Masterpass.

The offer is good on any “Carnegie Hall Presents” performance ticket of $30 or more.  There are lots of concerts to choose from as shown in the listing of upcoming events!

Upcoming "Carnegie Hall Presents" concerts
December 2016 “Carnegie Hall Presents” concerts

Please note that this offer is limited to one Mastercard eGift card per person, per performance.  The deal is good for purchases through June 30, 2017.

Masterpass is a digital wallet that can be used to make purchases online and in-store. You can fund it with a credit or a debit card.

I don’t have any experience with this form of payment.  If you do, please share in the comments the pros and cons.

Other Ways to Save on Tickets to Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall offers many other options for discount tickets.  There are:

  • $10 tickets for  for students
  • $20 tickets for young adults
  • 30 percent discounts for members of the military and the New York Police Deparment.

In addition, there are public rush tickets for $10 — even for sold out concerts — and you can often find obstructed view seats for half price.

What’s more, Bank of America cardholders receive ten percent off the full ticket price when using their card and promotional code BAC24503.