Don’t Give Up on Club Carlson Just Yet

Second Free Club Carlson E- Certificate from U.S. Bank

Second Free Club Carlson E- Certificate from U.S. Bank

Today I received an email from Club Carlson granting me a second free E-Certificate, good for a standard room at any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide.


“In appreciation of your continued loyalty and for being a Club CarlsonSM Visa® cardholder, we are pleased to provide you with an E-Certificate for one night in a standard room at any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide.”

The E-Certificates were being made available by U.S. Bank, the issuer of the Club Carlson credit card.

Apparently, cardholders are dropping the Club Carlson Visa card in droves, in response to the recent decimation of the program.  U.S. Bank eliminated the “last night free” benefit on award stays, while Club Carlson increased the number of points needed for a free night at many properties.

Two free nights anywhere in the world is incentive enough for me to retain my Club Carlson Visa card and pay the $60 annual feeat least for the coming year.

Charlottesville, Virginia on Miles and Points

Charlottesville, VirginiaWe are making a last minute excursion to Charlottesville, Virginia.

I’ve never been, and am really looking forward to it.  Charlottesville should be very pretty this time of year.

There’s no football game on the calendar, but the town seems to be completely sold out.

I am finding availability however, in a relatively new hotel on the outskirts, a Hyatt Place.  The rooms look pretty nice, just like the Hyatt Place Universal Studios we stayed at in Orlando.

A room at the Charlottesville Hyatt Place is going for $259 per night plus tax. That is way more than I want to pay.

The Trouble With Orbitz Rewards

It occurs to me that I just earned over $100 in Orbitz Rewards via a recent series of contests.  In my mind, that should be worth one free night.

Orbitz is showing room availability at the Charlottesville Hyatt Place at the same rate as the Hyatt website, $259.  I’m thinking, after crediting my $100 in Orbitz Rewards, that $159 a night might be the best I can do.

However, it turns out that Orbitz calculates tax on the full room rate, and only then subtracts the Orbitz credits.

With tax, the room rate is $289.  One night at the Hyatt Place in Charlottesville would be $184, after factoring in $105 in Orbitz Rewards.  That’s still quite pricey for my budget.

A Night at Hyatt Place Charlottesville is 8,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points

I don’t have any points in the Hyatt Gold Passport program, but it is worth checking how much this hotel goes for on points.

Hyatt Points and Points Plus Cash Chart

Hyatt Points and Points Plus Cash Chart

The Hyatt Place Charlottesville is a Category 2 hotel, which costs 8,000 points per night; or at the points plus cash rate, 4,000 points plus $55.  You have to call in to request the points plus cash rate.

The hotel was sold out of points plus cash rooms.  But there was still availability showing for 8,000 points per room.

Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer to Hyatt Immediately

Fortunately, I have a small stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  These points can be cashed in as statement credits at the rate of one cent per point.  8,000 points are worth $80 in cash.

I chose to transfer 8,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my Hyatt Gold Passport account.  The good thing about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that the transfers go through immediately.

I was able to reserve reserve a room — before the hotel sold out completely — for 8,000 points.   That’s a pretty good deal in my book.

The hotel business is all about supply and demand.

Rooms in Charlottesville were very expensive on our chosen date, but the price in points of the Hyatt hotel remained static.  8,000 points might not be such a good deal on a low demand night, but in this instance we made out okay.

Free for Kindle: Lonely Planet’s Tackling the UK

Free for Kindle

Lonely Planet Guide to UK: Free for Kindle

Lonely Planet is offering a free e-book to England and Wales that provides travel information for the cities where the Rugby World Cup is taking place this year.

Even if you are not traveling for the games, you may find this travel guide to Great Britain to be useful.

The book, Lonely Planet Tackling the UK: Explore England and Wales during the rugby this autumn, is available free for Kindle from Amazon.  

Lonely Planet’s Tackling the UK travel guide includes tips for saving time and money on transit, food, accommodations, sightseeing, nightlife, and shopping.

Tackling the UK covers these destinations

Tackling the UK covers these destinations

The book covers London, Brighton, Gloucester, Milton Keynes, Exeter, Birmingham, Leicester, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Cardiff.

This 386 page book was published August 1, 2015, so the information should be current.


Dulles Plane Pull, Fun Run, & Family Festival

Dulles Day Plane Pull

Dulles Day Plane Pull

On Saturday, September 19, 2015Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) will sponsor an “open house” for visitors.

This is an all day affair, including:

  • 5k/10k runway run
  • plane pulling competition truck pulling contest for kids
  • moon bounces
  • antique car show
  • vintage airplane display

Admission and parking are free!  Free Silver Line Express buses will operate from Metrorail’s Wiehle-Reston East station beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Proceeds from fund-raising activities such as the plane pull will benefit Special Olympics Virginia.

Run the Runway at Dulles International Airport

5/10K Run at Dulles International Airport

5/10K Runway Run at IAD

Dulles Day kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with a 5k or 10k runway run for registered participants.

The Dulles airport runway will be closed off to provide runners with a flat, fast course alongside the landing strip.

The 10k will run the entire length of the runway!

Runners must be able to complete the course by 9:00 am, when the runway will be reopened for aircraft traffic.  Advance registration is required.  Up to 2,500 runners can be accommodated.

Plane Pull for Charity at IAD

Dulles Plane Pull

Dulles Plane Pull for charity

The signature event is the Plane Pull, an event in which teams compete to pull a full-size jet aircraft in the shortest time.

More than 70 teams are competing this year.

Two aircraft will be pulled —  a FedEx plane and an United Airlines plane.  You can join a team here.

Kids Truck Pull at Dulles International Airport September 19, 2015

Kids' Truck Pull at IAD

Kids’ Truck Pull at IAD

This year, kids can get in on the fun with a truck pull.

Teams of eight will compete to see who can pull a  big red junk truck 12 feet the fastest.

You can register at the festival starting at 11:30 am. There is a $10 donation to participate.  Participants will receive a Truck Pull tee shirt.

Dulles Day Family Fun Festival 2015

At 10:30 a.m., the gates to the airfield open for the free family festival.

Additional family fun activities at Dulles Day include:

Free Bounce House at the Airport

Free Bounce House at the Airport

  • Airfield tours aboard the mobile lounges for $1 per person
  • Kids’ play area with bounce houses, truck pull and dunk-a-cop tank
  • Equipment displays by Airports Authority Police, Fire and Rescue and Maintenance
  • Ride in an Airports Authority fire truck for a $5 donation to Special Olympics
  • Police K-9 demonstrations on the half hour
  • Food and beverages available for purchase
  • Aircraft on display
  • Classic car show

Aircraft on Display at Dulles Day

Look for more than 40 aircraft on display, including:

  • U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo jet
  • U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt (close air-support aircraft)
  • U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey (tiltrotor helicopter-plane)
  • U.S. Navy HT-28 (Bell Jet Ranger helicopter trainer)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Rescue “Dolphin” Helicopter
  • DC-3 “Miss Virginia”
  • DC-3 “Tabitha May”
  • Nakajima Japanese bomber “Kate”
  • PBY Catalina (WWII Patrol Bomber)
  • Bell 429 Helicopter
  • Hughes 500D Helicopter
  • TBM Avenger (WWII torpedo bomber)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (WWII primary trainer)
  • L-5 Sentinel (WWII “Flying Jeep”)
  • L-39 Albatross (Czech built high-performance jet trainer)
  • T-6 Texan (WWII advanced trainer)
  • T-28 Trojan (WWII advanced trainer)
  • Yak-3 (WWII Soviet fighter aircraft)
  • Stearman PT-17 Biplane
  • Kodiak, high wing float & cargo aircraft
  • Piper J-3 Cub (WWII utility aircraft)

17th Annual Dulles Day Classic Car and Motorcycle Show

Check out the cars, trucks and motorcycles on display at the Dulles Day car show.  You can help vote on the winners in the following catagories:


  • “Best of the Brass and Antique” (through 1925, Car or Truck)
  • “Best of the Classic Era” (1926-1948, Car or Truck)
  • “Best of the Chrome and Fins” (1949-1963, Car or Truck)
  • “Best of the Muscle Era” (1964-1971, Car or Truck)
  • “Best of the OPEC Era” (1972-1983, Car or Truck)
  • “Best Import” (Tuner)
  • “Best Custom” (Hot Rod Car or Truck)
  • “Best American Sports Car”
  • “Best Imported Sports Car”
  • “Best In Show” (Car or Truck)
  • “People’s Choice” (Car or Truck)


  • “Top American Motorcycle”
  • “Top Import Motorcycle”
  • “Best Custom Motorcycle”
  • “Best in Show” (Motorcycle)
  • “People’s Choice” (Motorcycle)

Want to enter your vehicle?  Here’s the registration form.

25 Percent Off on iTunes Gift Codes

$100 iTunes Code for only $75 - Email Delivery

$100 iTunes Code for only $75 – Email Delivery


Fifteen or twenty percent discounts on iTunes gift cards are commonplace, but it is rare to see a deal for 25 percent off!

Ebay is offering $100 iTunes code for only $75.

The codes will be issued via email delivery.

I am always on the lookout for iTunes discounts so this hot deal caught my attention right away!

The post contains an affiliate link.  Thanks if you choose to use it!

Safeway Offers $15 Rebate on Purchase of $200 of MasterCard Gift Cards

Save $15 on Purchase of MasterCard Gift Card at Safeway

Save $15 on Purchase of MasterCard Gift Card at Safeway

Safeway stores are offering $15 off your next grocery purchase when you buy $200 worth of MasterCard gift cards now through September 15, 2015.

This deal may make sense if you need to make the minimum spend requirement on a new credit card, or if you have a credit card that earns bonus points for supermarket purchases.

MasterCard gift cards are hard to cash out, so think of as an opportunity to spread out your minimum spend requirement over several months.

This deal requires you to purchase two $100 gift cards.  Each gift card carries a $5.95 fee.

You will receive a coupon for $15 off your next Safeway purchase of $25 or more.

The coupon may have a near in expiration date, so you might want to buy the gift card first, and then proceed to do your grocery shopping while applying the $15 off coupon.

UPDATE:  MilestoMemories has offered a clarification below.  You really need to read the fine print before jumping on a deal.  His clarification means that this is not much of a deal!

$25 In The Can — StarKist Tuna Class Action Settlement

$25 cash or $50 in tuna?

$25 cash or $50 in tuna?

Did you purchase a can of StarKist tuna between February 19, 2009 and October 31, 2014?

If so, and you are a U.S. resident, you may be eligible for a $25 cash rebate as a result of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit charged that some 5-ounce cans of chunk light tuna and solid white albacore tuna contained less fish than required by federal law.

The settlement gives consumers a choice of $25 in cash or $50 in tuna vouchers.
You can register for the settlement on this website.  You don’t need a receipt, but you need to swear that you purchased the tuna fish.
Be sure to read all the fine print before submitting a claim!

AAA Double Discount on Amtrak

20 Percent Discount on Amtrak

Good deal for AAA members!

Members of AAA regularly get ten percent off the price of Amtrak rail tickets.

Now, Amtrak is running a promotion for AAA members that offers a double discount of 20 percent off!

This deal is good for bookings now though September 30, 2015 for travel between September 1 and October 31, 2015.

Free Access to Consumer Reports Car Buying Guide

2000 AA miles for $14.95

2000 AA miles for $14.95

You’ve heard of magazines for miles?

How about miles for magazines?

The AAdvantage frequent flyer program of American Airlines has a new promo offer to earn 2,000 miles.

The offer involves signing up for a free 30-day trial of the Next Issue digital magazine service.  After your free trial, you can earn 2,000 AAdvantage miles if you subscribe to the service.

This is Not an Offer for 2,000 Free AAdvantage Miles!

I misread the offer and thought I could get 2,000 easy miles for signing up for Next Issue, after which I would cancel my subscription.  That is not the case.  You only earn the miles if you subscribe to the premium service for $14.95 a month, after your free trial ends.

Download the Next Issue app on iTunes

Download the Next Issue app on iTunes

I registered for the service, downloaded the Next Issue app, and took at look at the magazine offerings.

First up was the complete Consumer Reports 2016 Auto Guide.  I could access vehicle specs, crash test results, reliability data, ratings, and the results of the Consumer Reports road tests.  This is tremendously useful information for me as I am in the process of researching new cars.

Remember to cancel your registration before the 30-day trial ends or you will be charged $14.95.

If you want to spend $14.95 on a one month subscription, however, you can earn 2,000 AAdvanatage frequent flyer miles.  You can cancel your subscription at any time.

I’m Not Going to Subscribe to Next Issue

Next Issue allows you to read 100 popular magazines online or offline.

Current titles include People, US Weekly, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Time, GQ, Consumer Reports, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Parents, Dwell and dozens of others.  

Enjoy unlimited access to all the magazines you love — all in one app, for one low price — with Next Issue. Plus, earn 2,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles when you become a subscriber before October 1, 2015.

A subscription gives you access to past as well as current issue.

The service works on iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, and Windows tablets and PCs.  I found it difficult to read magazine articles on my iPhone 5s — it’s just too small.  I don’t have a tablet, and the service won’t work on my Macbook, so I won’t be subscribing.

You can access the offer here.

Montana On My Mind, But Not With Miles and Points

Headed to Montana Soon

Montana bound on miles and points, not!

When I think of Montana, I think of mountains and rivers, glaciers and prairie, cowboys and grizzlies.

Our upcoming trip will not focus on any of those things.

Instead, we will be touring cement plants and factories, dams and bridges, historic forts and industrial ruins.

Traveling to Montana with Miles and Points — Not!

We will be participating in the Society for Industrial Archeology’s Fall Tour.  When we saw that Great Falls, Montana was the site for this year’s tour, we signed up right away.  My sister lives in nearby Helena.   This will be a great opportunity to see my sister and her family!

We will not be utilizing miles or points for this trip.  We’ll be flying in to Great Falls, and out of Helena.   I could not find a decent itinerary using frequent flyer miles.

I was very excited however, to see the Staybridge Suites in Great Falls on the IHG “points break” list for this fall.  This is a new hotel that is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor’s ranking of hotels in Great Falls.  5,000 IHG points per night would be a nice bargain.

Where to Stay in Great Falls, Montana

Sip & Dip Bar with Live Mermaids

Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge with Live Mermaids at the O’Haire Motor Inn in Great Falls, Montana

We decided against the Staybridge Suites, because we wanted to stay at the conference hotel.

The conference hotel is in downtown Great Falls.  It is the O’Haire Motor Inn.

Aside from the convenience of staying with the rest of our group, the O’Haire Motor Inn looks to be a hoot.

Believe it or not, GQ Magazine named the Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge at the O’Haire Motor Inn the number one bar on earth worth flying for!

This honor wasn’t just because of the live piano bar or the umbrella drinks.

The unique feature of the Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge is the glass wall between the bar and the swimming pool.  There are live mermaids swimming in the pool!

* * *

This will be my first trip to Montana, but it won’t be my last.  I hope to return during the summer months to visit the National Parks in the Big  Sky state.