Aviation Fans: View Aer Lingus Airbus Inaugural Flight into Dulles

Aer Lingus Inaugural Airbus Flight into IAD

Discover Dulles: Watch this A330 land on May 1, 2015

The Aer Lingus Airbus A330  is making its inaugural flight from flight from Dublin, Ireland into Dulles International Airport (IAD) on May 1, 2015.  

45 lucky people will be invited to view the landing and get a behind the scenes tour of the Ramp Control Towers and Operations at IAD.

I attended one of these “Discover Dulles” events last summer and it was a blast!

Click here to enter the contest for a chance to be a part of this historical event.

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Where to Stay Within Walking Distance to Universal Studios, Orlando

A visit to Harry Potter World was on the agenda for our recent spring break trip to Florida. Onsite hotels at Universal Studios Orlando were very expensive in early April. I wanted to stay as close as possible in an offsite hotel, so that we could easily walk to Universal Studios.  I knew that we would be doing … Continue reading . . .

$1167 RT Newark to Paris — Biz Bed on Open Skies

I took the bait!  Yesterday I saw a flash sale advertised on Dan’s Deals for a $1167 round trip flight from Newark (EWR) to Paris (ORY) in lie-flat seats. I booked the deal on Open Skies — a “luxury, boutique” offshoot of British Air. $1167 is the price of a discounted economy fare ticket to Europe … Continue reading . . .

How I Leveraged My Bathroom Renovation Into a Spring Break Trip to Florida

Spring Break in Florida

Spring break in Florida, here we come!

Our 40-year old townhouse is in desperate need of repairs.

What with the original bathrooms, and leaks springing left and right, it was past time to take action.  Of course if you defer your home repairs like we did, you find yourself facing some major expenses all at once.

Luckily, I met Carlos the contractor when I was out walking the dog one day.  Carlos can fix anything and is super nice and flexible.  Our arrangement was that we would pay Carlos for the labor, and that we would purchase the materials.

Since I knew we would be racking up charges, I saw this as an easy way to meet the minimum spend requirements on some new travel rewards credit cards.

My Travel Rewards Credit Card Applications

My remodeled bathroom

My remodeled bathroom

It had been over six months since I had applied for a travel rewards credit card, and there were several cards with large sign-up bonuses on my wish list.

Purchasing materials for the home renovation would be an easy way to meet hefty initial spend requirements.

Warning — if you don’t pay your credit cards in full and on time every month, you should not be in this game!

Barclay’s U.S. Air Dividend Miles Card

The Barclay’s U.S. Air Dividend Miles credit card was offering 50K bonus miles after the first purchase and payment of the annual fee.  This card was on the verge of retirement due to the US Air – American Airlines merger.  I had applied once before, and was not approved, so this was my last ditch effort to rack up 50K miles before the merger.  I applied, and was denied once again, for having too many recent credit card applications.  Fortunately, the bank did not do a hard pull of my credit report, so no skin off my back.  This card is no longer being offered.

Chase’s Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers 40K bonus points after completing a minimum spend requirement of $3,000 within the first three months.  You can get an additional 5,000 Ultimate Reward Points by adding an authorized user.  Ultimate Rewards points are great because they are easily transferred to a variety of frequent flyer programs.  The card pays two times points on travel and restaurants.  There is a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.  I wrote yesterday how I used 45,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points earned from opening the Sapphire Preferred credit card to finance our Amtrak Auto Train trip to Florida.

Capital One’s Venture Card

The Capital One Venture rewards card offers 40,000 bonus points to new applicants who meet a minimum spend of $3,000 within the first three months.  The card pays two times points on all purchases, and carries a $59 annual fee which is waived the first year.  After meeting the initial spend requirement, I had 46,000 points which could be used to offset $460 in travel expenses.  The Venture card is not a favorite among travel bloggers — which I think is crazy because it has a decent sign-up bonus, earns a great rate on all spending, allows flexible redemptions for travel expenses (while still earning frequent flyer miles on your purchases.)  I have read numerous reports of people having success in getting the annual fee waived, sometimes for two years in a row.

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Catch the Auto Train to Florida Via Amtrak Guest Rewards

The best thing about the Amtrak Guest Rewards program is that the points redemptions have a fixed cost.  That is, the cost of a trip paid with points does not vary in accordance with demand. There are blackout dates on popular travel days when you cannot redeem your points for travel.  But if you can … Continue reading . . .

One-Two-Punch: Club Carlson Devalues BOGO International Stays

Club Carlson has made a second drastic devaluation  to their hotel loyalty program, on the heels of the  announcement last week that Club Carlson will no longer offer two award nights for the price of one for credit card holders. The new devaluation affects credit card holders who were hoping to book vacations at Club … Continue reading . . .