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.

 

Which Credit Card Gets You A Free Limo Ride to the Airport in Tokyo?

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 3.45.44 PM
Get a free ride to Narita airport!

One of the biggest ancillary expenses of air travel is ground transportation to and from the airport.

In Tokyo, if you are a foreign JCB credit cardholder, you can get a free ride on the airport limousine bus from downtown hotels to Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) airport.

To qualify for the free ride, you must demonstrate that you spent 50,000 yen on a JCB credit card during your visit to Japan.  (At the current exchange rate, 50,000 yen is equivalent to about $412.)  It would be pretty easy to meet that threshold after spending a few days in Japan.

The regular one-way fare on the airport limo bus is about 3000 yen (about $26).

How to Get a Free Ride To Narita Airport

The airport limo service picks up at major hotels in Tokyo.

You can get two free airport limo tickets per JCB card!  To get your free tickets to Narita International Airport (NRT), bring your JCB credit card receipts totaling at least 50,000 yen of purchases in Japan (including tax) to JCB PLAZA in Tokyo.

The fine print:

  • Offer applies for all JCB brand card issuing companies.
  • JCB cards issued in Japan are not eligible.
  • Cash advances are excluded.
  • The offer runs through June 30, 2016.

Get 20 Percent Discount on Airport Limo From Narita (NRT) or Kansai (KIX)

JCB cardholders can also get a discount on the airport limousine bus from Tokyo’s Narita airport (NRT) to downtown hotels.

Passengers arriving at Osaka’s Kansai (KIX) airport can get a 20 percent discount on select bus lines from the airport.

JCB Discounts on Airport Limo in Japan
JCB Discounts on Airport Limo in Japan

Just show your JCB credit card when you purchase your bus tickets at the airport.

You can get four tickets at the discount price!

JCB issues several different credit cards in the United States, but they are only available to residents of certain states:

  1. JCB Standard or Mitsuwa JCB Card
    California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon or Washington
  2. Marukai Premium and Marukai JCB Card (California)
    California, Nevada, Oregon or Washington
  3. Marukai Premium and Marukai JCB Card (Hawaii)
    Hawaii

Earn up to 3% Cash Back Points with the JCB Card!

The JCB Marukai credit card is an all around great deal because it pays cash back on all purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn.  It pays:

  • 1% cash back points on first $1,000 spent yearly
  • 2% cash back points on next $2,000 spent yearly
  • 3% cash back points on over $3,000 spent yearly

That is an outstanding payout for a rewards credit card but it is only available to residents of Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

But, what if you don’t have a JCB credit card?

Discover Card Offers 20% Discount on the Airport Limo in Japan!

Discover card airport limo discount in Japan
Look for these signs at the airport ticket counters.

Discover card members save 20 percent off one-way airport limousine bus tickets when using their Discover card at the Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX) limousine ticket counters.

You can get up to three discount tickets at a time!

The Discover card offer runs through March 31, 2016.

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.

 

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!

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.

Giveaway to Getaway

Enter the Giveaway for 1,500 IHG Points
Enter the giveaway for 1,500 IHG points!

I’m giving away 1,500 IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) points to a reader who newly likes my Facebook page.

IHG Rewards Club is a program of hotels like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, and others.

I earned these points through the IGH Share Rewards promo that is running this summer.

I’d like to share my points with you!

In one week, I’ll select a winner randomly and post the results on Facebook.

You’ll need to contact me with your name and email address so I can send you the points.

1,500 IHG reward points could be just what you need to top off your account for your next award stay!

Free Lonely Planet “Guide to Pride”

Guide to Pride -- Free on iTunes
Guide to Pride — Free on iTunes

Guide to Pride is Lonely Planet’s selection of 20 of the biggest Gay Pride events around the globe.

The guide covers the who, what, where, and when of each city’s Gay Pride celebration.

You’ll also find color photos of major attractions, along with expert travel tips on where to eat, sleep, and drink in each city.

Guide to Pride is available to download free on iTunes.

Published in June 2015, the digital guide is 46 pages long.

The book devotes a two-page spread to each city, so it is by no means comprehensive.

It’s really intended more as an inspiration to travel!

Included:

  • Amsterdam
  • Atlanta
  • Auckland
  • Berlin
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cape Town
  • Dublin
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Melbourne
  • New York City
  • Paris
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Reykjavík
  • San Francisco
  • São Paulo
  • Sydney
  • Taipei
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Destination DCA: Behind the Scenes Tour

 

Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!
Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!

To celebrate the 74th anniversary of Reagan National Airport (DCA), the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is holding a behind the scenes tour of operations at the airport.

Destination DCA will give 25 lucky participants insight into the past, present and future of Reagan National Airport.

MWAA will randomly select 25 guests for lunch and a guided tour of the airfield at DCA.

The event will take place on June 23, 2015 from  1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To enter for a chance to attend, go to http://www.mwaa.com/reagan/8025.htm.

Entries open open Tuesday, June 16, 2015 and close on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Time).

This event sounds like great fun!

2 Free Movie Tickets from AAA Mid-Atlantic

Get 2 Free Movie Tickets at AAA Mid-Atlantic
Get 2 Free Movie Tickets at AAA Mid-Atlantic

I was at the local AAA office today to purchase a couple of fee-free ViSA gift cards.

The Mid-Atlantic chapter of AAA typically sells fee-free VISA gift cards in May and June of each year as a courtesy to their members.

With graduations and June weddings, lots of people are purchasing gift cards.

Travel hackers may find gift cards useful if to meet the minimum spend requirement on a new credit card, or to rack up spending to earn points.

Fee Free VISA Gift Cards at AAA Mid-Atlantic
Fee Free VISA Gift Cards at AAA Mid-Atlantic

While I was a AAA, I took five minutes to take advantage of another offer.  By learning about the benefits of membership, I earned two free tickets to the movies.

I had my choice of tickets to Regal, Cinemark, AMC, or Bowtie Cinemas.

AAA also sells discounted movie tickets.  You can see the complete list of eligible theaters here.

We maintain an AAA membership for the roadside assistance.  We also take advantage of the 10 percent discount on Amtrak tickets and on hotels.

Do you remember the days when you could request a custom Trip-Tik in advance of a road trip?

Free Happenings at the New York Public Library and Bryant Park

Mardi Gras Celebration at Bryant Park
Mardi Gras Celebration at Bryant Park, February 14, 2014

When we were in New York City over the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to stop by the offices of the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO).

In the olden days before the internet, you could pick up lots of great tourist information and maps at various international tourism offices in New York.

Walking down Fifth Avenue on our way to JNTO, we passed the main entrance of the New York Public Library and stopped.  I had never been inside the library to see the iconic Reading Room.  We were there.  We had to go in.

It turned out that the Reading Room was closed to the public due to ongoing repairs. I asked the lady at the information desk what other parts of the library we should see, and she encouraged us to sign up for the free building tour.  So we did.

Free Building Tours of the New York Public Library

The tour guide was terrific.  We got to see the Periodicals Room, the Map Room, and learn about the history of the library and the history of New York City.  We never made it to JNTO, but this was a most worthwhile detour.

The New York Public Library offers free one-hour tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays (except during the summer.)  Sign up at the reception desk in Astor Hall.

By the way, if you are in New York at Christmastime, the New York Public Library displays an enormous Christmas tree, decorated with beautiful birds.  There were lots of people taking family photos in front of the tree.

Free Ice Skating at Bryant Park

While you are in the vicinity, you might want to try out the free ice skating in Bryant Park, which is right behind the library.  There is a large skating rink and during the holiday season the park is ringed with vendors like a European Christmas market.  If you need to rent skates the cost is $15.  Compare that to Rockefeller Center where admission is $12 for adults, $15 for children, and skate rental is $12.

The rink at Bryant Park is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day from late October through  through March 1, 2015.

Juggling Class and More at Bryant Park

Bryant Park offers lots of other free entertainment:  Ping pong; juggling classes; Tai Chi; fitness club; and more.

Take a ride on Le Carrousel, which plays French cabaret music.  It costs $3 per ride, or $15 for ten tickets.  There is no charge for parents to ride alongside their small children.

On Saturday February 14, 2015 at 1 p.m. there will be a free Mardi Gras celebration at Le Carrousel, featuring a Cajun band and a magician.

* * *

I can’t tell you how many reports I’ve read about the Andaz Fifth Avenue on other miles and points blogs.  They all praise the view of the New York Public Library.

Next time you are passing by, I suggest you go in.