Where to Eat in Salt Lake City, and Why

India House dishes are beautifully presented.
India House dishes are sensational.

We stumbled upon India House in Sandy, Utah via one of those restaurant business card displays you often see in hotel lobbies.  They were offering a 10 or 15 percent discount, so we thought we’d give it a try.  Sandy is about 15 minutes south of downtown Salt Lake City.

If you are traveling along the I-15 corridor in Utah you will find a lot of chain hotels and franchise restaurants.  Think Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, or Chili’s.  At home and when traveling, we prefer small, local, ethnic restaurants, whether Thai, Afghan, Indian, Mexican, or whatever.

India House is an unassuming family run restaurant, with the most diverse selection of naan I have ever seen.  They run a lunch buffet on weekdays for $8.99, including soup, salad, dessert and an array of fragrant vegetarian selections and chicken kormas.  You can also order from the menu.  The dishes are flavorful and reasonably priced.

I can recommend the Peshwari Naan — a homemade bread with a marzipan like filling.  The lamb saag and butter chicken are delightful too.

But don’t take my word for it — read the reviews on Yelp here.

India House has two other things to recommend it:

1) It is part of at the Rewards Dining program — allowing you to earn frequent flyer miles for eating out.

2) It is next door to an eclectic antique consignment shop — really 20 shops in one as they rent space to various vendors.

Earn 2,500 Delta SkyMiles Miles for Eating at India House in Salt Lake City

It was a great surprise to discover that we had earned United Mileage Plus  frequent flyer miles for our lunch at India House.  This restaurant participates in the Rewards Dining network.  You can register to earn miles with your choice of frequent flyer programs.

Early in the year is a good time to take advantage of bonus offers for signing up with various Rewards Dining programs.  Different airlines have different offers.  The most lucrative offer right now for new sign-ups is with the Delta Skymiles rewards dining program.

New members of the Delta Rewards Dining program earn 2,500 bonus miles after spending $30 at a participating restaurant. Register by March 1, 2015.

Salt Lake City is a Delta hub so 2,500 Skymiles could come in handy.

Sandy Antiques Mall
Sandy Antique Mall
Photo by Joel Shprentz

Sandy Antique Mall

India House Restaurant and Sandy Antiques Mall
India House Restaurant and Sandy Antiques Mall

The Sandy Antique Mall is next door to India House.  It’s an agglomeration of several buildings that seem to go on forever.

Vendors specializing in everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to antique furniture and gadgets have “booths” here.

It’s fun to browse because you never know what you might find.

Many of the restaurants in the Rewards Dining program are unremarkable but India House is definitely worth seeking out.

Do you participate in the Rewards Dining programs?

Keep Your Frequent Flyer Miles Active with Thanks Again

Thanks Again Loyalty Program QR CodeThanks Again is a loyalty program that awards airline frequent flyer miles for parking and other purchases at 170 airports throughout the U.S.

If you sign up via BWI’s link, you can earn 100 airline miles or 200 hotel points for enrolling!  This enrollment bonus is valid through December 31, 2015.

Thanks Again allows you to automatically earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points when you park, shop and dine at BWI or any of the other participating airports, such as RDU, DCA, BOS, PIT, FWA, AUS, and dozens of others.

This is a great way to extend the expiration date on an inactive frequent flyer account, or to maintain steady activity on the account.

Thanks Again Bonus Rewards

Simply register one or more American Express, Visa, or MasterCard credit card and pair it with the rewards program of your choice.  You will automatically earn one  extra mile, or two extra hotel points, when you shop at any of 24,000 participating locations.  This is on top of any other points you are earning with the card.

Real big spenders earn 5x miles or 10x points if they spend $1,000 in a calendar quarter.  

 Thanks Again Participating Loyalty Programs

 Airlines
  • AeroMexico Club Premier
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Frontier EarlyReturns
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • US Airways Dividend Miles

 Hotel Programs

  • Hilton HHonors
  • VOILÀ Hotel Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

Have you tried Thanks Again?

The Real Reason I Collect Miles and Points

My sister and daughter at Herald Sqaure in NYC
My daughter and sister at Herald Sqaure in NYC

My sister lives in Helena, Montana (HLN) the capital of the Big Sky State.  The population of Helena is less than 30,000 people.

The airport there is really tiny.  Long-term parking is $15 per week; you leave your payment in the drop box when you exit.

There are only about six flights per day out of HLN.  The flights are not only scarce, they are also expensive.

My sister wanted to come east for our Mom’s 90th birthday and our Uncle’s 95th, so I offered to buy her a ticket.

Well there was no way she was going to let me buy a ticket.

But she would allow me to pay for her ticket with frequent flyer miles — miles that I had accrued largely through credit card sign-up bonuses.

That’s the reason I collect miles and points!

Extreme Travel Hacking for the Sandwich Generation

When I attended my first frequent flyer meet-up a few years ago, one of the old timers informed me that frequent flier miles should not be used for domestic flights.  Excuse me?

I was told that I could get a much higher value if I redeemed points for international first class travel.

Over the past several years, I have redeemed hundreds of thousands of miles for flights — and all of these flights were economy class domestic travel.

Most people think of family travel as traveling with children.  Our family travel is traveling to see family, or flying family members in for a visit.  To me, that is maximizing the value of frequent flyer miles!

I don’t care whether I have to spend 25,000 miles or 50,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket.  The “point” is that we use the miles to get where we need to go.  

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Where to Find First Class Lounge Passes at Bargain Basement Prices

Delta-Skyclub PassIf you are trawling for passes to gain access  to those “swank” airport lounges reserved for the airlines’ best customers, you are in luck!

The big three U.S. airlines sell one-day lounge passes for $50 — a steep price to pay for relaxing in a “club” before your flight.

There are a lot of passes in circulation because several airline credit cards throw in lounge passes as incentives for applications.

Passes for the United Club, the Delta Sky Club, and the American Airlines Admiral Club are readily available on the Ebay auction site.

I checked the prices of “completed listings” on Ebay and found a big price variation depending on the airline club.

Can you guess which club passes command the highest prices on Ebay?

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How I Saved $1200 on a Roundtrip Ticket

Last week, I needed to book a roundtrip flight from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Washington, DC (IAD) in a big hurry and airfares were through the roof:  $1297 on United Airlines to be precise.

No way, Jose!  Instead, I purchased the “economy” class ticket for 37,500 United Mileage Plus miles, a $7.50 fee, and a $75 close-in booking charge.

I “earned” the miles by opening a United Mileage Plus credit card with Chase Bank, by   accumulating some frequent flyer miles from a few long-distance flights.

Dulles International Airport Image by Metropolitan Washington  Airport Authority
Dulles International Airport
Image by Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

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Delta Amex Credit Card 45K Mile Sign-up Bonus

Every once in a while, a terrific offer pops up on CreditCards.com — such as the amazing one-day offer earlier this year for 100K Amex Membership Reward Points.  I did not get in on that offer, because, frankly, a $450 annual fee is way out of my league.

Now there is a new, special offer available from CreditCards.com for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex credit card with a 45,000 mile signup bonus.  This is a better offer than the publicly  available offers on the American Express or the Delta websites.  Hat tip to View from the Wing.

The offer is available exclusively via CreditCards.com’s “Offers Matched for You” option (found at the top of the left sidebar on their website.)  To access the offer, you need to enter your name and address in the form on the CardMatch page.  The form asks for a social security number, but you can leave that field blank.  This offer is likely targeted at people with excellent credit.  Filling out the inquiry form constitutes a soft pull which is not recorded on your credit report.

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When a Delta Skymile is Worth Exactly One Cent

Have you ever been frustrated when trying to book an award ticket using frequent flyer miles?

I was arranging a trip home for our daughter on short notice. We were bound by school schedules and had very little leeway in terms of flight choices.  Delta Airlines offered a nonstop flight with departures and arrivals within our time constraints.

Delta Air Lines Sign
Delta Air Lines Sign at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Photo by Mav via Wikimedia Commons

The flights we wanted to book were showing availability on Delta, but there were no award seats available.  Sound familiar?

The award seats that were showing up for connecting flights would entail adding several hours of travel time; in other words, the more attractive routings were not offered  as award seats.

For some unknown reason, the nonstop flights on this route are less expensive than the flights involving plane changes.  The flight in question was priced at $653 roundtrip.  My husband had 60,000 miles in his Skymiles account, which he had obtained by opening an Amex Skymiles Credit Card through a targeted offer.

 What to do?  

We noticed an interesting feature on the Delta reservations website:  Pay with Miles.  Pay with Miles is a feature available only to Delta Skymile credit card holders.

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Holding My Breath on SPG Points Transfer to Delta

Have you ever experienced points and miles angst?

I almost hit the panic button recently when trying to book a flight home for our daughter.

The Scenario

Delta Airlines runs a nonstop route to Reagan National Airport (DCA) which is optimal for our travel needs.  I am trying to spend down our modest stash of Delta Skymiles because our travel priorities will be changing come September.

I have 11,000 Skymiles in my account.

The preferred roundtrip flight was available for 40,000 miles.

I have some Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints available, which can be transferred to Delta Skymiles.  For each 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to Delta, SPG gives you a 5,000 point bonus.   25,000 additional Skymiles, still wasn’t enough to book the trip.  I’d need to move 24,000 Starpoints over to Delta to cash in.  (11K Skymiles + 20K Starpoints + 5K bonus points + 4K Starpoints = 40k points needed for a ticket).

This left me with 13,000 Starwood points — enough for 1-night stay at a mid-range hotel.  As a mentioned in an earlier post,   I am considering whether to retain or to close my Amex Starwood credit card.

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Southwest Airlines Triggers Most Positive Sentiments in Survey of Twitter Chatter

Southwest Airlines had the most consistently positive profile in an analysis of  strongly worded tweets about U.S. airlines. The analysis of social media responses to various airlines considered both strongly positive and strongly negative messages posted during December 2011.

77 percent of the strongly worded positive messages were associated with Southwest, followed by JetBlue with 73 percent strongly positive messages.  Only 42 percent of the strong comments about U.S. Airlines were positive.  Delta Airlines had by far the largest number of strongly worded tweets, over 2,500, with 61 percent of the messages positive.

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