Trip Planning and Award Booking for South America: Bogota, Buenos Aires & Iguazu Falls

Good morning and buenos dias amigos!  This weekend, I will be heading to South America for a week.  First stop is Bogota, Colombia, then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then onto Iguazu Falls (on the border of Argentina and Brazil).  Here is how we planned the trip (Great Circle Mapper):

  • SFO-DFW-BOG in economy on American Airlines using 20,000 AA miles + $26.20 taxes/fees
  • BOG-EZE-IGR in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas using 25,000 KLM miles
  • IGR-EZE in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas for $140.70
  • EZE-MIA in business + MIA-ORD-SFO in first on American Airlines for 57,500 AA miles + $93.46 taxes/fees


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Got any Questions for a Professional Uber & Lyft Driver? Ask them Here!

Are you an Uber fan? Or maybe you’re Uber’s biggest critic? Or maybe you’ve had mixed experience with the ride-sharing economy. I’d put myself in this last category.

A buddy of mine is a ride-sharing expert, who not only drives for Uber and Lyft, but he also teaches courses to other drivers, helping them navigate the business aspects of ride-sharing.

I’ve got an interview set up with him, but I wanted to get your input on what questions YOU would like answered. I’ll be asking him questions about:

  • His driving experience (the good, the bad & especially the ugly)
  • The driver rating and tipping systems
  • The dreaded surge pricing (boo!)
  • Is Uber/Lyft a viable business for drivers?

If you were the one talking with a ride-sharing expert, what questions would you ask him? Let me know in the comments below!  I will summarize his answers and share the results in a future blog post.  Stay tuned and buckle up!


How to Request Mexico Tourism Tax Refunds for Mexican Citizens, Residents & Transiting Visitors

Buenos dias!

If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.

When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees.  This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 390 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $20 USD.

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.

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Nationwide Visa Buxx Card Program Shutting Down February 28 (Last Day to Load is January 31)

Good evening everyone, I wish I had better news to share, but I am very sad to let you know that today it was announced that the Nationwide Visa Buxx Card program is shutting down on February 28, 2017 (according to the announcement on their homepage).  You will still be able to reload your Visa Buxx Cards until January 31, 2017, which gives you time for 3 more weekly reloads before the reload deadline.  If you have not spent down the balance on your cards before February 28, the funds will be refunded back to your funding credit card (this refund would void the miles, points, or cash back you would have earned), so you should spend down the balance on your cards before February 28.

This shutdown is not totally unexpected, actually, it has been overdue for quite a long time.  I guess Nationwide finally decided that they were tired of being used for pajama MS.  My only question now is… why did they pick the below image?  Why are both women smiling and looking out the window?  Is Nationwide going to introduce a new product that is superior to the Visa Buxx Card?  It’s unlikely, but it could happen.


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Shelli’s World Coffee Tour – First Stop, San Diego

People sometimes think I’m strange. And sometimes I’m sure I give them reason! But often my “strangeness” leads to great ideas. Or at least what I hope will be great ideas :)

Like for instance, this series of blog posts I’m writing for TWG.

The idea started a few days ago. Alexander from The Points of Life wrote, Stumptown Coffee NYC: What A Wait and I immediately emailed him to tell him about a great place for espresso in Philadelphia. After all, he was in NYC and Philly is close by!

Then over at Points with a Crew, Ian wrote, “May I charge my phone from your laptop?”  Sure, sure, he’s writing about his dilemma and whether or not to allow a stranger to use his laptop to charge a phone, but all I could think of was……….WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT STARBUCKS?

So I emailed Ian and told him if he wanted to know 3 great coffee houses within minutes of the Hyatt Regency Vancouver BC, to let me know.

I guess it’s time for a true confession. I’m a coffee snob. And when I travel, I have a passion for supporting local roasters and coffee houses. Let’s just say I’ve BEAN Around the World and I’m feeling like now is the time to start sharing the love…..and caffeine.

Grant introduced me to his readers as a woman who embodies “healthy traveling,” and I’m sure by now you’ve heard that coffee is a health food. So let’s create the TWG Cafe Society and talk coffee. Every so often, I’ll even throw in a few of the best places to enjoy chai! Continue reading