Tag Archives: Travel

Trip Report: Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (All-Inclusive Resort)

The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful resort.  I went at the end of August and booked a club room – I don’t have Hyatt Diamond status.  I greatly enjoyed my stay and I believe it being slow season, made it even more enjoyable. The all-inclusive resort costs 20,000 Hyatt points per night (for 2 adults) and an extra 10,000 Hyatt points per night for each additional person.

Continue reading

World of Hyatt Glitch: Anniversary Free Night Certificate Showing for Category 5-7 Properties (But Not Bookable)

YOU CANNOT BOOK CATEGORY 5-7 HYATT HOTELS WITH THE ANNIVERSARY FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATE – SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION AND CLICKBAIT-SOUNDING TITLE

(Hat Tip to the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook Group)

Good morning everyone.  Yesterday, I was in my World of Hyatt account and I wanted to see when my Chase Hyatt Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Certificate was set to expire.  To see when you certificate will expire, log into your Hyatt account, click the My Account header, and click on My Awards.  My certificate will expire on November 9, 2017, and I have to complete my stay by that date. While I was looking for hotels to use my certificate at, I discovered a glitch where the certificate will show up as a payment option when it is not supposed to.

Continue reading

The Real Story Behind the Siesta Culture

When you’re in certain European countries, thanks to the concept of a midday siesta, conducting business or even going out for a meal can be a challenge. Recently, when I was in Florence, I needed to go to a travel agency to see about purchasing a train ticket. The staff at the hotel told me they better call ahead because at this hour (it was about 1pm) the agency would likely be closed for the long siesta midday lunch. Sure enough, the agency was closed and I was told to go there much later in the day. I wasn’t really sure if the siesta idea was followed outside of the smaller towns and cities, but judging from my most recent trip to Europe, it’s definitely still being honored.

But this article explains it all: the history of the siesta concept, as well as its current status. Did you know it didn’t even originate in Spain? It was imported from Italy! How those Italians can take a midday nap after all that espresso is beyond me :)

Anyway, I think this article is a fun read and hope you will too!

PSA: Stop Using SMS / Text for 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) Access Codes Due to SS7 Vulnerability

Many people are becoming aware of enhanced security measures taken by banking, internet, email and other institutions.  Commonly known as “two-factor authentication” or 2FA, the user has a choice of receiving the one time PIN or password by text message or on an app loaded on the phone, known as an authenticator.  Another less common format is a security token that can be kept with the user; the token generates a PIN number randomly usually every minute.

Having your email hacked or bank account drained can be daunting for anyone, but for those of us who travel having this happen while you are in a foreign country or on an airplane with not internet access poses another problem and can easily ruin a trip.

If I have 2FA enabled, I’m safe, right?

In short, no, or maybe.  The answer is a bit complicated.  It really depends on HOW you have enabled 2FA.  If you use your text messaging or SMS to receive your code you are vulnerable. Why?  Read on…

Why is 2FA via text messaging or SMS not secure?

To fully understand why we have to look a little deeper and explain how cellular networks work. Specifically we have to understand how cellular networks are connected and why they need to be connected.  Because networks pass information such as text messages, billing information, roaming information and other data a connection called SS7 exists. This network has been vulnerable to hacks and outside access for a long time. Without getting very technical once someone has access to the SS7 network, your cellular movement, calls, and texts are easily accessible.  The text messages sent and received are not encrypted over SS7, so a hacker can read them.  If they have access to your messages, they can see any message, including PIN numbers from your bank, internet provider, email service, etc.  For more information and an example watch the video below.

Continue reading

How to Redeem Virgin America $150 Companion Discount Code & My Important Warning

Good morning everyone, happy Sunday!  I wanted to quickly thank everyone who braved the 100+ degree weather in Sacramento to attend my Sacramento Travel Hackers Meetup at In-N-Out yesterday.  It was great talking to you about miles and points.  I look forward to returning when the weather cools down a little bit.  A few weeks ago, I needed to purchase flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Las Vegas (LAS) on Virgin America.  I needed to go to Las Vegas for a specific weekend and I bought tickets somewhat last minute, so flights were expensive.  Here was the price for 2 round trip tickets on Virgin America. I found it odd that if I purchased the flights from Virgin America or through Google, the price was $729 total, but if I bought the same flights through Alaska Airlines, the price was only $613 total.  That seemed really strange to me.

I currently have a Comenity Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Credit Card which includes a Virgin America $150 Companion Discount Code.  A few months ago, I wrote Comparing the Alaska Airlines $120 Companion Fare Code vs. Virgin America $150 Companion Discount Code.  I remembered that I still had my Virgin America $150 Companion Discount Code available that was going to expire in the next few months.  In this post, I will show you how to redeem your Virgin America $150 Companion Discount Code and provide a warning before you use your Companion Discount Code.

Continue reading