A few months ago, my World Coffee Tour covered the coffee scene in San Diego. I want the Bean Around The World series to be a growing series, so I’m excited to tell you about a new addition to the San Diego coffee scene. I found out about Burly And The Bean from a friend whose family lives in the Azalea Park area of San Diego. Now maybe as a tourist, you’re thinking you might never go to the Azalea Park neighborhood, but since Azalea Park has a bunch of AirBNB options, you just might find yourself there! In fact, when I went over to Burly yesterday, I met a food blogger from Belgium who was at Burly because he and his family were in an AirBNB unit just up the block.
Burly And The Bean is owned by Justin and his wife, Vanessa. Justin had been in the construction business before venturing out to the coffee kiosk scene. His kiosk did so well, he constructed an outdoor space that’s like no other you’ll find. Watch the video below to get a sense of the space and of Justin and Vanessa. One thing I can guarantee: you’ll meet lots of fun folks and have some great conversations as well. Justin and Vanessa are passionate about coffee and about Azalea Park and providing a wonderfully welcome space to everyone who drops by.
Yesterday, the news broke that you could now redeem your Alaska Airlines companion fare code for flights on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. That is great news, especially if you have 1 or more companion fare codes and if Virgin America serves the routes you want to fly. I’ve written about the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare Code a few times:
The overlooked part of the news from yesterday is that Virgin America has their own less-than-amazing companion discount code. No one ever talks about that code, but I am going to compare the Alaska Airlines companion fare code to the Virgin America companion discount code and show you which code is better.
First things first, if you have the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card (personal or business version), you will get the companion fare codes. To locate those codes, log into your Alaska Airlines account and click Valid under Discount and Companion Fare Codes. You will see all the companion fare codes listed, their expiration date (travel must be booked by that date) and the terms and conditions of the companion fare code.
There’s been a lot written about Hyatt lately, especially with all the changes in the Hyatt elite status program. And oddly enough, much of the blogging about Hyatt and all the changes took place while I was enjoying a stay at a Park Hyatt! So I couldn’t help but think about why I like Hyatt so much and why I bother maintaining elite status. Rather than just adding my voice to the pro or con discussion about the changes and whether maintaining status is worth it, I decided to explore and write about one of my most favorite luxury amenities of Hyatt hotels and especially the Park Hyatt’s: butler service.
My seven night stay at the Hotel Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires gave me the perfect opportunity to do this. This was my fifth stay at a Park Hyatt, but in the past, I’d never stayed at one for more than a few days. This stay in Buenos Aires gave me the chance to experience getting to know the butlers, and I sat down with three of the five-team member butlers and had fun, engaging conversations with them about their roles, how they see us (the guests), and other questions of mine they answered. If you’re like me and you enjoy getting to know how hotels operate behind the scenes, you’ll enjoy reading about the butlers!
Last week, I offered advice on how to use an award booking service. Now it’s time to tell you which award booking service I recommend and WHY! Over the past seven years or so, I’ve tried at least 6 different award booking services and have established a great relationship with JuicyMiles, run by Adam from PointMeToThePlane.com
I call it a relationship because I see it as a partnership, a braintrust of sorts. You see, I believe in hiring professionals to fill in the gap in the areas of travel, or any area of life really, where I don’t seem to have the best skill set. I like to get better at what I do well and let others help with my weaknesses. I’m really great at accumulating miles and points, really great at picking accommodations and planning travel adventures, and really really great at having a wonderfully memorable time when I get somewhere. But the actual booking of the award trips… that’s not one of my strengths.
Like you, I want to get the best possible value for my miles and points. I also, perhaps like you, have some particulars in terms of how I like to travel (business class, fully lie flat seats, etc). So let’s look at some of the tips I mentioned in working with these services and you’ll see why JuicyMiles excels!
Sometimes I do a bit of research ahead of time and sometimes I don’t. I figure JuicyMiles award bookers know the alliances, airlines, and miles needed way better than I do. After all, they’re doing this all the time and have seen and heard it all. They never mind my follow-up questions once they present me with my options. Rather than being in a rush, they seem to care more about my satisfaction with my award trip routing.
I got an email from NEXUS this week about some changes coming to Canadian immigration procedures which will seem very familiar to US travelers. Starting this weekend, Canada is starting to phase out its paper declaration cards in favor of automated “Primary Inspection Kiosks”, similar to the Automated Passport Control (APC) or Global Entry (GE) kiosks used in most US airports.