Author Archives: Tonei Glavinic

About Tonei Glavinic

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan travel expert, educator, social justice advocate, and digital nomad currently based in Mexico City. Find them on Twitter @tonei.

Keep, Cancel, or Convert: Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card ($450 Annual Fee)

Buenos días everyone! I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me – I’ve got a couple of things in the works, but for now, I thought I’d hop on to Grant’s Keep, Cancel, or Convert? Series with my thoughts on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card.

The CSR has had a spot in my wallet since it was first released, but over time, it’s been losing its luster for me as other cards have caught up with it. When Chase announced that the annual fee would be rising to $550, I knew its days in my wallet were numbered. Here’s why:

  • I opened the JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card right before Chase stopped offering the card to new applicants, which offers the same travel protections as the CSR and a better Priority Pass membership.
  • Late last year, I opened a Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which earns 3x on travel and allows me to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to airline and hotel partners.
  • Earlier this year, I opened a Citi Premier Credit Card, which earns 3x Citi ThankYou Points on restaurants and most travel purchases.
  • My Chase Freedom Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card now earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at restaurants (though both cards have foreign transaction fees, so I won’t be using them in Mexico).

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Trip Report: Kimpton Glover Park Hotel in Washington DC

I had a one night stay during a work trip to Washington DC, and decided to try out something new since it was less expensive than my usual hotel, the Kimpton Glover Park Hotel.

Location: The hotel is located on Wisconsin Avenue near the Naval Observatory, across from the Russian Embassy. It’s about a 20 minute walk to either Georgetown or my alma mater of American University, and a 10-20 minute drive from downtown DC depending on traffic. Unfortunately it’s not particularly transit-accessible, but they offer a shuttle to the Woodley Park Metro Station and other destinations in a 1-mile radius.

View out the window

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Trip Report: JTB Tour from Tokyo to Hitachi Seaside Park and Ashikaga Flower Park

Buenos dias everyone! I recently found this article gathering dust in the vault, and decided to clean it up and share it with you all.

When we started talking about going to Japan last year, it was originally intended to be a trip with friends to see the wisteria tunnels in Fukuoka. That plan eventually fell apart, partially due to the short duration of our own time in Japan, but then my friend E from demflyers pointed out that you can get a similar experience just a couple of hours outside Tokyo at Ashikaga Flower Park.

We were originally going to just go to the park on our own via train, but then E discovered a day trip on Japanican.com that included a trip to Ashikaga as well as a visit to Hitachi Seaside Park and a half hour of all-you-can-eat strawberry picking. She went on her tour the day before we arrived in Japan and said it was worth it, so after arriving at my hotel, I went ahead and booked a spot for the next day – the last day the trip was available.

 Google Maps screenshot showing driving directions from Tokyo to Hitachi Seaside Park, Itigo no Sago farm, and Ashikaga Flower Park. Continue reading

Riding the Rails of China’s High Speed Train Network

During our trip to China over the winter holidays, we took three trips on Chinese high-speed trains:

  • Shanghai to Hangzhou – 99 miles, 52 minutes
  • Chengdu to Leshan – 62 miles, 1 hour
  • Chengdu to Xi’an – 528 miles, 4 hours, 15 minutes

I was really impressed with our experiences. The trains were clean, modern, reasonably comfortable, very punctual, and extremely reasonably priced – the shorter trips cost $8-12 USD per person, and the longer one was $62 USD in first class – much cheaper than flying.

Photo of a panda in an outdoor enclosure.

Taking the train is a great way to visit the pandas in Chengdu.

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Trip Report: Holiday Inn Rotorua, New Zealand

During our trip to New Zealand, we spent four nights at the Holiday Inn Rotorua. I chose this hotel because I could expect a consistent experience, and the price was in line with other properties in the area. Rooms are available for 20,000 IHG points per night, but I chose to pay cash (since our rate was about $94 USD/night including tax, using points would have gotten a value of 0.47 cents per point, which is below average even without considering the points we earned on the stay.)

Holiday Inn Rotorua. Photo from hotel advertisement in Franchise New Zealand magazine.

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