Category Archives: Trip Reports

Work from Home Diary 12: Eating in Restaurants & Sunburns at the Beach (SoCal Update)

Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.  I apologize that it’s been more than a month since my last update in early May titled Work from Home Diary 11: My Thoughts on TWG Turning 7 Years Old Today.  For today’s update, it’s not about work, but about my roadtrip from Northern California down to Southern California to visit my parents.  I haven’t seen my parents since the end of February and I had to cancel my last trip down to visit for Mother’s Day Weekend (read PSA: Don’t Cancel Airline Reservations through Citi ThankYou Portal; Cancel Directly with the Airline).  Laura and I have been staying safe the last few months and so have my parents, so we felt like now was a good time to visit.

I’m not sure about the state you live in, but in California, every county has different rules regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic and which businesses can open.  In Sonoma County (where we live), restaurants have only been open for takeout and delivery, but in Orange County (where my parents live), restaurants are open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery.  It’s probably been 3+ months since I last sat in a restaurant and I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much (I got used to eating every meal at home and cooking dinner most nights of the week), but boy was I wrong.

Image source: https://atlanta.eater.com/2020/4/23/21232907/atlanta-georgia-restaurants-opening-dining-room-april27-2020-covid019

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Anatomy & Timeline of a Cancelled American Airlines Award Ticket (LGA-DFW-SNA)

Good morning everyone.  A long time ago (February 2020), I purchased 2 American Airlines award tickets to fly from LaGuardia, New York (LGA) to Dallas, Texas (DFW) to Orange County, California (SNA).  Laura and I were going to be in NYC in early July and then fly to Orange County for Fourth of July weekend.  I picked this route because I wanted to check out the American Express Centurion Lounges at LGA and DFW.  I used 20,000 American Airlines miles per ticket (40k total), paid the taxes with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card, and paid for upgraded seat assignments with my American Express Gold Card and JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite.  Then the Coronavirus Pandemic hit and we cancelled our entire NYC trip.

This was my first time cancelling an American Airlines award ticket, so I didn’t know what to expect in terms of refunds and redeposited miles.  In this post, I will walk you through the timeline of events.  I cancelled our American Airlines award tickets on May 7 and received the following Trip Cancellation email immediately.  In the email, it said, “If you booked with AAdvantage miles, and your trip is eligible, we’ll automatically reinstate your miles within 48 hours.”  Unfortunately, 48 hours came and went, but nothing happened…

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Work from Home Diary 7: Adult Easter Egg Hunts & Seeing My Family on Zoom this Easter Weekend

Good Friday everyone.  I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.  For today’s update, I wanted to wish everyone a very happy Easter weekend.  I know that many churches around the country are closed and many family gatherings were cancelled, but we can still celebrate Easter individually but still be connected to others.  It is important to reach out to your friends and family members and check in on them, tell them you love them and are thinking of them, and reminisce about happier times.

One of my fondest Easter moments was from a few years ago when I was at my parent’s house.  Since all the kids have grown up, we did an adult Easter Egg Hunt.  The brightly colored plastic eggs were filled with mini alcohol bottles (the kind you would buy on flights), chocolate eggs, big chocolate bunnies, and some cash.  The real adults (our parents) hid the eggs all over the backyard and they made it very difficult to find all the eggs.  After 20 minutes of looking, all the brightly colored plastic eggs were found and we opened them up.  We compared hauls to see who got the most eggs and who got the best prizes.  It was a lot of fun and hopefully we can do it again in the years to come.

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Work from Home Diary 5: Quarantine Buddy, Work Space & Daily Routine

Good afternoon everyone.  I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.  For today’s update, I wanted to talk about my quarantine buddy (Laura), our combined work space, and our daily routine.

I’m on week 4 of working from home, so I seem to have a good system in place.  For the last few weeks, Laura has also been working from home.  When I was home by myself, I preferred working upstairs in our guest room / home office.  But now that Laura is home too, I decided to move down to the dining room table to work next to her.  It is nice to work face to face with someone (even though we are working on completely different things) and I think it keeps us both accountable.  I make sure she doesn’t spend all day on Facebook, Instagram or online shopping; she makes sure I don’t spend all day watching CNN (aka Coronavirus News Network) and reading travel blogs.

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Reader Feedback: After We Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic, What’s your Dream Award Trip?

Good morning everyone.  This might be the most optimistic blog post / news story you read all day.  You’re welcome.  I know we haven’t had many happy pieces of news lately, but I wanted everyone to think about the future for a moment with your happy glasses on.  I’ve read a few blog posts over the last few days about incredible award space on many different airlines to many different places.  For example, check out Frequent Miler’s article Premium routes with wide open awards.

Even though no one is travelling now, or even booking flights, there will come a time when it is safe to travel.  After the coronavirus pandemic ends, there could be amazing award space on every airline to every destination they serve.  Just imaging the possibilities brings a smile to my face.  So I wanted to ask my readers:  After we survive the coronavirus pandemic, what’s your dream award trip?  Assuming that every airline in every alliance has 100% award availability on every flight they operate, where you would go, what you would do, and why you want to go there?

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