Work from Home Diary 3: Upcoming Travel Plans (Cancel Now or Wait it Out?)

Good afternoon everyone, happy Friday.  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 discuss upcoming travel plans and my plans for those trips.  As of today, I have 4 trips on the books.  These trips are not set in stone and could be cancelled by myself or the airlines before departure depending upon how things are going in the world.  We are taking things slowly and focusing on 1 day at a time.

Trip 1 – Mother’s Day Weekend

My next trip is in mid-May for Mother’s Day Weekend.  I was planning on flying down from San Francisco (SFO) to Orange County (SNA) to visit my parents and grandparents.  I have flown down for Mother’s Day weekend for the last few years and enjoy seeing my family.  This trip was booked with Citi Thank You Points for basic economy travel on Alaska Airlines.  If the situation in California remains the same (all Californias are told to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus), I will probably cancel my trip and hold onto travel funds for a future trip.

Mother’s Day dinner in St Kitts (2017)

Continue reading

Work from Home Diary 2: Afternoon Walks & Restaurant Gift Cards

Good morning everyone, happy Friday.  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 will share what it’s been like to work from home this week.  As I mentioned yesterday, this is Laura’s spring break week.  Instead of spending time driving around Ireland or suntanning in Kauai, we are both spending most of our time inside our home.  My work from home set up is upstairs in our guest room / home office and Laura’s work from home set up is downstairs on our den table.  It’s nice that we have our own spaces to work (and listen to music or watch TV).

As an assistant principal, Laura is used to waking up early and leaving early for work.  Now that we are both working from home, we can sleep in a little later, eat breakfast together, and watch morning news before starting our work.  I’m used to eating lunch around 11:30-12pm, so we both take a break, make lunch (or reheat leftovers) and relax for a few minutes.  In the early afternoon, if the weather is nice/decent, we try to go for a 2-3 mile walk around our city to stretch our legs and talk about work and life.  There are not many people outside, but we do see a few others walking and riding bikes. Continue reading

I Downgraded my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton to Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ($450 AF to $95 AF)

Good afternoon everyone.  A few months ago, I upgraded my Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature to JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite.  Fast forward to March 1 and the $450 annual fee posted to my Ritz Carlton credit card.  Over the last few weeks, I was trying to decide if I should keep this credit card and pay the $450 annual fee or downgrade to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card which only has a $95 annual fee (but comes with a 35K Marriott Bonvoy free night certificate).

The biggest reason for me to downgrade this credit card was the loss of the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit which allowed me to save $100 on roundtrip domestic flights for 2 or more passengers.  I used that benefit a few times last year and was looking forward to using it a few times this year to offset the $450 annual fee.  Unfortunately, that benefit abruptly disappeared in early January 2020.

With that benefit gone, the remaining 2 benefits worthwhile to me were the $300 annual travel credit and the 50K Marriott Bonvoy free night certificate.  As of today, I already redeemed the free night certificate for a hotel in New York City in June and used ~$85 of the $300 annual travel credit.

I called the JPMorgan Chase customer service number to see if they could waive the annual fee, but that was not possible, so I suggested downgrading to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card.  After a few minutes, the downgrade process was completed.  I will receive the new credit cards in the next week and the $450 annual fee would be refunded back to my account in the next few days ($450 annual fee was refunded the following day).  Here is what my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card looks like in my Chase online account.

Continue reading

Work from Home Diary 1: Cancelling My Ireland & Kauai Trips

Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well.  These are very uncertain times and I have difficulty finding motivation to write about anything travel related.  Therefore, I decided to share my feelings in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.

First of all, I am very fortunate that I work for a company where we have the ability to work from home.  My heart goes out to everyone affected in the retail industry, travel/hospitality industry, restaurant/bar industry and many other industries that are affected by the coronavirus.

Last week, my company gave us the option to work from home or go into the office. I decided to work from home the entire week.  I’m used to working from home a few days a week, but working from home 5 days in a row takes a toll (both mentally and physically).  In my next diary post, I will share how I am doing in week 2.

Laura and I were supposed to fly to Ireland last Friday (March 13) for a week for her spring break (she is an assistant principal).  On Wednesday evening (March 11), the Europe travel ban was announced and we decided to cancel our Ireland trip.  I cancelled our Aer Lingus flights booked with British Airways Avios, hotel awards booked at Hyatt and Radisson Blu, Hertz rental car, and a few Expedia activities.  Canceling everything online only took a few minutes and thankfully everything resulted in a full refund, with the exception of the $55 cancellation fees per person charged by British Airways (I called to see if they could be waived, but it was not possible). Continue reading

Stuck at Home? Listen to Grant on the Saverocity Observation Deck Podcast

Good morning everyone.  A few weeks ago, I was a guest on the Saverocity Observation Deck podcast.  We talked about my Ireland trip (now cancelled), my British Airways / Match.com love story, and what’s in my iPhone wallet.  The episode is ~40 mins for regular listeners or ~60 minutes if you are a Patreon paid subscriber (you will hear Laura make her podcast debut).  Listen to the episode on your favorite podcasting app or listen online here.  Have a great day everyone.