Tag Archives: Hotel Loyalty Points

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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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)

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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.

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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

I Cancelled My Last Minute Trip to Hawaii [Rescheduled for June]

Reposted on 3/17/20 at 7:30am


Updated 3pm PT on 3/14/20: I was planning on going to Kauai in March but have rescheduled my trip to Kauai for June.  I have cancelled / rescheduled all the reservations below.


Good afternoon everyone, I hope your Friday is going well.  As a sequel to yesterday’s post (I Cancelled My Trip to Ireland), we decided to go to Kauai instead for Laura’s spring break (we went to Kauai 2 years ago for Laura’s spring break as well).  I checked flights from the Bay Area to Hawaii and flights were in the $100-$130 price range each way to all the Hawaiian Islands.  Prices were so cheap that it was a better deal to pay for flights than to book award tickets.

Laura had ~52K Southwest Airlines Points in her account, so we booked 2 roundtrip tickets from Oakland (OAK) to Lihue, Kauai (LIH) using 50,292 SWA points and $22.40 in taxes/fees ($5.60 per person per flight).  About an hour later, I checked the flight prices and saw a price drop.  I immediately rebooked the SWA flight for free and saved 8,174 SWA points.  This morning, I checked the flights again and saw more price drops.  I quickly and easily rebooked those flights using the SWA app.  After the dust settled, our SWA flights now cost a total of 35,087 SWA points (a savings of 15,205 SWA points in ~12 hours).  I kind of feel bad that the prices keep dropping so dramatically (but I will keep checking the flight prices to see if they get any cheaper).

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