1. 25% off on Virgin Atlantic economy redemptions if you book by September 23rd. Many people love to hate on this program, but 31,875 miles for a roundtrip non-stop LAX-London flight in economy is a pretty darned good deal, even with fuel surcharges. Other city pairs are also available and you can redeem for one-way awards. Miles transfer from Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards 1:1.
2. A possible new way to do MS if you live near 7-11 stores. Doctor of Credit reports that some stores have ATMs with a BillPay feature. Reportedly, gift cards work.
3. I’ve written about Chase Ritz Carlton card and 140,000 points bonus that comes with a $395 annual fee, not waived. Giddy for points reports that she was able to get a $100 American Airlines gift card, and was reimbursed for it, though YMMV This card does not pay me commission.
4. Loyalty Lobby has reached out to IHG for clarification on the terms of the free night of “Into the nights” promotion I wrote about on Monday. Apparently, not all properties are required to participate, and the night is non-transferrable. I still plan to complete my promotions, since Holiday Inn (where I hope to redeem the certs) isn’t exactly their high-end property. But you should have a Plan B in place and don’t get your heart set on one specific hotel.
5. A possible sighting of 55,000 miles offer on United Mileage Plus Visa. See this Fatwallet thread for more. (h/t Million Mile Secrets blog)
6. The sky is falling… again. Amazon person-to-person payments will no longer be allowed after October 12th.
On my mind
The main reason I collect miles and points is to see more of this world with my family, and do it close to free. I have lots of plans and countries I want to visit. My goal is to expose my kids to other cultures, to get them out of their bubble. I think that’s why the top 5 countries on my list are of the exotic variety, basically “the more different from USA and Europe,” the better. Well, all except one.
For the longest time, my husband had requested to visit New Zealand. My thoughts on it were “meh.” Sure, the scenery looks spectacular on photos. But I remember while taking a cruise through Alaskan fjords, there were some Kiwis (nickname for New Zealanders) on the ship. We got into a conversation, and they actually admitted that Alaska scenery was more impressive than their country.
So, my thought was: Why fly all the way around the world to settle for second best? Additionally, Kiwis are of Irish and Scottish descent, basically Europeans, just like me. Not exotic enough. Or so I thought…
Recently, I had a chance to read an article on New Zealand in Islands magazine. Those people are nothing like me! Check out some excerpts:
” With my dogs, I have to be the alpha male of the pack. The other night one nipped me, so I jumped on him and bit his ear.” -Southern (that would be South Island, not redneck USA) woman Carla Munro. Though, I admit, it does sound like something that would happen in the Deep South.
And here is how they trapped deer in the seventies: ” We used helicopters to trap them. We’d jump off the heli’s skids onto a deer. Knock it off its feet and tie up his legs.” Oh my!
And here is some lingo for you: ” I looked for your dunny. Bugger all. Where can I skin a moose?”
Yes, I thought they spoke English too. BTW it means : “I looked for you outhouse. None there. Where can I go pee?”
My verdict: New Zealand is exotic. Approved.
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