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So torn. Always kinda have been.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I’ve always wondered what it was, in the sense that it was a bit of an enigma.

In the crosshairs

In the crosshairs

I got this card in May 2013. The annual fee was waived for the 1st year.

I got a retention offer the 2nd year.

I just paid the $89 annual fee about a month ago. I want to cancel this card. But it has 1 good use left in it…

Is is worth it?

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Just saw this and wanted to put it up.

Keep an eye on your mailbox. It seems Citi is targeting American Airlines credit card holders for bonus offers:

Letter from Citi

Here are the deets: 

  • Earn up to 2,500 bonus miles
  • Earn 2X miles in certain categories (below)
  • Earn 10X miles if you pay with Apple Pay
  • Promo runs through 9/30/15

2X / 10X categories: 

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Drugstores
  • Restaurants
  • Commuter transportation

Couple of thoughts. Citi is going after Barclays in the promo department.

And they’re going after pretty much every other card with the categories. Including drugstores?

If you max out the 10X with Apple Pay, that’s only $250 in spend. So it’s not stellar.

However, Citi sometimes mixes up their promos and sends different offers out.

Did anyone else get one of these recently? Was your offer different? 

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In my exploration of new MS techniques, I stumbled across something else that could be potentially useful for some.

I’ve written about the whole PayPal debit card/My Cash/RadPad combo.

As you guys know, the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard earns unlimited 1% cash back in your PayPal account. It does work with RadPad and does NOT work with Evolve Money (in the sense that you’re charged a 3% fee for using it).

But some peeps don’t like the PayPal-ness of it all, as they’ve been known to shut down accounts after sending warning emails.

So enter…

SmarterBucks and Radius Bank

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Oh man. Talk about a blast from the past.

I stayed here in October 2013 and never got around to writing a review about it. However, I still remember it all so clearly…

It was right after I used Delta miles to fly on Virgin Atlantic. It was my first time on that airline, and my first time at the Wingtips Lounge @ JFK T4.

It was also my first time staying on the “other side” of the River Thames, as I’d always stayed closer to Soho/Hyde Park. So staying in Southwark was a totally different experience.

And I’ll never forget the wonderfully curated, breathtaking Paul Klee exhibit at the Tate Modern and walking around overwhelmed by the artworks afterward.

I went to see the Tori Amos musical “The Light Princess” at the National Theatre. Anyway, suffice it to say it was a good trip. And the Hilton London Tower Bridge was a big part of that.

Arrival and check in

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When last we spoke of this topic, I was a little down in the dumps. Q1 was tough.

But I’m happy to report that Q2 was much better.

Good vibes

Good vibes

I’m expecting Q3 to be the best this year, and Q4 to match Q2, maybe exceed it a bit because of the holidays. And then back to where we started in January 2016: Q1 again.

New acquisition

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Happy Pride Weekend!

LOVE!

LOVE!

Just wanted to put this out there. I normally don’t take to this platform to share these things, but thought this one was important.

A few weeks before our Supreme Court declared same-sex marriages are legal across the country, Mexico’s Supreme Court did the exact same thing.

Yay progress!

Yay progress!

Canada has had same-sex marriage for 10 years by now, but this month – June 2015 – saw the other major North American countries finally align with that freedom.

Yeeeees ,bravo mexico #equality #matrimoniogay #quiensequierecasar

A photo posted by Victor Amarillas (@victor_amarillas73) on

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Huge congrats to Mexico (and to us!). I just didn’t want their victory to fly under the radar. Instead, we should celebrate our progress together!

Bottom line

The US isn’t the only place to finally join the 21st century. Same-sex marriage is the law in Mexico now, too.

Stay scrappy out there! And congrats to everyone. I am so happy about our victories and progress!

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It’s been real being featured on BoardingArea this week. I’ll be going back to Prior2Boarding after this weekend, but wanted to throw something out to express my gratitude.

To 5 lucky winners, I’ll be giving out a pair of Admirals Club day passes. Each pass is worth $50, and 5 winners will get 2 passes. So take a buddy along and save a deuce!

Win a pair of passes to the Admirals Club

Win a pair of passes to the Admirals Club

How to enter

To enter, leave a comment below.

In it, tell me: what’s your favorite Admirals Club AND favorite airport and why? If you’ve never been to an Admirals Club, just let me know your favorite airport and why it’s your fave.

Even though I won’t be featured on BoardingArea after Sunday, June 28th, the contest is open until 11:59pm ET on Saturday, July 4th. (Whoo hoo independence day!)

I’ll pick winners on Sunday, July 5th. So be sure to leave me your email when you comment, because I’ll notify you via email.

Da rulezAdmirals-Club-One-Day-Pass-Free-Giveaway

  • Must be 18 years old or older to use the pass and One-day pass visitors must hold a same-day ticket for airline travel that allows clearance through security for flight departure and access to the Admirals Club lounge
  • Only one comment per person
  • Must be a US resident
  • Winner will be determined via random.org and will be notified on Sunday, July 5th, 2015
  • Admirals Club pass doesn’t expire until 12/31/15

I just requested the passes, so it might take them a week or so to get here. I’ll aim to get them in the mail in early July, so be sure you don’t need them until mid-July or after.

Ways to keep up with the blog

Twitter and Instagram are my personal accounts, and I post on those the most so be sure to follow me on both!

I often write about things I find handy or ways to save money.  There are two ways to ensure you never miss a blog post:

Ways to support the blog

If you like what you see here, I appreciate any kind of support, whether it’s using my links for services I like, or to pick up a new travel rewards credit card.

I’m aggressively working toward paying off my student loans so any clickage is infinitely appreciated!

Bottom line

Giveaway! Feel free to share the link anywhere you like but remember only one comment per person.

I’ve had a blast on BoardingArea this week.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you’d like to keep up with my travel adventures.

Check out services I like, or pick up a new travel rewards credit card if you’re in the market for one (or more!). All support is mucho appreciated!

Good luck!

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So you guys know I’m been working toward FIRE (financial independence, retire early) lately. And part of that means ruthlessly cutting out extraneous spend.

So far, I’ve gotten rid of my gym membership, canceled credit cards that no longer serve me, and have cut back on my eating out (more trips to Costco!).

You can stay

You can stay

FoundersCard is $395 a year, which is a little “ouch.” I’m nearly due to the pay the annual membership dues again to keep the card for another year and I looked at it with an eye to cut it.

But, I’m going to keep it for another year.

Here’s why.

The AT&T Benefit

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Ireland was my last hurrah with the Club Carlson program, which is now dead to me.

After leaving the Radisson Blu in Limerick and kissing the Blarney Stone, we drove into the city of Cork, and then looped back up to Dublin to stay our final night at the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s in Dublin.

Arrival and check-in

The hotel is located in an area that is rez. ee. dent. shul. OK?

That means that traffic is terrible at rush hours, because people are going to or from work.

It’s about 3 miles (~Whatever kilometers) from Dublin proper, but there is free parking in a huge lot right in front of the hotel. For late night escapades, you can easily get a taxi to the city center and back.

The reason I chose this location was because:

  • It was a new property for me
  • It was near the M1 which goes right to the airport
  • The property looked gorgeous

Because I had an early-ish flight back to Boston on Aer Lingus, I wanted to hop right on the highway and get outta there.

I knew the traffic would be bad, and I budgeted time for that, but wow. It was really bad. We were stuck on the same 3-block stretch for over 20 minutes.

Anyway, arrival and check-in.

We parked in the rain after a lovely day in Cork, and walked in.

You’re instantly transported to some other era, where opulent mansions still exist.

Upon opening the door to the Radisson Blu St. Helen's

Upon opening the door to the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s

Indeed, this property is a 1700s estate converted into a hotel. And it is lovely.

The desk agents checked us in within a few minutes and told us how to climb through a maze and get to our room.

Hallways of the Radisson Blu St. Helen's

Hallways of the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s

Again, no upgrade to a business class room, but we figured we’d eat in the lounge at DUB and then again on the flight over. So whatever. Ireland was 50/50 with the upgrades for Gold status elites in the Club Carlson program (through the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature which is now deep in a sock drawer and will never be used again).

The room

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Many strong opinions

Many strong opinions

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while because it seems like there’s a lot of opinions about Airbnb these days.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about what it’s like being an Airbnb host, how it’s been staying at Airbnbs as a guest, and all the others that think it’s a great thing… and a terrible thing.

The users

People who book lodging on Airbnb tend to be millennials who aren’t looking for a traditional hotel.

The downsides:

  • You won’t receive points for your stay
  • There may or may not be a “welcome amenity”
  • There are NO “upgrades” – WYSIWYG
  • There may or may not be breakfast included
  • You’re at the mercy of an individual

The upsides: 

  • If you need multiple beds or rooms, it’s much cheaper than a traditional hotel suite
  • You can stay in real neighborhoods as opposed to tourist areas, and feel like a local
  • When it’s good, it’s great. People I’ve met are open and kind, and I didn’t miss the hotel experience
  • It’s usually more private. No elevators and desk areas to pass through
  • More negotiation is possible, especially in the off-season or for longer stays
  • Lots of obscure locations where there might not be hotels – get a unique experience

Now, if your host doesn’t show up to let you in or leaves you hanging… that’s a pretty bad scenario. Fortunately, Airbnb has lots of verification systems, and heavily encourage reviews.

Bleep happens of course, but when you’re coming off a long flight, you don’t want an excuse, you want to get in and settled.

Most hosts I know have a Plan B. And a Plan C. And a… yeah.

When I’ve stayed at Airbnbs, I’ve never had an issue getting in.

Be communicative, give a heads up if you’re delayed, and stay in touch. It’s all about the little things, but they go a long way.

Considering a suite in a hotel can be over $1,000, you can save yourself a bundle of money by booking an Airbnb. Especially in expensive cities like New York or San Francisco.

The hosts

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I recently discovered a blog called Financial Samurai that got me thinking. Particularly the articles about living in cities:

I’ve mentioned before that living in New York forever might not be in the cards for me as part of my path toward FIRE.

It’s simply a shift in priorities.

The Good Things About Living in Cities

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I love going to the Admirals Clubs. And I also love not paying for them.

I’ve written about this before. But now my membership has expired, and I’m about to redeem for another free year of Admirals Club membership.

I don’t have the Citi AAdvantage Executive card or the Citi Prestige card. They’re fine in their own right, and I’ve had my eye on the Citi Prestige for a sec, but I won’t need it for its lounge perk.

The Admirals Club @ CLT can be a nice place to hang and get some work done

I’ve been doing this since the Amex Platinum Card nixed the benefit at AA Admirals Clubs a couple of years ago.

If you book travel for other people (who don’t care about the points), you can easily build up enough to get a free membership yourself.

All the award opportunities

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    The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - Saint Augustine