Queer and There

Category Archives for Queer and There.

2017: The Year of Solo Travel (Ch-ch-changes)

I occasionally post personal updates here. Because I expect they’ll influence the way I travel and how I plan trips.

I wrote about getting a job at a PR firm in Manhattan, paying off my credit cards and starting FIRE, and leaving New York for Dallas: all personal things that influenced the scope of my thinking, and subtleties about how I travel.

So here’s another update: I’m newly single. The past couple of months have been pretty rough. Although I still managed to visit New York and Chicago to see Hamilton.

solo travel

“Sho,” by Jaume Plensa, at SMU in Dallas

Now it’s table for one, breakfast for one.

And with my trip to Brussels coming up in a few weeks, I realized I’ll be traveling alone for the foreseeable future. I started researching a RTW trip with stops in Hong Kong and South Africa (my first time in both places!) on brand new (to me) airlines.

I was also thinking of visiting Vermont in the fall to see the changing colors. And it hit me so hard that I’ll be doing all of this alone. So I’ve been gathering my personal power. It’s been good getting to know me more.

I’ve also never felt so alive. And I’ve never felt so alone. Solo travel.

Seven years

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Get $25 With New Accounts at Giving Assistant, Ebates, and BeFrugal Shopping Portals

When you shop online, always always click through a shopping portal to earn extra points, miles, or cashback.

I personally use Cashback Monitor to find the best payouts before I shop anywhere.

shopping portal bonus

Da best

I usually like to earn Alaska miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points for online shopping. But occasionally, cashback offers are simply too good to pass up.

And competition is fierce. So much that they’ll sometimes give you free money to sign up and use their portals.

BeFrugal is a new one for me

BeFrugal is a new one for me

I thought I’d round up 3 cashback portals where the initial bonus might be worthwhile for a little shopping. And tell you what’s required to get the bonus AKA the cash in your hot little hand.

Note: I get cashback when you sign up for these portals, too. Thank you for using my links!

Get a shopping portal bonus

These bonuses are for NEW sign ups. If you’re an old-timer to points and miles, you likely already have accounts with all of these portals. In that case, check out my backlog of Every Single Out and Out post! 😉

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

Also see: 

There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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Comments Are Back on Out and Out

When you have a blog baby, getting an email from a loyal reader with this subject is pretty horrifying:

*Expletive* *Censored*

*Expletive* *Censored*

But then I thought, wait a minute, I’ve gotten some comments recently. But I took another look.

Come to find out, there were 2 versions of the site. The “real” version and a “staging” version.

WordPress uses the staging version when you migrate themes or redesign the site (I haven’t done either in 2+ years). But somehow, all my site stats and comments were on the staging version of the site.

Some comments did make it through on the staging version.

Don't stop telephoning me

Don’t stop telephoning

But comments on the real version (outandout.boardingarea.com) didn’t make it through. The BoardingArea team is working on combining both sets of comments into the current, real version of the site.

How long has this been going on?

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How’d I Do for 2016 Travel Predictions?

Also see: 

Last year, I tried my hand at predicting… the fyoocha!

Travel Predictions

Go go gadget clairvoyance

So let’s recap and find out what happened in 2016 behind the smoky haze of palo santo and sage.

My 2016 Travel Predictions

1. Citi will add American Airlines as a ThankYou transfer partner

WRONG.

He's looking for Citi's new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

He’s looking for Citi’s new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

I don’t it’ll ever happen at this point. My hope is dwindling.

2. American Airlines will “get in bed” with Hilton

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Out and Out’s Top 9 Posts of 2016

It’s been an incredible year. I’m thankful for readers new and old; for all the comments and emails; and for all the support.

Here are the most-read posts written in 2016.

Out and Out Top Posts of 2016

1. My Experience Getting the $650 Phone Credit With Citi AT&T Access More Card

out and out

RIP

Readers were intensely interested in this card. And for good reason: 3X Citi ThankYou points on all online shopping, including payments through Plastiq, and shopping at Amazon and Costco. The card isn’t available any more, sadly. But I still use it regularly to bump up my Citi ThankYou points balance – it’s a wonderful complement to Citi Prestige.

2. My Last Chase Card: Just Applied for Chase Freedom Unlimited

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Booked: 3 Free Nights at Hyatt Zilara Cancun With Points!

What I like most about the points and miles hobby is setting a goal, then attaining it.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to stay at the all-inclusive and adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun. And in a few weeks, I’ll be there!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points

Coming for ya, Zilara!

I used 75,000 Hyatt points for a stay that would’ve cost over $1,900 out-of-pocket. Here’s how it came together.

Booking a Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points Award

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I’m Switching to Alaska and Southwest (With Companion Pass) Next Week

Also see: 

American who? Delta what? Beginning 2017, I’m exclusively flying and crediting everything to Alaska or Southwest.

If I have to fly American, that’ll be credited to Alaska. Thanks to Alaska’s merger with Virgin America, I might not see the inside of DFW much next year. DAL is gonna become my new jam – and it’s only 10 minutes up the street.

Switching to Alaska and Southwest

I’ll be at DAL a lot more than DFW in 2017

I’m also going to transfer 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott to get:

I easily value that at least $5,000.

Bring on the Alaska and Southwest “Love”

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Yes! Hamilton Tickets in Chicago for $120+, Many Dates Still Open

Earlier today, The Points Guy broke the news (which they found via Reddit) of Hamilton tickets in Chicago starting at $85 for peeps with an Amex Platinum (or Centurion) card.

My friend Jas actually got 4 tickets to the January 21st performance for $65 each. January in Chicago didn’t sound so hot (literally), but I was interested when I saw a date in March opened up.

However, when I called, there were actually LOTS of days with plenty of tickets. So I’d encourage you to call Amex concierge and ask!

I had them check:

  • March 11th (2pm and 8pm show)
  • March 12th (2pm show)
  • March 14th (7:30pm show)
  • March 18th (2pm and 8pm show)

It seemed laborious for my poor phone agent to check all 6 in a row, especially because I kept comparing the seats against the seat map I had open during our call.

hamilton tickets chicago

Over an hour of lovely hold music before I got a rep

However, every single show had tickets available. So if you’re still looking for – or if you want a crack at – these tickets, I’d say call immediately and have them check the date and time you want.

Some seats were for $120, but others were $180, depending on location and view.

Incredible savings for Hamilton tickets in Chicago

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I Imagined a New Premium Chase Card… How’d I Do?

Also see: 

Back in March, I imagined what a new premium Chase card would look like. By August, we had a new bundle of joy: the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

I had high hopes for such an offering. So I thought it’d be fun to look back and compare what I wanted at the time to what actually came about.

And because my points & miles predictions for 2016 aren’t doing so hot. Oops.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: What it is

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Cool! FoundersCard Members Get a Free Private Jet Flight With JetSmarter

Also see: 

It’s no secret I love my FoundersCard membership. It’s not for everyone, but I’ve gotten outsized value from it. And continue to be impressed by their offerings, like free Diamond elite status with Caesar’s among a ton of other travel benefits.

There’s a fun new promotion for a free seat on a private jet through JetSmarter.

I was a smidge jealous when I saw fellow blogger Angelina scored a free seat. But now I may be joining her ranks!

free private jet flight

The deets are buried in the fine print. But it works!

Now FoundersCard has a deal where members can get a free 3-month JetSmarter membership. And as part of that, a free JetDeals flight. It’s only a one-way flight, so you’ll have to find another way home.

But considering these tickets can be pricey, not to mention an awesome and unique experience, this is yet another innovative FoundersCard perk.

And depending on where you depart, this benefit alone can totally cover the $395 a year membership cost.

The JetSmarter benefit

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Gauging Interest: Dallas Points & Miles Meetup & an Out and Out Slack Channel

Back when I lived in New York, I grew fond of the Reach for the Miles Meetup group organized by Mike from Upgrd and Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai. And I miss that now that I’m based in Dallas.

dallas

Wanna meet IRL in Dallas?

There currently isn’t a Dallas points & miles meetup, but I’m interested in putting one together if there’s enough interest. It costs time and money to organize, but I’m willing to put in the work if peeps want to show up to network and talk about all things points & miles.

I’m also currently engaged in a Slack channel organized by Dan from Points With a Crew. And I had a thought to start a new one.

Calling anyone who might be interested in either!

The Meetup

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