Bahama Breeze: Part 3 – Wanderings in Nassau

The cute promenade at the Fish Fry

During my time in Nassau, I managed to make it into town twice. The first time was in the middle of the day on a Saturday. And the second was a Monday night, which we quickly found out was not the best time to visit.

If you stay in Nassau (maybe because of the 4 free nights at the Atlantis from FoundersCard/Total Rewards Diamond status), you will probably end up on Bay Street at some point. Wait, I made a little map:

nassau

Lay of the Nassau land (click to enlarge)

So that’s kinda what to expect.

And here’s what I did during my explorations beyond the Atlantis!

Bahama Breeze Index

Beach bummin’ in Nassau

1. Downtown/Bay Street

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How a $6 Charge Made My Credit Score Drop 100 Points

So, so ugly

Considering all the things I’m juggling all the time, my accuracy rate is pretty high. But more to keep track of means more things fall through the cracks.

Before I moved to Dallas ~7 months ago, I changed all my addresses to my new address. During this, I paused the shipping on my Dollar Shave Club account.

And somewhere along the line, I canceled my Amex EveryDay Preferred card because I wasn’t making 30 transactions on it per month. To help with the transactions, and because it was so low, I made it my primary card for Dollar Shave Club’s recurring $6 monthly charge.

You can guess what happened. Somewhere in the middle of everything, the shipping resumed.

my credit score dropped

$6 messed up my credit score

And somehow, the charge cleared. Usually, when a card is closed, you’ll get an email from the merchant saying the payment failed. Not so with this one.

Amex cleared the charge. And I never got an email from or letter from them. Until one day, I saw my credit score dropped from 803 to 702 – because of non-payment of the $6 charge.

Amex has no idea what’s going on

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Confirmed: FoundersCard Gets You Total Rewards Diamond Status Through 2018

Yes! FoundersCard's best benefit returns for another year

Also see:

I’ve written a lot about FoundersCard over the years.

One of their cornerstone benefits since 2014 has been free Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status.

Thankfully, it’s made a comeback every year. Including this one!

Total Rewards Diamond Status

Yes! FoundersCard’s best benefit returns for another year

You can get Total Rewards Diamond status through January 31st, 2018 – nearly a full year.

The bad news is FoundersCard currently costs $495, plus a one-time $95 fee, if you’re new.

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Been better, been worse

However, if you have a trip to Vegas in the near future, it could be worth it anyway.

What you get with Total Rewards Diamond status

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Kohl’s Deal Results: What I Learned & How It Turned Out

"What have I gotten myself into now?"

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A few times per year, Kohl’s sells small kitchen appliances at a steep discount. With card category bonuses, shopping portals, promo codes, and rebates, it works out to better than free – especially if you can resell them. It’s the ultimate in deal stacking.

I ordered 40 appliances. (Do I sound crazy yet?)

kohl's deal results

“What have I gotten myself into now?”

While I’d love to say the whole thing went off without a hitch, that’s not exactly true. Here’s what I learned about stacking. And how it all turned out.

Stacking is like jenga

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A Scary Moment at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

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I wrote my review of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun and how I’m an honorary Roman for how much I feasted there.

But there was a moment that was terrifying.

The beaches have markers every 100 feet or so, color-coded green, yellow, or red. They swap them out throughout the day and are intended to let you know how dangerous it is to swim in the water.

Jay and I got into the Gulf of Mexico in a yellow zone, next to a red zone. We were laughing and talking and suddenly heard a whistle that we’d gone too far. Jay swam away. But I had trouble moving – every time I made progress, I was pulled deeper into the water. And it was over my head before I knew it.

There was another guy next to me (and lots of peeps a few feet away) so I didn’t think any of us were in any real danger. I asked him if he was having trouble, too. He nodded. “We need help.”

“Yeah. We need help.” So we both started waving to the lifeguards on the shore.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Travel safety above all

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Comments Are Back on Out and Out

I watched the whole "Telephone" video and made screen grabs lol

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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Mexico and Bust: Eating at All the Hyatt Zilara Cancun Restaurants

IMG_2652

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OMG, y’all. I have never eaten so much in my life. I seriously – like legit – have new stretch marks from how much I gorged myself during my recent free stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

I knew I wanted to write about the food and drinks at the various restaurants. But found balance a hard one to strike because I was literally always eating and drinking. So I was torn between wanting to capture the moment and be in the moment. But I have enough to  give you an idea of what to expect.

Also, I tried every dang restaurant there – some of them twice.

hyatt zilara cancun restaurants

Love is a many splendored thing

I was impressed by the quality, selection, and creativity of the dishes. There was a huge variety. And all the drinks are made with top-shelf liquor.

Girdle thy loins, let’s look at each one.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Hyatt Zilara Cancun restaurants

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Are Checking Account Bonuses the New Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

sdf

I opened 3 new checking accounts last week. And will earn a total bonus of $900 after making the required number of transactions and/or direct deposits.

That’s a super easy way to make $900. And I didn’t even have a credit pull.

checking account bonuses

Boom

I have around 30 credit cards. And currently can’t get most Chase, Citi, or Amex cards because:

  • Chase has 5/24
  • Citi limits to “family of brands” every 24 months when you open OR close an account
  • Amex has the once per lifetime (AKA every ~7 years) rule

I’m not interested in any Barclaycards. Or US Bank cards. And I can’t get more Discover cards (limit 2).

I’m really only dealing with Bank of America these days for Alaska miles from credit card sign-up bonuses. Except for when there’s an odd offer here or there.

So, scraping the bottom of the barrel. But it’s not so bad down here! I’ve been following more checking account bonuses recently – a new world indeed.

How I got $900 in a week from checking account bonuses

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Don’t Make This Mistake With Sapphire Reserve & Prestige Travel Credits

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Update 2/6/17: So… the entire premise of this post is incorrect. I flubbed this one, guys.

Because you get 2 credits and 1 charge so in the end, you really do get to keep your credit. My mind has been hazy this week and I apologize for the incorrect information, though it was well-intentioned guidance. Anyhoo, nothing to see here.

Huge thanks to my readers who pointed out my mistake in a guiding and gentle way. It means a lot to me – kind of super emotionally sensitive right now. You guys really are the best.


Oy. I had a slip-up with my Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 annual travel credit last week. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad.

But here’s a PSA of what NOT to do.

annual travel credit

If you get a refund, you essentially lose your credit!

I booked a round-trip award flight on Southwest with my Sapphire Reserve. The taxes were $11.20.

Immediately after, I thought it better to have the trip as 2 one-ways so could lock in the price if plans didn’t change. Or have the option to change either (or both) legs down the road if needed. So that was another $11.20.

When I canceled the first ticket, I had the option to get a refund or store the money in my Southwest bank. I didn’t think it through, and impulsively hit “Refund.” Not good.

A couple of days later when the charges and credits hit, I realized what I’d done. I did get the $11.20 refund. But I lost $11.20 of my travel credit. It’s not a huge loss, but what if it was an entire paid flight? 

A similar thing almost happened to me again this week at a hotel!

Another time I messed up

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Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

Also see: 

Ahoy, mateys! I have so much to tell you about – just back from a week of meetings in Austin.

I’ve been meaning to report on the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, so here goes.

I booked 3 nights with points in late January.

The flights were paid with Citi ThankYou points (which I’m always rolling in). And I charged the $55 round-trip airport transfer to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which trigged part of the $300 annual travel credit. And because it’s an all-inclusive, food was covered (more on that in a future post!).

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

So flights, hotel, food, and transportation were all completely free. I did bring $100 in cash to leave as tips for the drivers, bartenders, servers, and housekeeping staff.

This trip would’ve cost north of $2,000 out of pocket.

But back to the hotel!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Arrival and check-in

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Everyone Can Get Free Kindle eBooks From IHG App

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Greetings, earthlings. No idea if this has been mentioned on other blogs or not.

I found a cool deal while tooling around on the IHG app.

ihg kindle offer

Free Kindle eBooks – thanks, IHG!

Anyone can download the app and access free Kindle eBooks. You get more free eBooks throughout the year for having status with IHG.

Here are the deets!

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Citi Offering Instant Upgrades for Hilton Visa, but No Bonus

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This morning, I got an email from Citi with an offer to upgrade my no annual fee Citi Hilton Visa to a Citi Hilton Reserve with a $95 annual fee.

The email subject was, “Upgrading your card means enhanced benefits.” I was excited because I’ve never seen an offer from Citi like this. So I was hoping to score some bonus Hilton points in the process. But, all you get with this offer is “One Weekend Night Certificate Opportunity and Gold Status.”

upgrade citi hilton visa

Ya know, nah

Thanks but no thanks. This isn’t a good deal with no bonus points involved. But I’m glad Citi is trying new things.

I also don’t know if they’re sending out targeted offers with this card or others, so it’s worth checking your email and junk folder to see if anything is in there.

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