nyc

Tag Archives for nyc.

Birchbox Is Rocking My Face (and Hair)

I just got my first Birchbox in the mail this week. The March box included a great styling paste for hair, shaving cream, a beer koozie, awesome bottle opener, and set of two leather coasters.

First BirchBox

First BirchBox

 

The idea behind Birchbox is that they send you deluxe samples of nice grooming products once a month for $20. What’s in the box is worth more than $20, but then if you like a particular product, you can buy a full size of it at a discounted rate. Great idea, and awesomely progressive way of marketing. The boxes are packaged really well, and they give you the chance to tell them what you like so you’ll get targeted items in your box.

I loved my first one, and will definitely keep it for a few months to see the progression of the products through a couple of seasons. Sign up using this link and I’ll get a small referral credit, which is much appreciated. They have a version for both ladies and gentlemen. A cool little box of treats loaded with samples every month? Yes, plz. Gotta rep the NYC love too, cuz they’re based here. 🙂

I put the subscription charge onto my British Airways Visa to help meet the ginormous minimum spend requirement to unlock the full bonus and to pick up a few more Avios every month. It all adds up!

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Do You Get Double Points on Chase Sapphire for MTA in NYC?

Answer: YES. Absolutely. As a fellow disgruntled forced loyal MTA rider (like most of NYC), I always use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card when I load up my MetroCard. I also use it on all my other travel and restaurant spend, except when I’m trying to meet minimum spends on other cards.

You’ll also get double points for these other travel expenses:

  • Rental cars
  • Anything remotely related to air travel (tickets, drinks on the plane, baggage fees, change fees, booking fees [OK – any fees], gift cards, and some points purchases)
  • TAXIS (important to also know in NYC!)
  • Any type of car service (for the Brooklyn people)
  • Public transportation anywhere (Tube in London, BART in SF, CTA in Chicago, etc.)
  • Hotels, even including Airbnb – I confirmed this with a phone rep

Restaurants is another huge category:

  • Fast food
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Catering
  • And pretty much anywhere that’s coded as an “eating place” – meaning they serve food (or drinks!). I use my Sapphire in bars all the time.
Eating Place

“Eating Place” (also, I love Mexican food)

 

Interesting to note something that’s not included in the “travel” category, though: GAS. If you fill up your rental car with gas before returning it, you’ll only earn one point per dollar. Better to use the Chase Ink Plus/Bold or the American Express Premier Gold Rewards card for those transactions since they do earn two points per dollar at gas stations.

Since travel and restaurants are my two biggest spend categories, I love love love the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Worth every penny of the $95 annual fee.

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MTA Fare Hikes Are Killing NYC

 

 

Argh, the lovely and esteemed MTA has once again raised fares on the subways of NYC. I usually by a weekly because I don’t get enough value out of a monthly. When I went to refill my weekly card before hopping on the F Train today, I noticed a whole slew of new info screens at the machines. My $29 MetroCard was now $30. Overnight. Thank god I get 2 points/dollar with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

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New fares! Don’t like ’em? Go kill yourself.

It’s also an extra $1 if you want a brand new card (or you can swap in an old one for free). I sometimes get a new card because the magnetism on the card wears off after a while, meaning you have to go talk to one of the agents in the little booth. This is always a debilitating experience, because they:

1. Glare at you like you’re the most annoying person in the world

2. Move as slow as possible, even, and especially if, a train is pulling into the station

3. Hate to be useful, preferring to look bored and annoyed

4. Berate you if you make any indication that you are in a hurry (which everyone always is)

 

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Poor tourists

 

 

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I can’t say I’m surprised by the newest round of hikes, but the MTA is killing NYC. It’s little things like this that are slowly chipping away at my willingness to continue living in this corrupt, overcrowded, but insanely fun and cultural city. My love/hate relationship with New York is already pretty extreme. This just exacerbates it way more.

The newest round of hikes is especially rough for Long Islanders, and for any of the B&T (Bridge & Tunnel) commuters because LIRR and bridge tolls are more expensive, too. So in the future, when you want to visit New York, it’s going to cost you more to get around. After a while, they’re going to price all the tourists, and eventually the residents, out – one little annoying overpriced fee at a time. The “green” fee – $1 for a new card – is, for me, the worst. What a crock of shit.

Happy travels? Yeah, right. Have you been on a piss-smelling, packed-like-sardines, frequently rerouted MTA train lately? Wait till 2015! More hikes on the way. I hope to be long gone by then. Thanks, MTA, for slowly killing NYC.

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