Queer and There

Category Archives for Queer and There.

Seeking kindreds on the Barclaycard Travel Community

Update 2/1/15: I have been BANNED from the Barclaycard Travel Community. 

I don’t know why, but this is what I see when I log in now:

banned-barclaycard-travel

 

So if anyone has given me kudos, but I haven’t reciprocated, this is why. Thank you guys for the support, but it looks like I’m out of this one, unfortunately. :/

 

This post is part personal ad and part information.

Stepping up the game

Barclays Bank has been doing some really cool things lately, especially with their new Barclaycard Arrival (the naming of this card is so weird). They’ve created a revolutionary card with instant posting of points, instant redemptions, a great portal, free FICO score, and a slew of other great benefits. Anything a bank can do to keep a consumer engaged with their product is a really good thing. Now, they’ve made a community. Read More

If you haven’t signed up for Rocketmiles yet… do so now!

This is just a shameless advert because the referral bonus has doubled for three days only, starting today. But, in all seriousness, if you haven’t checked out Rocketmiles, they offer a truly great service.

What it’s good for

  • Booking travel for others
  • Keeping mileage accounts active
  • Earning AAdvantage miles (the one with the least amount of transfer partners)
  • Sometimes getting a better cancellation policy than booking through other sites

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Evernote Review: Remember Everything

Also see: 

Be the elephant

Be the elephant

Evernote, for me, was one of those services that my friends highly praised, but that took me a while to get into for myself. Maybe it will be like that for you, or maybe you’ll instantly fall in love with it.

I have a new brain. And that brain is Evernote. Their tagline is “Remember everything.”

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Axiom for Bank Points and Airline Miles

Axiom time.

Value

It is very hard to assign a monetary value to points and miles. Specifically, points issued by banks (Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Thank You points, Arrival “miles”) and airline mileage programs (AAdvantage, MileagePlus, SkyMiles, Easy Returns, Avios, etc., etc. etc.)

Valuations vary wildly depending on who you ask. But if you ask me, it’s simple. You want to get at LEAST two cents of value out of each point or mile.

And that’s the smoking gun right there. Don’t waste time trying to assign some sort of arbitrary value out of your points and miles. You want to shoot for a minimum value of $.02 each.

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FoundersCard Membership: Is it worth it?

Also see:

Update: You can lock in a FoundersCard membership for $295 a year through May 13th, 2016 when you sign-up with my link. This is $100 less than the usual rate!

FoundersCard popular benefits
FoundersCard popular benefits

Why I joined

I joined FoundersCard earlier this year from a referral I received after flying in Pearl Class on Etihad. I mostly signed up to be able to review the benefits and see if they’re really worth it. So far, so good. I’m on target to more than recoup the annual fee.

The membership offers numerous discounts on a LOT of different services that are useful for business, lifestyle, or travel. There are one or two that I really zeroed in on, and I think the card could offer a lot of value both with monetary discounts and with opportunities.

Events

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Evolution of the Out and Out Logo

I thought it was high time to get a proper logo for Out and Out. Who else but to enlist but my partner who’s a talented illustrator?

I found the evolution of the logo fascinating, and wanted to share.

The original direction for the logo was no direction at all. I think I said something like, “go crazy.”

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Ending the Year as a Plat on American

Welp, here we are in December. Happens like this every year, doesn’t it? I’m about 55K points/43K miles in on American this year after going into in hard into the airline only in June. If I wouldn’t have been so into Delta for the first half of the year, I’d be firmly Exec Plat on AA. But whatever, live and learn, right?
I definitely want to quality for Exec Plat in 2014. Not messing with Delta any more, not interested in United. Travel is Free pretty much outlined my reasons for wanting this, even though there’s been some flak recently about pursuing any type of status at all – on any airline.
On this day in mid-December, I am currently flying to San Diego from JFK, then fly back later this week. After that, I have two more flights this year: JFK-LAX and LAX-NAN. Cumulatively, this is about 12K miles and will net me, as a Plat, 25K redeemable miles.
I currently have 108K miles to redeem and really have my eye on that Zone 7 Explorer Award redemption in 2014 before the merger sets in. My mind is aflutter thinking of all the places I could go. Only regret is that I probably won’t get to South Africa on Oneworld, (not) thanks to BA’s stupid freaking fuel surcharges and the fact that I have no desire to connect in London anyhow.
It’s been a good six months on American. I’ve had numerous exhanges with the team on Twitter, a few upgrades even as a Plat, and much relaxation time in the Admirals Clubs. I do worry about the upcoming merger, the “New American,” and the general direction of the airline as a whole. But I do think they have the most honest loyalty program out there. United hugely disappointed me with their devaluation because of the bifurcation of partner airlines. They raised redemptions on their own metal pretty modestly, but took a page right out of Delta’s understanding of an “alliance” when they split the chart in two. Oneworld, the smallest alliance, also seems to be the most tightly knit. There’s no guesswork as to how partner flights with transfer back to American: it’s all 100%. Can’t get easier than that. (Poor Korean/Delta/Skyteam – what a shitty situation.)
My planned travels so far for 2014 include the gayest trip to Vegas EVAR in February, and Munich for Oktoberfest, in, well Oktober. Aside from that, I’d like to squeeze in the Explorer Award, a trip to Dublin (BOS-DUB) with Avios, a weekend in NOLA, and some Pacific NW exploration (I’m thinking VYR-SEA-PDX-maybe NorCal).
I have a rule about mileage running: it has to be to a place I genuinely want to go. In this regard, it’s not a true mileage run so much as a cheap ticket for a quick trip, but I like this rule. It’s enriching and expands my travel horizons (and earns me miles).
RTW-Trip-2013
Pretty soon, for Christmas and New Year’s, I’ll be flying my first RTW trip with a crazy JFK-LAX-NAN-AKL-SYD-MEL-AUH-CAI-IST-CDG-EWR itinerary, although I’m hoping to tighten up the segments after AUH back to NYC. Maybe AUH-FRA-JFK if Lufty releases the space? We’ll see. But I can’t wait to experience the different metals (Fiji Airways, AIr New Zealand, Qantas, Etihad, Egyptian, Turkish, United BusinessFirst), lounges, airports, and destinations. As always, will report back.
Wish I was already Exec Plat, but it’s been a pretty good year. Cheers to ending the year as a Plat, and happy and safe travels to all that will be out and about this holiday season.

Bitcasa: A Review

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What is Bitcasa?

Bitcasa is a service that aims to eliminate external (and to some extent, internal) hard drives from people’s lives. It is a cloud-based storage solution that boasts unlimited storage. Wow. That’s quite a claim.

I found Bitcasa after my latest round of hard drive failure. I thought, there has GOT to be a better way of doing this. A few Google searches later, I found Bitcasa.

And I’m so glad I did. They give you 10GB free just for signing up – enough to back up most phones! I downloaded a program file, and within a few minutes, had it all set up on my Macbook Pro.

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New York Story: Book Giveaway on Goodreads – ends 9/5

New York Story

New York Story

 

My latest book of essays about living and loving in New York City has gotten some great feedback so far – and it could be yours for free!

I’m giving away 5 copies of the paperback version to winners who’ll be randomly selected by Goodreads on September 5th. Here’s the link to enter: http://bit.ly/1dzB9MS

If you don’t want to wait, the e-book is available for $2.99 on Amazon. Click to read the synopsis and some early reader reviews.

Add it to your “to read” list on Goodreads: New York Story

Thanks in advance for reading!