Travel

Category Archives for Travel.

7 Easy Tricks to Use 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Cheap Travel

Right now, a few Chase cards have sign-up bonuses with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Ultimate Rewards points or more. These are by far my favorite kind of points. And the ones I focus on collecting above all others.

The Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Cash all offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements. That got me thinking how I’ve used Chase points in the past.

use chase rewards

I’ve used Chase points to spend time in Austin via British Airways, Hyatt, and Southwest

Here’s more about each card, as they all have different fees and earning rates. And ideas for how to spend those bonus points!

3 Great Chase Offers

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Electric Tokyo: A $15,000 Week in Japan for $58 (With Business Class Flights and Free Hotels!)

Oh my purness, I cannot wait to get back to Japan right meow. 😻

I’ll be back in early April – just in time to catch the end of cherry blossom season (!) according to the forecast.

I went during the same time 2 years ago and fell completely in love with Tokyo (and Osaka). But this trip will be a whole week in Tokyo.

I’ll fly there and back in American Airlines Business Class, Dallas nonstop to Tokyo. (I reviewed the First Class cabin last time).

I’ll be at the Hilton Tokyo again for 3 nights (here’s my review). And at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo for 4. Was hoping to stay at the Conrad Tokyo for at least 2 nights. But demand was too crazy, obvi.

tokyo with points 2018

I also used 54,000 American miles, 50,000 Alaska miles, 180,000 Hilton points, and 200,000 IHG points

Still, I paid ~$58 out-of-pocket for a trip that retails for nearly $15,000. My only expenses when I get there will be train fares, food food food, and admission to art museums.

Here’s how I booked it!

To Tokyo with points, 2018 edition

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12 Ways to Save Money (And Have Fun!) on Your Next Road Trip

I recently took a road trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to Denver – and back to Dallas. It was 1,925 miles and 29 hours of pure asphalt that took us through plains, mountains, and prairies.

I spent time preparing for the week-long journey. And figured how to save cash and have fun on the way. Because that’s a lot of time in a car!

If you don’t plan it right (or at all), you’ll likely spend too much, miss cool opportunities, or generally have a miserable time. And no one wants that. 😾

ways to save on road trips

A little planning = big savings and fun on your road trip

Here are tips to make your next road trip smooth as asphalt.

12 Ways to Save on Road Trips

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Points Are a Currency – And YOU Get to Set the Value

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Peeps conceptualize their points & miles in various ways. I’ve heard the argument they’re worth as much as you’re willing to pay in cash – logic that has always failed me. I use points because I won’t pay cash… right?

If I get a $10,000 Business Class flight for say, 50,000 miles – but I’m only willing to pay $1,000 in cash for the flight, does that mean the miles were worth the retail value of $10,000… or my “willing to pay” price of $1,000?

points worth

I used points to fly Lufthansa First Class… a product I’d NEVER pay cash for!

To me, they’re worth up to the cash cost because I typically travel for pleasure. Even though I value most points & miles at 2 cents each (at least!). Which in this case, 50,000 miles would be worth at least $1,000 but actually much more because of the retail price.

Knowing the selling price is the thrill of the deal. That’s the point of points in the first place (or First Class). And often, I use points & because only because of the retail value, despite what I’m “willing” to pay.

So I set my minimum value at 2 cents each because under that, you might as well use a 2% cashback card for the same (or better) result. I collect points for those times when I get outsized value – that’s what makes it worth it. And why I set the points value at – benchmark low – 2 cents each. But it all depends.

What’s your points value?

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PV PLZ: Couples Massage at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Spa

(This is the last post about Puerto Vallarta, by the dubs.)

Y’all. I did something I’ve never done at a hotel before: paid out-of-pocket for a fancy spa day. I got a body scrub, body wrap, facial, and full-body massage. It was opulent, decadent, and completely amazing.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta spa

Getting ready for my spa day at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

During our stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, my friend and I took a stretching class one morning. On the way, we passed by the spa, mostly out of curiosity.

After touring the facility and taking a look at the spa menu, we decided the couples massage was actually a great value. So we set up the appointment to spend 4 hours in heavenly bliss.

PV PLZ trip report index

Breaking down the spa deal

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What It’s REALLY Like to Travel While Gay

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WARNING: This post contains graphic language that some may find offensive or triggering. If that’s you, please do NOT continue. 

There are places in this world I’ll never visit. Not because I don’t want to see them. But because they don’t want to see me.

Aside from political or economic strife, the entire globe is available to you if you’re a straight, white, cis man. But being a gay traveler, it isn’t possible.

travel while gay

I know I’m not wanted everywhere in this world. And I won’t go to those places. There’s a reason why

In fact, I’m used to watching my back when I visit different neighborhoods in my own town. I know that stopping at the wrong gas station can get me killed. Or that holding a partner’s hand in some countries can get me thrown in jail for obscenity, or executed.

There are a few things I always think about before I decide to take a trip. As a gay traveler, my biggest goal is to make it back home.

Why is it like this?

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PV PLZ: Eating at All the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

The best part about staying at an all-inclusive is eating your face off. And I didn’t hold back during my 3-night free stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta last week. (I am currently doing a detox and running 4+ miles a day as penance.)

There are 5 restaurants here – and I ate at most of them twice!

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

The stunning view from Blaze (this is the only non-food pic in the post btw)

Here’s what you can expect from the food at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.

PV PLZ trip report index

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta restaurants

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PV PLZ: Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

Still reeling about the completely relaxing Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarata. Now that I’m back in Dallas, I can start to process it.

The 3 nights I spent here were completely free. I used 60,000 Hyatt points for a stay that retailed for $1,300+ for the dates I was there.

In fact, the whole trip only cost me $90 out-of-pocket. Here’s how I booked it.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

View of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta from the beach

Back to the hotel!

PV PLZ trip report index

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

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PV PLZ: How I Booked a $2,000+ Mexican Vacation for $90 With Points

A couple of days ago, I returned from a MUCH needed break slash reset in sunny Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. A friend and I stayed 3 nights Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. She flew down from Chicago. And I flew from Dallas.

I only paid $90 to watch the sunset in Puerto Vallarta for 3 nights

Out-of-pocket, I paid $90 in addition to 60,000 Hyatt points for the room and 15,000 British Airways Avios points for award flights on American. Here’s how I did it!

PV PLZ trip report index

Get me to Mexico!

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Confirmed: FoundersCard Members Can STILL Get 4 Nights in the Bahamas (I Just Booked It!)

Oof. It’s been a rough ride for Caesar’s Total Rewards fans this year. In particular, they slaughtered their Diamond elite tierno more lounge access for starters, unless you have a certain number of tier credits.

total rewards atlantis

I’m coming back for more, Atlantis

One of the best perks about Total Rewards Diamond elite status has been 4 free nights in the Bahamas each year (I took them up on it in December 2016). And that’s changed, too.

I’m Diamond with Total Rewards because of FoundersCard. That perk was renewed through the end of January 2019.

I’m NOT a high roller but still got 4 free nights in the Bahamas

And great news: you can still get 4 nights at the Atlantis Paradise Island (a Marriott Autograph property). I had no trouble booking it over the phone with next to 0 tier credits today.

But now, you have to pay resort fees for the stay, and they’re ~$54 per night. Which is still a great deal. Just not as good a deal as before.

Looks like I’ll be going back to Nassau in May! I’m thinking of staying only 3 nights and spending the last one at the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that isn’t even 1 year old yet!

Total Rewards Atlantis Information

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, New Mexico

New Mexico is pure magic. It’s one of my favorite places on earth.

Every time I’m there, I feel deep soul-healing. Those high desert landscapes are what my soul looks like, I think. I’m so completely at peace with the mountains and wind and all of it.

So I was definitely looking forward to staying at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya, nestled 25 minutes north of Albuquerque and 45 minutes south of Santa Fe in northern New Mexico.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Review

This little sign is where the magic began

Two friends and I drove here non-stop from Dallas – a solid 10-hour drive. We left at 4am, stopping only in Amarillo for an early lunch. A few hours later, we drove through the cute town of Bernalillo and into the 550 acres of the resort, technically located in Santa Ana Pueblo.

This is a wonderful, special resort. I highly recommend staying here if you ever get the opportunity. Here’s my experience and how I stayed for completely free! 

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Review – Arrival and check-in

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