Greensboro (Part 1) Introduction: Baby’s First Flight!
Greensboro (Part 2) Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation, Lake Oconee
Baby’s First Flight!
My wife had another business trip to attend and she wouldn’t go if the baby couldn’t come with. However this time we couldn’t drive down as we did with her business trip to Chicago. We had to take baby on the plane down to Georgia!
My wife booked our travel through her work and since she was able to take a guest (me) my flight was paid for. We decided to take the baby with us as a lap child since he’s around 15lbs and a really good, happy baby. Since we were flying Southwest on a direct flight Milwaukee to Atlanta we made sure to bring babies birth certificate to verify he is indeed under 2 years old. My wife and I shared our largest luggage bag which we checked and baby had the entire carryon full to himself. Full with diapers, clothes and some books and toys. This was to be a 4 day, 3 night trip. At checkin we bought a $15 bag from the Southwest checkin agent for our baby’s carseat and stroller so that would all be together and protected from scuffs. The bag was gate checked and worked out OK.
Baby’s car seat and stroller tucked away in this bag for gate check
My biggest fear was Continue reading
I recently applied for a few credit cards, four to be exact. The last card I applied for was the Citi ATT access more card. I figured it would be a shoe-in since I have never been denied for a Citi card in four years of collecting points and miles (and such). The offer was tempting to me because I would’ve received a $650 statement credit from Citi after buying a qualifying AT&T smartphone and spending $2000 within the first 3 months of card ownership.
I submitted my application and it went to a “processing” status for a few seconds and then came back with a BIG, FAT, DENIAL!!! I wasn’t prepared for that! The only other time I have been denied for a credit card was about two years ago for a Barclays card. Why did I get declined? Too many recent inquiries!!! Funny thing is I hadn’t applied for a card in the prior 90-100 days and even then I only applied for three cards back in June. I did apply for a car loan in July but I think that was a TransUnion credit pull which hardly is pulled by other companies for me personally.
So I guess I will be keeping my perfectly good iPhone 6 for another year until my contract runs out. I was hoping to buy a 64GB iPhone 6s for $750 and get $650 credited back to me and then sell my unlocked iPhone 6 for around $400-$500. In the end I would have had the newest iPhone and netted $300-$400 in cash from the sale of my old iPhone 6. Alas it is not to be!!!! I could call the Citibank reconsideration line and try to plead my case or compose a letter to the Citibank Office of the President to do the same but I doubt I will fight for this one and just let it be.
This just goes to show not everything works out perfect all the time in this game we play!
British Airways $2015 promotional was good through October 16th 2015 at midnight EDT
Well the travel blogs exploded this past Thursday and Friday!! The big noise was about the British Airways 2015 sale. Meaning they were selling roundtrip business class airfare for $2015. That by itself is a good deal but that is still too expensive for me to ever pay for airfare! Combining an AARP membership (which cost $16) and paying for part of the ticket with British Airways Avios points though really dropped the price drastically. Many early birds were able to score roundtrip business class tickets for under $400 to Europe!
I already had an AA saver award booked (on hold) for London for 50,000 miles $5.60 per person for me and my wife. However the date wasn’t perfect and I didn’t book our return flights yet. I was torn about if I really wanted to spend the cash when the alternative was $5.60 for my flight. I would be able to book business class flights for the dates and times we wanted if I booked through the 2015 BA sale. On top of that I would save 100,000 AA miles. I would also earn more AA miles (around 10,000 miles each) by flying on an I fare bucket ticket.
In the end it was too much to pass up and I booked our flights on BA.com on Friday morning for around $850 and 30,000 Avios per ticket for our business class tickets. I am hoping to fly this on the way over (fingers crossed AA has updated all the Boeing 777-200’s by then):
American Airlines 777-200 updated business class
and this on the way home:
British Airlines 777 Club World
Hotels were booked a while ago and are 100% on points so we won’t have any lodging costs which helped me decide to spend a little money on the flight. Considering a coach ticket to Europe can run $1000-$1500 over the summer season I had to capitalize on this deal!!!
I am curious if others would have preferred the first option that I had on hold for 50,000 AA miles and $5.60 (more likely 100,000 AA miles for roundtrip) or jump on this fare sale? Did we make the right choice?
The end has come for my beloved prepaid Target REDcard AKA REDbird. Target has stopped excepting credit and debit cards altogether for loading the REDcard. You now can only reload the card with cash. For the past 12 months I used this card to earn thousands of frequent flyer miles and points. Anyone that reads this blog is aware of my REDbird usage. I wrote about it originally here and more recently here. I was never sure how long the REDbird would last in the mileage earning form we knew and loved. I thought it might run a little longer after they no longer accepted direct credit card loads and it did indeed run another five months from that point. I didnt even mind paying the $4.95 fees to buy some gift cards and meet my minimum spends or run up my Starwood balance.
All good things come to an end is what I I said when I was first heartbroken with Vanilla reloads and pronounced its death in 2014. Well it rings true with the REDbird card. I will miss it for a while and the next thing will come along to grab my attention. I know many are going back to AMEX Serve and AMEX Bluebird but I’m not sure I have it in me to visit the ghetto Walmarts closest to my home and work anymore. On a side note- I am not happy about it but we are now on the hook for a monthly daycare that costs over $1300 a month. One of the positives is that I can pay my child’s “tuition” with a credit card for a very small fee. That will certainly help with making any minimum spends. If I can find some $500 metabank gift cards easily enough I think I will be in good shape and would try screwing around with a new Serve card as a fall back.
We have a fair share of miles built up at this point. Enough to take several vacations with either cheap airfare or cheap hotel stays or both. There are a few mileage balance accounts that I would like to top up for certain aspiration redemptions but that’s about it.
It was fun while it lasted. I will miss all the nice Target employees who bonded with me at the customer service counter! Thanks for servicing all my reloads!
What are your plans now that REDcard has “kicked the bucket”?
Chicago (Part 1) Introduction- A baby on a business trip!
Chicago (Part 2) Omni Hotel Chicago
Omni Hotel Chicago
We stayed two nights at the Omni Hotel Chicago. The Omni participates in the GHA (Global Hotel Alliance) loyalty program. The property is a “luxury” property right in the middle of downtown Chicago on the Miracle Mile of Michigan Ave.
Omni Hotel exterior
We were welcomed by the valet/bellman on arrival and although we had a decent amount of luggage (because of baby) I declined assistance. We were given our valet slip and escorted to the elevators on the ground level and told on the second level is the reception desk.
Omni Hotel lobby area
We were checked in by a nice front desk agent who was quick and efficient. We were given our room keys and on our way to the elevators to our room on the 10th floor.
Our room key
Our room was only two rooms away from the elevators but we never experienced any noise from the elevator or other guests.
Our room, a deluxe suite was around 400 square feet and was plenty spacious. There was a queen bed in the bedroom and a separate living area. Both had flat screen tv’s mounted on the walls. The living room area consisted of a medium size couch which appeared to be a “pull out” sleeper sofa, a desk for working and a wet bar. Our bed was comfortable and the room was clean throughout. Continue reading
Chicago (Part 1) Introduction- A baby on a business trip!
Chicago (Part 2) Omni Hotel Chicago
My wife is back to work, after only eight weeks at home with the baby her maternity leave has ended, unfortunately. On her first week back to the office she needed to attend a conference in Chicago for two nights and couldn’t bear the thought of being away from the baby for a few days. She could have taken the Amtrak train from Milwaukee to Chicago and back to come home after the meetings had ended around 5pm but that would have made for long days. Instead we decided as a family to drive down together and we would all stay with mom for her conference!
I would be Mr. Mom while on this trip! I am now off of work for a few weeks as my paternity leave has started. We packed up two large diaper bags for the baby and had his stroller/car seat combo along with his pack and play seat to sleep in. My wife and I just shared a carryon bag. It would also be a chance to visit a new hotel for free as my wife’s work was paying the bill for the two night stay. The conference was held at the Omni hotel and I will of course have a full review in the next installment of this report.
I didn’t have a chance to do much for the time in Chicago as I was busy tending to the baby and he did great by the way. It was windy and cool while we were in the windy city (high 50’s) so I didn’t want to really bundle the baby up and walk around the city without my wife for assistance if needed. We did have a chance to go out for dinner as a family on Thursday night as we walked a block over to Rosebud’s Italian restaurant. The big deal was my wife had her first alcoholic beverage in almost a year and we cheers’d over a glass of wine!
My wife’s first drink in almost a year!!!!
Jumbo stuffed mushrooms at Rosebud’s
This will be a super-quick trip report but I wanted to review the hotel and share that the baby’s first state traveled to was Illinois! Stay tuned for my review of the Omni Hotel Chicago in the next installment.