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Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

Given that Baltimore is only an $8, one hour train ride from DC, it’s a great weekend destination.  I originally booked it to take advantage of two tickets for a free tour of the Heavy Seas brewery that my father won at an auction, but I realized after booking the trip that Heavy Seas has an alehouse, not a brewery, in downtown Baltimore.  Alehouses typically serve beer while the breweries typically brew beer.  I brew my own beer so I like to tour breweries and try their experimental beer. Although the media may not portray Baltimore in the best light, the…


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Verizon Points: How Much are My 150,000 Points Worth? (Part 1)

Update:  click here to read Part 2 after reading this article. I recently checked my Verizon points account and was astonished to learn that I had over 150,000 points!  If these points were American Airlines miles, I could fly round-trip to anywhere in the world that OneWorld alliance partners fly to.  I could also fly round-trip to Europe in business class or I could fly on the Ethiad A380-800 in First Class (complete with showers!).  These are all excellent uses for American miles. Unfortunately, Verizon points are not American miles and they cannot be transferred to American.  In fact, Verizon has no transfer…


New Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks is Making it Rain (Before the Storm)

I recently posted about how you can acquire a Starbucks Gold card for about $50.  I followed my own advice and reached Gold status last month (the card is delivered 4-6 weeks after) which comes with pretty cool perks.  After every 12 purchases you get a free drink of any size and not to mention the occasional 25% off and other assorted coupons that arrive regularly in your inbox.  Since I typically buy a small coffee (~$2) and redeem my award for a very large frappuccino (~$6), the Starbucks Gold card was pretty valuable to me.  Almost predictably, Starbucks announced within…


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Hyatt Andaz: Wall Street, NY

While visiting New York for New Year’s Eve, I stayed at the Wall Street Hyatt Andaz.  On this trip I also visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and downtown New York.  I chose to stay at this particular hotel during my second night in New York because of its proximity to the Statue of Liberty and the fact that I was able to take advantage of Hyatt’s Best Price Guarantee.  I’ve previously wrote about how you can get up to 25% off a published room rate by taking advantage of a hotel’s Best Price Guarantee.  I successfully invoked that…


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Awesome Airplane Landing at SDU in Brazil (With Video)

SDU as seen from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro While in Rio de Janeiro, I rode to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in a pretty cool cable car.  After two such rides, I arrived at one of the best views of Rio de Janeiro.  From the top of Sugarloaf Mountain you can see Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, the large mountaintop Jesus Christ statue, and Rio’s local airport (SDU).  The local airport mainly flies regional jets to Sao Paulo, a large city located to the west of Rio.  Since Rio is surrounded by mountains, the landing route for…


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9/11 Memorial: A Must See In New York

NYC Freedom Tower with 9/11 Memorial Art When you visit New York, you’ll have to stop by the 9/11 Memorial.  The 9/11 Memorial is located on the former site of the twin towers, in downtown Manhattan.  The memorial itself includes a museum, two large water-filled memorial pits, and what appears to be an interesting piece of art (it was still under construction). The large pits were breathtaking.  There are two pits–one for each tower–and they are located where the towers once stood.  Water flows down the side of the pit and falls into a large pool surrounded by lights.  The water…


New Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks Rewards: There’s A Storm Coming

Recently I posted about how to get a Starbucks Gold Card for under $50 which was a pretty good deal considering you’ll receive a free drink (any size and type) after receiving 12 stars.  After posting the article, I followed my own advice and reached Gold Status last week.  My fancy Gold Card will arrive in the mail in 3-5 weeks and I’ll be eligible for pretty cool perks.  My excitement lasted for less than a week due to an email from Starbucks–they’re switching to a revenue-based model!  I’ll describe why this is bad for most consumers and what important…


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Etihad A380 First Class: How I Booked a $8,000 Plane Ticket For $46 and 90,000 Miles

Etihad A380-800 My friends and family are probably tired of hearing about American Airlines miles and each deal that needs to be taken advantage of, but I finally have something to show for my labors.  There are a handful of flights that I want to fly solely for the aircraft, and today I can check one off that list (well almost, I booked it which is the first step).  Next winter I booked a flight for $46 and 90,000 AAdvantage miles on the #1 aircraft on my list: First Class on Etihad’s A380-800.  A paid ticket on this flight would…


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Cheap Airfare: $473 Flights To China On American Airlines!!!

This plane is not American’s 787 or 777-200, it’s a much smaller E-170. [Deals like this tend to expire quickly so this article may be out of date after February 19, 2016] Kudos to theflightdeal.com for finding this deal! American Airlines is offering an excellent deal where you can fly for under $500 from the US to China.  American Airlines offers one of my favorite elite programs with perks that include complimentary first class upgrades and reasonable award flight redemption rates.  You can credit the flights below to American Airlines’s frequent flier program.  In addition, you’ll want to use a credit card–such as the Chase…


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Winning the Lottery: One National Park at a Time (Half Dome and Mount Whitney)

Half Dome Cables, Yosemite With 2016 upon us, you may have started making a list of the national parks that you want to visit in this upcoming year.  You may not know this yet, but the coolest trails and cabins need to be reserved months in advance.  In addition, you have to win a lottery to visit our nations most prized treasures.  Hopefully I can shed some light on this process. The most useful information about each individual permit—such as lottery win % by date—are located on the National Park Service website.  Links to those pages are included below.  While there…