Firenze (Florence) Skyline

Florence is well-served by both Star Alliance and SkyTeam.  This opens up some options on the miles and points front for getting there. As promised, this will be the only portion of this series where we spend any time on points and miles.  While we weren’t making decisions based on anything having to do with loyalty programs once we got to Italy, I did manage to drain most of my Membership Rewards stash to get us there.  Quick links to the previous parts of this series are listed below, or read on to learn how to get to Florence on points and miles. Introduction Why Florence? Getting to Florence on Points and Miles Getting to Florence on Points and Miles Covering all of your points and miles options from all [...]

JetBlue Fall 20% Fare Sale

JetBlue emailed out a promotion this morning offering 20% off domestic fall fares through December 17 using coupon code OCTOBER14.  In addition, the same code is good for 15% off international fares. The fine print isn’t onerous, either.  It excludes Friday and Sunday travel, plus November 1, 8, and 20 through December 1. The code itself is only good for the next two days, so act fast if the timing makes sense for you.

Firenze (Florence) Skyline

I’ve read elsewhere that the true challenge in traveling with children starts when they’re toddlers.  Particularly, 18 months to 3 years are supposed to be pretty hard.  Fortunately I hadn’t read that until after we returned from Italy, or we might have been discouraged from taking the trip and missing out on a great experience!  This past February, we packed up and took our then-18 month old daughter to Florence for 9 days and had an incredible time.  We hope to inspire the same sense of adventure in all of you parents of toddlers out there! Introduction Why Florence? Getting to Florence on Points and Miles We took an 18 month old to Italy and not only was it a smooth experience, we all had a great time. With some planning [...]

I haven’t seen this posted elsewhere, to the extent that I don’t read every other blog on the planet.  I received an email this morning from the NEXUS program informing me of some changes that are rolling out at Canadian airports.  The big change is that you will now be required to insert your card into the kiosk.  While this seems minor, it was previously not necessary, and therefore also not entirely necessary to carry your NEXUS card with you at all.  You would scan your passport, look into the mirror for your iris scan, and be on your way.  Those steps still exist, but will be preceded by the act of inserting your NEXUS card into the machine. For those that might be unaware, and this might also be [...]

The Travel Grinch

I received an email this morning to notify me of some changes coming to the Amazon Mom program.  Messages with the subject line, “Changes to Your […]” never seem to contain anything positive, and this is no different.  Amazon Mom will be cutting back on some of the core discounts that made this program great. Update, November 17, 2014:  My $30 credit arrived in my inbox.  Check your email! For those unfamiliar with Amazon Mom, it is an opt-in program for Amazon Prime subscribers with small children – the core benefits include discounted diapers and wipes, plus some other periodic discounts to help out with those things that we need a lot of over the first couple of years.  Despite the name, dads or anyone else buying the supplies are [...]

Small Business Saturday

American Express has announced that Small Business Saturday is back for 2014.  The date will be November 29.  This year’s terms [Warning:  Link to PDF] involve a maximum of three $10 credits per eligible American Express card.  Prepaid American Express products are not generally eligible, but Bluebird and Serve are! Registration will open on November 16, so you’ll want to make sure that your cards are ready to go. You can register a number of ways – The “Offers” tab from your account screen on AmericanExpress.com From ShopSmall.com Using the Amex App Facebook Twitter, using #AmexShopSmall To find qualifying merchants, visit the Shop Small Map. You must have a transaction of ten dollars or more to qualify for the $10 credit, and remember that it is per transaction. Even if [...]

Bicycle carrying bricks; HaNoi, Vietnam

In the course of the past year, my daughter exceeded the height limit of the Chicco Keyfit 30 and graduated into a convertible seat – the NextFit.  In that same period of time, I strapped the NextFit to my back and carried it into Boston Logan Airport – all the way from Central Parking A, through the hamster tube, alongside the out of service moving sidewalk, to the check-in area.  You know what?  That trip was the first and last time I’d do that.  That thing is heavy. If your child is at least 22 lbs and can sit up facing forward, there is a much simpler 1 pound device called the CARES harness that can really change the way you fly with a toddler.  It loops around the seat, [...]

Status Lightbulb Shattering

A couple of days ago I wrote up a cost-benefit analysis, seeking to quantify whether it made sense for my family of three to do some mileage running this fall to keep our status with Alaska Airlines.  I had concluded that the value outweighed the costs, and therefore made a purely dollar-driven decision to go for it.  A few comments supported my conclusion, but the majority suggested, politely, that I was nuts.  I sat on this for a couple of days and have ultimately started to soften on the idea of running to maintain status. Something Was Missing I began looking at my analysis again, reviewing it in the context of the constructive criticism that I received: “You wouldn’t catch me spending $2667 in order to buy status that might [...]

American Airlines Stock Down

Effective October 1, 2014, American Airlines will no longer allow you to check bags through to your final destination unless your tickets are on AA, US or a Oneworld partner.  This means, for instance, that if you have booked two separate reservations on two separate carriers, you cannot check in with American and have your luggage tagged through to the airport where that second carrier is taking you. Most reservations are on one reservation and one ticket, so no matter the mix of carriers, this rule change will not impact that.  There will also be no impact if your second itinerary is with another Oneworld carrier, as might be the case if you needed to position for a BA or US flight.  Still, this is an important change to those [...]

Fidelity Amex Card

It’s infrequent that we see a 2% cash back card with no annual fee offering a sign up bonus at all, but the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express is my favorite all-purpose card and right now there is a $50 bonus for spending $500 within the first 60 days of opening the card account. To get started, you will need a Fidelity account of some kind, as the only real stipulation is that the cash back must be redeemed into a Fidelity account.  If you just need a basic account, the Fidelity Cash Management Account is pretty hard to beat.  There are no minimums to open the account and very few fees – you get free checks, ACH transfers in/out, a Visa debit card, refunds on ATM fees imposed by [...]