Alaska Airlines MVP Card

As we get near the last quarter of 2014, I am starting to get a bit less comfortable with the idea that we won’t have any airline status going into next year.  I am trying to do the right thing and quantify the decision as to whether we go out of our way to run for status, so what I aim to do here is lay out the cost-benefit analysis that I’ve drawn up for myself and our own travel needs so that you might do the same when faced with a similar decision.  This analysis is geared toward bottom tier status, but is absolutely useful when considering going from one level to the next – simply modify the benefits section to account for the incremental differences. For the past [...]

Career Businessman

It looks like my last/first career-oriented post was received fairly well, so I’m going to try and keep things going, especially when we’re in a bit of a travel lull – it’s time to save some vacation time and miles/money for the holidays.  I want to keep this broad before narrowing on specific fields, industries or professions.  Professionally, I am fairly young for my level, which does draw some questions here and there about any advice I’d give.  Unless it’s someone I know fairly well, whose work that I’ve seen or supervised, I stick to one high level guideline that also happens to be the biggest rule that I’ve set and at times struggle to adhere to.  No, it’s not about ending sentences in prepositions. If nothing else, always follow [...]

Quick Deals

Career blogging might be an even more crowded space than travel or family blogging, so to paraphrase the great Homer Simpson, let’s cram another salty snack into America’s already bloated snack hole. What Gives? This blog has been on hiatus for a little over a week now, but I think the coast is clear for me to get back into the swing of things.  A lot has been going on in the last month, and very little of it has involved travel, so I may diverge into some other topics here and we’ll see how that goes.  I’ve been fairly focused on work lately, and very little of that is interesting enough to write about.  Nonetheless, I’ve found myself pontificating in real life on early career advice, and people mostly [...]

Happy Labor Day

For those with the day off, I hope you’re enjoying it.  For those reading from abroad, Labor Day is a national holiday celebrating the labor movement’s economic and social impact – and you’d be challenged to find many folks that knew that without looking it up (me included).  Forget Ferragosto and the two weeks that follow it, we in the U.S. celebrate with a single day off.  We lag the industrialized world in paid time off so don’t forget to support the Vacation Equality Project, which despite its tourism industry ties, would be a step in the right direction. It happens to be raining here in Southern Maine this morning, and I’m left thinking about a few travel and miles-related things – Other than getting paid commissions for promoting it, [...]

Airline Contact Cheat Sheet

A month and a half ago I posted a list of airline contact information to keep handy during your travels.  Today I needed to dig up my own list and had trouble finding it, and as it would turn out, I had buried it in the bottom of a post on cancellation tips.  I thought it might be time to rework that into its own standalone post in the event that you might want to bookmark it to have in addition to my printer-friendly Google Sheets version.  I have also updated the list with my own experiences and recommendations on where to start. American Phone:  (800) 223-5436 Twitter:  @AmericanAir Web:  http://www.aa.com/contactAA Notes:  Phone is my preferred contact method.  Hold times are usually reasonable, even without status.  Agents tend to know what [...]


Barely two days after our multi-meltdown adventure at Paciarino we licked our wounds, still hungry for dessert, and gave it another shot.  And this time, we made it through dessert!  The scene of this evening’s success was Pine Point Grille, over in Scarborough.  It’s a newer restaurant on one of the main streets that will take you from Route 1 to the beaches.  That means a great deal of tourist traffic, although you will find the locals here too.  Well, us at least, but usually a few more. I mention this only because I’ve written before about selecting restaurants when you’re first getting back into eating out as new parents – one point of emphasis is that tourist traffic tends to bring an implied welcoming of children.  You’re very likely to find high chairs [...]

JetBlue Fall Promo

JetBlue is currently running a promotion for 20% off base fares, which is a nice deal if your travel plans align with the various restrictions.  From a family travel standpoint, I’m having trouble getting too excited about it since the promotion starts after Labor Day, but the fall is a nice time to take a long weekend and this sale certainly helps with that.  We’re considering a weekend in New York, but if we do, we may need to stay out of restaurants. Blackout periods include Columbus Day and anything near Thanksgiving – unless you’re willing to head out for two weeks and travel back on Tuesday, December 2.  Then you may have a deal.  I would act fast on the December 2 flight if you are looking to book that. [...]

Parking Meter

Taking toddlers to restaurants is hard.  Forget packing up and getting in the car.  Those infant games are over.  Our journey now begins the moment that I apply the parking brake. We decided to go to a familiar place this past Sunday night.  A great pasta-centric restaurant in the Old Port called Paciarino.  They are fast, friendly and serve fresh pasta – something we definitely don’t have time to make at home!  We naturally went during a window of time that is convenient for a dinner out with a child, as well as being implicitly acceptable by society that we be out with our little kids amongst the normal folks – 5:30PM.  I pretty much followed all of my own advice.  What could possibly go wrong? Let me back up [...]

It may interest some that the Air France/KLM FlyingBlue loyalty program is now a transfer partner with Citi ThankYou Rewards.  For me, this is a lukewarm development, but still a very encouraging sign that Citi is in the market to compete for your loyalty.  To quickly recap, Citi only recently began an airline transfer program for their ThankYou points program, but in the past few months has added some interesting partners, including Singapore KrisFlyer and now FlyingBlue.  The full list of partners, all of whom transfer at 1:1, is as follows: Cathay Pacific EVA Air Etihad Guest FlyingBlue Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer Malaysia Airlines Qatar Airways Singapore Airlines Thai Airways On the positive side, FlyingBlue provides more space on its own AF/KLM metal than you will find with Delta.  They [...]

The Travel Grinch

This past week has left me in a slightly sour mood with regard to travel, offset by some solid handling by the airlines.  I didn’t get to hang out with my college friends this weekend, and I have to tell you, drafting your fantasy football team from your basement while everyone else is partying up the occasion is slightly depressing.  I normally have no problem with the remote draft in most leagues, but I digress… a quick roundup of this weekend’s travel interests, as told to me by The Internet (which they have on computers now) – Speculation is rampant that British Airways may devalue the best short haul award chart on the planet.  Free-quent Flyer and our very own Kenny have both pointed to a strong hint at what [...]