Frequent Traveler University moves to DC, and its only a month away! Frequent Traveler University DC will take place at the Crystal City Marriott in Northern Virginia, just out side of Washington, DC (in fact, its walking distance from Reagan National Airport!), August 11-12.
Frequent Traveler University DC
I’m excited to to be a part of a really great group of speakers lined up. You can see the full agenda via the FTU Signature DC Page, but to highlight a few:
- Greg the Frequent Miler will share his top 10 Insider Tips
- There will be a Beginner’s Boot Camp Track covering everything from concepts, airline awards, and manufactured spending
- I’ll be talking about reselling, which will be a taste of the full day ResellingDO event I’ll be hosting in September
- Matthew Klint will be talking about exotic travel – whether its the aspirational beach destinations, or those places you see in the news and may be curious to visit.
- DC Local Charles McCool will be talking about habits of happy travelers, which is important, because so often we focus so much on the planning that the experience somehow falls short.
- Spencer Howard, another fellow DC Local will be covering Award Sweet Spots, and trust me, if you like my trip reports, you are going to want to learn from him, he’s all about premium travel.
Getting the Greatest Value out of Frequent Traveler University DC
The speakers at Frequent Travel University DC really are spectacular, but the real value of these events is the networking. As I’ve said before, Embrace the Community! This is an excellent opportunity to network with like minded travel hackers.
Even better, you can now save $30 off the ticket (net cost ends up being $219 per ticket) with code SIZZLE if you grab tickets with this link by Midnight PST on 20 July 2018. Also, if you are going, please don’t forget to sign up for the Friday, August 10 pizza dinner at Fire Works Pizza 2350 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201 (attendees will get a RSVP email prior to the event, limited to first 55 participants to register, includes assorted pizzas, drinks not included.)
Will you be at FTU DC?
10 July 1918, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force came into existence. And you may ask, how did the Royal Air Force mark their 100th birthday? With one of the most spectacular flyover parade in memory.
I’m sure you’re imagining a simple flyover like the Superbowl (like this perhaps):
Cut to 1:05 or so (and yes, I realize that is Notre Dame vs Navy rather than the pro’s!)
No, no, no, this was far more spectacular!
Royal Air Force mark their 100th birthday
This was a pretty big event in London, I dare say it might have even been bigger than the World Cup games thus far. The event had the Queen in attendance, and included more aircraft than I could identify. Some old, some new, some trainers, some cargo, some fighters, including helicopters as well! In total there were 100 aircraft. Perhaps most spectacular was what I think were the Typhoons flying in “100” formation.
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund put together a nice time lapsed video highlighting how big a deal this was in England. Its a quick well done video worth a watch:
If you’d like to watch a slightly longer one with BBC commentary, then this may be more to your liking, it certainly includes more #avgeek shots.
The Royal Air Force went all in!
Surprisingly, I only happened to notice this in the wee hours of the morning on Twitter, but when I looked closer, it was completely apparent to me that the UK went all in. There’s an entire page and an app to follow the Royal Air Force mark their 100th birthday! They even put out this rather fantastic graphic identifying all of the aircraft that they had planned for the event!
This was perhaps an air parade that won’t be topped in our life times. It was truly phenomenal to watch fixed wing, rotor, jet, and propeller aircraft in the sky over London. It was also a great reminder of how impressive and far the world’s aviation experience has come in the last 100 years. The RAF has aircraft from the US, UK, and Europe, which does make it an impressive variety.
What was your favorite aircraft?
Its 68 days to ResellingDO for Beginners – have you signed up yet? We’re going to have a fantastic line-up of speakers with tested backgrounds. We’re going to have plenty of time for networking, oh, and we’ll have beer, and wine! and soft drinks, too!
ResellingDO for Beginners
This will be the first ResellingDO focused primarily on beginners. But what do we mean by this? Well, for starters, we’re going to give you easy to understand tips for Retail Arbitrage, Online Arbitrage and Merch by Amazon. We’ve even got a speaker who will talk Ebay, which is a great “back-up” option as you’re cutting your teeth on Amazon. This event will provide you the tools being successful in your Amazon business. It will provide you information on how you can create and build a side-gig Amazon business, as my wife and I have.
Not just for Beginners
The beauty of any of these events, is that even though these presentations are geared towards beginners, there is plenty of time to network. In every ResellingDO we’ve held, there has been a mix of beginners, intermediate, “weekend warriors” (such as my wife and I), and full time resellers. Bottom line, reselling is a pretty expansive business, whether it’s your primary focus or your side gig, and because it is so expansive, people just love to network! There will be a good handful of people who have already cut their teeth on reselling, and are attending to network–and perhaps, enjoy some good beer.
#ResellingDO For Beginners – The Details:
- When: Saturday, September 15th, 2018
- What: A full day of networking, presentations on credit cards, Merch by Amazon, Online and Retail Arbitrage
- Where: Jailbreak Brewery, Laurel, MD
- Tickets: Buy your ResellingDO Tickets here
Will you be at ResellingDO?
There’s a super awesome deal going on now, that gives you 20% back on Amazon Purchases, up to $100 back, if you pay with at least one American Express Membership Rewards point. Doctor of Credit has a great and updated post on the deal. But as I was going through Amazon, I realized I’d never linked my accounts, as a result, I couldn’t use Membership Rewards Points on Amazon!
How to use Membership Rewards Points on Amazon
Linking is fairly easy to do, first you want to go to Amazon.com/Membership Rewards
You’ve still got a few steps to go through though.
You’ll want to click that Get Started link, then you’ll see the following screen:
Once you decide to add an account, you’ll need to enter your name and your credit card number:
From there you’ll have to confirm address, then provide just a bit more info:
Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll just need to select an American Express card to pay with, then you should have the option to pay with points.
Hopefully this provides a pretty easy to follow way to link your American Express Membership Rewards card to your Amazon account. More importantly, hopefully this provides you a way of maximizing some of the incredible opportunities like the 20% off purchases, up to $100 back deal that is currently happening. But I’d imagine there are so many more awesome deals to come!
There are a lot of traits of points and miles folks that lend themselves to the pursuit of other savings, outside of pure travel rewards. One area where I think a lot of folks can get value from is saving on gasoline, especially given that we’re into the summer driving season.
Save 25 Cents a Gallon with Shell’s Fuel Rewards
Richard Kerr, founder of Award Travel 101 and Travel Grumps 101 (both fantastic Facebook groups if you are into miles, points, or travel, by the way!) has worked out a great promotion with Shell’s Fuel Rewards program that enhances the sign-up bonus by 5x. Normally a first time sign up will net you 5 cents a gallon on your first fill up. Richard has gotten this first time fill up to be 25 cents a gallon!
Singing up is pretty easy, fill out the information below:
Once you enter your information, you’ll get an acknowledgement screen:
If you log in, you’ll see options to earn, as well as where you stand. Here I was pleasantly surprised to see 30 cents a gallon and that I had been elevated to a Gold Member:
I don’t know many people that don’t have to drive once in a while. Shell’s Fuel Rewards program is a great program to participate in to get some level of savings on the gas you’re buying anyway. There are other great fuel rewards programs (thinking Safeway, Kroger, Weis), but, this is not one of those things where you need to be exclusive to one program. Save where you can, when you can. I hope you’ll give Shell’s Fuel Rewards a shot!
What is your favorite fuel rewards program?
I realize in the big scheme of things, the complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste found in most mid-to-high end hotel rooms is minimal. But, based on a recent stay at the Grand Hyatt Incheon (just outside of Seoul, South Korea), I am wondering if the Grand Hyatt brand is moving away from complimentary toothbrushes.
The Grand Hyatt Incheon
A few friends and I had decided to get a day room at the Grand Hyatt Incheon, as we had a roughly 14 hour layover during the day and figured it would be helpful to have a base of operations. So we checked into a room in the West Tower (this was the new tower built around the time the hotel switched brands from a Regency to a Grand). The room was pretty standard, but the thing that struck me was what was in the bathroom drawer.
Now I didn’t particularly need the toothbrush or toothpaste – I had brought my own on this particular trip. But seeing the charge, I had to inquire.
A public tweet garnered a collection of responses, generally expressing distaste.
The tweet also received a request from the Hyatt Concierge team to Direct Message them. I explained my concerns, and they forwarded those concerns on to the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager, who I caught up with later that evening in the lounge.
Is the Grand Hyatt brand moving away from complimentary toothbrushes?
Speaking with the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager, it seemed that the direction from Chicago, or Hyatt Corporate was to limit one gratis toothbrush per standard room, with additional toothbrushes and toothpaste at a cost (in this case, 6,600 Won which translates to $6.14 US).
I haven’t been able to get Hyatt to confirm this, but, it certainly is one data point indicating that Grand Hyatt brand may be moving away from complimentary toothbrushes.
Moving away from complimentary toothbrushes at Grand Hyatt hotels, it would seem like a small cost savings, though I’d imagine it could generate a decent amount of frustration.
If Hyatt really is moving away from offering complimentary toothbrushes at Grand Hyatt branded hotels, it’s not a tectonic shift. It makes me wonder if this is more akin to American Airlines removing olives from the salad in domestic first class back in the 1980’s. I doubt it will change anyone’s stay habits, but it still strikes me as cheap, especially when Grand Hyatt’s are largely viewed as a high quality hotel brand. Obviously Grand’s are behind the Andaz and Park Hyatt brands, but I’d argue that they would fall as a close 3rd in the Hyatt family.
What do you think of the possibility of the Grand Hyatt brand no longer offering complimentary toothbrushes?
For some reason, 2018 has been super busy for me. But, even with that, I’m still able to catch up with Joe of As The Joe Flies and chat travel every couple of weeks on the Saverocity Observation Deck. We’ve had some really great episodes covering a true smorgasbord of topics with a bunch of awesome guests over the last few months. I figured as we’re getting to mid-year, that it’d be good to take a moment and highlight some of the podcasts we’ve done.
Catching up with the Saverocity Observation Deck – The Elite Status Conundrum
As long time readers would know, I’ve long been on the Elite Status Hamster Wheel. Well, this was a great conversation that is starting to sway me just a bit, it was so much fun that we ended up doing a second. Part one was primarily focused upon airline status:
Part two, I think was a bit more of a challenging decision on hotel status:
Catching up with the Saverocity Observation Deck – On Hyatt Globalist Status
Continuing on the discussion of Elite Status, we linked up with Freequent (best pronounced Freeeeeeee) Flyer (FQF) to talk Hyatt Globalist Status and Best Practices Earning Ultimate Rewards.
Catching up with the Saverocity Observation Deck – Focus on Travel, not Points
We had the chance to chat with Becky Pokora on Mexico, and also on her rather unique approach to travel. I say unique because “SightDoing” is a unique approach and I think its absolutely awesome. In full disclosure, I try to push myself on travel, but I’m nowhere near Becky’s level just yet.
We also had the chance to chat with Cynthia Drescher where we talked about cruising, and started our Destination Focus, including festivals in Germany, and Vivid Sydney (which ironically I’ll be experiencing in just a few short days!!)
Catching up with the Saverocity Observation Deck – Hawaii with not one, but 2 special guests!
Now this may be biased, but, we had a really fun podcast on Hawai’i with Tim Brooks, where I surrendered my seat to a woman who was far more seasoned with Hawaii travel than I am, in fact, this wahine spent part of her childhood in Hawai’i; Rose (my wife) was awesome to step in and share tips for Hawai’i travel that I wouldn’t even have guessed. Really appreciative of Rose to step in and prevent me from stumbling through based on my memories of L & L’s Drive in or Tex’s Malasadas.
I hope you’ll enjoy some of these excellent podcasts.
What is your favorite Saverocity Observation Deck Podcast episode?
My friends, this is one of the best times of the year! Every year, Ebates celebrates their birthday, I’ve covered many of the last few years, but the best day of Ebates Birthday week is always when they include Staples at 15%+ cashback. Alas, Ebates Birthday 2018 is proving to be a fun week to be buying online!
Ebates Birthday 2018
I’ve long espoused the benefits of Shopping Portals, though sometimes its better to go for cashback instead of points. This is one of those cases! Ebates has a ton of stores at 15% cashback today, and this week.
You can get the entire list here but I’ll highlight some stores that jump out at me below:
- Staples (Today only)
- Dick’s Sporting Goods (Today Only)
- Lord and Taylor
- Foot Locker
- Under Armour
- Priceline (Today Only)
- The Container Store (a great place to grab gift card holders!)
- Jos. A. Bank
- Jones New York
- Margaritaville Cargo (for the fellow Jimmy Buffett fans)
- Microsoft Store
- PrAna (great travel pants)
There are many more stores to choose from. If you were holding off on making a purchase, now’s not a bad time to maximize the cashback portals.
Just in case you don’t already have an Ebates account, I’d be awfully grateful if you’d consider using my referral link, it’ll get you $10 when you join and spend at least $25. In full disclosure, I will get $25.
Staples 15% is Amazing!
For me, the best part of Ebates Birthday 2018 is the fact that Staples is back again!
The best part is that this is completely stackable with your Chase Ink Plus for another 5x!
May is a great time of the year, especially for cashback shopping portals. Ebates has been celebrating their birthday week for the past few years, and Ebates Birthday 2018 has just as many great stores, if not a few more surprises, as compared to previous years!
How much Ebates Birthday 2018 cashback will you be making?
Priority Pass is Changing the Game For Airport Lounges
And with all that here’s our bill:
The Real Question
I love the fact that Priority Pass is innovating here. It’s not clear whether this is a higher cost, or a cost savings for them, but they really are providing a greater value. I’d offer that having benefits at restaurants does fall short of my view of the value of lounges. But you still get a ton of value from eating at a restaurant with real food, rather than the limited options of a lounge.
Have you leveraged your Priority Pass membership at an Airport Restaurant? What do you think?