Win a Trip to Downton Abbey in England

Highclere-Castle-580_83862a

Masterpiece Theater and PBS are giving away a 5-day, 4-night trip for two adults from the U.S. to Great Britain. Includes a visit to iconic Highclere Castle for private tea with The Countess of Carnarvon, author of Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, etiquette trainingfrom The English Manner, and guided tours of filming locations in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds, such as Bampton, Shilton, Cogges, and Swinbrook, and the downstairs set at Ealing Studios in London. Round-trip (economy class) airfare out of a Delta Air Lines-operated gateway city at the time of travel to London Heathrow Airport and accommodations at a Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel. Travel must take place July 26, 2015 to July 31, 2015. Also receive all five seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD, the official companion book, A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey signed by cast members.

Click HERE to enter daily through March 15th.

Earn 100 airlines miles simple with minimal effort over and over again

So one of my side “hobbies” in the airline miles game is picking up crumbs. You know the small free 100 miles here or 500 miles there promotions. I will try to put together a series of posts on this as there are many ways but one of the simple ones I do daily is Bing Rewards.  My take on this is that Microsoft would rather have us use the Bing search engine than Google or Yahoo, etc. so they offer a rewards program for Bing searches.

Basically you sign up and after using it a big you become a “Gold” member with all the benefits that includes which is minor except they offer a deal where you can turn in 385 Bing Points for 100 airline miles or hotel points.

Here is a copy of my Bing dashboard

Bing Rewards   Dashboard

Once you sign up at Bing.com (please use my link if you don’t have a Bing account as it counts for my Invite Friends 100 points). You will see a small medal looking deal at the top corner when you are signed on.  As you can see above I did 15 points worth of PC searches (2 searches = 1 point) today. I haven’t done the Mobile app searches and I did the bonus “Shape Up” search for the day. It sounds like a lot but what I’ve found is that I can open up Bing.com and click on the news ribbon one at a time for the searches. A minute or two of browsing the news headlines and I’m done for the day.

Typically you can get 25 a day at least and about every 15 days you have 385 Bing points. You can redeem them for other things but what I like to use them for is United or US Airways miles and to keep my Hawaiian Airlines account from expiring.

Bing Rewards   Redemption Center

I don’t really value the IHG points as much and I don’t fly Virgin America much. Basically what happens is you redeem through the site. They send you an email shortly after that gives you a link and coupon code for the miles. I find that they post fairly quickly but not right away.

So it’s only 100 miles you say, not worth it. There is not much time involved unlike the survey sites and it seems to go on for the long term. At a 15 day churn that’a about 2,400 miles a year without using multiple accounts or any special bonuses they run from time to time. Not bad for just checking out the news or doing a few searches. I spend maybe 2 minutes a day on this if that. You could spend more I guess. No toolbar to download and it moves with you from computer to computer.

Again if your interested please sign up through my link so I can get a few credits. It maxes me out at 500 points so it’s not a huge windfall but it all adds up. Thanks.

United Mileage Plus X – Earning miles on local shopping with United Chase card

I don’t get a kickback from United or Chase on this. Just news.

So United has a new mile earning scheme where you download the phone app to your smart phone. Once you install it you log in with your mileage plus account and then it will find nearby retailers that participate. When shopping you type in the total spent at the register into the phone app and have the merchant scan the bar code on your phone to award the miles at 0.5, 1x,2x, 3x or 4x depending on the merchant.

If you have a United Mileage Plus credit card and it will link your United MileagePlus X app you are suppose to earn an extra 25%.  Click this photo below to link over the site for me info. See my thoughts below…

United Hub   MileagePlus X

This seems like a good idea and promo video shows it working so smoothly. So here are my main concerns:

  1. Poor Wifi or cell signal at the point of purchase may slow the app or make it useless. I’ve experienced that with Shopkick.
  2. Merchants or checkers may not know how to process or scan the phone.
  3. The pain to use the app for small purchases doesn’t seem worth it (well worth it for large items though).

I hope it works well.

I can see myself using it for large purchases at Lowe’s however they only award 1/2 mile per $ where as it I buy it through the United shopping site online and do in-store pick up (Even while standing in the store) I earn 2 miles per $. Not to mention that American pays 3 miles per $.  They need to fix this issue and make the miles match the online shopping portal offers. I know they may not be run by the same company behind the scenes but they need to match. Lowe’s is the lowest by the way and I didn’t see Home Depot on the list.

They have a bunch of restaurants like Cheesecake factory, Texas Roadhouse, etc. that have good 3 or 4 mile per $ earning but how does that work. You have to give your phone to the waiter so they can scan it? Seems like trouble but maybe I have trust issues.

I could see this being really good in a couple areas:

  1. Manufactured spend folks (you know who you are). I assume gift cards will fly out the door at some of these places since you enter the data on your phone manually.
  2. Amazon is on the list for 1x through online spending through your phone (at least the Android app shows it). Some how this will let you buy gift cards or something. Not sure how it works yet.
  3. Restaurants for 3x or 4x plus your credit card miles at 1x or 2x plus your dining program miles in a few cases.

Anyway it’s a new part of the miles and points game. Should be interesting.  Below is a screen shot of the merchants but this is a list of all of them. Basically the app finds them based on your location so that should help if it works any better than Shopkick which I like (Where it has reception).

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Why MCI (KCI) isn’t my favorite airport

I recently moved back to my home town Kansas City. I grew up in the area. My family is from here so that is sweet. We had been living in St. Louis for the past 16 years so I got used to STL and saw that airport move from TWA to AA and then de-hubbed which is sad.

My memories of MCI (or known locally as KCI) are of the many trips that I or family members took. I remember my Dad filling out an old paper Mutual of Omaha travel insurance application at the airport as my Sister flew off to Europe in High School. I remember picking up my Sister and her Husband at Midnight one New Year’s Eve maybe 20 year ago there. I mostly remember how open the airport was. It was designed to be a TWA hub airport where you could drop off at the door and be just steps away from the gates. Great idea (at the time). Unfortunately 9-11 happened and now the small gates aren’t so open anymore. They have added security checkpoints and you can’t just walk in and out of the gate areas down the long hallways. They took out the AA lounge and many other features.

I will still love “KCI” but it’s a pain now. The gates are jammed packed:

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There’s not enough seating, the restrooms are tiny and it’s just no fun. Like this photo above where you can see into the bar through the big windows but you can’t actually go into the bar. Everyone looks so happy.

Arrival isn’t much better. Although the planes unload the luggage near the gates into the TINY luggage carousels it always seems to take forever. To make it worse they always seem to want to load multiple planes onto the same carousel like most other airports do.

It’s not all bad though and you get used to any airport I guess.  Besides now we have Spirit Airlines ! Which ain’t half bad for a short haul domestic airline with a 35 pound bag limit on checked luggage !

I’m sure Kansas City will spend a ton of money to remodel it one day. I can only hope they would rebuild it further South since it’s so far North out of the city.

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Another little known triva fact about KCI is that it’s near where a famous Bonnie & Clyde shootout took place at the Red Crown Tavern and Tourist Cabins back in the day.

http://www.emissourian.com/news/state/article_94853afa-b316-11e0-ac3e-001cc4c002e0.html

Which reminds me of the Brantley Gilbert video

Review of the 2015 Kansas City RV show

2015 Mid America RV Show   GS Events

So my wife, my 19 year old son and I went to the 2015 KC RV show over the weekend. Not a bad show but I wasn’t overly impressed.

So here are the mistakes I made going to the show:

I left my Good Sam’s card at home by mistake. You’ll want to take this to any RV event. At this one I could have gotten $10 off the admission for our group. It was buy one get one free at $10 a person if you had your Good Sam’s card number. I tried to call them to get the number while waiting in line but was on hold for like 20 minutes. My Son and Wife had enough waiting at this point.

Don’t take your 7 foot tall Diesel pickup to the Bartle Hall / Barney Allis / Municipal Auditorium (Identity crisis) parking garage as it’s is less than 7 foot tall. We got lucky and parked in another garage but we would have waited in line at the garage to only have to get the line of cars to backup and let us back out, Yikes.

So mistakes over we paid $10 each to get in. Up the escalators to a giant room for of about 50 fifth wheel trailer toy hauler models. About 50 regular trailers and “5’ers” that aren’t toy haulers and I’m guessing 20 motor homes.

Lost in the middle was a vendor area that must have had about 30 to 40 vendors. I’d guess 15 are trying to sell me house roofs, house windows and other home improvement junk. Why? Not sure. A few booths had campgrounds and a few RV related items but I was rather disappointed in the vendor offering. A local Ford dealer and RV dealer Olathe Ford had some pickups on display as well. I guess I’m too poor to trade in my 2010 F350 on a new F250 or 350 as they are like $65,000 now.

We toured a bunch of trailers. We have a 2012 model 28 foot Forest River Cherokee that we bought for about $13,000 last year so it was interesting to see the new models of various brands. Latest trends seem to be the open rear porch on the toy hauler models. It also seems that the bunkhouse model trailers continue to get more popular all the time. My youngest son is 19 and 6’5”+ so the bunks don’t interest us much but they would be great for families with little kids. They tend to run a little less than the regular models from my experience.

I liked the 2015 Newmar Dutch Star motor home the best. It’s over $300k but it actually seemed nicer than the $600k for the Londonaire model we saw. I don’t know that I would buy a new one but I could see myself in a nice used Dutch Star at a campground far away. Dreams I guess. If they could just figure out how to get unlimited high speed internet for a normal price I could live on one and continue my current job I think.

We bought some soda and 3 pretzels for $22 and finished up the show. It was kind of crowded but not bad on a Sunday afternoon. I’m sure Saturday would have been crazy.

My opinion is that they should work harder to have more vendors selling more RV related items. I think an ATV or scooter dealer would have been popular to see.

The trailers on display should all have a small table near the entrance so you can set your drink or food down before you go into the rigs. Just me I guess.

I’ve never been to the big shows like the Tampa show but I thought it was fairly average. If you are in the market to buy a trailer for sure this would be a good place to go. A motor home it would be OK if you have driven them before I guess. Will I go back next year? Maybe but I won’t forget my Good Sam card next time 🙂

Here are a few photos from the show.

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Extra TopBonus Airberlin miles for booking online

AirBerlin’s Topbonus program has a promo right now where you can earn an extra 1 mile per Euro spent booking on airberlin.com.

Many airlines give you a extra mile per dollar or euro, etc. for booking with a credit card but this is an extra mile for booking and paying for extras on their website in addition to the flying or BISM “butt in seat miles” you’ll earn on the flights. You have to register on airberlin.com with this link and then you need to be logged into the site when booking. Not a bad way to earn a few extra Topbonus miles.  This  promo is good through 3-31-15 and you have to register.

airberlin   Flights to Berlin and Dusseldorf   airberlin.com   airberlin.com

This does not appear to be targeted but that is a possibility. Also I don’t get any credit, kickback, etc. for these links. Just FYI.

If your not a member of Topbonus already it’s not a bad program and is part of the One World Alliance so the rewards flow over to or from American, British Airways, etc.

I would suggest you log in first in another tab before you click the link or it will prompt you to do so. Once you click the link you will get this super happy German lady urging you to sign up for the promo. Click it once your logged in and it will confirm it on the screen.

Maybe not the biggest deal in the frequent flyer world but it all add up. If you plan to book with Airberlin you can’t hardly lose on this I don’t think.

airberlin promo