Trip Review: Business trip to New York City

OK here is the recap of what I did and learned on my recent trip to NYC for business. I had business on Monday in Baltimore so I flew into Washington Reagan DCA and stayed in Baltimore Sunday night. Took care of business in Maryland on Monday.

Monday afternoon: I drove into NYC and got to Avis at LGA at about 9pm. I experienced terrible service there. Took the shuttle over to the D terminal and called HyattPlace Flushing to pick me up. They arrived in about 15 minutes. Very cold about 4 degrees out so it was nice to wait inside the terminal while waiting.
Cost and lesson so far: A one way rental with Avis from DCA $200 plus gas and NJ turpike and bridge tolls. It would have been much cheaper to drop and stay out in Newark I’m thinking. The shuttle tickets from DCA, BWI, etc. much too expensive during this period.

Arrived at the HyattPlace Flushing at about 10pm only to find out that Pointshound screwed up my reservation. Luckily the best front desk person in the world (Kristine ? I think) at the Hyatt got a hold of Pointshound and got them to rebook me at the nearby ParcHotel as the HyattPlace was sold out. The ParcHotel was very nice and only about 2 blocks of 4 degree and ice covered walking. The Hyatt offered to shuttle me over even. ParcHotel was actually about $25 a night cheaper so Pointshound in theory will refund me the difference.


Lesson and note to self: Maybe not use Pointshound in the future? If I stay at ParcHotel Flushing make sure to ask for a North facing room so I can again view the LGA airfield and flights (NICE).

Tuesday: Was able to travel to the Bronx via the Main Street Flushing subway station. Cost about $2.75. Took care of business there and took the subway to The Bronx, another $2.75. Took care of business there and headed back to Flushing, another $2.75. Not bad.


Lesson: Don’t swipe your Metro subway card in two different turnstiles. If it doesn’t take the first time stay on that one so you don’t lose $2.75 (My bad). Oh and don’t do a walking tour of NYC when it’s 4 degrees out. It effects the train schedule, crowding and your body.

Able to find good Chinese food and even visit the Mall next to the ParcHotel which was a very nice location.

Lesson: Start learning Cantonese or Mandarin or something since everywhere you go lately there are Chinese tourist :)

Wednesday: Used local car service to LGA at 5am. Flat rate $22 plus tip of course. US Airways flight out of Terminal C. Enjoyed the AA club there and met a super nice guy that claimed to be an 18 year Chairman member due to his frequent travel along the East coast. He knew everyone in the airport. He knew that you can get a Wall Street Journal at the Delta Shuttle area and better coffee. AA only has NY Times and USA Today.

Lesson: AA club at LGA Terminal C is required to have CNN on 5 TV’s and ESPN on two TV’s however you can request they change it. Once you leave or after so long they have to change it back.


Changes to expiration policy of Marriott Rewards points

I just got this email announcing changes to how points expire with Marriott Rewards. Seems like you need earning activity within 2 years which seems fairly tame. I don’t like programs the expire points but this one doesn’t seem to draconian.

marriott changes

Click here to enter the Tullamore Dew distillery trip to Ireland to tour the distillery and enjoy Ireland.

It includes roundtrip tickets for 2 and 3 nights stay in Dublin. My guess is you might get a “wee bit of a sample” at the distillery but that’s just a guess 🙂

Here is the Link for the T&C’s also

tullamore Dew Ireland sweeps

Win an epic adventure to India – Best Exotic Marigold

World Market is a cool place to shop for some odd items. They are currently giving away a trip for 2 to India.

Click Here to Enter

World Market’s Best Exotic Marigold Sweepstakes

World Market’s Best Exotic Marigold Sweepstakes2

Rules T&C:

Eligibility: World Market’s Best Exotic Marigold Sweepstakes (the “Promotion”) is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older at the time of entry (excluding residents of Puerto Rico, and all other U.S. territories and possessions). Void in Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories and possessions and where prohibited.
How To Enter: During the Promotion Period, visit, and follow the provided instructions to complete and submit the online entry form to receive one (1) entry.

Entry Limit: Limit one (1) entry per person using only one (1) email address per day.

For the purposes of this Promotion, a day is understood to begin at 12:00 a.m. ET and end at 11:59 p.m. ET that same day. Entries received from any person or email address in excess of the above stated daily limitation will be void. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means and entries by any means which subvert the entry process will be void. In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an online entry, the authorized account holder of the email address used to participate will be deemed to be the entrant and he/she must comply with these Official Rules. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same email address.

Grand Prize (1): Winner will receive a trip for winner and one (1) guest on a tour of India’s Golden Triangle which includes Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur. Trip consists of…

– Round-trip coach class air transportation from a major U.S. gateway airport nearest winner’s residence to an international airport near winner’s residence (“Departure Airport”) within the US 50 and round-trip airfare from Departure Airport to Delhi, India;

– Six (6) days and five (5) nights standard hotel accommodations (one (1) room, sharing twin or double occupancy);

– Private ground transportation while on trip;

– Private guided sightseeing trips;

– $148 towards monument entry fees, food, drinks, tips and spending money;

– A $1,000 World Market Gift Card for winner only, and

– One (1) year of movie tickets for winner (awarded as two (2) tickets each week for 52 weeks (104 tickets total) in the form of Fandango gift cards).

– Approximate Retail Value of Grand Prize: $9,060. Actual value may vary based on point of departure and dates of travel.

Winner Selection and Notification: Potential winners will be selected in a random drawing on or about 4/1/15 from among all eligible entries received throughout the Promotion Period by Administrator, an independent judging organization, whose decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to the Promotion. Odds of winning a prize depend upon the number of eligible entries received. Potential winners will be notified by phone, email and/or mail

Contest Starts On: Monday, 23 February 2015

Contest Ends On: Friday, 27 March 2015

This is a long way to fly in Coach but hey it’s free if you win. Good Luck.

Air France 24 Hour Flash sale US-Japan round trip for $922. Must book on February 19th

Air France has a 24 hour Flash sale to Japan going on. You must book on February 19th to get the sale price. Flights from many US cities with routing required through CDG Paris. Click here for the websiteaf jap sale

Here are some sample fares:

af jap routes

Here is the fine print:

af jap fineprint

Enter to win 5 nights at Marriott

Click Here to enter to win a Marriott bed or 5 night vacation at Marriott.

marriott contest

Not a bad contest by Shop Marriott which is a company associated with Marriott Hotels that offers various products like the Marriott bedding.

Win a 5 Night Hotel Stay  a Marriott Bed and Bedding Set  Marriott Pillows  and Other Marriott Hotel Prizes in the ShopMarriott Sweepstakes

Good luck.

How to find a “Theme” cruise. Or…..avoid one.

Ever want to go on a theme cruise? Maybe your really into doing a Christmas cruise or an art focused cruise. A cruise that caters to disabled people or fitness junkies. Does a wine cruise, religious or maybe a Harry Potter cruise appeal to you?Then I have the site for you.  It’s Theme Cruise Finders.

Theme cruise finder 2

They list all sorts of themed cruises. They don’t list EVERY themed cruise but they do have a bunch. Sounds great right.

What might be more important to you is to avoid a theme cruise. For example let’s say your booked on the Carnival Pride later this year. You can find out some of the theme cruises that are going to take place on that ship. Keep in mind not all theme cruises will be on the list however.

First click on the “Advanced” search feature on the home page.

Theme cruise 3

Then enter the name of the ship you are booked on.

theme cruise 4

The result will pull up any theme cruise that people have listed.  Here is an example of what came up when I searched “Carnival Pride”

Theme Cruise Finder   Search Result

Now maybe you want to be on the Big Gay Pride Wedding Cruise or maybe you don’t. Maybe you hate the band “The Embers featuring Craig Woolard” whoever they are? At least this way you won’t be surprised.

You can click on each cruise listed for more details on the exact date, etc.

Theme Cruise Finder   2015 Making Waves Cruise with The Embers Featuring Craig Woolard

Again they don’t list EVERY themed cruise but should catch most of the popular ones. Also remember ships are big and just because 150 Star Wars fans will be on-board doesn’t mean it will ruin your vacation. But if say 1,800 Justin Bieber fan’s are on-board it could be a different story.

Theme Cruise Finder lists over 500 Theme Cruises...

Win a Trip to Downton Abbey in England


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 (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 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.