...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jetblue GoPack instead of BluePass

Some time ago I posted about the fact that we hadn't heard any information concerning this year's big Jetblue promotion (which in past years has been the unlimited BluePass options).  The main thing that made this promotion worthwhile was the one cost, unlimited travel option round trip or one-way between certain dates on 90 minutes notice.  I even blogged about getting to Bermuda on the pass from last year!

Well, I just received an email outlining the new Jetblue promotion that unfortunately falls short of the BluePass.  Here are the specifics (more info at this link):

Grab a Go Pack and take 10 nonstop, one-way flights to select destinations starting September 13 through December 19, 2012 (blackout dates: 11/20 – 11/26). Choose from seven different Go Packs that’ll offer you convenience, flexibility and great value guaranteed for fast travel between your most frequent destinations—for work or leisure.

On sale 8/28/12 through 9/6/12, or while supplies last. Book travel online starting 9/12/12 through 12/19/12 up to 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
  • Choose from seven different Go Pack destination options, purchased online only at shop.jetblue.com.
  • Go Pack may be purchased between 8/28/12 and 9/6/12, or while supplies last. Must be over 18.
  • Confirmation of your Go Pack purchase will be sent within 24-hours of your purchase.
  • Go Pack cannot be exchanged and is non-refundable. NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES.
While there are several packs to choose from, none of them include San Diego (instead LA and SF) and all priced pretty high considering the limited number of flights included.  I'm also disappointed that they've now reduced it to only 10 one-way uses - gone are the unlimited flights.

Guess I'll be passing for this year in hopes of a better promo in the future!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

on the eve...

This is a quick Sunday evening post on the eve of the start of school tomorrow.  The campus was buzzing today when I stopped in, and it's a bit hard to believe that everyone will be traveling back to campus officially for the first time tomorrow. 

Everyone will be a bit nuts as the day goes on, but I'm hopeful for another great semester coming up.  Here we go!  (and let my phone ringing off the hook commence)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

pay vs miles for flights

This is the one question I'm typically asked the most - is it better to pay for a flight outright or use miles?  And depending on who you ask, you may get a few different answers.  It's something that's even widely debated in the blogosphere and seems to always invite varying opinions.

First, each situation is different, and you should always make the decision that's the best for you.  There isn't one single way of going about it and it varies per person.

That being said, my general rule of thumb for domestic tickets has been: if it's under $450, then I pay for the flight and earn the miles.  This has been my value threshold, since I fly enough to maintain my status on United. 

One additional question to ask yourself is how much you value the miles and elite qualifying you may receive. If you value miles around 0.015 per, then a 25000 mile saver ticket would value around $375.  A 50000 mile standard redemption in the US would value at $750.  Those 50k redemptions are very near the amount needed in coach round trip to Europe, so I tend to stay away from those unless there's an important reason for me to burn the miles.  And...they are also near saver award levels in business class depending on availability.  If you can go, why not go in style?

I've adjusted my mileage accrual frame of mind over the last months to strive for the ability to travel in business class using miles if at all possible (ideally overseas).  This means much more planning ahead of time, but I feel that I can be pretty successful if I stick to how I use and accrue.  It also means that for my research trip to Qatar I decided to pay outright for the ticket so that I can get all of those lovely miles in the bank. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

fighting jetlag

I've certainly learned some valuable lessons flying, and one over the years has been tricks to get myself acclimated from jetlag.  It used to be for me that flying from the west coast to east coast would do me in for a day, but I'm thankful that I don't have to worry about that much these days.

Where I do get burned a bit is travel to Europe and farther.  My first trip to Qatar was a great example - felt great the first 40 hours or so, and then it hit me pretty good right after.  Europe doesn't seem to be a problem any more - I can beat it just by sleeping as much as I can on the plane ride east, and staying awake as much as possible on the flight coming back west.  But I know myself well enough to make sure to acclimate before I go farther than Europe (just so my stomach has a chance to take a breath).

A recent article in the NY Times highlighted jetlag, and I'll share it here. And please feel free to comment with any tips that have worked for you in the past.

Friday, August 17, 2012

looking for a good card?

Just wanted to take this chance to share the Discover Miles card - I've been very happy with it, and it has no annual fee!  You can easily accumulate miles and there are always double miles promotions - right now they're running double on utility and phone bills, plus an end of august double promo.

Check it out!

And...you get $50 cashback with your 1st purchase within 3 mos.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deals a plenty

I'm always on the lookout for good deals, mostly when it comes to flying.  It's not uncommon for a typical search these days to come up at $500 for a roundtrip, especially coming from here in the extreme southwest corner of the country.

Happily, there are deals to be found if you're looking to travel into October and even November.

United right now has $230 roundtrip flights from San Diego to Denver in October, and Chicago O'hare is also possible in November from $296 roundtrip.  These are the kind of prices I'm used to seeing for flights...it's been a while since my searches have been successful like these. 

The Points Guy has also found a number of good deals over the Thanksgiving holiday time period for award redemption - you can find out more here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

50k plus churn

My last credit card churn included two cards for AA that normally I would have avoided (since I've honestly not had much luck flying AA and typically their prices are way more than what I would normally pay).  Top it off that they are in the midst of bankruptcy, but this time I was not deterred in going for the sign up bonuses.  Figured why not take the opportunity as presented.

Very happy to report that I had my first 50k post yesterday...the other should be following soon.  Not a bad haul...will mean a round trip in business class pretty much anywhere!  Now the question is where...


Monday, August 13, 2012

hot in the desert

Yep.  It was hot.

Rudy and I made a trip out to Calexico and Brawley today in order to get some classroom followup work completed.  And, as you can see, it was a tad bit warm.

(forgive my hand and Rudy's head)

The rental SUV we had could barely keep up when we finally hit the road for home, and once we hit the mountains we even encountered some rain.  Definitely a day of odd weather.  Made it home safely, and now decompressing from the day.  I don't think Doha will be this hot when I get there!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Out to Santee

I haven't spent much time out east of San Diego, but yesterday I hopped on the trolley and made the short 20 minute or so trip out to the Santee Town Station stop.  The purpose of my trip was a going away party at the house of my friend Rachel and her family, and the trolley was the quickest way to get me out there.  A great time was had by all and the food was excellent.  I was very thankful to be invited, and look forward to another get together in the future. 

There is quite a bit of shopping possible in this area, and it may be worth a future trip just to see what everything is.  I'm also excited about having a Phil's BBQ closer than the one downtown: the location in Santee is set to open in November. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

travel down the road

I am very overdue for a post here, and so I'm going to try and rectify the situation.  Work, life events, school, and other things have carved out sections of my time and have prevented my typical postings (including any new Place of the Day ideas!) so thank you for waiting patiently for me.

My travels yesterday took me to Qualcomm Stadium, a short trolley ride away from SDSU.  I know it's not some exotic place in Europe or Asia, but for a brief time was the gathering place for many-a Packer fan as the team came to town to play the Chargers.  In the years I've been here, I've never made it to the stadium for a game...sad, actually.  So, a ticket was purchased, and off I went (with the guiding assistance of one of my staff members who happens to have season tickets in much better seats then I had).   Even though the Packers did not play well, I still had a pretty enjoyable experience (although I would have really preferred not to go and do this alone). One question though: why do concessions have to cost so much?  $7 for a pop?

A warm and sunny day for a game!

Managed to get a shot of a family favorite - DD!

The view from my seat...

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Earlier this afternoon I was trying to rack my brain about what was making the day go so long, and after a quick search realized that exactly one year ago today I was in the process of buying into the Jetblue 'Bluepass', allowing for unlimited travel on the Jetblue network between August and November.  Has it already been a year?  Seems pretty crazy.  That pass really helped save me some substantial $ in getting to several conferences and family related events.

No word yet on whether or not they'll do it again this year, but I gotta believe it may not be happening since nothing has been posted yet...