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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Credit Card Reconsideration Lines

Often times I'm asked who to call (and what number) if you get the dreaded "application pending" notice for a credit card application.  I've been compiling numbers as I can find them from different banks, but I'm happy to share a compiled list on the appropriate numbers, courtesy of Indulge the Wanderlust:

American Express (AMEX) Reconsideration
  • 800-962-7227 – Reconsideration
  • 877-399-3083 – New Accounts (connects directly)
  • 866-379-3643 – New Accounts (connects through prompts)
  • 800-230-1284 – Account Services (need account number)
  • 800-253-1709 – Account Services (need account number)
Bank of America Reconsideration
  • 866-458-8805 – Credit Analyst (connects directly)
  • 877-721-9405 – Application Status (press 3 for a representative)
  • 888-877-6262 – Application Status
  • 800-481-8277 - Business Application Status
Barclays Bank Reconsideration
  • 866-369-1283 – Credit Analyst (connects directly)
  • 866-408-4064 – Credit Analyst
  • 888-232-0780 – Customer Service
Capital One Reconsideration
  • 800-625-7866 – Account Specialist
  • 800-548-4593 – Application Status (automated)
  • 800-951-6951 – Customer Service

Chase Reconsideration
  • 888-245-0625 – Personal Card Credit Analyst (connects directly)
  • 800-453-9719 – Business Card Credit Analyst (connects directly)
  • 888-609-7805 – Application Status (connects directly)
  • 800-436-7927 – Application Status (automated)
Citibank (Citi) Reconsideration
  • 800-763-9795 – Reconsideration
  • 800-695-5171 – Reconsideration
  • 866-606-2787 – Application Status
  • 888-201-4523 – Application Status
  • 800-645-7240 - Business Card Reconsideration
  • 800-288-4653 - Business Card Reconsideration
Discover Reconsideration
  • 888-676-3695 – Reconsideration
HSBC Reconsideration
  • 866-551-0258 – Credit Analyst
  • 866-574-4421 – Application Status
US Bank Reconsideration
  • 800-947-1444 – Reconsideration
  • 800-685-7680 - Reconsideration

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On the road again...soon

Next week I'll be back on the road, this time with my dad to several places in Europe for his 60th birthday.  He's the only member of the family who hasn't been over, and so we will be jetting to Oslo and London for about a week before heading back.  I successfully used points to book his ticket for free, and we'll both be flying business on United for the majority of the trip.  Our segment from Oslo will be on British Airways in Club Europe.

I will be blogging this trip as Internet access allows, and will do my best to upload pictures and updates as we go.  I'm going to try and restrict my access to free internet locations (ala hotels, etc) instead of the expensive phone options, so we'll see how it works for this trip.  I might never do it again depending on how things go.

The long flights will also give me dedicated time to work on my dissertation final edits - I successfully defended last Friday, and am happy to now be "doctor"!

Excited to see in what direction life takes me...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Daily Getaways gets good in the last week

I've been looking forward to the USTA Daily Getaways promotions for this year, but so far have been unimpressed with the offerings.

Having just seen the remaining calendar days, though, I got excited - marking down July 11th right now!  That is because Hyatt is finally part of the schedule, with varying points options.  I managed to get in on one of them last year, and was able to score some Gold Passport points for much cheaper than usual.

As a reminder, if you use an American Express card to purchase one of the promotions, you also receive another 10% off the price. 

Good luck!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A points dilemma for the summer...

I enjoy receiving targeted points promotions (since I often don't qualify for the big ones that everyone else seems to get and I haven't figured out why), and in the next few months I'm going to be in a bit of a quandary.  I've received (and signed up for) two different promotions - one is already underway, another to start next month:

US Airways - 15,000 bonus miles if I spend $750/mo. for May, June, and July.
Hyatt - 5000 Gold Passport points if I spend $3000 between July 1 and Sept 30.

I'm already one month into the US Airways promo before receiving the Hyatt one today in the mail.  I tend to value the Hyatt points more, since their redemption options at high-end properties (like the Park Hyatt Zurich and Paris Vendome) are typically expensive. But the coming US Airways/American merger will make those miles valuable as well, since they probably will allow accounts and miles to be merged.

Choices, choices...what to do?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Flight reading material

I'm always looking for a good book or read to pass the time while I travel - and beyond what I can put on my iPad, I always see if I can find something that will completely occupy my time so I don't have to watch movies the entire flight.

With that, I want to share a series of free e-books that might be good on your next flight - they're mostly technical related, but they might be helpful for professional development down the road:



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

United adds spending threshold to elite status: the end of 1K as we know it?

I saw the headline this morning in USA Today, and almost could not believe my eyes.  But in some ways, I wasn't surprised.  Delta has done a similar move, and it was only a matter of time before other airlines begin to do the same. 

Here are the crux of the changes - also available here:

Beginning in 2014, customers will need to spend at least $2,500 on United-issued tickets in order to qualify for United's lowest tier of elite status. Passengers still must fly 25,000 miles per year to reach that "Premier Silver" threshold. 

How will this affect you?  If you use a program like Mint.com, you can easily go back and search for how much you spent on airfare in the last year and compare that total to the amount you may need to reach status. Sadly, most of us who have done a lot of mileage earning to gain status will be out of the mix for top-tier status unless prices drastically change.

It's also guaranteed to thin out 1K numbers.

I may seriously consider trying to requalify for 1K status this year through mileage runs, etc, just so that I can make sure to have it for next year before all of the craziness starts.  After that, I probably will never get 1K status again. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back to it...

My travels back from Badger Boys State to San Diego were pretty uneventful - other than two connections that were the closest I've had in some time.

The Milwaukee-O'hare flight was delayed, which would have caused me grief in Chicago, but I was able to snag the last seat on the flight just before. Lucky me.

Sitting at O'hare wasn't a problem, until...our departure to LAX was delayed by almost an hour because the fasten seatbelt sign was not working and maintenance was trying to fix it.  This delay would cut into my 38 minute connection in LA to San Diego (in other words, I figured I wouldn't make it). 

But...we landed in LA with 9 minutes to spare ahead of schedule - and instead of being two terminals away I was just one gate away.  I ran for it...and made it at the last second before the lady was going to close the door.  Talk about your mad rush, but if I had missed it, the next flight would have been at 11pm, nearly 3 hours later.  I can guarantee I wouldn't have been happy about that.

Now it's back to work...and a long week until Friday...........

Saturday, June 15, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 8

Another Badger Boys State experience has now ended - congratulations to all citizens for a week well done!  Everything culminated today in the final assembly, and...for the first time ever...the BBS state song got a repeat request at the end (which was granted by Russ).  So...everyone got to sing and experience the song another time before we officially caisson'd out the colors and wrapped another exciting year. 

A big thank you to all of my band members for their patience and willingness to play this year.  We made it through all of the assemblies (some a bit more crazy than others),  but I'm grateful for the time taken to play.  Looking forward to having you back as councilors in the future!

Friday, June 14, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 7

Today was the last full day of Badger Boys State for 2013 - tomorrow morning wraps the session with our final assembly and work of the legislature and supreme court.  Our morning assembly went a bit long due to speeches, but we got right back on track afterwards with the career fair.  I was able to connect with a few friends from WLC in between, which was fun, and then this evening was our special assembly saluting our veterans and legion members.

I always look forward to the final assemblies (as students are also conducting), but it's also a bit sad for me, as I know that the week is winding down and soon we'll be a wrap on another fun year.  And it will soon be back to work and "normal" life as we leave the confines of Ripon.

Here's to another enriching experience so far!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 6


Tonight's program went very well, and we had good attendance between parents and other legion supporters.  Scott Walker and Justice Bradley had good words to share with the boys, and the new 2013 BBS Governor gave his opening remarks.

I'm particularly proud of the governor this year, since he was elected from the City of Blaine in Cameron County - which was my city and county when I was here in 1995.  Never thought I'd see a governor from my city!

The boys now have control of the State - tomorrow should be fun!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 5

Rained out!

First time that I can recall that rain caused a cancellation of both band rehearsal and the evening assembly - which means that the schedule will now be adjusted to account for the State party conventions tomorrow morning.

Honestly, the rain and occasional clap of thunder was minor in my estimation, but whenever lightning is involved, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

I did enjoy the storm though...don't get many of those in San Diego.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 4

A modified rehearsal was the focus of my day today - only about 60% attendance again.  It made playing Bugler's Holiday a bit of a trick!

I've included a few BBS pics below of the time so far:


Monday, June 10, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 3

Greetings!  A much calmer day today in the realm of BBS 2013.  I had the opportunity to take some time in the morning to visit a few friends in Milwaukee, and then it was right back up here to Ripon and afternoon rehearsal. In some ways I dread Monday and Tuesday, since band rehearsal directly conflicts with two of the special discussions and sports. I typically lose about half the group during this time, and those who do manage to make it come almost 45 minutes late - hard to prepare for the larger pieces at the end of the week.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, that I had about 60% make it today.  Wonder what tomorrow will bring. 

The assembly went well - our speaker tonight did much better than last nights, and then the citizens were off to start campaigning and prepping for County elections.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 2

Today was first real day of Badger Boys State - meaning, it was the first day that the guys were put in charge of running their own cities (with the help of their counselors).  This is a watershed moment, really, in the entire week - before this point the citizens probably didn't understand what was going on and what to do. Walking into Storzer and seeing one county working on electing a party chairman brought back fond memories - I was a city party chairman when I was a citizen.  Just going through the process of putting yourself out there in front of a whole room of guys that you don't know was a little unnerving.  I'd like to think that it made me a better public speaker and not afraid to stand in front of a group.  But for some of these guys this is the first time they've had to do this - eye-opening!

The band did an excellent job on the spot tonight - we got done with our three numbers and couldn't start the festivities because a county was late.  So we pulled another number out and went with it.  After that we had to do it again, this time with an unrehearsed piece.  I'm glad that the caliber of players in the band every year gives us some flexibility - they really did an excellent job!

Tomorrow are City elections and County party conventions...let the campaigning begin!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

BBS 2013 Day 1

Hello again from Ripon, WI!

My travels have taken me back to Ripon for the 2013 installment of Badger Boys State - has it already been a year?  A lot has happened for me in the last year, but I'm happy to have the opportunity to be back and work with the citizens and counselors again on another terrific experience in government and leadership.  I'm also proud to see all of my friends from the various American Legion posts throughout Wisconsin - always grateful and thankful for their service.

From the travel side of things, I took the "winding" road back to Milwaukee from San Diego, hitting two of United's hubs along the way (SFO and CLE).  Was the cheapest option - and I ended up in first class for two of the segments so I wasn't going to complain.  I can't say that I ever fly through Cleveland, but I took the miles this time - the price was right.  Mucho gracias to my family again for picking me up from Mitchell, and after a short drive I was here.

Day 1 is always hectic - registration, initial rehearsal, and the first assembly.  I chuckle to myself as I see the guys come in and through the line - most have this look on their face of "why am I here again?" and don't know what to expect.  Little do they know that by the end of the week, it will be a completely different story! 

After three hours of registration, I had my initial band sign up: 93.  Down a little from last year's all-time high, but still respectable.  I hurried to get the rest of setup done, grabbed quick food, and soon it was time to start in on the music.  The first rehearsal is slightly nuts - most are late, don't know what we're playing, etc etc, so we started almost 10 minutes past time.  No worries though - after two times of running through the BBS State Song, we were on the way!  This group is very talented, and I'm excited to see how things go the rest of the week.

Sunday's rehearsal will be a bit of a different story - the schedule always has band practice conflicting with special topics discussions, so I'm going to lose people at rehearsal for the next few days.  A challenge.

Stay tuned for more - the weather has held so far!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Next step

I'm very happy and proud to report that my dissertation draft has been accepted by my Chair, and has been forwarded on to my committee ahead of a planned defense in a few weeks.

Almost done!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hyatt and MGM Resorts new partnership

I'm always looking for fun possibilities of where to use my Hyatt points, and TPG and Hyatt have just shared that Hyatt and MGM resorts will be partnering, starting on June 20th, 2013.  I haven't made a trip to Vegas in a long time, but this presents a possible conundrum for me as I've been a very loyal Total Rewards customer in the past.

The following tier levels are highlighted:

Category 2
Category 3
Category 4
Monte Carlo
New York-New York
Category 5
MGM Grand
The Signature at MGM Grand
The Mirage
Category 6
Mandalay Bay
THEhotel at Mandalay Bay

I'm not sure yet what location may work the best for me, but I know it won't be at the Excalibur - the place was a zoo the last time I stayed there.