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Old 03-02-2016, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
Reputation: 6716

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
I was at the mothership in South Korea last March. I'm trying to avoid a 2016 trip. My little division was sold by a Taiwanese parent to a Korean outfit 15 months ago. I had some Taiwan and China travel as well as a couple of Europe trips then. At one point in my career, I was in Europe monthly.

The vast majority of my business travel is domestic. Orange County, CA, Denver, a bit of St Louis, DC out by Dulles, Philly, drive-to Long Island. Over the last year, it's been an awful lot of Korean food.

I had a travel gap with United a couple of years ago. I got their credit card and pushed enough cash through it to get the big frequent flyer mile bonus. I cancelled it at 1 year when it had a fee. I usually fly them enough to stay current.

In the world of strange coincidences, my sister emailed me late this afternoon. I have a command performance in Madrid and Portugal in October for a couple of weeks with a bunch of her friends to celebrate her 60th. I've been to both places before but Madrid was a week of meetings where I didn't do much tourism. I just booked the morning BA flight from Boston to London. American now gets 30,000 FT miles and $230.00 to book a BA transatlantic segment plus the taxes. I also had to pay $48.00 with BA to get an aisle seat in the back of the bus. American killed off their BOS/LHR flights. I always used to fly their morning flight. BA is awful in their economy section. I can deal with it for 5 1/2 hours of flight time. No worse than BOS/LAX. That was the only flight I really cared about. I'll book the other flights later.
We've been to Madrid before too - but it was so long ago (about 30 years) that I don't remember much. Except that the Prado didn't have A/C then . If you remind me in June or after - I can perhaps recommend a nice restaurant where you can celebrate your sister's birthday (I've made all our reservations - but don't know what my impressions will be). If you really want to pull out all the stops - and you and your sister are adventurous diners - you might take a look at this:

DIVERXO

Note that reservations far in advance are essential. And that this is a "ticket restaurant" (you buy a non-refundable ticket - which costs about 60 euros - and the cost of the ticket is applied to the cost of your meal).

What did you think of Korea? I have toyed with the idea of going to Korea on and off for the last few years - but am not a big fan of Korean food (much prefer Japanese and Chinese). OTOH - it is entirely possible that I have had very substandard versions of Korean food here in the US.

We keep our United card because we need one card that doesn't charge foreign exchange fees. Also because we need a non-AMEX card for vendors who don't accept AMEX. This will be more important for us starting next month or so - when Costco switches from AMEX to Visa. I've never found a "free" card that doesn't charge forex fees (although I haven't looked very hard for one).

My husband wears a big leg brace and is very uncomfortable in the main cabin of most planes for trips longer than 2 hours or so. So I work hard to find good deals on front of the plane tickets (although they are increasingly hard to come by when it comes to reward tickets). Robyn
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,767 posts, read 4,825,615 times
Reputation: 19395
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBoating View Post
Hey, what kind of boat do you have?
We have a 1992 20' Celebrity 200 Cuddy Cabin that we are going to start getting ready for the water. Just topped off the air in all 4 tires on the trailer and will be greasing the wheel bearings shortly. After that, two new batteries. A Deep Cell and a Starting Battery. Couldn't take it out last year due to my rotator cuff surgery last March.
We have a 22 foot Aquapatio (pontoon). We're having a second bimini made so the entire boat will be shaded. We live in a lake community and are five minutes from the yacht club where we keep it moored. I will probably have the trim motor replaced this year too. You know what they say "BOAT" stands for right?....break out another thousand.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:00 AM
 
13,874 posts, read 7,386,288 times
Reputation: 25356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
If you remind me in June or after - I can perhaps recommend a nice restaurant where you can celebrate your sister's birthday (I've made all our reservations - but don't know what my impressions will be).
This group is affluent, well-traveled foodies who all have enormous wine cellars. On the phone last night, my sister mentioned some place in Madrid where the menu is edible. Google turns up el Club Allard so I guess there. Most of the trip is a wine junket starting from the Spanish coast north of Portugal with rental cars working our way south. That's as planned as it's gotten so far. I've been to Vigo in that part of coastal Spain and Lisbon but nothing between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
What did you think of Korea? I have toyed with the idea of going to Korea on and off for the last few years - but am not a big fan of Korean food (much prefer Japanese and Chinese). OTOH - it is entirely possible that I have had very substandard versions of Korean food here in the US.
I was in Korea once in the mid-1990's and back again 20 years later. The transformation is quite remarkable. It was very eastern block dreary. It's done the Asian city thing with everything brand new though not as over the top as a lot of places. I wouldn't put it high on a tourist list. Korean food is OK but most of it kind of tastes the same. Kimchi. Their fermented bean/chili sauce that's in just about everything. The little bowls of Korean side dishes that are always at the table. Beef is equated with wealth so it's the status food that always gets ordered. I don't normally eat much beef. I get dragged to those death-by-red-meat Brazilian Churrascaria places by the Koreans. Korean is nowhere near as refined as Japanese or diverse as Chinese. The ritual drinking takes a bit of getting used to. A spinoff of Japanese Salaryman behavior. You're not allowed to pour your own drink. Unlike Japan where you're constantly topped off and expected to top everyone else off, you never refill someone's glass until it's empty. Lots of ritual clinking of glasses. It's so rigidly hierarchical that getting drunk is the only time people blend and let their hair down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
We keep our United card because we need one card that doesn't charge foreign exchange fees. Also because we need a non-AMEX card for vendors who don't accept AMEX. This will be more important for us starting next month or so - when Costco switches from AMEX to Visa. I've never found a "free" card that doesn't charge forex fees (although I haven't looked very hard for one).
Capital One Quicksilver 1 1/2% cash back card. No fee. No foreign transaction charges. I have their predecessor card that gives you 1% cash back and another 1/2% lump sum once per year. I used it yesterday on the British Airways site to buy my aisle seat back with the unwashed masses. It's my backup card in my wallet. It becomes my primary card when I leave the country. I did the math and stopped chasing airline miles with credit cards other than big promotional bonuses. I use a 2% cash back Citi Double Cash card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
My husband wears a big leg brace and is very uncomfortable in the main cabin of most planes for trips longer than 2 hours or so. So I work hard to find good deals on front of the plane tickets (although they are increasingly hard to come by when it comes to reward tickets). Robyn
United is awful. When I was premier exec status, I hardly ever could use my upgrade coupons. I've bought/traded for Global Premier systemwide upgrade coupons from coworkers at the 100,000 mile 1K level. They're easier to come by in Nov/Dec when they're about to expire. They just go on the United web site and upgrade you. You can buy them on eBay but I'd worry about a scam. That used to be the only way I could get up front in United on an Asia trip since you can use them when you book your super-discounted economy fare. I've been flying over Toronto. With the crashed Canadian dollar, business class to Asia is much cheaper than out of a US city and the corporate finance people don't push back as hard.

With an aisle seat and 5 1/2 hours during the day, I can handle BOS-LHR in a 31" seat pitch/17.5" seat width seat. I just get up and walk around every hour or so. I won't go to Asia in economy. I'm 6'2" with very broad shoulders. I can relate to the physically unable to sit in coach problem. It's also massive stroke risk to get jammed into an economy seat for 14 hours. I'm not going to risk a TIA to save the company a few thousand bucks.

My sister has so much status on Air Canada that she can call a special 800 number and get up front on anything. Years ago, I was Chairman's Preferred (100,000 miles) on US Airways for a few years. It's a different world. I could go a year and never sit in coach.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:12 AM
 
7,338 posts, read 16,634,853 times
Reputation: 4567
Yes, and that statement can also go for motor homes and any other recreactional stuff. Anyway, we are going to need at least a partial new deck and we know that's going to cost us, but, when it comes to boating, we do like it. Just wish we could afford a newer boat....one with EFI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
We have a 22 foot Aquapatio (pontoon). We're having a second bimini made so the entire boat will be shaded. We live in a lake community and are five minutes from the yacht club where we keep it moored. I will probably have the trim motor replaced this year too. You know what they say "BOAT" stands for right?....break out another thousand.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:21 AM
 
13,874 posts, read 7,386,288 times
Reputation: 25356
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
We have a 22 foot Aquapatio (pontoon). We're having a second bimini made so the entire boat will be shaded. We live in a lake community and are five minutes from the yacht club where we keep it moored. I will probably have the trim motor replaced this year too. You know what they say "BOAT" stands for right?....break out another thousand.
I got an email last week from the boat yard telling me that the mechanic flagged the diesel as needing a compression test. My Yanmar is now sitting on the bench getting torn down. Last year was replacing the mahogany toe rail, adding a bowsprit with a roller, and chain locker for the CQR to get it out of the cockpit.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:29 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,828 posts, read 18,832,665 times
Reputation: 33723
Capital One Quicksilver 1 1/2% cash back card. No fee.

This is the same card that I used in England No fee, got cash back, and there was also a bonus of money back if you spent a certain amount of money within the first three months. That's easy to do--just purchase your plane tickets, reserve your rental car, etc. It was the only card I used at all during the entire trip. I think I authorized them to make a one time payment of the balance while I was away--didn't feel comfortable using my laptop to pay bills on a public connection in a hotel.

The only drawback, IIRC, was that they charge a yearly fee. That will cut into your cash back rewards so if I'm not going overseas this year, I'll cancel the card and get another one beforehand to keep my credit rating up. One of the beauties of using rewards cards instead or airline rewards is that you are not married to one airline; you can shop around for the best deals.

Best Credit Cards of 2016: Reviews, Rewards and Offers
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Capital One Quicksilver 1 1/2% cash back card. No fee.

This is the same card that I used in England No fee, got cash back, and there was also a bonus of money back if you spent a certain amount of money within the first three months. That's easy to do--just purchase your plane tickets, reserve your rental car, etc. It was the only card I used at all during the entire trip. I think I authorized them to make a one time payment of the balance while I was away--didn't feel comfortable using my laptop to pay bills on a public connection in a hotel.

The only drawback, IIRC, was that they charge a yearly fee. That will cut into your cash back rewards so if I'm not going overseas this year, I'll cancel the card and get another one beforehand to keep my credit rating up. One of the beauties of using rewards cards instead or airline rewards is that you are not married to one airline; you can shop around for the best deals.

Best Credit Cards of 2016: Reviews, Rewards and Offers
That card doesn't seem to have an annual fee.

The math when it comes to comparing any type of "rewards cards" is what the possible rewards are - and which ones you'll most likely use. For example - if card A gives you rewards where you're getting a penny a point/mile for the flights you usually book (1%) - and card B gives you 1.5% cash back - you're better off with card B. OTOH - if you save your miles for international front of the plane rewards with cards where you can get those points - where rewards are often worth 3-5 cents a point/mile - those cards can be worth more to you than cards A or B. Really depends on one's travel/spending habits.

When it comes to airlines and airline cards these days - there's another consideration. Checking luggage. On many/most airlines/routes - you're going to pay $25/bag each way. So - if you even take one trip - 2 people - 2 checked bags - you'll be saving money with a $95/year card.

Note that for investors here - especially those with Fidelity - you can rack up points with some airlines by depositing some new money into Fidelity from time to time:

Earn Frequent Flyer Miles with Financial Partners : Delta Air Lines

Robyn
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
This group is affluent, well-traveled foodies who all have enormous wine cellars. On the phone last night, my sister mentioned some place in Madrid where the menu is edible. Google turns up el Club Allard so I guess there. Most of the trip is a wine junket starting from the Spanish coast north of Portugal with rental cars working our way south. That's as planned as it's gotten so far. I've been to Vigo in that part of coastal Spain and Lisbon but nothing between.
We only had X days and 2X restaurants on our list. Club Allard didn't make the final cut - but report back after you've dined there.

Quote:
I was in Korea once in the mid-1990's and back again 20 years later. The transformation is quite remarkable. It was very eastern block dreary. It's done the Asian city thing with everything brand new though not as over the top as a lot of places. I wouldn't put it high on a tourist list. Korean food is OK but most of it kind of tastes the same. Kimchi. Their fermented bean/chili sauce that's in just about everything. The little bowls of Korean side dishes that are always at the table. Beef is equated with wealth so it's the status food that always gets ordered. I don't normally eat much beef. I get dragged to those death-by-red-meat Brazilian Churrascaria places by the Koreans. Korean is nowhere near as refined as Japanese or diverse as Chinese. The ritual drinking takes a bit of getting used to. A spinoff of Japanese Salaryman behavior. You're not allowed to pour your own drink. Unlike Japan where you're constantly topped off and expected to top everyone else off, you never refill someone's glass until it's empty. Lots of ritual clinking of glasses. It's so rigidly hierarchical that getting drunk is the only time people blend and let their hair down.
What you say about Korea is exactly the impression I got reading about it. Although perhaps there's a trip there in our future. If there's a great sale on business class reward tickets - money or miles .

Quote:
Capital One Quicksilver 1 1/2% cash back card. No fee. No foreign transaction charges. I have their predecessor card that gives you 1% cash back and another 1/2% lump sum once per year. I used it yesterday on the British Airways site to buy my aisle seat back with the unwashed masses. It's my backup card in my wallet. It becomes my primary card when I leave the country. I did the math and stopped chasing airline miles with credit cards other than big promotional bonuses. I use a 2% cash back Citi Double Cash card.
Our go-to card these days is our AMEX Everyday Preferred. 50% mileage bonus which we use on Delta (our preferred carrier). $95/year.

Quote:
United is awful. When I was premier exec status, I hardly ever could use my upgrade coupons. I've bought/traded for Global Premier systemwide upgrade coupons from coworkers at the 100,000 mile 1K level. They're easier to come by in Nov/Dec when they're about to expire. They just go on the United web site and upgrade you. You can buy them on eBay but I'd worry about a scam. That used to be the only way I could get up front in United on an Asia trip since you can use them when you book your super-discounted economy fare. I've been flying over Toronto. With the crashed Canadian dollar, business class to Asia is much cheaper than out of a US city and the corporate finance people don't push back as hard.
We had a ton of United miles and used most of them up on a first class trip to Singapore a couple of years ago. We got most of the miles through credit card programs - so I don't know about the United FF program in terms of status earned through actually flying a lot. There's really a big difference when it comes to the POV of someone who's a "road warrior" - like you seem to be - and someone like me who dabbles in credit cards to accumulate miles. About all I can I say about our last UA international reward trips is I didn't like the hub cities (ORD and EWR). Although the flights themselves weren't bad at all. ATL is our most convenient hub city - which is why Delta is still my carrier of preference (even though its FF program is certainly not the greatest these days). When you get older - convenience tends to trump a lot of other considerations.

Your idea about traveling from the US to international destinations via Canada - taking advantage of the lows in the Canadian dollar - although it's a bit off its most recent lows today - is great. Perhaps not for us flying out of JAX (don't think we have any non-stops to Canada) - but for others with better direct service to major hubs in Canada.

Quote:
With an aisle seat and 5 1/2 hours during the day, I can handle BOS-LHR in a 31" seat pitch/17.5" seat width seat. I just get up and walk around every hour or so. I won't go to Asia in economy. I'm 6'2" with very broad shoulders. I can relate to the physically unable to sit in coach problem. It's also massive stroke risk to get jammed into an economy seat for 14 hours. I'm not going to risk a TIA to save the company a few thousand bucks.
Although I'm smaller - I agree with you. In addition to the TIA stuff - there's the DVT stuff.

Quote:
My sister has so much status on Air Canada that she can call a special 800 number and get up front on anything. Years ago, I was Chairman's Preferred (100,000 miles) on US Airways for a few years. It's a different world. I could go a year and never sit in coach.
Never been there - done that. When my husband and I were doing most of our business travel - FF programs didn't exist! Best we ever got one year was Delta Silver status - after a couple of trips (including one to Japan). Robyn
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Florida
5,232 posts, read 3,007,646 times
Reputation: 9584
Quebec is a change of pace without having to travel so far.
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:52 AM
 
10,812 posts, read 8,056,502 times
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We don't fly so don't do the Europe thing. But we escape our hot TX summers by renting a house in a more moderate climate from late July through late August. The last 3 summers it's been northern NM but this year it will be northwest Arkansas.
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