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I went home to Minnesota for the week and the only break in family time was a visit to a US Bank branch to get the $125 checking bonus (apply by 8/10 online or in branch, see the Doctor of Credit post for more). My online application got stuck because some of my credit reports were frozen. A banker called me that I needed to “unfreeze them all” because he wouldn’t disclose which one they attempted. Eventually, while he was on vacation, his fill-in told me it was IDA (SageStream) and I didn’t want to deal with the process. The branch knew nothing of the offer so it was good that I brought in printouts of everything. I have US Bank credit cards so the monthly fee on Gold Checking is waived. I am less interested in the bonus than to see if it helps me get credit card approvals. No similar offer for small business checking, of which their Silver plan has no monthly fees. Added savings to the package to get into S.T.A.R.T.
Flying back I had a cheapo cash ticket MSP-ORD-LGA on United. The first leg was running late, my connection may still have worked, so I am appreciative that the agent at MSP offered to get me on the nonstop MSP-EWR and I got back to my apartment 2 or more hours earlier than planned. I only had to give up my first United upgrade (ORD-LGA only) of the year.
I am deep in Scandinavia trip planning. Have not found a way to cushion the cost of Atlantic Air and Greenland Air. SAS has really cheap cash rates intra-region while Finnair’s domestic flights are startlingly expensive with little award availability. I love assembling complex trips. One of the few times points has driven a trip for me as the Club Carlson credit card devaluation got my attention. Is there a point where a country is so expensive that it is ok to be the guy with plastic bag-lined pockets stuffed from the breakfast buffet?
- How Far Can You Stretch Your AAdvantage Miles Value? (The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook). I have nearly a million AA miles and rarely find a way to use them. AA Platinum waives the close-in award ticketing fee but not change/redeposit and almost everything I do for me or family needs flexibility or I get stun later.
- Aeroplan Scam? I think not! (Canadian Kilometers). Aeroplan was on my backlog of programs to learn back when it was really valuable.
- A New Trick for Cheap Flights to Europe (WSJ). Providence to Frankfurt on Condor and more quirky flights for low cash fares out of secondary airports.
- Kenya Airways Falters (Wild About Travel). Few options in Africa that have wide networks and some reliability. Not a good experience, but some useful routes. I hope they fix it up. For those booking awards, Delta and Air France/KLM pass on hefty fuel surcharges.
- If even Signapore has issues…Will Singapore Airlines Shrink Into A Regional Carrier? (One Mile at a Time). They cost a fortune US to East Asia. My leisure days to Sotuheast Asia are past and business days have never come, and I have never flown them.
- Is upgrading to United Global First Class worth it? (MileCards). You get a soup course.
- 10,000 Hilton point giveaway from Points with a Crew, enter by 8/12.
- IHG ‘Earn, Earn, Repeat’ Promo: Receive 5,000 Points For Spending $100+ At Participating Restaurants (Doctor Of Credit). I have not paid attention to dining programs since Congee Bowery in Manhattan dropped out despite me filling out the post-dine survey every time saying the points (and not the garlic roast chicken) was the main reason for my visit.
- Citi ThankYou Pay with Points for Flights – Free 24 Hour Cancellation for Prestige (Miles to Memories). I had gotten mixed responses on this when asked on calls, never put it to the test.
- New Offer for 70,000 Best Western Points (But Should You Get It?) (Million Mile Secrets). No.
- Complete Guide To ITIN’s: Applying For Credit Cards, Credit Reports & Credit Scores (Doctor Of Credit). Made me think of my mother-in-law who is with us this summer.
- How to Prevent Your Brain from Exploding (FrequentMiler). Issues I have thought about a lot recently. Every time Dan’s Deals shouts, “Hurry!” and it is another Amex offer I am tempted to get 99 AUs on each account and turn my life over to this madness. My current limits include no Walmart, because of location inconvenience, and mostly no Amex offers because of endless hamster wheel time suck.