Many credit cards offer access to a concierge. “So What?” you might ask (I know that’s what Sharon would say) (Note from Sharon: Yup!). Well, a concierge may be able to help with your vacation plans or get tickets for shows or concerts you couldn’t get yourself. Being an obsessive planner, I never found much value added by talking to a concierge. They’ve often just cut and and pasted lists from Yelp! or TripAdvisor for me and that’s something I can do myself. But if you’re the type that’s too busy to look up good restaurants in San Francisco near your hotel, this might be a great service for you.
Remember Pitfall? It was that seemingly simple game for Atari that ended up being incredibly difficult because if you jumped at the wrong time or was a pixel to the left, you were dead, video game speaking. You then had to start all over to get to the same place and try not to make the same mistake again.
My dealing with Citi’s websites, trying to redeem Thank You points for an upcoming hotel stay, has felt much like this process over the last several days. Every time I got past one obstacle, another one appeared that was just as difficult to accomplish as the last one.
I offer my guidance, much like a cheat guide, to let you know where the traps lie and how to avoid them or what to do if you get caught by one.
Over the past week, I’ve had to deal with issues from three different banks. Needless to say, it’s been a long week. I don’t understand why, when dealing with a bank, every transaction must be difficult. It’s like pulling teeth to get anything accomplished. When everything is difficult, I tend to get introspective and think, “Maybe I’m the one that’s difficult to deal with.” I’m looking for some objective opinions, is it me or is it the bank?
It’s the beginning of a new year. A time to reset and restart. If you didn’t notice, we’ve done some refreshing of the website. How do you like our new logo? I sure am glad we have talented friends to help us with things like that :-).
On the other hand, a new year is also an opportunity to set some goals. While you can set goals for your health (who’s going to the gym tomorrow? Go and get it!) or for your education (that thesis? easy peasy lemon squeezy!) you can also set some goals for your travels. I wrote down several things I want to accomplish this year (and got a head start on one of them already)
As you may have read, we had a blowout trip through the American Southwest this fall. For us, a fifteen night trip is an amazingly long time to be away from home. We could have stayed at the same hotel chain’s properties and worked our way towards some low level of status. However, it was much better for us to pick the best hotel for us in each location and use the most sensible form of payment, be it paying cash or using points. The same thing went for the flights which were booked with a combination of cash and airline miles.
This was possible because I had a stash of points in several hotel programs as well as having transferrable credit card points. Some of the rooms I paid for because the hotels either weren’t part of any point program or there was a promotion that made paying a much better value than using points.
I was disappointed when my original plans to use Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points to stay at the Grand Californian Hotel didn’t pan out as I hoped. I came up with several options as a backup, still hoping the DVC room on waitlist would clear. As our vacation got closer and closer, it became very evident that we wouldn’t be staying at the DVC. I looked at the backup room that I booked to make sure I was still happy with it. I was, so we forged ahead with our Plan B.
Visiting the Grand Canyon was one of the “anchor” stops during our trip through the American Southwest. We’ve visited the Grand Canyon twice before, once as a day trip from Las Vegas and the other time as part of an Adventures by Disney tour. The last trip was 10 years ago and we decided if we ever went back, we’d do it right.