If I have to choose what type to points to earn for purchases, transferrable points currencies will always be at the top of the list. Chase Ultimate Rewards, a form of transferable points, is always an account I need to replenish. Next to signing up for new credit cards for bonuses, earning points for everyday spending is the best way for us to earn points. One of our biggest monthly expenses is our internet and cell phone bill and by having this card, I can earn 5x points on both of those in my sleep.
I’m dating myself here but originally, we didn’t have this card. Back in the day, Sharon applied for the Chase Ink Business Bold card. Back then, the Bold was a charge card and you needed to pay the balance in full every month. Chase eventually turned it into a credit card and stopped new signups since it was exactly the same as the Chase Ink Plus. You can add the Ink Bold to the list of discontinued credit cards that we’ve owned.
We kept the card for a while after it was phased out and eventually decided to downgrade to the Chase Ink Cash card instead of having to continue paying the annual fee to keep the Ink Bold.
I think it was the right decision, as the Ink Cash keeps all the benefits of its predecessor but doesn’t charge an annual fee. At the time, the Ink Cash card didn’t pay a sign-up bonus but now that it does, it makes more sense than ever to sign up for it.
Ever since Sharon and I have started writing Your Mileage May Vary, we’ve learned that having reliable internet access is a necessity when we’re traveling. That’s not such a big problem now that most hotel rooms offer WiFi connections. But even those connections aren’t always the best and occasionally we’ll find ourselves sitting in a hotel lobby updating the website because we just can’t connect from the room.
In the meantime, there’s a whole different problem we’ve discovered, particularly since Sharon purchased a Chromebook. While she loves it because it’s really light and tends to load webpages faster than even her desktop (and was a ton cheaper than getting another MacBook), its main drawback is that it requires an internet connection to do almost anything. More than once, we’ve gotten to a hotel and turned on the computer only to see this:
We always use a VPN while traveling and connecting to the internet over a public Wi-Fi network. It keeps our private information, well, it keeps it private. It also allows you to fool your server into thinking you’re somewhere else so we can watch TV shows from the UK and people from outside the U.S. can read the Orlando Sentinel, for example. We’ve been using WiTopia for several years but we recently had to look for a new provider.
See, when we started writing the blog, we needed to look for a inexpensive laptop that would allow us to write articles while on the road. Our MacBook Air was showing its age and we didn’t want to spend that much on a computer we didn’t need to use that often. We decided to get a HP Chromebook. It did everything we wanted, cost a fraction of a comparable Mac product and had a much longer battery life.
After buying the Chromebook, I tried to install the personalVPN from WiTopia onto the Chromebook. Major fail. I checked the help page of the WiTopia website and found this disclaimer:
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We visited Cuba for a week in March 2016 to celebrate Sharon’s “ends with a 0” birthday year. Based on what we were able to learn before our trip, we were ready to be on a full internet blackout. It seemed to be that there might be internet in Cuba but we had no idea how to access it.
Here’s what our experience was when we tried to get access to the internet and how that has changed (or stayed the same) since our trip.