I receive so many credit card and rewards program offers via email and snail mail that I usually ignore them. But I recently paid attention to one I received for my American Airlines AAdvantage Account and I wanted to share this deal with you all.
It’s very simple. Download their AAdvantage Toolbar which will be added to your internet browser (option #6 right now in the skybox in the middle of the page) and enroll in their AAdvantage eShopping program. It’s free and only takes a couple of minutes to download. And I haven’t received any junk email from them. By doing this you earn 1,000 miles (I’m sure it takes about 8-10 weeks for them to show up in your account but they’ll eventually show up). Then, by using their search function that’s now in your toolbar instead of searching via Google you earn 1 mile for every 3 searches. Google is definitely a superior search engine BUT most of the items I am searching for are pretty standard and so far the AAdvantage Toolbar hasn’t let me down. In just a few days, I have earned 11 miles and it will just keep adding up! Their goal in having you add their toolbar is to have you use it to go shopping and take advantage of their “exclusive offers”. I could care less about that aspect of the deal but if you do a lot of online shopping that could be another way to add some miles to your account by doing something you would normally do via another means.
Just wanted to put this out there in case anyone has an AAdvantage Account but didn’t realize this offer was available! I realize it will take 75,000 internet searches for us to earn a ticket but perhaps by using their search function we’ll earn those few thousand extra miles we need to put us over the 25,000 mile marker that we earned by actually flying with them. Might as well try, right?!
Over the Fourth of July weekend I took an overnight trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. I feel so lucky to live just over an hour from a place this beautiful. I literally sang, “The hills are aliiiiiiive with the sound of muuuuuusiiiiiiiic!” and danced around while twirling my arms. I then proceeded to do cartwheels, which is something I always feel compelled to do when I’m in the middle of a field, but I was especially inspired there. Forgetting that I was at an elevation of over 11,000 feet, I grew a little woozy after only 4 cartwheels and had to chill out.
I highly recommend putting this National Park on your must see list. You can see all of my photos here but below are some of my favorites.
Alluvial Fan. I love the guy at the top.
Further into the park
Using my new wide angle lens
We all tried to make educated guesses as to the purpose of these sticks
The hills are aliiiiiiive with the sound of muuuuusiiiiiiiiic
Here are some photos I took on various trips that will hopefully inspire you to take a trip somewhere special.
Tree, Angor Wat, Cambodia
Black Sand Beach, Santorini
Most people cringe when they think of credit card companies. With their high interest rates and incessant junk mail offering one thing or another. They’re annoying, right? Well, yes, but there are GREAT rewards programs out there for anyone with decent credit. They take advantage of us with ridiculously high interest rates and fees so why don’t we take advantage of THEM by maximizing their rewards programs? Get the most for our money?!
This is going to be an experiment for myself as well but I am going to open a credit card and charge everything I can to it. Everyday items. BUT, I will make sure to pay the balance off each month. I might even send a payment to the card once a week and keep myself on that sort of schedule so things never get out of control. In the meantime, I’ll be accumulating points so fast that I’ll have a free flight before I know it! A friend of mine with 2 kids has taken them all over the world with her points because she uses this system.
Do a little investigative work to see which card works best for you. I found this site to be helpful to compare different offers out there. A lot of cards offer 25,000 points when you sign up. That’s a flight right there! On average, I bet you can have a free flight anywhere in the world every year or two. Just by using a credit card to pay for things instead of a debit card. How great is that?!?! How much time has gone by without a trip to Europe? Why not be proactive and MAKE it happen for yourself?!
In doing research, I found this blog post by Lauren Quinn on her site, StartBackpacking.com. It’s very informative and I recommend giving it a quick read.
Italy, here I come…..
I had the best time today and I technically traveled but just around my new city of Denver. By bike! I don’t know which city was the first to start a public bike program, perhaps Paris, but more and more cities are taking notice and starting their own systems and luckily for me, Denver is one of them with the B Cycle Program. I simply registered for free online then paid $5 to use a bike for 24 hours (there are longer term options, of course). There are tons of stations around the city and there’s one about a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Very handy. So I picked up my bike and my friend and I rode all over the place. We stopped at a book sale at the library and there was a bike station there so I parked the bike… then after the sale I picked up another one and we were off again!
It’s such a great way to travel from one place to another on a nice day. Or even on a day like today which was 91 degrees and muggy. But I noticed so many different shops and cute houses and beautiful flowers as I rode around. Streets that I’ve driven down tons of times felt new to me. I was much more connected to my surroundings.
Even if your city doesn’t have a bike system you can surely find several bike stores from which you can rent one for the day. Go for it! Get a new perspective on your city. But be careful and stick to the side streets when possible. People in their big fat cars usually aren’t paying attention to you so you have to watch out for yourself.
Here are a few photos of mine that will hopefully inspire you to take a trip (or at least seriously start planning for one in the not-too-distant future).
- Tourist at the Grand Canyon
- Sedona gorgeousness
- Dorking, England has great hiking with beautiful countryside views
- Cuixmala resort, West Coast of Mexico
- Autumn in Paris
For years now, I have had Travelocity’s FareWatcher Plus do my airfare hunting for me. It’s simple to set up and use and you never know what great rates will come to your email inbox. Here’s how it works:
(1) Register for free with Travelocity.com
(2) Once you’re logged in, click on the “My Travelocity” tab
(3) Click on the link under “Track Deals with FareWatcher Plus”
(4) Choose up to 10 destinations you want Travelocity to watch for you
You can choose to be notified if:
Airfare goes down by $25
Airfare goes up or down by $25
Airfare goes below $xxx (you can choose the price)
You can have them look for the next 3 months, 6 months, indefinitely or you can specify an end date. I like this because I’ve chosen 3 months before if I knew I had to purchase a flight in the next 3 months for a specific trip but didn’t want to look every single day for the best airfare. Then I have some cities set to “indefinitely” because I always want to go there (NYC) and if a cheap flight pops up I might just take a trip!
I also like that when you receive the email about the fare price you know you’re finding out about it as soon as it happens so you’ll have a much better chance of getting the dates you want instead of looking for it yourself and discovering it only after most of the good dates are sold out.
Also, you can choose international destinations as well. So if you’ve always wanted to go to Paris why not have FareWatcher Plus look for good deals for you and have that determine when you finally bite the bullet and go?
I noticed Expedia.com has a similar function on their website but you have to download an application to your computer so it’s a little more involved. But, if anyone has used Expedia and you really like it please let me know! Also, I know you can sign up with individual airlines’ websites and they will send you weekly emails with discount airfares but you might not want a weekly email about a bunch of places you don’t care to visit.
Taking a few minutes to set this up could save you some money and help you take a trip or two during the year that you hadn’t even planned!