Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Constant Reminder

Last week I went on my first business trip ever: a quick two day trip to a sales conference in Richmond. We stayed at the Richmond Marriott, which I reviewed here. The stay was average to say the least.

What bothered me of this stay was what was written on my key card:

The hotel wrote my rate on my key card envelope. This isn't the first time a hotel has written my rate on the hotel key. However, this is the first time I have questioned why its there.

Why do hotels need to write down the rate? Do I get better service if I pay more? Worse service if I am staying on points? My guess is that neither is true. Then again why the need?

The reason why I bring it up is that my room was small, elevators ran slow and staff was slow. Not Southern slow. Just, I don't care slow. Every time I looked down at this envelope, I questioned if my stay was worth $159 a night. Especially after I learned that the Hilton Garden across the way street was only $119.

Anyone know the reason for the rate on the key card holder?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Best & Worst Cities for Travel Taxes

CBS Money Watch has a list of the cities with the highest and lowest traveler taxes. Taxes on hotels and rental cars are some of the easiest taxes for politicians to increase. Typically, these taxes only effect those who don't live in the community. Travelers don't vote in the communities that they visit, but they do bring in much needed cash to the cities coffers.

The Global Business Travel Association studied :
"50 top travel destinations in the U.S. in order to calculate the tax burden based on a single night's stay. To isolate taxes, the study used national average room costs of $105.31 per night; a car rental cost of $57.05; and daily meal expenses of $93.32, for a total one day outlay of $255.68. Where tax costs are set as a percentage of spending, they were calculated using these spending amounts. In some cases, however, taxes are set as a flat fee. Boston, for example, levies a $10 daily tax on rental cars."

Photo Credit:
The cities that levy the biggest taxes on travelers?
1. Chicago: $41.04
2. New York: $38.65
3. Minneapolis: $36.70
4. Kansas City, Mo: $36.61
5. Indianapolis: $36.00
6. Cleveland: $35.417
7. Boston: $35.32
8. Seattle: $35.11
9. Nashville, Tenn.: $34.75
10. Houston: $34.16
Metropolitan areas with the lowest tax burden on travelers:
1. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: $22.61
2. Fort Myers, Fla.: $22.61
3. West Palm Beach, Fla.: $22.61
4. Detroit: $22.80
5. Portland, Ore.: $22.86
6. Orange County, Calif: 23.61
7. Burbank, Calif: $24.59
8. Honolulu: $24.67
9. Ontario, Calif: $24.93
10. Orlando, Fla.: $24.94

Photo Credit:

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Least Favorite Card Gets A Little Better

One of my least favorite airline credit cards is the Barclay's US Airways Mastercard.

Personally, the credit card is only good for its primary benefit of miles after one purchase. At the moment, one can earn between 25,000 to 40,000 miles after one swipe of the card. There are multiple different offers out there. Very few credit cards give benefits like this any more.

My dislike for the card comes from its secondary benefits or the lack there of:

Notice something missing?

Most airline credit cards offer a free checked bag when purchasing the ticket with the credit card. United's card does. Delta's American Express does as well. American Airlines's card offer the first checked bag benefit as well. US Airways' credit card has not offered a free checked bag.  The benefit is so common that I often forget that US Airways doesn't offer it - costing me $$$ to check a bag.

Well that's all changing April 30th.

Maybe its time to rethink this card?

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Want To Buy An Airline?

Ever want to buy an airline? Would you still buy it if the planes did not come with the deal? Confused?

According to, India's Kingfisher Airlines may be up for sale.

Photo Credit:
Kingfisher Airlines is in debt to various banks in the sum of around $1.16 Billion USD. In October 2012, Kingfisher's operation license was suspended Directorate General Of Civil Aviation and has since expire. With the company making no money, the banks that hold the debt are anxious to collect something on the paper that they hold.

According to Skift, the company pledged the Kingfisher brand as collateral for some of their loans and one of the banks is looking to off load the brand.
"The airline gave the “Kingfisher” brand as collateral to bankers. The Kingfisher brand was valued at Rs.3,000 crore (US $501 million) by audit firm Grant Thornton India some five years ago.
The list of trademarks offered include “fly kingfisher” (label), “fly kingfisher”, “flying models”, “fly the good times”, “funliner”, “kingfisher” and “flying bird device”. 
There is a disagreement about who really held/holds the Kingfisher brand trademark.

"On 14 February 2013, United Breweries, the parent company of Kingfisher Airlines, said that it fully owns the Kingfisher brand that is registered by the company under trademark classes pertaining to alcoholic beverages and that this hasn’t been hypothecated or pledged to any lender to secure loans, contradicting the contention of creditors to the airline that’s part of the UB group.
A senior UB Group executive said the beer and airline brands were “different” and they are covered under different categories. “UB Group has not pledged the beer brand for loans to Kingfisher Airlines,” he added."
Why did I say above that you can buy an airline without the planes? Well, the creditors have already starting liquidating those assets.

Therefore, you can buy an airline, but just not the planes.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Banana Republic CC Offer

Banana Republic sent me an email with an interesting offer. If I added an Authorized User to my credit card account, they would give me a $10 Reward Certificate.

Check your email if you got this offer. According to the email, you can add the "authorized user" in your online profile or calling 1-800-234-7455.

I am going to pass on this offer, because I don't have anyone to add as authorized user. If you got this offer, I would consider adding one of your college-aged students to your account. By adding your child, you can help build there credit. Afraid that they might use the credit card inappropriately? Don't give them the card to use. On the flip side, do not add your child without there permission. Too many of my young mortgage applicants have credit cards on their credit reports that they don't know about. Most of them were credit cards that they were authorized users on from their parents. While it helps build their credit, it can hurt them.

Did you get this offer?

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Offer from Bank of America

I got an email from Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit card. While I signed up for it, I probably won't use it.

The offer is triple the miles (3X) on purchased made with the Alaska Airlines credit card on qualifying Home Improvement stores through June 30, 2014.

The purchases can be made at hardware, interior furnishing and garden supply stores.As I am renter, I don't really have a need for items from a Home Improvement stores. However, I signed up for the promotion anyways, because who knows what will occur in the next three months.

Did you get this offer?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MBL Travel Schedules

Website, Baseball Savant, has come up with a cool interactive chart that lets you explore how far each MLB team will travel on the road this season. The Seattle Mariners win the distinction of having to travel the farthest this year with just over 51,500 miles.

My team the Washington Nationals have to travel only 60% of that:

The Mariners winning the distinction of furthest travel is shocking since Dodgers and Diamondbacks had to travel to and from Australia.

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