Saturday, May 31, 2014

A New Benefit for Intercontinental Ambassadors

Last year, I wrote about my apprehension about paying for Intercontinental Ambassador status.

Eventually, I decided to use points for the status and my experiences using it have been overall positive. I used them at the Intercontinental Miami Doral and Buenos Aries Intercontinental. In both stays, we were upgraded to rooms on the club level, which impressed my mom.

Yesterday, I received an email notifying me that come July, Ambassadors will earn 10 points per $1 spent at Intercontinental hotels worldwide.

Later this year, I have to decided if I want to pay to renew my status. This new benefit will definitely play into my decision.

After last year devaluation slaughter, any change for the positive by a company needs to be cheered.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

365 Days To Go

Today is my 29th birthday! Today, also, leaves me 365 days left to accomplish my big travel goal: travel to seven continents in business class by May 2015.

As of today, I have hit five continents: North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Leaving Australia and Antarctica. I have booked Australia for September; leaving Antarctica for January or February 2015.

As I wrote last year,  I add a new goal: visit all 50 States before the age of 40. In typically JD fashion, to count a state as visited, I must stay 3 nights in the state. The 3 nights don't have to be consecutive, but I do need to put my head on a pillow, rock or bench to count.

Below is a map of the states that I have visited and those I have not. The states colored in Red are ones that I have stayed 3+ nights in and the states colored in Green are ones that I have stayed 2+ nights. So far I have visit 22 states: 14 for more than 3+ days.

Accomplishing close to 30% of my goal with 11 years left is a good start. As you can see, I need to visit middle America. Sad to say, I have treated it as fly-over country. Looking down from the plane wondering what is down there. Today, I make my promise to you, middle America...I am coming to visit!

I have a feeling this is going to be a great year.
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Some of you might have noticed, I have been a little quite. I decided to take some time off from blogging and focus on some other important things in my life. As I tend to over-share, I let you in . . .


In the mortgage world, Spring is our busiest season. People tend to my new homes from March until May. However, this Spring has not been as busy as others. For this reason, I have had to put more hours in to do the same amount of business in past years. Other mortgage loan officers are desperate for business leading which has led to lots of undercutting. On top of this, mortgage rates have dropped to the lowest levels all year.


I finally booked my trip to Australia for September. Almost 2 1/2 weeks: one of my longest vacation that I have ever taken. I am so looking forward to it. I will be trying a few new airlines on this trip: Air China and Thai. Other than the plane tickets, I have nothing else planned.  I booked the ticket using US Airways points prior to them leaving the Star Alliance. A combination of business and first class.

I had a little scare a few weeks back. I was putting my trip on my work calender and noticed an error on my reservation. My return ticket had me leaving Australia on Sunday, but leaving China back to the US on Saturday. Turns out, Thai  cancelled my flight and rebooked me 2 days later. After phone calls between US Airways (who couldn't really help) and the Thai, I was rebooked on an earlier flight on Friday. However, the "cancelled flight" almost ruined my entire trip as US Airways want to cancel my entire trip and rebook my OneWorld alliance partners.

Other than Australia, I don't have to much planned trip wise due to lack of vacation days. In June, I have a quick weekend in Toronto and Connecticut. However, not to much more.


No new credit cards since applying for the American Airlines Executive card.

Why the lack of applications? At the moment, I have no immediate need for points. My trip to Australia is paid for minus some hotel nights. I have enough points to get me to Argentina for the start of my cruise to Antarctica. I am good. Does that mean I won't apply for any credit cards? No, what it means is that I will be more selective. Choice credit cards by needs; instead, of want.


Over the past year, I have let some friendships lapse. Some might call it getting older and growing apart; an occurrence for all late 20 somethings. I don't buy this excuse. For this reason, I have been contacting old friends from college and high school to check-in. A simple email can go a long way.

Nowadays, my friends are getting engaged, married, having kids, buying houses etc. Some big news comes my way on a weekly basis. Me....none of those items. However, I want to celebrate the small/big wins in the friends lives. A quick email can go a long way to say hi and congrats.

On the other hand, a quick email can bring to light things that were present but hidden in darkness.
For instance, in the past few weeks, I learned that my actions hurt two close friends. Supposedly, a joke was taken to far and caused hard feelings that have simmered for over a year. All I can do is ask for forgiveness. My actions were not done out malice, but ignorance. But without asking, I would never have known and been give a chance to say sorry

Moving Forward

As I entered my last year of my twenties, I am excited for what this year brings. Here are things that I will be focusing on:

  • Less travel, but more time spent per trip
  • Focusing on becoming a better loan officer
  • Blogging consistently 
  • Strengthening old relationships and repairing others
  • Earning points in ways other than credit cards
  • Waking up with a smile daily
While not all my goals for this upcoming year, they are a good representation. Overall, I want to strive for happiness, be more positive and be a better citizen of the world.

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