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Re: Amex Business Gold Card 75,000 point bonus
I got some BGR 75/5 offers.
with our without 1x language?

General question..with the new language being added to applications reference using offers for others or "gaming" are there people getting called out and points clawed back when using these offers?  I had points frozen and 100k clawed back from using codes for personal platinum around 8 months ago and it seems that amex has gotten more aggressive since then.

November 01, 2017, 11:29:08 AM
Re: Hertz Vouchers DP - Used vouchers purchased here for 2 different day rentals in Florida and I received an account review letter from Hertz about fraudulent vouchers from Millennium Realty. Requested verification of where I got them from. Told them they were a gift from a client and they wanted client contact info. Ended up paying for the two days to quell the investigation and not lose hertz renting privileges.
February 23, 2018, 03:55:43 PM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale
why are the Hilton credit card anniversary nights more the Marriott credit card anniversary nights?

Likely because Hilton isn't limited while the Marriott are typically limited to cat 4

February 16, 2019, 11:21:10 PM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale
care to offer some tips?

I am trying to figure out how to protect myself before sending $1500 to a total stranger via paypal/chase quickpay.

obviously if he has references or a DD Presidential/Lifetime Platinum Elite member, it's a different story. But most sellers are not in that category.
pay the paypal fee for protection. if seller cheats you paypal will make it right. been there, done that. Filed case with paypal and they refunded my money

August 21, 2019, 11:02:45 PM
Alaska - 8 days - August 2019

We are fortunate that we have family in Alaska. My mother-in-law lives in Wasilla which is just outside of Anchorage and we visit every year. Wife and kids usually spend 2 - 3 weeks and I will visit for a week +/- and do some hiking and some fishing and hopefully bring home some fillets to dine on over the following year. This trip focused on Seward fishing trips, hiking, and some river fishing from shore not far from Wasilla.

Flights from RSW - ANC 50k AA miles in business booked 330 days out
3 nights in Seward Best Western using mix of Best Western points from CC signup and Citipoints. Best Western is only chain hotel in Seward and they match my Diamond status but hotel was fully booked so no upgrades.
Used family car, spent 4 nights with family
Used coupons from Northern Lights coupon book to cut cost of salmon trip in Seward.

Day 1 - Flight from RSW - DFW - ANC.Long layover in DFW so used United Club pass from United card and got some work done in the lounge. Arrived late but sun still up as it never really gets dark and that takes some getting used to. Wife picked me up and we did the 1 hour drive out to Wasilla. Not sure you can get much more different from flat, hot tropical SW Florida and Alaska. Love home, close to Sanibel, Naples is great, beaches on Marco Island are amazing but also love the contrast afforded by the snow covered mountains and rugged individualism / lack of pretentiousness that permeates Alaska when you get immersed in it.

Day 2 - Drove from Wasilla to Seward with stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and look for Beluga whales. Saw a accident where a truck with camper had just hit a large bull moose just outside of Anchorage. Moose was still alive and game warden has just arrived to put him down. There are multiple families and/or agencies on a call list that get a call to come out and harvest the meat when this happens so he didn't go to waste but always hate seeing an animal have to die like that. Timed our drive down so we could watch the surfers on the wave of the bore tide that forms when the incoming tide hits the outgoing flow from the all the glacial and snowmelt headed out Turnagain Arm. Walked around Seward, went out to the head of the bay to see if the silver salmon were incoming yet. The salmon here are hatchery raised so you are allowed to snag them using weighted treble hooks and keep up to 6 per person each day. Sadly, the silver salmon were not there to be found so we rode out Bear Creek Road looking for some wildlife. Struck out on the bear hunt (camera only) too but it was nice to be out of the 95 degree / 95% humidity weather. Saw a moose but she disappeared before I could get a good picture. Checked into our room at the Best Western and went and grabbed some pizza.

Day 3 - Full day (14 hours - 3.5 hour boat ride out, 7 hours fishing, 3.5 hour boat ride back) halibut fishing with my son. Got a great weather day with calm seas which is great for sightseeing but high pressure usually dampens fishing. Overfishing of halibut has also decreased chances of getting large fish (100 lb +) and although the captain tried hard we didn't have any success on the larger fish but we each got our limit of 2 (1 under 36", 1 over) and had a great day on the water taking in the scenery. Saw a few humpback whales at distance, a pod of orca's, some sea lions, and lots of puffins. Had fish cleaned and arranged for them to be processed and frozen. Ended up with 38 lbs of halibut fillets, vacuum sealed and frozen for pickup later. Wife took train from Anchorage to Seward (one of most scenic train rides out there, upgrade to the better cabin) and was waiting for us at the dock. Cleaned up, back to Apollo's for some fresh seafood, and then off to bed.

Day 4 - Another early rise, breakfast at hotel, and back to dock for a half day salmon trip in the bay with wife and son. Some silver salmon around but not real thick. Salmon fishing is all about timing. If you are there when they are it can be fast and furious but if the schools aren't in yet it can be frustrating. Either way, a day on the water in Alaska is always a good day to me. We got a total of 9 silver salmon (our limit for inside the bay fishing) which amounted to 32 pounds of fillets that we had processed with the same company. Son and I went down to the small inlet where the late run king salmon were still around and watched a few people successfully snag some of them. These hatchery raised fish go into a small stream with no spawning areas and eventually die off so harvesting them for food is encouraged hence snagging is allowed. Site was real busy so we passed on trying to shoulder our way in and enjoyed watching the locals and visitors from elsewhere in Alaska compete for the few fish making their way through the narrow mouth of the inlet. Went out and had a great seafood dinner and walked the shore watching the otters play. Not sure if there are any animals on the planet that appear to enjoy life more than a sea otter.

Day 5 - Checked out and drove the few miles to the base of Exit Glacier just outside of Seward and started our hike up to the Hubbard Ice Fields lookout. Had to wait for an hour + at the base of the trail due to a black bear with cubs that was spotted walking the trail. I am fine with dealing with bears but bears with cubs can be unpredictable and deadly and park rangers kept trail closed until they had confirmation she was well off the trail. Love the hike, lot of fireweed in August that adds color, 65 and sunny, everything was great except the chest cold that seem to be trying to drag me down. Hiked up to the top, met a couple form Poland that had spent several years traveling the planet driving across continents. They had started in Chile and were on the last part of their journey as they were headed up to Barrow. By the time we reached the top of the trail it was obvious to me that the cold was winning. Nothing to help a good chest cold get a good foothold like 4 hours of heavy deep breathing. Went back to the processing house and picked up our hard frozen fillets, load them all in the cooler, and set off for base camp at in-laws back in Wasilla. Son spotted some salmon in a stream that crossed under the road so we found a spot to park and worked our way down to the stream to find it full of pink salmon. Pinks are okay to eat if eaten fresh but not our favorite. We caught a few before w noticed that there was big brown bear that seemed to favor the fishing hole too so we made our way back to the car and continued along our trip back to Wasilla. By chance, we passed our polish friends we met on the trail earlier and we pulled over at a scenic view point and gave them some salmon fillets for their dinner that night. They were sincerely grateful and we were happy to share. By the time I got to Wasilla I felt like death and was hacking up a lung or two. Mother in law isn't young anymore so wife isolated me into a single room with attached bath and that was my isolation ward for the remainder of the trip.

Day 6 - Felt like crap but didn't want to stay in room all day so son and I drove the 30 miles to a trail head on the Little Susitna River where we could salmon fish without a boat. Weather was amazing, clear, 65 +/-, with just a light breeze. At this location the water is all snow melt and the river is 2 - 4 feet deep in most places with some deeper pools where the fish congregate between runs upstream. Finally patterned the fish and started catching some but they were all chum salmon, aka dog salmon, because they are the fish that the locals catch to feed the dogs. Not good eating but lot of fun to catch. We took fishing gear with us but no waders so son and I stood in knee deep water surrounded by amazing scenery catching and releasing fish. Felt like crud, got a great ab workout from all the coughing, but it was the best sick day ever. Returned back to my isolation ward, heavily medicated myself, and kept reminding myself I could be at home preparing to go to work the next day.

Day 7 - Repeat day 6, helped a 12 year old girl visiting Alaska the first time catch her first fish ever and that was awesome. I saw here and her Mom standing on the shore, could tell this was all new to them, convinced them to shed their shoes and roll up their pants and wade out to where i was until I hooked one and then handed the rod to her and with a little assistance she finally got it in. I have caught my fair share of fish before and that was one of the most satisfying ever. Saw 2 moose on the drive to the river but no good pic opportunity. Tried hard to get some fresh silver salmon but all we caught were more chum as the silvers just were not in yet; hard to complain though and was thankful to have the opportunity to share these experiences with my son. We had spotted an old abandoned boat surrounded by some reeds that line the bay and we stopped and snapped a picture or two with the light behind me. Not sure why but that old weathered boat is now one of my favorites.

Day 8 -  Spent the day relaxing at the house before heading to Walmart to buy some insulated fishboxes (cardboard with Styrofoam liner)and dry ice. Loaded the fish up and headed to the airport for the trip home. 35 pounds of fillets, 6 pounds of dry ice and it makes it home just fine as checked luggage. Benefit of flying first is no extra baggage charge and no crazy charges for shipping fish home. ANC - DFW - RSW. Wife dropped me off, no goodbye kiss for my sick, heavily medicated self. Checked in and went and got a nice half hour neck and shoulder massage, ate a nice meal and boarded the late night flight for home. Drank a couple of cocktails, tooka little something to help me sleep, and woke up not long before landing in Dallas.

Far from our best trip to Alaska but as I recant the story here I realized just how enjoyable it was and how fortunate I am. Alaska is an amazing place with so much to see and do but it is also so big. Cut Alaska in half and both halves would still be bigger than Texas. It isn't cheap since their season is only 3.5 - 4 months and it should be booked as far in advance as possible. We have never done the cruise thing so I am of no help there but we have used the Alaska ferry system to get from Seattle to Seward before we had kids and I had a digital camera. The ferry system allows one to spend more time in some of the smaller towns and experience the scenery along the way without breaking the bank. If flying into and out of Anchorage, I would recommend at least 2 weeks to visit if you want to do a land tour with some ocean time for wildlife viewing.

I like to say I take a vacation three times. Once while planning it, once while enjoying it, and once while reliving it by sharing it with others. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you. Somewhere I have a sample trip for 2.5 weeks land tour beginning and ending in Anchorage and if/when I find it I will add it to this post if anyone is interested. Forgive my appearance, didn't bother to shave the entire trip, and felt like death warmed over in the pics. One of the many things I love about Alaska is nobody cares what you look like or what you wear.

2015 Alaska album below that included a trip up to Brooks Falls (bucket list place for wildlife lover like me) and a rainy day in Denali that was pretty much a bust until a single wolf showed himself to give me my best wolf picture to date. Also was the first time we have witnessed humpback whales bubble net feeding while halibut fishing out of Seward. Had better luck that trip and got almost 80 pounds of halibut fillets and 60 pounds of silver salmon fillets the next day.

Coupon book options, best one depends on what you plan to do but lots of value to be had with lodging and excursions

November 20, 2019, 12:00:11 AM
Re: Alaska - 8 days - August 2019
Probably about two weeks or so.  Hard part is waiting for the ferry schedule.  They told me "sometime between October and March." The whole itinerary revolves around that schedule. :-(

With only two weeks you should consider limiting your itinerary to the southern portion of the ferry system from Seattle to Juneau or maybe just the segment between Whittier and Valdez so you can get all the good land tour stuff in your trip.

I put this together a while back for some friends and maybe it will be helpful for you. Most of it can be done via train with the exception of the Matanuska Glacier hike. This assumes 14 - 18 nights and was written with a driving tour in mind.

Fly into Anchorage, most flights arrive late so pick up rental car and overnight in Anchorage. Spend 1 - 3 nights here depending on how much of the items below you want to do. Do not souvenir shop in Anchorage.

Reserve your car tonight. Even if you have to change there is no charge but car rental rates are high and go higher after xmas.

Buy one of these two coupon books for lots of savings. Each hotel or operator only allows so many coupons per day/week/month so book the excursion you want and let them know you have the coupon. 2 for 1 on lots of great stuff.

Very well done Native History Museum in Anchorage

If budget allows and timing is right, take flightseeing trip out of Anchorage Lake Hood float plane airport to go see bears at Brooks Falls or Lake Clarke. this is bucket list stuff. 2015 album pictures are from Brooks Falls. This is on my repeat when possible list. If flying solo, you can sometimes find empty seat price on plane for discount if you are willing to negotiate and have flexibility.

If you like to bike ride, the Tony Knowles Trail is excellent paved trail along the bay where we have seen lots of moose

Pablo is our friend and they now have electric bikes.

Drive south to Seward. Make stops for scenery on way south as that will be right in right out. One of the most beautiful drives in the US.

Stop here for first glimpse of Alaska wildlife and to guarantee seeing the big ones (moose, bear, mountain goat) if so inclined. Kind of a zoo like setting but good for those that are not inclined to do the hiking to find wildlife elsewhere.

Detour on way to Seward to Coopers landing and either hike out to Russian River Falls (easy flat hike to river often full of salmon and chance to see brown bear fishing for salmon). can spend a night or two here and find lots to do. Smooth water float ride on the Kenai, drive the Skilak Lake Road for scenery and wildlife spotting.

Glacier cruise with whales, otters, and other forms of wildlife sighting possible. Take the longest cruise you can with whatever coupon they can get in the book you choose. The more time ont he water the greater chance of finding and watching whales. Dress warm, water is frigid and the wind can make being outside very cold. take gloves.  is one group. Look for coupons in coupon books.

Can Glacier kayak here too with the best trips requiring a shuttle out to the kayaking areas.

Halibut or salmon fish out of Seward if you want to fish. If that is on your agenda, let me know and I will give you names of better boats to go on. Hike up to Exit Glacier, hike up to Hubbard icefields if you are in decent shape to do a 7 mile hike with 3000' +/- in elevation gain. Black bear, grizzly bear, moose all in the area. Great hike that my 8 year old son did.

Best place to stay in Seward. Awesome cabins with outdoor firepit right on edge of Resurrection Bay

Best Western is another decent option but nothing like Angels rest cabins on the water. Rooms in Seward book up early so book way in advance.

two nights in Seward, three if you want to hike. You can do a glacier cruise and the short hike to Exit Glacier on the same day since it doesn't get  dark before midnight. The hike up to the Hubbard Icefields viewpoint is a solid half day for those in good shape or a casual full day if you want to pace yourself and enjoy the scenery but it is a great hike.

leave Seward drive north back to Anchorage, drive east to Matanuska Glacier and go for hike on glacier with these guys.

continue on to Valdez. This will be along day driving and the glacier hike is a nice halfway point. The hike out on the glacier is one of the things we have repeated over the years. Plan on 14 hour day or make reservations at the hotel near the glacier and go at a more casual pace. The drive from Anchorage to the Matanuska glacier is very scenic and the area right around Valdez is full of scenery. Two nights Valdez visiting local glacier and going sea kayaking. Our best kayaking has been out of Valdez.

Take the ferry from Valdez to Whittier and then drive to Girdwood for 1 night

take the lift to the top of the mountain at Alyeska if the weather is good. the views out over Turnagain Arm are great. If you enjoy adventure, there are paragliding tours where you run off the side of the mountain and then paraglide with a guide. On most days, the wind comes off the cold water of Turnagain Arm and blows up the face of the mountain and provides sufficient uplift to keep one aloft for quite awhile. I did this once a long time ago and it is on the list of things to do again.

There is an amazing restaurant in Girdwood called the Double Musky Inn. think Cajun cuisine meets Alaskan wildlife / seafood. this is our favorite restaurant in Alaska.

Drive north towards Denali, take Denali flight up and around Denali from Talkeetna if the weather is good. Several 2 for 1 coupons available.

If weather is not good or small planes are not your thing, take a jetboat tour with this operator. The flight up and around Denali and the glacier landing is a remarkable experience.

Lots of neat little shops in Talkeetna which is also a train stop.

continue drive up to Denali National Park, stay three nights.

take bus tour into park for next two days for best opportunities to see the most wildlife and the best chance of seeing the full mountain out on a clear day. take shuttle busses, not worth the extra $$ for the "tours", shuttle buses to interior of park do not begin until June 1. shorter trips begin May 20. Go at least to the Eielson Visitor Center. If mountain is out, go to Wonder Lake but be prepared for mosquitos.

Continue north to Fairbanks and do the Riverboat Tour and visit the Natural History museum. Downtown Fairbanks has lots of good local souvenir shops to get authentic items

Can do tour up to North Pole but we didn't enjoy that and thought it was waste of time and resources.

can fly home out of Fairbanks or do long drive/train back to Anchorage.

Alternative routing would be Anchorage to Seward (train possible but would eliminate Cooper Landing option)
Seward to Girdwood (train, shuttle or bus possible)
Girdwood to Whittier-ferry to Valdez (shuttle/ferry)
Valdez to Matanuska Glacier to Wasilla to Talkeetna to Denali (requires car, alternate is ferry back to Whittier and train to Anchorage, change trains to Talkeetna. misses drive from Valdez to Matanuska to Wasilla and Matanuska Glacier hike)
Denali to Fairbanks (car or train)

car just gives greatest flexibility and ability to set your own pace.

if you like hiking, great hike near Anchorage is at Lake Eklutna

can also rent bikes and ride 10 mile trail along lake to short hike up to base of another glacier at lake Eklutna. we like the twin peaks hike here but the first ahlf is rather strenous. There is a resident flock of big horn sheep at the top fo this hike that we have seen both times we made the hike

good Alaska hike search site here

We also really like the hike up to Upper Reed Lake at Hatcher Pass which isn't far from Anchorage.

will review this when I have time and update wtih other thoghts.

November 20, 2019, 05:55:12 PM
Re: Alaska - 8 days - August 2019
Amazing pictures!

thanks, tough crowd around here to get a like though  :)

November 20, 2019, 06:07:44 PM
Re: Alaska - 8 days - August 2019
Wow!! Really appreciate the time you took to post all the resources

you're welcome. full disclosure... I had most of them from previous email I sent to an associate and the few I added were easy for me to google search real quick but I hope they help someone. I did tweak the itinerary and add some things in a hurry hence all the typos. It was originally just a 10 day tour. Note that there are other operators than the ones I listed that provide similar services but I linked tours so people would be able to visualize and price the tours available. We have used almost all of the tours I linked other than the paraglide service. The group I used doesn't appear to be there anymore.

A note about the coupon books that I failed to mention. Each operator typically only accepts so many coupons per day or week and you have to let them know your intent to use coupon when you make the reservations. Some operators require that you show them the whole book at time of payment since some people buy the books and then resale them after they extract the coupons they want.

Several real good seafood restaurants in Seward too.

Denali area hotels fill up quick as major cruise lines block out most of the rooms during the season so be sure to book those ASAP too.

useless trivia..moose kill more people than bears. they can be aggressive and are large dangerous animals. they do not do well changing direction so always try and keep a tree between you and them if you were to ever find yourself in that situation. I did have one try and chase me around the woods outside my mother in law house one evening when I was trying to get a good pic and didn't have a zoom lens with me and the moose got irritated with me. can you say adrenalin rush?

If you hike and don't want to carry bear spray (think mace on steroids, cannot be packed in luggage for airplane), a small portable air horn has been know to work as a deterrent as it scares the bejeezus out of them because it is such a loud, unnatural sound. In general, if you make noise talking, singing, or just listening to music out loud from your phone the bears will avoid you. I have found that the most effective bear deterrent that I have is my zoom lens as when I carry that extra 7 pounds of expensive glass on my hikes I rarely see a bear.   :(

If you want to do a budget rip and camp instead of hotels, REI in Anchorage sales used gear and I believe they rent gear too.

We have priced renting camper versus car and hotels and the price differential isn't that much once you add in all the extras you get dinged for, the price of the campgrounds, and the extra fuel. It also somewhat limits your spontaneity or ability to sightsee or drive to local restaurant when you are so inclined. Camping saves money if you don't mind preparing all your own meals.

link for Hatcher Pass with good articles. Upper Reed Lake is a great hike here. Hatcher Pass is just outside of Palmer which is an hour +/- from Anchorage. Always carry water and snacks and dry socks on any of these hikes. We have always done lots of hiking since hiking is free other than the little bit of gear needed, ie good pair of boots, camelback type hydration pack, and a good pair of hiking poles which make a big difference the older you get.

If you are there the right time of the summer, the state fair in Palmer is worth a visit if you want to immerse yourself in the character of the state and see some amazingly large vegetables.

Driving is fairly easy in Alaska. An order of magnitude easier than Ireland or Costa Rica. Local rule of road (not law, just tradition) up there is that if you have more than 3 cars behind you, slow down, drive the shoulder at reduced speed, and let others go by.

Marijuana is legal up there so don't be shocked by that.

If you do rent a car and would like to carry your own food/drinks, politely ask the rental service if anyone has left a cooler behind that you could use while there. That happens often and sometimes you can get one for nothing. We always use a cooler to carry items for lunch and occasional b'fast or dinner when we travel as a family and always leave them in the rental car when done.

November 20, 2019, 10:07:51 PM
Re: Maui Jim Sunglasses- code for any pair you choose get these certs for 25k Hawaii miles each. just fyi...big MJ fan here, great service if they ever break, great frames and lens
January 26, 2020, 11:56:21 PM
Re: Hilton Aspire Resort Credit
Is it possible to use more than 1 card on one reservation?

Looking to buy 2 to use on one reservation.

I believe it depends on the hotel. Key Largo hotel sent me 4 different payment links and I was able to use 4 different cards

March 11, 2020, 05:24:00 PM