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Topics - Mootkim

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Just Shmooze / Air New Zealand Economy Skynest
« on: February 26, 2020, 06:38:18 PM »
Airline launches tiny bunk beds for economy-class fliers: https://nypost.com/2020/02/26/airline-launches-tiny-bunk-beds-for-economy-class-fliers/

What are your thoughts on this? Seems cool but also slightly creepy.

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Trip Reports / Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Hyatt Ziva Cancun TR
« on: February 05, 2020, 05:00:26 PM »
I had the opportunity to finally get away for a week and really wanted to go to Cancun. I had heard numerous reports about people going to Banyan Tree near Playa Del Carmen and wanted to check it out myself. We went during Yeshiva week 2020 so some of the restaurants had limited menus. Our trip consisted of flying JFK to CUN on an early Sunday morning flight, spending Sunday through Tuesday over there, and then heading up to the hotel zone and staying in the Hyatt Ziva Tuesday night through Thursday, and flying back to JFK Thursday night. We rented a car after hearing mixed opinions on whether or not we should due to police etc. I did not notice any issues and would highly recommend renting.

I started by booking on AA with 15k miles per way in economy from JFK direct to Cancun. There are some taxes added on which I don't remember exactly how much, however, that was covered with my $300 travel credit on the CSR card. Our flight was for 8 AM and it took off exactly on time. The flight going there took around 3 hours 45 minutes whereas the way back took only 3 hours 15 minutes. Being that it was relatively early in the day when we arrived, there was barely any line at customs. Someone who landed at around 2 in the afternoon that same day said that they had about a 45 minute wait for customs. Also, make sure that you fill in the bottom portion of the customs declaration form even though it seems like a repeat of the top portion because the customs agents were turning back anyone who hadn't filled it out and making them go back into line.

We exited customs and got our luggage immediately. To exit you need to present the declaration form to an agent and then push a button to determine if you can go through or if you are selected to put your luggage through a scanner. We got the green light and proceeded through. Right before the doors to the outside they stopped us and asked to look through our bags. They ended up just looking quickly through our main suitcase and didn't bother with the carry-ons. We hadn't brought any food so didn't have any issues.

Right outside those doors there are a bunch of booths for every car rental company. We had rented with National at about $4 a day. he looked up my name on the list and radioed the driver outside. We went immediately into the National van shuttle and they took us to their main office which is about 4 minutes away. There is no open lot to pick any car from the aisle but they did upgrade me to a Kia Forte.

The drive down to Mayakoba is straight and simple and takes about 50 minutes from the airport. We arrived at Banyan Tree at around 1:15. We pulled up to the main gate that is the entrance to about 5 or 6 other hotels and residences and they looked us up on their papers. Banyan Tree is all the way at the end of the complex so it is a solid 6 minute drive from the entrance. The drive to the hotel is gorgeous as you literally drive through a jungle with cool birds and iguanas all over. We pulled up to the front and there were a bunch of staff members waiting there to greet us already and didn't even have to ask for our name as they are given a heads up from someone at the front gate. The entrance to the hotel is stunning as the lobby is sort of an outdoors lobby overlooking the lagoon. One of the staff members lead us from the car to a couch while showing us the different restaurant options that overlook the water. She sat us down on a couch and offered us hot towels and some interesting cultural drink as well as cold water. I must preface that the service at the hotel starting from the second you pull up until you leave is phenomenal! At check in she simply takes your passports to the receptionist while you relax on the couch and brings it back when everything is done. There is also a massage bench there next to the couches in the lobby with a therapist from the spa offering free 5 minute massages which we actually got when were checking out.

I had booked the hotel using CSR points and as it was prime season, the dollar price was over $900 a night after the taxes and fees. The entire resort is all suites/villas with private pools. I booked the serenity pool villa which is the second level room. The Bliss is the base room and the basic difference is that the bliss doesn't have a separate indoors living room area whereas the Serenity does (highly recommended). After booking, I emailed my confirmation to Chef Chaya (for those asking, she is on Instagram as "chezchaya" and advertises that "If you book the @banyantreemayakoba email ChefChaya@Gmail.Com your confirmation before you go for a room upgrade, rainforest experience for 2 OR $100 food and beverage (All subject to availability depending how you book)) and she easily got us upgraded to the spa pool villa with a massage porch which is one level up from that. It is also located along the main lagoon so you see (through the trees) boats passing by every so often.

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Conoco gas stations have a promotion from October 1st 2019 through the end of March that if you pay with the "my Conoco" app you save 15 cents per gallon. However, I have noticed that it works even with paying through Chase pay app. As soon as the pump becomes activated the price on the display drops by 15 cents. Additionally you can use your freedom card this quarter to pay through chase pay and earn 5 points per dollar on top which depending on the price of gas can mean saving even 30 cents per gallon. Very simple to use.

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Tech Talk / Wireless ceiling light
« on: July 22, 2019, 10:36:33 PM »
Does anyone know if they make such a thing? I am looking for a truly wireless light fixture that would work on battery but screws into the ceiling without hardwiring it to any type of connection in the ceiling. I simply want to install a light fixture in an area where there is no wiring. All the options that I see on Amazon seem like they are still being connected to the electric lines.

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Amazon & Walmart Deals / Prime Day 2019
« on: June 25, 2019, 01:22:53 AM »
Amazon just announced that prime day will take place on July 15th and 16th. Looking forward to some great bargains like last year.

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Haven't gone away in quite some time due to school etc. and finally had the opportunity to get away with DW for nearly 2 weeks. I had plenty of points saved up so I was definitely not being cheap on the points. Our trip consisted of flying from JFK to Venice on Tuesday night with an 11 hour stopover in London for Wednesday, arrived in Venice Wednesday night, Departed to Florence Sunday morning spending most of that day there, arrived in Rome Sunday evening, departing Rome to Israel Wednesday afternoon, staying until Sunday morning, and taking a 1.5 hour stopover flight in Paris en route to JFK.

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Just Shmooze / Check out this dan-style guy in the ny post
« on: August 04, 2015, 12:58:52 PM »

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Up In The Air / Aegean Rewards
« on: September 10, 2014, 08:26:51 AM »
I recently flew on swiss airlines using my aegean account to get to gold. The class for my ticket was class "y" and based on the rate on aegeans website, i should be earning 150% on the miles flown. For some reason when aegean credited my account they credited it as if it was a class "w" ticket thereby only earning 100% of the miles flown. Does anybody know of any way i can get the extra miles credited? i have tried emailing them a few times and have never got any response back. :-[

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