Monthly Archives: January 2017

Day 6 Australia, Friday: Aboriginal Heritage Tour, Manly to Spit Walk, Pub Crawl


Friday was our last free day in Sydney, since we would be at the wedding Saturday and leave town Sunday. So we were determine to pack in a lot. My mom stayed home that morning because her brother was to come by, and besides, she was fighting a cold and needed to rest up for the wedding.

First, we went out to breakfast for the first time on our vacation, to Celcius Coffee Co., a tiny cafe at Kirribilli Wharf, which my cousin who lived in the neighborhood had recommended. Continue reading

Saved My United Miles

I recently got one of those mailers warning me that my United miles were soon to expire, urging me to spend them on magazines. Now, in the past, I would have considered that offer, especially since I only have some 3,000 United miles, which I got from flying SAS last year.

But a miles-savvy friend told me about a way that I could stop these miles from expiring without spending any of them. Since most airlines, including United, just require you to have some activity periodically to prevent miles from expiring, a quick and easy way to save them would be to transfer a few miles from another awards account. Continue reading

Oh, Amtrak

Amtrak has many problems, but its web site is particularly frustrating because it is so close to being good. It does a great job at pulling up the train you want to take, allowing you to reserve and make changes online, and such. But then every once in awhile it fails spectacularly.

Like today, when after putting tickets in my cart for an upcoming trip to Lake Tahoe, the site asked me if I wanted to get an Amtrak Guest Rewards World Master Card, put today’s purchase on it, and get a 20,000 point bonus after spending $1,000 in 90 days. Continue reading

12 Is Old Enough to Fly as an Adult?

Today I used some miles to get my 12-year-old a one-way ticket from Chicago to San Francisco. She’ll be flying out to the Midwest with her grandparents, but needs to return home alone. In the past when she flew as an “unaccompanied minor,” I had to pay the airline an extra $100 per flight for them to keep an eye on her. I was resigned to ponying up this time, but it turned out I didn’t have to. Continue reading

Camp Signup Time = Time for a New Card!

Because the holidays were busy, I ended up charging a considerable amount of money for the kids’ spring activities on an old credit card.

That’s bad. Why? It’s not that I don’t loving getting one Southwest mile per dollar on my current main card. It’s just that, when you’re about to make a major spend, that’s a good time to get a new card account so you can hit the required spend to qualify for the signup bonus. Continue reading

Day 5 Australia, Thursday – Manly Beach and Karlangu Gallery


On Thursday, our plan was to take the ferry 20 minutes to Manly Beach, finally getting to the other shore of our own Pacific Ocean so we could look across and wave hello to California. We hoped the weather would be warm enough to swim, but if not, we figured the kids could play in the sand. But first we had to get there, which proved slightly more challenging than we’d expected. Continue reading