Discover Card Extra Cash Back Offers

Discover Extra Cash Back extracbb

It’s been a while since I wrote about opportunities to earn some extra cash back with Discover. But I was just thinking about it recently and figured I would check my accounts and see if there was anything on offer.

Discover Credit Card Extra Cash Bank

You can see if you are eligible for any extra cash back earning opportunities by using the link That will direct you to a page to log in to your account and it will either give you the offer you were targeted for or noting if you are not so lucky. I control three discover credit card accounts and had an offer on one of them. Some sleuthing around the web shows some other offers available:

  • Extra $200 cash back for $1,500 spend per month between 5/1/2015 and 9/30/2015 (5 months) makes for an effective 3.67% cash back ($275) on $7,500 spend
  • Extra $150 cash back for $1,000 spend per month between 5/1/2015 and 9/30/2015 (5 months) makes for an effective 4% cash back ($200) on $5,000 spend
  • Extra $75 cash back for making $1,000 spend makes for an effective 8.5% cash back ($85) on $1,000 spend

All of the above assume you are spending at an earning rate of 1% cash back. If you can make some of that spend in Discover’s quarterly 5% cash back categories you may fare significantly better.

Discover Extra Cash Back extracbb

I value Discover cash back very highly as they can be redeemed at effectively double face value for some car rental programs, in particular National car. So having this will be nice (my one card got the $200 offer which is the lowest percentage earner but the highest absolute dollars earner I have seen – the other cards got rocks)

Discover Debit Card $0.20 Cash Back Per Transaction

If you have a Discover checking account (I do – signed up a while back for an easy bonus) you can always get $0.10 cash back per transaction up to 10 transactions a month. However from May 1st – July 31st (i.e. three months) they are doubling that to $0.20 per transaction.

Discover Debit Card 2x

Now hey this is definitely not as awesome as the legendary Banana Republic deal which gave uncapped $2 per transaction for two months (and they ran it twice – God bless them!) But it is definitely better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick and will add up to $60 cash back which as I note above is effectively worth $120 in National car rental certificates. Key is being able to find somewhere that allows small transactions. I will go back to paying my water bill one cent at a time so as to fully maximize this.

I’m guessing some of you may find this too time consuming for the reward, but hey a deal is a deal….

Bottom Line

I really love the Discover cards and checking accounts… bonuses galore, great cash back opportunities and the ability to lever up the returns with some of the redemptions. Be sure to periodically check to see if you have any goodies lined up for you.

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Citi ThankYou Credit Cards – Some Citi Loving!

Citi ThankYou Prestige Credt Card

It’s been a while since I wrote anything much about credit cards but I have to say over the past several months the miles and points business seems to have shifted back towards credit card sign up bonuses as opposed to huge amounts of easy spending, and at the forefront of this for me has been Citibank.

Now while I have had a lot of fun with the Citi AA Executive cards, it looks like the door is closing if not completely closed on that particular fun game. However Citi has just significantly spruced up it’s Citi Thank You credit cards and I understand you may have read about this elsewhere but since I don’t tend to read many other blogs these days I really can’t be sure ;)

Basics – The Three Flavors of ThankYou Cards

First of all let’s look at the basics. Citi has three different types of ThankYou credit cards. They all have similar sounding names all beginning with ‘Pre’ so personally I was a little confused as to what was what so hopefully this will clear it up for anyone as dumb as I am:

Citi ThankYou Preferred

This is the base card with no annual fee, and a low sign up offer of 20,000 points for $1,500 spend within 3 months. The sign up bonus is NOT available if you have had this card – open or closed – within the last 18 months. (HT to Pointie in the comments for correcting me this card is not churnable)

Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card

For those of us lucky to get in on the wonderful 5x for first 12 months offer, those cards were Citi ThankYou Preferred cards. While there is nothing particularly exciting about these cards, they don’t carry a fee and there have been reports of some good retention offers to increase the value of retaining the card.

Also it’s worth noting that if you also get the Citi ThankYou Prestige card (detailed below) then the sign up bonus is actually worth $320 in American Airlines travel. That is actually not a bad sign up IMHO.

Citi ThankYou Premier

This is the intermediate card with a $95 annual fee (waived in the first year to get you hooked in!) and is where things start to get interesting.

First of all there is a nice sign up offer of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months. So that’s a $500 value right off the bat, or $800 if you get the Prestige version (detailed below). However note the language in the sign up offer exclude anyone who has had this card – open or closed – within the last 18 months. So you can only get this card at least 18 months after closing a prior Citi ThankYou Premier.

Citi ThankYou Premier Credit Card

The Premier also has a reasonably attractive earning structure, which is:

  • 3x on Travel including Gas
  • 2x on Dining out and Entertainment
  • 1x on the rest

The big earning point to note is the 3x on Travel which includes gas. The Premier is the only version of the card that gives an earning multiple on gas, though I am not sure this is a significant enough feature to justify keeping the card long term compared to what the Prestige offers.

An important point to note is this version of the card allows you to transfer ThankYou points to various airline programs. If you only have the Preferred version you cannot do this (in many ways this is similar to Chase with their base, no fee Freedom card offering no transfer options but the $95 annual fee Sapphire Preferred version opens up the transfer door).

If you don’t fee you can justify the higher base fee of the Prestige as detailed below, or you spend a gazillion on gas, this could be a card worth keeping. And my bet is there will be some decent retention offers to compensate for the $95 annual fee after the first 12 months are over. But for the sign up on it’s own, this is a very attractive card.

Citi ThankYou Prestige

This is the top of the range card and where things start to get really exciting, at least for me.

The public sign up offer is 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within 3 months. However there are numerous reports of a 60,000 ThankYou points sign up if you apply in branch, and further reports of targeted 100,000 ThankYou points offers.

A key differentiating benefit of the Citi ThankYou Prestige card is it allows you to redeem for paid American Airlines (and US Airways while they still exist) tickets at a rate of $0.016 per 1 ThankYou Point. So that values these sign up offers at $800 – $1,600 in American Airlines tickets! That makes this sign up offer about one of the most lucrative on the market currently at time of writing (April 2015). Similar to the Citi ThankYou Premier card above, the sign up bonus is only available if you have not had a Citi ThankYou Prestige card – open or closed – within the last 18 months.

Citi ThankYou Prestige Credt Card

This is Citi’s top of the line ThankYou credit card that competes in the same bracket as the likes of the American Express Platinum cards, so here are the key terms:

  • Annual fee of $450 (or $350 if you are a Citigold client) NOT waived
  • $250 annual airline credit that can be used on any airline purchases
  • American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access along with Priority Pass Select access for you and up to two additional guests
  • $100 global entry fee credit
  • Fourth night free on hotel stays

The annual fee for the card may be steep, but the benefits listed above significantly offset them. If you are thinking of just keeping the card for the first year then the annual fee is a no brainer as you will be able to get the $250 airline credit twice as this is a calendar year benefit (defined in the terms and conditions as being December to December). However if you are really averse to the annual fee it is worth noting that if you cancel a Citibank credit card within 37 days of the annual fee posting, then that fee will be refunded back to you. And of course if you think there may be exciting offers on this card in 18 months time, that may be another incentive for not keeping it after you get the sign up bonus. It definitely is down to personal aims.

The earning structure for this version of the card is also pretty attractive and certainly more attractive than the Amex Platinum:

  • 3x on Air Travel and Hotels (note excludes gas unlike Premier)
  • 2x on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1x on the rest

The earning on travel is very attractive as that means you are earning 4.8x if you plan to redeem your points for American Airlines travel, and even the base 3x earning structure is competitive with the likes of the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card.

Comparison of the Three Citi ThankYou Pre Credit Cards

This table shows a summary comparison of the key points of the three different flavors of Citi ThankYou Pre credit cards:

Card Annual Fee Sign Up Bonus Churnable Earning Structure Other Benefits
Citi ThankYou Preferred $0 20,000 ThankYou Points after $1,500 spend in 3 months 18 months after closing account 2x on dining at restaurants and entertainment, 1x on the rest None
Citi ThankYou Premier $95 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 spend in 3 months 18 months after closing account 3x on Travel including Gas
2x on Dining out and Entertainment
1x on the rest
Ability to transfer ThankYou Points to airline miles
Citi ThankYou Prestige $450 / $350 for Citigold 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 spend in 3 months. Potential 60-100k offers available 18 months after closing account 3x on Air Travel and Hotels
2x on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
1x on the rest
Ability to transfer ThankYou Points to airline miles
Ability to redeem for American Airlines tickets at 1.6x
Admirals Club and PriorityPass lounge access
4th night free for hotels
Global entry credit

Notes on Applying for Citi Credit Cards

While I am l loathe to call it a “rule” as you will not find it written officially anywhere in any terms and conditions, there is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that as at the time of writing Citi implements the following restrictions on applying for credit cards:

  • You can only apply for one credit card in a 7 day period
  • You can only apply for two credit cards in a 65 day period
  • YMMV but generally they do not like more than 6-7 hard inquiries in the past 6 months

So if you plan on getting multiple versions of these cards, keep these “rules” in mind. In particular when trying to follow the 7/65 day “rule” note that a declined application counts as well, so if you get it wrong you can screw things up for yourself. And definitely keep in mind that with Citi these “rules” are a moving and evolving target, so if it works today be aware it may not work tomorrow. That’s a risk we all have to take in this game.

Bottom Line

It really is great to see Citi spruce up this line of cards and offer something really competitive in the credit card space. Things have been getting quite depressing from American Express of late with cutting back on benefits, limiting sign up bonuses to once per lifetime and declining customer support, so it’s great to see Citi breathing some life into this arena.

For me it’s likely I will keep a Citi ThankYou Preferred or two in my credit card arsenal, and I will definitely be keeping the Citi ThankYou Prestige for it’s line up of great benefits which for me at least massively offset the seemingly steep annual fee. I will probably get the Citi ThankYou Premier too but that one may be a sign up bonus play only. What about your wallet?

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Mountain Collective – Small Price Raise, Still Great Value

Mountain Collective 2015 2016

I have raved and written extensively about this ski season ticket a lot in the past, but it really is an excellent deal and one of the few ways to access some of the best ski resorts in North America at prices that make sense to regular folks and the deal-seeking type that follow me here on Milesabound.

Anyway the price for the 2015-2016 has increased modestly from $369 to $379. The child price remains at the amazing price of $99! (Yes, I used an exclamation mark!) I just bit the bullet and bought this for myself and my kids next season. Children are classified as “12 and under” and it’s based on the date of purchase. My son will become a teenager in July so this is great that he will get another year of child pricing.

Just as a reminder from my prior post, for $379 for adults and $99 for children the Mountain Collective Pass gets you:

  • Two days at Alta / Snowbird in Utah
  • Two days at Aspen / Snowmass (or Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands) in Colorado
  • Two days at Jackson Hole in Wyoming
  • Two days at Mammoth Mountain in California
  • Two days at Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows in California
  • Two days at Whistler / Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada
  • Two days at Lake Louise/Sunshine Valley in Alberta, Canada
  • Two days at Valee Nevado in Chile (summer 2015 only)
  • All subsequent days at 50% off
  • No blackout dates. So perfectly fine during Christmas holidays, MLK or President’s Day weekends

At the time of writing the one extra day at one of these resorts is STILL INCLUDED. There is no doubt based on both what they promise and how this was sold last year that this will be removed eventually, so if you can commit to it, now is a good time to buy. I decided to add my third free day at Aspen/Snowmass as Denver is easy to get to from RDU and me and the kids had a great time year this season.

Philip Hall Raleigh NC Milesabound Mountain Collective

At the top of Snowmass, using my Mountain Collective Pass

Bottom Line

The 2015-16 Mountain Collective Pass continues to offer great value despite the modest price increase. I would expect the price to climb a little further as time passes and the third free day which is currently available at one resort is likely to be removed too.

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Mountain Collective Pass 2016 – Keeps Getting Better!

Mountain Collective 2015 2016

I have written about this awesome ski pass ever since it came out. Last year I purchased the pass myself, and before that I had written about it the past two years in a row. Last year they added some key resorts such as my favorite mountain Whistler in British Columbia and Mammoth Mountain in California.

Mountain Collective

For the 2015-16 season they continue to add to the list of available resorts with the addition of Sun Valley in Idaho. Lake Louise/Sunshine Valley is a new addition that happened to be added midway through the 2014-15 season and is another great addition. And the pricing has remained very competitive with adults at $369 (a modest $10 increase) while kids remain at the incredible value price of $99.

So for $369 for adults and just $99 for children 12 & under you get:

  • Two days at Alta / Snowbird in Utah
  • Two days at Aspen / Snowmass (or Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands) in Colorado
  • Two days at Jackson Hole in Wyoming
  • Two days at Mammoth Mountain in California
  • Two days at Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows in California
  • Two days at Whistler / Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada
  • Two days at Lake Louise/Sunshine Valley in Alberta, Canada
  • Two days at Valee Nevado in Chile (summer 2015 only)
  • All subsequent days at 50% off
  • No blackout dates. So perfectly fine during Christmas holidays, MLK or President’s Day weekends

At the time of writing you can pick an additional third free day at your choice of any one of the resorts.

The way to maximize the value of the pass is obviously to make shorter weekend type trips to as many as possible of each of the resorts. For the 2014-15 pass that I purchased I have so far managed to use two days at Whistler (I had booked three but scheduling only allowed me to make use of two), two days at Snowmass and I have two days coming up at each of Alta, Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain. So I should get a total of 10 days for the $359 I paid last year, so a really unbeatable $35.90 per day skiing at a series of world class resorts. Given current lift ticket pricing I would say the breakeven is at around 3 days for adults and 2 days for children and anything above 4 days for adults is very good value.

I think I will have to go for this again for the 2015-16 season and I am hoping I can also make use of the two days in Chile in the Northern Hemisphere summer. Let’s see how much skiing I can get in!

Bottom Line

At just $369 for adults and $99 for children 12 and under the Mountain Collective remains a blockbuster value ski lift ticket for the 2015-16 season.


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The excitement! Banana Republic Targeted 3x Until 5/31/2015

Hey folks! I’m back!!! Yes, things sure have been quiet around here lately… those of you that know me personally know that my life has been somewhat crazy over the past 6 months or so and so the blog has taken a back seat. But what better way than to come out of retirement than a new Banana Republic deal!?

“They” say in this circle of ours that to justify having a blog you need a niche. Well seems my niche is how to get the most out of your Banana Republic card. And while this one is definitely not as much fun as the original Banana Republic deal, which continues to this day to be one of my favorite deals and frankly funniest story tell, it is a pretty good deal.

The card is offering a targeted offer of 3x points on all transactions outside of Banana Republic/Gap brands from now until 5/31/2015. If you already have the card and you are interested, check your email or call customer service and see if you can get it added.

Now I know 3x is not 5x but the nice thing is the 3x will work anywhere that is not a Banana Republic/Gap brand, so a nice option for other MS tricks that can often only utilize 1x or 2x earning rates (such as the various Buxx programs if you still have cards that are alive, or Amex gift cards via portals). Personally I will probably go quite big on this using Amex gift cards via TopCashBack. With a cash back rate hovering around 1.5% that more than covers the MS costs so should be a nice way to rack up a few hundred bucks in free clothes from Banana Republic, Gap, Athleta (well probably not for me lol), Old Navy etc.

I wonder if I can get a job as a Banana Republic model?

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It’s raining money thanks to Staples and Amex!


I think for me this is one of the best deals of the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday mumbo-jumbo. There are a couple of promos that can be combined to get some huge discounts:

Discounted Gift Cards at Staples

FrequentMiler has a quick simple post on it. The key point to note is that the transaction limit is not being enforced at all. I recently moved into a new house so I have been focusing on the Lowes gift cards. If you buy one $50 gift card it will cost $40, if you buy two it will cost $80, if you buy 10 it will cost $400… all under the same transaction. While not tested I am going to assume it’s the same for JC Penney ones too. If you need to buy $400 worth of Dominos Pizza GC’s you have other issues :)


So this gives you a 20% discount at Lowes or JC Penney. I’m not familiar with JCP but 20% off at Lowes is hard to come by. GC resellers like Raise typically over discounts of around 6-7%. Now I should note someone has pointed out in the comments of FM’s post that Raise are currently not buying Lowes cards, presumably because of a flood from this deal, but if you can float them for a while you ought to  be able to sell them at a profit in time.

Stack Option 1 – Chase Ink

The obvious stacking option is to buy with Chase Ink cards to earn 5x. With a conservative $0.0125 valuation that means you are getting a further 6.25% discount. In theory you can get another 1% from Visa Edge which I understand is going away but still here right now.

Stack Option 2 – Amex $20 off $100 Offer

This one is a YMMV but check your Amex offers for a $20 off $100 at Staples offer. Normally I don’t luck out on these targeted offers but I managed to find it on 10 of my Amex cards! Now combining with the Lowes deal is imperfect as you need to buy 3 $50 cards in one transaction to get over $100 (you could buy 2 for $80 and then add other stuff to get to $100). But buying 3 $50 for $120, with a further $20 Amex credit now puts you at a whopping 33.33% discount at Lowes. That’s real savings!

Stack with Cashback Portals – JCP @ 15%

You can get further savings by ordering goods through online portals. For example Ebates has a special of 15% cashback at JCP today. Again I am not familiar with JCP but I can’t believe you can’t make good use of this kind of discount at that store.

One potential issue is the number of gift cards you can use in one transaction. I have not tried either or so can’t comment on that. I did manage to run 14 gift cards at a Lowes register in store without any issue at all, this was for a custom blinds order which I could not have ordered online anyway (and Lowes portal offers are not so strong anyway). Leave a comment if you know what the limits are on either website.

So go at it and enjoy! Oh and sorry to everyone in the Raleigh area, I have already wiped out three stores worth of Lowes $50 and $25 GC’s. There is one $25 left at Brier Creek ;)

Affiliate marketing is everywhere….

Holy cow I bet you all thought I had retired hah!? No such luck! Sorry folks :)

So I had a recent business trip over to Europe, once again went on one of my favorite airlines Virgin Atlantic (yes even with their horrible fuel surcharges) and while flying back I saw this story in the “newspaper” (it was the Independent, my fellow Brits will understand my snobbish quotation marks around the term newspaper) that I though y’all would find interesting. I don’t think I need to add any explanation as to why this piqued my interest, other than provide the context that the comparison sites that they are talking about are web sites that compare the cost of various utility companies available (water, gas, power, cable etc)



“The sites are accused of filtering out deals which do not earn a big commission”. Mmm, sounds like I heard this story before no?

Of course we live in the jolly good US of A – or at least most of us do, I seem to get a few hits from the UK and Canada and a whole bunch from Bulgarians entering SEO driven spam comments, but most readers are based in the USA which is a pretty capitalistic society. And frankly I have no issues with that. I think anyone using a large website needs to spend two minutes thinking to themselves who is calling the shots on that site. So take some random example like I am supposed to be able to get unbiased car reviews there right? Well just go there and see who is advertising. I get immediately hit with a Mazda “sponsored link”. Immediately I know that this site is run by the auto industry. Therefore the chances of me getting genuinely unbiased advice is slim to none. I don’t care about disclosures – disclosures are for people too stupid to make these connections themselves. I don’t think businesses need to be in the business of protecting customers from their own stupidity. In fact they are there to exploit it.

What does annoy me in this little space of ours though is the huge pretense of being there to help you. None of these bloggers are out to help you. They are in it for themselves, and themselves only. So when I see horseshit like bloggers saying that they will start selling credit cards but it “will never change the way they blog” (classic examples of this are Milevalue and View From The Wing) I find that kind of outright lie disrespectful. Those posts tend to get taken down eventually, and really they should have said “I have decided to capitalize on this site and going forward content will be concentrated around the products that I need to promote in order to earn a living”. Apparently the MMS dude – who I am sure is a nice guy and clearly a smart and entrepreneurial fellow – came up with some bullshit about not being in this for the money or words to that affect. I am not sure what is most comical – that he said that, or that this real popular Drew guy fell for that horseshit? I mean making money is absolutely fine. But pretending that you are just some altruistic saint that cares more about some crap about your mother in law is just deceitful. And now even George at TBB put up a page for CC links. I mean what kind of stupid joke is that!? Does he need the money? Does he really think he can get the real big money with the content he has!? Hell yeah George the banks are real desperate for someone who mocks them all the time when they have dozens of other puppets pimping their product all day long. I just don’t get it. I guess the financial advisory business just isn’t paying what it needs to.

When I started this blog I too fully intended to add credit card links, but I quickly saw I had missed that boat and focused instead on my day job and kept this as a hobby. If I do ever decide to go the commercial route, I will do exactly that – create a real, commercial site and make it clear it’s a for-profit venture and not me “just trying to help out friends and family”. Keep it real folks!

Meanwhile I hope to see some of you in Phoenix this weekend, I am sure it’s going to be blast!

Spring Break in Maldives – Part 6: Conrad Water Villa Review


So after not being overly impressed with the base Beach Villa we decided to upgrade to the Water Villa. This was not cheap as we were there in peak season and so ended up paying $392 a night for this, so just shy of $2k for five nights. However I will say that it was money very well spent! Our island host took a lot of time to actually show us all the various different room types and while I was sorely tempted to splash some big dollars on the spectacular Family Water Villa, the “base” Water Villa turned out to be absolutely perfect.

The water villas are arranged in clusters of three so in theory you can end up with a “middle seat” villa here too but this time we got one on the end so just a neighbor on one side (who happened to be some other very pleasant FlyerTalkers!). Despite having a neighbor on one side it felt very private with excellent privacy screening, and with our villa looking out to the Indian Ocean you felt like you were the only one there.

Starting with the room, again it was very tastefully decorated, and they did a great job of setting up extra beds for our kiddos

Master bed with extra bed for one kid

Nice seating area

The desk area was just fabulous with a glass desk and glass bottom so you could see the turquoise water below

That’s my kinda desk

TV, which we used about zero times

And then of course we were ecstatic to have an air conditioned bathroom! Oh for the simple pleasures in life…

Tub overlooking the water


No toilet cubicle pic for this post (sorry Ramsey!) but instead here is a pic of the view from said toilet – pretty darn nice in my book! This shows the entrance to “cluster” of three villas from the small island (the resort is split across two islands)

View From The Toilet

Maybe I should rename this blog View From The Toilet? :)

Saving the best for last, the real joy of the villa is the patio overlooking the Indian Ocean. I actually found the “standard” Water Villa had the best deck because it has a regular plunge pool instead of a jacuzzi. The plunge pool had jets for a bubbly affect and was also big and deep enough to sit in and clean off the salt water after getting back from the sea.

Privacy screened deck with plunge pool

Nice plunge pool

Seating area with steps leading down to the Indian Ocean

The table and chairs were great too and we had a couple of evenings where we ate on the deck under the stars. It really was absolutely beautiful!

There is not that much to see in the sea itself, at least around our villa. There were a couple of small clumps of coral with some fish but there was no real snorkeling to be done. But still it was nice to just chill on the deck and take in the sight. And I did get a couple of shots of the villa and the neighboring ones from the sea looking back:

View From The Sea (there is a theme here…)

Panorama of the suites

The Water Villa were, in our opinion, a huge step up from the Beach Villa and made a world of difference to the vacation. One certainly has to take the cost of upgrade into account but I would highly recommend anyone coming here to look into the Water Villa option.

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Spring Break in Maldives – Part 5: Conrad Beach Villa Review


When you make a booking with points at the Conrad Maldives you get access to their base room type which they call a Beach Villa. There are then options to pay to upgrade to one of their higher category rooms with cash, with prices varying depending on the season and frankly I’d guess your negotiation skills.

While the “Beach Villa” name might suggest an independent unit, they are actually arranged in a series of terraced buildings, so in our case with one of the middle units we had neighbors directly adjoining either side. This is definitely not as nice and peaceful as the equivalent base property at the Park Hyatt Maldives. In spite of that the room itself was nice and tastefully decorated:


Master bed

Couch made as kids bed and additional rollaway

Table with Diamond welcome amenity

Desk area

The room layout is a little interesting… the main bed and sitting area is separated from the bathroom area by a – somewhat pointless – open air space. I believe as part of the subsequent refresh of the property something was put here but from our perspective it was just an odd bit of wasted space.

Is it a garden? Or a waste of space?

Stylish TV

This is for Ramsey

As with it seems every other property in the Maldives there is a Nespresso coffee maker, which I love – we have a couple of these at home and they make fantastic coffee:

Nespresso coffee maker

Now the bathroom looked pretty nice but it had a very serious issue – it was not air conditioned. And given the location of ours it had the sun beating down on it most of the day. So frankly the bathroom was really pretty hard to make any use of. I had met a reader a few months earlier out on a ski trip in Utah who had mentioned and warned us of this and he was not joking. Again I think something has been done to address this in the refresh that occurred when the property closed after our visit, but for us the bathroom was a major let down.

Looks pretty, but no good without air con

However the outside shower was nice and something I enjoyed

Same air con as bathroom, with addition of natural breeze :)

Beyond the outdoor shower was a “pavilion” with an outdoor bath, but frankly we did not make much use of this. However I can see this could be very enjoyable and might have been more fun if it were just us as a couple rather than having the kids on tow.

Outdoor pavilion

As mentioned up-top the villas are in a terraced building but with each one having a “private” entry at the end of a short path shared with the next door neighbor.

Pathway leading up to the beach villa

MilesAbound Jnr making himself part of the furtniture

Pathway to the main reception area from the beach villas

Overall I have to say that while the beach villa was pretty nice, it was a bit disappointing in comparison with the base beach villa you get at the Park Hyatt. The fact that the villas are terraced, there really is no beach or water view at all, the space-wasting “garden” in the middle of the room and the major air con issue in the bathroom all added up to not really being that happy with the base room. I think with some of the tweaks that have been made post the recent property refurbishment and without maybe the expectation that the Park Hyatt had created the base beach villa could be a great option, however in our case we decided very soon after arriving that we would upgrade 5 of our 7 nights into one of the water villas and see if that hit the spot better for us. Next up my review of that villa type…. so let’s see if it fares better!?

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Reminder: New York City get together this Wednesday 6th August


Just a reminder that we are having a get together with The Miles Professor this coming Wednesday night, and the venue has been changed to the awesome rooftop garden at 230 Fifth. This is one of New York’s largest rooftop bar areas and I have been there a couple of times as it’s very near where I used to work next to Madison Park. It’s located at 5th / 27th.



The drinks are from 6:30pm until (theoretically) 9pm.

Anyone up for dinner afterwards? My personal favorite steakhouse in the world, the original Wolfgang’s, is just around the corner from this place at Park and 33rd. Anyone in the mood for their fabulous Porterhouse after to continue the miles banter?

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Who doesn’t love a new month? Happy August!


Well not only is it a new month but it’s a Friday too! How awesome is that? Remember folks that means it’s Fuck First Friday day! Yes today is the day to make sure you maximize any 5x cards across bank issuers and really put our collective middle fingers up to the banks and their legion of whoring pimps. BTW this month’s Whore of the Month winner is Gary Leff for his shitty post comparing Citi and Chase 3x on dining options, which is just an excuse for him to pump out affiliate links for both cards, rather than actually talk about how stupid the benefit is and how you can get 5x on pretty much everything in the world via gift cards. But maybe that is not so compatible with the “any bank” that these guys all mention in their ever elongating disclosures. Literally any blogger that posts about this benefit without the high degree of satire witnessed here is only interested in you as a Conversion and does not give a shit about whether you travel well or anything else about you. Pick your own poisons….



So other things that you can enjoy today are:

  • A new month for Amazon Payments. OMG what was all that fuss about TPG posting about this? Next thing you know people will get up in arms because he posts “human beings require oxygen to breathe, freely available everywhere”. Is there absolutely anybody at all on the planet left that does not know about Amazon Payments? All I can say is thanks Bezos for the ride, I know it will end some day but it’s good fun
  • Bluebird reloads. Thank you Amex for this one! Another one that every man and his dog knows about and of course at some point Amex will decide they’ve spent enough money on it and will close things down, but in the meantime this continues to be an easy way to liquidate debit cards either real or of the gift variety
  • Go to Staples and dump 20 ink cartridges on them for $40. Christmas shopping is always so much easier when you can go to Staples with a bunch of rewards to buy Kindles, iPads, Chromebooks etc
  • Come Five’o’clock find somewhere to have a cocktail

Tonight’s drinks will be bitter-sweet however with the news that the wonderful TD Bank Visa Buxx is no longer allowing non-TD-Bank credit cards as funding sources after September 3rd. Man I have loved this card and used it to meet min spend on a big bunch of Citi AA Exec cards. It’s the perfect loop – you load the card with the Citi card and then immediately call up Citi and pay off the card using the TD Buxx as a debit card. Net cost $1 per $1,000. Oh well another one bites the dust. There are still some Buxx options out there but they are not getting any easier. Time to start looking for the next stupid banking product!

Happy Friday :)

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