Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome Fellow Point Mavens

A warm welcome, hello and thank you to all of you who are also privy to Daraius' Million Mile Secrets.  I've learned plenty of tips and tricks from Daraius and the rest of my fellow active participants in the community.

Thanks also to the Points Guy for first introducing me to the notion of amassing significant volumes of airline points through credit cards, to MileValue for answering my toughest questions on the minutiae of AAadvantage rules, to my good friend Nancy for her constructive criticism, and especially, to my dear wife Nancy (no relation) and my kids for their tolerance of this hobby/chore/obsession.

Thanks to all of you, my wife and I were able to take a trip last month that I hadn't expected to be able to afford for at least ten years.  Now our only constraint is my time off from work.

You may have seen my comments on other blogs under my now-blown cover "zzd".  If you didn't like those, you probably won't like this blog.  This is a bit different in that I try to cover ways to save money on traveling in various ways, including but not limited to using points.

If I felt like I got any kind of a good deal - or could have, had I played my cards right - I include a section at the bottom of the post under the heading The Finagle in which I try my best to explain how to get the deal.

You may be interested in the series of posts that cover our recent trip to Paris, or perhaps the series (still in progress) about traveling to Las Vegas with your children - something most Las Vegas web sites, and many people, seem to ignore or harrumph.

Here are links to the series.  If you know anyone who might benefit from this information, feel free to share.

Paris and 2 days in the Loire Valley: Trip Report (March 2012)

Traveling to Vegas with your Children

(Sorry, nothing yet on Paris Las Vegas, Paris with kids, or Las Vegas without kids specifically.)

Other Topic

I also posted one discussion on a recent deal for the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas offered through Living Social, which turned out to be a debacle.  The company that offered it (not the hotel itself) canceled the offer and gave participants refunds.  This turned out to be my most-read blog post, I think mainly by people that had tried to participate in the deal.  It provides some interesting lessons on the fine line between a great deal and something that the offering company can't realistically deliver.

Coming Soon

In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more on ways to save money while in Vegas, with and without kids, using coupons, signing up for slot clubs, etc.

I try to add about two posts per week.  (I don't know how these other folks with day jobs do it.)  

Please let me know if there is any moderately relevant topic that you would like to know more about.  If it is something I think I can speak to, I'd be happy to write about it.


  1. I'm very interested in your Vegas insights. I travel there a few times a year, and I see how different people handle it, Caesars diamonds, weekend partiers, conventioners. Everyone has taught me a different trick, so let's see yours.

  2. I'm pretty sure I'll be spending less than all of them combined. Waitaminute..

  3. Keep in mind that taking kids to Vegas has a limited audience. I just discovered you this morning from Million Mile Secrets and I admire your views and writing style. But my kids are grown and I HATE Vegas, so I'll be looking for other things.

    I will particularly like your ideas on stretching your earned points as far as they can go.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I'm very much aware of that, and there are plenty of great people who don't like Las Vegas at all.

      I wanted to write about taking kids to Vegas because I hope it addresses a void. When people ask what to do with kids in Vegas on message boards such as tripadvisor, etc, almost everyone responds "leave them at home" or "go to Disneyland instead". Even on the big sites ( etc) what was out there always lists the same few things: Circus Circus and the expensive Strip attractions, which I have found to be largely insufferable and/or too expensive. Since we have learned how to have great fun with our kids there, I thought others might want to know what we are doing differently.

      If there are any places you like to travel, maybe I can speak to them? Let me know. Thanks!

  4. After sounding like an old grump, I have to admit we travel with a 12 year old grandson that we adore. We go each year to Waikiki beach, there is plenty to do there, just having water to swim in satisifies most kids.

    We live in So. Cal. so if you can think of other kid friendly road trips or things to see, we would love to hear about them.

    By the way, we highly recommend the grand canyon for a trip with kids. Our grandson adored it and it's fairly cheap if you go through AA.

    1. We go to Palm Springs often so I can say something about that. It may be a while as I currently have a few things to write about first, but stay tuned! Thanks for your interest.

    2. We also used to live in Tucson and have family there and in Phoenix if that would be interesting. I recommend visiting there too. Tucson is about 500 miles from LA, a little less from San Diego.

  5. Hello from Japan!

    Found your blog through Daraius.

    I also love vegas and often travel as a family of 5.

    I have a question about renting timeshares. A couple of years ago I found a very good deal at the Koolina Marriott Vacation Club in Hawaii.

    My concern was that there was no way to do a secure transaction with the owner at the time.

    Questions: Where do you look for timeshare rentals? And how do you normally process the transaction?


    1. Thanks for your interest! I've had good luck getting them on Ebay. See an explanation here:


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