spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Bits & Pieces: Southwest Hawaii news, IHG and SPG card changes

Holy cannoli, things have been crazy lately.  My trip planning took a bit of a back seat, though I did manage to book some tickets from Paris to Seville on Transavia, which is a European low-cost carrier affiliated with Air France/KLM.  More on that in another post- especially as they’ve already made an unfavorable schedule change…I refused the change via email and they said they’ll be contacting me (during THEIR business hours, in the Netherlands) to discuss the alternatives.  Anyway…on to the good stuff! Read the rest of this entry »

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Confession: I just bought 4 tickets…with cash

I KNOW!  It’s so rare for me to pay for anything but taxes when using miles/points, or pay for 1 or 2 fares and use miles/points/companion fare for the rest.  But this time it made a lot of sense.  I still have some tickets to buy for the European trip, but I’ll discuss some nice updates from Chase Ultimate Rewards that may just help me out with those. Read the rest of this entry »

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Award travel success so far, European hotels

Yeaaaaaaaaaaah buddy! We currently have 4 of 7 hotel nights needed covered with points, with 2 of the remaining 3 hopefully covered by certificates later this year.  I shall now regale you with my recent adventures in hotel booking.

Um, have you ever noticed that European hotels (even American chains) rarely sleep more than 2 people?  I’ve had quite a time setting up 4-person rooms in London, Paris, and Barcelona.  We are lucky to be able to stay with family or friends in our other 3 stops (North Carolina, Seville, and New Jersey).  My chart:

Location # of nights needed # of nights booked on points # of nights paying OOP % nights covered
North Carolina  3-4  3-4 sister points  0  100%
London 1
Paris 3
Seville 3  3 friend points  0  100%
Barcelona 3
New Jersey 2  2 daughter points  0  100%

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Quinceañera Trip Report Part 2: showers, donuts, Thanksgiving

At the end of Part 1, we had arrived at my parents’ house after the long journey to NJ from Honolulu.  They were, of course, thrilled to see us, and it was mutual.  DD had a hair appointment right away, to get her ready for the extensions she was getting for her party ‘do.  First, we had to buy the actual hair, and the boys had to go get fitted for their tuxes.  We split up, with my dad, DH, and DS headed for the tux shop, and my mom, me, and DD off to the beauty supply place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Post preview: travel, Quinceañera, and general world news

This isn’t a full post- no time, as we just got back to Honolulu today and must get ready for school/work/life starting again tomorrow.  But a general idea of what will be coming up in the next few weeks…

  • travel via Alaska Airlines to JFK, picking up a rental car and dropping it off in NJ.  Includes details on Budget’s e-toll service.
  • our reward stay at Holiday Inn Secaucus, paid for by IHG points.
  • travel via United’s nonstop from Newark (EWR) to  Honolulu (HNL). Spoiler alert: nope nope nope.
  • a modest Quinceañera trip report.  It was a wonderful, beautiful, fun event.

Finally, a general support statement regarding the US Presidential election outcome.  All are welcome here.  No hate, no discrimination, equal rights for all.  If you don’t agree, leave.  If you do agree, please enjoy the posts coming soon 🙂

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2017 trip…what to do?

 Warning: This is a very first-world problem.

I’ve been putting all of my organizing energy into my daughter’s Quinceañera coming up later this year.  I set up the flights: outbound, and return.  I was able to use IHG points (accumulated from good-old credit card spend and a recent bonus promo) to book 4 nights at a hotel near the venue for us so that visiting family from Ecuador could use my parents’ guest room.  I redeemed my husband’s last Barclay Arrival + points* for a $100 gift certificate for Budget Rental Car, and will be combining the cert with a great price I got from Costco Travel, which has historically been my go-to place for low rental car deals.  I recently booked a fabulous DJ/emcee/lighting service, and my next project is to firm up the invitation design.  Still lots to do after that, too! Read the rest of this entry »

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Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 10: See ya real soon!

I woke up on Monday, October 12th, and realized that it was our last (half) day at Disney before we started the long journey home.  So bittersweet, because of course I didn’t want to leave my happy place, but I was also looking forward to the traveling ahead of us.

I savored the last early morning view of the Savanna from our room.  It’s really just beautiful.  I took an extra moment to appreciate it, because it’ll be a long time before we stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge again.  Now that all of my little family group has stayed there on their 1st trip to Disney, it’s time to branch out to other Deluxe resorts for future split stays and get more Resorts checked off my list.  Based on experiences on this trip, I’m leaning toward PO-FQ and the Grand Floridian for our next trip in 2021.  Of course, availability and price will guide the final decision. Read the rest of this entry »

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