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How to Eat Noodles With Chopsticks

How to Eat Noodles With Chopsticks

The Taste of Sour Grapes

courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

Resentment bubbles up in the strangest of places. This morning’s bit of bile comes, oddly enough, in the form of an attack on the practice of enjoying a late morning meal with friends.

“Brunch” I learned today “is for jerks.” At least that is what I thought I’d learn by reading a New York Times Sunday Review article by David Shaftel published under that exact title. What I learned instead is not what makes people who brunch jerks, because that is never really explained, but rather how obligations can sometimes make people petty and sour. 

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To Go Gently Into That Good Night?

Cigarette smoke by Thomas Herbrich

Cigarette smoke by Thomas Herbrich

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. It all started after reading a handful of unrelated, but interconnected, essays on the topic over the past week.

I’ll confess, death has always been a problem for me. Not in the traditional sense, though. I don’t fear it. I fear pain and discomfort, but not death. Death is an end to all of that. My problem with death is that it creates practical problems for the living.

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How to Save 20% or More on Hotels

Hotels and Chase Perfect Together

I’m writing this partly as a Public Service Announcement for our readers and partly as a reminder to myself to stop being so stupid. Hopefully putting this down in pixels will help me get my head out of me bum, although that might be asking a lot.

So what’s got me so ticked? Before I get to that, I need to fill in some background first.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, and you probably should if you do a fair amount of traveling (to see why check out our Best Reward Card for Travelers article) and if you book lodging with Hotels.com (which you should at least consider for reasons we’ll explain momentarily), it’s possible to use the two together to get discounts and benefits totaling more than 20% of the cost of your hotel. It’s also possible to book the same hotel and not get those benefits, which is partly what I’ve done a couple of times now. And I’d really like to stop doing that.

So here’s how you can learn from my mistake and save 20% or more on lodging.

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The Strange Math of Traveling Without a Plan

Vancouver Chinatown

I meant to go here

Is it possible to get nothing for something and still think you’ve gotten a good deal? Apparently, the answer to that question is yes. Or at least that’s my conclusion after reading an unintentionally hilarious report about how one last minute traveler “scored a good-value award on Cathay Pacific” Airlines.

The short version of this story is that a traveler hadn’t researched or booked parts of his itinerary and, as a result, was having difficulty piecing together some needed flights. Unfortunately, the only flight that fit his needs “was pricing out at a whopping $678, even for economy! That was way too much money for me to shell out,” he writes.

After working some travel hacking magic, the hero of this story manages to book that same flight for $111 plus 2,500 Avios points. Triumphantly he exclaims that the $567 he saved in airfare got him a redemption value on his frequent flyer miles of “a whopping 22.7 cents per point!”

And it’s true. After putting himself in a bind by not booking his flight ahead, he was able to partially avoid a steep penalty by using frequent flyer points.

But here’s the thing: he could have booked an identical flight in advance for $113. So instead of saving $567 he really spent 2,500 Avios points to purchase a ticket for $111 that he otherwise could have bought for $113. That $2 in savings works out to an abysmal .08 cents per point!

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