Chase Sapphire Reserve — What Gets You Triple Miles

In the continuing adventures of the cult-like status of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I’ve done a deep dive into my account to see what can you 3x miles and what will you land you one mile. The results surprised me in what constitutes as “dining.”

What struck is that breweries, wineries and distilleries that serve food or sell their booze on site have various categories. Some count as “dining” and will get you the 3x miles, others not so much.

Let’s look at it in detail…

Levante Brewing in Pennsylvania, they serve beer — 3x
Westtown Brewworks, Hudson Ale Works, Arrowood Farms in New York, they serve beer and small plates of food — 1x
Manayunk Brewery in Pennsylvania, brewery with full-service restaurants — 3x
Manayunk Brewery gift shop to get bottles to go and merch– 3x
Village Idiot Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 3x
Spellbound Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 1x
Dark City Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 3x

As you can see, there are various mile allotments that you would consider a dining or drinking experience.  Why does one brewery in Jersey get you 3x while another five miles away get you only one?

I contacted Chase and they explained that it depends on the merchant themselves and how they categorize themselves when they set-up their payment system. To note, all three NJ breweries use the Square system. If they say their are liquor/beverage store, then it’s 1x. If they categorize themselves as bar, tap room or dining establishment, then it’s 3x. Chase also stated that there’s no way to determine beforehand what merchant will get you the triple miles.

This is good to know, so if you really want to maximize the card, just whip it out on the safe side.

Then the other way to get triple miles is to order food via Seamless or Eat24 no matter what you order.

There’s also the Dunkin’ Donuts app. If you use your card  to add value to the app, you’ll get 3x.

On the other hand, for those who are part of the Wawa cult, you’ll only get 1 miles for every dollar if you upload to the app. It’s considered a convenience store/supermarket, so that will get you the single mile for every dollar.

As for the “travel” area that get you the triple miles, I mentioned before that tolls and public transportation count as travel. That will also count towards the $300 credit.

And here’s my super-special, do this right now if you can, I explained that I use Plastiq.com to pay my rent and to guarantee I spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Guess what? That counts as accommodation which is part of travel. Thus, I’m earning triple miles paying my rent with the Chase Sapphire Reserve via Plastic — almost 5,000 miles per rent paid.

It’s a balancing acts between the two cards I use the most,  Chase Sapphire Reserve and Virgin Atlantic Mastercard. While CSR pays out the 3x miles for dining and travel and 1x for everything else, VA gets me 3x for travel of Virgin Atlantic, but 1.5x miles for everything else. So for my bills and shopping, I stick with VA.

Because of my use of CSR for five months, I’ve earned 25,122 miles on top of the 100,000 bonus. The question remains, how to use it?

 

Got a New 4K Smart TV? Watch 4K Travel Videos

It’s time to replace your 1080 widescreen TV with a big pimping 4k TV. You can buy a decent-sized one for $500 depending on your space.

As for myself, I upgraded to the 4K and binge-watching new TV shows takes some adjustment because of the clarity. With old movies, you can actually downgrade the picture to make it look more like how it was attended.

The displays in stores are usually set with sporting events and nature videos, but if you really want to get your mind blown, go to the video apps for some city travel.

Pretty much every city has dozens of 4K clips shot on high-def cameras on drones from sweeping overhead views or tracking shots on the ground. Just search on the YouTube app for a city and the term 4k and you’ll unleash the clarity of your TV.

The best ones I prefer are the fly-on-wall, watching life go by set to modern music. Even the silent ones with ambient noises are somewhat soothing. I avoid the ones shows by amateurs that chronicles their exploits with the partner or with their mates.

Take for examples this YouTube channel called Nippon Wandering. It’s all 30-minute videos of city scenes in Japan shot walking through the streets. The camera glides smoothly through the lights and alleys ways. It’s so relaxing and comforting. Most of all, inspirational … makes you want to be there!

Check out this one video of Akihabara at night.

Airline Computer Outages Are the New Normal

If you flew recently with British Airways, I hope you made it to where you were going after five days.

Power surge is the culprit for $150 million boo-boo that grounded 75,000 passengers. I guess BA didn’t invest in a surge protector that we all do with our electronics.

This follows the outages from Delta in January that cancelled 300 flights and other regional airports that have experience outages on a small scale.

Compound these outages with irate passengers, false alarms that send people running for no reason, security experts expressing how venerable aviation is to terrorism and general dumbass-ery, this is going to be a great summer to fly!

Let’s look on the bright side. If you are grounded, you can get caught up on new seasons of Orange if the New Black and House of Cards. That hot novel every is raving about, you read it one sitting.

What I’m trying to say is that you can’t predict power outages, nor can you prepare for it. Just except that these things happen, there’s nothing you can do about it and think creatively if you desperately need to get to your that bachelorette party.

The worst thing you can do is throw a tantrum that somebody will video record, post to Twitter and you become “that guy.”

Eating the Best Texas Barbecue Would Be an Impressive Travel Bucket List

Besides our political and socio-economic divisions, the best barbecue is a polarizing subject. Between Kansas City, Carolina and Texas, battle lines have been drawn and calories consumed.

It’s not unheard of that people take vacations and road trips just to eat barbecue.

It’s my belief that people should make travel lists or find a list to use as a bucket list to complete through their life. Myself, in 2006, Alan Richman of GQ Magazine published a list of 20 Hamburgers to Eat Before You Die. I’ve used that as a goal to try to eat at each one. I’ve been to 12 of the 20.

Likewise, Texas Monthly has published their Top 10 BBQ joints in Texas, and caused a bit of a stir when perennial favorite Austin’s Franklin’s BBQ got bumped down to No. 2. As you might have heard, it’s the place where people line up at 5am for the opening at 11am. The No. 1 spot went to Lexington (pop. 1,200) legend Snow’s BBQ, which is only open on Saturdays at 8am. That probably means you need to camp out overnight.

Here’s the best of the rest:

3. Cattleback (Dallas)
4. Bodacious (Longview)
5. Louie Mueller (Taylor)
6. Tejas Chocolate Craftery (Tomball)
7. Corkscrew (Spring)
8. Micklethwait Craft Meats (Austin)
9. Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque (Wolfforth)
10. Truth (Brenham)

Texas Monthly extended their list to 50, but that would give you the meat sweats just by reading it. Maybe I’m out of the BBQ loop, but I always thought The Salt Lick was considered the best in Texas. I shall trust the experts. I’ve only been to Texas once. I did the original Sonny Bryant original location because it’s like an historic landmark and I didn’t know any better back then.

In any event, going to the Top 10 would be a impressive feat in my estimation,  more impressive than visiting every Disney theme park or going to every country.

If I were to do this, I would be need three weeks. I would fly into Austin, rent a car and let Google maps handle the rest. I couldn’t do a BBQ joint a day because I might die from the meat shakes, so I would try to do every other day. That way, I could drive around to enjoy the Texas landscape and whatever else I may find.

You Don’t Need This — An Autonomous Suitcase

Not everything in life has to be hands free or powered by robots. We’re coming upon the very really possibility of driver less cars and trucks so that highways will look like Tom Cruise jumping from car to car like in Minority Report.

You’ve probably seen the Amazon drone delivery plan as well as a food-delivery robot that travels on the side walk. Now, take that idea and apply it to your luggage.

Introducing the Travelmate, the first autonomous suitcase robot.

“It can move vertically or horizontally with ease. You can put more items or perhaps another suitcase on top of Travelmate when it is traveling autonomously in horizontal mode. Travelmate navigates large crowds and is able to recognize and avoid objects as needed.”

Wow! That’s an amazingly horrible idea, but the makers are going forth with a crowdfunding campaign. They even have a video with a British narrator because everything sounds futuristic and important when a Brit speak about it.

While you watching, notice how they try to hide that fact that it’s pretty slow:

I don’t even know where to begin, but as you see, this was not designed for the traveler in a hurry. This wasn’t even designed for the person carrying a lot of stuff. The thing is small enough to be a carry-on, and if you’re just traveling with this, you can probably fit everything in …. hmmmm …. I don’t know … A BACKPACK!!!! Amazing, right? A backpack travels at the same rate of speed as you do while leaving you hands free.

The guy has to walk at a deliberately slow pace to show the suitcase in motion. How long before you extend the handle and just drag it like a normal human being?

You’ll also notice in the video that they are in the only airport in the world without people in it. People aren’t tripping over it, knocking it over or getting their foot run over by it.

It comes with a mobile app that drives it around and makes it turn 360 degrees on it’s own, because that’s what you look for in luggage, something that can spin around on its own for no reason. By the time you figure out the controls, you could have just picked it up and be on your way.

My first thought was how easily somebody could steal it and runaway with it, but it does comes with a locking mechanism that I’m sure TSA will enjoy. It comes with many of the useless features “smart” suitcases come with like charging ports and GPS locations.

The suitcase reminds me of the Juicero machine that became a story recently. It’s the $400 juicing machine that squeezes out packages of pre-made juices. Then Bloomberg realized you can just squeeze the pouches by hand, rending the machine useless. Wait until the makers of Travelmate learn that you can pick up your luggage by hand.

There’s is one feature that I like … it lights up like a TRON motorbike. I don’t know where that will be useful, but cool non-the-less.

There is another video the makers put out recently that shows their device from a female perspective and that it comes in pink. Apparently, the Travelmate makes you stick your chest out for no reason in slow motion. WTF? The sad part is when they put the suitcase on a gokart racetrack and it’s obvious that they sped up the video. Enjoy … and don’t buy.

A 119-Day, 49-Stop, 32-Country Cruise for Assholes Is Almost Sold Out

If you have $17,000, four months to spare and wanted to spend it cruising around the world, you are shit out of luck. You’ll need to shell out $28,409 to $60,579.

MSC Cruise touted a cruise around the world late last year. It involves 49 stops in 32 countries over six continents (sorry Antarctica) on a boat. The cheap-ass basic packages are sold out.

Let’s just break it down practically. You are essentially living out of a suitcase and confined to a cruise boat, which are just floating cesspools of disease. You barely get a sense of the town on a day excursions, so basically you’re paying for an endurance contest to see how far you can go until you break.

The MSC Magnifica will be your new home, which gets a 3 out of 5 user reviews with 4 out 5 from CruiseCritic. If something bothers you, you have 119 days to deal with it. It’s not like you can switch to an AirBnB on the ship.

Then you have to mingle with the same people the whole time. Let’s hope you’re not stuck with a bunch of jerks, assholes and rude people. The odds are not in your favorite. Not to mention I really hope you love your partner because if you break up, you’re screwed.

Now dreams of a lifetime of unlimited travel is great in theory, but in reality, you’re away from your friends and family. They miss you, just as much as you miss them. I come across travel stories about people who’ve been traveling for years non-stop. I’m not jealous, I say, “Go the fuck home and see your mom.” Didn’t you see that Black Mirror episode?

Finally, the people who do go, their social media presence will be insufferable. “Hey, Day 67, spent 2 hours on a beach in Bora Bora. #blessed” Then they catch a major disease from the all cruise food.

To me, cruising is the anti-travel, because it’s not about exploring different cultures or broadening your mind. It’s really about saying you did, this, that and the other thing, while eating too much food.

Trivago Guy Joined By Trivago Lady

If you watch daytime television, you’ll come across Trivago ads along with prescription drugs, motorized scooters and lawyers representing mesothelioma victims. Normally, you see spokesman Tim Williams, aka the Trivago guy. He looks like he just woke up after a 10-hour schnapps binge, took a quick shower and filmed a commercial wearing what he already had on.

Now the German-based hotel search engine website has added Trivago lady. Her name is Gabrielle Miller from Australia. While she’s well-spoken and bothered to clean-up, the Trivago ad people still don’t feel the need to have their spokespeople dress nice. With her untucked blue oxford she borrowed from her boyfriend over black skinny jeans, she could also be selling mops and floor cleaner.

From her websiteGabrielle is an actor, dancer, musician, puppeteer and director, continuously striving to create multi-disciplinary art that is unique, daring and highly entertaining. 

Puppeteer! You’re under-utilizing her, Trivago people! I’d buy hotels from a puppeteer.