Friday, May 27, 2011

Here we go!

  In just a few more days, we'll be off on our adventure trip across the Asia-Pacific region!  I can't believe it's already here. 

  I will be blogging as we go to update you guys on the fun sights and foods we come across in each country as well as posting a few pics.  :)  And rest assured, if any great mileage deals come across our path while we're away, I'll fill you in on those!  Thanks for reading and talk to you in China! :D

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reaching New Heights

  The hubs and I have had the opportunity to visit some pretty incredible places since we've been together.  I think it's safe to say that as of today, our favorite bar in the world is Cloud 9, one of the highest bars in the world set on the 87th floor of the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai.  The views, the ambiance, the views...did I mention the views?  This place was sublime!  Chic, modern and sexy as hell.


  It was brought to our attention though that a new bar was worth paying a visit to.  Only 2 months ago, on March 29th, the world's highest hotel opened in Hong Kong. And at the top, at a staggering 118 floors up, sits Ozone, the world's tallest bar.

  Super sexy place!  Our plan is have dinner at the Peak first and then head across the water to the Ritz for some late night drinks.  I'm really excited about this new place to visit!  We've already been to 2 of the 10 tallest buildings in the world and after this trip, that will be up to 4.  :)  

  The hotel itself is also now the highest in the world, with the lobby being on the 100th floor and only 17 floors of rooms above that.  Fun fact: it takes 56 seconds to get to the lobby. 
  One nice surprise about this is that we just found out some friends of ours have a one day layover in Hong Kong while we're there so we'll be enjoying this bar together!  The only thing better than dining at the top is dining at the top with friends.  :)  

  Cheers to the new Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong!  

View anyone?

The building on the left, the tall one that's glowing

Not at all excessive. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting Started

  So many people want to play the miles game and very few know where to begin.  What do you sign up for first?  Who should you collect miles from?  How do I track what card to spend and when?  All valid questions and I have the answers!!

  I know you secretly read this blog for the clip art.  So I do try when I can.  :)

Anywho!  Below is a list of the things I should do first, in order of priority and importance if you're looking to get into the miles game.  I know it can be overwhelming so that's why I wanted to break it down for you guys.  Since I'm an American miler, I'll be sharing that info first since I know much more about it than other programs.  Also, this could change as early as next week with new deals coming out daily so if you want to get in, this is the roadmap for today.  Disclaimer finished.

First:  Make sure you have a frequent flyer number.  If you don't, shame on you and sign up for one!  American's sign-up page is here:

Second:  Think of all of the flights you've taken in your life and allow yourself to be pissed for all the miles you lost. 

Ok, next:  Apply for mileage credit!  There are some stipulations for doing this but if you've flown recently and want to try and capture those miles, you can do so here:

Fourth:  GET SOME MILES!!! Sign up for the first 3 cards below in the same day for a chance to get all 3 and almost a quarter million miles in your account.  You MUST use these links when signing up to try and get the 75,000 mile bonus on the card or you will be defaulted to whatever Citi and American are offering on their homepage that day. 

Sign up for the Starwood Amex and use this card for everything!  You get 1.25 miles per dollar since Starwood offers a 25% bonus when converting Starpoints into miles.  

Fifth:  Create a spreadsheet.  Stop mocking me and saying my husband has converted me over to nerd status.  Spreadsheets rock. 

  List out all of your credits cards earning miles, the date you have to spend on them and how much  you need to spend by that date.  Add those totals up and plan your bills/spending around those cards.  Most are very attainable but the entire process is worthless if you end up losing the miles because you didn't spend the required amount in 6 months.

 Sixth:  Sign up for Mileage earning sites.  Register ALL of your cards with Advantage Dining ( to earn miles when dining out and do as MUCH shopping through Advantage E-Shopping as you can. (  Tips and Tricks are listed below for ways to full maximize your mileage earning potential.

  That's it!  There is a ton of other stuff you can do but for getting started, that's a good roadmap to follow. 

Get it?!  I made you a roadmap!
Tips and Tricks
  • Need help meeting the spending requirements?  Remember the Mint!  More information found here:
  • Make sure you're only dining out at places that earn you miles!  It's a great way to try new restaurants and after 10 dines, you'll earn 5-10 miles per dollar spent!  Your first ten dines will earn you between 3-5 miles per dollar.  Remember the small places too like yogurt shops! 
  • Don't want to pay shipping or shop online through the E-Shopping site?  Gift cards are valid purchases! If you know you need to buy things at Home Depot, buy a gift card through the site and use it in the store.  You'll earn 3.5 miles per dollar for the gift card by using your Starwood Amex.
  • Have questions?  Making a big purchase or looking to earn miles by a certain time?  Leave a comment below and I'll message you to help you figure out the best way to earn miles for you! 

Hope this helps everyone!!! :)  Now get to earning those miles!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Free Hotel #4- Ubud, Bali

  The very last hotel has been booked!  :) It's exciting to know that all we have left to do is figure out the fun things we'll do once we're there.  Specifically this!!!!

Elephant Safari Park

How cool is this?!?!
  We're going to Bali Safari and Marine Park, just one of the many things on the agenda for our time in Ubud.  Ubud is the cultural center of Bali, known for local crafts, goods and markets speckled between beautiful temples.  I am very excited about visiting Ubud!  I love meeting "the locals," trying local dishes and really getting a feel for how the Balinese people live, not how well they can make me feel like I'm "comfortable" on vacation.  Ubud looks to fit the bill!  

   After my dream of riding an elephant is fulfilled, we'll take a stroll through the Monkey Forest, or as some call it, sticky finger monkey land.  No joke, you will have a finger taken off if your hands aren't in your pockets because they associate hands with food.  As if that isn't bad enough, these monkeys are bonafide kleptomaniacs.  They have been known to take earrings out of a woman's ears before so basic things like sunglasses, bracelets, rings, etc. will be gone before you know it. They are NOT shy!!!

   Okay, okay, I'll get back to the hotel. Set 10 minutes outside of the heart of Ubud, on a beautiful rice paddy, we found a really great hotel called D'Omah Ubud.  It wasn't until we started looking at reviews did we discover that a famous designer, Warwick Purser, designed the entire hotel!  He is responsible for the overhaul to Balinese design over the last decade, modernizing the way hotels particularly are decorated.  It's very clean, sleek and yet still captures Bali in a way that feels authentic.

  Not too shabby at all!  I especially love the yoga hut that sits over the pool.  Bali is VERY well known for yoga/meditation so not only are there really great little huts like this overlooking pools, rice paddies and oceans but every hotel offers yoga lessons/classes for free daily.  

This is Frances yoga.

  There is so much to do in Bali that we're already feeling like we won't be able to see everything we want to.  We're spending 5 nights on the coast to include diving and 4 nights in Ubud and hoping to squeeze as much in as possible!  One this is for sure, we are most definitely visiting this place:

   So stunning and it looks like something out of a movie!  I'm hoping to watch the sunset from this point one evening and cuddle with the hubs.  :)  Most extreme sight I've come across so far for Bali?  Why that goes to the infinity pool at the Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel.  There are simply no words.

  Next up; a full post on the Balinese spas.  

How We Did It: Capital One Travel Reimbursement: $272
Would Have Cost: $272
Total Cost We Pay: $0!