Saturday, January 19, 2008

Miles ... Miles ... Miles ....

I have a new credit card and this makes me excited. I know, I have no life. After seeing Lisa and Becky with airline miles credit cards I decided that I wanted to join the fun. I really enjoy traveling, but don't do it that often . In fact, I actually enjoy having a layover somewhere because it let's me explore a new airport, a new place. I love flying. I still remain fixed at the window during takeoff and landing, and often take pictures . But enough of that. The main point is that I want to start earning miles towards free trips or upgrades.

I happen to come across an offer in one of the deal forums I visit. I decide to look into it, specially since I always wanted an American Express card (cool people have Amex). The offer was simple:

--15,000 bonus miles when you sign up

--2,500 for every additional free card you get

--First year fee waived (usually $85)

--All the regular Amex benefits (more of that later)

I went to the Amex website describing all of the Delta cards. Amex has a bunch of cards below the gold (less prestige and benefits), and only one above: the Platinum. This has annual fee of $135, but you get 20,000 bonus miles, free companion ticket on Delta every year, and exclusive offers (not sure what exactly). I decide the fancy card was not worth it, I'll stick with the second best.

So with my card I also get the following benefits standard with most Amex cards:

--1 mile for every dollar I spend

--2 miles for every dollar spent at stand-alone supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, home improvement/hardware stores, USPS, wireless carriers, and Delta purchases

--Global Assist Hotline

--Car rental loss and damage insurance

--Travel Accident Insurance

--Buyer's Assurance Plan (automatically doubles your manufacturer's warranty, up to one year)

--Purchase Protection Plan (90 days accidental damage and theft insurance for purchased items)

I was stoked, I applied and got approved with an additional card. Of course miles are worthless if it takes a kajillion miles to get a ticket, but Delta seems reasonable. Delta has page that let's you check to see how many miles a ticket will cost you. Coach domestic flights are 25,000, and I am already at 17,500. Upgrades are only 5,000 miles (10,000 if a special fare).

My next goal was to figure out how many more miles I can get. This page was helpful. I got 2,500 for joining Netflix (so far 20K miles on my account!). I also signed up for emiles, they have you fill out short surveys (about 15 mins per day) and you get anywhere from 10-30 miles per survey.

At the end of this I am only 5,000 miles from a basic coach ticket. I am sure I will more deals to get more miles. In theory at least, I am still waiting for the miles to post to my account (8-10 weeks).

Oh yeah .... started a budget just to make sure I don't go crazy with the credit cards.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Best Quote Ever.....

From "Freaks and Geeks"

Guy 1: George Bush is coming to speak to this school.

Guy 2: The porn star?


Okay, maybe not the best ever, but this made me laugh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Apple Stuff!

New announcements from Apple today.

New product: Time Capsule, wireless router/hardrive to automatically make wireless backups.

Update Software: iPhone firmware update.

Updated Product: Apple TV take two.

New Product: Macbook Air

Out of the four things that were announced today the most exciting was the new notebook. Too bad I really have no interest in a smaller laptop, specially if the solid state drive update cost an additional $1,300 from the base $1,799, making the total price a whopping $3,100.

No iphone and no apple tv means I didn't care about the other announcements. I still don't like the idea of renting online videos. I like being able to watch the files over and over, and there are "other" places where you can get them for "free". The time capsule looks interesting, but I just discovered Mozy a couple of days ago. This allows me to backup crucial files anywhere I have internet, and does it automatically. The free account limits me to 2GB, which is enough for me. For bigger files I can use my regular external USB drive. So overall, Apple is not getting more of my money any time soon.

I am upset that there was no update to the Macbook Pro. But overall, the new products are good additional to the Apple repertoire.

Sad Post ....

It's always sad when there is a death. I've been trying to continue my daily gym trips, I still use the Caltech gym where they have the new issues of the school paper The California Tech. Today I saw a headline dealing with the death of a fellow Rudd Swaroop Hebbale. According to the article he collapsed in his room while talking to friends. The autopsy report was inconclusive, and the cause of death is still unknown. However, heart attack and aneurysm has been ruled out.

It's still hard to believe that somebody died in Ruddock House. Even more weird, he died on my birthday December 12th. He was a sophomore in ACM, and will be sorely missed. The article describes the random acts of kindness the other houses have provided, like making baked goods. Caltech even paid travel expenses for close friends to attend the funeral in Chicago in Detroit. This is why I love the Caltech, both the community and administration caring when something this serious happens.

Although I did not know Swaroop, I express my condolences to his family and friends. I be sad. =( ....

I promise a happier post tomorrow.