Goodbye to Sun Trust, Goodbye to Delta

For those of you who have been following my previous posts regarding debit cards, this is the most up-to-date post regarding the Sun Trust Delta Debit card.  If you are just researching this for the first time please check out previous articles (first post, second post, third post, fourth ...

My Return to Peru

If you haven’t read the other previous posts, you can read about my mistakes here, more mistakes, elite status saving the day, an unexpected stop in Mexico City, a mediocre flight on LAN, the stinky Sheraton Lima Convention Center, and a review of my experience studying aboard in Peru - the ...

How Do I Find Great Deals? DealRay

When I return from a trip and begin flooding social media (follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) with photos from our trips, it never fails that someone asks me, “How do you find these amazing deals?”  

Like many of you, I love finding great deals, but ...

Studying Abroad

If you have not yet read about my follies and fumbles through our “weekend” trip to Lima, it’s worth your time.  Here it is from our peaceful beginning through an unanticipated stop in Mexico City, the value of elite status and why it was so important on this trip, the ...
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The Sheraton Lima Stinks

(This is the continuation of a mistake prone journey that begin with a great hotel stay and went downhill quickly following.  If you haven't read the rest, I suggest you start from the beginning.)
I should clarify from my title for those that might misunderstand what I am staying.  I ...

Choosing Your Own Hotel Room? This Must Be Life in the Emerald World

It's no secret that I have had a great experience with National Car Rental, so when National challenged UPGRD to think about what life would be like living in the Emerald World, hotels immediately came to mind...
Recently, I checked into the Emerald Hotel. The property was new, clean, and the ...

LAN Business Class Mexico City to Lima - Finally on board

If you haven’t been following from the beginning, here is a link, it all started out so easy, and then I made mistakes (with impressive consistency).  Don’t make the same mistakes I made, read the posts!
LAN Business Class
We had finally boarded and as we got ...

Hyatt Regency Mexico City - An Oasis in the Desert

This is part of a trip from Pittsburgh to Lima, Peru that went horribly wrong.  If you want to start at the very beginning, click here (it's worth it).
Due to our surprise 24 hour stay in Mexico City, it was important to get a hotel and into the city fast.  The airport held a lot of ...

The True Value of Elite Status - A Chance at Redemption

Being Stuck in a Bad Situation
If you have followed the previous posts (start at the beginning) about the mishaps and mistakes I made during a recent trip to Peru, you will know that I was stuck in a bad position.  My wife was very upset, I had friends that would be waiting for us at the ...

Mistakes and Mishaps of a Travel Pro - Continued

To catch up on this story please first read this post. 
Still Stuck at Terminal 1 in Mexico City
I had a fleeting thought that perhaps we should just get into a taxi, but taxi drivers sometimes queue for an hour or more to get a fare at the airport which tend to be business people ...

Mistakes and Mishaps of a Travel Pro

When discussing my travel planning faults it only seems appropriate to wax biblical like my friend Matthew:
“We have all fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
And to quote from the one of the finer films of all time, Raising Arizona, who at the time was biblically ...

Hyatt Regency Crystal City - DCA Reagan National

The key to any airport hotel, is the time it takes you to get to the airport and frequency of the shuttle.  At 9PM from the airport to the hotel the journey was 6 minutes with no stops.  It could have been shorter but we got stuck behind a crew bus.  That’s fast for ...
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My Cruise Rewards - Valuable or Worthless, Does Anyone Know

After a recent change, I was considering the Royal Caribbean card from Bank of America.  My daughter is getting to the age of running around and the idea of giving her hours of running around, swimming and food sounds to me like lots of naps for her and I can finish that novel I have been ...

Transparency of Airfare Pricing

I recently commented on the government's website for USA Today regarding changes to CFR 399.88 which requires airlines to be accountable for their prices, mistakes or otherwise.  Some of my colleagues at UPGRD may disagree with my position, but I wanted to post these thoughts for everyone to ...

Hyatt Diamond Challenge is Back and Open to Everyone

My favorite hotel chain has been Hyatt for several years now.  Service at the Park properties are fantastic but even the Hyatt House stays can offer really exceptional rooms.  As seen on, a revamped promo has been announced.
Old Status Challenge
Hyatt took away ...

Hilton Making Moves in Myanmar

Bloomberg recently had a report about Hilton Hotels properties in newly opened Myanmar (formerly Burma).  Hilton was one of the first chains to build in Southeast Asian country since sanctions have eased over the the last couple of years.  
We visited Myanmar three years ago and ...

Amtrak Train Derails in Philadelphia - 240 Onboard, 50 injured

While details are still sketchy at this time, an Amtrak train en route from Washington DC to New York City derailed 8-10 cars with approximately 240 passengers on board.  Aerial shots show the wreckage lit up by flashlights as rescuers pursue survivors.  

The accident happened near 2000 Wheatsheaf Lane and local trains have suspended service and been diverted for the time being.  Firefighters were seen moving victims on gurneys out of the train cars which appeared to be on their side.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy.