What is Shoprunner?
Shoprunner is a shipping service similar to Amazon Prime where you receive free 2 day shipping and free returns from participating retailers. The 1 year service usually costs $79 a year. American Express is offering a free one year membership or extension with an eligible American Express card.
How to get one year free
1. Login to your Shoprunner account.
2. At the top of the page, you will see an offer for a special deal from American Express.
3. Click on that deal and validate your American Express card and billing address.
4. Your membership will be extended for one year. Terms and condition here.
1. Sign up here.
2. You will have a free membership for one year, you do not need to provide a credit card and therefore will not be charged after the year is up. Terms and condition here.
On the highways of Utah, there is a billboard from Complete Merchant Solutions that drives me crazy. I’ve seen it enough times that it’s been really bugging me.
The billboard states “Yeah, we do that too.” while demonstrating a credit card swiper through a mobile phone. It’s as if they’re stating that it’s nice that others have a credit card reader but so do they. In fact, it comes off as a little bit cocky. Except if you notice, it has a credit card facing upwards while everyone knows that the magnetic strip is on the top so to actually use their reader – you would need to flip the card over.
See this example from Paypal.
You can clearly see the credit card correct flipped over in order to process it.
Here’s an example from Square.
Once again, the card is properly flipped around to use the magnetic strip. So if you decide to use CMS for your merchant solutions, don’t follow their example on the billboard. Instead, flip your card around to actually use the magnetic strip. Now I feel a lot better that I’ve shared my visual pain with the rest of you.
I just got done attending the Boarding Area conference BAcon. I have never attended any frequent flier type event and it was a bit surreal to finally meet other bloggers that I’ve admired.
There was a lot of good information and a lot of good suggestions made along with a chance to build some relationships and start some conversations.
I was fortunate enough to bring my wife with me who has bypassed a career and dedicated her time to raising our three children. She has always supported me in this hobby.
I have never tried to get bumped off a flight. Today, though, on a whim I hung around the check in desk and was able to volunteer to get bumped. We scored $400 in Delta vouchers and only had to wait an additional hour for the next flight and still was able to be in first class. I could get used to getting bumped on flights!
The extra time gave us time to chat some more as well as call both of our mothers.
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish my wife and my mother a Happy Mother’s Day.
As a reminder, the Free Hilton Gold Status that I shared in April is still going according to the 122 comments on that post, some having success as recently as yesterday.
The offer ends May 31st, so be sure to do it sooner than later if you’re interested.
The benefits of Gold status are:
Earn 10 Base Points per eligible U.S. dollar spent.1 Base points earned can qualify you for Silver, Gold or Diamond status.
You can earn both HHonors Bonus Points and/or airline miles for the same stay with over 50 airline partners at all of our participating properties worldwide. Choose any of the following Earning Style options in your HHonors Account Planner after enrolling:
HHonors Points and HHonors Points: The fastest way to earn free nights. Earn 10 HHonors Base Points + 5 HHonors Bonus Points per eligible U.S. dollar spent.2
HHonors Points and Variable Miles: Earn 10 HHonors Base Points + 1 airline mile per eligible U.S. dollar spent.3
HHonors Points and Fixed Miles: Earn 10 HHonors Base Points per eligible U.S. dollar spent + 500 miles per stay at participating brands.4
ELITE TIER BONUS:
As a Gold HHonors member, earn a 25% bonus on all Base Points.
Choose Bonus Points as your My Way benefit when staying at our hotels to earn even more points. See Gold Member My Way Benefits below for more details at each specific brand.
GOLD MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:
Quick Reservations & Check-In based on room preferences
Spouse Stays Free6
Complimentary In-Room, High-Speed Internet Access during stays
Complimentary Access to Fitness Centers/Health Clubs7
2 Complimentary Bottles of Water per stay (Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Embassy Suites™, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hilton Grand Vacations®)
eCheck-in: Select your room and check in 24 hours in advance at participating properties
I recently took a flight from Nigeria to Kenya on Kenya Airways. It’s an older plane and I was surprised to see an actual ashtray to put your cigarettes in. There are signs, of course, that say no smoking but still a bit amusing.
Each day I do my daily check-in via Foursquare at a Holiday Inn in order to earn 50 points since it was first announced back in June 2010.
Sometimes I forget, but for the most part I establish it as a part of my daily routine. It’s worth it to me to spend 10 seconds to earn the 50 points though if you did it each day, it would be only 15,000 Priority Club points per year. Perhaps not worth it from some, but definitely for me.
Today I noticed the first image that comes up as you check in on Foursquare to this particular Holiday Inn.
What better way to welcome you that Samuel Jackson aka Jules Winnfield greeting you with a pistol, most definitely not the look that the Holiday Inn Express was going for.
Starwood is offering 500 free Starpoints for opting in to email communications.
Step 1 - Go to www.spg.com/optin
Step 2- login to your Starwood account
Step 3 - give them your email address (I set up a spam one I never check) and opt in to some newsletters
You’re close to becoming an SPG insider — and scoring 500 bonus Starpoints.
Just enter your email address and select the Starwood email communications you’d like to receive. At least one selection is required to receive 500 bonus Starpoints®.
Step 4 – enjoy your points.
PS – The flyer I received says “a onetime bonus of 500 Starpoints will be given to each registered member if that member opts in to receive marketing emails at spg.com/optin by June 30, 2013. Could be targeted, but worth 30 seconds of your time.
PSS – Sorry folks, looks like this particular offer was targeted.
When Salt Lake City was chosen to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, one of the exciting aspects was the upgrade to Utah’s transportation system. There were new highways and a light rail system called TRAX. Since the Olympics, lots of money has been poured into the extension of TRAX and the creation of a commuter train known as Frontrunner along with massive improvements to the highway.
The culmination of this is the completion of the long awaited $350 million Salt Lake City Airport TRAX line that will finally allow a way to reach the airport. I was excited to finally have a way to ride the train to and from the Salt Lake City airport though currently, it’s not that difficult to get to the Salt Lake City airport. You can go via I-215 or via I-80 to get there. There is plenty of economical long term parking available for around $8 a day.
As it it turns out that it’s not going to be such a great addition after all. The airport line’s schedule won’t allow for passengers with very early flights to make it nor passengers that have late night flights. The weekend schedule will be sparse as well.
The whole purpose of an airport train is to add a good option for people to get to and from the airport at convenient times. Some of the airport trains I’ve taken is MARTA in Atlanta, BART in San Francisco, Arlanda Express in Stockholm, Flytoget in Olso, Copenhagen’s Lufthavne, and KLIA Express in Kuala Lumpur. I’m disappointed by the decision by Utah Transit Authority to not have extended hours on their train.
This comes also on the heels of another fare increase which makes Salt Lake’s light rail one of the most expensive in the United States.
Here’s hoping that the Utah Transit Authority changes their mind on the schedule to allow for more people to use a very expensive addition to get to the airport.
Reading in the December issue of Forbes, they recommend a foolproof way to make sure your checked bag arrives safe and secure that is apparently used by professional photographers all the time.
Ready, set, check your bag
Put a starter pistol in your checked bag and declare it as a firearm at check-in. Starter pistols are non-lethal guns that use blanks or caps to make a sound to start a race. By declaring a firearm in your checked bag, the airline and TSA will ensure that your bag arrives safe and secure because the last thing they want is a lost “weapon” during transit. When you declare a firearm, you are given a card to fill out and then the the card is put into your bag and handed to a TSA agent who then transports your bag.
An example from Alaska Airlines:
A “firearm” is any weapon that will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, or the frame or receiver of any such weapon. This includes:
Sporting rifles, shotguns, and handguns
Handguns of authorized law enforcement officers while traveling on official duty
Starter pistols, compressed air or BB guns, and flare pistols
All firearms must be unloaded and carried in a locked, hard-sided container where only the customer retains the key or combination.
The hard-sided case must be secured in such a way that it does not allow for accidental or unauthorized opening. Multiple locks may be required on some cases to ensure the case cannot be opened. Customers are not required to place locks in every available area on the case, as long as the case is secure.
Alaska Airlines does not allow customers under age 18 to carry on or check a firearm.
I doubt the wisdom of trying this on an international flight but it does make for an interesting loophole for domestic flights of luggage with very valuable items. Personally, I don’t check anything valuable in my luggage ever since my film camera was stolen coming back from Tahiti in 2003 but for some of you, this technique may prove useful.
Utah is a pretty conservative state overall and that filters down to places of employment. It is common to have company travel policies prohibiting the reimbursement of alcoholic beverages. Personally this isn’t an issue as I don’t drink alcohol, but it does lend itself to some comedic moments.
I recently took a trip to London for work and while there visited a restaurant called Pizza Express. As I looked at their menu, I decided on a traditional Margherita pizza with tomato and Mozzarella. The food was fantastically fresh and was very enjoyable.
When I got home, I turned in all of my receipts for reimbursement. I received this email from our accounting department the following day.
I have a question about the Pizza Express receipt. Your receipt includes a margarita with no note that it is virgin. I will need your confirmation that it is indeed virgin otherwise it cannot be reimbursed.
To which I replied:
Margharita is a type of Italian pizza with tomatoes and cheese – not an alcoholic drink.
Have any of you ever had some reimbursement shenanigans happen?
It is still possible to get instant Hilton Gold status through the following method. I tested it this morning and it is still alive. The terms say you must be a Visa Infinite cardholder and the offer expires May 31, 2013.
1.Log in to your account (or create one if you don’t have one)
2. Go to this address generator to create a valid Australian address.
3. Change your profile to the Australian address.
4. Go to this website and create a credit card number. Click “Generate a Credit Number” and choose “Visa – Chase Manhattan Bank“. Don’t worry, you’re not generating an actual credit number someone owns. Replace the output with “4119 45xx xxxx xxxx” and hit generate.
5. Now go to the Visa Infinte landing page and enter the credit number from step 4.
6. Log out and log back in, you will have Gold status now. The benefits are here. You can now change your address back.
Tip of the cap to Fatwallet