I’m not flying this weekend, which in and of itself is probably noteworthy. It has been 68 degrees most of the day here in Tampa with clear skies, so I have no good reason to leave the beautiful weather and travel through somewhere that has a travel waiver as a result of bad weather… especially since I’ll actually be traveling to the northeast next week. I like flying, but not that much! Then again, enjoying the nice weather doesn’t get me any closer to Million Miler status with United.
Instead, I had a “productive” afternoon, at least by my perverted definition. I had three goals:
1) Make a “mattress run” at a Priority Club hotel to get another night qualification towards the Sweet Dilemma (make two stays, get one free at any Priority Club hotel) and Crack the Case (unlock some “latches” and get lots of bonus points) promotions that they’re running
2) Refund my Costco membership
3) Make 10 debit card purchases (I have 10 SunTrust Delta debit cards that need one qualifying purchase each)
Due to time constraints, I only had a little over three hours to do all this, and the nearest Costco is about an hour from my house. Fortunately, the cheapest hotel in town (by a lot) is right by the Costco, so it seemed reasonable enough to drive out there.
So I left home this afternoon, stopped by the post office and bank, and then stopped at Starbucks. “Could I get a Grande sweetened ice coffee with non-fat milk?” “That’ll be 3.14.” One purchase down, nine to go. Once my drink was made, I went back to the register. “You know, that blueberry scone looks really good, could I get one of those too.” “That’ll be 2.06.” Two purchases down, eight to go.
I continued driving towards the Costco, and stopped at a McDonalds. “Could I get a fruit and yogurt parfait please.” “That’ll be 1.06.” Three purchases down, seven to go. Hey, look, there’s a Dunkin Donuts. “Yes, can I get one glazed donut please.” “That’ll be 75 cents.” That’s four purchases down, six to go.
I high tailed it over to Costco. I signed up for a Costco membership last year thanks to the Hyatt gift certificates they were selling at 20% off, but they have a “no questions asked” refund policy on membership, which costs $50. Since I’m not entirely satisfied with Costco, in the sense that the closest one is an hour away and I only went there twice, I figured it was reasonable enough to request a refund, which they gladly processed. When I signed up they even told me that they planned on having the Hyatt gift certificates for at least a year, which they didn’t. They were even really apologetic about not having the Hyatt gift certificates anymore, and hoped they would get more in the future
Hey look, there’s a Panera right next door! “Yes, could I get a medium drink please.” “That’ll be $2.05.” When I swiped my debit card, the lady helping me said “wow, is that one of those cards that gets you free flights?” “Yeah, I guess so,” I said. She said, “well, I bet it takes a long time to earn a free flight.” Little did she know I earned 25,000 miles with my $2 drink purchase. Five purchases down, five to go.
Then I went to my mattress run hotel, which was yet another adventure. The hotel cost $48.99/night, and was in an area in which I saw more cop cars than civilian cars. I got to the front desk, where the lady first had me wait for a few minutes. Once she emerged from behind the wall, I presented my credit card and Priority Club/InterContinental Platinum Royal Ambassador card. She gave me a blank stare — “what’s that?” “It’s the card with my Priority Club Platinum number on it, I just want to make sure it’s on the reservation,” I said. “Oh, I ain’t never seen one of them before.”
She asked me whether I was staying for business or pleasure. Hmm, how do I answer that? I’m not actually “staying” (just walking in the room and undoing the sheets), and does an addiction to points qualify as business or pleasure? After thinking it over for a second, she looked at my shirt (I happened to have my “Boarding Area” shirt on), and she said “oh, is that your company name?” “Umm, yeah, sure, so I guess I’m here for business,” I said.
Since she noticed my InterContinental/Priority Club card, she “briefed” me about the hotel. “We do things a little bit different than at InterContinental hotels, so let me tell you about the Candlewood Suites experience. We have a pantry on an honor system, kind of like a convenience store, and we only service rooms once a week,” she said. “Sounds good to me, I’m only staying for a night.” I went into my room, which had an absolutely awful odor and just felt so “tired.” On the plus side, it did make me very thankful for the hotels I can afford to *actually* stay at, even if only because I checked into two such hotels to get a free night at the InterContinental London or Paris.
At this point I needed to be home in 75 minutes, with about an hour of driving ahead of me. I still needed to make five purchases on my debit card. Ah, another McDonalds, perfect! “Yes, one fruit and yogurt parfait please,” I said. “That’ll be $1.06.” Six purchases down, four to go.
At this point I was passing my local Starbucks. “The usual?” “Nah, just the holiday gingerbread, please.” $2.40 later, seven purchases down, three to go. I was running out of options… and time!
Hey, look, a gas station! A pack of gum cost 89 cents. Of course it was too good to be true, since the attendant tried to argue with me over the posted $10 credit card minimum. I reminded him that this violated their merchant contract. Seemingly not knowing what I was talking about, he rolled his eyes and said “fine.” Eight purchases down, two to go.
Hey, look, a Walgreens! Mmm, Sno-Caps. A little over a dollar later, nine purchases down, one to go. Right across the street from Walgreens is a Subway. I do love Subway’s cookies. “Yes, two cookies please.” And with that, purchase ten was complete.
All in all, the hotel cost me just under $55, I got a $50 Costco refund, and I spent maybe $20 on the debit cards to earn a total of 250,000 miles.
Not a bad afternoon! And for the record, most of the pastries/donuts/cookies are still sitting in my kitchen. Nonetheless, this would probably be a good time to hit the gym.