Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred need a revamp? – The Points Guy

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred need a revamp? – The Points Guy


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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Could the feds really shut down the Florida border, booking a windowless ‘inside’ cabin on a cruise ship and more

Could the feds really shut down the Florida border, booking a windowless ‘inside’ cabin on a cruise ship and more



Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Guide to handling credit during a divorce – The Points Guy

Guide to handling credit during a divorce – The Points Guy


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Why the bulkhead is my least favorite seat on the plane

Why the bulkhead is my least favorite seat on the plane


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Wyatt Earp May Have Gambled Here: Log Cabin With a Colorful Past Is Listed for $380K

A cozy log cabin with a long and colorful history, this unique dwelling in the historic Idyllwild, CA, area has an unusual past and a very livable present and future.

The original structure is reported to have been built in 1849—an auspicious year in California history—and it’s been improved upon ever since.

Much of what’s standing today was erected in 1943, as what is apparently the area’s only existing “cord home.” The walls of the structure are made of 10-inch cordwood logs that were embedded in concrete, then sealed and protected from insects and the elements.

The building method may sound odd by today’s standards, but it has stood the test of time, as well as the onslaught of vicious wild fires.

Located in the mountains that tower over Palm Springs and the greater Coachella Valley, the tiny town of Pine Cove is accessed by a winding mountain road that breaks off from Interstate 10 near Banning, CA.

The story goes that after the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp retired to San Bernardino, he rode the stage coach up that mountain road to play poker in this very cabin, a stage stop at the time.

The cabin has served a variety of purposes over the years, as a post office, a general store, and a horse stable. It also had incarnations as the Summit Lodge and the Pine Cove Tavern.

A 170-year-old cabin in the Idyllwild area of Southern California
A 170-year-old cabin in the Idyllwild area of Southern California

realtor.com

Cabin with cordwood walls
Cabin with cordwood walls

realtor.com

Close-up of cordwood walls
Close-up of cordwood walls
Postcard of the cabin when it was serving as the Pine Cone Tavern
Postcard of the cabin when it was serving as the Pine Cone Tavern

realtor.com

When the parents of the current residents bought the property in 1969, it was their family’s home. Their father used it as an art gallery, while their mother used the parlor for psychic readings.

The property once housed an art gallery.
The property once housed an art gallery.

realtor.com

It’s still in the family today. The second-generation owners are musicians, and have been filling the house with music for years now.

Nestled among towering pine trees, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a high, stacked fireplace of river stone, and a shingled, second-story addition above the original cord walls.

Living room
Living room

realtor.com

Clerestory windows and skylights allow for natural illumination, and pine cabinetry and paneling add to the cabin’s rustic Western feel.

Clerestory windows
Clerestory windows

realtor.com

Skylights over the kitchen
Skylights over the kitchen

realtor.com

There’s also plenty of decking outside, with stone stairs, walls, and pathways on the large lot.

Deck
Deck

realtor.com

Stone steps
Stone steps

Listed in July for $399,000, for the first time in decades, the property appears to have attracted a buyer at the price of $380,000.

The cabin feels remote, yet it’s only a few minutes away from Idyllwild’s galleries, restaurants, and shops. An authentic piece of the Old West in Southern California, it’s a portal to another time and place.

Source: realtor.com

The pandemic has caused a surge in demand for vacation homes

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have inspired more people to look at buying a vacation home, according to a new analysis of mortgage data by the online real estate brokerage Redfin.

In its analysis, Redfin found that mortgage applications for second homes jumped by 84% in January, compared to one year ago. And in September 2020, they surged by 118% year over year.

Taylor Marr, an economist at Redfin, said that although demand is down slightly in January from its peak last fall, the fact that there were nearly twice as many applications for a second-home mortgage as there were in the year before means that this is no fad.

“Many Americans have realized remote work is here to stay, allowing some fortunate people to work from a lakefront cabin or ski condo indefinitely,” Marr said.

The annual rise in second-home applications is more than double the increase in applications for primary homes, according to Redfin’s analysis. That has led to a rapid increase in the prices of homes in vacation hotspots, with many towns and cities seeing double-digit yearly growth. The high prices are partly due to the limited inventory of homes for sale in those places, Redfin said.

Jaime Moore, a Redfin real estate pro in Las Vegas, said that the desire for vacation homes there is as strong as ever. The problem, she said, is that inventory is so low that fewer people are actually able to find a home that meets their needs and budget, submit an offer and then apply for a mortgage on it.

“The market is still highly competitive, and almost all the buyers are people from the San Francisco area purchasing their second home,” Moore said. “The only time I see a buyer looking to purchase a primary residence is when they already live here in a rental, and they’re looking for something more permanent.”

Source: realtybiznews.com

A Points Collector’s Guide to Air France-KLM

Flying Blue is a joint loyalty program of two European airlines: Air France (headquartered at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France) and KLM (headquartered in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands).

In 2004, the two airlines merged and created a combined Air France-KLM Group. Both of the airlines are part of the SkyTeam alliance, which consists of 19 carriers.

Here’s what a strategic points collector needs to know and understand about Air France-KLM and its loyalty program, Flying Blue. We’ll cover how earning and redeeming works, how to get the maximum value from your miles, plus other facets that make this rewards program worth a second glance.

About Air France-KLM

Here’s a quick overview of a few key features of Air France-KLM.

  • Fare types: Air France operates aircraft with economy, premium economy, business class and first, or La Première, class. KLM operates service in economy and either World Business Class (on international routes) or Europe Business Class (on international or domestic routes within Europe) cabins.

  • Main U.S. routes: Both Air France and KLM cover quite a bit of the world with their routes. In the U.S., Air France flies to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas (seasonally), Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis (seasonally), New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. KLM operates service to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami (seasonally), Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, Salt Lake City (seasonally) and Washington, D.C.

  • Points currency and loyalty program: The two airlines’ joint loyalty program is called Flying Blue and it’s free to join. As a member, you’ll earn Flying Blue miles redeemable for award flights.

How to earn Flying Blue miles

Earn by flying

You can earn Flying Blue miles by flying on the following airlines and crediting the flights to Flying Blue. Note that the list includes non-SkyTeam partners of Air France-KLM.

When you fly partner airlines, the miles earned are credited based on the percentage of distance flown, which is calculated based on the fare code of a flight you purchase and vary by which partner airline you are on. You can click through the individual partner pages on the Flying Blue website to get specifics.

When you fly Air France or KLM, the miles you earn are determined by how much you spend on each ticket — minus taxes — and your elite status with the airline. Keep in mind, Flying Blue works in euros. In terms of an exchange rate, 1 euro has typically been worth $1.10 to $1.25 over the past five years.

Elite status

Earning rate

4 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

6 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

7 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

8 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

Flying Blue is an example of a revenue-based rewards program, at least on the earning side for Air France- and KLM-operated flights. The more money you spend, the more rewards you earn.

Earn by spending on credit cards

With the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®, Air France-KLM flyers will earn extra bonus miles and a statement credit after spending a set amount on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

After this initial welcome bonus, you’ll continue earning 3 miles per dollar spent with Air France, KLM and other SkyTeam airlines, and 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

Each membership year you spend $50 on the airline credit card, you’ll earn 5,000 anniversary miles that are automatically added to your Flying Blue account.

Earn by transferring points between programs

Perhaps the easiest way to get your hands on Flying Blue miles is by transferring flexible currency from one of the bank rewards programs. Luckily, Air France-KLM partners with all of the major transferrable point programs.

You can transfer the following points to Flying Blue:

Of all the flexible point programs listed above, we recommend using American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards® or Citi ThankYou Points as they provide the highest conversion rates.

Nerd tip: Occasionally, AmEx and Citi add bonus miles to point conversions. During these promotional transfer periods, the bonus can be as high as 30% more miles in your Flying Blue account, which can make certain mileage bookings really attractive.

Other ways to earn

  • Hotels: Earn Flying Blue miles on hotel stays at brands like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, among others.

  • Car rentals: Earn Flying Blue miles on car rentals made with car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget.

  • Shopping: Collect more miles when you shop with Batavia Stad Amsterdam Fashion, the Bicester Village Shopping Collection and Voyageurs du Monde.

  • Buy miles: In a pinch, you can buy Flying Blue miles starting at around $66 for 2,000 miles. Purchasing as many as 75,000 miles will set you back upward of $2,500. The program sometimes runs bonuses on mileage purchases.

Nerd tip: Since miles are always at risk of being devalued, we don’t recommend making speculative points purchases without a redemption in mind.

How to redeem Flying Blue miles for maximum value

Book award seats early

Flying Blue uses a dynamic-style chart for its award flights. In other words, redemption rates start at a certain point and can increase based on when and where you fly.

Flying Blue sells a certain number of award seats at the lowest redemption level before it hikes the rates based on demand. To find out what that level is, enter a city pair into the Miles Price Estimator and watch what comes up on your preferred route.

For example, say you want to fly from Salt Lake City to Budapest, Hungary. According to the Miles Price Estimator, the lowest redemption level is set at 24,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way ticket in economy and 53,000 miles for a one-way ticket in business class.

So if you’re flexible with your travel plans, look for dates when tickets are available at the low-level rates for mileage redemption.

Use Promo Rewards

One of the sweet spots of the Flying Blue program is its Promo Rewards. Every month, the airline releases discount routes for certain city pairs, and you can get up to 50% off standard award rates in economy, premium economy and business classes of service.

The promo page is updated the first day of the month, and you have the whole month to book a discounted flight for travel during a specific time period. Keep in mind that some trips sell out quickly — we don’t recommend waiting too long to snag one of these promotional fares if you see one you like.

Delta partner flights

Because Air France-KLM is an alliance partner of Delta Air Lines, use Flying Blue for the following mileage redemptions on Delta-operated flights.

  • U.S. to Hawaii: This redemption will set you back 35,000 miles on a round-trip ticket from the continental U.S. to the Aloha State.

  • U.S. to Mexico: Another great redemption that will cost you 29,000 on round-trip flights from the U.S. to Mexico.

Flying Blue’s elite status program

Think of reaching Flying Blue elite status like playing a game. The more experience points, or XP, you earn by flying Air France-KLM or their partners, the quicker you level up. The number of XP earned per flight depends on travel class and flight type.

Tiers

Flying Blue flyers are divided into four elite levels: Explorer, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Everyone starts at the Explorer level when they join the loyalty program, then members can make their way up as they fly.

Once you reach a status level within 12 months of being a member, you get the benefits associated with it for 15 months (unless you qualify for a higher tier in that time — then the clock resets). On the flip side, if you fail to re-qualify for the same status tier within 12 months, you’ll drop to the previous tier.

What status holders get

Here are the perks associated with each elite status level. As mentioned previously, Flying Blue works in euros. We’ve listed a typical range in dollars for comparison.

It’s worth mentioning that one of the desirable benefits of holding either Gold or Platinum elite status with Flying Blue is the ability to redeem miles for La Première awards — Air France’s first-class cabin. The redemption option isn’t available to Silver elites or Explorer members of the program.

What makes Air France-KLM unique?

Passengers flying in KLM’s World Business Class cabin receive a unique gift: a miniature Delft Blue house filled with jenever, a juniper-flavored drink of the Netherlands. The airline designs a new Dutch house every year and has presented these souvenirs to KLM premium-cabin flyers since the 1950s.

To add a porcelain Delft house to your collection, simply book an intercontinental flight in World Business Class.

The bottom line

Flying Blue may be a foreign loyalty program, but U.S.-based travelers shouldn’t overlook it.

Its miles are easily accessible via multiple transferrable programs, which means that pooling rewards into a single account when you’re ready to redeem miles for an award isn’t difficult.

Although the program uses dynamic pricing for its redemption rates, it still makes low-level awards available to those whose schedule is flexible. On top of that, transfer bonuses from certain bank programs can drop redemption rates even lower.

If you’re looking to fly a SkyTeam partner on an award ticket, consider Flying Blue and its redemption options.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

New store openings reveal unique partnerships – Home Accents Today

Home furnishings stores have opened in several states in recent weeks. Here’s a rundown.

Clic, a home décor and book store is opening at 85 Lafayette Ave. in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood according to the borough’s Brownstoner publication.

The store is located in the former location of Bird, which shuttered all of its stores in January. It’s Clic’s fourth New York location and ninth overall.

A Home Accents Today Retail Star is opening a new store concept in Bethlehem, Pa., according to reports from the Morning Call.

Plants + Vintage is opening on March 5 as part of a partnership between Steel City Plant Co. and Domaci, which was named a Retail Star in 2020. It will sell pet-friendly houseplants, home furnishings, gifts and more from its 551 Main St., suite 205 location.

A pair of national home décor retailers are moving into the Paddock Shops in Louisville, Ky., according to reports from the Louisville Business Journal.

West Elm and Pottery Barn are scheduled to enter the shopping center at 4055 Summit Plaza Drive. Pottery Barn is moving from Mall St. Matthews while West Elm is opening its first location in Louisville.

At Home is opening in San Jose, Calif., at the site of a shuttered Lowe’s Home Improvement store according to reports from The Mercury News.

The report says the store, which is slated to open later this month, is the first in the Bay Area and is located at 75 Newhall Drive in the Coleman Landings retail center.

The Country Cabin, which specializes in rustic home décor, furniture, gifts and more opened this month in Tyrone, Pa., according to The Daily Herald.

Owned and operated by Heather Caracciolo, the store is located at 908 Pennsylvania Ave.

A longtime retailer opened Gathering Thyme in Rockport, Maine, according to the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

Winona Elmore, who had previously owned a flower business, opened the store on Feb. 6. It specializes in dried flowers, wreaths, bundles of herbs, repainted furniture, crafts, candles gifts, and more.

Lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama opened a Tommy Bahama Home store at Market Street in The Woodlands, Texas, in January according to Woodlands Online.

The 10,000-square-foot showroom, located at 9595 Six Pines Drive, Suite 1140, is the brand’s third home showroom concept. In addition to Tommy Bahama-branded décor and furniture, it also offers product from Lexington, Barclay Butera and more.

Source: homeaccentstoday.com

Frank Sinatra’s Palm Desert getaway gets a price cut

Ol’ Blue Eyes’ Palm Desert hideaway is back up for grabs. The desert estate, which spans 7.5 acres in the rocky hills of Coachella Valley, just relisted for $4.25 million, down a quarter of a million from its last asking price.

Dubbed Villa Maggio after Frank Sinatra’s Oscar-winning role in the 1953 war drama “From Here to Eternity,” the secluded compound is perched at an elevation of 4,300 feet, providing a relatively cool escape from the desert heat below.

Sinatra helped design and build the compound in the 1970s, and though it’s been restored over the years, it still includes much of the tile and wallpaper that he chose back then. The gated estate holds three buildings: a five-bedroom main house, a three-bedroom guesthouse and a one-bedroom pool house with two saunas and a massive stone fireplace.

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Midcentury in style, the main house has a cabin vibe with warm wood and lots of stone in the living spaces. Dramatic beams hang over the great room, and stained-glass windows touch up a scenic dining area that expands to a covered deck with views of the rock-laden landscape below.

A similar design palette carries over into the guesthouse and pool house, and outside, amenities include a resort-style pool, lighted tennis court and helipad.

Sinatra, who died in 1998 at 82, sold more than 150 million records during his prolific music career. Hit songs by the leader of the Rat Pack, which included entertainers such as Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., included “Strangers in the Night,” “My Way” and “New York, New York.”

Markus Canter and Cristie St. James of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties hold the listing.

Source: latimes.com