You’ve probably been seeing theterm “quiet luxury” trending on social media ever since Sofia Richie-Grainge shared her lavish South of France wedding with nosey TikTok users in April. The ceremony, and the quiet luxury aesthetic as a whole, made waves for its mix of minimalism, modesty, and old money for a subtly chic look. But you can still be over-the-top about your opulence in a classy way, and the recent resurgence of the “timeless glamour” home decor trend is proof.
When you picture your dream house, what do you see? If upscale touches like marble finishes, gold metallics, and velvet furniture are a must, you may be drawn to timeless glamour decor without even knowing it. According to Ursula Carmona, a Style Expert for HomeGoods, timeless glamour gets its name from embracing all the “luxury, sparkle, and sophistication that comes with living a glamorous life.” The grand decor style puts an emphasis on “tried and true” design elements, including everything from fur throws and marble accents to crown molding and other ornate architectural touches.
Timeless glamour falls under the larger style umbrella of glam, per the expert. And while glam has “always been around and will continue to be around,” the style has definitely taken influence from other popular design themes, including earthy-glam and micro-luxury. “With this combo of timeless styles and glam touches, we saw that classic designs will always be a constant in fashion, home decor,and more,” Carmona tells Bustle.
You may not be getting married in the South of France anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean implementing timeless glamour into your home is out of your reach. To live a life of luxury, the style expert recommends keeping things simple in the bedroom by mixing neutral bedding with eye-catching textiles like silky sheets or a faux fur throw for an added layer of flair. Carmona also suggests incorporating velvet tufted benches and sophisticated ottomans to give the room a “classic traditional touch,” and adding subtle decor pieces like gold lamps will make such a difference in your space, too.
To timelessly glamorize your home even further, you’ll need a stunning dining room set up that looks like it’s been ripped straight out of a mansion. Sleek dinnerware and glass goblets are a good place to start and don’t forget to incorporate some touches of marble within your table settings, too. Lastly, to complete the look, you’ll need a crystal chandelier — a timeless glamour staple.
If you’re ready to turn your home into a perennial luxury paradise, check out these timeless glamour-esque pieces from HomeGoods.
This faux fur throw is trendy and cozy.
Whether you use it as an extra seating option or for decor purposes only, this gold-accented bench is sure to tie the room together.
Everything in your home can be timeless glamour-ready, including your ottomans.
Add some light and style to your space with these gold crystal-based lamps.
These bookends are perfect for showing off your books and your style.
You can’t have a successful dinner party without a matching set of glass goblets.
Put your desserts on display with this marble serving tray.
Nothing makes for a better decor piece than a chandelier.
If you’re looking for even more guidance on how to incorporate the style into your home, Carmona recommends being “almost excessively lavish with finishes like marble, crystal, unlacquered brass, furs, and other upscale luxury items. Every piece should have a sophisticated elegance to it!”
A cool train, a fun daytrip and a great excuse to get dressed up in 1940s-era attire and hit the rails — my interest was immediately piqued.
When the team at TPG heard about the vintage train cars the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey runs up the Hudson River Valley from Manhattan to Albany, New York, we had to try it out for ourselves. Having now made the journey with TPG social media staffer Capri Whiteley, I can wholeheartedly say that climbing aboard these old-timey trains is absolutely worth it.
If this old-fashioned experience sounds like it may be a good fit for you, then read on for everything you need to know about Hudson River Rail Excursions.
What are Hudson River Rail Excursions?
Operated by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey, Hudson River Rail Excursions trains run from New York’s Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station to the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station in upstate New York. Passengers get a two-hour layover in Albany before turning around and going straight back to Moynihan Train Hall. The whole trip, which includes a stop in New York’s state capital, takes about nine hours to complete, making for a solid daytrip.
The original railroad — The New York Central Railroad — launched the 20th Century Limited, which ran from New York to Chicago in 20 hours, way back in 1902. Interestingly, the 20th Century Limited literally invented the red carpet to differentiate its flagship service a few decades after it launched.
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Two cars that were saved from the wrecking yard — the Tavern-Lounge No. 43 and the Hickory Creek, which was the model featured in all the company’s promotional materials in the 1940s — are now used for the Hudson River Rail Excursions trains, and Capri and I were lucky enough to try out both on our trip back in time.
What it’s like on Hudson River Rail Excursions
Boarding the train is a bit like transporting yourself back to the 1940s. The 20th Century Limited’s famous red carpet greets you as you approach the two historic cars attached to the back of an otherwise normal Amtrak train, and you’ll find some passengers donning formal attire similar to what would’ve been worn in the ’40s.
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My coworker and I quickly found ourselves feeling like we’d entered another time period once on board. The experience was truly immersive, right down to the slightly musty smell and colorful retro decor you’ll only find on an old train car from the 1940s.
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Inside the classic cars, you’ll notice a variety of seating arrangements, many of which can be adjusted throughout the journey. We especially loved turning the chairs to face the windows after pulling out of the stations so we could take in the stunning Hudson River views.
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During the ride, passengers learn all about the train’s history from the staff. Our host Kevin Phalon and every waiter we encountered were a joy to interact with, as they provided all kinds of interesting tidbits that made the journey even better. It really was exceptional service on par with what you’d expect in the 1940s.
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For an even more elevated experience, passengers can reserve a spot in the more expensive car. At the end of the train, this car has wraparound windows, so you can take in the gorgeous scenery on all sides of the tracks.
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Food and drinks on Hudson River Rail Excursions
One of the train’s many highlights during our outing was its dining.
Waiters in vintage white jackets and black bow ties serve a variety of drinks and dishes as you traverse the rails.
Due to the low passenger count on these cars — no more than 70% of seats are sold so riders can comfortably spread out — the staff can more easily provide individualized service and attention. We immediately picked up on this while on board, receiving nothing but excellent and warm service.
Come hungry for your ride, as you’ll have numerous options to choose from.
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For lunch, we tried the Tavern-Lounge No. 43’s sandwiches, including one with salmon salad, another with grilled chicken breast, an option with meatloaf, a classic Italian sub, a vegetarian wrap and a BLT featuring smoked turkey. All were delicious, as were the homemade potato chips served on the side. To wash down your meal, you can pick from various sodas and nonalcoholic drinks without incurring any additional fees.
If you wish to imbibe during your journey, pay for a seat in the pricier Hickory Creek car, where a selection of beer and wine are complimentary. Hickory Creek passengers also enjoy a four-course meal — including a cheese course, a salad and an entree like flounder Meunière, red wine-braised short ribs or cheese ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes — and plusher seats.
Regardless of which car you choose, you’ll have a nice selection of hors d’oeuvres available for the journey home. On our ride, we were offered caprese skewers and deviled eggs with salmon on top. Warm cookies were a welcome sight as the end of our trip approached.
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An afternoon in Albany
An added bonus of this journey is the opportunity to spend a few hours in Albany, a highly underrated city.
After making the short trip from the train station to downtown Albany, which lies just across the Hudson River, we decided to venture to the state capital for a quick tour and the observation floor at Albany’s tallest building, Corning Tower, to get the lay of the land from above.
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Our short Albany layover ended with a visit to the New York State Museum, which had all kinds of displays about New York City, including a moving one dedicated to 9/11. Unsurprisingly, my favorite exhibit ended up being one with a vintage subway car.
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Booking Hudson River Rail Excursions
Now for the bad news: This trip to the past is one hot ticket. In fact, Hudson River Rail Excursions have sold out in just minutes in the past and aren’t currently available.
We booked tickets for our May departure in February when tickets first went on sale. At the time, prices for rides in the Tavern-Lounge No. 43 car ranged from $149 to $179, depending on the day of the week. Meanwhile, the fancier Hickory Creek car cost between $347 and $379 per ticket. All proceeds go to the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey.
Passengers who want to book future journeys should join the email list so they receive an email when the dates for 2024 are announced. We expect tickets will quickly sell out again next year, so you’ll want to be sure to opt into the email list and be ready to purchase your tickets as soon as they become available.
You may need a little luck on your side to snag seats on this vintage train, but after experiencing the daylong trip for ourselves, we feel it’s well worth the effort.
Views of the spectacular Hudson River Valley and entertaining conversations with fellow train enthusiasts made it an adventure to remember. Not to mention, all the free food and drinks we tried were tasty, and the complimentary lounge access in the terminal was much appreciated. The few hours you get in New York’s capital make for a fun excursion, too.
When I asked Phalon, our host from the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey, what his favorite part of the vintage train experience was, he answered “the people” without hesitation.
“I’ve now done the train ride a million times, but the people are very eager to learn,” he added. “We have you here for a daytrip, and then we teach you something.”
Having become quite a train addict myself since coming to TPG and going on a father-son adventure on the Alaska Railroad, a Brightline journey in Florida and a ride across the Pacific Northwest on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line, I completely agree with Phalon. The experience on board is what makes train travel so special.
While I understood how nice riding the rails can be long before this particular trip, our Hudson River Rail Excursions adventure cemented that sentiment even more.
I definitely recommend adding this one to your bucket list — it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Elite airline status can deliver frequent flyers a lot of perks, including free checked baggage, priority boarding access and even complimentary upgrades.
United Airlines has four published elite status levels. Of these, Premier Platinum is the second-highest tier. Here’s a look at United Platinum benefits, how to earn this status and how much it’s worth.
United Premier Platinum perks
United’s MileagePlus program provides those with elite status a variety of benefits intended to make flying simpler and more lucrative. Here’s what you get once you reach Premier Platinum status:
9x miles on flights. For every eligible dollar spent on airfare, members will earn 9 United miles.
Free checked bags. Premier Platinum members get three complimentary checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each.
Priority check-in. Take advantage of the Premier Access check-in desk, where it’s available.
Priority boarding. Members and their companions receive Group 1 boarding.
Priority security. In airports with priority screening, Premier Platinum members have access to faster security.
Free same-day changes. Free confirmed changes to other eligible flights within 24 hours of boarding.
Better seating. Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating for the member and up to eight companions when booking.
Unlimited, space-available complimentary upgrades. Upgrades to first class begin clearing at 72 hours before your flight.
Instant upgrades on eligible fares. Those purchasing a Y or B fare class will receive an instant upgrade to first class if space is available.
United Club membership discount. A $50 discount off the regular annual cost of a United Club membership.
Access to sold-out flights. Ability to purchase Y-fare-class flights up to two hours before departure.
PlusPoints. Platinum members receive 40 PlusPoints per year, which can be used to confirm upgrades to premium cabins starting when you book.
More award availability. Those with Platinum status and above have access to better award availability for premium cabins.
Waived fees. Fees charged for booking by phone are waived.
Star Alliance Gold status. Includes benefits such as free checked bags, lounge access, priority check-in and more on eligible partner alliance bookings.
Avis elite status. Complimentary Avis President’s Club elite status.
How to earn Premier Platinum elite status
To earn Premier Platinum status with United, you’ll need to complete the following requirements within a calendar year:
Fly at least four segments with United or United Express.
Complete 36 premier qualifying flights (PQFs) and earn 12,000 premier qualifying points (PQPs). If you don’t meet the PQF threshold, you can qualify by earning 15,000 PQPs instead.
A PQF is determined by the number of flights you’ve taken with United or a partner airline. Each segment within an itinerary counts as a flight, so if you have a layover on a one-way trip you’ll receive two PQFs, whereas a nonstop flight would earn you one PQF.
The amount of PQPs you’ll earn is determined by the cost of your ticket (base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharges), along with certain eligible upgrades you can purchase.
Award flights are eligible to earn PQFs and PQPs. Each flight segment is worth one PQF, and you’ll earn one PQP per 100 miles redeemed for your itinerary.
How much is United Premier Platinum status worth?
How much is United status worth? In general, airline elite status relies pretty heavily on luxury benefits such as priority check-in and faster access to phone agents that don’t have a price tag attached to them.
However, there are quite a few included perks you would otherwise generally have to pay for, such as checked bags, an upgraded seat and lounge access.
In our analysis of major U.S. airlines, NerdWallet ranks United Platinum second among similar high-tier statuses. It trails behind Alaska’s MVP Gold 75K, which provides a 63% return on spend in our calculations.
Premier Platinum status, meanwhile, provides a 49% return on your investment.
According to our analysis, it costs an estimated $12,658 to earn Platinum status. For that investment, you’ll receive perks worth roughly 49% of that amount, or $6,235.
What else you need to know
PlusPoints upgrades can be incredibly valuable. Upon earning status, Platinum members receive 40 PlusPoints, which can be used to confirm upgrades on flights ahead of time.
Although it’s possible to use those 40 PlusPoints to upgrade two domestic flights to first class (they cost 20 PlusPoints apiece), it’s generally a far better value to use these for a long-haul international flight.
It costs as few as 40 PlusPoints to upgrade from an economy class long-haul flight to United’s Polaris business class, which features a lie-flat bed, superior food and drink options, and even pajamas.
Even better, there’s no limit to which flights are eligible, which means those 40 PlusPoints could be used on the longest, most expensive flights, where the price difference between economy and business class can be thousands of dollars.
United Platinum status is valuable
Although it takes work to earn elite status with an airline, it can often be worth it, especially if you travel often. This is the case with United’s Premier Platinum status, which provides a bevy of benefits to those who invest.
Along with perks such as free checked bags, better seating and complimentary elite status with other partners, Platinum members receive 40 PlusPoints, which can be used for incredibly valuable international business class upgrades.
(Top photo courtesy of United Airlines)
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 2023, including those best for:
Yes, your home tells your story and yes, it has a lot to say about your personality.
Now that we’ve gotten that one out of the way, let’s also jump past common situations like I live in a rental or I still live with my parents. Even if you haven’t gotten a chance to decorate your own dream home yet, there are still many aspects in your current home that make it yours.
Are you a neat freak or the type that finds order in chaos? Either way, without going into detail, your home is a quick tell of whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. Customize and personalize your home so it will tell the truth about you. Write your own story before others do.
Let’s see some of the major telling signs of personality traits your home is sending out.
Your overall messiness or cleanliness
A lot of studies point to messy people being more likely to be creative. It appears that they can come up with better ideas in a messy environment. Obviously people can also assume you’re just lazy…. it depends on who’s judging.
On the flip-side, if you’re obsessed with cleanliness, empty counters and organizing everything around the house, you’re likely to be a Type A personality.
This means you’re outgoing, organized, love a seamless appearance and prefer aesthetic to function.
Experts have also taken their research up a notch and found that orderly people have the messiest sock drawers. The explanation for this would be that they are more concerned with prioritizing and organizing more important parts of their lives. Well… nobody’s perfect. 😅
The plain truth is that most of us can’t keep our houses spotless all the time.
But if you are one of the rare few with no hidden messes, you may be a fairly more anxious person trying your best to control everything in your environment.
The color palette you choose
As you probably know already, colors have particular connotations and they can tell a great deal about your personality.
The colors you choose for your walls, furniture or other decorations will set the mood inside your home and can show others if you’re a fiery or more of a laid-back person.
Or let’s oversimplify nicely: gold belongs to the luxurious one; red is associated with passion; green is mostly chosen by adventurous people who love nature; yellow shows positivity and optimism; blue is for the chilled one; black belongs to the deep thinker; pink is mostly chosen by joyful and loving people, purple by daring ones and so on.
Apparently, choosing a neutral palette means that you are a peacemaker, but white in particular says that you are a confident person. Who knew?
Window treatments and decorations
This is a good one! You’ve definitely passed by a house with long drapes and blinds that are always shut.
You instantly know that the person who lives there is not that chatty and wants to be left alone. They’re the ones most likely to say “I’m not buying anything, go away!”
On the other hand, if you choose window treatments in light or bright colors, you may be a joyful person who loves natural light and open spaces.
Displaying some pretty flower arrangements in your window will not only show that you’re a happy person, but also that you’re willing to share your happiness.
If you have more than enough stand-alone chairs, couches, bean bags and so on, you’re most likely a social person that loves having people over as often as possible.
You clearly love entertaining and care about your guests’ comfort.
Introverts have the tendency to have less seating places. Their home is their sacred shelter, it’s intimate and it’s usually designed to fit their needs.
Art display and accessories
Art décor and accessories can tell stories about our lives — they talk about places we’ve been, things we like to do and showcase our passion for art.
You know your host is an art lover or an artist when there are paintings and interesting sculptures all over the place. People can easily draw the conclusion that you’re a family person if you display lots of pictures with your family members.
Also, if you love decorative decanters, candles and untouched fine china, you’re probably very ambitious and you know that small things make a big impression.
Whether you’re a collector or you simply like showing others what you’re interested in, accessories are a great way to add uniqueness to your home.
Barndominiums have certainly come a long way since their introduction to the residential real estate market.
Today, these mostly rural residences that offer a combination shop and living quarters under one roof have gained in popularity, not only for their open floor plans, but also for their enormous spaces.
Often located on large parcels of land, the barn houses don’t have to be bland. In fact, we found five on the market that have raised the bar for both country style and ultraluxe add-ons.
Offering lots of space and less maintenance than a traditional home, the barndominium is now one of the hottest home styles on the market. Once considered an affordable alternative to conventional construction, many are now outfitted with luxury amenities.
From a resort-style home on 110 acres in Texas to a Colorado beauty with mountain views and a private airstrip, here are five luxurious barndominiums on the market that completely redefine the idea of country living.
Price: $659,900 Magnificent in Mississippi: This recently transformed home sits on just under 16 acres.
The four-bedroom barndominium was completed in December 2022. It boasts a great room with a gas fireplace, custom built-in shelves, wide-plank floors, and window walls to let the natural light soak in.
The stylish eat-in kitchen offers a huge island with seating, a walk-in pantry, and a gas cooktop. The primary suite on the main level features a soaking tub and shower. Three more bedrooms can be found upstairs, and there’s a covered patio out back.
The enormous workshop area can also accommodate two cars.
Price: $2,500,000 Extra-large living: This barndominium is proof that everything is bigger in Texas!
Sitting on 110 acres, the six-bedroom home boasts three entrances from the road, two full kitchens, and an outdoor oasis. With two separate entry doors, the residence could be used as two separate domiciles that connect through a hallway.
On one side, there’s a primary bedroom, living room, and kitchen with a butler’s pantry. The other side has a chef’s kitchen that opens to the pool area, a living room, two dining areas, and four bedrooms upstairs.
The separate, 2,400-square-foot shop has a full bathroom and can fit an RV.
The property includes an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, a pool and spa, and a fire pit.
Price: $779,900 Modern in Michigan: This expansive, five-bedroom home gives new meaning to open-concept living.
The 4,271 square feet of space boasts 18-foot-high ceilings, exposed beams, and a large loft. Sliding barn doors, oversized windows, and sliding glass doors can be found throughout the bright and airy space.
The two-story great room features a loft area and a wall of windows overlooking the backyard. The upscale kitchen boasts a walk-in pantry and two enormous islands, including one with a prep sink.
The primary suite is on the first floor and has a walk-in shower with dual rain showerheads and a soaking tub. A floating staircase from the living room leads to four more bedrooms. There’s an oversized garage and a separate shop area with a bathroom.
Built in 2021, this barndominium sits on a 21-acre wooded lot.
Price: $1,499,999 Take off in Colorado: This 7-acre property offers the opportunity to live, work, and fly.
The 6,744-square-foot barndominium comes with a private airstrip. The open floor plan features a spacious living room with a high ceiling and a gas fireplace. The bright kitchen is equipped with stainless-steel appliances, quartz countertops, and a large island with seating. The dining area is surrounded by windows overlooking the covered patio with a fire pit. There’s also a separate office area, and the recreation room has a wet bar and pool table.
The workshop includes a bathroom, infrared-ceiling heat, and five garage doors. The listing notes that its construction allows for a future conversion to an airplane hangar.
Price: $1,500,000 Sweet country home: This 3,757-square-foot open floor plan features custom cabinets, copper sinks, and wood beams.
The enormous living area has a cathedral ceiling and abundant windows. The modern kitchen boasts four ovens, a granite-top island with a breakfast bar, and a farmhouse sink. The walk-in pantry has space for an additional fridge or freezer.
The primary bedroom has sliding barn doors with direct access to a covered patio. The en suite bathroom has a soaking tub and gas fireplace.
The oversized shop area comes with two overhead doors, plus an outdoor covered area. The price was recently reduced by $150,000.
The 19-acre picturesque property has a creek running through it and includes storage sheds and a fenced area for animals.
Dennis Lehane, whose dark and twisty novels have won him accolades, is looking for a buyer to write him an offer on his lovely Los Angeles home. The asking price is $3,295,000.
Lehane penned “Gone, Baby, Gone” and “Mystic River,” among other titles. He purchased the property in 2020 for $2,395,000 and could make a bundle, if he lands anywhere near a full-price deal.
The almost 4,700-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bath, Mediterranean-style dwelling is situated in the sought-after Kentwood neighborhood.
The home sports a traditional interior design, with some strong California-casual vibes. Light and airy rooms, large windows, a white palette, and soft textures give the space a sleek, upscale aesthetic.
A fireplace and elegant mantle grace the living room, while the kitchen is well-outfitted with a huge island, wine fridge, and seating for five. There are also double sinks, quartz countertops, and stainless steel appliances.
The main bedroom is a serene retreat with a large walk-in closet, marble bathroom, and a soaking tub beneath an opaque window.
The home is made for entertaining, thanks to a personal screening room, flex room with yoga-studio potential, and a wet bar on the lower level.
A courtyard behind the home offers a lagoon-style pool, spa, and patio with stone detailing, all flanked by swaying palm trees. Massive hedges cocoon the rear area, smartly hiding it from prying eyes.
With more than a dozen novels to his name, Lehane has also put his talents to work on the small screen. He was a staff writer on the hit series “The Wire” and a writer-producer for “Boardwalk Empire.”
Lehane has even helped fellow writers with their television adaptations, including one for Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes.” His latest novel, “Small Mercies,” is out now.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most rewarding of Southwest Airlines’ personal credit cards, offering a $75 annual Southwest credit and 7,500 anniversary bonus points. With a healthy sign-up bonus and the most benefits of any of the airline’s offerings, this is the card to get if you’re a Southwest loyalist. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Southwest Airlines has a legion of fans — largely due to its flexible change/cancellation policies and offering two free checked bags for all passengers. Unlike other airlines, Southwest doesn’t offer lounges, premium cabins or even seating with extra legroom. But it does offer a full suite of cobranded credit cards to help frequent flyers fulfill their Southwest travel goals.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal credit card in the Southwest lineup. It offers hundreds of dollars in value with Southwest each year, and its current sign-up bonus offers a healthy point bonus.
But are its benefits valuable enough to warrant the $149 annual fee? And is now the right time for you to apply? Let’s find out.
Southwest Priority Card Welcome offer
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card currently offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points plus a 30% off promo code after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. TPG values Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, meaning 60,000 points are worth $900.
This is the first time Southwest has offered a promo code as part of a sign-up bonus on a credit card. The code will appear directly in your Southwest.com account within eight weeks of meeting the spending requirement. It can be used — only once — on a single one-way or round-trip Wanna Get Away, Wanna Get Away Plus, Anytime and Business Select fare, and is available for use until October 31, 2024.
Given it is a single-use promo code, it would be best to save this for a more expensive ticket. You’ll get the biggest savings when using the code for round-trip travel and/or during peak travel periods like the summer or the holidays.
Note that the welcome bonus will count toward earning the carrier’s venerated Companion Pass, which typically requires 135,000 points in a calendar year.
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Related: 13 lessons from 13 years’ worth of Southwest Companion Passes
All Southwest cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), you may not be approved. Also, you can’t open a new personal Southwest card if you currently have one open or if you earned a sign-up bonus in the past 24 months on any personal Southwest card.
Earning points with the Southwest Priority Card
Here’s what you’ll earn with the Southwest Priority card:
3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases.
2 points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, including rideshare apps.
2 points per dollar on internet, cable and phone services; select streaming.
1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
This is a wide variety of bonus categories compared to other airline credit cards, though top travel cards are typically even more lucrative.
Related: The best rewards credit cards for each bonus category
Redeeming points with the Southwest Priority Card
Redeeming points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is very straightforward. Southwest award prices are directly tied to the cash value of the ticket, meaning the number of points you need for a flight will fluctuate, but you’ll rarely encounter times when you can’t use your points. Plus, if your plans change, you can redeposit your award without penalty.
While Southwest’s Rapid Rewards points won’t help you fly in first-class suites, they can provide great value. For instance, you can fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago-Midway (MDW) for just 8,091 points one-way, depending on the time of year. Meanwhile, other airlines often charge 10,000 miles or even more (assuming you can find availability).
If you book during one of Southwest’s flash sales, you could score awards for less than 2,500 points one-way. You can even fly to fun faraway destinations like Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico with your Southwest points.
Southwest Rapid Rapid Rewards Priority benefits
The Southwest Priority card offers the following benefits:
Anniversary bonus: Each year on your card-opening anniversary, you’ll receive 7,500 Rapid Rewards points, worth about $112, based on TPG’s valuations.
Annual Southwest travel credit: During each cardmember year, you’ll receive a $75 travel credit that can be used on most Southwest purchases, including tickets (but excluding upgraded boardings and inflight purchases), dropping the card’s actual cost to $74.
25% inflight savings: Receive 25% back (as a statement credit) after you use your card to purchase inflight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging and movies.
Tier qualifying points boost: Earn 1,500 TQPs that count toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for each $10,000 you spend in a calendar year.
In addition to the Southwest-specific benefits, the card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection. The card has no foreign transaction fees, and the annual fee is $149.
Which cards compete with the Southwest Priority Card?
Southwest Airlines currently offers three personal cards — all with the same sign-up bonus. Thus, it can be difficult to choose the right one.
If you want Southwest benefits with a more modest fee: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has the same welcome bonus but extra perks to justify its $99 annual fee. These include 6,000 anniversary bonus points, 2 EarlyBird check-ins per year, 25% back on inflight purchases and 1,500 TQPs towards A-List status for each $10,000 spent on the card. For more details, read our full review of the Southwest Premier card.
If you want a Southwest card with an even lower annual fee: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus has a $69 annual fee and an anniversary bonus of 3,000 points. You’ll also receive 2 EarlyBird check-ins every card anniversary. For more information, read our full review of the Southwest Plus card.
If you want points you can use with Southwest and other airlines: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer 1:1 to Southwest — as well as a wide range of airlines — for making flight redemptions. You’ll get numerous travel protections, a $50 annual hotel credit and robust earning categories, and the card has a $95 annual fee. For more information, read our full review of the Sapphire Preferred.
For more options, check out our full list of travel credit cards.
Related: Comparing the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Premier, and Plus Credit Cards
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card worth it?
If you fly Southwest at least a few times each year, you will come out ahead with the Southwest Priority Credit Card. The card’s everyday earning rates aren’t the most lucrative out there, but impressive built-in perks like upgraded boardings, a $75 annual travel credit and a 7,500-point anniversary bonus easily make up for it.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most rewarding of Southwest Airlines’ personal credit cards, with a solid sign-up bonus and the most benefits of any of the airline’s offerings. If you fly Southwest often, it’s the card for you.
Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Benét J. Wilson, Jennifer Yellin, Joseph Hostetler, Christina Ly and Ryan Smith.
Replacing worn or outdated furniture and household items can be fun and uplifting. But many new mass-produced items, sometimes referred to as “fast furniture” sold at big-box chain stores, are usually made with cheaper composite materials or chemical stain repellants that will off-gas once they are in the home. Off-gassing is the airborne release of chemicals and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs (architecturaldigest.com/story/what-is-off-gassing).
Much like trendy “fast fashion” clothing, fast furniture isn’t made for durability. Once worn or broken, these items are typically destined for the landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in 2018, the most recent data available, 9,680 tons of furniture was landfilled, up from 2.2 tons in 1960 (tinyurl.com/5xhk999p). Because new furniture is often manufactured overseas, it generates carbon emissions from being shipped across the globe.
For those that want to circumvent mass-produced furniture, home décor and kitchen items, buying used items from local thrift and resale stores is a good place to start. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, with locations in Franklin, Wauwatosa and Greenfield (milwaukeerestore.org), offers used furniture, lighting, building materials, home accessories and more. Proceeds from ReStore sales go toward Habitat for Humanity’s affordable home ownership programs.
Thrift stores such as Value Village, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul, each with multiple locations through Milwaukee, carry furniture and home décor. Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood is a haven for shops selling used furniture and home décor: Spectre Vintage (437 E. Stewart St.), Tip Top Atomic Shop (2343 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), R Vintage N More (2653 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), Ormson Supply (2866 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), BC Modern (3116 S. Chase Ave.) and Good Land Antiques (3391 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.).
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Also on the South Side, Dupree’s Vintage (915 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee) has furniture and home decor. Walker’s Point is home to several antique sellers such as Dime A Dance (1134 S. First St.) and Farm Girl Art & Antiques (803 S. Fifth St.). On the north and west sides of town, Dandy (5020 W. Vliet St.), D&R Affordable Used Furniture (5718 W. Center St.) and A-1 Furniture & Appliance (5601 W. National Ave.) offer used furniture. Out in the suburbs, there’s Antique 2 Modern Used Furniture (13819 W. National Ave., New Berlin).
Some resale stores are only open during select hours, so call ahead.
New Wares Made Sustainably
Sometimes resale and thrift stores don’t always have what we’re looking for. When seeking sustainably made new items, The Sustainable Furnishing Council recommends looking for seals of third-party certifiers, such as Forest Stewardship Council, to be sure wood used to produce the items is sourced in an environmentally sound manner. Look for furniture with little to no VOC finishes, and textiles made from natural fibers (sustainablefurnishings.org/content/questions-to-ask-answers-to-look-for).
Sustainably minded stores in the Milwaukee area that sell new furniture and home décor include La Lune Collection (930 E. Burleigh St.), founded by interior designer Mario Costantini. His collection of rustic wood seating, cabinetry, beds and more are crafted by hand in Wisconsin by skilled artisans. La Lune harvests only fast-growing and invasive wood species, and products are made as ordered.
Il Bosco (225 S. Second St.) offers environmentally conscious furniture and home goods, and repurposed or upcycled handmade stools, tables and shelves. Olsen House (4326 N. Oakland Ave.) features a curated collection of blankets and pillows, kitchenware, holiday items, vases and planters by artisans, and furniture designers with a focus on Scandinavian aesthetics.
For kitchenware and household décor, Ursa Milwaukee (2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) and Sparrow Collective (2224 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) has glassware, art, mugs and tea towels made by eco-conscious artists and small producers. Murray Hill Pottery Works (2458 N. Murray Ave.), a pottery studio with classes and workshops, has a small retail space with artists’ products like plates, mugs and home décor.
Green Life Trading Co. (1039 S. Fifth St., in the former Glass Pantry space), and natural foods grocers Beans & Barley (1901 E. North Ave.) and Outpost Natural Foods (multiple locations) carry kitchen items and gadgets made from recycled or responsibly sourced materials, and fairly traded items. Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace & Education for Peace (219 W. Main St., Waukesha offers fair trade dish cloths and gifts.
New Zealand has long been on my bucket list, so when the opportunity to spend a night in Auckland presented itself, I jumped on it.
Although I would have liked to stay longer than 24 hours, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Park Hyatt Auckland. Given the property’s modern feel and its relatively cheap cost in points, I’ll absolutely be returning.
There aren’t that many Park Hyatts in the world; fewer than 50 are either open or being built. The Park Hyatt Auckland is a great deal when it comes to these top luxury properties.
As a World of Hyatt Category 5 hotel, a night here can cost as few as 17,000 Hyatt points at off-peak times. I spent 20,000 points for a standard night. The room I booked would have cost just over $400 in cash.
If you have Globalist elite status with Hyatt, you might get upgraded when you visit, as I did. Although the hotel was almost fully booked, I was able to score an upgrade to the best-available room, which featured a harbor view and a balcony.
The Park Hyatt Auckland levies additional charges on payments made with credit or debit cards. In this case, I would have paid a 2% surcharge if I hadn’t used points to book.
The Park Hyatt Auckland is centrally located on the city’s famous harbor. Several shops, boats, cafes and more are within walking distance, making it a great option for those without a car.
My room was ready when I arrived at the hotel just after noon, a few hours before standard check-in time. It looked to be among the first they’d cleaned, and I was thrilled not to have to wait around in the lobby, even though it looked very sleek.
The room included state-of-the-art features such as automated window shades and external screens on the balcony. And the view was incredible.
The room featured one large king bed, a separate table with a chair, and a seating area.
There was also a paid minibar at the entrance, though I didn’t partake.
The large balcony had a nice table with a couple of chairs, though the low height meant staring through the fencing, which was awkward.
Inside the walk-in closet were a pair of robes and slippers, which I used while in the room.
However, the most remarkable feature was the bathroom, which was separated into two distinct areas.
The first area was a stand-alone powder room with its own sink and a toilet, while the main bathroom featured a huge soaking tub, two marble sinks and a shower.
Toiletries in the bathroom were by Citron and Vetiver. I don’t often use hotel toiletries, as I find the quality pretty low (even at really nice hotels), but these smelled nice and were good enough to detangle my hair.
I spent the majority of my time in Auckland in the room, catching up on work, so I deeply appreciated the chocolate bar left on the bed.
A few minutes after I arrived, I was also surprised with a welcome amenity of Pavlovas with cream and lemon curd. It also included two additional bottles of water.
I’m not ashamed to say these freebies constituted my dinner for the evening, especially since the Park Hyatt Auckland doesn’t have its own executive lounge.
Food and beverage
Globalist members and their guests receive complimentary breakfast at Hyatt hotels, either in the club lounge or the hotel’s restaurant. As there was no club lounge, instead I enjoyed breakfast at Onemata, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
Globalist members are entitled to both the breakfast buffet and an entree from the menu, as well as hot drinks.
Breakfast hours vary based on the day:
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
I’ll admit, I went a little wild.
The buffet wasn’t huge, but it included high-quality items such as:
Burrata with tomatoes.
When was the last time your local breakfast buffet came with kiwifruit, a caprese salad, avocado toast and locally produced chocolate milk? I rate this one a 10 out of 10.
I also ordered eggs Benedict from the main menu, but didn’t end up eating much of it. I blame the chocolate milk.
The hotel also has a few other dining options, including a lobby bar and a quick-service spot:
The Living Room: Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Pantry: Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., or 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on the day of the week.
Captain’s Bar: Open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on the day of the week.
The Living Room, which is essentially a lobby bar, looked like a great place to take in the view over drinks.
Otherwise, Onemata is also open for lunch and dinner.
The pool area isn’t huge, as you’d see at a resort hotel, but that’s expected given that you’re in the middle of a city. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with its great view.
The pool area is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For those looking to get in a workout, the hotel gym is open 24 hours and has a wide range of equipment, including treadmills, free weights and resistance machines.
How to get to the Park Hyatt Auckland
New Zealand is an interesting beast when it comes to flights. It’s decently connected to the U.S. with nonstop flights operated by Air New Zealand, United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and more.
If you’re looking to travel with points or miles, one solid option is using Virgin Atlantic points to fly on Air New Zealand. A one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Auckland costs 62,500 Virgin points. Although these seats can be hard to find, Virgin Atlantic points are easy to earn compared with other airline award currencies. They’re transfer partners with the following points programs at a 1:1 ratio:
The Park Hyatt Auckland is located about 13 miles from Auckland’s airport. Trains from the airport into the city stop a little over a half-mile from the hotel, but I opted to take a rideshare since I had luggage with me. The ride took about half an hour and cost around $35.
If you’re looking to stay at the Park Hyatt Auckland
I spent just over 24 hours at the Park Hyatt Auckland, and I was very impressed overall. Although I didn’t manage to snag a suite upgrade, the modern amenities and generous breakfast made it well worth my while.
Coupled with the incredible location and reasonable cost in points, this is one property I’ll be happy to revisit.
(Top photo courtesy of Hyatt)
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 2023, including those best for:
All right, let’s get this out of the way, right up front.
Dining alone in a restaurant is neither a shameful thing nor an experience to avoid.
Maybe you’ve had an experience like Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Sometimes a server does make a fuss, but, really, most are happy you’re there — if you are happy to be there, yourself.
There’s an art to the solo dine. In the right frame of mind and with reasonable expectations, a solo diner can have a delicious experience.
It helps if you like to eat, of course.
These tidbits should help the reluctant learn from my own mistakes. Know thyself, dear diner, and feel free to enjoy a great meal, regardless of situational solitude!
Solo Dining 101 Ok, so the moment finds you hungry, sans social engagement. What to do?
Let’s start with a basic tenet: you’ve got to dispel any insecurity you might have about your right to eat alone.
American culture is a little crazy about food. As a result of what we’ve been taught, some of us feel self-conscious about enjoying eating, especially in public. But the fact is, we’ve all done it.
Confidence is key, here. If you find yourself wondering whether others in a restaurant are looking at you or judging your presence, remember they’re really more interested in the cannelloni.
Location, location, loca… Where you choose to sit in a restaurant has perhaps the greatest impact on whether you’ll enjoy your solo dining experience.
It’s up to you to share your seating preference: want to be situated in eaves-dropping distance of an interesting-looking group of folks? Prefer to pass the time in a more secluded area? Unless the joint is really jumping, any friendly establishment should be happy to accommodate your pleasant request.
Read the restaurant Ah, this is important. I like to know a little bit about a place before I go there, just so there are no unpleasant surprises.
When you know the details – like how much the food costs, or that there will likely be patrons dressed to the nines – you can adjust your expectations. I’m not saying you should feel compelled to conform, but know the general guidelines. The point of the solo dine is for you to enjoy yourself.
Your meal on mobile (or, the smartphone connection) Here’s a call: to eat while connected, or no?
A meal alone certainly gives you a chance to catch up on emails, fave websites, and memes you’ve yet to have the time to embrace. Or you might want to cherish a few moments to yourself, entirely disconnected from the grind.
When I’m feeling digitally social in these situations, I like to philosophize by text with a friend who likely won’t respond right away. (Do you have those, too?) I might describe the scene, the people, the food. It’s sort of like talking to myself in the presence of another, online. I’ll hear what my friend has to say later, but, for now, I just want to put my impressions out there — and I want to enjoy the food.
What if you want to be social? Just because you arrive alone to a hip eatery doesn’t necessarily mean you wish to stay that way. Again, it’s up to you to signal your intentions.
Your body language tells the tale about whether you want to engage with other diners. A seat taken at the bar is a reasonable give-away, too.
The Staff and the Solo Diner Servers are generally friendly to those dining alone; ones who are frustrated about the desire for a larger table (and tip) really only spite themselves, if they take these feelings out on the solo diner. I choose to be super-nice to servers, but I tip based on the bill and the quality of service received — generally no more merely because I happen to be eating alone.
Enjoying a food scene with friends is one of the great pleasures in life, but there’s no rule that says it’s the only way to experience a restaurant. Go ahead, muster up your courage: “table for one, please.”