Everyone in the points and miles game has heard of Chase’s lucrative Ultimate Rewards (UR) program. These UR points can be earned on a variety of Chase proprietary cards and combined to form a large pool of points. These points are highly valued because not only can they be transferred 1:1 to many other programs, but if you have a premium Chase card, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents or 1.5 cents each on travel purchases, depending on which card you have.
Who would pass up the opportunity to see a volcano rising out of lush rainforest? Certainly not me. After waking up on our first full day in Costa Rica only about an hour late and quickly having breakfast at the hotel, we began our three hour drive to Arenal Volcano National Park in northern Costa Rica.
Hilton Honors is an often undervalued program that many bloggers seem to find inferior to other hotel loyalty programs. While its top-tier Diamond status doesn’t come with some of the perks such as guaranteed late check out or confirmed suite upgrades, the Hilton portfolio can offer a great value for those that travel with them frequently and know how to utilize their points.
I live by the tried and true finance method of the international traveler: use no foreign transaction fee credit cards as much as possible and withdraw cash from a local ATM with a no fee ATM/Debit card. Since Costa Rica is both plastic-friendly and American Dollar friendly, you shouldn’t have issues converting anywhere in the country. Make sure you have some cash if you’re driving though, as toll booths don’t accept card, but will gladly accept Colons or Dollars.
Do I really need to spend extra money on rental car insurance coverage? Despite being a very frequent traveler and car renter, I asked myself this question before my trip to Costa Rica. I pride myself in being an expert traveler who knows pretty much everything there is to know about travel, personal finance, credit, and loyalty programs. However, on this occasion, I had found myself scouring the internet and reaching out to friends and co-workers to understand the rules in Costa Rica.
This piece was originally published in The GEAR, volume LXXXIX, No. 2, Spring 2010
Experts in the travel and tourism industry have determined that there are two main reasons why leisure travelers travel: the first is to seek familiarity; the second is to seek novelty. In our current economic condition, we find more travelers seeking familiarity than novelty. We hear the terms “ daycation” and “ staycation” regularly, and gone are the days of expansive trips across Europe and Asia.
I am a novelty seeker.