AM Training Run Around the Willamette River

This is one of my favorite running routes in the Portland metro area. I met up with Jonas and Adam at 7:30 this morning and started off near OMSI. We headed over the Tillicum Bridge and back to continue on the Springwater Trail towards Oaks Park. It was a beautiful morning with a few people out , taking a nice easy pace as we made our way to and over the Sellwood Bridge. The trail continued on the West Bank of the Willamette River then it was  a fast run back over the Tillicum Bridge to our starting point. And all we ran for nine miles at a slow and steady 10 minutes per mile. With the half marathon just four weeks away this was a great way to get in some miles without trying to go for Speed. And by the time we finished at 9:45, it seems like everyone in Portland was out and about enjoying the beautiful weather and sunshine. I probably should have worn a hat or put on some sunblock, oops.

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Travel Strategies: Hotels Savings Part 1

One of the biggest expenses of traveling is accommodation costs.  Back in my youth, saving money was pretty simple — just find a youth hostel and get a bed in a shared dormitory.  I would still do this for sure, but now that I am traveling with Lisa, we definitely would rather share a room together instead of segregating ourselves to single sex dorms.  Cost wise, it usually isn’t that much more for us to share a room versus paying separately to stay in a dormitory.  Even better is when we discovered Couchsurfing, when the cost was zero and we often had our own room and a bed to share.  A few years ago we discovered Airbnb and had some great experiences using that platform.  Another option that we have had success is in using Priceline bidding and using Hotwire — doing some research usually allowed us to figure out which hotel we might get through those opaque hotel web sites.  However, over the past couple of years our biggest strategy of saving on hotel costs is by using the points offered by credit card sign-ups.  Case in point:  this Labor Day weekend we will be visiting San Francisco.  With a popular convention in town, rates at all properties are sky high.  Even using points would be pretty expensive.  Thankfully we still have three free-night certificates to use from our Ritz-Carlton credit card.  With an average rate of $436 per night, we are getting over $1300 in value from the credit card that we signed up for last year.  The only thing we had to do to get these certificates was spend $5,000 in three months, which wasn’t too difficult to do because we timed our credit card application to coincide with our annual payments for insurance premiums and other upcoming travel bookings.  All in all, using the points and perks offered by credit cards has been the best way for us to stay very cheaply in hotels.  Eventually one day we will run out of points, but tomorrow I’ll share another strategy that we have recently used to save money on regular online hotel bookings…

Travel Tip Favorites: Evaluating Hotel Points vs Free Night Offers

Ran into this article today and it is a great tool to help decide if you should go with the hotel points as a credit card bonus or if you should go with the free nights.  I came to this dilemma ad I recently applied for a Hilton Honors credit card.  The problem was figuring out if I should get the AMEX card that offered 100k points or the Citibank card that offered two free weekend nights.  Some Hilton properties can cost 100k point alone just for one night, so the better value looks like getting the Citibank card with the free weekend nights.  But after considering my upcoming travel needs, I decided to go with the AMEX card that offered 100k points.  I did this because it also offers one free Hilton reward night on account anniversary and I can be more flexible about redeeming the 100k points at cheap properties and at higher end ones.  In the end, I think I can squeeze out a little more value out of the 100k points instead of just the free weekend night certificates.  I could be wrong, but I’m okay with my decision and we’ll see how my points redemption works out in 2018.  Check out the article below…

 

Free Nights vs Free Points: What is Best?