Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vacation?

I've been thinking I should take a vacation. My life is so terribly stressful, I need it.

Ok, if you're reading this, you probably know me well enough to know that that's ridiculous. But I've got a ton of Starwood points* and Continental miles saved up that I think it is about time to burn. Ostensibly, this savings was intended for my honeymoon, on the off chance I got married. However, as the real chances of me getting married in the next 4 years are under 10% (and probably more like 1 or 2%), obviously holding my SPG points risks very significant devaluation over that time frame.

So where should I go? Most everyone reading this is probably more cosmopolitan than I am, so do tell. Keep in mind that I live in fricking Buenos Aires, so it has to be competitive to here.

My early favorites are South Africa (weak currency), India (still relatively cheap, I think, and an interest of mine for the last 6 years or so. If they can ever stop being socialists, they'll be the world's next hegemon), Bora Bora Nui (I don't even know where this is but it's supposed to be one of Starwood's star (ahem!) resort properties), and New Zealand/Australia (ldo). For the record, I'm planning on taking a trip to the beaches in Brazil during the spring-ish time, and if I have cojones (and convince a friend to go with me) then I may spend a week in Rio or Sao Paolo.

Areas I'm not interested in going: Europe (bad timing, but I'd go from the UK to Greek isles to the Ukraine), Asia (although I am intersted in some of the central Asia -stans), places with strong currencies vis a vis the dollar.


* If you pay for stuff with your debit/credit card and don't have the Starwood American Express, then there's something wrong with you. Seriously. Let me put it this way: the girlfriend of a friend of mine here is a relatively senior manager with American Express in Buenos Aires, and she was impressed when I pulled out my Starwood AmEx. "That's what every person I work with has, because everyone knows it is the best credit card out there." Yes, it is. She was correct, but I didn't realize that everyone in the industry knew it too.

For reference, I have immediately cut up the Corporate AmEx cards provided to me by former employers. Even after they pay the Membership Rewards fee for me ($85ish or so?) it's still -EV (expected value) to switch to Membership Rewards. Anyone who doesn't have a Starwood AmEx is leaving significant money on the table. If you're interested, I'll refer you to the best sign-up offer out there.

5 comments:

Jenn said...

I pay for everything with my Border's Visa, Matt has a Continental Visa. Convince me on the Starwood AmEx.

Betty said...

Amen, the Starwood Amex is the best card if you travel. Starwood hotels are the best!! I got to stay at the Hotel Bristol (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=89) for free w/ my Starwood points last year! :)

Nik said...

I don't stay in hotels when I travel, but if it has other rewards, I'd listen.

Additionally, you could always travel to South Africa for the World Cup in a couple of years, but again, serious devaluation because of the wait.

Evan said...

If you prefer airline miles, then it earns you airline miles at a faster rate than any of the airlines cards. (and much faster than a horrible card like capitalone).

i've found that being able to stay in hotels for free is nice. saves you quite a bit of money.

FYI -- South Africa is pretty much out. Part of the reason to take a vacation is to escape having 2 winters in a row, and SA will be in winter. Grr.

Christi said...

I've been to New Zealand, message me on facebook or email if you want details I DEFINITELY think it's worth a visit... given, at this point I'm a good 6 months behind on your life so if I'm too late and you've already traveled somewhere then I will find out in a few mins as I read the rest of your blog...