Chase Freedom Card Disappoints with Its Most Recent 5% Bonus Categories–No Costco!

I carry and use the Chase Freedom card for occasional purchases, because I am an avid bonus points collector. In the past year, I have traveled from Chicago to: Mexico (four times); Oklahoma City (twice); Dallas; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (twice); and New Orleans (twice) ALL FOR FREE due to bonus points that I got from purchases or from signup bonuses (those signup bonuses were earned on three different CHASE cards). I still have over a thousand dollars in my point bank toward future travel. Each quarter, the Chase Freedom card offers a 5X bonus offer for purchases from certain types of stores. Last quarter was restaurants and movie theaters. The quarter before that, it was drugstores and grocery stores. Traditionally, the final quarter of the year is devoted to warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam’s club. Disappointingly, the most recent quarter, which started yesterday, October 1, 2017 is Walmart and department stores.

For me, this is a big disappointment. Last year, I purchased gift cards at Costco. With the 5% bonus on those purchases, it was like getting a 7.5% refund on each and every purchase. That is because I transfer all the bonus points from the Chase Freedom card to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which gives a 50% bonus toward travel if you purchase your tickets using points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. So a $100 gift card at Costco (which could be used for anything at Costco, including gasoline), would earn me 500 bonus points (100 points times 5, because it was in the bonus category), which is worth $5.00…but when transferred to Chase Sapphire Reserve, that $5 would buy $7.50 in travel.

I predict many customers will be disappointed that warehouse clubs were not included in the bonus categories this Christmas. I don’t shop at Walmart and I honestly can’t remember the last time I visited a department store.

I Got a Refund from Airbnb for a Cancellation in Austin Due to Hurricane Harvey

About a month ago I made reservations on Airbnb to stay in a cute little apartment in Austin, Texas, over the weekend of Gay Pride, which was scheduled for August 26th and 27th. I was planning to drive down from Dallas on Friday the 25th after work and drive home on Sunday. As that Friday approached the ominous forecast about Hurricane Harvey looked like it might put a damper on things.

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was to news stories about the imminent threat of the hurricane as it approached the coast. People were evacuating Houston, and Austin was under alert for heavy rains, flooding, and loss of electricity, . . . → Read More: I Got a Refund from Airbnb for a Cancellation in Austin Due to Hurricane Harvey

Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

Put simply: NO

The first thing I would tell you is that you DO NOT NEED TO BUY ONE OF THE PASSES—especially as a first-time visitor. The first time I was planning to attend, I worried about this and wondered if I should spring for one of the VIP packages at the Bourbon Pub, but please rest assured: you do not need a pass. Each venue has its own calendar of events for that weekend, and they each try to make it seem like you need a pass (guaranteed admission! No waiting in line!), but you can have a great time without ever attending any of those events. There are several websites . . . → Read More: Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

I love New Orleans! It is honestly my favorite city to visit in the United States. The culture, the food, the architecture, and the feel of the place make it a wonderful place to spend a few days or a week, absorbing a culture that is unique to this awesome city. But there are some things you might want to know, and some things that you can take with you that will make your trip that much more enjoyable. I will put a list of items at the end of this article, but I first wanted to point out a few things you might not think of.

The first thing to know . . . → Read More: What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

Basis by Elysium Health: My Experience After One Year

I previously wrote a post when I started using Basis by Elysium Health exactly one year ago today. I wanted to update with my experience using this product over the last year. My old post includes a link to request a working coupon code that will give you a FREE month with your first order–with a prepaid subscription of 6 months or longer. FYI, the discount will not show up in your cart until AFTER you have created an account by entering in your address, email address, etc.

My experience has overall been quite positive. It is a bit odd to try to quantify this, since it is almost entirely subjective. I . . . → Read More: Basis by Elysium Health: My Experience After One Year

Pure For Men Is Not a Scam, but It IS a Rip-off—Save Your Money!

If you have opened Grindr or spent much time looking at the gay press lately, you have probably seen some ads pop up for a new product called “Pure for Men”. It is a product that promises to “Keep your runway clear for landing” (a clever tag line—these guys are great at marketing—which is good, since the success of their product is mostly due to that marketing). Pure for Men is basically a bulking laxative that promises to make your bowel movements more easily and completely eliminated from your body, leaving your lower colon “clean”—and ready for bottoming. No more enemas or shower wands—several customers have said they just shower and . . . → Read More: Pure For Men Is Not a Scam, but It IS a Rip-off—Save Your Money!

Gay Guys on Dating Apps are So Sensitive

Guys on dating apps are so sensitive. They don’t seem to understand that it can’t always be a match. When I have to turn someone down, I always do it politely by saying “Sorry”, and then I go the extra step of following up with an “I statement” that makes clear that it is about me and not them. They never seem to appreciate my polite gesture. For whatever reason, “Sorry, I am not desperate” always sends them over . . . → Read More: Gay Guys on Dating Apps are So Sensitive

Baderbräu Brewery Taproom Now Open in the South Loop/Bronzeville Neighborhood of Chicago

The taproom at Baderbräu Brewery has finally opened after months of delay. I work nearby, and I have been keeping my eye on it for a year now. I was finally able to stop by and try a beer this afternoon and I enjoyed the space. The taproom does not offer food currently, but they do have menus available from several local area restaurants that will deliver. They had 10 beers listed on tap (only Baderbräu brews, no guest taps currently), but I believe that only 8 of them were actually available. Three of the beers were available in cans: Baderbräu Pilsener, South Side Pride, and High Noon, their hefeweizen. The . . . → Read More: Baderbräu Brewery Taproom Now Open in the South Loop/Bronzeville Neighborhood of Chicago

On Fat-Shaming Wentworth Miller and Taylor Lautner in the Gay Community

I was inspired by a post I read by out gay actor Wentworth Miller last month, in which he broke down the things that were going on in his personal life at the time a photo was snapped of him that showed some weight gain. The photo was later turned into a cruel meme. He revealed in his powerful letter that he had been suicidal at the time the photo was taken. It is a visceral, emotionally raw piece of writing, and it is well worth a read.

A few weeks later, I saw another fat-shaming meme, but this time aimed specifically at the gay community. It featured young heartthrob Taylor Lautner . . . → Read More: On Fat-Shaming Wentworth Miller and Taylor Lautner in the Gay Community

The Best Dishwasher for a Small Apartment–I Love this Thing!

When I was looking for a new apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, I saw many options at many different price points, based primarily on size and amenities. I consider a dishwasher a non-negotiable, must-have item, though, because I absolutely hate to do the dishes, and I hate having them clutter up the sink or counter. I had previously rented a beautiful vintage apartment that came without a dishwasher, and on that occasion, I solved the problem by purchasing a full-size roll-away dishwasher. I later sold it on Craiglist for almost what I had paid for it, when I moved to an apartment that came with a built-in dishwasher.

My favorite . . . → Read More: The Best Dishwasher for a Small Apartment–I Love this Thing!

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