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Old 03-28-2013, 09:42 PM   #181
CaliforniaGirl09
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OMG, I had no idea! How exciting that the trips have started already. I can't wait to hear. Hope there are some DISers on it
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:36 AM   #182
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You're right! The first Scotland trip started on Sunday! They're still on the trip, so there's still a chance we may hear something after the trip ends on Monday.

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Crossing fingers!

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OMG, I had no idea! How exciting that the trips have started already. I can't wait to hear. Hope there are some DISers on it
I know me too! If there are, they aren't on our roll call. The first group on this forum is going in June!
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:07 PM   #183
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We will pack 2 sweaters each! Thanks. Also, I am planning a side trip either before the ABD or after. We would like to visit Kinghorn, Scotland. It looks like it is under an hour train ride from Edinburgh.
Please post if you went on the March trip to Scotland. I think the Brave ABD starts in March...
The train to Kinghorn will travel over the Forth Bridge, it was considered lucky to throw a coin from the train into the water, they would mainly land on the track and be gathered up and donated to charity. Sadly I don't think the windows on the trains now open sufficiently to be able to do this. Lovely journey though.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #184
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Hi everybody! About 6 months ago I had mentioned that DH and I began "travel hacking" to earn airline miles so we could fly free or close to free and had earned 770K miles between us since booking this trip. We are now at over 1.8 million between the two of us. I remember answering a lot of PM's on how to start travel hacking. I was wondering if anyone else took the plunge and is also flying free or near free.

We did wind up having to change our flights and airlines since the United schedule kept changing. That's what I get for booking so early The last straw was our flight getting switched to departing Edinburgh to return home at 6 am We are on American and then British Airways now but still flying first class I will probably look like a dork taking pictures of my first First class flight but I will probably be too excited at the time to care much.

Thanks to the travel hacking thing we are staying at the Sheraton Spa and Resort in Edinburgh when we arrive on Aug. 1st. for one night on hotel points. One of the cards that earned us a 100K mile sign up bonus also gives automatic gold status at Sheraton which will allow us a 4 pm late check out! So we will be able to explore and then check out from there and check in at 3 pm into Witchery by the Castle for the next 2 nights I am glad this venture into travel hacking wound up with some unexpected bonuses besides all the airline miles
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:48 PM   #185
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I am so jealous of all your wonderful miles. I looked into some of it and wanted to do it, but we've been going through the refinance from hell, and I didn't want to screw up the credit scores with all kinds of new cards. You have inspired me, however, to be much more savvy about my card benefits. I'm definitely going to switch some around as soon as possible. I love Virgin Airlines, and I have over 100k of miles with them (and their AMEX card), but using them for int'l flights is really bad with the taxes. We ended up on Air France using no miles (but did get a decent deal on premium economy so that's okay). Next trip to Europe I vow to use miles! Be warned that I will probably pump you for info on our trip!

We're staying a couple nights at the Radisson before--I've stayed there before, and it's a great location on the Royal Mile. The only plans I have for the pre-trip are tentative. I hope the weather is good enough to climb Arthur's seat, and after being shut out my last two times to Edinburgh, I'm hoping to see Mary King's Close. We're also staying a day after, and I just made plans for touring the Fife area. One of the few places in Scotland I haven't been! I've been to St. Kilda but not St. Andrews, LOL.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #186
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I am so jealous of all your wonderful miles. I looked into some of it and wanted to do it, but we've been going through the refinance from hell, and I didn't want to screw up the credit scores with all kinds of new cards. You have inspired me, however, to be much more savvy about my card benefits. I'm definitely going to switch some around as soon as possible. I love Virgin Airlines, and I have over 100k of miles with them (and their AMEX card), but using them for int'l flights is really bad with the taxes. We ended up on Air France using no miles (but did get a decent deal on premium economy so that's okay). Next trip to Europe I vow to use miles! Be warned that I will probably pump you for info on our trip!

We're staying a couple nights at the Radisson before--I've stayed there before, and it's a great location on the Royal Mile. The only plans I have for the pre-trip are tentative. I hope the weather is good enough to climb Arthur's seat, and after being shut out my last two times to Edinburgh, I'm hoping to see Mary King's Close. We're also staying a day after, and I just made plans for touring the Fife area. One of the few places in Scotland I haven't been! I've been to St. Kilda but not St. Andrews, LOL.
You are right to hold off. Even the travel hackers say not to do anything if you are trying to finance a house or car. On the upside the few points it will affect on the credit score are temporary. Each new card will add to your available credit and lower your utilization ratio whcih eventually increases your credit score

We'd like to do Arthur's seat as well. I have realized there are other parts of Scotland I will probably want to see so I will put that on a future "to do" list. Exploring Fife sounds awesome! You can book the Mary King's Close tour online. We are booked for the tour on August 2nd at 11:00 am. If you do book online, don't forget to use a credit card that does not charge you foreign transaction fees Let me know if you need a list of cards that don't

Yeah the taxes and fees on some of the airlines You can get around some of those though if you are creative. Feel free to ask away for any tips or advice once you are ready I don't mind. We have a large group of friends that we have met here on the DIsboards on the cruise meet threads and now we regularly cruise together. 39 of us are all going to Alaska on the Wonder for the Aug. 4, 2014 sailing. We all have to fly to Vancouver so I am in the process of helping them "travel hack" too
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:54 AM   #187
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PM's sent to those who PM'd me about travel hacking last night.

Changing currency at the airport can wind up costing you an extra 27% So, I thought I'd go ahead and post a list of the credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees. I know some people have come back from their cruises and then had the unpleasant surprise of discovering their souvenirs wound up costing an extra 3 - 7% in foreign transaction fees

I also have read that many merchants in Europe will only accept credit cards with the EMV chip technology. Therefore, I have underlined the cards that have no FTF's and are also available with the EMV chip and signature/chip and pin by request.

Chase cards: Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, Ink Bold, British Airways, Southwest Premier, Hyatt Visa, Priority Club Visa, Marriott Premier, Ritz Carlton Visa, Fairmont Visa, J. P. Morgan Select, United Club Mileage Plus,

Amex cards: Platinum Mercedes Benz, Business Platinum, Personal Platinum,

Capital One: Venture, Cash Rewards, Spark Miles Select

Citibank: Thank You Premier, Thank You Prestige, Executive Aadvantage, Hilton Honors Reserve

PenFed: Platinum Cash, Platinum Rewards, Platinum Travel, Promise, Visa Gold

Barclays: Arrival

Bank of America: Travel Rewards

I hope some may find the information helpful.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:05 PM   #188
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Yeah the taxes and fees on some of the airlines You can get around some of those though if you are creative. Feel free to ask away for any tips or advice once you are ready I don't mind. We have a large group of friends that we have met here on the DIsboards on the cruise meet threads and now we regularly cruise together. 39 of us are all going to Alaska on the Wonder for the Aug. 4, 2014 sailing. We all have to fly to Vancouver so I am in the process of helping them "travel hack" too
Very cool about the large travel group--sounds very fun!

I'd love to hear hints if you have them on how to use Virgin Atlantic miles for travel to the UK without the taxes. I've looked into converting them, but it seems like VA is pretty restrictive on partners. I've also trolled the boards for info but haven't seen anything.

Great head's up for everyone on the transaction fee free cards. We have a Capital One card just for traveling.

I have a link to a chart somewhere with all the cards that do chip and pin. I went to a lot of trouble to try to get what I thought was a chip and pin for my VA Amex, but contrary to what the CS person told me, turned out to be a chip and signature, which IMO is fairly useless. If you want a card that will be guaranteed to work everywhere you need the chip and PIN. We travel to the UK quite a lot and the only time it has come up is in unmanned train stations in France--they only take chip and pins. Our chip and signature (and any regular US credit card) would not work. I've never had an issue otherwise, even in very remote areas and smaller villages.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:15 PM   #189
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Very cool about the large travel group--sounds very fun!

I'd love to hear hints if you have them on how to use Virgin Atlantic miles for travel to the UK without the taxes. I've looked into converting them, but it seems like VA is pretty restrictive on partners. I've also trolled the boards for info but haven't seen anything.

Great head's up for everyone on the transaction fee free cards. We have a Capital One card just for traveling.

I have a link to a chart somewhere with all the cards that do chip and pin. I went to a lot of trouble to try to get what I thought was a chip and pin for my VA Amex, but contrary to what the CS person told me, turned out to be a chip and signature, which IMO is fairly useless. If you want a card that will be guaranteed to work everywhere you need the chip and PIN. We travel to the UK quite a lot and the only time it has come up is in unmanned train stations in France--they only take chip and pins. Our chip and signature (and any regular US credit card) would not work. I've never had an issue otherwise, even in very remote areas and smaller villages.
Thanks we always have a blast cruising together!

I'm afraid I won't be much help on the Virgin Atlantic miles. I have been concentrating on earning miles with airlines that are within 2 of the 3 global airline alliances, One World and Star alliance. VA isn't part of a global network. Even my cards that earn points that transfer to airline miles are focused on transferring to airlines that are part of one or more of the global airline alliances to maximize my flexibility. So, I'm not too familiar with VA. I imagine the Virgin Atlantic forum on Flyer Talk would be a wealth of info though!

The one "avoid exorbitant taxes" tip I know is with British Airways Avios which normally carries huge surcharges to fly on internationally. Wonderful for flying domestic though! You can transfer BA Avios into an Iberia Avios account that has been open at least 3 months. Then use the Avios to fly Int'l on Iberia. There are still taxes and fees but waaaaayyy less than on British Airways.

Yeah, most USA EMV capable cards are chip and signature. However, the Penfed ones do have real chip and pin. From what I have read the chip and signature works almost everywhere except for some unmanned kiosks like at a train station in Paris that you mentioned. I also read that sometimes it will work at an unmanned kiosk if you enter the pin assigned for cash advances but it still shows up on your statement as a purchase not cash advance. Also, read entering 0000 sometimes works. I doubt I will be going anywhere that a chip/sig card wouldn't work. None the less, I will probably pick up a PenFed Platinum card before leaving just to cover my bases. No annual fee, no FTF, chip and pin plus earn 5 points per dollar on gas. Not bad!

Here is the Google doc spreadsheet CLICKY HERE from Flyer Talk with the list of chip and pin and chip and signature cards. I like that it shows which cards have no FTF's and what the annual fees are if any
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #190
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Here is the Google doc spreadsheet CLICKY HERE from Flyer Talk with the list of chip and pin and chip and signature cards. I like that it shows which cards have no FTF's and what the annual fees are if any
That's the link I was looking for! Thanks for saving me digging through my bookmark list, LOL. I'd seen the British Air maneuver when I was googling for Virgin. I've had some bad flights on BA and absolutely LOVE Virgin, but I might have to switch because I can't stomach burning all those miles and then paying taxes on top of it!
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:05 PM   #191
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That's the link I was looking for! Thanks for saving me digging through my bookmark list, LOL. I'd seen the British Air maneuver when I was googling for Virgin. I've had some bad flights on BA and absolutely LOVE Virgin, but I might have to switch because I can't stomach burning all those miles and then paying taxes on top of it!
You're welcome! I haven't flown BA before each of my last few trips to the UK have been on other airlines. This will be another first. I wasn't too happy with the taxes and fees either but it was still less than an economy round trip flight to get to fly in first Hopefully it will be a good experience on BA for us!
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:55 AM   #192
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Hi guyshope you all have a wonderful vacation here in Scotland... Remember we can get all four seasons in one day so pack well!
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:27 AM   #193
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perfect just like michigan!
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:17 AM   #194
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Just found this part of DIS today. I'm from Edinburgh and have extensively travelled over the UK, so should anyone want any help feel free to ask.

I worked in Upstate New York quite a few years back and the one thing I really missed was seeing Edinburgh Castle. It still takes my breath away even though I have lived here all my life.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:24 PM   #195
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Just found this part of DIS today. I'm from Edinburgh and have extensively travelled over the UK, so should anyone want any help feel free to ask.

I worked in Upstate New York quite a few years back and the one thing I really missed was seeing Edinburgh Castle. It still takes my breath away even though I have lived here all my life.
Welcome to the ABD Forum, Groovee. (Love the name!) I remember the first time I saw Edinburgh Castle. Quite impressive. I do need to go back!

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