Search found 461 matches

by rjbraun
Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Attending] The U.S. Open
Replies: 3
Views: 325

Re: The U.S. Open

Any recommendations or things to see while you're out there? I'm planning to go to the women's final in a few weeks! The US Open grounds are pretty nice to walk around between matches or if you arrive early. We went to "Flushing Chinatown" for dinner last year, after our day at the Open. ...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NYC- Where to buy a good quality sofa or sectional?
Replies: 7
Views: 424

Re: NYC- Where to buy a good quality sofa or sectional?

Your friend could try cb2, Crate & Barrel's less expensive "sibling". I've been pleased with my cb2 purchases -- no sofas but a dining table and some smaller furniture pieces. There are a couple of cb2 showrooms in Manhattan that your friend could visit to try things out -- one store i...
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone with experience taking a voluntary (pre-retirement) break from employment?
Replies: 28
Views: 3256

Re: Anyone with experience taking a voluntary (pre-retirement) break from employment?

We're spending a few months abroad early next year to tinker with a business, stay warm and learn Spanish. It's through work/FMLA so I'll likely go back unless something better pops up. Would you please elaborate on how FMLA has enabled you to create what sounds like a fantastic opportunity? I've t...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone with experience taking a voluntary (pre-retirement) break from employment?
Replies: 28
Views: 3256

Re: Anyone with experience taking a voluntary (pre-retirement) break from employment?

We're spending a few months abroad early next year to tinker with a business, stay warm and learn Spanish. It's through work/FMLA so I'll likely go back unless something better pops up. Would you please elaborate on how FMLA has enabled you to create what sounds like a fantastic opportunity? I've t...
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manhattan Hotels that offer two single beds in a room. Need to book.
Replies: 13
Views: 1210

Re: Manhattan Hotels that offer two single beds in a room. Need to book.

Another alternative: book a room with ONE bed (of any size) and ask for a rollaway bed. Those are usually only about $20, I think. This sounds like a good idea. Based on my experience with hotels in general, not specific to Manhattan, the standard furniture arrangement seems to be double beds or la...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

There are so many options in good looking, quick-dry clothing that are easy to rinse out in the sink or shower and wear the next day. What brands or styles do you like? I have lovely silk tops I bought when I was living in a very humid part of Asia. They are well over a decade old but have held up ...
by rjbraun
Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

Thanks for the insight; I am in the market to get new bags for light travels. Are those both carry on bags? They look a bit bigger to me. The Patagonia bag is definitely designed as a carry-on. MLC stands for Maximum Legal Carry-On. As noted elsewhere in this thread, airlines seem to be increasingl...
by rjbraun
Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

Now that this post has shifted to wheel-free, backpack-convertible luggage, I'll ask the question that's been on my mind: why do you prefer the Rick Steves model to Patagonia's? Good question! First, the model of MLC I have is ten-or-so years old. They've tweaked and redesigned it since then, and s...
by rjbraun
Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

If you are going for the "no checked bags" method, I recommend you skip the wheels and just get a duffel or backpack. Yup. I'm a huge fan of "travelpacks", aka "convertible carry-ons". They're basically soft-sided carry-on bags without wheels, but with backpack-style s...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - transfer points between cards
Replies: 5
Views: 528

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - transfer points between cards

Thank you all for the helpful feedback. I knew there was something to be aware of about the different cards, and I suspect it's this issue with the Freedom card not being a "premium" card the way Ink and Sapphire Preferred are that I was trying to recall. Great to know. There are no redemp...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - transfer points between cards
Replies: 5
Views: 528

Chase Ultimate Rewards - transfer points between cards

Reality check -- I have a Chase Ink Bold card and recently got a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I plan to transfer my point balance from Ink Bold to Sapphire Preferred and then cancel Ink Bold to avoid the annual fee. Is there any reason not to do this, assuming that I'm fine giving up use of my Bol...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

As for weighing luggage, I think the domestic carriers are getting serious. In late June, we saw the person ahead of us at Jet Blue frantically pulling stuff out of her luggage. ... She then put it back on the scale, and the rep said it was "close enough", and she stuffed a bunch of thing...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

JupiterJones wrote:[*]Much easier to deal with escalators, stairs, cobblestone streets, curbs, etc.

And MUCH QUIETER going over cobblestone
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Poland (Gift ideas)
Replies: 12
Views: 777

Re: Traveling to Poland (Gift ideas)

Are there any things that the Denver area is known for that you could give (or get gifts tied to)? That was my thought too. Something unique to your area. For example, if it were me, coming from Tennessee, I'd bring Moon Pies or Goo Goo Clusters or some Jack Daniels BBQ sauce or something. (Not sur...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Poland (Gift ideas)
Replies: 12
Views: 777

Re: Traveling to Poland (Gift ideas)

Whatever you get, you probably want something easy to pack and travel with (e.g., non-breakable) and something that isn't so discrete as to be obviously only for one person (as opposed to a family ... so, a t-shirt could be problematic while a box of candy less so (except it's not so healthy). Are t...
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carry on luggage
Replies: 87
Views: 6286

Re: Carry on luggage

I was recently surprised that Air Berlin has an 8kg weight limit for carryons so going for light weight might be a consideration. Wheels are nice in the airport but do add weight. We got stopped with the 8 kg limit this summer on Emirates. I was also over at 9.5 or so, but the agent only took issue...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking advice in a hostile office now
Replies: 43
Views: 6787

Re: Seeking advice in a hostile office now

Aren't many jobs "at will" from the employers perspective? So a company can fire anyone at any time for whatever reason. I'd probably take what they are offering (if anything), possibly with legal representation just to be cautious. But absent a contract, most employees have minimal "...
by rjbraun
Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NY Times column (Frank Bruni): "A Prudent College Path"
Replies: 7
Views: 1536

NY Times column (Frank Bruni): "A Prudent College Path"

College admissions and enrollment decisions seem to be a popular topic on this forum and understandably so. While this is not an area of immediate concern to me, I did find the attached column interesting. That public higher-education can offer excellent value is not a surprise to me, but I wasn't a...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)
Replies: 206
Views: 14179

Re: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)

Have they had better promotions in the past that I should try to wait for? I thought I've typically earned 50k AA points as a sign-up bonus. CitiBusiness was available with a 50K bonus for $3K spend until very recently. Thank you! I'll try to keep an eye out for that offer again. I typically try to...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)
Replies: 206
Views: 14179

Re: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)

I have been staying away from Chase lately since I hit them hard earlier this year. I'll probably wait at least a few more months before trying to get anything else from them. We'll see. But there are always other options. I still don't have a CSP but I will be waiting for a few months to request i...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)
Replies: 206
Views: 14179

Re: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)

I have been staying away from Chase lately since I hit them hard earlier this year. I'll probably wait at least a few more months before trying to get anything else from them. We'll see. But there are always other options. I still don't have a CSP but I will be waiting for a few months to request i...
by rjbraun
Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Replies: 6
Views: 950

Re: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Regarding the no-fee Chase Ink Cash card, I guess I could get 5x with my cell phone, but I don't have cable or a car so it's probably less compelling for me. I think my initial thought would be to cancel the Ink Bold card, in an effort to simplify things (unless there's a good reason not to). I don...
by rjbraun
Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Replies: 6
Views: 950

Re: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Last time I went to cancel this card they waived the annual fee for a year. I don't think I asked for that directly, but I kind of raised the annual fee coming up in one of my recent conversations, I believe. They didn't seem to hint that they might waive it, but it may be worth asking outright. Th...
by rjbraun
Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Replies: 6
Views: 950

Re: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Last time I went to cancel this card they waived the annual fee for a year. I don't think I asked for that directly, but I kind of raised the annual fee coming up in one of my recent conversations, I believe. They didn't seem to hint that they might waive it, but it may be worth asking outright. Th...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Replies: 6
Views: 950

Chase Ink Bold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

I got a Chase Ink Bold Visa card about a year ago and recently paid the $95 annual fee. I was initially told that I would have 90 days to cancel for a full refund, but the phone rep said just now I have 180(!) days. Whatever is the correct window, I don't want to cut things so close but just want to...
by rjbraun
Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Airline flight booking
Replies: 22
Views: 3125

Re: Airline flight booking

I like google.com/flights quite a bit, but I've found it's also helpful to keep an eye on other air travel sources. Twitter can be very helpful on that front; pick some favorite sites / people, like thepointsguy.com, and follow their tweets. We flew Emirates to Italy (Milan - MXP) last year and will...
by rjbraun
Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying in NYC
Replies: 28
Views: 3054

Re: Buying in NYC

I didn't notice that NY prop taxes were low. They are the same or higher than in Texas for similar square footage homes. The NYTimes has extensive reporting and articles on the NY real estate scene. Presumably, you already keep up with reading the Times. NY and NYC goes through periodic real estate...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 404636

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

I am trying to make a rewards-based reservation on United Airlines as follows: 1) IAD-FRA 2) FRA-NRT 3) ICN-DCA From what I've read, I can treat it as a round trip Washington ( IAD/DCA ) to Tokyo ( NRT ) with: a) stop over in Frankfurt ( FRA ) and b) open jaw at the destination, i.e., arrive to Tok...
by rjbraun
Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [New Member Observations- Covered Calls, Financial Advisors]
Replies: 227
Views: 20355

Re: Observations from a first time poster, long time reader.

5) My 65k in income is divs plus call premiums, not total return. How much of the $65k is from dividends and how much from call premiums? I understand the difference between the two (also have professional investment management background) and am not clear why you would "bucket" both into...
by rjbraun
Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Career Advice needed!
Replies: 20
Views: 2240

Re: Help! Career Advice needed!

Would it be useful for her to contact a recruiter? Perhaps, they can help get her through the door? I think if she got interviews, she would have much better luck landing something. Account Management/Sales would be a good career path for her, and so would business/IT analysis. Stuff like Confluenc...
by rjbraun
Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus
Replies: 8
Views: 1296

Re: Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus

Update: Citi AAdvantage card: I called Citi to cancel my card today. The woman was nice :happy and got me to reconsider. Basically, she offered to issue me a $95 statement credit to match the annual fee, as long as I spend at least $95 in the next two billing cycles. I also stand to receive an addit...
by rjbraun
Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus
Replies: 8
Views: 1296

Re: Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus

I'll probably renew my United card that I got last May for one more year. I'd planned to use it for one trip where the fee would have been paid for by the baggage fees, but it turned out not to be the optimal routing for that trip this year vs. last year. I have multiple business cards with primary...
by rjbraun
Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus
Replies: 8
Views: 1296

Decision process to keep credit card after initial bonus

I've read posts saying, I believe, that if you cancel a card it can result in a small hit to your credit score, though I believe the hit is only temporary. Assuming one doesn't plan to apply for a mortgage or similar anytime soon, is the potential hit so significant? I've got a Citi AAdvantage card ...
by rjbraun
Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

I think I follow what you're saying. So, I can transfer UR points to my Amtrak Guest Rewards (GR) account and then use the points for free Amtrak travel. That means I could transfer 4000 UR points and receive 4000 GR points, right? That's good for one free one-way regional ticket on the Northeast c...
by rjbraun
Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

Thank you, yes I think I knew that (at least the part about transferring, I never thought either way about a possible fee). I haven't actually used any of my UR points, so I'm not exactly sure how it works. I guess I'm kind of BH-ish with points programs in that I tend to like to accumulate and not...
by rjbraun
Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10+ M, age 49, seeking wisdom regarding retirement
Replies: 61
Views: 10931

Re: $10+ M, age 49, seeking wisdom regarding retirement

I won't have $10m (certainly at age 49 and maybe ever) but regardless in my mid to late 40s I might have enough to contemplate the same questions. My plan is to try to work part-time, while wife continues to work part-time, one of us keeping health insurance. Our kids will be young teens and I thin...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

I guess that makes sense, I've always kept my airline points after I've cancelled a card. I must be fixated on my Chase ink bold card which will reach its one-year anniversary soon, and I'll need to take action there or risk losing those points. You may already know this, but you can also transfer ...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adult Music Lessons
Replies: 30
Views: 2592

Re: Adult Music Lessons

I pretty much agree with what everyone wrote. Of course, it depends on where you live and other factors, but I think $80-100/month is too low. I paid $75/lesson weekly, and I think my teacher undercharged (which she also acknowledged -- experienced teacher with BA and MA from top music conservatory)...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

tedclu wrote:star points don't expire, as long as the account has activities in the past 12 months.
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferred ... terms.html

Thank you for the link
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

Not sure about transferring SPG points, but when transferring Amex's Membership Reward points to an american carrier you get charged a fee. If you fly domestically and want to play the game of trying to find award flights, transferring to British Airways would be a good option. They have mileage ba...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

The Starpoints that are in your SPG account stay put. This is similar to with other hotel/air programs. Once the activity posts, you keep the points (or certificates etc). It is the native bank points (ThankYou, Flexperks, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Worldpoints, Arrival miles, etc) that ...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

you can cancel the card, the points will stay in your account until it expires. My best redemptions have been the SPG Moments auctions, and Cat 2 hotels. there are also amazon giftcards. Wow. About how long a "life" do points have? I assume that you were referring to the points expiring a...
by rjbraun
Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 1790

~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card

My AMEX SPG rewards card is approaching (or already has) its one year anniversary. Assuming AMEX won't waive the annual fee, I plan to cancel the card. But I want to clear out my points beforehand. For whatever reason, I've really never gotten the hang of this card and am hence somewhat unclear of h...
by rjbraun
Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Well made woman's shoe?
Replies: 27
Views: 2619

Re: Well made woman's shoe?

Some Ferragamos now have cheap heels. You need to take care which ones. I've had luck with Chanel, Prada and Fendi, which I like to buy on sale. Any of them can have the cheap, thin sole/heel problem. Another shoe I was going to recommend is Arche. Their soft latex soles probably help to make them ...
by rjbraun
Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tourists in Manhattan
Replies: 53
Views: 5494

Re: Tourists in Manhattan

Great! Thanks all. We are flying into JFK. Best way to get into Manhattan? We will each have one suitcase. AirTrain to / from JFK works pretty well, especially if your luggage is minimal. Current fare shown is $7.50 per person, but subway / bus fares are scheduled to go up the end of this month, so...
by rjbraun
Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Well made woman's shoe?
Replies: 27
Views: 2619

Re: Well made woman's shoe?

Ferragamos? Classic styling, for the most part, made in Italy (at least in the past) and cut for a narrow foot, based on my experience. Pricey but exquisite shoes. People also rave about Belgian Shoes, though I have no firsthand experience. http://www.ferragamo.com/shop/en/usa/women/shoes/ballerinas...
by rjbraun
Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tourists in Manhattan
Replies: 53
Views: 5494

Re: Tourists in Manhattan

Staying in NJ makes no sense IMHO. Penny wise and pound foolish. Part of New York is that it is a 24 hour town. You need to stay in the City to experience the true NY. Check out the various hotel web search engines. Hotel Tonight usually has reasonably priced deals the day of. Also check on Air BnB...
by rjbraun
Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tourists in Manhattan
Replies: 53
Views: 5494

Re: Tourists in Manhattan

Staying in NJ makes no sense IMHO. Penny wise and pound foolish. Part of New York is that it is a 24 hour town. You need to stay in the City to experience the true NY. Check out the various hotel web search engines. Hotel Tonight usually has reasonably priced deals the day of. Also check on Air BnB...
by rjbraun
Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel in Verona, Italy?
Replies: 8
Views: 807

Re: Hotel in Verona, Italy?

We visited northern Italy last summer and had a great time. We spent several nights in Verona. We were happy with our hotel / pensione, but it wouldn't satisfy your needs (long flight of steps and no elevator). As for hotel location, I would think something off Via Mazzini or near Piazza delle Erbe ...
by rjbraun
Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Barclaycard Arrival Plus
Replies: 23
Views: 5322

Re: Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Capital One has no foreign xfer fees, but won't have chip & pin until later this year: http://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/chip-cards. Actually, the Capital One card will be chip-and-signature, not chip and pin. The website tries to spin this as a positive: "Good news! Capital One chip ...

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