Trick to Earn 2 Additional Bonus Miles per Dollar Spent with Your Citi AAdvantage Card

In past posts, I’ve mentioned the benefits of a credit card that earns you frequent flyer miles. The card I’ve used for the last three years is the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard. This post is going to tell you how to earn 3 miles per dollar spent (4 miles per dollar spent on AA purchases) for six months, up to 10,000 additional bonus miles, on your Citi AAdvantage card.

First, I’ll walk you through how I stumbled upon this offer.

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A Few Random Travel Pics

This week’s post is a quick one. Here are some things I’ve seen lately that I find humor in.

This lavatory is for women and Big Foot.

Exit Row for bad-asses only. If you need to stand up to use the emergency exit, sit somewhere else wimp.

She's a true Travel Ninja.

This really counts more as a FAIL. I ran across this nice closed bar that never closes when I was in Austin, TX last.

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Poutine: It’s Not a Dirty Word. Well, Maybe.

I traveled to Montreal this year for the first time. Several friends had told me that it was their favorite city in the world, so I decided to take a vacation day and check it out. What I didn’t consider is that my trip was in January and Montreal is freaking cold! Since I was battling negative temperatures, and all of the wonderful patios were closed, I had to search to find a way to truly experience Montreal. In comes poutine.

Let’s face it, poutine sounds like a dirty word no matter how you use it. After tasting it, I might make an argument that it is, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Poutine is basically the provincial dish of Quebec. It contains three simple ingredients: French fries, cheese curds and gravy. It is known as a comfort food, finding its roots in rural Quebec during recessionary times when families couldn’t afford finer ingredients. Today, poutine is available across Canada in small diners, pubs and even fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, A&W and Burger King.

Since I was in Montreal, the heart of poutine country, I decided to give the dish a shot. I tried to order it at Les 3 Brasseurs (The 3 Brewers) pub in old town, but the bar tender talked me out of it. Instead, she recommended a café a few miles away that is known for having the best poutine in Montreal: Resto la Banquise. I accepted her recommendation and made plans to eat lunch there the following day.

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Great Food Options at DFW

Layovers are part of travel. They aren’t much fun, and unless you have a membership in an airline club, such as American’s Admiral’s Club, each airport presents its own challenge to find a good place to pass the time. In a previous post, I introduced readers to Chicago O’Hare’s Urban Garden. This post is about a couple of my favorite options at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW).

Because I attended college at the University of Oklahoma, I have quite a few trips to Dallas under my belt. Each October, OU and Texas fight it out in the Red River Rivalry, which is undoubtedly one of the greatest college rivalry games. This creates a migration of students from both schools to the DFW area, which is almost exactly halfway between both schools. Starting my freshman year, I made 10 consecutive annual trips to Dallas for the game. During this time, I developed my favorite restaurants that I tried to hit up each trip.

Near Northwest Highway and I-35E, you will find a small collection of restaurants with Pappa in their name. Pappa Bros. Steakhouse, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappadeaux Seafood and Pappas BBQ all reside in a small area. I discovered these restaurants on my first trip and typically visit at least one of them on each trip to Dallas.

Even though the Pappas story officially began in Houston, the restaurants are a big piece of Dallas to me. That’s why I was thrilled when they opened a Pappasito’s Cantina near Gate A28 at the DFW Airport. It added a quality, known eatery to the airport. Even better, it apparently had enough success that the Pappas Brothers decided to add a second offering, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. It opened last year near Gate A24, only a few gates from Pappasito’s Cantina.

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Best iOS Travel Apps

A friend of mine recently lost his company issued Blackberry and it was replaced with an iPhone 4S. He knew I was a pretty advanced user of my iPhone, and a big fan, so he asked me for advice. After I made some setting changes to his phone, I made him a list of my favorite apps. This is a quick rundown of the Travel category.

Note that these are iPhone apps, but most have Android versions available as well.

TripItFree or $3.99 for Ad Free Version 

My love for TripIt runs deep. TripIt is much more than an iPhone App, but its app is what makes it so useful. For a larger review of TripIt, see my earlier post here.

Note that several of the apps in this list integrate with TripIt to improve their usefulness. That makes TripIt both a necessity for convenience, and a great place to start.

GateGuruFree  GateGuru App

GateGuru is one of the most feature rich apps for travel. Its core use is to help you find the right restaurant in over 125 airports worldwide. It lists them by terminal and makes the gates they are near obvious, so they are quick to find. It also integrates with TripIt, so it can notify you of flight status changes and give you quick access to trip details.

It’s also a very social media focused app by integrating with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. To take it a step further, they have created their own “High Flyers” ranking program globally, and for each airport. They also have a tips section and user reviews for most restaurants.

A distant 2nd is FlySmart, which is also free, but lacking most of the features listed above. It is also pretty difficult to navigate.

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Decoding American Airline’s Elite Rewards for 2012

A fan of the blog sent me the following e-mail that he received from I knew AA had announced the return of their “Elite Rewards,” but this is the first marketing I’ve seen for it.

I decided to dive in and see if I can compare the different offers to determine which is the best to take.

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Culture Shock: Causes and Solutions

This doesn’t seem like it’s going to work very well.

Culture shock is a term that is often used casually, but it’s a very real issue when traveling internationally. You can experience culture shock in any distant location, but there are three factors that I’ve found increase its effect dramatically. These three factors are:

  1. Language
  2. Food
  3. Currency

I have traveled to Europe, Mexico and French Canada, but Asia is the only destination that I’ve visited where all three are a significant challenge. The trip I took with a customer and colleague last June sent us to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Not only did we spend a week and a half in Asia, but we also experienced 4 cultures, 4 governments, 4 currencies and 4 languages.

During the trip, I dealt with a low level of culture shock, but my colleague was hit with it pretty hard. It’s not as if his personality changed or he freaked out or anything, but his level of comfort was reduced and he wasn’t able to enjoy some of the neat activities that were presented to us.  He preferred to go from the businesses we visited straight back to the hotel until the next day’s visit. No matter how much we encouraged him to get out, he was happier hidden away.

Since I felt enough culture shock to understand and respect it, but kept it from altering my trip, I thought I’d offer some suggestions for dealing with it.

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