Catalina Island

We just got back from a wedding on Catalina Island! It was amazing fun! The wedding announcement didn’t leave a lot of time for planning and booking, but we were able to use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to book the Holiday Inn. The reason we booked there? They were the only venue that two queen beds.

And when planning for four. The bigger the beds the better I sleep. Every other place that was available was either two rooms or two doubles and neither are a good option.

The downside to the two queens at the Holiday Inn, is that the Holiday is on the edge of town and uphill, so we probably spent and extra $100 on taxis just getting into town the 3 days and 2 nights that we were there.

Avalon is basically a company town. The taxis only take cash and there’s only one bank (US Bank) to get cash and if you don’t have an account with them it’s a $3.00 ATM fee from them and then we had another fee from our credit union. Side note we Schwab does have a no fee debit card that works anywhere in the world. Since I didn’t think we leaving the country I didn’t prepare for ATM fees. Lesson learned. I hate paying ATM fees. Hate. Hate. Hate it. Never going to make that mistake again.

We rented the golf cart and drove it around the designated tour path for two hours for $50.00. They wanted a cash deposit upfront but you could pay afterwards with credit.

We also rented some kayaks for $30/hour but *2= $1.00 per minute. Player 2 and Kid 2 turned back after 30 minutes afte Kid 2 got see sick and Kid 1 and myself head back after 60, so it was $90 total.

One thing I noticed while eating breakfast one morning is that 4 or 5 of the restaurants (there aren’t many more) are owned or operated by the same family šŸ¤”.

Also the June Gloom was in full bloom, so both Kid 1 and Kid 2 each had to have a new Catalina sweatshirt. Also I forgot to pack my swimsuit and they know charge you captive tourist in need of something rates.

The fam would do it again. But I would spend a little more time planning and double checking before coming again.

But we had an amazing time and the wedding was truly special. šŸ˜ƒ

Iā€™m 4/24

I just approved for a chase business card so that means my numbers are correct and I’m 4/24. Some day I’ll post about how we got started in the points game, I came in like a wrecking ball chasing perks to soften the impact of a Transatlantic Disney Cruise. I’ve just returned to being under 5/24, not knowing what it was until I was way over it. Player 2 is not there yet but if all goes well she’ll be under just in time for us to try and go for the Companion Pass for 2020 and 2021. Hence the desire to get the four us Global Entry so we can work on hitting up some of the 10 different countries that Southwest flies too.

Global Entry Update

So in order to apply for Global Entry you can’t even submit an application for the approval to request an interview unless you have a current passport. The kids are expired and have to be renewed, so we had the pay the post office $100 so we could sent the application to the State Department so we could spend $160 for two kid passports and then spend $100 per person for Global Entry once the kids passports show up. But if the new plan goes right we’ll be able to reimbursed from various credit cards for the Global Entry fee.

As a side note credit card companies could look at proving passport reimbursements as perk as well as Global Entry fees. Just saying. It would be enticing to the exact same target audience and only have to be paid out every decade.

Global Entry

Make sure to plan ahead. Player 2 decided that she wanted to get TSA Precheck for her quarterly transcontinental business trips. It’s $85. I informed her that we should get Global Entry for $100 and that includes Precheck and we can get our credit cards to reimburse for it.

They next thought was we should try and do the same for the kids. But their passports recently expired because minor’s passports expire every 5 years instead of adult passports which expire every 10 years.

So now we’re getting the kids passports renewed which can take up to 8 weeks. Here’s the kicker you can’t schedule a Global Entry interview until your global Entry application is tentatively approved and you can’t apply unless you have a current passport. Oh and each kids has to have a unique email address in order to apply after they get their passport.

Now we just have to schedule a passport interview/application when it becomes available at the post office. Once that is done wait 8 weeks, then apply for Global Entry, wait an unspecified amount of time then schedule a Global Entry interview and wait another unspecified amount of time for approval.

We have enough cards to cover 3 of the Global Entry application fees but by the time the kids are ready our 5/24 status should have dropped low enough that we will be able to find a fourth card to cover the last ones fees.

At least we won’t have to plan this again for another 5 years.