Although I haven’t been to Bonefish Grill in a while, I recall some entrees priced in the low teens (or maybe even single digits?), so $10 off is a great deal since there is no minimum required for the coupon.
The lobster tails pictured above don’t look too bad.
Terms do say “one coupon per table” so…everyone sit separately at the bar? 😉
Finally, Choice Hotels is offering a $50 gift card after two qualifying trips.
Gift card options include Amazon, Walmart, several gas stations, and a handful of restaurants.
Do note the promotion requires two separate qualifying “trips.” Per the FAQs, consecutive nights at one hotel only count as one trip, regardless of check-ins or check-outs.
Also, a trip is defined as one night or more at some brands (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria, and Ascend Hotel Collection) while 2 or more consecutive nights at other brands (Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, or MainStay Suites).
And note the somewhat-convoluted redemption process. After the two qualifying trips you’re awarded 8,000 points which can then be redeemed until 10/31/15 for one $50 gift card.
If you value 8,000 points more than a $50 gift card to one of the participating retailers, then don’t redeem them for the gift card. To help you decide, I previously wrote a long analysis when they ran this offer last year.
Registration is required (register here) and check-in must occur by August 19.
These are from reputable corporate sellers (not a random person selling on eBay) and the good ones tend to sell out quickly.
To double dip, pay with eBay gift cards acquired at a discount. For example, Kroger grocery stores currently have a digital coupon for $10 off when you purchase $50+ of eBay gift cards. (Download the store’s app to your phone, log in to load the coupon to your account, then go to the store and buy the gift card.)
To triple dip, earn 2% back by via eBay Bucks (enrollment is free).
Spirit airfare sale
Spirit Airlines is having a nice sale, with routes priced at $68 roundtrip including taxes.
Many routes are included; here are just a few examples:
From Los Angeles:
Book by 11:59pm on July 21, 2015 for travel on select dates from August to November.
Spirit is a low-cost carrier so do factor in extra costs (such as carry-on bag fees, although a personal item is still free) and set your expectations for a no-frills experience.
But $68 for a long-haul flight across the country is a bargain (albeit only a mediocre deal for the shorter routes)!
Finishing my Fredericton Trip Report and Pondering the Wisdom of Off-Season Travel (this post)
For many, travel decisions are mainly driven by the destination. People decide where they want to go, then book flights and lodging accordingly.
That’s a perfectly reasonable approach, but it doesn’t work as well for me. Because my travel list is long. Basically, I want to go (almost) everywhere.
When “everywhere” is your preferred destination, specific locations are somewhat irrelevant.
Combine that with my other favorite sport – deal hunting – and much of my travel decisions are driven by economics. Where can I go cost-efficiently at this time? (To clarify, “cost-efficient” and “cheap” are not synonymous.)
With this strategy, I’ve had some fantastic travel experiences for nearly-negligible costs.
For example, an award flight might not be available on my preferred date. So I have to adjust my schedule.
Or – to the point of this post – I end up visiting a place during the off-season. Like the arid desert that is Egypt in the peak of summer.
Or Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, in the middle of winter.
My week-long Fredericton trip was almost entirely economics-based, with a total cash cost of about $100 – flights and hotels included. (I don’t typically count meals and ground transportation since I incur those regardless of whether I’m traveling.)
The flights were free. I didn’t even spend frequent flyer miles because I added Fredericton as a stopover en route to Birmingham, England. (On a round-trip international award ticket, United allows one free stopover.) I probably paid incremental airline fees and taxes, but I don’t have the breakdown for the Fredericton portion so let’s just say $25.
A week at the Crowne Plaza Fredericton cost $0 in cash. A PointBreaks hotel at the time, it cost 4,500 IHG points/night (the 5,000 PointBreaks rate minus a 10% rebate from my IHG credit card). I have a six-figure IHG point balance – earned through reimbursed business travel or other low-cost means – so this stay hardly made a dent.
In the on-season, my hotel costs would have been much higher as I doubt the Crowne Plaza would have been offered on PointBreaks.
So what’s Fredericton like in the off-season?
In a word: cold.
For those unfamiliar with Fredericton’s location, it is in eastern Canada, above the US state of Maine. So it’s basically like going to Maine in January. Except colder.
This was Fredericton’s town square when I visited:
Ideal for ice skating – if that’s what you’re there for.
Alas, I didn’t bring my skates. And everything else there is to do outdoors was severely constrained by weather.
Not that I had a bad time. In fact, it was a nice – if not optimal – trip.
I toured the Beaverbrook Art Gallery when it was otherwise devoid of visitors. While paying the entrance fee, the cashier made small talk and I mentioned I was visiting from California.
A few of the rooms were closed for renovation so he charged me half price, then left me to roam the exhibits. The collection was okay. For a small gallery in a remote-ish part of the world, you can’t expect The Louvre.
As I was about to leave, a staff member approached and said, “They told me you’re visiting from California. I’m sorry some of the rooms are closed to the public but if you like I can take you to see them.” While I didn’t think much of the collection at that point, I did not want to refuse the gracious offer so I accepted.
Turns out, the non-public rooms held all the gems. There were some stunning paintings and tapestries. This person not only escorted me through them, but took time to explain many of the pieces and the general history of the museum, including how some of its treasured pieces were acquired.
It’s unlikely I would’ve been offered this very detailed tour of the museum’s restricted areas during peak season.
The museum has several famous works, including three Salvador Dali pieces and one by Lucian Freud (grandson of Sigmund). Of course, with my impeccable timing, all were on tour at the time.
So, as with everything else in life, off-season travel has its pros and cons.
Is off-season travel worth it?
On the balance, I’d say yes – in moderation.
At the extremes, it’s not worth it if you can’t at all enjoy the destination’s intrinsic appeal. To point out the obvious:
You can’t snow ski in summer when there’s no snow.
You can’t go sailing in winter when the water is frozen.
I wouldn’t try to hike the Inca Trail, which requires long days of trekking and several nights of camping, during rainy season.
Conversely, other destinations are only mildly inconvenient in the off season. In those cases, I’m willing to go if the cost-benefit analysis is favorable.
I didn’t mind Egypt in the summer. While it was hot, most of what I wanted to do didn’t require extended outdoor exposure or high physical exertion.
I was driven to the Pyramids and other sites in air-conditioned vehicles; I only had to get out and walk around a little once there, and that was tolerable with good sunscreen and proper hydration.
The remainder of the trip was spent gorging myself on gourmet food while sailing the Nile on an air-conditioned luxury boat. Do-able.