Avoid Purchasing Simon Gift Cards with Barclaycard Credit Card

A couple of folks have reported that Simon Gift Card purchases made with Barclaycard credit cards have coded as cash advances. Simon Gift Cards are sold at many Simon malls.


Cash advances are surcharges and are to be strongly avoided. If you set the cash advance limit on your credit cards to a very low value, there should not be a problem with this since such a purchase would fail authorization.

However, IIRC some banks will not let you set the cash-advance limit to zero.

Credit Card Issuers

How to Travel Together and (in spite of everything) Stay Together

This blog post was written by a lady who persuaded her stay-at-home BF to travel the world for a year. More remarkably, they are still together!


One of her tips is to Establish a Routine. Every morning he sat and had his coffee and read the New York Times on his iPad. She was ready to get going, but she recognized that her BF needed that slow start in the morning in order to be able to sightsee the rest of the day.

The article is very good reading, even if you and your partner don’t intend to be gone for 12 months at a time.

A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Hawk / Flickr
A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Haek / FlickrThomas Hawk via Foter.com / CC BY-NC
A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Haek / FlickrThomas Hawk via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Everybody is Offering Cheap Flights from USA to Tokyo and Hong Kong r/t

This is the best time to book a round-trip vacation to Tokyo and Hong Kong.





American – $647: Charlotte – Hong Kong. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

The flowers will soon be blooming in Tokyo, and it’s good to get there before the hot summer weather settles in.

If you have a choice of the Tokyo airports, choose Haneda (HND). It is much closer to the city than Narita (NRT).

Coming to Austin for SXSW? So is Obama. Grid-pocalypse Awaits.

Traffic in Austin, Texas, is always pretty bad. During South By Southwest it’s even worse. Add a sitting U.S. President to the mix, and Austinites will do best by staying home that day.


Unless, of course, you have paid hundreds for a SXSW wristband or thousands to be invited to the President’s fundraiser.

Traffic Jam. Photo by Saf\' / Flickr

Blogger Hates Spirit Airlines, But Has Never Flown Them. Credible?

Miguel Quinones is a travel blogger who points to verifiable statistical evidence to show that low-cost Spirit Airlines is terrible.

A bunch of commenters, many of whom have flown Spirit, disagree.


Who are you going to believe?

In my particular case, I have long legs and am confident that I would not be a happy camper in one of their closely-packed 28-inch-pitch seats. In a “Big Front Seat” I think I could be happy…I’ll have to try it one day.

Free seats

Austin / San Antonio to Hong Kong on American, Only $649 Round-Trip, March & April

Book on Orbitz or Priceline to get the best cancell-ability. You can find the details for how to get this fare at

Cheap Flights: Austin to Hong Kong $649 r/t – United

Hong Kong / Kowloon is a fascinating city, very alive, well worth the visit. This routing is Austin / SAT to DFW, and then non-stop to HKG. You will receive 17,000 AAdvantage miles, which will get you most of the way to a 25,000-mile Saver domestic round-trip ticket on American…for example, Austin to Anchorage r/t.

Hong Kong Skyline