New, awesome local restaurants open soon at San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Next time you’re traveling from San Diego International Airport, make sure you take a look at all the new local restaurants and other stores across the airport. After all, who doesn’t like a good local San Diego beer – one of the city’s leading industries (with an economic impact of $299.5 million!) – before your next flight? Next time you’re traveling out of San Diego, give yourself an extra hour and try out of one our city’s local fares.

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Earn 1,300+ Starwood points when you watch your next musical

Starwood Preferred Guest is running a promo where you can earn anywhere from 400 to 2,200 Starpoints per ticket on upcoming musicals in New York City. Although there are some major limitations (Wednesday performances only, $127 per ticket, shows only through July 31, 2013), 2,200 Starpoints, when purchased by themselves, could be worth $66 at 3 cents per point.

You might find a better deal (read: pay less) through ticket liquidators and other resellers in the city, but if you’re going to buy your tickets in advance, this isn’t a bad deal whatsoever.

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Headed to LA or LAX from San Diego? Give Amtrak a try

A short while ago I decided to take a weekend trip to LA to visit a friend and do a little sightseeing. Until then, I’d only ever driven to LA. If you’ve ever done the drive, you know it’s not a pleasant experience. Refusing to torture myself yet again with a four-hour Friday afternoon drive – in a car with manual transmission, no less – I immediately explored other options for heading north; I could hop on a flight from San Diego or Carlsbad at a wallet-emptying $300-400, or I could check out the oft-overlooked travel beast-of-burden known as Amtrak. At $74 round trip on the train, it was a pretty easy choice.

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Earn double Wyndham points on your next stay

Wyndham just released a promotion where you can earn double Wyndham Rewards points on each stay, starting with your second stay until September 13, 2013. It’s not an amazing deal and it’s not going to change your life, but if you happen to be staying at a Wyndham property (including Wyndham hotels, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson and Travelodge), you might as well collect the extra points.

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The value of being honest when asked “How was your stay?”

Recently, when I stayed at the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel for LAX Appreciation Day, I had almost no hot water when I woke up in the morning. Although I didn’t expect to be compensated for this, I mentioned it to the hotel’s staff when I checked out, and not only received an apology (which is often enough for me), but the hotel team member also comped my parking — $25 per night.

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A big change to United’s MileagePlus program: spending requirements

Just recently, United announced a significant change to their frequent-flier elite status program, United MileagePlus. Although these changes may not impact those who either accumulate miles by flying once in a while or those who have a co-branded United credit card from Chase, it does affect those who want to obtain elite status on United, potentially affecting your ability to secure First Class upgrades, earn significant amounts of bonus miles, and receive “special” treatment.

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Take 2,500 miles off your next American Airlines award flight

American Airlines is now running a promotion – register for the promo, and they’ll credit you 2,500 miles after you book an award flight between now and July 24 and then travel between September 4 and November 20, 2013.

2,500 miles may not seem like a lot, and it’s really not – but at 3 cents per mile, that’s worth about $75. Not bad! It’s too bad the bonus is only valid for one trip, but it’s better than nothing.

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“But I don’t want to pay an annual fee on my credit card!” – quashed

I’ve heard it time and time again from friends who want to master the art of flying first-class for next to nothing: “I don’t want to pay an annual fee”. And, to those friends, I understand completely. Some cards have an annual fee of upwards of $100 – or more. But before you settle on that thought, let’s break this down.

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Booking last-minute flights using American Express or Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Last week, Carpe Points reader Jeff asked about how to use points to book last-minute emergency travel to eastern Europe.

Dave, when it comes to points are you referring to amex points or specific airline points? I’m trying to figure out where you find the deals.

My wife may have to make an emergency trip to E.Europe. I’m sitting on 72K AMEX points.

One of the best things about programs like American Express Membership Rewards is that you can either transfer those miles into specific airlines’ programs, or you can use those points (at a much lower value) on American Express Travel. Other programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards have similar programs as well (and I’ll include them for the heck of it).

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Reader question: How can I actually use my British Airways Avios points?

From our Facebook page, one of our readers asked a question about using his British Airways Avios points for travel from San Diego to Istanbul:

I can NOT book BA round trip Club World from San Diego to Istanbul on the dates I want (or almost anytime it is not freezing) but even if I could, I would need to pay $1200+ in fees. Or I can just pay the same amount to United for an excellent one-stop round trip flight on the days I actually want, and earn United points (my airline of choice). What is going on out there? Why can’t I find any seats?

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