Get Airline Miles While Shopping Prime Day Deals

Amazon’s periodic Prime Day is continuing today, and they have some pretty steep discounts on some items. But one of the many things that I don’t like about buying from Amazon is that I can’t earn any airline miles there.

Fortunately, other retailers are matching some Prime Day deals. The one that appears to be doing so the most aggressively is Best Buy.

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Win 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards

Southwest is running a sweepstakes through the end of June, through its Dining Program. Two lucky winners will receive 50,000 Rapid Rewards points each. According to NerdWallet, Rapid Rewards are worth 1.6 cents each, so this is like winning $800. (Although the contest rules value the prize at $640. Cmon Southwest, don’t sell yourself short!)

The way Southwest wants you to enter:

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Perfect Day at the Ballpark (Minus a W)

If all goes well, this summer will be chock full of exclaiming “I haven’t done this in over a year!”

Our family will take our first flights in over a year. Hug our extended family members for the first time in over a year. At some point I hope to attend a live theater production for the first time in over a year.

This weekend, we enjoyed a big first: First sporting event in over a year.

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Family SF Outing: Haight Street and Panhandle

When we drove into the city to see the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit last weekend, I wanted to go a few hours early to hang out in The City. It’s something we haven’t done as a family since Covid started and I really, really miss it!

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The Return of Planning

I love planning trips as much as I love taking trips. Maybe more.

That’s part of what has been sad about the past 14 months. Not just being stuck at home, but the inability to plan a trip at the end of the slog. Like everyone, at first we just postponed things. The 16th birthday spring break trip to NYC? We’ll do it in summer instead! Then that was pushed to “next spring break.” But spring break 2021 rolled around and we were still at home, Broadway still dark.

But yesterday, I got an email with this image in it:

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Planning a Road Trip With Dogs and Kids

Go for ride?

This is gonna sound crazy, but here goes. This summer, I’m working on plans for a 2,400 mile road trip with two kids, two dogs, and just one driver, me.

But wait, there’s more! It would be a round trip, making it more like a 5,000 journey all told.

Before you start calling the authorities to have me confined for my own good, hear me out. My kids have all been experiencing an unusual amount of anxiety about Covid-19. I mean, it’s not strange to be highly concerned about getting a disease that could kill them or someone else close to them, or leave them with side effects that could compromise their lives for an indefinite period. You can tell them kids seem to get infected less and usually don’t suffer, but they’re not having it. I’ve been cautious, but they’ve been beyond cautious.

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How to Enjoy Fisherman’s Wharf Without Paying $25 for Parking

More and more people are making travel plans, so I expect Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to be as crowded and parked up as always this summer. I currently live outside SF, but even when I lived in the city, driving has always been the easiest way to get to this part of town, assuming you don’t want to spring for a cable car ride (when they start again). The only problem is that the parking garages in the area charge $20 to $30.

In the past, I’d circle around searching for an open meter, or park at the North Point Shopping Center and then buy something from Safeway to get validation for free 90-minute parking. But this week I had to drive into the city and decided to take the opportunity for a hike, and I noticed a great place to park for free really near the Wharf: Aquatic Park.

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When There Isn’t A “Next Time”

Last summer, we managed to land one of those lottery entries to Yosemite. We’ve been there plenty of times over the years, but this was the longest we’d ever stayed, so instead of doing a surgical strike like usual, we visited nearly every easily accessible area of the National Park.

The part that I was most looking forward to seeing was Mariposa Grove, since it had been closed for restoration for several years, and we were anxious to see how the restoration had changed it since our previous visit, back in the early 2000s. This area is located the farthest from where we were staying (Groveland), so we planned to drive through the park to the South Entrance on the way home. We also scheduled a horseback trail ride in that area.

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Miles Shopping Strategy: Buy Online, Pick Up in Store

Seeing GameStop in the headlines today reminds me that this is one of the stores where I like to use a little hack to accrue miles even on local shopping. On GameStop and a number of other online retailers that have brick-and-mortar stores near me, I like to place an order online through the miles shopping portal, then choose in-store pickup to get the goods. I do this when I don’t want to wait for or pay for shipping.

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