Travel for FREE-ish by Using Your SkyMiles!

San Juan, Toronto, London, Madrid, Paris.

The Delta SkyMiles credit card by American Express helped me to travel to those cities. I got the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card in 2016. I got it because I was changing jobs and needed a card to pay for my hotels, Lyft rides, and food. Since then I have earned quite a few miles. The SkyMiles that I have earned added to my personal travel goals and benefitted my family. Read more to learn how you can benefit from SkyMiles!

  • Build Credit

This is America (Childish Gambino voice) don’t catch you slippin’ up with your credit! Credit rules in this country and you need it to make major purchases in your life such as a house, car, or whatever high-ticket items that are required for living. The Delta SkyMiles card can help you build that credit so long as you are responsible.

A good rule to follow is only to spend on your credit card what is in your bank account. If you have $50 to spend on dinner instead of using your debit card use your Delta SkyMiles Card at a partnering restaurant and earn miles. Then pay the charge. This is a way you can build your credit and avoid large debt. Trust me, I have allowed my spending to get out of hand a time or two, but this method keeps me from spending too much.

Also, be sure to always pay more than the minimum monthly payment!

  • Earn Miles Easily

Now that we’ve agreed that you will responsibly manage your credit it’s time to start spending/earning miles! Earning SkyMiles is incredibly easy! You can earn SkyMiles when you go out to eat (something I do a lot!) Delta has a program called SkyMiles Dining This allows you to link your debit card and/or your SkyMiles credit card to your SkyMiles Account. You can also earn SkyMiles when you use Lyft! I am not a fan of Uber anyway. I think they have very sketchy people. I prefer to use Lfyt because I trust the drivers and as an added bonus I can earn miles! The other day I took Lyft to meet my friends for brunch and mimosas. The Lyft ride cost me $14 and I earned miles! You can also use your SkyMiles credit card for everyday use such as buying gasoline for your car or groceries for you and/or family.

You earn SkyMiles when you book flights with Delta and when you book lodging with AirBnB.

  • Free Trips! Well Kinda…

Now it’s time to reap the benefits of the all of that spending! After you have chosen your destination whether it is in the United States of America or abroad remember that you can pay for your entire flight or part of your flight using your SkyMiles.

In April 2017, my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday in Puerto Rico. I paid for my flight and my mother’s flight to San Juan using the Miles and Cash option. I paid $600 for both flights! Typically from Atlanta to San Juan, the flights cost $600 per person!

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In October 2018, I will go to Washington D.C. for my job. Then from D.C. I will travel to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The round trip flight from Canada back to our Nation’s Capital cost 17,000 SkyMiles! I only paid for the taxes and the flight insurance!

I also booked my trip to Europe using my SkyMiles! My multi-city round-trip flight from Atlanta to London, Paris back to Atlanta cost 63,000 SkyMiles! I am going to let that sink in for a while (pause for a moment of silence and reflection).

It was so simple! I saved so much money on flights I can spend the rest on lodging, souvenirs, food, wine, cheese, chocolates, and croissants!

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

It’s a cosmopolitan world” as my grandmother would say. The number of people traveling around the world and buying internationally grows daily. Who wants to pay fees for buying something overseas (see what I did there…I made a rhyme lol).

True enough outside of America, American Express (operative word being American) is not accepted everywhere. However, countries like Mexico and Canada accept the card. It is a safe way to pay for something, the exchange rate is automatically converted and it will not cost you anything! For the countries that do not widely accept American Express, I also have the Capital One VentureOne credit card.

I hope that I helped you learn a bit more about the benefits of getting and using theDelta SkyMiles credit card by American Express!

Happy Spending!

Happy Flying!

Disclaimer: I was not paid by American Express or Delta Airlines for this blog post! I am just a happy customer!

Black Girls’ Guide to Vacationing in the Deep South: Part Two

Nawlins! The Big Easy! The Crescent City!

We finally arrived. When we entered the state I immediately started craving po’boys, fresh seafood, and beignets. Excited to visit the city we wasted no time and headed straight for the swamp! We hopped on a two-hour airboat tour at Airboat Adventures.  Our tour boat guide (I believe whose name was Captain Dan) schooled us on the swamp history, everything from the Cypress trees, Spanish moss, and alligators! The ‘gators were the best of the entire tour, especially when we met Al the Alligator! My mother nearly jumped out of the boat after she discovered this scaly friend had been lurking behind her. 

We headed back to New Orleans proper to check into our hotel at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place. We booked the hotel through Hotels.com for less than $500 for two nights. The hotel was overbooked and we had to change our room from a double to a single. The room the hotel staff assigned us had a wet carpet and a moldy smell. We asked to change the room again, thankfully this room was better, but it didn’t have a trash can. Oh well, at least we got a free brunch and we were in walking distance to the French Quarter. After we showered and changed clothes we called a family friend who is also a New Orleans native. She walked us down the famous Bourbon Street – a small corridor full of naked breast, Hand Grenades, street performers and awesome restaurants. After we had our fill of the entertainment it was time to eat. We settled for Felix’s Resturant and Oyster Bar. These oysters were the best I have ever eaten! I also had a sampler plate of etouffee, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. YUMMY! My mom and I enjoyed our meals at the bar and met three cool kids from Toronto who were visiting New Orleans for an anime event. They shared their appetizers with us. The also bought us shots when they found out my mom was in her 50s and not my sister. The best line of the night was, “Wow, Black people age just as well as Asians!”

Before the night ended we went to Harrah’s Casino to try my luck at the slot machines.

I didn’t win anything.

The next day my aunt landed in New Orleans. She met us at the hotel, we ate brunch then went to the Audubon Aquarium.  After touring this aquarium my family and I cringed at the fact of knowing the impacts plastics and trash have on marine life.

We continued our tour of the French Quarter at Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde. We then prepared ourselves for a dinner cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez. We cruised into the sunset on the Mississippi River. The captain/tour guide explained the devastation Hurricane Katrina had on the city, as well as the importance of the Mississippi River to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

We closed our trip with one last stroll down Bourbon Street. We ate a massive meal at Deanie’s Seafood then watched my aunt participate in a tarot card reading. Needless to say…that was a very interesting experience.

Big Easy Thank you for the music, food, and memories!

Black Girls’ Guide to Vacationing in the Deep South: Part One

Every year around the end of July my mother goes on her annual birthday road trip. This year we took a tour of the Deep South!

Considering the racial climate in the United States you would think African-American women would want to get as far away from the South as possible. Nope, not us. This is our country and we will go wherever we please. We left Atlanta in the wee hours of the night headed to our first stop in Orange Beach, Alabama! Those closest to me know about my extreme distaste for the state of Alabama. So when my mother said she wanted to go I was hesitant, but what can I do? It’s my mom’s birthday!

We arrived at the Gulf State Pier to a pleasant surprise of clear waters, blue sky, and a pure white sand beach! Next, we were both becoming a little hangry (me more than her) so we stopped at Another Broken Egg Cafe down the street from The Wharf. I ordered the vegetable omelet and my mom chose an omelet with cream cheese, crab and all sorts of goodness!

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With our bellies full and hangriness subdued, we took off on our first excursion aboard the Sunny Lady Dolphin Tour Boat. The word “fun” does not justify or barely begin to describe the dolphin cruise! We saw plenty of dolphins, learned about the history of Orange Beach and saw a lady in the water. The captain of the cruise ship made my mom captain for approximately 10 minutes in celebration of her birthday.

After the cruise, we walked around in The Wharf. It is a shopping area full of posh stores, restaurants, a store featuring python jerky and barbeque flavored worms.

Our next stop, Biloxi, Missippi! We spent the night at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.  We refreshed ourselves and stepped out on the town. We ate awful dinner at the hotel’s buffet. I added crab legs to my buffet, what a huge mistake! The crab legs were cold, the butter was artificial and the other food on the buffet was overcooked. To make up for the disgusting food, we decided to try our luck at the casino. Based on the photo below we did not have much luck there either. My mother’s company and the posh pool made up for the hotel’s shortcomings. I’d visit Biloxi again but I’d stay at another hotel.

The next morning we packed our bags and headed to the New Orleans! I’ll tell you about our time there in the next post – Black Girls’ Guide to Vacationing in the Deep South: Part Two.

Beer, BBQ and the Big Easy

If you visit Atlanta in the summer months you will surely stumble upon a festival in one of the city’s neighborhoods. This weekend my friends and I attended the Decatur BBQ & Bluegrass Festival in Decatur, Georgia at Harmony Park.

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The smell of smokey foods filled the air from almost a mile away. The music vibrated through your body making it impossible to stand still. That music came from a New Orleans based band named Cha wa. The leader singer, dressed as uniquely as the band’s music, sang uplifting songs of love, compassion and their love for those New Orleans Saints #WhoDat! Cha wa, who should have closed out the night, seamlessly married the sounds of the drum, guitar, tuba, trombone and the almighty tambourine! Festivalgoers danced to song after song even during the band’s short breaks! The sounds from Big Easy made the BBQ taste better and beer much more enjoyable.

Click the video to listen to the music of Cha wa!

New Belgium Brewing sponsored the beer for the festival. My favorite was the Fat Tire Belgian White Ale. This beer tasted a tad lighter than other Belgian beers, a perfect pale ale color and a sweet aftertaste full of distinctive spices. As a fan of Belgian white beers, this beer is now a new favorite!

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Overall, my friends and I enjoyed the Decatur BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. We will return next year.  I suggest that if you are visiting Atlanta in mid-August add this festival to the list of ” Things To Do.”

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Note: Decatur BBQ & Bluegrass Festival charges an entry fee. Festivalgoers can pay in advance of the event or at the event. Lastly, I do not benefit financially from the mentions in my blog. 

 

Babs Wanderful

I often think of myself of as a little black girl from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Whenever I accomplish a goal or have an experience outside of my comfort zone I am overly ecstatic! I give the six year old Babs a high five and a hug! “We did it! I can’t believe we just did that!” Even though I have accomplished many goals I am always shocked. I am always checking in with six year old Babs to make sure that I am making her dreams come true.

The most important dream: Travel the world.

I have suffered from wanderlust for as long as I can remember. It began when my grandfather told me that he would take me to Kenya. We never went and we may never go together, but he did take my mind outside of my Stone Mountain home and across the world.

Traveling was in mind and seeped into my blood. I knew I had to see the big world around me. I became infatuated with my family’s travels in the continental United States, Hawaii, Scotland and Spain. Because travel was limited as a child (but fun!), I promised myself that I would see the world!

In November 2015, (while in the midst of divorce of which will be another blog) I obtained my passport. The next month I traveled to the Bahamas with my aunt, her Bahamian husband and their three children.

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Since then I’ve travelled to New York, Philadelphia, West Virginia, Charlotte, Denver, Biloxi, Orange Beach, New Orleans, Houston, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. This winter I will travel to Europe to see England, Scotland, France and Germany.

“We did it! I can’t believe we just did that!”

Well believe it because we are doing it!