Osaka & Kyoto

Selfie taken with my iPhone gimbal on our approach to Osaka Castle

Many that know me are familiar with one of my interests: Churning. For those who are unfamiliar, “churning” refers to maximizing one’s normal spend to obtain reward points and miles. These points come predominately from credit card sign up bonuses. By maximizing these bonuses I have been able to accumulate a nice stash of points across various programs which I then use to book travel. For our first trip earned through “churning”, we visited the Kansai region of Japan! Thanks to churning we were able to enjoy over $16,000 in air fare and hotel accommodations for a little over $700 in taxes and fees. 

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A Weekend in Vegas

The view from our room up on the 41st floor of the Palazzo

Often referred to as the 9th island of Hawaii, Las Vegas is a hugely popular destination for Hawaii residents to visit. I used to love going to Las Vegas, so much so that between my 21st and 22nd birthday I traveled there five times! Unlike many of my friends I didn’t go to Vegas for the clubs and nightlife; I went for the casino. I enjoyed playing at the tables. Blackjack and craps were my staples. I was fortunate to be somewhat lucky and to this day remain “up” despite many hours spent at the tables. While I don’t visit Vegas very much these days, it’s still a fun place to go and, of course, is a great city for food. So for this past 4th of July my family and I visited the strip once more.

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A Weekend on Kauai

The view of the ocean and the pools of the Grand Hyatt Kauai

This week we are celebrating our wedding anniversary, and so we decided to go on a weekend getaway to Kauai this past weekend to celebrate! The last time we were on Kauai was during a stop on the NCL Hawaii cruise almost 10 years ago so it was due time for us to visit the Garden Island once more. Thanks to my credit card churning hobby, I was able to get us two free nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai along with a free roundtrip flight on Hawaiian Airlines. Any chance to spend a weekend on vacation is great, but getting to do so with zero travel costs for airfare and hotel is particularly awesome!

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Cancun – Toshiba President’s Club

Lounging in our reserved private pool cabana with a mango mojito like a boss

This year of work has been very good to me. First a free trip to an incredible experience at The Kentucky Derby, then a working trip to Vegas at the Bellagio for Toshiba’s biggest technology show of the year, and now a trip to President’s Club in Cancun! Judy and I have never been to Mexico together so we were excited to go, and for free no less! As a surprise I called ahead to American Airlines, unbeknownst to Judy, to upgrade our seats to first class both ways. A relatively inexpensive proposition thanks to the many miles I’ve been able to accumulate.

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The Kentucky Derby

The view of the Churchill Downs racetrack from Millionaire’s Row

Work is, well, a lot of work. But great performance can lead to great rewards. For the end of  the fiscal year, our region ran a competition among managers for new business sales. The top performing manager in the region for all of Q4 would win a trip for two to the Kentucky Derby. The famous Churchill Downs racetrack is a client of Toshiba’s, and so the company has a couple of clubhouse level boxes right next to the track. Luckily I came out on top amongst the managers in the region! Judy and I flew down to Louisville for a few days to enjoy the sights, sounds, and once-in-a-lifetime experience of the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

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