First, a mini Ventana Big Sur (a Hyatt / Alila property) review:

  • Great food, especially when you consider that it’s all included in the rack rate
  • Excellent value at 30,000 Hyatt points a night (my booked rate)
  • Probably a good value at 45,000 Hyatt points per night (current rate)
  • It’s not easy to get to (you’ll likely spend more time driving than you spent flying to northern California)
  • Three nights is about the perfect length
  • I’d give it four out of five stars, I may come back but it wouldn’t be anytime soon
  • And finally, it seems that most reviews and the hotel’s main web page don’t mention that the resort is partially “clothing optional” so do what you will with that info

Ok, with that out of the way, here are a few things to keep you occupied for the weekend:

  1. Staples is going to have $5 off of the $6.95 activation fee for $200 Visa gift cards. If you wait a few weeks they’ll probably bring back the fee free version so this is really only if your other spending avenues are dry. (Thanks to kawnipi)
  2. I’ve heard from multiple readers in Florida and Georgia that Publix has blocked Metabank Visa and Mastercard gift cards at their customer service desk in the same way that Safeway did last year. I’m guessing that $99 or smaller transactions will continue to work but haven’t heard definitely either way.

    It’s time to look for other regional grocers for a new liquidation channel.
  3. Southwest is rolling out end of June schedule changes this week and will likely start its July changes shortly, so now is the time to travel hack your way to cheap Independence Day travel with the schedule change trick.

    Don’t forget to layer this with 20% off of paid fares through Monday with Point.app, maybe a few times.

Have a nice weekend friends!

A clothing optional Big Sur squirrel.

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