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Christmas Choo-Choo. Help Needed. Apply Below. - Bending Reality to my Will — LiveJournal

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November 16th, 2005


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10:11 am - Christmas Choo-Choo. Help Needed. Apply Below.
All right then, let's see just how much horsepower this whole 'network of friends' scheme's really got.

It being an odd-numbered year, the husband's family gets us for The Tree-Shaped Holiday, and mine gets us for the cranberry-flavored one. Although it's not too late to get adequate plane tickets (it's never cheap to fly to Denver, "Southwest effect" notwithstanding), it is too late to use non-peak frequent flyer miles.

However, in researching same, I tripped over a fabulous alternative: Amtrak.

Normally, this would be ludicrous. You see, round-trip coach train fare, Seattle to Denver and back for two adults, is $660. Even now, flying's cheaper, and when you contemplate a 50-hour trip, including two nights, in chairs (even the extra roomy train seats), well, blech! If we can't get a sleeper car, then "dream on" is exactly what we wouldn't do!

But with a sleeper car, it's a whole 'nother story. We have the time, and what a fun way to travel. A little room for ourselves, a big picture window, interesting scenery, an electrical outlet (120V normal wall socket!!) for the laptops, room to stroll around, and no airport! How cool is that! Very, I tell you, very!

Alas, even liquid nitrogen isn't cool enough to justify the $1867 fare for travelling that way.

But there's an out! You can redeem Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles for Amtrak travel. Passage for two in a sleeper car on the Coast Starlight is 30,000 miles. Now, 25k miles gets me a plane ticket for one person, so 30k for two in a sleeper car is a fabulous deal!

But there's a catch. I said "Coast Starlight." Alaska's arrangement with Amtrak only works on travel on the West Coast. To get from Seattle to Denver on the train means taking the Coast Starlight to Sacramento, and the California Zephyr to Denver. Alaska Miles can't get me passage on the Zephyr.

But there's an out! One can use frequent flyer miles from Continental or Midwest for Amtrak travel, including the Zephyr!

But there's a catch. I don't have any miles with either of those two airlines. Or Diner's Club points. I do have American Express Membership Rewards points, but only one tenth the required amount. They're not ideal, anyway. Midwest, Continental, and Diner's Club points must be transferred to an Amtrak account (at a 1:1 ratio) before they can be used to buy tickets. AmEx Points must first become Continental points (at 1:1); they don't transfer directly. There might not be enough time for one transfer, let alone two, at this point.

Many (all?) rewards programs specifically forbid one from selling one's miles or points. Woe! Woe is me! If only I knew somebody who'd just use their Diner's Club points, their Continental OnePass miles, their Midwest Miles, to provide me with that Amtrak ticket!

I'm sure, in a totally unrelated but equally generous fit of giving, I might in turn give some completely random person an airline ticket, or transfer miles, or otherwise express the mood of this holiday season. If that random person might happen to be the same one who'd unexpectedly purchased Amtrak tickets for somebody recently, well, hey, the universe is full of coincidences, no?



In an entirely unrelated vein, let me just mention my new email address: dh.randomstranger@grandfenwick.net
Current Mood: mischievoussneaky

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ladyjestocost
Date:November 16th, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)

Transportation

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Alas, all we can do is try to take you to and from whatever stations you're departing from/arriving to.

Alas.

[User Picture]
From:kate_schaefer
Date:November 16th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
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I don't have any of these items, but I laughed out loud (I did not LoL, which I think of as an internalized intellectual reaction translated into an acronym; I laughed out loud, a genuine expression of amusement which I have now reduced to some blathery discussion inside parentheses) at how you phrased all this.
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From:snarke
Date:November 16th, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC)

{snort} {smirk}

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Desperate to avoid the spectre of the tedium promised by "Freshman English 101" in college, I postponed fulfilling that requirement until my senior year, and then took English 201 instead. I think I'd forgotten whether I was ENG201 in spring and PHIL101 in fall or vice versa, but I walked into the first day of class, sat down, and found out at some point that (a) the class was full, and (b) I wasn't on the roster. Nevertheless, the instructor tacked me on to the bottom of the list. 201s were quite variable, according to the whim of the instructor, and this one turned out to be primarily focused on Essay Writing.

In retrospect, I cannot imagine how fulfilling my English requirement could have been any more fun than that. I got to exercise and even hone my Voice, rather than muting it as I usually did for essay papers in other classes. Calloo, callay!

I must quibble with you in one respect. Blathery discussion inside parentheses is an art form; do not feel you have to 'reduce' something to fit in there. I think the plethora of arcs peppered across my original post bears some testament to that.

On the other hand, this entire armload of sentence shrapnel could have been handled in a single paragraph. A rather dull paragraph to be sure; it's a good thing LiveJournal doesn't charge me by the byte or anything. So back to the first hand, my essays are as much about the journey as the destination (in this specific instance, in more ways than one!). When I opened the account, it was very much with the idea of quality, not quantity, in mind, so my posts are few and far between. I save this effort for when I have something I want to say to my friends (and/or enemies and/or random strangers), and think that I can say it in a way that will amuse.

In that, at least, I can be sure I have succeeded. Thank you.
[User Picture]
From:bedii
Date:November 17th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)

Re: {snort} {smirk}

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We will draw a veil, I think, over the specific classes where I spent time with my typewritten draft in one hand and a copy of Strunk & White in the other trying to figure out which rules to violate where to get a high enough page count for the paper without giving the effect that every other paragraph had been written by a drunken victim of logorrhea.
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From:scarlettina
Date:November 16th, 2005 10:12 pm (UTC)
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Neither can I help you out, but I chuckled at it all. How clever and creative of you, m'dear.

Speaking of which (clever, creative, needing travel stuff), did you get my e-mil about RadCon perchance?
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From:snarke
Date:November 17th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
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<mode="smug">Thanks. I'm particularly please with "liquid nitrogen isn't cool enough," and being able to cap the penultimate paragraph with the email address. </mode>

<mode="sheepish">I'm not sure. If it was in the last few days, then no. If it was before that, then maybe. I don't see it amongst the hundred and one (quite literally) messages threatening to tip over and bury my imaginary desktop.</mode>

However, now I feel a need to vent on why I might not have seen the message if you sent it recently. Herewith, another post, less funny, but probably educational. Sigh.
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From:scarlettina
Date:November 17th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
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I e-mailed a small group of people, yourself and yourspouse included, about whether or not a roommate was needed for the convention. I want to go, but I'm looking for ways to keep costs down.
[User Picture]
From:snarke
Date:November 19th, 2005 01:12 am (UTC)

tik tik tik

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Well, nothing yet. I've expanded the scope to include the Vanguard list and craigslist. After that, I guess I'll just be hunting for plane tickets. Sigh.

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