Announcer: You're listening to the Miles to Go podcast, the go-to source for travel tips, news, and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now, here's your host travel expert, Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey guys, welcome back to the Miles to Go Podcast. We've got some pretty positive changes on the Capital One's inaudible credit cards. That could mean a big improvement in you earning free travel that we're going to dig into. And today we're also going to have part two of my extended interview with Richard Kerr on our most recent camping debacle. You'll definitely get a chuckle out of my demise, and you can check out the show notes out for a link to part one of that interview if you missed it. But let's dive right into the Cap One stuff.
This is a program that we haven't spoken about much on the show. I do hold a Capital One Spark Miles business credit card. I applied for it a couple of years ago because of a monstrous signup bonus they had, but I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to use the points. And it was one of those things where they'd released the transfer partners, or their first round of transfer partners. But lately, I haven't been using the card as much, mostly because I just wasn't a hundred percent sure that I wanted to have a big pile of Capital One miles without a great way to use them. And that wasn't really clear to me during the pandemic.
As I mentioned, a couple of years ago, Capital One announced transfer partners for their miles, which definitely changed the landscape for them, because before that, they were really more of just a cash back card, if you will, but with a travel focus. Many of their credit cards earn two miles per dollar spent on the card, though, they don't have a whole lot of bonus categories. It's more like two miles per dollar, pretty much across the board with a few exceptions. So, for folks with a lot of everyday spending, you can really pile up the miles as compared to a regular credit card. Typically, many folks who held these cards chose to redeem the points to erase travel purchases on their cards.
The transfer partners, they were a bit messy when they were launched in that these weren't one-to-one transfers like Chase ultimate rewards. And many of the partners were airlines that don't fly domestic flights in the U.S., with the exception of Jet Blue. To me, that made the cards not as appealing to the average family, which is a good chunk of the audience listening to Miles to Go. Capital One announced a bunch of new transfer partners earlier this week and an improvement in the transfer ratio for some of those programs. The four new ones, I think, are definitely a great expansion of their portfolio. They added British airways, Executive Club Program, Choice Hotels, Choice Privileges, TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go, and the Turkish airlines miles and Smiles programs.
Now, the travel ninjas amongst you will be thinking about how you can use British airways to book American airlines flights, and Turkish to book United flights, if domestic flights are your game. No doubt, those are great values for your miles, but I'd argue that a good number of folks won't want to do those sorts of gymnastics to redeem their points, whether that's dealing with overseas phone lines or different websites, just things they're not used to. It doesn't mean it can't be a great use of your miles, but I tend to gravitate to things that are a little bit more straightforward. But still, Turkish can be a phenomenal airline to fly to Europe and Asia given their massive hub in Istanbul.
Sure, there can be a bit of backtracking to get to Europe that way, but they have a really nice business class product, food's good onboard, all that stuff. And they've got a bunch of flights to a bunch of places out of Istanbul. And so as long as you can get there, you can pretty much get to a lot of great places in Europe and Asia. I also think TAP Portugal is a wonderful airline to fly to Europe on, especially since they allow stopovers in Lisbon or Porto as part of a connecting itinerary, which essentially means you can score two vacations for the price of one round trip flight. And their business class product really isn't that bad.
They also typically will have business class sales that are pretty reasonable from time to time. So you might be able to buy, say, a business class ticket or two for a family, and then use your points for the other ones to score a really great European trip where you could build in two cities, stop at Lisbon, then maybe on to say Paris or Frankfurt or Berlin or something. And then back through say Porto on the way back.
From a hotel standpoint, with Wyndham and Choice Hotels, now one-to-one transfer partners with Capital One, I think that that makes this a legitimate way to redeem Cap One Miles for hotel stays. Earlier, a lot of the ratios with the Cap One program were two Cap One Miles to 1.5 points in a different program. And that made it confusing for folks. But with this one-to-one, it's much more straightforward for folks to understand how to transfer their points. By and large, Wyndham and Choice aren't the first brands I search when it comes to planning a vacation.
But, as I've learned over time, there are some values to be had there. Wyndham's trademark collection has some pretty legitimate properties. There's some cabins in Branson, Missouri that are on my list, and some pretty sexy properties at ski destinations like Tahoe, as well as some pretty fabulous three and four bedroom houses for stays at Disney World. They've got a Sedona resort. So a bunch of interesting stuff, a lot of it focused in the domestic U.S. And a little bit in the Caribbean, stuff like that. But those can be really good redemptions for your points. And obviously, with Wyndham and Choice, you did have a ton of lower level, budget-style properties for family road trips, things like that. Earning two miles per dollar on everyday purchases on a Cap One card, and then transferring into one-to-one ratio to Wyndham can make a lot of sense.
Bottom line here, Cap One has closed the gap between themselves and top competitors like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express membership rewards. I'm going to link to a couple of articles that folks I follow have written over the past few days, so you guys can get a better idea of where this sits in. I think if you're holding a Cap One card, absolutely, there's more value. You might want to start spending on it more frequently. Whether you should apply for a Cap One card now, or stick with your chase or Amex stuff really does depend specifically on what your goals are. I'm still partial with Chase, but I think you can make a strong argument, Capital One deserves some love right now.
If you're not sure about your specific situation, you can feel free to drop me a note, firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on social media. Happy to answer questions about what you're specifically trying to accomplish, and whether you should stick with say Chase or Amex, or if you should focus on Cap One. But I think bottom line, end of the day, flexible currencies are only getting more valuable. So more likely, you're holding a Chase Ultimate Rewards Card or Amex or Cap One, as opposed to say the airline of your choice.
Before we jump into camping with Kerr, again, I want to ask you for a minute of your time to share the show with a friend. I'd love bringing the show to you guys on a weekly basis. It's mostly a labor of love and word of mouth is primarily how we grow our audience. So if you haven't left us a review, there's a link in the show notes where you can do that. It'll literally take you 30 seconds. And like I said, I'd love it if you just told a friend about the show. All right, with all that, time for some more violent camping stories.
All right. For those of you who listened in last week, you got to hear, I wouldn't say all of the bad stuff, but plenty of the reasons why I decided to pack up a day early and head home. And Kerr was going to be out early in the morning. And look, I mean, camping is definitely outside of my comfort zone on a normal day, but I think, like you said, Richard, we both like people and we both like starting conversations. I think we've had mostly positive experiences in campgrounds. This was really one of the first true sideways, crossed the boundaries experiences that we've had.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I don't think you heard the chat I head with her quad neighbors, if you go back and listen to part one of this, but here's some lines today I heard. Without context, here are my favorite lines from the quad neighbors hearing during my conversation today.
Yeah. I was just kidding with them. But when the law showed up, I ended up taking responsibility. I'm glad I did the right thing there. This is the quote, the second quote, without context. "Get over here, you britches eater."
Ed Pizza: inaudible.
Richard Kerr: The things that have to go on within a 30 second conversation for those sentences to make sense. I just can't get over it. It's awesome.
Ed Pizza: Oh, man. I will say though, it hasn't been all bad. And we said we were going to talk about some of the good stuff from the trip. And I think again, still learning how to successfully camp, but I think, for starters, we created shade this time for the first time. And that might sound like a really easy, simple thing to folks, but in a campsite where there's not a single tree within 500 feet of us, Richard happened on some Walmart tents for a hundred bucks. We were able to create our own mosquito tent shades. Our kids were able to play out of the front of our campsite, until the thunderstorms blew in and blew the tents away. We had to pack everything up. But my daughter was old enough to drive the kids around on the golf cart.
And I will say this is our third experience at Camp Jellystone. We had one sort of a pass. It was not a great trip, not a bad trip, but we've had two really positive experiences. And by the way, if you can hear the rain in the background, I'm sorry, but we are trying to squeeze this in to the last day of the trip with no other windows to record. So it seemed like your kids were ... Up until now, I didn't really know who Yogi was, but they seem to be having a really great time.
Richard Kerr: My kids had a blast. So we did homeschool with the kids for the last year, a four and a six year old. They're actually just 18 months apart, so very close in age. They are frienemies to the max. So, while they play with each other every single day and they love playing together, there are plenty of times where they're fussing and fighting. They were just tired of themselves. So Ed's kids, who are older, have been here this week. And his daughter is old enough to, like he just said, takes over and watches them and plays the mother figure. And then Ed's son is a little bit older than my son, who's my oldest. And my kids just think they're cool, right, because they got ... the other kids are watching them. They're driving around the golf cart without dad around. They're off doing these activities the campground puts together. And they just had an absolute blast.
And we kept them inaudible at least my kids were completely insulated from us being stressed out about the neighbors, and the whole situation with not getting to do some things we wanted to do and not enjoying our time. And my kids, tonight at bedtime, we're driving home in the morning. They were very upset that we were leaving tomorrow and that we were going to leave first thing in the morning, because they want to go and play with the Ed's kids again. And we had dinner tonight in his trailer when it was storming, and Thomas walked out and he's like, yeah, we had a lot of fun. And Thomas is like ... And Mary was doing a Lego set with Ed's daughter, and my kids had just had an absolute blast. At the end of the day, that makes me ... I love this stuff.
We were in The Bahamas last week in a really nice resort at Atlanta's, doing the water parks and the beach thing and like, yeah, that's cool and that's great. But the kids' are just running around and I put sunscreen one them this morning and I just set them loose and they went and did their thing.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Richard Kerr: I know where they are. Thomas has a walkie talkie in his pocket and he to the answer when I call him. And Ed's daughter's responsible enough, I 100% trust her when they go off. But the kids did their own thing, and I actually got to chill today and just sit in the chair and it was great. And unfortunately, the thunderstorm has ruined my special nighttime fire camp thing tonight, but at the end of ... I love it. I love doing this thing.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I mean, look, we're still going out there because the kids have so much fun with this. The thing I struggle with is, as a kid, we had a summer house on the Jersey Shore, a little cottage. And so, as kids, we'd scatter after dinner and go play, and that was what you did as kids all summer long. And so I had that feeling when we got here, and certainly our kids got to do some of that while we're here. I see so many campsites where that's not really the way things are set up. And now certainly the Jellystones and the KOA's are geared more towards families for that sort of thing. But I think the thing I still struggle with is how most of the campsites I've been to, they're stacked up, slot after slot after slot. And you walk out your front door and you're 20, 30 feet from somebody's poop pipe, which is not my idea of an exciting time.
And that was why the quad originally interested me because we had this grassy area, and I'll put some pictures up that you guys didn't see in the show notes. So it was an interesting experiment for me. I would say, unequivocally, it's a fail. Unless we could have the whole quad, I'd never do this again.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I agree. I guess I haven't had that experience where you stay in these places that are packed together because I'm so aware of that, from you telling the story and from other people in Facebook groups and communities talking about it, that I've tried my darnedest to avoid RV resorts or parks or campgrounds that look like that. So I guess I've been lucky so far with some state parks.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, your state park experience.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: Talk a little bit about that to folks.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. So, we left a day early. Our reservation here in North Carolina started on Sunday. My wife was supposed to come with me. She ended up not, but she was just .. After The Bahamas, in this back-to-back trip, you can just tell when mom needs some alone mom time without the little kids. So I said, you know what? Soccer was canceled last Saturday, we'll break this probably seven hour drive, including stops for a sup, and we'll go maybe a little bit more than halfway. And we'll find somewhere in South Carolina to stay for the night. So we stopped at a tourist information center, actually, at the Georgia South Carolina border. Wonderful lady there helped us call the state park right on the way here to North Carolina. So Lee Sate Park and upstate South Carolina, really, in the middle of nowhere, a little city called Bishopville. And we got a slot for the night.
And it was literally in the swamp of South Carolina, but it's known for a couple of things, artesian wells that were drilled in the 1930s. And we found these wells and they just bubble up aquifer water out of the ground 24/7, 365 since the thirties. And then also lots of horse tracks. All of our neighbors in the South Carolina state park had their horses with them. And they would go on all these equestrian trails throughout the woods. But the site, huge in a pine forest that's like swamp land in South Carolina. It had plenty of space between everybody, super friendly campsite hosts that met us there. They saw us pull up and they're like, Hey, are you the Kerrs? The nice lady that called from the tour centers? I was like, yeah. She was like, oh, my husband's going to drive his golf cart and lead you where to go. And yeah, it was just a cool one night deal.
And I'm like, where else would you get to do that? And ended up in Bishopville, South Carolina and checking that stuff out. I just thought it was a cool one night.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and you've had really good luck with state parks, and we're trying to do that. I think most of the time that we've camped, it's been destination-based. So we're going to go to Hershey for the weekend, and we're not going to do a hotel because our daughter isn't comfortable staying at hotels yet. And so, most of the campsites around there really are destination campsites. This was one of the first times that we were camping, that it was really supposed to be just about hanging out with you guys. It wasn't about the destination. And in fact, we weren't even supposed to be here. We were supposed to be in Pigeon Forge, but the campsite that we were going to didn't open in time. And so ...
Richard Kerr: What kind of compensation do we get for that delayed opening, by the way?
Ed Pizza: This isn't like a 30 minute baggage claim guarantee on Delta.
Richard Kerr: We got re-booked at the Park Hyatt because the Hyatt Regency didn't open on time. Nope, it didn't work that way.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. It doesn't work that way with campsites. That only ended up happening because I was going to change my dates because of a hitch in the spring break schedule and our daughter running cross country. And so when I asked you to change the dates for our reservations, you hit the website for the campsite. And then it said opening April 2nd or something like that, which was after our trip. And I was like, oh, shoot, we need a plan C.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I don't know how you found this place, but I've looked at the mileage. It's 15 miles off being equal distant from our houses, so good job making the drive equal for both of us. This is my second Jellystone Park. I've done a KOA. The state parks, they're old. They're sites, for the most part, are spacious. Now, I've seen some really bad state park deals, but they just have so much character. We've done, I guess, three or four in Georgia now. They're hidden gyms that nobody talks about that are really awesome. My one hang up with the state parks is they don't have the full sewer hookups.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Richard Kerr: So once your tanks fill up, you either got to unhook the whole RV and go to the dump site. Or you got to have a mobile cart, which ... just the kids here taking showers and washing their hands and washing dishes. You fill up your gray tank where the sink and the shower goes real fast every day. And in a state park, I could just see that being a headache.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I think, when I thought about you with the mobile cart, the first thought that crossed my mind is I don't want to be moving 40 gallons of poop water from point A to point B. The more I think about it, I think what I could see us doing ... again, I still don't know where you'd store the mobile cart because I'm already pretty full on space, so it's got to go somewhere.
Richard Kerr: Mine hangs on the ladder on the back of mine.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. That might be what I do. With my luck, I could see that ending up somewhere on 95 on the way down crosstalk. But maybe if you were just moving gray water, because I mean, my teenage daughter can fill the gray water tank pretty much every time she takes a shower. So that's the one downside to state parks for me. The other downside for state parks for me is my trailers a bit bigger than yours. As your son said, he was so sad that his trailer wasn't cool like my son was.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I think my son was in tears tonight. He was upset going back to our RV. It wasn't as big and cool as Ed's son's RV. I was like, oh man.
Ed Pizza: And anybody who's listening, who's met both of us, should not be surprised at all that my RV is cooler than Richard's. But I don't know that I can run on the service or the electrical service. Most state park campsites have 30 amp service. Some of them do have a 50 amp service. Your camper could absolutely run on 30 amp. I'm not sure if I could run on 50, 30, I mean.
Richard Kerr: We ran on 30, three weekends ago. We did Georgia State Park on 30 with a little adapter. But yeah, I don't know how yours would faire. Actually, I was shocked. We went to the middle of nowhere, South Carolina State Park on Saturday night. I plugged it in and got my adapter, assuming it was going to be 30. And when it was 50, I was shocked. I was like, oh, wow.
Ed Pizza: So I'm going to pause us here for a second. I want to touch on one other topic before we finish off our what is now going to be a three-part series, if the rain holds off. Because I want to sum up and put a bow tie on whether or not we've made the right investments this far in camping. But we're going to make you guys wait at least one more week for that. So tell folks where they can find you before I kick you out of your own trailer.
Richard Kerr: You can found me at Kerr points, K-E-R-R, on social or all social and always on the points guy. I'm doing a myriad of things.
Ed Pizza: All right. Well, you guys have hang out for one more week to finish up our three part series here on the wonderful world of campus. That's a full wrap on this week's episode. You can find links to everything we discussed today in the show notes. A big thanks to all of you for tuning into this week's show. If any of you have questions or suggestions for a future show, you can drop me an email@example.com, or hit me up on social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all @pizzainmotion. And you can find me blogging firstname.lastname@example.org. Until we upload again, we've got Miles to Go.
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