Inspect What You Expect – Stories From Home, A Podcast

Inspect What You Expect – Stories From Home, A Podcast

*** SHOW NOTES ***

Recorded in the beautiful home office, Chateau Relaxo, FL.

Leadership guru Douglas R. Satterfield once said, “Inspect what you expect’” No,  it’s not another quote show.

Last January I posted my five 2020 travel resolutions, and they were

  • Get out a bit more in the evening, especially when traveling alone.
  • Create and post at least one travel themed video.
  • Adding a bit more to our family trips.
  • I am no longer allowed to bring home souvenirs from my trips.
  • Do a better job of monitoring my travel reward programs.

Entering the halfway point of the year it’s time to inspect what I expect. I think 2020 will fall into one of two groups – PC, Pre-COVID, and PC, Post-COVIDa. Possibly BC – before-COVID and AC after-COVID works better.

Get out a bit more in the evening, especially when traveling alone. -When traveling with others the tendency is to head to a local brewery which is always fun, but when traveling alone the local brewhouse can be the first step of a 12 step program. Before corona, I didn’t really travel alone – I was in Albany, NY, Rocky Hill CT, Sarasota, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Fairfield, NJ, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Atlanta, GA, Valdosta, GA. Out of all those trips, the only out of the ordinary evening excursion was a January Gwinnett Gladiators hockey match. I did download Eventbrite to use in conjunction with Yelp & Google reviews but have yet to use it. My last posted reviews on Yelp and Google were in early March.

Create and post at least one travel themed video. – I still have the GoPro and Drone, and they are both still stored safely away. My best guess is that I will probably take less than 10 flights between now and the end of the year, so most trips will be via car and I plan to pack both. I still have lots of videos from lasts year’s Niagara Falls trip. All of which are stored on the GoPros SD card. Maybe I’ll film packing for my next trip or I can place a beer in each room of my house and film a Chateau Relaxo bar crawl.

Adding a bit more to our family trips. – At this point, the only family trip we’ve been on was to Savannah where we attended the 700 Kitchen Cooking School and prepared a Southern-themed feast of SAVANNAH RED RICE

  • BERRY CRUMBLE with wildflower honey

We covered this adventure in episode 71, and it was our last out of town trip pre-corona.

I am no longer allowed to bring home souvenirs from my trips. – Maybe 70/30 or probably 60/40 on keeping this resolution. While I haven’t brought home any T-shirts or local food items, I have brought home some great bourbon and beer.

Do a better job of monitoring my travel reward programs  – Well well well there’s not much to manage here.

Year to date,  basically January 6th  – March 14. 8  flights on Southwest, 11 nights at Hilton properties, and 13 nights at Marriott properties, like I said not much to manage.

 I went into 2020 with the plan to use two credit cards – Chase Southwest rapid rewards and the American Express Hilton Aspire card.

Most everything at Chateau Relaxo goes on the Southwest card, everything except for Hilton hotel stays, those go on the American Express Hilton cards. We’ve charged semesters of college, down payments for vehicles and home roofs have gone. Here’s a life tip… this card carries a monthly interest rate of 22%. No matter how many points you get credited each month you will never get ahead if you carry a balance at a 22% interest rate. 

The only reason to have the Southwest card is for the companion pass, and that’s where a companion flies free whenever I do. To earn companion pass you need to fly 100 flights, not realistic for me, or earn 125,000 between flights and using the Southwest card. One advantage is that you get double points when booking a flight using the Southwest card. Normally we use this card till we make the companion level for the next year.

I stopped using the Southwest card in March, more on that in a minute. My average points for January & February were right at 18,000, on track to make companion pass for 2021 by August. My point total for May was 630, which came from monthly subscriptions. 

All of that aside Southwest has stepped up their reward program support.

  • First, my A-List preferred has been extended until December 21
  • Second, my companion pass is now valid through June 2021 and doesn’t end January 2021, an extra 6 months
  • Third, Southwest has deposited 25 qualifying flights and 25,000 qualifying points deposited into my accounts. That bump put me at 64,000 of the required 125,000 points needed to extend my companion pass past June 2021.

In March we moved everything over to the American Express Hilton card, the reason is they also offered point bumps for each dollar spent. 

  • 12 points at grocery stores
  • 6 points on fuel
  • 3 points on just about everything else.

Chateau” Relaxo houses 5 adults and 2 dogs and we’ve all been in one place since mid-March., As you could well imagine those 12 points at the grocery store have come in real handy.

When it came to the Hilton Honors program was one of the first chains to do a solid for its members. The plan is to get Robbie back in here to talk about the strategy behind this move.

A bit of travel news

What’s the difference between a Jeep and a rental car? There are some places you can’t take a Jeep.

Many don’t know this but Dollar and Thrifty car rentals are owned by Hertz. I’ll give you three guesses as to who filed for bankruptcy last week and your first two guesses don’t count. HERTZ, as you could well imagine the demand for rental cars has decreased significantly in the last 60 days. Time for a fire sale!

On May 20, Business Insider reported more than 20 yellow and black-striped 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06s for sale on Hertz’s own car-sales website. The Z06s were all part of the Hertz 100th Anniversary Edition Corvette collection — 100 special-edition Z06s made especially for Hertz and the customers who wished to rent them.

The Z06’s had a limit of 75 miles a day, or 525 miles a week. Each mile over that incurred an extra $0.75 charge. Priced right around $60,000 they are well below the $80,000 that this car is fetching on Autotrader. As a bonus, these are painted bright yellow, which means the only two things you can see from the International Space Station is the Great Wall of China and these yellow Z06’s. As of the afternoon of May 27, there were only 1 of these mid-life crisis cars left, just bring an extra $63,000.

Hotel stays will take on a new look

A friend recently took a business trip and he reported that the pool and fitness center were both closed, and breakfast was brown bag style…. No buffet.

Pre-COVID episode 70 I talked about how Hilton’s digital room key built into their app can to my rescue one evening after I left my hotel room key security looked in my hotel room. 

The digital room key will become the norm. Marriot had announced that most properties not equipped with digital room keys would be retrofitted by May 1st, this date has been pushed back.

Besides stepped up cleaning practices other visible changes will be present

  • Hotel rooms will not be equipped with “free” writing pens.
  • There will be packages of disinfecting wipes everywhere.
  • Signs about social distancing will be everywhere
  • Sanitizing stations will be strategically placed
  • The TV remote will more than likely be in a plastic bag
  • You will see hotels moving back to single-use toiletries. Instead of those wall-mounted tubes of bacterial infused shampoo.

Last bit of travel/COVID news. Next visit to a restaurant and the bill seems a bit high look at the receipt and you might see  “COVID-19 surcharge”. Establishments are passing along some of their additional COVID costs to all of us, and there is nothing wrong with that….. We’re all in this together  

Came across this April 2020 Memo To Employees


  1. You are not “working from home,” you are “at your home, during a crisis, trying to work.”
  1. Your personal physical, mental, and emotional health is extremely important right now. Take care of yourself!
  1. You should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours.
  2. Be kind to yourself and don’t judge how you are coping based on how you see others coping.
  1. Be kind to others and don’t judge others in how they are coping based on how you are coping.
  1. Success will not be measured the same way it was when things were normal.

Blue Mountain Community College in Boardman, Oregon 

One last quote….. “If you are upset just think about a T-Rex trying to drink a Martini”

Well, there you have it, thanks for listening and safe travels.

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