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Brand-New: Discover Miles Card Provides a 3% Rebate on Everything

Link: Discover Miles Card (New Offer for 3% Cash Back)

In the world of travel hacking, you almost never hear anything about Discover—which is totally understandable. When I was a kid, my parents liked to use their Discover card, which usually created the following interaction almost everywhere we went:

Server presents the bill, and my parents present their card.

Server goes away and returns a few minutes later.

Server: “Sorry, we don’t take Discover. Do you have a Visa or MasterCard?"

Parents: “Oh, okay. Here’s another card.”
In my adult world of miles and points, I've opened at least fifty credit cards in the past five years (this is not an overstatement—the actual number is probably higher), but these have all been through Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. The grand total of Discover cards that I've had in my life is precisely zero.

All of a sudden, that may change—and it may change this week.

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One Log Cabin and 800 Yoga Mats: Some Unconventional Tax Deductions from My Life in 2014

I’ve been working on my tax return this week, which is complicated for a lot of reasons. First, I run several different businesses which all have their own set of accounting. WDS, our annual gathering, has its own legal structure, including a foundation that is completely separate from all my other projects. Last year we started an all-new event that also has its own legal structure.

So yeah, it’s complicated. It takes about 20 hours just to prepare all the info for my accountant, and as with most tax-prep tasks, it’s not usually a fun process. But I do enjoy seeing some of the charges on my statements from the previous year. They remind me of the crazy life I have, and the many fun experiences that I'm fortunate to participate in.

As I went through all the expenses, a few things stood out that I thought were especially interesting or noteworthy. And yes, my accountant usually has a lot of questions for me about these things before we actually complete the return and file with the IRS.

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6 Discoveries from Near and Far: Volume XXXV

Things I found on long walks in foreign cities, or perhaps when someone posted them on Twitter.

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Earn Ultimate Rewards Points By Educating Your Friends on Miles & Points

Here’s a fun thing: many of you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It’s a great card for a lot of reasons, and is usually my #1 recommendation when people are just starting to get into the world of miles and points.

If you have the card, you can now earn extra miles for referring your friends.

Here’s how it works:

  • You’ll earn 5,000 points for every successful referral
  • Your friends will receive the best offer currently available (the same one we have through our partner, Cards for Travel)
  • You can refer up to 10 friends for 50,000 points in total
  • The deadline is May 31, 2015

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Awesome In-Flight Videos from the KLM Cockpit

561540330_4dcbb6a339_z Ever wonder how dozens of flights can safely cross the Atlantic at the same time, despite the fact that much of the journey includes no radar coverage?

How do the pilots communicate with Air Traffic Control, and what kind of instructions are they given?

Oh, and what’s the deal with autopilot—does it mean the pilots aren't really in control?

I really enjoyed watching these in-flight cockpit videos from recent KLM flights from Amsterdam to London and Amsterdam to New York. Even if you’re not an airline geek like me, you may like them, too.

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Giveaway: Qatar Airways First Class Amenity Kit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Every Friday is giveaway day. Comment to win!

  • This kit comes with Armani moisturizer, lip balm, sleep mask (good for napping on the road AND at home), fancy floss, and cozy black socks
  • Okay, technically this is a men's kit—but ladies, you can win too! It's a super snazzy kit for anyone
  • The Giorgio Armani travel case is pretty nice too
  • This giveaway is available to readers worldwide. Anyone can win!
  • Our cats and biased judges will pick someone on Sunday night at 6pm PST

Enter this week’s giveaway by posting a comment. Check back Sunday night when we announce the winner!

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“Normal Guy” Pizza Manager Stays Overnight in 48 States

This is a quest case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

Currently a manager at Sbarro, Chris Strub is a be a pretty "normal" guy who had an idea - to spend at least one night in the lower 48 states - and made it happen. Here's how:

Introduce yourself and your quest.

I'm a 29-year-old native New Yorker currently living in Greenville, South Carolina. As I grew up, I was constantly told I could “be whatever I wanted to be.” I sat at my college graduation listening to successful people offering vague advice like this, rife with buzzwords. But I’d never pigeonholed my career goal. Even though I’d had great jobs, I felt like I still had an open book ahead of me. I didn't want to be defined by my vocations - I wanted to be defined by my dreams.

And pushing the limits of social media through travel was my calling. So I decided to take a 90-day solo road trip around the lower 48 states, staying a night in every state.

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The New World of Passport Tattoo Art: Possibly Illegal, Definitely Awesome

Léonard_Combier_Illustration_04 I'm proud of my stamps and visas, and I often get a double-take from immigration officers around the world when presenting my passport—but this guy has gone much further.

French illustrator Léonard Combier sent pictures of his work to Doodlers Anonymous, where he offered anyone to send him their passport to "tattoo."

Is this legal? Well, apparently it's an open question, since technically the work involves "defacing" a government document, and some countries have more of a sense of humor than others. Fortunately, most people report that most immigration agents have enjoyed it thus far.

Here are a few examples:

Léonard_Combier_Illustration_01

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Sometimes Life Sucks, So You Might As Well Do Something About It

I've always liked Trent Hamm's tagline: "All I care about is making your life not suck." This is what good bloggers, and good people of all kinds, do well. If you're trying to figure out the next step for your blog... or your life... think about how you can make other people's lives not suck.

Taking action on it will probably make you happier, too.

A couple people have suggested that the phrasing of Trent's motto is poor. Can't you make it more positive? they ask.

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The Single Best Credit Card for Travelers: Earn 40,000 Points Now and More Everywhere You Go

Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Last year we had a celebration for Tyler, our Adventure Czar, when he came home from running a marathon on Antarctica. At the end of the night, I went to pay my tab, and the bartender said, “What is this card that all of you guys have?!”

It turned out that of the dozen or so folks that had an open tab at the bar that night, at least half of us were using the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

There’s a good reason for that! Our readers are smart. :)

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One Family, Four Bikes, All of the Americas: Nancy Vogel’s Quest

This is a quest case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

Nancy3 For many, driving 17,000 miles with your family would be challenge enough. Nancy Vogel went a step further, and along with her husband and twin sons, decided to bike from Alaska to Argentina over the course of three years.

Nancy's perspective on completing a quest was a favorite story for many readers from The Happiness of Pursuit. Here's more from her.

I am an ordinary mom who went on an extraordinary journey. Some say I was outrageously foolish, others say I was ludicrously dumb. I don't think I'm either—I'm just a normal mom who wanted a life outside the box.

In 2008, I flew to Alaska with my family. Loaded into the belly of the plane were bicycles for the four of us, and all the gear we needed to begin pedaling toward the southern tip of South America, more than 17,000 miles away. We spent the next three years on our quest for the end of the world and finally—after cycling through 15 countries—we arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina on the island of Tierra del Fuego, where the road ended.

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A Film About Shame and Ego Wins Best Picture at the Oscars

Two days ago I went to see Birdman. I’d missed it when it came out, then forgot all about it, then realized it was still showing. Last night it won best picture and many other awards at the Oscars—coincidence, I’m sure. :)

I really liked many aspects of the film, from the amazing drum-only soundtrack to the fact that it was filmed in a single continuous shot. (I don’t entirely know what that means, but it sounds cool.)

I also thought it was interesting that much of the coverage of the film at the Oscars said it was primarily a story about ego. I thought it was somewhat about ego, especially in the context of mortality as an actor who formerly played a superhero ages and faces the loss of relevancy and career.

But I also thought it was about shame, a concept that isn’t often explored from a masculine perspective. It reminded me of reading Karl Ove Knausgaard, something else I'll write about shortly.

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6 Discoveries from Near and Far: Volume XXXIV

Things I found on long walks in foreign cities, or perhaps when someone posted them on Twitter.

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