Free Stuff

Brewfest at Portland Int’l Airport

Portland International Airport is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the now-iconic Clocktower in the shop and amenity-filled pre-secrurity area of the airport. And that means lots of fun – and free stuff – for travelers, meeters and greeters and anyone who knows what a pleasant area that pre-security space can be.

Coming up Friday, June 22, from 11:30 a.m. to  1:30 pm, the plaza will be transformed into a beer garden with more than a dozen craft beers available for tasting.  The event also celebrates the grand opening of Deschutes Brewery at PDX – the beermaker’s first location opening in Oregon in 10 years.

As part of the brewfest, attendees will be able to pick up a limited edition Clocktower 30 pin, which is one of four special pin designs travelers can collect this summer.

Can’t make it to the brewfest? PDX has many other events coming up throughout the summer. See the full schedule here.

While you’re there, enter the Clocktower contest which has as its prize a “Magic Coast of Oregon”-inspired package (valued at nearly $5,000) that includes five nights at the King Suite at the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria, OR, a sunset cruise for two, a zipline adventure with Highlife Adventures, a helicopter tour, several other activities plus multiple gift cards and a Pendleton luggage set and blanket.  Deadline is September 9, 2018. Enter here.

I used to live on the Oregon coast and can attest to the fact that is indeed a magical place.

JetBlue delivering NY pizza – to LA!

 

 

JetBlue is kicking off a 3-day promotion (May 9 to 12) delivering pizza – by airplane – from New York to Los Angeles residents living in certain zip codes.

The promotion is limited to 350 pizzas a day and customers can order the pizza by going to the Pie in the Sky website (The site wasn’t working Wed morning; this has happened with some of their previous promotions..) to place an order and pay for the pizza ($12-15, depending on the type). JetBlue is paying for the delivery and picking up the taxes.

If you’re in Los Angeles and don’t have a chance to order a NY pizza, you can still get a free slice.

JetBlue is hosting a pizza party Wed. May 9 from noon to 3 p.m. (Or while the pizza lasts..) at Los Angeles International Airport in Terminal 5 at the JetBlue check-in desk.

In the meantime – here’s Spike Lee to tell you how to eat a New York Pizza.

 

Filed your taxes? Now get some free stuff.

As of March 16, at least 61 million early bird tax filers had already received refunds averaging $2,960 from the Internal Revenue Service.

But millions of other taxpayers are still rushing around gathering receipts and grappling with paperwork and electronic forms as the April 17 tax filing deadline nears.

Whichever column you’re in, you can still take advantage of Tax Day rewards ranging from free pizza and cookies to discounts on hotel stays and getaways.

Here’s a sampling of some of the deals I gathered for a piece on CNBC:

Free (and charmingly discounted) food and snacks

As is their tradition, on Tax Day, April 17, Great American Cookies will be giving away a free cookie to anyone who stops at one of their participating stores. This year’s treat is a Cookies & Cream cookie.

In keeping with its Tax Day motto of “No taxation without relaxation,” Kona Ice trucks will once again show up in many communities on April 17 to hand out free shaved ice. As part of its “Tastes Like America” menu campaign, on April 17 participating Hardee’s will offer customers a free Sausage Biscuit until 10 a.m. and Hot Dog on a Stick will give each customer that stops by participating locations one free Turkey or Veggie Dog on April 17.

Taking a cue from the tax forms, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria locations around the country are offering 16” Traditional Cheese pizzas for $10.40 on April 17. Bruegger’s Bagels is offering a downloadable coupon for a Big Bagel Bundle (13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese) for $10.40, a $3.50 “deduction,” they note, off the regular price. (Valid through April 17).

And Potbelly Sandwich Shops has set aside 75,000 free sandwiches as a Tax Day reward for people who join its Potbelly Perks program. Those already enrolled in the program will find a buy-one, get one-free sandwich offer loaded on their app April 17 for Tax Day use.

Travel Deals

Throughout the month of April, four Kimpton hotels southern California – Hotel Palomar and Hotel Salomar in San Diego, the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and The Goodland in Santa Barbara – are giving out “Random Refunds.” Each day one randomly chosen guest at each hotel will find they’ve been refunded a hotel charge such as the resort fee, parking charges, restaurant bill or perhaps the in-room movie.

From April 17 to 20, Hotel Saugatuck in Saugatuck, Michigan is offering a 20 percent discount to anyone who shows a current 1099 tax form (or proof of membership in the United Auto Workers or Freelancers unions). The B&B is also offering guests a box of local chocolate fudge at a discount, for $10.99.

Thinking of spending your tax refund in Europe? Rail Europe is offering travelers $25 off bookings of $400 made through April 24. Use code: TAXDAYRE18.

Budget-minded tax filers can also take advantage of some other timely travel deals that just happen to fall around April 17.

Filing taxes may not be a walk in the park, but anyone can take a walk in a National Park for free on Saturday, April 21, when entrance fees are waived at any of the National Parks that have them, including Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park and others where the entry fee per car can reach $20.

The U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways sale runs this year from April 9 through May 8 and features daily deals up to 60 percent off everything form loyalty point programs and car rental coupons to attractions tickets, hotel stays and more from travel companies such as Hertz, Hilton, and Universal Parks and Resorts.

 A tidying-up trip

Once you’ve filed your taxes, be sure to store away the important financial paperwork you might need should the IRS come calling for an audit.

But don’t stuff everything back in that shoebox. Take a moment to review Consumer Report’s advice on what receipts and records you really need to keep and what can be thrown away.

Bundle the discards, print out this coupon for 5 pounds of free document shredding and take your first post-Tax Day trip to your local Office Max/Office Depot store.

Airline amenity of the week: free sunscreen on Hawaiian Airlines

Here’s a nomination for airline amenity of the week:

Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with reef-safe sun care company Raw Elements USA, to offer complimentary packets of sunscreen to passengers on all flights from North America to Hawaii throughout the month of April.

Discounted full-size bottles of the eco-friendly sunscreen will also be sold on flights to Hawaii through June.

Complimentary sunscreen is a nice gesture, but it’s also an educational one.

Preserving Hawaii’s natural resources is important and the ingredients in many traditional sunscreen products can harm Hawaii’s coral reefs.  To explain how, the airline has also debuted a new educational in-flight video, Reefs at Risk.

“Hawaii is a very special place, and we believe it is our kuleana, or responsibility, to care for our home,” Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement,

In addition to offering Hawaiian Airlines passengers complimentary sunscreen samples, Raw Elements USA is also hosting a social media sweepstakes for US residents.

The prize: two roundtrip tickets (140,000 HawaiianMiles) to Hawaii courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines, a five-night stay at The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club (an Aqua-Aston Hospitality Hotel), the choice of three complimentary island activities, and a year’s supply of Raw Elements reef-safe sunscreen.

Entries in the Protect the Reef sweepstakes are being accepted through 4/30/18. Good luck and see you on the beach!

MSP Airport is ready for Super Bowl fans to arrive – and leave

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is ready for the Super Bowl 52 fans to arrive – and leave .

“For many Super Bowl attendees, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be their first and last impression of Minnesota, and we want to ensure it’s a great one,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP.

The airport has spruced up with a special Super Bowl info page on its website, an enhanced Wi-Fi system, new carpeting, new furniture, new shops and restaurants and has added lots of NFL signage and pop-up Super Bowl souvenir shops in the terminals.

Extra volunteers have been recruited to help travelers with airport wayfinding and extra space has been arranged for all the taxis, rental cars, limos and Uber and Lyft cars that will be supplementing public transportation options at the airport.

Weather contingency plans are in place. Airport police and fire crews have been working with city, county and federal law enforcement agencies on how to deal with various scenarios. And the Transportation Security Administration is bringing in extra officers and passenger screening canines to help process passengers heading home after the game.

“TSA operations at MSP following the Super Bowl will be an ‘all hands on deck’ operation,” said TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers, “From uniformed staff to plain-clothes administrative personnel, everyone will be working.”

TSA and MSP expect to set passenger records on the Monday and Tuesday after Super Bowl, but airport officials are confident their team is up for the challenge.

“We have a solid plan in place to keep everyone safe, the operation running smoothly, and travelers’ experience positive,” said MSP’s Ryks.

Safe and smooth is good, but MSP’s Super Bowl welcome team is also offering fans of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots some fun extras.

A 10-day “Performing Arts Spectacular” is underway, with a lineup of events featuring everything from Bollywood, hip-hop and flamenco dancers to vocal and drum performances. The airport’s animal ambassadors will be out in full force. And giveaways in the terminals will include a series of Super Bowl/Winter-themed MSP buttons and foldable terminal maps with disposable hand warmers attached.

Several airlines, including Delta, Southwest, American and United, have added flights to MSP from Boston, Philadelphia and many other major hubs for Super Bowl ticket holders and last-minute planners heading to the Twin Cities to partake of Super Bowl festivities.

In addition to the extra flights, American Airlines, the official airline for the Philadelphia Eagles, is handing out Eagles rally towels to all passengers flying on from Philadelphia to Minneapolis-St. Paul through Sunday, February 4.

And on Saturday and Sunday, United Airlines is serving “football favorites,” including hot dogs and macaroni salad, to customers visiting the carriers’ lounges in its hub cities. United Club visitors in Boston, Philadelphia and Minneapolis will also find extra treats, including lobster roll and New England clam chowder in Boston; Tastykakes and a build-your-own hoagie bar in Philadelphia; and Captain Ken’s Wagon Trail Chili (a Minnesota favorite) in Minneapolis.