Last week I wrote about how Rio’s socio-economic gap provided me with a life-changing thought process. From Rio, I hopped on a free Varig flight, thanks to Varig’s Star Alliance partnership with United Airlines’ MileagePlus program, and was off into the “jungle” and Iguassu Falls.
I can only describe how awesome Iguassu one way: breath-taking. The Iguassu River divides Brazil from neighboring Argentina. It is worth spending a day on either side of the falls, but there have been plenty of scams with taxis crossing the border. If you go, ask someone at your hotel for local advice on how to cross the border with minimal drama.
The Brazilian side of the falls is developed and tourist-friendly. Odds are good you’ll be one of hundreds visiting on any given day. The natural tiered formation of the falls allowed for a wooden boardwalk to be built to extend out directly into the mist of the falls.
Standing at the end of the boardwalk, the mist soothes and cools during the midday heat and humidity. I snapped a photo of a rainbow and for an instant I feel completely alone and more than a world away from Northern Michigan. This was the first time I had one of those “I love my life” moments.
Traveling to far reaches of the globe makes me feel alive and grateful for my experiences. What made this moment even better was knowing how little money came out of my wallet to get me there. Skymiles ticket US-Rio = $ taxes, United MilagePlus on Varig, Rio to Iguassu = $ taxes. Brazilian tourist visa $100. Accommodations, less than $60/night because I usually prefer hostels or bed-and-breakfast inns. There is a beautiful Sheraton at Argentine Iguassu where my Dad and the “bug” have stayed. They enjoyed the SPG Gold Member buffet breakfast as well as the panoramic views from the hotel.
The price for this adventure plus my “I love my life” moment reinforced my desire to see the world with as little cost as possible. Planning my adventures had now become an official game!
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49