The Almost Mid-Year Update

a man jumping in the air
Azure Window on Maltese Island of Gozo

With the first half of 2014 closing in, I thought it was time for the Almost Mid-Year Update.

At the end of 2013 I wrote a few end of year recap posts and figured that for 2014 I’d add an additional recap or shall I call it an… update.

I want to discuss a little about what’s been going on over at Michael W Travels in terms of the blog, travel and miles & points earning.

The Blog:

I’ve been very busy with Michael W Travels. I post every day, usually twice a day. It’s a lot of work considering I work a regular job and have written every post that’s ever been published here. Maybe it’s time for a guest post here and there. I’m not really sure if that is a route I want to take since this is my blog but you never know…

I’ve been covering the same topics as usual but have slacked off a bit with my trip reports and have some catching up to do. It’s also been a while since I’ve posted some of my famous jumping pics. Expect to see more or these to come in the second half of the year.

I still love writing about Ridiculous Street Signs but that’s something you can’t exactly plan and just go and seek out.

This is where I could use your help. If anyone would like to contribute a photo of a ridiculous sign (that they’ve spotted & photographed), please e-mail it to me at If I use it for a post, I’ll e-mail you a short list of questions.

Otherwise I’d love to hear some feedback. What are your favorite kinds of posts to read at Michael W Travels? Is there anything you’d like to see more/ less of?


Thanks to the amazing Wideroe mistake fare in November 2013, we’ve already had the chance to do a decent amount of travel. By this point of the year we’ve usually completed one or two trips.

So far in 2014 we’ve been to:

Kim and I have visited 5 new countries, 6 for Lucas. This is the first time out of the airport in Atlanta for all of us (and first trip to Georgia).

During our trip in April, Malta became the 60th country that I’ve visited (according to the UN list of member states). We are currently in the Dominican Republic (but not really seeing that much) which gets me to country #61 for now…

UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited:

  • Three Castles, Defensive Wall & Ramparts of the Market Town- Bellinzona, Switzerland
  • Crespi d’Adda- Italy
  • City of Valletta- Malta
  • Hal Saflieni Hypogeum- Malta
  • Megalithic Temples of Malta

We’ve already planned out most of our remaining trips for the year. We have 3 trips with flights already booked (and still being planned) and I should be adding another very soon.

Where have your travels take you so far in 2014? Do you have any fun trips coming up?

Miles & Points:

Credit Cards:

It’s been a relatively slow year so far in terms of credit cards for me. So far I’ve received 2 of the incredible Citi Executive AAdvantage card offers (100,000 miles per card) and Kim was recently approved for one. I also recently got approved for a Chase Ink card with the higher than usual 60,000 bonus points sign up bonus.

I applied for a Barclays Arrival card and received a rejection. Even my call to the reconsideration line failed. This is unfamiliar territory for me but might start becoming more of the norm. Having had just about all of the major cards, it’s getting much harder to find new ones to apply for. Barclays told me to stop applying for so many cards each year so I could be reconsidered in the future.

Once the points from my Ink card post I will have  earned 260,000 miles/ points in 2014 from credit card bonus offers so far.

Manufactured Spend:

With the demise of Vanilla Reload purchasing at CVS, I’ve slowed down a bit on manufactured spend. I still buy gas cards & Amazon cards at Staples as well as Visa gift cards which I load to my Bluebird when I have a chance. I’ve also been loading gift cards to Evolve Money to pay some bills. Otherwise, I also charge some money to our Amex for Target cards but I use that mostly to finish off spends needed to earn bonuses.

How is manufactured spending going for you since CVS stopped allowing purchases of Vanilla Reloads?

Well that’s all for my Almost Mid-Year Update. I hope 2014 is going well for you!

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