Earn 10% in Uber credits for everyday purchases using Visa Local Offers

Some of my most popular posts on Josh Trips are my reviews of using Uber overseas. Since you, my awesome readers, are generally interested in Uber, I wanted to share a promotion that Uber is using right now called Visa Local Offers. Note that this is not available to all Uber users, so you will need to check your app to see if it’s been offered to you.

When you log into Uber, click the bottom (below your most recently used address), and scroll down until you find Visa Local Offers. The screen you have to click looks like this (at the very bottom):


The only thing you’ll have to do once you find Visa Local Offers is to read the terms and click Accept, and you’ll be automatically enrolled in the program.

Many restaurants and retailers are enrolled, so you should begin earning money right away. Two of my favorite stores included in the offer are Walgreens and Whole Foods — getting 10% in Uber credits for my prescriptions, essentials, and groceries is a great deal. Below is a sample of some other offers in San Francisco:


The coolest part about this is that the Uber credits are instantly put into your account for immediate use.

If you don’t have Uber yet, use this link to sign up!

San Francisco Trip Deal: $399 round-trip from SFO to Shanghai on China Southern

China Southern, a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, is putting flights from San Francisco, California to Shanghai, China on sale! Flights start at $399 round-trip, after taxes with very good availability in September and October.

Note that Google Flights will price the flight at $400, but it will be $399 when booking either on Priceline or direct through China Southern. Feel free to take pictures of the how you spent the dollar you saved and send them to Josh Trips!

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for business class flights between SFO and PVG.

Alaska Airlines slashing elite status and earning benefits with American Airlines

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines ended its partnership with Delta. Today, the airline announced that its partnership with American Airlines would be changed dramatically beginning January 1, 2018. A great guide to the change in benefits can be found here.

If you regularly read Josh Trips, you know that I’ve been trying to status on Alaska Airlines this year based on the merger with Virgin America and the partnership with American Airlines. In fact, I am currently an American Airlines elite Gold member, and I was working to trade that for Alaska elite membership this year.

The most striking change, for me, is that you will no longer receive elite benefits when traveling on American Airlines if you are an Alaska Airlines elite member – something I relied on while going for status with Alaska.

Some other bad news? Alaska is devaluing the value of its award miles. See below for an updated chart:

Alaska updated reward chart

Although some routes have the miles required dropping, most routes are going up (some, significantly).

I think it’s pretty shady for Alaska and American to be announcing this change in July, when over half the year has passed and customers have made flying decisions based on the partnership. I called Alaska to express my concern about this, and how I never would have flown Alaska (or, at least, would have credited those miles towards American) if I had known about this, and the customer service representative accused me of being “sneaky,” saying that’s never how they intended their elite program to be used. I found this comment to be pretty rude and offensive, and after a bunch of complaining, was credited with $75 miles towards a future flight.

I asked for help getting my Alaska flights this year credited to American instead, but was told it’s too late.

With this change, I am officially (and again) stopping my quest for status on Alaska and will end up without status on American next year as well.

Will the change in American and Alaska’s partnership effect you? Let me know in the comments!



The U.S. travel ban: How taking away the ability to travel harms America

America’s freshly-implemented ban on people from 6 different countries traveling to the United Starts marks a new era and historic low for America, one where being from certain Muslim-majority nations alone is enough to take away the ability to travel freely to and from the 3rd largest country on the planet.

It matters that people from these countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) may no longer be able to visit the United States. And because travel rights are usually reciprocal, it matters that United States citizens will likely be unable to visit any of these countries.

Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of people and things cannot be acquired by vegetating on a little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Travel is, at its core, the exchange of people. Although places can’t move, people can, and when they do they bring their experiences, values, worldview, thoughts, and culture. Not only do people themselves grow and change from the experience of travel, but an increase in travelers can change places as well, often (though not always) for the better.

As a gay man, I purposely travel to countries that aren’t tolerant of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Singapore, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Morocco. Why? Well, I don’t (always) travel to get laid and some of these places have amazing sights, I want to expand my horizons, and I also want people in these countries to know that LGBTQIA+ people are out there and we’re awesome. To the same end, by cutting off our ability to interact with citizens from other countries, we are creating a larger divide between our cultures.

I was especially sad to see Iran on the list of countries subject to the travel ban, as I would love to travel there one day. My Persian friends speak so highly of it, the landscape looks stunning, and I bet the food is amazing. I even follow a few people living there on Instagram, so I can get idea of places to visit. When I tell friends I’d like to visit, they often think I’m crazy; but, in my experience, people are the same almost anywhere you go, and most people you’ll run into actually care very little about what America or Americans do.

By treating citizens from entire nations as harmful, scary, and unworthy of entry into our country, we all lose. The exchange of people, ideas, and experiences is essential to our growth as humans – and while there are people who should be banned from entering America, it should be based on screenings that specifically show that they are a risk to the safety and security of our country.

I don’t believe the ban makes America any safer and, if made permanent, it will seriously hamper the ability for people from those countries and Americans to interact and find common ground with each other.