Dim Sum in Buenos Aires

Dim Sum in Buenos AiresDim sum used to be one of my favorite weekend activities in New York. Heading to the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown was always a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning while trying to shake a hangover.

Now, before I get your hopes up, unfortunately, Buenos Aires does not have a true dim sum experience, but we (re)discovered the closest thing – Hong Kong Style.

This restaurant at Montañeses 2149 in Barrio Chino makes some amazing dumplings, siu mai, spring rolls and other food. While the choices are not extensive, and many of the menu items were not actually available, we went last week and had an assortment of their specialities:

  • shrimp with bamboo dumplings
  • pork with green onion and ginger dumplings
  • pork dumplings
  • pork spring rolls

We actually didn’t even order any of their main dishes, preferring to just stick to the appetizers and dumplings.

Not quite dim sum, but we take what we can get.

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Have 99 Friends? Get a free bike.

UPDATE: So, looks like Brilliant Bicycles did not think this promo out too well. They ended the promotion early and also limited the number of bikes they were giving away. That sucks. It’s never cool to change the terms midway through a promotion. I can only assume using emails to confirm friends lead to a lot of fake email signups. Unfortunately, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who was legitimately trying to earn a bike. Not a great way to launch a new company…


 

While this has nothing to do with Buenos Aires, it’s still a pretty cool idea…

Got 99 friends? Get a free bike.Brilliant Bicycle is launching their new website and if you get 99 friends to sign up for their mailing list by March 22, you’ll get a free bike. If you happen to fall short of the 99 friends, they’ll still give you a discount on a new bike.

I’d love to have your help in getting a free bike! Once you sign up with my link, you can start sending it to all your friends!

(It’s US only, so you’ll have to ship it to someone there…)

 

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Summer Travel and Another App-O-Rama

As we plan our escape from the upcoming Buenos Aires winter, miles and points once again come to the rescue of our family!

Now that my son is 18 months old, it’s time for him to have his own seat on the plane. (Yes, he can fly as a lap child until 2 years old, but there is no way you want an 18 month old on your lap for an 11 hour flight!) That means we would need 4 coach seats from Argentina to the United States, and a quick check shows that would cost a crazy $5254! And yes, that’s dollars not pesos.

Luckily, we have more than enough miles from credit card signups and other bonuses to get all this travel for free! Here’s what we did…

I first booked flights for my wife, daughter and son at only 40,000 miles each (the reduced rate for the South American off-season). Since I have the Citibank AA Amex card, I get 10% in miles returned to me (up to 10,000 miles per year) immediately after booking. That means that their three tickets only cost 110,000 miles for an amazing value of $.036 per mile.

Hyatt Regency Boston on PointsNext, I booked my ticket on the same flights using 4,400 AA Business Extra miles. I got these points for free in what I consider to be the best offer of 2014. By simply referring people to join the Business Extra program, I received 1,000 points per referral. I referred my wife and four friends and pocketed the maximum 5,000 points. That means this $1400 ticket cost me about 15 minutes of my time! Plus, I still have 600 points left over that I can use for two sets of free AA lounge passes.

With flights handled, I next booked the Hyatt Regency Boston for three nights when we arrive. Since Hyatt has a promotion that gives 20% back in points on all award redemptions, these nights only cost me 36,000 points rather than the normal 45,000 points. The out-of-pocket cost for these nights would have been $1130, so we’re getting a nice $.031 per point there.

Palazzo Vegas on PointsWhile we’re still firming up the rest of our summer travel plans, I couldn’t pass up last week’s IHG 50% off award promotion for their Las Vegas hotels. I quickly snagged five nights at The Palazzo for the 4th of July weekend at 25,000 points per night rather than the normal 50,000 points per night. As there is a 50/50 chance as to whether we actually go or not, I booked each night individually rather than booking it as an entire 5 night stay. That way if we need to adjust the dates, we can cancel the nights we don’t want without cancelling the whole trip and losing out on the promotional rate. The normal rate for this stay would have been $1147, so getting $.009 per IHG point is a great deal.

We still have a trip to NYC to plan, where we’ll either stay at the Intercontinental Times Square or the Hyatt. Having miles and points gives us a lot of options:

  • Two free nights at the Hyatt through their credit card signup offer
  • One free night at the Intercontinental for paying the $95 renewal on the IHG MasterCard
  • Two free nights at the Intercontinental through the IHG Free Nights promotion where I earned 2 free nights and 28,000 miles by staying two nights at a cheaper Holiday Inn for $332. (Not a bad price to pay to convert to the Intercontinental NYC where nightly rates are over $400 per night!)

All this cheap travel is made possible through credit card bonuses, taking advantage of promotional offers, using online shopping portals and some limited manufactured spending. I’ve written about app-o-ramas before, and my last one was this past November where I applied for the following cards on the same day:

  • American Express Gold – limited time 75,000 bonus point offer
  • Chase Hyatt – 2 free nights at any Hyatt
  • Barclay US Airways MasterCard – 50,000 US Airways miles offer (soon to convert to American Airlines miles)
  • Discover Card – $150 back after spending $750 in three months and to take advantage of 5% spending bonuses

I even managed to get my Argentine wife into the credit card game after working to establish credit for her. Now she can take part in future app-o-ramas as well and we can earn even more points together.

It takes some planning, but with a little bit of time and taking advantage of promotions, you can easily get big travel for little money. For our family, this makes all the difference in the world.

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Uber Buenos Aires Redux

Uh oh…

Uber Buenos Aires ReduxAbout four months ago I wrote a blog post detailing the reasons I thought there was no Uber in Buenos Aires, especially when they were launching in other, smaller South American cities.

That post generated some heated discussion in the comments from Argentine readers who took offense with some of my reasoning and pointed out what they thought were flaws in my logic. I disagreed.

Fast forward to last week… Uber posted a job listing for a General Manager of Buenos Aires (see below). It was starting to look like I might have to eat my words.

Luckily for my logic, while there is a job post, there is no definitive word on if or when Uber will actually launch here. Also, since I first posted, we have seen the (slow) addition of 4G networks as well as continued smartphone adoption. And to further backup one of my points, it has been reported that the four major taxi companies and union leaders are already meeting to plan their strategy to block Uber from entering the country.

So, was I right or wrong? At this point, only time will tell… And just for the record, I’m rooting for Uber.

Here’s the full text of their job posting:

The City General Manager at Uber is by far the most demanding position Uber has to offer; it requires such a degree of talent, guts and leadership that the right person is difficult to find. As the leader of Uber in each city, the GM is responsible for the development and growth of our business in Buenos Aires.

UBER’S CORE:
The core of Uber is in the city team, led by a General Manager. They make the magic that is Uber, a reality. It’s a big deal and the qualities and capabilities required of an Uber GM mean you are an incredibly intelligent, talented and highly sought-after professional. Sound like you?

WHAT YOU NEED:
This is first and foremost a role for a strong marketer, focusing on reaching new users and extending the Uber brand to the masses. But as the city lead, you’ll also be responsible for operational excellence and maintaining ‘Uber’ quality throughout the rider’s experience. Rider and Partner support, local marketing, supply chain management, service quality management, social media, PR — all of these sit under the GM. Continual improvement and a quality focus are the name of the game. We believe in solving local problems with local solutions, so understanding your market and delivering custom messages is important. This is where creativity meets analytics head on.

And it’s the cross of the analytical with the creative that makes the Uber GM an incredibly difficult job to fill. If you’re potentially one of the truly rare, gifted Uber GMs, we want to hear from you! Make sure to include an English version of your resume to be considered!

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

  • Initiate creative local marketing strategies and user growth campaigns
  • Manage deployment and quality of supply chain (i.e. Uber’s driver partners)
  • Represent Uber at local events and with local PR
  • Manage local regulatory concerns and local politics
  • Communicate product/process needs to HQ, work with product/engineering to deliver on them
  • Help scale our other cities through developing and sharing best practices
  • Continue to grow REVENUES and RIDERSHIP!!!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW/HAVE:

  • 6+ years of marketing or operations management experience (not quite there? Apply for Community Manager or Operations & Logistics Manager instead!)
  • Data-driven decision mentality and sound business judgment through strong analytical thinking
  • Creative solutions driven mindset, with a *get shit done* attitude
  • Relevant experience in consumer service marketing is helpful
  • Stellar networking skills and the ability to make smart partnerships happen
  • Entrepreneurial DNA and fear tolerance of a honey-badger

PERKS

  • Employees are showered with Uber credits each month.
  • Ground floor opportunity with the team; shape the strategic direction of the company.
  • The rare opportunity to change the world such that everyone around you is using the product you built. We’re not just another social web app, we’re moving real people and assets and reinventing transportation and logistics globally.
  • Sharp, motivated co-workers in a fun office environment.
  • Monthly gym reimbursement.

COMPENSATION:
Full-time salary negotiable based on experience, and equity compensation plan.

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