This is a roundup of news that I have come across during the day. Read about 15 crystal-clear lakes across America, Amex having the best app, new book with tales from the ultimate airline Mileage Maniac, Croatian town sells homes for 16 cents, Southwest cancels and delays flights, and Rome’s Colosseum opens underground yo public for first time.
American Express earned the No. 1 ranking in the firm’s lists of online and mobile app satisfaction among credit card users. Discover ranked second online and third among mobile apps. Bank of America was third online and second for mobile apps.
When it comes to breathtaking bodies of water, the United States certainly earns its “America the Beautiful” appellation. All across the U.S., you’ll find some of the most pristine lakes on the planet. These cerulean waters are so deeply sky blue, they truly do not look real (and definitely need no filters). The real kicker is that these crystal-clear lakes are landlocked and found in some of the most surprising places.
A new book, Mileage Maniac, is out. Belkin reveals how his ‘Genius, Madness and a Touch of Evil’ outsmarted established airline loyalty programs of over 40 million miles. “I beat the airlines at their own game by playing by their rules but using my sometimes daring, sometimes dubious, but always effective playbook,” said Belkin. Belkin takes readers back to 1988 when he first stumbled upon the mileage game, and frequent-flier programs were still a new frontier that airlines themselves barely understood. His first mileage scheme earned him a million miles over one weekend by having 23 mileage mules legally fly under his name. This was the start of Belkin’s hobby or obsession. I received an advance copy of the book and I’m still reading it (I’m a super slow reader). You can see the press release here and buy the book on Amazon.
The quaint little town of Legrad in Croatia is slapping a mind-blowingly low price tag on its abandoned homes in exchange for a 15-year-long commitment from the buyer. The town started with 19 abandoned houses that were in dire need of a contractor. So far, 17 have sold for the low price of just one kuna (or 16 American cents). What’s more: New homeowners aren’t expected to pay for all the necessary repairs because the generous municipality is offering residents up to 25,000 kune towards any home improvements for the dilapidated structures. Of course, like any promising steal that seems a little too good to be true, there’s a catch: Residents must commit to staying in their new homes for at least 15 years, and, for this reason, also need to be under the age of 40 and financially solvent.
On Friday, Southwest cancelled 246 flights and delayed 1427 flights, roughly 45% of its overall schedule. A Southwest spokesperson blamed the weather: “To proactively manage our operation, we implemented a scheduled reduction ahead of expected storms and probable air traffic control initiatives.” But could a pilot shortage also be at play?
The underground levels of the Colosseum in Rome, known as ‘hypogea’, once held the gladiators and animals that fought in the arena. Originally, candlelight illuminated these areas, but sunlight will allow tourists to see these spaces for the first time. The restoration required has taken 10 years and it hasn’t been straightforward. The initial plans were formulated by Italian fashion brand Tod’s CEO Diego Della Valle and Rome’s Archaeological Heritage Department in 2011.