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The Coomers Go to Walmart
Yesterday I wrote about my small Las Vegas airport hack. Basically it involved staying at the Hyatt Place and parking my car there in lieu of paying for airport parking. It actually ended up costing me less overall to do this than to pay for parking outright and it gave us the added advantage of saving about 30 minutes before a very early morning flight.
Of course life is never as simple as it seems. Last week I reported that pretty much all of the Walmart kiosks in my area have been removed and replaced with Kate version 2 Electric Bugaloo. Fortunately though a reader let me know of a location with an old machine that is still working. It isn’t too far from the Hyatt, so I made a plan to head there before the hotel. I feel it is always best to liquidate before heading out of town.
So there we are driving down the street in our older car (we didn’t want to leave the new one outside for 4 days at the Hyatt), when the car goes thump, thump, thump. It is obvious there is something wrong with the tire. Of course. Do things like this happen when you aren’t flying out of town at 6am the next morning? As you can see, the tire was blown out. Completely shredded. What is a guy to do?
Well I checked the trunk and my wife didn’t have a tire wrench plus I really didn’t feel like getting covered in black tire gook (official term), so I went into my travel hackers toolbelt and pulled out my American Express Platinum card. Who needs a tire wrench anyway?
My Amex Platinum Roadside Assitance Experience
American Express provides four complimentary claims per year with the premium roadside assistance program on the Amex Platinum. These claims can be for things like locking your keys in the car, up to 10 miles of towing or changing a flat tire. Just what we needed!
To reach the roadside assistance, I first called the number on the back of my Platinum card. Bad idea. I was suddenly lost in a sea of menus, so I gave up. Why does Amex not put the roadside assistance number on the back of the card? Anyway, Lord Google helped me find the direct number (1-800-333-AMEX) and I called, was on hold for about 10 minutes and then finally was connected to a very friendly representative.
Once the agent answered, he asked me all of the usual questions and informed me that tow trucks were taking about 90 minutes, however he found a locksmith (who also apparently changes tires) who would be there in 50. In an effort not to drag this out and to get to the good part (Kate), the guy arrived on time, changed the tire and we were once again on our way to
White Castle Walmart.
Reconnecting with Kate
The Kate (Walmart kiosk) I was going to visit isn’t just any old machine. She is the queen of the kiosks. A regal old lady. As you can see in the photo above, Kate is dressed up with her own gift card rack and her presence is felt as she presides over the Pharmacy entrance. She is a rare breed when it comes to Walmart kiosks. The kind that you don’t want to see replaced by an ATM. May she live long and prosper.
Following a much needed session with my old girlfriend Kate, my wife, baby and I headed to the Hyatt on our tiny circus spare hobbling along at 45 MPH on the freeway. As people zipped by I thought about travel, Walmart and how I love this hobby. Yes it is crazy to blow out a tire while going out of your way to Walmart to liquidate gift cards, but the tire has to blow some time. Am I right?
One of the side benefits of getting credit cards like the American Express Platinum card are their fringe benefits like roadside assistance. While the flat tire cost us some time and a bit of stress, we only lost about an hour and even managed to sneak in dinner while waiting for the locksmith to arrive. All in all, our journey to Walmart was a success, the Hyatt was decent and we are now on our way to Mexico City. As for the tire, well we still need to get a new one when we return!
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