🌎 The weirdest country in the world (in a good way)

 

Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 3 seconds

🚨 Did you sign up for Rakuten a few months back for that dank $40 bonus? If so, this week is your last chance to make a purchase and get the bonus, FYI. If you need a refresher on the specifics, here’s the newsletter where I told you about it.

Howdy, kids. Welcome back to Daily Drop, your friendly neighborhood newsletter.

I know what you’re really here for today, so let’s get to the goods:

  • 🏝 The winner of our Monterey giveaway is…

  • 💳 New month, new transfer bonuses

  • 🌎 Where in the world Wednesday: Paraguay

🏝 The winner of our Monterey giveaway is…

Alright, folks… it’s the time you’ve all been waiting for.

The time to announce the official winner of our all-expenses-paid giveaway to beautiful Monterey, California…

Without further ado…

The winner is…

…….

……………..

Eric K! CONGRATS! You should have received an email from us by now with more details to claim your prize. Sorry to the rest of you Eric K’s who didn’t win. 😭

I know some of you may be feeling disappointed.

BUT before you go unsubscribe from Daily Drop and throw your computer against a wall, I want to let you in on a little secret…

Next week, we’ll be launching… wait for it… another giveaway.

Want in on another secret? I think it might be our best one yet. Let’s just say… the U.S. goes even further west than California… 😉 🏄 🌊 🏝

So stick around, and you might find yourself winning an equally luxurious trip…

💳 New month, new transfer bonuses

Another month underway usually means another round of transfer bonuses!

For now, these sweet deals are coming exclusively from this bank, which means the other banks really need to up their game…

Seriously, if they want to win me over, they can’t keep coasting on these boring 1:1 transfer ratios. A girl likes to be wooed every now and then, ya know? 💁🏼‍♂️

So here’s a snapshot of what we’re working with:

  • 30% bonus to British Airways and Iberia Avios (max transfer of 999,000 points)

  • 25% bonus to Hilton Honors (max transfer of 3,000,000 points)

  • 15% bonus to Avianca LifeMiles (max transfer of 750,000 points)

Transferring your points to both BA and Iberia was also around last month, but you have until August 31st to keep taking advantage before it’s gone.

As a review, Avios are awesome… and dare I say dope, rad, sick, etc.

I love ‘em because they’re also the point currency of Qatar Airways and Aer Lingus, so you have the freedom to transfer Avios among these four amigos OR book on other OneWorld alliance partners.

And then we have Hilton. Despite its 1:2 transfer ratio, it isn’t the most superstar transfer partner of this bank—after all, it’s competing with other partners like ANA, Virgin Atlantic, and Etihad.

I personally don’t often transfer these points to Hilton for a couple of reasons:

  1. Hilton points are pretty easy to earn with their own credit cards

  2. Hilton points are usually worth a lot less than this bank’s points

I would take advantage of this transfer bonus in one scenario… to top off some Hilton points that I needed for an upcoming stay.

For example, if I needed a single night in Barcelona as part of a stopover, but I had just used up a ton of points and only had 5,000 left in my account…

I could transfer 10,000 points from my card and have them magically turn into 25,000 Hilton points to book this stay.

Now that’s a deal I could get behind.

And lastly, we have our Colombian friend, Avianca, and its frequent flyer program, LifeMiles. I’m guessing you know the least about this airline, but there’s good reason to pay attention to it.

After United’s devaluation, Avianca’s LifeMiles has shown even more appealing redemption rates for Star Alliance partners.

For example, you could fly from the U.S. to London for just 20,000 LifeMiles, far fewer than programs like United or Air Canada.

Overall, it’s a frequent flyer program worth looking into, especially if it gives your points a 15% boost right now 😎

🌎 Where in the world Wednesday: Paraguay

As you know, I was in Paraguay last week - a country that is, to put it simply, super weird. But in a good way.

I learned a lot about the people and history while I was there, so I wanted to share some of that with you.

Paraguay is one of the smaller countries in South America. And when I say small, I mean both the geography and population size… and there’s a reason why.

You see, back in 1864, Paraguay’s president decided to go to war against the neighboring countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, known as the “Triple Alliance” back then.

If you want to know how that turned out… well, just look at this map, and you can probably guess… ☠️

As a result of this war, roughly 90% of Paraguay’s male population and 60% of the country’s entire population were killed off…

NINETY PERCENT!! That’s insane…

When all was said and done, only 28,000 Paraguayan men existed after the war. Yikes…

Thankfully, all of these countries are best buds today. The former “Triple Alliance” now represents some of Paraguay’s strongest diplomatic and economic partners. Bygones, I guess?

For Paraguayans who DO still have enemies, however, they’re in luck too. In Paraguay, it is still legal to conduct a duel to settle disputes.

I’m talkin’ classic pistol duels like when Onegin took down Lensky.

Or Aaron Burr taking down Hamilton, for those who didn’t get the previous reference.

Anyway, this still happens in Paraguay today. The only catch? Both participants must be blood donors.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks…

One of the most unique aspects of Paraguay, however, is the people.

First, around 80% of the country's population identifies as Mestizo, or mixed European and Indigenous heritage.

Here’s where things get weird…

Meet president (and dictator) José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco, a man known for his short and simple name. 👇

Back in the early 19th century, this guy passed a law that prevented same-race marriage.

Read that again—same-race marriage was illegal.

You see, our friend José thought that hard racial divides would lead to socio-economic disparity, a notion that was… well… ahead of its time, to say the least.

So he took that notion and went BALLS TO THE WALL to prevent it, basically ensuring that every person was mixed heritage and that racial lines wouldn’t divide society or * ahem* disrupt his dictatorship.

Unlike every other country in Latin America, Paraguay didn’t adopt the language of the colonizers (Spain) as its only official language.

In fact, the indigenous language of Guaraní (also the name of their currency) is equally, if not more, prominently spoken among Paraguayans, and remains an official language of the country, in addition to Spanish.

Even though most of the population identifies as mixed heritage, plenty of Guaraní populations throughout Paraguay and in neighboring countries keep the strong indigenous history and identity alive and well.

I don’t know a ton about Guaraní culture, but I’ve heard it’s pretty darn cool.

Now I could tell you all kinds of other cool stuff about Paraguay, like how they have a large navy (despite being a landlocked country) or that the world’s largest barbecue was held in the capital of Asunción back in 2008, but we’re simply out of time, so you’ll have to go look those up for yourself. 😉

One of my favorite things about travel is learning about places we never really hear about in our little bubbles at home.

Seeing a place in person, speaking to the locals, learning a bit of the language, trying the food, and seeing the modern-day reflections of this history are things you just can’t get from reading a newsletter (even if it is the world’s best newsletter).

So now that you’re honing your travel-hacking skills, I hope you use them to go see some cool corners of the world for yourself. 🌎

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That’s gonna do it for today, folks! I don’t know about you, but I’m super jealous of Eric for winning that giveaway today…

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Take care, and see you tomorrow morning,

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W