In my job, I can never take a lot of time off. So my wife and I take several long weekend vacations a year – which also works to rack up a bunch of FF miles. Valentine’s Day was fortunately on a long weekend this year, so I took the wife to Sonoma for wine tasting and sightseeing via Alaska Airlines which flies directly into the Charles M. Schultz Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa, CA.
At the airport, I picked up the usual visitor’s guide so I could get a map of all the wineries. It conveniently listed about half the wineries in red and explained that these were wineries that had a wine tasting room with VISA Signature benefits. I had never checked out VISA Signature benefits and looked them up. After all, I have six VISA Signature cards and I think you’ll find most of the miles and points cards are VISA Signature. Now I had taken advantage of American Express Sync offers many times. If you are not familiar with these, check out Jen’s Deals We Like blog which I think details these deals better than any of my fellow bloggers.
The VISA Signature were new to me and I was thrilled to see that one of them is free wine tasting and discounts on purchases at over 60 Sonoma wineries. After a morning driving through Bodega Bay and the Russian River we hit several wineries in the Kenwood area. Each one had a slightly different deal, but free wine was part of all of them. The standard at the wineries we visited was a guest paying $15 for 5 wine tastings. The VISA Signature benefit at most was two free tastings. Between the wife and I this meant four tasting which frankly was plenty for us. More than that and I am afraid I would end up with a DUI. And for those of you who say you should spit, not swallow, I understand but didn’t see a single person following that rule. Although we did pour a lot of remnants into the little spittoons on the counter. We easily saved over $100 with this VISA Signature benefit.
I found that VISA Signature offers a lot more deals than just wine tasting in Sonoma. They include the following:
- Discount for BCBGMaxazria (my wife and daughter like this place, but I don’t get the name)
- 20% off of Food on Foot Tours in NYC (this is one I would love to try)
- 10-20% off of Greyline double decker bus tours (I can’t count the number of sities that we have done this in)
- 10% off of Super Shuttle
- A free 8×10 at JCPenney family portraits
- Six months free CLEAR membership to speed you through the airport
- A ton of discounts/ free nights at resort properties
For the record, we visited St. Francis, Chateau St. Jean, Landmark, Muscardini, and Anaba. We liked St. Francis the best and bought a wonderful Port there. It was really nice to enjoy 75 degrees after spending all winter on the East Coast!