Flexibility And Convenience With The Plum Card From American Express

With the American Express Plum Card, business owners everywhere are finding out that there is always a way make companies bills and payment requirements more convenient, or flexible. In fact, owners of this business credit card should get used to hearing those two words. Responsible card owners will find that if you manage your payments properly, this Business Credit Card can be beneficial to business owners, small or large. Take a moment to find out what the Plum Card From American Express can do for you.

There are a number of different advantages that come with owning a Plum Card. For instance, the annual fee is waived for the first year of card ownership. American Express Plum Card Owners will also have instant access to the OPEN Savings Program. This program will allow you a discount of up to 3 for -20% on such partnered companies like FedEx, Hertz, and others. Card owners will have the ability to choose their own payment schedule. You will be able to choose to set your statement due date at the beginning, middle, or end of every month.

In addition to allowing card owners to select their payment date, Plum Card owners will earn a 1.5% Discount on almost every purchase you made that month if you can pay your balance within ten days of your statement due date. Lets face it, there is never anything wrong with getting that kind of a discount on your monthly statement, especially if you are using your American Express Plum Card to pay most or all of your bills. This discount will be reflected on your next month’s statement. Start calling your own shots with this business credit card, and same your company some hard earned money while your at it.

For most small businesses right now, each month is getting more and more unpredictable than the last. American Express understands that you are probably not going to be able to pay your statement balance a full 10 days in advance every month. Another excellent feature of the Plum Card from American Express is the ability to defer a statement balance for up to two months without any problems or additional penalty. Card owners must pay at least 10% of the statement balance by your regular due date for you to qualify for the extension. Card owners must also be sure to have paid off any prior deferred balance before trying to qualify for another deferment. These are tough economic times, there is no denying that any more. With the flexibility of the this account, business owners can be a little more prepared in an unpredictable world.

Other American Express Plum Card Business Credit Card Information:

This Best Business Credit Card does not come with a pre-set spending limit. This does not mean that you will be able to charge an infinite amount to your card, but that your spending capability will automatically adjust with regards to your credit history, spending trends, and additional financial resources. After your first year, there is an annual fee of $185 for card ownership of the Plum Card from American Express. Although this business credit card does not offer a reward program pre se, there are a number of other great perks and benefits that this account offers.

With this account, you will have full access to a lot of the premium benefits that other American Express card owners have come to adore. 24/7 live customer service is available to you at any time, at no additional cost. Customer service will be available for you in case you have questions, need to order a replacement card, find out about a dispute resolution, or to get other relevant account information. Are you doing a lot of traveling for your business? Customers will have access to car rental and insurance, travel accident insurance, and 24/7 online account access.

Also available with this business credit card is a number of other great purchase benefits. With the power of this plastic in the palm of your hands you will have automatic fraud protection, an extended warranty option, and purchase protection for qualifying purchases. Access your account information online to make payments, view your balance, and access your year-end summary. If you are a business owner looking for a direct program that will offer your company a little more flexibility, then be sure to take a good look at the Plum Card from American Express.

Wine Travel – Alabama’s New Wine Trail

If you’ve ever felt that wine travel is best suited for summer time, perhaps by the end of this travelogue you’ll have a slightly different perspective. It’s January as we write this, and winter has its usual vice grip on the Midwest. But all around the country, wineries are welcoming visitors and hosting wine trail events. Actually, the traditional off season is the perfect time to visit your favorite winery. Crowds are lighter and chances are you’ll rub elbows with the owner or winemaker who can personally provide insight into their craft. It’s an ideal way to learn more about wine in a relaxed, leisurely setting.

In spring 2008, we caught wind of a new wine trail being developed and marketed in the Deep South. And so, in an effort to escape the winter doldrums, we set out for the milder climate of Alabama to discover the burgeoning Alabama Wine Trail.

The Alabama Wine Trail: Background and Challenges

Although Alabama isn’t typically known as a wine producing state, there is a long history of grape production and wine making here. Like other southern states, the muscadine grape reigns supreme, but Alabama winemakers are developing a surprising array of excellent wines. Much of north central Alabama offers a mountainous terrain, with numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. Of course, where there are mountains, there are sure to be valleys. This, combined with a long growing season, gives the Alabama wine industry an excellent opportunity to thrive as time goes on.

Wine Trails USA was delighted to see Alabama designate an official wine trail. If you’re interested, be sure to request an Alabama Wine Trail brochure from the Alabama Travel Council. It’s a beautiful brochure outlining Alabama’s eight wineries, all within an easy drive from the state’s three main cities of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile.

There was, however, a large amount of publicity devoted to the Alabama Wine Trail at its launch, unfortunately not all positive. Long standing anti alcohol biases are quite prevalent in the state, and wineries have overcome numerous hurdles to open for business, let alone market their products. Fortunately, through a lot of hard work and persistence, the Alabama Wine Trail is open for business and capitalizing on the wine travel and agri tourism trend. We’re rooting hard for the success of Alabama wineries and their wine trail, and we hope our visit and this travelogue helps open a few eyes.

Alabama Wineries – East of Birmingham

We chose Birmingham as our base of operations for two nights since four of Alabama’s wineries are situated within a 45 minute drive east of the city. Interstate 20 cuts east/west across Alabama and intersect with Interstate 59 just northwest of Birmingham. Either route will take you into a hilly, almost mountainous, terrain that’s home to Alabama wineries.

Our first winery to visit was Wills Creek Vineyards, just a short distance off Interstate 59 exit 188 in the small town of Attala. Arriving just after 10 a.m. on a crisp but sunny day, we had the winery tasting room all to ourselves. Wills Creek specializes in muscadine wines with interesting twists, as some are dry and others the more traditional sweet.

We enjoyed just about everything we tried, especially the terrific Sirano Limited Release. This bold red wine, similar to a Syrah, is moderately dry with flavors of dark fruit – we tasted plum and blackberry. Also, don’t miss Blazing Sun Pinot Grigio, a friendly white wine with pleasing citrus flavors. We bought a few bottles of this to take home, our very first Alabama wine purchase!

The winery itself is located in the midst of the Duck Valley Wildlife Preserve, and the grounds are pleasant and peaceful. Stop for a few moments and breathe in the fresh air … it’s almost as refreshing as the wine!

Just a few miles south of Wills Creek is White Oak Vineyards, in Anniston just north of Interstate 20. Open on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, White Oak boasts a beautiful tranquil farm setting amidst the rolling hills of central Alabama. Here you’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of twelve wines, ranging from sweet to crisp, all made with Alabama pride. Surprisingly, we found a Chambourcin and also a Burgundy, with the Burgundy made from Norton grapes. Reflecting on last year’s trip to Missouri, we noted the terrain is quite similar in this part of Alabama. The Burgundy in particular was outstanding, with bold intense flavors that to us stacked up against any other Burgundy we’ve tasted.

You should also try White Oak’s fruit wines, especially the Peach. This is such a fun, easy sipper and it’s a real taste of Alabama, as the state is known for its peach crop almost as much as neighboring Georgia. On the drier side, there’s Villard Blanc, an elegant white offering that also made its way home with us.

Alabama Wineries – Day Two

About 35 minutes southeast of Birmingham in Harpersville, AL is Morgan Creek Vineyards, a state of the art winery producing a wide range of wines. Ranging from dry to very sweet, Morgan Creek’s wines are made with fruit and various grape varieties, including the muscadine grape. A stalwart of the south, the muscadine grape is generally quite sweet but are also a perfect blend with fruit and other grapes.

We sampled most of Morgan Creek’s wines and came away most impressed with three in particular. First in our hearts was Noble, a dry red offering with a unique finish of strawberry and dark cherry. We’d serve this one room temperature as a partner to a mild cheese or a strip steak. Next, we liked Cahaba White, just slightly sweet with a bit of a spicy palate mixing well with the fruit. Finally, Regal Red, in the burgundy style and brimming with dark cherry flavors.

In summer, Morgan Creek offers fireworks displays in conjunction with live music nights. You can bring a picnic, enjoy wine tasting, and listen to music under the stars, all capped off by a rousing fireworks show.

Our final winery in this chapter of our Alabama Wine Trail travelogue takes us to Bryant Vineyards in Talladega. If that name sounds familiar, it’s due to the famous Talladega Speedway that draws thousands of visitors each year. Bryant Vineyards is just a few miles away from the track.

Bryant Vineyards has been producing wine since 1985, with grapes grown on land that has been in the Bryant family since the late 1800’s. You’ll find a full range of muscadine wines here, including our favorite, Country White. This is a perfect wine for warm summer nights, or cold January nights for that matter! We also liked Festive Red, a dark red table wine that we felt benefitted from a slight chill.

Bryant is a small operation with no website at press time, so be sure to call ahead to make sure someone is available to greet you.

In closing, we encourage you to get your wine travel “fix” in some of the southern states during the winter months. Travel is easy as temperatures stay above freezing for the most part. And, you won’t need to fight the crowds while you linger at unique small wineries and discover interesting cities and sights along the way.

Germany Travel Tip – Potsdam’s St. Martin’s Day

On the 11th day of the 11th month each year special celebrations take place all over Germany. Also marking the start for the annual carnival season this day is widely known as St. Martin’s Day. Children walk the streets with self-made lanterns singing traditional songs, the St. Martin’s bonfire is ignited and traditionally a Martinsgans, Martin’s-Goose, is served to commemorate the life and legend of St. Martin.The public park of Potsdam, capital city of Brandenburg and very close to Berlin, is a good place to experience this old tradition and cozy restaurants are nearby, where you and your family can share a fresh, oven baked Martin’s Goose.

The history takes us far back to the 4th century and to the young Martinus, who served as an officer in the Roman army. One night he was riding on his horse through a town and was approached by a beggar asking him for warm clothes, since it was freezing cold. Martinus split his coat with his sword and gave a half to the beggar. Later Martinus quit his job in the Roman army and became a soldier of God and lived a life of an anchorite. When the story of his good deed spread he should become a bishop. Legend has it that Martinus was too shy to take this honor and tried to hide in a goose hutch. People equipped with lanterns, searched the half night for him and were finally alerted by the twitter of the geese. The geese were butchered and eaten, Martinus became Bishop Martin and was later canonized and still today his story is told and celebrations take place to remember the good deed of St. Martin.

Although this is a nice story to explain why a goose is on the menu on this particular day, there is a far more rational explanation to that. In the yearly calendar of the church- and farmers, the 11th of November marks the beginning of the winter and the 40 days lent before Christmas, where no fat food is allowed. It was also the day, when the farm laborers were laid-off, got paid and received a present and when the annual land lease had to be paid. As currency and presents a goose came in very handy, since money was not often used in the Middle Ages.

All that is left today, thinking of the goose, is the traditional way of preparing this festive meal. Basic rule is, the more aromatic the filling, the better the taste of the meat. In the north of Germany it is common to fill the Martinsgans with a mix of ground pork, onions, garlic and herbs while in the south soaked buns, chestnuts, roasted nuts, apples, plums, sugar, salt, vinegar and red wine are widely preferred. The goose is placed in an oven and constantly basted with its own stock to ensure the meat doesn’t dry out.

A good place to experience the traditional St. Martin’s Day is in the Public Park of Potsdam, Brandenburg. Celebrations start at 3:30 p.m., on the 11th November 2009. First you can watch or help tinker the lanterns later used in the romantic procession through the park. Before that the St. Martin’s Play, displaying traditional, colorful costumes is shown to all visitors, reminding of Martinus good deed. Finally a bonfire will close this event in the early evening hours and you might like to continue your St. Martin’s Day experience in the nearby restaurant. Beautiful located in the San Sanssouci Park, the Restaurant & CafĂ© Drachenhaus, Dragon-House, invites all guest to a delicious prepared Martinsgans. Starting at 7 p.m., a whole goose with green- and red cabbage, dumplings, potatoes and plenty of tasty brown gravy is served for a party of 4 people. Half a goose with all side dishes can be shared by 2 people. Reservations are recommended and you can contact them through their web site.

This is an example of what you can do in Potsdam while traveling in Germany. If you want learn more about Potsdam we compiled a more comprehensive Potsdam travel guide in collaboration with local residents that provides unique travel insider tips which you can use during your Germany vacation.