Tuesday, December 22, 2009

British Airways 100,000 Mile Credit Card Extended til 1/21/2010

There is a link that showed up on Flyertalk which extends the application deadline for the 100,000 mile bonus on a targeted basis until January 21, 2010. The link provided offers an application that is pre populated with the posters name and email address. I can't post that info.

If you have not yet taken advantage of this offer, here may be your last chance. What I'm suggesting is Google Chase British Airways credit card and find a phone number for the card application center. I'd call them and indicate that you want to be considered for the targeted offer.

If the phone call doesn't work, then I'd join the Executive Club program from BA and hope they send you a targeted email before the 1/21/10 deadline

You have nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time and possibly 100,000 miles to gain.

We also found this link this morning which does not have the targeted wording so you may have a better result.

Why are we going crazy about this British Airways card....100000 miles for only $2000 spent is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get crazy amount of miles. No, we don't work for Chase we are both just looking forward to spend the miles to go, well, almost anywhere... :) If your spouse, parents or significant others all sign up that's a LOT of miles....

Xmas in South Africa next year perhaps? 2 trips to Europe in 2010. All no problem with this incredible deal. Of course, please consider - are you able to spend $2000 in 3 months? Do you know somebody you has a large purchase coming up? Talk to them, use your credit card and let them pay off the balance with a check. DONE.... :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FTD: 30 United Miles Per Dollar PLUS 1500 Miles Per Order

Now this is a great bonus offer.

For smaller orders, this United offer reigns supreme. A $30 order from FTD will earn 2400 miles. Worth it for the miles alone? Maybe not, since you have to pay delivery fees. But a darn bit better than buying miles directly from United, that’s for sure. Find the cheapest item on their website and order away.

Or just be sure to use this link for all of your holiday gift giving if you can get away with it.

Another 500 Priority Club Points

This is an old survey - not sure if you'll get those 500 points but it's worth a shot.
Four questions, easy as can be. 20,000 is the answer for elite status. And you get a second chance if you get it wrong.

Here is the link

500 Free Priority Club Points


Thanks to the Best Rate Guarantee Blog.

500 free points for 5 minute survey - remember 10surveys for 500 points gets you 5000 priority club points which is enough for a Pointbreak Hotel Night worldwide!

Chase British Airways VISA - HURRY!!!!

The Chase British Airways VISA offer for 50000 miles upfront for first purchase (stick of gum for me normally!) and another 50000 miles after spending $2000 in your first 93 days is still on but disappearing quickly. I predict it's only going to be around for a few more days and then disappear.

The normal offer is only 30000 upfront and nothing else. So get this now, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. 100000 can get you to lots of places!!!

Nadia and I both got the card and now we just have to wonder - should we go to South Africa? Europe (2x), Australia? The choices are endless. :)

GET IT NOW: LINK (this is the last link still working - it's going to be gone soon!)

Of course your credit is important so weigh your options/risk. Chase has always been good to us but please, please, please - don't carry balances with Airline Credit Cards - most of the time they have very high interest rates 24-30% and you don't want to be in a hole with them.
Use them wisely and just for Miles - get the most out of them and then, if you want, get rid of them.

US Mint deal might be over as well... :(

There have been numerous reports on flyertalk.com that the US Mint deal may be over. The US Mint, upset about people buying the coins for airline miles and then promptly depositing them, thus making the point of selling these coins to get them into circulation mute, has now changed their policy and are treating the purchases as a cash advance or cash equivalent. Some cards might still treat it as a purchase (like the British Airways Visa)..but it's not assured.

Cash advances on credit cards are bad news obviously. You accrue high interest as soon as you buy them. There has been some talk that some credit cards might still work while others don't. We will update you if we have a definite list. In the meantime, please use your card on regular purchases only.

It was a nice run while it lasted. Personally, Patrick got around 15000 miles from it all. A very moderate amount compared to the guy featured in last week's Wall Street Journal article about the US Mint deal (see here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126014168569179245.html) that got 800000 worth of coins. He's called Mr. Pickles and he's a legend in the mile-hunter community.

Another guy, called Pudding guy, who figured out how to make 250000 miles for only $62.50. He's quite the legend as well. Here's his story: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,996450,00.html

We'll never be a Mr. Pickles or Pudding guy but we'll try our best to always fly for practically free! :)

Hyatt offers 2500 United Miles per stay through Jan. 31st - REGISTER

Hyatt offers 500 base and 2000 miles bonus for stays between now and January 31st. Supposedly for United Elites only but register anyway. Its free and may work for all.

Here is the link

Set your earning preferences to airline miles not hotel points!
If you haven't joined Hyatt yet - go to http://www.freefrequentflyermiles.com/index.htm and check if you get any bonus for registering with the hotel program.

Citicard churn (25000 or 30000 AA miles over, and over and over again) might be over

On Flyertalk.com there's an ongoing discussion about this great American Airlines opportunity to come to a close. :( It's not confirmed yet but we will keep you updated. In the meantime, if you haven't had the 5 different Citicard AA credit cards, (Amex, MC, Visa for Personal & MC & VISA for Business) sign up and enjoy the miles.

10% off American Airline Flights until Feb. 28, 2010 - book by Jan. 31st.2010


10% Off American Flights from the ongoing Soccer Challenge Promo

This promo has been extended and now offers 10% off AA flights booked between now and January 31, 2010 and flown before February 28, 2010. It is good for up to 6 people.

Here is your link to 10% savings

Thursday, November 19, 2009

TRAVELREPORT - Halloween in Salem


Deciding to spend Halloween in Salem, MA, was a really good idea.  We decided in early September that since Halloween was on a Saturday this year, we should probably take advantage of it and fly to the Boston area then.  Having experienced the Northeast only in frigid winter months, we were excited to see the gorgeous foliage that the area has to offer.  I can honestly say that visiting this part of the country during autumn is an incredible experience.  I love fall and seeing it in such color just made me miss the 4 season climate even more.  The last few weeks have been really hectic  for us so to experience the quiet of the Boston ‘burbs, the intensity of the hues, the wind rustling the tops of the trees and the storm of leaves falling all around us, was just so intense, and beautiful. 
I think that the above summary is enough on the poetic side and now onto the practical advice.  So on the Halloween in Salem side, keep in mind that it gets pretty crowded.  On Halloween you want to find parking early and just stay.  We wanted to have a more gourmet meal for dinner and did not find a nice enough place in Salem so we went to dine at 9 Elm in Danvers.  Problem was that when we were done with dinner, driving back in traffic, finding parking and then making our way through the crowd to the House of Seven Gables, for two shows just did not work out.  We were late for our first tour/show and only were able to do the second one.  It all worked out well but even with my OCD planning skills, I did not realize how far we would need to walk and the slowness of the crowd.  People party in the streets and in bars, so you can count on street entertainment and fireworks at the end of the night.  For all the events check out Haunted Happenings.
During the day, on Halloween, we checked out Danvers (the actual site of the witch hysteria and for more about this, look here).  We went to the Parris’ home (well ,excavated holes in the ground) and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.  Both places are worth a visit if you are into history and want a quiet moment.  We also participated in the play, Cry Innocent, which was fun.  I recommend studying up on the trials before going so that when asked to participate as an audience member, you can ask a question which the witty actor who plays a judge cannot easily answer. 
The day after Halloween we ventured down the road of Revolutionary War history (Concord and Lexington).  Again if you are into history, have seen the HBO show John Adams, or just need something to do in the area, check it out.  After that we went to Wellesley College and checked out their beautiful campus.  The afternoon was finished off in South Boston, at Café Polonia, with a yummy Polish lunch.  Happy travels to New England!
Travelreport brought to you by Nadia. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free holiday Wifi on many airports this christmas season - courtesy of Google

How nice of Google....I won't use it but if you are traveling and hanging out on the airport a lot this Christmas season - browse the internet for free! :)

Here is the link

More information about the networks, including a full list of participating airports, is available at http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.freeholidaywifi.com&esheet=6096237&lan=en_US&anchor=www.freeholidaywifi.com&index=1&md5=1ae717fa59efd8cbf011f21b12dabae3.

US Mint Deal - the party might be over....

Unfortunately it seems the US Mint Deal has, like all good things, come to an end.

The US Mint now seems to call the coin purchases "cash advance" and thus, if you buy coins on credit you will be charged 3% and daily interest starting on the day the purchase posts. There have been mixed reports but if you do a coin purchase, make sure to read the fine print and don't buy them if it says "cash advance" anywhere.

So obviously it's no longer a cost-effective way of fulfilling your minimum purchase requirements.

Not to worry though - there's always a deal out there and we'll make sure we'll let you know when we find one. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

TRAVELREPORT - CHICAGO (Oct.16-18th)


Our Chicago trip was successful.  From the direct flight to arrival times being right on, everything worked out quite well.  If you don’t have an hour to sacrifice, and it is not rush hour, take a cab from O’Hare into the city, it is fairly quick and convenient.  On the other hand, taking the L, is also convenient, cheaper than a taxi and more carbon-neutral, but it takes at least an hour to get into the city. The hotel we stayed at, Indigo Chicago, was located in just the right spot to venture out and explore. The hotel was sufficiently comfortable and the staff was really sweet. We attended a friend’s wedding and had a fabulous time.  Despite all the festivities, we did get a chance to explore Chicago on this second visit to the Windy City.  We checked out Lincoln Park (including the theater where John Dillinger got shot) and DePaul University.  We were staying in the Gold Coast area part of the city and were able to just walk to Lincoln Park on a nice, brisk October afternoon.
We spent some time downtown, checking out bridges along the Chicago river and new hip spots to hang out, stay and shop.  Our second day was spent visiting Bucktown and Wicker Park.  Both neighborhoods were great and we loved them.  We had a scrumptious brunch at Hot Chocolate.  Their variety of hot chocolates (which can also be served over ice for summertime visitors) is great and each chocolate is almost a meal in itself.  The architecture, history and shopping in this part of Chicago is exciting and we recommend checking it out. 
Our last afternoon was spent enjoying some lunch at a brasserie back in the Gold Coast area and then a walk to Lake Michigan along Lake Shore Drive.  I was amazed at how beautiful, peaceful and cold the lake was.  This is part of Chicago is truly a gem and if I lived there I think I would be passing the time there quite often.  Even though we experienced a bit of rain, mid-October turned out to be a fantastic time to visit this great city. 
Tripreport brought to you by Nadia.


100000 British Airways Miles for credit card sign-up - DO IT NOW!!!!

This is an incredible opportunity. LINK HERE

Normal credit card sign-up bonuses are around 20000-30000 miles max but British Airways has upped the ante. You will get 50000 miles after first use and another after $2000 spent (remember the US Mint coin option everyone!!) in the first 3 months. That's a total of 100000 miles. I don't think I have to go into how far you can fly with this.

All this for a measly $75 annual fee on this card. The cost-benefit is off the charts on this one.

I highly recommend getting this card. Your miles won't expire until for 36months and even then you can keep them active by using this card.

British airways is part of the ONE alliance so you can use these miles with American Airlines and others if you'd like. Just think - 100000 miles are 4 domestic tickets!!

If your credit score is good you should have no problem getting this card!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

George Clooney Explains His 10 Million Frequent Flyer Mile Goal - Hilarious!

New clip of Up in the Air released:

Best quote:

George Clooney: “I don’t spend a nickel if I can help it unless it somehow profits my mileage account.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TRAVELREPORT - NEW ORLEANS (Oct 2-4)

New orleans Travelreport brought to you by Nadia:

Our trip to New Orleans was fun and entertaining.  We flew on Continental, (through Houston with its oddly high number of electric inside airport vehicles zipping folks around).  I have to say that regardless of what Continental reports, their service is not really that great.  I mean I was not thrilled when the flight attendant spilled soda on me and did not even notice, while I fussed to make sure that it wouldn’t stain my clothes.  Our hotel, which we enjoyed, was in the business district (Marriot Renaissance Arts Hotel).  Room was good, although the shower pressure left a lot to be desired, especially in such a new, modern hotel.               
We kicked off our Big Easy sightseeing with a haste walk from the business district to the French Quarter (aka Vieux Carre).  We were running late for a lunch reservation at a very yummy restaurant, NOLA, where we dined on some Southern favorites like shrimp and grits, and a pecan dessert.   After lunch we braved the humidity again (and I am not one to complain about, enjoying East Coast summers for years but in the Deep South it is a whole other ballgame) and set out for the Garden District.  Note to every traveler, if you want to make your way from the French Quarter to the Garden District quickly, skip the walking and the tram, a taxi is a better bet.                                                                                   
The tour of the Garden District put on by Haunted History Tours, (which meets outside the Pontchartrain Hotel), was fun as and quite educational.  Aside from seeing beautiful southern mansions, we enriched ourselves with a ton of trivia.  For example, did you that Cajuns and Acadians are the same thing?  Or what a real Creole person is? Or, that gumbo literally means “okra?”  Or, that Louisiana is the only civil law state in the US? And most fascinating to me, that it is a lie that in New Orleans the dead are buried above ground because of the sea-level.   For more info about this type of burial (not at all unique to NOLA) see here.  As a part of our first day, we also experienced a ride on the slow-moving but fun and efficient tram. Another important not-to-miss place in New Orleans, Café du Monde, where the smell of beignets and sight of powdered sugar all over the floor invites you to sit down and relax for a bit. Besides, while you are there you might as well check out the French Market and the statue of Joan of Arc.
Bourbon Street deserves its own long entry but I will keep it brief.  From early afternoon to the wee hours of morning, the place is loud and bumping.  From lawful drinking in the street to billboards which invite you to enjoy some true adult entertainment (with no cover charge), you realize that New Orleans is the original Las Vegas, and what happens there should often, just stay there.  We experienced the street at various hours, although the evening is the craziest.  The folks there do not need Mardi Gras to party like it’s 1999.  In fact, we collected a good amount of beads by simply being around when a German parade was going down the street (these happen rain or shine, and in our case it was hard rain).  It is unfortunate that a lot of the people on Bourbon Street are annoying, immature, desperate men who in their alcoholic delirium, hope for a chance to see up-skirt or down-the-shirt, of some woman.
Other not to be missed places, are the cemeteries (they have odd hours and most are closed on Sundays).  We checked out St. Louis #1, and found it quite interesting.  Also, if you have a chance, do eat at Commander’s Palace (NOLA’s famous, best restaurant for many years).  It is the kind of place where a gentleman may not enter without a jacket.  We were treated quite well by the staff there, although our main waitress was a little on the odd humor side.  We dined on turtle soup and black-eyed pea soup, local fish, awesome soufflé dessert and had really good “beverages” from the bar.  On the food side was also had a great Southern style brunch at Lüke Restaurant and Galatoires (another place where on Sundays gentlemen may not enter sans-jacket).  Also, check out Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar (yes this used to be owned by the notorious pirate). If you get a chance before you go, download an Audissey tour of the city.  We recommend these as they are free and you can do them at your own pace in a variety of American cities.  They are done by locals and allow you just take everything in slowly.  Happy travelling and do enjoy your own trip down to the Crescent City.

5% Off United Airlines Code and 10% Off American

Use promotion code 552KR for 5% off your next United flight. 

For American Airlines

For AAdvantage members, American Airlines takes 10% off domestic flights via the directions below. That's the best percent-off discount we've seen for flights from American Airlines this year. This offer is applicable for up to six people. Additional taxes, blackout dates, and restrictions may apply. Book by October 31 for travel by November 27.

1. You must be enrolled for an AAdvantage Membership

2. Click here, enter your email, and then click "Play" to play the "American Airlines Penalty Challenge Game" (it allows you to earn extra miles)

3. When you've completed the game, click "Promotion Code" and enter the password that was emailed to you

4. Check your email for your promotion code

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thinking about joining a Hotel Reward Program or Airline Program? - CHECK THIS OUT FIRST!!!

Before you join any Airline or Hotel program go HERE first. Gary has numerous tips and tricks but you shoud go to his Registration and Other Bonuses page and search for the program you want to join. Sometimes you can receive bonus points for joining or registering.

Do that first and then, to keep track of all the membership make an Excel sheet with all your numbers and passwords and keep it updated!!!

Or even easier - go HERE and download the USAToday Miletracker software. Just download, install and put it all your membership numbers and passwords and you can retrieve your information and point balances every day, every hour.....
Keep it updated and make sure your miles/points NEVER EXPIRE!!!!!

Get Miles & Points for shopping online almost everywhere

We all shop online once in a while. Be it shoes, electronics or some other random article. For years we didn't get anything for our spending sprees - no more!!!

If you find yourself hovering over the "confirm order" or "order now" button on buy.com, barnesandnoble or any of the other online merchant websites you should stop and go HERE. Webflyer.com is a handy website that can tell you anything from how many miles you will receive for a flight, between which programs you can transfer points/miles AND how many miles/points per dollar spent you receive for online shopping at many, many online retailers.

Just find the retailer where you want to buy something in the menu, click on it, and determine where you get the most bang for your buck. You will have to go through the Mileage/Point Mall portal of your Airline or Hotel for this. Buy your item and receive points & miles for it as well. (Obviously you have to be a member of the hotel or airline first)

Beware though - if you want to use an online coupon or discount code-you might not receive the points/miles. Most of the time you have to pay the full price or hopefully sale price.

You have to weigh the pros and cons - do you want 20% off or get 1,2,3,4,5,6 miles/dollar. For us, the more expensive an object the more likely we go for the miles/points.
If it's cheap and you would only get 100 miles or so anyway - why not go HERE FIRST (Retailmenot.com) and find out if there are any free coupons/codes out there....

Enjoy your online shopping.

P.S.: Sorry ladies & gents - Zappos does not participate in this scheme, at least for now. :(

But, there's shoebuy.com, shoes.com and many more instead....however, they don't have the same easy-return policy as Zappos! :(

Top off your US Airways Account OR transfer American Express points for a Delta bonus

Buy, Gift and Share US Airways Miles with 20% Discount in October

Good for transactions in the month of October. Buying gifting and sharing miles is usually not a great deal, and this only makes it slightly less painful.

But, if you need an award, or to top off an expiring account, here is 20% off.

Link

ALSO
Amex is giving a 25% bonus for transferring Membership Rewards points into Delta miles this month.
Airlines have these little promotions constantly - I will try to keep you up to date. :)

Free 500 American Airline Miles for free Libery Mutual Insurance quote

Get a free Liberty Mutual insurance quote online and receive 500 miles for your troubles...

Homeowners or Auto seem to qualify. Use the link below to get 500 miles.

Link

American Express Card with 15,000 Membership Rewards Points - it's FREE


American Express is offering a new Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card. It is a charge card with no annual fee first year and has a 15,000 Membership Rewards sign up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first three months and another 15K if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

In addition to the free Membership Rewards points, any airline tickets purchased with the card earn 3 points per $ (sweet deal) for the lifetime of the card, and the transfer options to airline and hotel programs are terrific from Membership Rewards cards.

Basically, apply - buy 1000$ US Mint coins the day the card arrives. Deposit the coins - pay off your bill, voila 15000 membership rewards points. American Express Membership reward points transfer 1:1 to most airlines but do look out for the occasional promotions from Delta and others that offer bonus points for transfers. American Express Points don't expire so - wait until you need them. If you want to go for the 15K point bonus after 15K dollar spent - more coins!! :)

Remember - never spend more than 50% of your credit limit - your credit score may or may not suffer point deductions if you get overly exposed. If you have a 15K credit limit - just buy 5K worth of coins - 3x.... Good luck.

3000 Delta miles-Budget Rental Car Promotion

Well it used to be that you get 5000 or 9999 Delta miles for each rental at Budget but hey, you gotta take what's given.

Weekends seem to offer the best rates. The cost of the miles is about a penny a mile so it's a pretty good deal.

Check out your city and the promotion here.
This promotion doesn't expire until December 31st.

PS: Reports are that non medallion members are receiving their miles as well. Enjoy! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

We're back from the Lone Star State!

Almost a week now since we got back from our Labor Day trip to San Antonio and Austin, Lone Star State (TX). We had a great time and thought that it would be appropriate to share the highlights of it with everyone. So on Friday pre-Labor Day, we left our jobs early (Friday European style baby!) and headed for the airport, and that in itself is already awesome. The flight through Dallas to Austin was average; although I gotta say that the pilot could have used a few more trainings in the landing dept…not exactly smooth operating. We arrived, collected out bags and headed for the car rental place, conveniently located across the from the baggage claim. It was late so we got on the road to San Antonio, where we were to spend our first 2 nights, and began admiring the Lone Star’s wonders next to the highway.

Among the motels, Wal-Mart’s, gas stations and fast-food joints common to American highways, we ran across mega churches, anti-abortion signs with white crosses around them, a snake farm and a warehouse-looking place called “Zone d’Erotica” painted pink. Upon arrival we were famished, but at 2am there are only so many places offering a meal in a town like San Antonio. So we ended up having late night breakfast at the reliable Denny’s. Nothing like the feeling of ingesting French toast and bacon with maple syrup in the middle of the night. Finally we checked into the Westin Riverwalk (very nice establishment but no robes or slippers in room to enjoy) for the next two nights.

In the morning we headed to the historic King William district for breakfast at the locally owned “Madhatter’s” tea house and restaurant. After a satisfying breakfast we checked out the old German neighborhood with its Southern-style mansions. With the humidity and heat rising, we returned to downtown where we got in line to check out the Alamo (free admission). We even got a chance to listen to a right-wing Christian lunatic preaching about how we are all going to hell for how we live our liberal, sordid, God-less lives….quite a treat on a hot Saturday afternoon. The Alamo was ok, interesting, if you have a good imagination, but it has nothing inside to really swoon over. Outside, the grounds (also free) are probably more interesting and the huge (over a foot long) orange-white Asian koi in the water outside were quite cool. Then it was off to admire the wonders of taxidermy at the Buckhorn saloon, and finally off to lunch at Rosarios. We felt fantastic good after white fish ceviche, tilapia tacos and awesome margaritas, which I highly recommend if you are ever around San Antonio. La Villita (old art district in downtown) was next, and an informational Riverwalk channel boat ride. Boat ride was nice and refreshing, except for the petulant child that kept kicking Patrick in the leg for the longest time before his over-done-up mother noticed anything.

That evening, after strolling the arts & craft stands along the Riverwalk, we headed for dinner at Biga on the Banks. We dined on the balcony, in the pleasant evening breeze, sipping a local Viognier. After an entire day of being quite active we thought that another stroll around town would be appropriate, because no trip for Nadia and Patrick is complete without experiencing utter exhaustion.

Sunday morning we ventured to the more suburban parts of San Antonio to have a Tex-Mex brunch at Paloma Blanca. Having filled out stomachs, we checked out three missions (San Jose, Espada and Concepcion) which were very cool and truly felt like a trip back in time. Next, on our trek to Austin, Patrick decided that he wanted to visit two old-school towns (New Braunfels & Gruene) set up by Germans (mainly for the bakery) but unfortunately New Braunfels’s famous Naegele bakery was closed for the weekend and Gruene did not exist as far as we could tell. The precise reason for this was the fact that our GPS system led us to an open field with bushes and announced that we had “arrived” in the town. Classic! :) We thought, oh well and moved on to the largest outlet store mall in San Marcos, we had ever seen. Patrick was hoping for some hip cowboy boots at the rodeo store but the prices were not exactly right. He did score a shirt and sweater at the Express outlet for a total of $12 (retail total $110) so it was a win-win. Confronted with few suitable food options again, we replenished our energy somewhat with frosties from Wendy’s and watermelon-flavor shaved ice.

We checked into our hotel in Austin later that early evening, and then headed to check out the UT campus (with its humongous football stadium) before going to dinner at Uchi, an extraordinary Japanese restaurant. The place was packed, and the service too slow for our starved, tired bodies but the food was excellent. After dinner we headed back to downtown where we checked out the lively scene of bars and live music on 6th street. While Austin during the day is not much of a sight, the nightlife scene is great and anyone would be sufficiently entertained.

Monday morning, we had a quick breakfast at the hotel coffee shop called Java Jive, although it is simply a Starbucks in different clothing. Then headed to the Texas state Capitol building (with way too many photos of Dubya) and then to lunch. Of course, finding The Roaring Fork Restaurant, in suburban Austin was not an easy feat among the endless business parks without clear street numbers but we made it. Enjoyed some gourmet burgers on the river, chatted with a pleasant although somewhat annoying waitress and then back to the airport for our flight back to San Jose, CA. All in all, it was a good trip and if you like warm weather, good food and a little history, San Antonio and Austin are a great destination for you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

American & United Double Elite Qualifying Miles

American brings back double elite qualifying miles through December 15 — the second time this year — REGISTER HERE.

United followed suit and announced the same thing today, Registration required for your choice of double qualifying miles or double qualifying segments, you have to pick and you can only choose one.

Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) do not get you free flights but when you have enough you will get status with the Airline which entitles you to all kinds of perks! :)


Rental Cars

Since we have gold status at Hertz and preferred status at Avis those are our main two rental car providers for most of our trips. This Fall it seems Hertz edged out Avis due to better Mileage bonuses by Hertz with United. TIP: Always check your airline websites for rental car promotions - there's always a special offer or way to earn miles on your rental!!
Our previous trip to San Diego was lucrative since Avis offered 5000 Delta Skymiles for 2 day rentals.

A word of caution concerning Enterprise - apparently they are not taking the safety of their customers seriously since they just ordered 66000 Chevy Impalas without the standard side-curtain airbag. They save $175 per vehicle but it's detrimental to anyone riding in one of those cars. Enterprise won't get my business anytime soon because of this.....

San Antonio-Austin Trip - Labor Day weekend 2009

Nadia and me will be taking of to Austin/San Antonio tomorrow. As you might imagine a lot of planning has gone into this trip. We have mainly relied on a combination of Kayak and airline/hotel websites to get the best deal. Nadia still had a free hotel night certificate from a previous promotion with Starwood. Thus, we will be staying one night for free in San Antonio.

Otherwise, this fall we are actually paying for most of our trips in order to stock up enough points/miles for next years trips to Europe, Bahamas??? NYC??? - all this is still in the planning stages but the sooner one can start collecting miles, the better! :)

Citi AAdvantage - gotta love it....

If anyone was thinking Citi's incredible spread of credit cards that earn American Airlines miles isn't enough - never fear - there are now a total of 3 personal & 2 business cards, each of which can earn you 30K AAdvantage miles after spending ($750 - US Mint coin deal of couse!).

Links:
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard, the Citi Select® / AAdvantage® American Express® card, the Citi Aadvantage Visa Card the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® MasterCard, and the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Visa® Card (go to Citicards.com for application) . After 95 days on biz cards from the posting of the first prchase, (65 days on personal cards) reapply again for the same cards and complete the same spend requirements to receive a second chunk of AA miles bonus. Until December 31st these cards (except for the Business Visa) offer 30,000 miles each. Most have $250-$750 minimum spend requirements -- use them for items would buy anyway (groceries, gas, etc.)Or the US Mint deal. PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT have to cancel your previous Citicards before applying for new ones.

As always - your credit is important so handle these offers with care. You should get your credit score (FREE as a trial) from many reporting agencies. If your score is above 750 you won't have any troubles. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Airline Miles through Credit Card Offers

We promised we'll go more into depth concerning the "how to" so we decided the best place to start is at the heart of the matter.
The quickest and easiest way to earn a huge mountain of miles is to play, what we like to call, the credit card game. Now, before we start a quick disclaimer from our side - signing up for credit cards is a serious financial decision and shouldn't be taken lightly. Of course, if you follow our steps carefully and approach all this with a healthy common sense you will be delighted by the benefits.
We have applied, churned (closed and re-applied) for credit cards for years and our credit scores haven't ever dropped drastically....

Let's start the with the "Goldmine" of CreditCards out there, Citibank AAdvantage Credit Cards (there is a Mastercard, Visa and American Express). In addition there are business credit cards.
Select ONE of the Individual credit cards (annual fee free for 1st year) - apply - receive - activate and then STOP. If you looked closely at the Terms & Conditions. You have to spend $750 before you will be getting 25000 or 30000 miles (depending on the current promotion). Now you could spend this on a flight, nice shoes, groceries, etc...but there's a better way. The US mint sells presidential coins that they want you to get into circulation....well, you buy $750 worth of coins from the mint (shipping is free - it will say 4.95 for shipping but that will disappear when you go to the checkout). Pay for the $750 worth of coins with your new shiny Citibank Credit card. Wait 4-5 weeks for the coins to arrive by UPS and then deposit the coins in your checking account. Once deposited - pay your credit card with that money. You lost $0 didn't spend a dime but will receive 25 or 30K American Airlines miles....too good to be true...nope, we and others have been doing it for months! :) This can be done with any Airline Credit Card of course (most of them have a spending requirement of $250 to 750 until you receive miles) so order lots of coins! :)

The Citibank AAdvantage cards can be churned, for now, over and over again. There's only a 90day wait period between cancellation and re-application for each card. It might be longer for business cards. So what are you waiting for - sign up for cards, buy US mint coins and sit on a mountain of American Airline Miles in no time....

For United miles - Chase bank has a variety of credit cards. Most need you to spend $250 before receiving 25000 or 30K miles. The same is true for Continental Airlines and Chase Credit Cards...

Sometimes an annual fee credit card might be worth it - consider the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines credit cards. Sign up for the Bank of America & Bank of Hawaii (two different credit cards) and get 20000 Hawaiian miles each. 40000 miles is enough for a free ticket to Hawaii... or convert those 40000 miles to 160000 Hilton points and get free Hotel nights.... The fee for the Bank of America and Bank of Hawaii cards are $50. So by spending $100 you get a free flight to Hawaii...not bad....

There are many, many more. Gary at FreeFrequentFliermiles.com has the best list that's out there. Simply click on Credit Cards on the left and find the Airline you want to start collecting miles in. First however, check the Registration page because sometimes you get bonus miles for signing up with a Airline loyalty program. :)

We will get back on the Credit Card topic soon (specifically about how to get Business Credit Cards without actually owning a business) - there's so much to discover! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miles - Points - Deals - A short introduction...

Hi again!

Let's talk miles, points and deals. :)
This is only a short overview - we'll go into details in later posts.

MILES:

You know the problem - you want to travel and see new places but the flight fare is just too much to bear. There's no other option but flying there but you get discouraged or don't want to wait for the fares to "possibly/maybe" drop. This blog will get you to those exotic, far-away places, all it needs is a bit of planning.

Nowadays, every national and international airline has some form of loyalty reward program. The point of these programs is to ensure repeat business ($) from previous passengers. Since the competition in the skies has only increased in recent years, the fight for returning customers has intensified. First let's look at the top 3 players (legacy carriers=have been around the block for a while) in the US skies: UNITED, AMERICAN and DELTA.

United's loyalty program is called United Mileage Plus and it's a great system if you work/live and travel in the United States. United is part of the Star Alliance (an alliance of 20+ airlines around the world). What does this mean to you? When you earn United miles for flying/shopping!!!!/dining!!!!, etc.. you can use those miles to fly practically anywhere in the world, either with United or with one of their partner airlines. How many miles you need per flight depends on the distance traveled. Currently 25000miles gets you a domestic ticket in the US, 55000 gets you to Europe, Mainland US to Hawaii takes 40000 miles and so on.... The amounts may vary depending on the airline you choose and if you are able to get the "cheapest" award seat. More on that later....

United Mileage Plus is one of our favorite programs, not only because we are based in San Francisco, a hub for United, but also because of the strong partnership between United and Lufthansa. We travel to Europe a lot and appreciate Lufthansa's extensive destination list.

American's loyalty program is called AAdvantage and it is currently the best system to get lots and lots of miles fast (more on that later as well - look for our "Credit Card" section!). American is part of the One World Alliance of airline carriers. Members include British Airways, Quantas and many more....

AAdvantage miles got us to our Honeymoon destination, St. Lucia this year for FREE. The flight, as you can imagine, would have been quite pricey so we were happy to spend that money on a nice luxury, all-inclusive resort hotel instead! ;)

Delta's loyalty program is called Skymiles. Delta has an extensive international destination list - espcially with its latest merger with Northwest Airlines. Delta is part of Skyteam and partner airlines include among others: Air France (Paris anyone?), Alitalia (all roads lead to Rome, vero?) and Aeroflot (Winter in Moscow?). We mentioned the merger with Northwest Airlines - well, it's still not done, so if you can, take advantage of earning in both loyalty programs until they are merged into one. We have successfully created a Northwest Airlines Worldperks account, earned miles and transferred them, completely free now, to Delta. We'll show you how in a later post.

There are many more airline loyalty programs and we encourage you to sign up for them all! Some programs give you sign-up bonuses - we will post links for these bonuses shortly.

POINTS:

After following our advice (signing up for airline loyalty programs, shop for miles, dine for miles, etc...), you arrive at your destination only to be confronted with expensive and out-of-this world hotel room prices. Fear not fellow travelbandit, we got your back! :) You see, not only are there loyalty programs for airline passengers but there are also many, many programs for Hotels, rental cars, train travel....you name it....
The biggest money saver are of course the hotel loyalty programs. There's Hilton's HHonors, Starwood's Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG - Sheraton, W, Westin,etc..), Marriot's Marriott Rewards, Priority Club (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn,etc...), Choice Privileges (Comfort Inn), Best Western, etc...
There are, frankly, too many to list. Once you have stayed at a variety of hotels, you probably have a favorite "brand" of hotels that offer all the amenities you look for. We personally prefer Hilton, Starwood, Marriott and Priority Club but preferences for you may vary.

Points are earned the same way as for airline miles. You have to use their services or be a bandit and earn points for free (tip: credit cards - more to come). There are also various tricks in order to get "STATUS" in a hotel program. A certain memberhsip level or STATUS makes you eligible for extra goodies such as more points earned, late check-out, free newspaper, free water or gifts, etc... It helps to have status, it's nice to be special! :)

DEALS:

A lot of websites claim that they will provide you Travel deals. One of the best, that doesn't clog your email inbox with unnecessary messages is TRAVELZOO. Sign up for their email alerts - it's worth it. Just put in the destination and receive special deals from Hotels and flights to the destination in your inbox every Tuesday. It has saved us a lot of money so far.
As far as searching for flights/hotels: KAYAK has our vote. Sometimes VAYAMA can give good results too. BING,which is heavily advertised currently, is ok and we appreciate the fare price prediction function, formerly known as Farecast.com.
We never had much use for Priceline since we try to get things for free but it comes in handy sometimes for rental car deals.
We'll go into more detail later.

So there you have it- our "short" introduction to the world of travel loyalty programs. Of course, it's completely missing a lot of programs, Amtrak or rental car programs for example. But we will highlight these programs if there are special deals to be had! :)
In the meantime, please visit two great websites (FRUGALTRAVELGUY.COM and FreeFrequentFlierMiles.com) This is were we got our free/frugal Travel schooling! :)

More on HOW to earn many, many free and/or easy miles to come!! Check back soon!

Let us travel - or else!!!


Hello World!

Welcome to our little travel blog! The Travelbandits are always on the lookout for a travel "steal"! We hope you will enjoy our blog and gain many insights in little-known travel tips and tricks.
Traveling the world is easier than ever - let's explore together!
Do you want to fly from mainland US to Japan for $40? How about to Europe for only $100? Luxury hotels for free and many more unbelievable deals are just around the corner! :)

Keep checking back - we will be adding more content soon. Until then, enjoy your travels! :)