Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Southwest Airlines 3 Day Sale Watch for Your Airline to Match

Simple and easy SW sales often leads to matches by the major airlines. Dansdeals and Kushal passed this sale on. Keep your eyes open for the right price for your next trip.

Southwest Link

Starwood promotion comes through - Yeepee

So I mentioned the two credit card offers from Starwood a few months ago - sign up and spend $1000 in the first 3 months on each card for a 30000 Starwood sign-up point bonus each - total 60000 Starwood points. One was a Business card, the other personal. If you are new - it's easy to spend $1000 without actually buying anything - search for US Mint in the blog and you'll find lots of info...me, I just paid tuition with both cards, which quickly fulfilled the requirement...oh, and ever the travelbandit, I am getting most of the money refunded by my company! :) :) :)

Well, I already had both cards before so I thought I either get nothing or the famous "incremental" difference to my previously awarded bonus (e.g.:  I already received 10000 a year ago for the same card before canceling it) and thus only getting 20000pts.

Well after spending the required $1000 the wait began and it's now over. I received 20000 (incremental) for the personal card and a full 30000 for the business card. Yeepee. That's a a lot of hotel nights... :) I am not going to fight with them for the missing 10000, that would be an uphill battle and AMEX has been known to take it all back if you push too hard. :)

What can you do with 50000 extra startwood points...well you can transfer them to a bunch of airlines creating 25000 miles for each 20000 pts. transferred for example (20000 pts + 5000 pts. Starwood bonus).

Or, more traditionally, you can use it for 4 or 5 nights in a very nice Westin, Sheraton, W, Meridien....

I decided to use some of it for our Christmas vacation in Europe. I rarely use hotel points in bulk - I prefer the points + cash option from Starwood. That's how we got the Palace Hotel in Madrid (5-star) for $90 night this summer- normally $300-400/night....

This Christmas I am using pts+cash in Paris - at the Meridien Montparnasse ($60 night+2400pts). Splurge in Berlin with a free night for 10000 pts at the Westin Grande, a stones throw away from Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg Gate.

Of course everyone has their own comfort zone for hotel prices. I don't mind paying 80 Euros for 1 night in Dresden at a nice Holiday Inn Express for example because I know we'll get breakfast and lots of points. Paying 150 or 250 Euros hurts so I try to get points+cash or just points....

Basically, it's nice to have options to choose from so go after any promotion or possibility to make pts and miles and then sit on your accumulated wealth until you need it.

 It takes a lot of stress out of planning trips when you know you have pts & miles that can offset some or even most of the costs! :(

$10 Costco Cash Card for Paying Your Wireless Bill By American Express

Via MileQuest, you can Register any American Express card by December 31 and use that card to set up automatic bill pay with your wireless provider and you’ll receive a $10 Costco Cash Card.

The offer does not appear to be targeted, or exclude folks that are already using automatic bill pay to charge their American Express card with their monthly wireless bill.

I am already paying my wireless bill with my HHonors Amex - thus receiving 6 points/dollar every month. Maximize your miles & points by automatic payments!! :)

1000 Miles for Joining US Airways Dividend Miles

From View from the Wing:

US Airways is offering 1000 miles to new members for joining by December 31 using promo code NMCB.
Members who join under this promotion and book a ticket within 60 days using a Mastercard will earn an additional 2000 miles.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

KAUAI - Travel Report by Nadia

Our Kauai trip was busy but quite enchanting.  The Garden Isle, as Kauai is known, is the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian islands and is a must if you find yourself visiting the archipelago.   

Our 4 days were filled with exploring as much of the island as possible which, was actually quite time consuming because as is common on any island, there is only one road on the rim.  Nevertheless, even with more time spent exploring in the car than on the actual beach, we had a fantastic experience.  If you are not allergic to chocolate and love trying exotic, delicious fruit then the Steelgrass Chocolate Farm Tour is not to be missed.  A chocolate tasting is always a good idea and I am still dreaming of the lilikoi, or in English passion fruit, the true nectar of the gods.

Other places worth stopping for are the Koloa Fish Market (amazing poke), Opaeka’a Falls near the Kamokila Hawaiian Village, Lydgate Beach Park, Anahola Beach Park, Anini Beach Park, Hanalei Bay, Ke’e Beach and Makua “Tunnels” Beach.  If you are in Kauai on a Friday night, check out the Hanapepe Art Walk which features local artists and street vendors selling scrumptious food.   

Waimea Canyon is also worth the drive but be warned that the road is quite curvy, so pack some ginger to chew to calm that nauseous stomach.  We had the chance to visit a farmer’s market in Lihue on a Friday afternoon and learned that even if you show up before 3pm you will not be able to purchase anything.  Get there early to put away some of the best looking fruit for yourself but wait for the whistle at exactly 3 to hand over the cash and complete the transaction.  

 Lastly no trip review would be complete without mentioning some amazing meals and this trip had no shortage of those.  The two dinners and two snacks that stand out are our mind-blowing meal at Postcards CafĂ©, super fresh fish and miso soup at Hanalei Dolphin Fish Market, shave ice at Ono Ono in Koloa (with a snowcap naturally) and fresh malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) in Lihue at Kauai Bakery & Cinnamon.  

Aloha and happy Hawaiian travels.