Saturday, August 31, 2013

Giveaway Winner Announced

The winners for the Do It For The Points Giveaway have been picked!

The winners in order that they were drawn:

1) Dylan P.

2) Paolo S.

3) Cha N.

4) Cacinda M.

5) Jared A.

6) Manda O.

7) Alison

The winners will pick their prize order listed above: ie Dylan will get first pick, Paolo will get second pick.

Winners will only have 6 hours to get back to me about their prize choice.

If a winner, with lower pick #, prefers to email me their choice picks that is allowed. When it is your time to pick, I will take your top prize choice of the prizes left.

If people do not claim their prize, the next choice moves down the list and another winner is chosen for 7th slot.

Thank you for everyone for entering!
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Massage from Citi Card CEO

Last week, I received a mass email from the Citi Card CEO Jud Linville announcing some minor changes:

The changes are not major, but the changes are improvements:

1) No fee for expedited payment over the phone

2) No fee for statement copies

3) Flexibility to pay your account with autopay

We should never complain about improvements.

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FEDEX & DELTA Take A Break

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I sent myself a FEDEX package to earn miles. The next day, I received this email from FEDEX announcing the end of the current Delta promotion:

My plan was to send out the prizes to the giveaway winners via FEDEX. I am sad to see this promotion ending.

Now, I am stuck with USPS. : (

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Friday, August 30, 2013

12 Hours Left for Giveaway + Last Clue

Reminder, less than 12 hours left in the giveaway.

Go here to enter. $400+ in prizes up for grabs

You can earn up to four entries for the contest.

Each day until the end of the contest, I will give one clue about one of the prizes.

Today's Clue:

"This airline and this hotel made up this summer after a 3 year 
 break-up, only for this hotel chain to create a partnership with another airline, the month after"

As in the word's of the Hunger Games, "may the odds be ever in your favor."

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Need Shoes? 21X United Miles @ Shoe'

A few days ago, I saw an email from United offering 21x miles for purchases at This offer is only for those with United Mileage Plus Credit Cards. Otherwise, its been reported that payoff is 15x miles per $1. To earn the points, you have to log-in to the United Mileage Plus shopping portal.

I didn't think about it much about the email. United sends them all of the time and I tend to glance at them. That changed last night when I looked at my dress shoes:

My plan was to buy new black dress shoes next month, but 21x points per $1 is a great deal. I decided to move up my purchase. I am a big Johnson & Murphy fan, so I bought two pairs of their shoes. One for good weather and another for not so great weather:
In addition, until 8/31, you can get 20% off of your entire order plus free shipping.

Typically, you can not use codes and earn miles. However, this one comes from the United website and per the terms and conditions, this code is allowed:

Unfortunately, my shoes were not eligible for the discount. Therefore, my shoe purchase earned me 5,460 United miles - $260 x 21 = 5,460

I am trying to earn 75,000 United miles in the month of August, so this purchase goes a long way.
 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reminder: Blog Giveaway & Third Clue

Reminder, I am giving away $400+ worth of prizes in the blog's first anniversary giveaway.

Go here to enter. Most of the prizes are travel or points related.

You can earn up to four entries for the contest.

Each day until the end of the contest, I will give one clue about one of the prizes.

Today's Clue:

"Top Prize is similar to the one Hack My Trip offered 
 in the Heels First Travel/Hack My Trip Giveaway Earlier This Year"

As in the word's of the Hunger Games, "may the odds be ever in your favor."

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Retention Bonus Success Story

Reader Liz reached out to me and asked the following question:

                                 "Which credit card should I get after I cancel my Chase United card?

My first question was does she like the card? If so, why are you canceling the card?

Her response was that she loved earning United miles for her daily purchases, but she didn't want to pay the annual fee. Since she like the card, my recommendation was that she call Chase and ask if there was any retention bonus for keeping the card for another year. I told her that there have been reports of people getting the annual fee waived or 5,000 miles as retention bonus.

What is a retention bonus?

A retention bonus is a gift from a company in order to keep you as a customer. Keeping a current client is 90% of the time cheaper than trying to get new clients to join. In the example of Chase, giving a current client 5,000 miles to pay the annual fee is cheaper than shelling out 40,000 miles for a sign-up bonus for a new client.

In the case of Liz, I told her if the retention bonus request was not grant, hold off from canceling the card. The smarter tactic was to apply for a new Chase card (with a large sign-up bonus, I suggest the Chase Sapphire) before canceling the card for three reasons:

                   1) You should always have a mileage earning credit card

                   2) If Chase denies you for the new card, you can call the reconsideration line and
                       bargain to get the new card by closing the old card
                                 - I just did something similar to this to get my Chase Ink Bold. In my case, I
                                   allowed them to lower my credit limit on another Chase card to "transfer"
                                   the high credit limit to the new Ink Bold.

                  3) If you are approved for the new card, you can transfer the credit limit from the card
                      that you want to cancel to the new card. For instance, if Liz's United Card had a
                      $5,000 limit and Chase approved her for the Sapphire card with a $2,000 limit, she
                      could ask, while canceling the United card, to transfer the $5,000 limit to the
                      Sapphire to increase her credit limit to $7,000.

A few days after my email back to her, I received this response:
 "Thanks for the advice regarding my chase united card. I called and they offered me a retention bonus of $150 dollars. Which covers my annual fee and then some. So I decided to stay with it!"
Success! $150 is a pretty big retention bonus, so congrats, Liz!

For myself, I never get a retention bonus. I always ask for one and get told they "don't exist." Recently, I called on my Chase United and the representative told me that they don't offer retention bonuses to anyone. I kindly mentioned that I have been reading online that people were being offer bonus of points, credits or waived annual fees. The Chase representative said, "ugh, you can't believe everything you hear from those travel bloggers."  

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Current Giveaways Round-Up

Here is a quick round-up of some giveaways and promotions from around the community:

  • Giddy for Points is giving away 2 United Club Passes
  • BA Blogger Live From a Lounge is giving away 50,000 Hyatt Points
  • Heels First Travel giving away $100 Amazon Gift Card for subscribing to their newsletter
  • Starwood Hotels has an interesting promotion to win 250,000 points
  • Homewood Suites has a contest to win a trip to this years Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • American Airlines's Planes promotion to win a trip for 4 around the world or other prizes
Reminder, Do It for The Points is having our giveaway. $400+ prizes up for grabs. 

Can't win if you don't play . . . 

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reminder: Blog Giveaway & Second Clue

Reminder, I am giving away $400+ worth of prizes in the blog's first anniversary giveaway.

Go here to enter. Most of the prizes are travel or points related.

You can earn up to four entries for the contest.

Each day until the end of the contest, I will give one clue about one of the prizes.

Today's Clue:


As in the word's of the Hunger Games, "may the odds be ever in your favor."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

5 Craziest Things I have Done For Points

The question to earn an entry for the blog's giveaway is, "what is the craziest thing you have ever done for points?" You can enter the giveaway here by answering that simple question. I thought I would write about my 5 craziest things I have done for points.

5) Travel via Metro, my feet, and a cab to do a Mattress Run

       In 2011, Club Carlson made a big splash in the points & miles community with the Big Night
       Giveaway The promotion gave you 50,000 points for spending one night at any Radisson Hotel
       in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.

       I decided to participate in the promotion. The closes Radisson to Washington, DC is located
       in Largo, MD. Without a car, I had to take a 45 minute train ride and then walk a mile to the
       hotel, because I could not find a cab.

        This was my first mattress run, but I didn't know the term at the time. My friends didn't
        understand why I was doing it, but the 50,000 points sure have come in handy.

4) Rent Cars for 5 Minutes

        In the Fall 2012, US Airways had a promotion called Grand Slam which gave you hits for
        completing partner offers.

        You could earn up to 6 hits for renting cars. Luckily, I was able to find car rentals for $15.00
        all-in on most Saturdays throughout the promotion. However, I had no use for a rental car. The
        first Saturday,  I picked up the car and drove it home where it stayed over night. The next
        Saturday, I decided to check-out the car, drive it around the block, gassed it up, and returned
        it 5 minutes later.

        The first time I did this, the staff didn't know what to say about me returning the car within
        5 minutes. The next four Saturdays, the check-in  attendant would welcome me back, wish
        me a safe trip and they look forward to seeing me in 5 minutes time.

3) Buy and Ebook

       I wrote about this more here.

       Short Story, I bought an eBook from SkyMall to get bonus points from Delta's New
       Member bonus. I have no intention of reading the book, actually, I still have not downloaded it.

2) Bought A Phone Charger For A Phone I Didn't Own

    One night the blog community was a buzz about a mistake in the American Airlines Shopping
    Mall. The company who host the AAdvantgae eShopping Mall  (Caritas) had a phone charger
    earning 83,871 miles for a purchase. The cost of the charger was about $5.00 +  a few bucks
    for shipping.

Thanks to Matthew @ for still having the pic
       I knew that we would never see the 83,000+ miles, but I had a feeling that Caritas would offer
       some points for the mistake. So, I went ahead an purchased the charger. A few days later,
       reports of Caritas offering 2,500 AA miles for the mistake were surfacing. I emailed Caritas
       and was offered 2,500 miles for the mistake and 2,500 more miles if I made another purchase
       in the mall in xx amount of days. The offer was better than I though. Quickly, I ordered face
       wash from Walmart through the portal and banked another 2,500 miles.

       5,000 miles for $12 isn't to shabby.

1) Send a FEDEX Package To Myself
       As I have written previously, I have been participating in the Delta New Member bonus. I
       needed one partner award to get my last 500 miles. My partner options were dwindling.
       After looking at the partners that were left, I saw that FEDEX was still an option. So, it was
       time to think outside of the box.

       FEDEX and Delta have partnered up to offer miles per every $1 spent on shipping. In
       addition, your first and fourth shippings will earn 500 bonus miles each.

       I shipped a package from my office to my home. The shipment cost me less than $9, but netted
       me 1,000+ miles (500 miles from FEDEX & 500 for the new member bonus)

In the pursuits of miles & points, we all do crazy things. Instead of being embarrassed, we should
celebrate these antics. Otherwise, this game can get quite boring.

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reminder: Blog Giveaway & First Clue

Reminder, I am giving away $400+ worth of prizes in the blog's first anniversary giveaway.

Go here to enter. Most of the prizes are travel or points related.

You can earn up to four entries for the contest.

Each day until the end of the contest, I will give one clue about one of the prizes.

Today's Clue:

"This airline is behind its competitors in using this company technology, so this prize can help you get your work done before your flight."

As in the word's of the Hunger Games, "may the odds be ever in your favor."

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

A Look Back @ The Best Articles of This Past Year

As the blog enters its second year, I wanted to look back at some of the best articles of our first year.

Defining which articles are "best" is not an easy task. Different metrics will produce different best articles, so I will break it down by the best articles by page view, comments and shares:

Most Page Views:

1) Earn 11 MileagePlus Miles Per $1 Spent @ Marriott
2) Delta Grandslam: Delta AMEX Gold
3) Refinance your Mortgage for Miles
4) Young People and the Chains of Credit Card Debt
5) Earning My Southwest Companion Pass
6) Millenials Attitudes Towards Credit Cards
7) Tail of Two Lounges - Dulles
8) Marriott's Unexpected Bonus is Unexpectedly Popular
9) I agree with and disagree with Mile Nerd's Rant
10) European Holiday: Zurich (Uetilberg Look Out)

Articles with Most Comments: 

1) Young People and the Chains of Credit Card Debt
2) I agree with and disagree with Mile Nerd's Rant
3) United Club Card First Year Free
4) Why I support Child Free Sections/Flights
5) Millenials Attitudes Towards Credit Cards
6) Getting to FTU DC
7) Great Article on Twitter in Points/Miles

Articles Shared the Most:

1) Men's Health 20 Guy Trips
2) End of Year Trip to Kamakura
3) Going for the Gold on United
4) Young People and the Chains of Credit Card Debt
5) I agree with and disagree with Mile Nerd's Rant

What keeps you coming back to the blog? Is there something that you want to see more?

 Follow us on Twitter @doit4thepoints! Have a question for me? E-mail me at

Could Your Friends Ruin Your Credit?

Yesterday, I was browsing CNN at work and came across this catchy title, "Facebook Friends Could Change Your Credit Score." I immediately click the link and what I read bothered me.

The article explains that some alternative lenders are using social media to determine creditworthiness. Katie Lobosco, the author writes:
"Some financial lending companies have found that social connections can be a good indicator of a person's creditworthiness."
She mentions two companies, Lendio and Kreditech, who are currently using the system with success.
 "It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community," said Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo. "What's new is that we're now able to measure through massive computing power."
As someone in the lending industry, I think this is a terrible idea.  While there may be some evidence that we surround ourselves with people who share our values, using social media to determine creditworthiness is like swiss cheese, filled with holes.

First, my generation, the millennial, has a tendency to "friend" everyone and anyone. Meet a person in a bar, let's friend them in the morning. Have a high school friend that you haven't talk to in 10 years, can't hurt to ask for a friend request. This kid in Tokyo likes the same comics as I do, we need to be friends. College students are notorious for friending complete strangers that go to their campus. A friend request or adding one to someone's circle (Google +) does not mean that I know this person well.  Honestly, I couldn't tell you the financial status of over 95% of my friends on facebook, nor do I care.

Second, the use of friends' creditworthiness in determining someone else creditworthiness will result in many wrong decisions. I believe that more often than not people will be judge incorrectly. For example, subject A grew up in a low income neighborhood with high unemployment. Most of his friends on Facebook are from his old neighborhood. He has worked 2 jobs since 16 to save enough money to pay for college. Under this friend scheme, my gut is that subject A will be declined for the loan. On the flip side, subject B goes to Harvard and his friends on Facebook skew highly from college. Subject B's family has poor money skills. My guess is that Subject B will be approved for his loan request.

Similarly, can't one game the system by adding friends with good credit like subject B. I could see a whole industry starting where people offer themselves as "friends" in exchange for money. The ability to game the system destroy's its credibility. Credit scores are very difficult to game. Not impossible, but very difficult. 

I am not alone in my feelings:
"Some in the financial industry are skeptical about social data and online behavior being used as a kind of credit score. John Ulzheimer, a credit expert at, says social data aren't necessarily indicative of whether the borrower will pay back a loan on time. FICO only considers a handful of factors, but they are all "incredibly predictive of risk," Ulzheimer said.
There's also the potential to game the system. Consumers can easily control how many Facebook friends they have and tweets they write. The same cannot be said for what goes into their credit score.
"To me, using social media is a little bit dangerous," Ulzheimer said"
Finally, this system can lead to massive discrimination. Credit scores are color/sexual orientation/martial status bind. Yes, loan officers/underwriters can still discriminate against borrowers. However, the major deciding factor is quantitatively driven. This social model is quantitatively driven. A loan officer is making a decisions on someone application based upon pictures, stats, tweets, and likes. You can obviously imagine scenarios where loan applications are declined, because of the applicant having to many friends that wear baggy clothes or green picky hair, supporting gay rights or tweeting the lyrics of a rap song. What does tweeting the lyrics of a rap song have to do with creditworthiness? President Obama has used rap lyrics in speeches, is he not worthy of credit?

I hope that social media/friend credit model does not come to the United States. Currently, this model is used in Mexico, Russia, Czech Republic, and Philippines. This model is rip for abuse and for that reason, we need to pass. Social media should be used for that, social purposes. 

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Do It For The Points & Giveaway!

365 days ago, Chris and I launched Do It For The Points. We started this journey into blogging, because our friends were tired of us talking about travel/points/miles at our weekly happy hours. Cash Back Boy and Limited Credit Boy told us to put our passion for miles/points into something productive.


As we stated on our very first post, our goal for the blog was to share our perspective, trips, and just general questions we may have about points and miles that you might have but were too shy to ask. Don't worry....we don't mind embarrassing ourselves for you." Looking back over our 451 posts, I think we are on our way to accomplishing that goal.

Even though Chris may now longer be blogging anymore, I vow to carry our blog forward. In the 2nd year, Do It For The Points will push the boundary of what is normal. However, I promise you that I will never post a promotion, trick or technique that I personally will not participate in myself. On top of that, no promotion, trick or technique will ever be posted that I would be embarrassed to tell my grandfather about. If I fail to live up to this standard, please call me out on it.

I would like to thank a few people who have helped me through the first year of this journey:

 ~ My family who have been my supportive cheerleaders;

 ~ Keri and Jeanne of Heels First Travel for your guidance and mentorship.

 ~ To Cash Back Boy and Limited Credit Boy, my friends and close confidants, for waiting in the
     hallways of the hotels to allow me to videotape the room, listening to me complain about 
    blogging and willing to go on adventures for that sole purpose of blog posts.

 ~ Chris, thank you for starting this journey with me. I hope I do you proud in carrying our little
    dream forward.

Finally, I thank you for our readers for your support over the past 365 days. Thank you for your comments, twitter conversations and emails. Your support is what keeps me going every day. If you like what we are writing, please tell a friend or two or three.

Unlike most birthday celebrations, no gifts are required. Rather, I am holding a giveaway to say thank you to all of you. 7 prizes are up for grabs valuing over $400. Go here to learn more!

Thank you again everyone for your love and support.

Happy Birthday Do It For The Points!

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1st Anniversary Giveaway

In celebration of the 1st Anniversary of Do It For The Points, I am clearing out my prize closet.

I am giving away 7 different prizes. One of my favorite game shows was and still is Let's Make A Deal. On the show, a contestant is offered a choice of curtains, boxes or envelopes containing a prize.

Sometime the prize is amazing and other times its a zonk!

I promise there are no ZONKs among my prizes. Like the old adage, "don't judge a book by its cover," I suggest you don't judge the prizes by what they look like. I may have hidden extra prizes inside.

Here are the prizes:

Prize #1 - Toiletry Travel Bag (min. value: $35)

 Prize # 2 AA First Class Travel Kit (min. value: $25)

Prize # 3 - Fairmont Moleskine Notebook (min value $10)

 Prize # 4 - Go-Go Wireless Travel Kit (min value: $14)

Prize # 5 - Delta Ipad Case (min. value: $??)

Prize # 6 - Stack of Gift Cards (min. value $25)

Prize # 7 - Tumbler Cup (min. value $2)

The minimum values of all the prizes add up to over $100, but I promise there is over $400 worth of prizes.

Dates: Monday August 26th until Friday August 31st @ 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Winners will be chosen and notified next weekend.

How to Enter: You can earn one entry for completing the following tasks (up to eight entries total):

                1) Liking Do It For The Points on Facebook

                2) Follow Us on Twitter

                3) Tweeting out the giveaway (once a day)

                4) Leave a comment on the "craziest way you earned points."
                              - If you have only earned points by flying or using a credit card - say that

Please use the rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Disclosure: I paid/earned most of the prizes. Some of the prizes were given to me as part of my swag bag from the BAcon conference, which were donated by various corporations.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fodor's 5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now

Fodor's has a new list of 5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now.

As many of you know, I have never been to the Midwest. I am one of those flyover types that just looks down on my way to the West or East coast. Also, like almost every politicians out there, I love small towns. Small towns are truly the backbone of America. So this list of Midwestern Small Towns intrigued me. Click the names of each town take you their webpage:

Stillwater, Minnesota

Getting There: 50 minutes from Minneapolis-St.Paul (via car) 

Traverse City, Michigan

Getting There: 4 hours from Detroit via car 

Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Getting There: 2 hours from Milwaukee or 3 hours from Chicago via car 

Getting There: 3.5 hours from Chicago via car 

Getting There: 75 minutes from Chicago (via car or Metra train)

I see a small town road-trip in my future of the Midwestern.

All pictures are from the Fodor's article.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Will Travel for Food: Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

On my trip earlier this month to NYC, my family and I decided to go to the Brooklyn Farmacy for dessert one night. Located on the corner of Henry and Sackett in Brooklyn, Farmacy is a restaurant that transports you back in time to when taking a girl for a soda pop and ice cream sundae was considered an appropriate date.  Now a days, suggest to some girls ice cream to end a date and the response is something to the effect of, "No, I am on XYC diet," " oh, so you think I am fat," or my favorite, "ice cream is cruel to cows." Yes, I have heard all of these. BTW I love ice cream.

At 9pm, on the Saturday night, the place was packed. We had to wait 20 minutes for a table of four. They have two rooms, the main room with the soda counter and a back room. Farmacy seats only 40.

 The highlight of the entire store is this old school soda bar. Made from solid wood the bar is the star attraction.

The staff is dress in period wear which only makes the experience authentic. The menu has tons of old school items, as well. A copy of the menu is located at the bottom of the post. The only readable version was huge. The restaurant has more offers than dessert, but we only had sundaes.

When it was time to pick which sundaes to have, the other three in my party went with small brownie sundaes:

I went with the Affugazi Affogato: a scoop of ice cream over vanilla cake drenched with two cups of espresso. They dumped two shots right in front of you. Bonus points for the presentation. I should have only asked for one shot of espresso, two was too strong.

The other thing I tried was an egg cream. I have always wanted to try one and I knew this place would make a good one. What is an egg cream? They had a sign to explain it:

   "Pour in 1/2 inch of cold milk into a tall chilled straight sided glass. Spoon in 2 tablespoons of     chocolate syrup. Add bubbly seltzer to the top then stir vigorously with a long spoon t0             make a big delicious cold choclately drink...Enjoy!."
I went with a vanilla egg cream.

It was interesting. I have tried it and don't think I need to order it again. Not my cup of tea. Here are some other shots of sundaes the table next to us ordered:

One with Potato Chips on It
Banana Split
The sundaes are shareble size: too much for one person, but enough for two. My family loved this place. The food was great, the staff was attentive, but most of all was the atmosphere. From the staff uniforms to the soda fountain bar the decor added to experience. In addition, the walls were lined with bookcases filled with period items:

If you are in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain is a must see.

As promised, here is the oversize copy of the menu:

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