Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My 500 Bonus Miles Post

In June, I was offered a chance to earn 500 bonus MileagePlus miles for completing 2 partner offers. I completed my 2 partner offers within hours of receiving the email.

The following month, I was received a similar offer. This time I decided to pass on the offer due to difficulty of the partner offers.

Last week, I received the 500 points in my United Airlines account. Score!

I forgot about the offer, but was pleasantly happy they arrived.

Did you receive your points yet?

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Monday, July 28, 2014

When Would You Pay For An Upgrade?

In June, I went back to Connecticut for a family picnic. I booked a combination of tickets on JetBlue and US Airways.

The trip is about 70 minutes long via airplane from gate to gate. Both airlines sent me emails suggesting I pay to upgrade my seat.


JetBlue sent me the following email asking me to upgrade to "Even More Space," for $10:

                                                               US Airways

US Airways sent the following email inviting me to pay $95 to upgrade to First Class. Or better yet, be added to the upgrade list:

The question I asked myself, does it make sense to upgrade for such a short flight?

The JetBlue flight was 1/2 full. I had 4 rows of seats to myself; therefore, the "early access to overhead bin space" was not necessary. Therefore, my $10 would have purchased me only more legroom. On the other hand, the US Airways flight was oversold. The 2 free check bags is enticing. However, I only needed to check 1 bag and I used my US Airways Mastercard to purchase my ticket getting that bag checked for free.

Therefore, would getting more foot space be worth paying $10 or $95?

For me, not really. I can suffer for 70 minutes in typically coach.

Would you pay for an upgrade on this route?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Wedding Challenge: Starting Point

Last week, I announced a challenge to earn enough miles/points to pay for a upcoming west coast wedding.

As a reminder for the challenge to be a success, I need to earn the following miles/points:

     1)     25,000 United MileagePlus

     2)     45,000 Hyatt (Gold Points)

     3)     Enough points for $100 gift cards

To ensure openness, here are my current balances of my accounts:

United Airlines:

Hyatt GoldPoints:



Ultimate Rewards:

With my starting balances laid out on the table, the hard part starts now. I need to start earning.

As a reminder, here are the rules;

  • No new credit cards ie no points earned from new credit cards can be used
  • Can't buy points
  • Have to earn the points by end of 2014
  • Can't just transfer miles from Ultimate Rewards; have to earn them from today on to transfer

Let's get earning.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's In My Wallet

Every once and while, I like to share what credit cards are in my wallet.

Since I have not applied for any credit cards since January, the two credit cards in my wallet are my Barclay's US Airways Mastercard and the US Bank Club Carlson Visa.

The reason I choose these 2 cards is that, first, I need US Airways miles and Club Carlson points. After liquidating all my US Airways miles, I would like to start building up miles and Club Carlson points are always great to have.

The second reason is promotions. Both cards are offering bonus miles for using the credit cards in July and August:

  • US Airways Promotion: 20% bonus on all miles earned between July 1 and August 31st
  • Club Carlson Promotion: 1 bonus point per dollar spent between July 1 and August 31st

Neither promotion is earth shattering amazing, but something is better than nothing. Therefore, until further notice, I will be using these 2 credit cards.

What's in your wallet?
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Wedding Challenge

In your 20s and 30s, weddings seem to pop-up on a non-stop pace. Your friends from high school & college, your cousins and co-works are all starting to walk down the aisle for the first or second time.

Photo Credit:
Attending weddings is not cheap; especially, if you have to travel to the wedding. The costs of attending a wedding away from your where you live add up: airfare, hotel, rental car, food, booze, gifts etc. The cost only increases if you are a member of the wedding party. Last year, I wrote about Christopher Sledzik, "who racked up $10,000 in debt by attending 12 different weddings and being of 3 different wedding parties over an 18 month period."

10,000 Gs of debt from weddings. That's ridiculous. However, I can see how you can rack up debt by attending weddings. Its difficult to say no to a friend's wedding invitations. Your friends are getting married, your other friends will be there, and it you know its going to be an awesome time.  But I wonder is there a better way to reduce travel costs to weddings?

For this reason, I am coming up with The Wedding Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to earn enough miles/points to pay for the airfare, hotel nights and a $100 gift for an upcoming wedding. Let's assume the following things:

  • Wedding is located on the West Coast i.e. requires air travel
  • 3 hotel nights 
  • $100 gift - which I feel like is average wedding gift

Like all of my challenges, there are rules:

  • No new credit cards ie no points earned from new credit cards can be used
  • Can't buy points
  • Have to earn the points by end of 2014
  • Can't just transfer miles from Ultimate Rewards; have to earn them from today on to transfer

Success on this challenge will be achieve by hitting the following milestones:

      1)  25,000 United MileagePlus 

      2)  45,000 Hyatt (Gold Points) - 15,000 a night or $200 worth of Hyatt GCs

      3)  Enough points (most likely from Swagbucks or MyPoints) for a $100 gift card to 
           some department store

My goal of this challenge is to show people that attending a wedding for cheap is possible not that I am cheap. For my friends and family, I would travel the world to celebrate their nuptials. However, the cost of attending weddings is one of the main reasons why people can't attend. 

Do you have a wedding you need to travel to in 2015? Join my Wedding Challeneg to see if you can reduce the cost of attending by earning miles & points.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Dining Rewards Offer

In the past two weeks, my inbox has been inundated by bonus point offers from Dining Rewards .

I have received offers from United, Hilton and IHG. I was a little shocked that I had not received one from US Airways. They were the first Dining Rewards program that I signed up for.

Less than 24 hours after uttering those words, a Dinning Rewards offer from US Airways came in.

Compared to other offers, this one isn't sexy. No major bonus miles/points to be earned. 

The offer is double miles for all dines in the month of July. Why might this offer be good for you? It doesn't require a large commitment of x amount of dines. You can dine as you normally would.

The bigger question: why all the bonuses from Dining Rewards? Are they looking to be bought?

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Monday, July 7, 2014

After the Wedding Comes The Honeymoon

Summer is the height of wedding season. Luckily for me, I have no weddings this year. However, next year is a different story.

Photo Credit:

As a traveler, I am excited about where the couple is headed for their honeymoon more than the wedding. For many couples, their honeymoon is the first time they travel outside the United States. Its an exciting time for the new couple. Add in a foreign location and the experiences to be had a numerous.

A survey by Hipmunk and Yahoo, revels that Fiji, Italy, Hawaii, New Zealand and Greece are the top Honeymoon Destinations. No real surprises there.

(Graphic: Jinah Kim)

What I like about the survey is that Disneyland, Mexico and California are the "least ideal honeymoon destinations." I had a college friend have here honeymoon at Disneyland, but the couple were major "Disney geeks." There description of themselves, not mine.

The survey reveled that 70% of men were more excited about the honeymoon than the actual wedding compared to 36% of women.

(Graphic: Jinah Kim)

Almost all couples would spend less on the wedding for a fancier honeymoon.

(Graphic: Jinah Kim)

This is where points and miles can help. Typically, weddings/honeymoons are planned a year or more in advance. A few strategic credit card applications by your fiance and you, can result in a significant portion of your honeymoon being paid for.

For instance, the Hyatt credit card offers 2 free nights worldwide. If both your fiance and you apply for the Hyatt credit cards separately, you can earn 4 free nights. For many couples, 4 nights is almost the entire honeymoon. Add in an airline credit card or 2, you could help reduce or eliminate the cost of the airfare to the honeymoon destination.

How will you hit the minimum spend on the credit card to earn the bonus miles?

Don't you have expenses for the wedding. Probably lots of expenses!

Parents paying for the wedding?

Ask them to allow you to put the charges on your credit card and give you a check. If you tell them its to help pay for the honeymoon, they might be more willing to help out twice!

A small amount of planning can result in significant savings on your honeymoon.

If you are married, do you wish you could have taken a fancier honeymoon?

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another 500 Mile Bonus Offer from United Airlines (Targeted)

United Airlines is back with another chance to earn 500 bonus miles.

To earn the bonus miles, you have must complete two different offers from four partners by July 31st:

The partner offers are as followed:

1) Make one stay at a Hyatt Hotel and credit the stay to MileagePlus

2) Make one stay at any Hilton Hotel and credit the stay to MileagePlus

3) Use SuperShuttle and have miles credited to MileagePlus

4) Rent a car from Avis and have miles credited to MileagePlus

This is the second month that United has made this type of offer. Last months' offer was much easier than this one: complete a dine at a restaurant and survey and bank 500 miles.  This offer requires some type of planned travel.

Personally, I am going to pass on this one. I am not really traveling this month and 500 miles isn't worth spending money for no reason.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dining Rewards Summer Bonus (TARGETED)

Yesterday, I got an interesting offer from United Dining Rewards.

Yes, 10,000 bonus United MileagePlus miles for 10 dines before August 15. After registering for the promotion, I learned that for a dine to count, I must spend $40+.

Since I earn 3 miles per $1 spent normally with Dining Rewards, I will earn at least an additional 1,200 miles though this promotion.

                     3 x $40 = 120 miles   -  120 miles x 10 Dines = 1,200 additional miles

Will I participate?

I don't know. 11,000 miles is alot of miles to earn from a promotion, but require me spend at least $400. If I had a few client lunches or dinners, I could swing buying gift certificates to get to the 10 dines. But as a single guy, spending $40 on meals is not easy.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions to make.

Other Offers

I received another offer from Hilton HHoners Dinning Rewards. Unlike the United offer, this one was stingy.

2,500 bonus Hilton HHonors points after 10 dines of $40+ more.

If I am going to do 10 dines, its going to be for 10,000 United Miles not 2,500 HHonor Points. 

The decision between the two offers is a no brainier! Spending $400 for 10,000+ miles is not so easy.


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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Travelers Hate Change Fees, Not Taxes

A new survey indicates that most air travelers are willing to pay more fees, only if they help improve airports. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, that a survey conducted by the U.S. Travel association, indicates "found that government fees ranked as the least frustrating fee or tax imposed on travelers.The most fustrating fee, according to the survey, was the $200 charge that airlines impose on passengers for changing or canceling flights.

"I was surprised that the government taxes and fees were at the bottom on the list," said Erik Hansen, senior director of domestic policy for the U.S. Travel Association, "But if you think about what it pays for, it's aviation security and infrastructure. You need every single on of those."

Asked what bothers travelers most about taking a commercial flight, 30 percent said delays and 26 percent said airline fees. Near the bottom of the list was taxes, with only 1 percent.

Airlines are strongly opposed to proposals to increase government fees on airlines. Personally, I support an increase in the taxes if they help improve airports. My sediment is shared by a majority of commercial travelers as well. Get on board airlines!
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