Friday, January 16, 2015

Barclays is Late to The Party + Retention Bonus

Barclays sent me an email announcing an enhancement to my US Airways Barclays credit card.

The enhancement is the elimination of foreign transaction fees.

Foreign transaction fees are additional money that you have to pay for using your credit card to purchase items in a foreign currency. Typically, the foreign transaction fee is 3% or  $3 for every $100.

Eliminating this unnecessary fee is a true enhancement. The problem is that other credit card companies have already eliminated this fee on most cards. Barclays is late to game.

Retention Bonus 

Early this week, I tried to cancel my US Airways Mastercard. After being transferred to an Account Specialist, I explained that I wanted to cancel my card. After explaining that I am not using the card and the lack of spend bonuses, the account specialist offered to refund my annual fee $89 and give me 5,000 miles if I spend $1,000 in 90 days. The funny thing is I paid the annual fee in August.

I took the offer and kept the card open. $89 refund and the possibility to earn 5,000 miles easy was to much to offer.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Saving Money On Upcoming Carlson' Mattress Run

Club Carlson currently has the best Quarter 1 Promotion.

Its a simply promotion: Stay 2 Nights earn 15,000 Gold Points bonus Points or earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points by staying 3 Nights.

You can register for the promotion here.

After the promotion came out, I booked a two night stay for $140.36.

Last night, I got an email saying that Club Carlson is having a last minute sale:

Book by Friday January 16th and save 15% on 2 night stays and 25% on 3 night stays in January. I checked the promotion out on the nights for my mattress run and saved $8.

Not to shabby...if you have stays at Club Carlson coming up on January, might want to check to see if you can save some money.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Interesting Offer from Southwest

Southwest sent me an email with an interesting exclusive offer. For 100,000 points, I can travel to Florida to see the Baltimore Orioles at Spring Training.

The offer includes airfare, nights at Ritz- Carlton, tickets to the game and much more:

The package is very impressive especially 3 nights at The Ritz-Carolton Sarasota. There are 30 packages for purchase with points and 1 for auction.

Packages like these can sometimes be a waste of money. However, this one might be worth it for a Baltimore Orioles' fan.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

I Saved Almost 50% On My Car Rental By Doing Nothing

For years, I have heard about AutoSlash and its ability to save money on car rentals.

Up until a few month's ago, I had never tried AutoSlash. For those unaware of AutoSlash, its a rental car booking website similar to Orbitz. The difference between Orbitz and AutoSlash is that AutoSlash works to reduce the cost of your rental from the moment you book until your rental.

My first experience was good, but the savings was nothing to write about. However, for my upcoming trip to Charleston, I rented a car for 3 days with AutoSlash. The cost was just under $75.00.

A few days after, I received this email:

AutoSlash found a new rental for $40.42, a savings of $34.36. To get this savings, all I had to do was reply "Yes" to the email. Almost 50% savings with a simple "Yes" email.  Score!

If you need a car rental, give AutoSlash a try.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Is $40 Worth Missing Out on 1,750 Points?

Over Martin Luther King Weekend, I am taking a little trip south. The sole purpose of the trip is to use my 2 free Hilton night certificates that were expiring from my Hilton Citi card.

My free night certificates cover the first 2 nights of the trip leaving me to pay 1 night out of pocket. The cost of the 3rd night is about $175. On Saturday and Sunday, the cost of the room was about $250 a night, not a bad use of the certificates. My dilemma is how to pay for the 3rd night at the hotel.

My choices are my JetBlue American Express and Citi Hilton Hhonors Reserve Card.

You may be wondering my JetBlue American Express card. Its an odd choice. American Express has a great promotion known as AMEX Sync, which offers cash off at particular merchants if you spend $Xs. One of my offers is $40 off if I spend $175 at a Doubletree.

Since my stay is at a DoubleTree, this is a great time to use this offer. The downside of using my JetBlue AMEX is that I won't earn HHonor points for the money put on the credit card.

On the other hand, if I use the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, I will earn Hilton points on my credit card spend for the hotel night. With the Reserve card earns 10 points per $1 spent at the Hilton portfolio.

My $175 hotel room with earn me 1,750 points. However, by using my Reserve card, I lose out on the $40 savings from AMEX.

Therefore, I ask...$40 or 1,750 Hilton Honors points? Which one would you choose?
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Unwanted Gift = 500 Bonus Miles

RocketMiles is offering a weird bonus. Once of the weirdest bonus that I have ever seen.

Got unwanted gifts from the holidays? Rocketmiles will take one off your hands in exchange for 500 additional miles on your next stay.

The terms and condition state that you must mail the unwanted gift to the following address by January 15th:

                                    560 W. Washington Blvd - Suite 310, Chicago, IL 60661

I haven't used Rocketmiles before, but I am tempted to jump in on this promotion. This promotion is just crazy enough for me.

Have no idea who or what Rocketmiles does? I wrote about them here and they explain themselves here.

Grandmom's ugly sweater, Nephew's art project, Office Secret Santa, you may be headed to Chicago!

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Yes, I Paid For A Checked Bag

About 5 year ago, airlines were desperate to raise revenue in the face of fuel prices. In this desperation, some airline executive came up with the idea to start charging for the 1st checked bag. For decades, the 1st checked bag was included in the price of your ticket.

Since I have started flying more often, I have avoided paying for a checked bag. Either I flew an airline like Southwest Airlines that still does not charge for checking baggage, used an airline credit card to purchase my ticket that gave me a free bag or stuffed all my clothes into a carry-on bag. I was determined to do anything possible to avoid giving the airline more money.

Well last night, I finally lost and gave $25 to check a bag on my United flight. My family graciously gifted me tons of clothes and gear for my upcoming trip to Antarctica. These gifts made it difficult to travel home with a checked bag. I need these clothes in a few months time, so they needed to come home to DC with me.

My options of getting this gear to DC were limited:

  • A few months ago, I cancelled my Chase United card eliminating my ability to get a free check bag. 
  • I don't have elite status with United ie no free checked ag
  • Southwest would have been free, but 3+ hour trip home after landing
  • Sending by postal was not an ideal option. I dreaded finding a proper sized box, packing my stuff up, driving to the postal office, waiting in line at the post office, paying $X, waiting a week for my package to arrive at my office, and dragging it home after work one day.    
Therefore, United got $25 out of me. Sometimes, you just have to pay the man!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

My 2015 Wish For You

Last night, I had the privileged to be surrounded by family, as we saw our cousin marry her boyfriend of 10 years. The night was filled with food, we are Italian, dancing, again we are Italian, and lots of spirits. Around 12:30, while breakfast was being served, I wrote this message on my Facebook wall:
Wishing all my friends a family, a happy New Year! Make 2015 the year you reach for the stars. The only person holding you back is you. The first step is stating the goal out loud. The next step is making the decision to achieve the goal. It doesn't matter if you achieve the matters that you tried.
Next year, I am going to accomplish one of my biggest goals by visiting Antarctica. By doing so, I will have visited all 7 continents before turning 30. If you asked me 3 years ago if this was possible, I would say never. However, my goal is becoming reality. So, any goal you have can become reality as well....
Dream big in 2015, you be surprised by what you can accomplish...

Now half a day later, looking at this message, even with its grammar and spelling errors (I blame the open bar), its just as important: MAKE 2015 YOUR YEAR!


Somewhere in the past five years, Americans stopped dreaming. It could have been a direct result of the economic crisis with wallets being stretched thin. However, the economy is improving, so its time to put the nightmares to bed and start reaching for the stars.

As a travel focused blog, I hope your goals included travel. Have you ever wanted to go to Madagascar? Do you have a passport with no stamps? Do you have an aunt in Michigan that you have always wanted to visit? Well this is the year to start making these goals reality!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully in the next few weeks, I will talk about how to make your goals a reality. For now, use the next few days to dream . . .

Happy New Year! You have a new set of 365 days to make it even better than last......

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