Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Sep 20

Earning Elite Status With No Stays Or Flights?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about elite status, which gives you extra perks and points at hotels and airlines, based on your past business.* Certain benefits, such as extra points, are generally valuable, while others, like a special check-in desk (which is never manned at hotels) or free local phone calls, have almost no value. In fact, some companies as Spirit Airlines, offer an elite program that has virtually no benefits whatsoever, other than a name.

Elite Status with No Loyalty

Naturally, earning elite status can be as much about playing game as much as it is generating the perks. Because really, what fun is spending money. So here are a few ways that you can earn the precious status without ever staying at a hotel or flying on an airline. Note that there is spending involved: Many of these suggestions use a credit card to get you your status. But that spending is at your discretion. And I’m going to leave aside the obvious question, which is why anyone would want status with a company that they never use. This one is just for fun.

Marriott Rewards

marriott rewards

Fortunately, nights aren’t hard to find.

Marriott wins the award for “most possible ways to pull off elite status, even if the top two tiers require a lot of nights spent at the hotel. Platinum status would require spending 20% of the year (including weekends) on the road. If you’re going to spend that much money with a hotel, they’d better give you some sort of benefit. Fortunately, there’s an easier way to do it.

Book A Meeting

Got a meeting to plan? Thinking about planning a meeting? Need some elite nights? Perfect, here’s your shot.

Rewarding Events” gives you points and nights for booking a meeting. You”ll get three points per dollar spent, up to 50,000 points, as well as ten nights credited toward your elite status. In other words, booking even a single meeting will get you Silver Status.

But booking a meeting doesn’t have to be expensive. For the purposes of accumulating the elite nights credit, any meeting will count, whether it’s 1,000 people in a ballroom or two people in a conference room for an hour. The last time I booked a meeting, I was interviewing a candidate in Albuquerque. The room was particularly inexpensive because I booked it on a Saturday morning at 8 am. Sadly, the interviewee cancelled at the last minute, so my $75 was for naught, but the ten elite nights I picked up pushed me into the next tier of status (Silver to Gold), which meant that breakfast during Marriott stays was covered for the next year (a perk of Gold status).

Booking a meeting can be a hassle, and that’s enough to turn many people off to doing so, but it may be worth your while.

Get A Credit Card

Marriott has two cards that give you nights credits toward elite status, the personal Premier Credit Card and the Business version of the card. For the purposes of this exercise, each of those cards has a few features:

  • In addition to the points that you get just for signing up for the card (currently 80,000 for the personal one), you also get 15 nights credits toward your total on your anniversary date. The annual fee is $95. Yes, you can have both.
  • For every $3,000 that you spend, you’ll receive one night credit. To earn Platinum status, you’d have to spend $180,000 annually ($3,000 per credit, plus the 15 elite nights that you get just for having the card), so you may also want to mix in nights from another source, since the points that you earn from the card aren’t worth much. The cards also come with a free night annually.
  • And, for what it’s worth, there’s a Chase Ritz Carlton Platinum card that gives you Gold Status, or Platinum if you spend $75,000 in a year. That card is a measly $450 annually.

Bottom Line: A pair of $95 credit cards and five meetings gets you Platinum Status. Assuming that you book each of those five meetings for $75, you don’t have to spend a penny on your credit card and your $565 will net you top tier status and a couple of free nights each year at a Marriott property.

Hilton Honors

hilton honors

A bit of this and a bit of that at Hilton

It’s all about the credit cards, and it’s pretty straightforward.

Hilton Honors Surpass Card

The Hilton Surpass card comes with a $75 annual fee and automatic Gold Status. That may be enough for you. Gold gets you almost all of the benefits of Platinum, with one key exception: To get the free breakfast, you usually need to be on the Executive Level itself. That differs from Marriott, where all Gold members get breakfast, regardless of where they are in the hotel.

But if you spend $40,000 in a year on the card, Hilton will kick up you to Platinum status. That spending threshold is easier than the one at Marriott, but it’s all or nothing. In other words, Marriott gives you credit toward elite status for every $3,000 that you spend. Hilton gives no partial credit to combine with actual stayed nights.

Still, the card comes with 100,000 points to sign up and spend $3,000 in the first three months, which is at least good enough to get it. The $75 Gold Status is simply a bonus.

Hilton Honors Card

The basic card is even easier. There’s no way to earn Diamond status, but $20,000 in spend will get you bumped up to Gold and the sign-up bonus is either 50,000 or 75,000 points, depending on your spending level.

You’re gifted Silver status, which has little, if any, value, and can earn Gold through spending on the card. Now, here’s something to think about: If you want Gold status with Hilton, how much is it worth to you? In other words, I value Hilton points at about 0.4 cents each and you earn three points per dollar spent, or about 1.2 cents. If you spend $20,000 at the base rate, you get $240 in value. On the other hand, the Surpass card gives you gold status. If you put that $20,000 in spending on a Citi Double Cash card, for instance, and earned 2% on all your purchases, you’d get $400 in cash. In other words, when it comes to Gold Status, the Surpass card is almost always the better value.

Bottom Line: Gold Status can be had for as little as a $75 credit card fee, and Platinum Status requires the least spending of the programs that I am going to discuss today.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines

And then there’s Delta, whose highest levels of elite status are among the most valuable, but also the most difficult to obtain. Again, credit card spending is the only way to do it, and the cards’ aren’t cheap.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

It’s $195 per year and doesn’t give a ton of value, but it is a good option for those who are trying to earn elite status. This card only has the potential to get you status the first year you have it, since it gives 5,000 medallion qualifying miles (MQMs) once you hit your initial $1,000 in spend, as well as 10,000 after you spend $25,000 in that first year and another 10,000 after you spend another $25,000. That’s it, though. You have an opportunity to earn Silver Status the first year at 25,000 MQMs, but that’s it. The second year and thereafter, you can only earn the 20,000 MQMs from $50,000 in spending. In other words, you can earn status just with the card, but it may not be the best way to do so.

The Delta Reserve Credit Card

And finally, there’s the Delta Reserve card. It costs $450 per year and comes with lounge access, so it’s best for hard-core Delta travelers. But if you aren’t, and you feel like laying out the cash, it’s similar to the Platinum Card above. When you hit the initial spend requirements the first year, you’ll pick up 10,000 MQMs. After that, you’ll earn 15,000 miles toward elite status after the first $30,000 in spend, as well as another 15,000 when you hit $60,000. Ouch.

Bottom Line: It’s costly, but technically you could earn Gold Status by spending $645 in annual fees and spending $100,000 on the card. Wow. Gold status doesn’t get you much, and the rewards that you earn by spending that $100,000 elsewhere would be well worth it.

There are a number of programs that have products that help you get to elite status (but can’t get you all the way there), but who wants those? Elite status is fun, and as a Silver Member of the Driscoll’s loyalty program, I can attest to that.

 


*The basis for these thoughts is actually a sad story. Our family eats a lot of berries, and I recently discovered that Driscoll’s, a berry supplier, actually has a loyalty program based on filling out a quick quality when you finish a pack. Last week, they told me that I had filled out enough surveys to become a Silver Member, meaning that they would  send me a $.75 coupon after each survey, rather than a $.50 one. And if I fill out ten more 2-minute questionnaires, I will become a Gold Member and get $1.00 each time. And, for just a second, I got excited about having elite status with a berry company. Sadly, it does not let me cut to the front of the line at the supermarket.

 

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 19

Club Carlson Offering Double Points!

I’ve often referred to Club Carlson as the little program that could. It’s not the biggest loyalty program in the world but it offers excellent redemptions and promotions at a wide range of hotels, including Radisson and Park Plaza, among others. Before any elite status bonuses, you earn 20 points per dollar spent and room nights start at 9,000 points, so it’s possible to spend just $450 and get a free room ($450*20 points/dollar=9,000 points). The rate of return is better than any of its competitors’, and it isn’t close, and it gets even better if you have elite status.

Double Gold Points

club carlson

Earning Double Points with Club Carlson

The terms and conditions for the promotion aren’t entirely clear, but it does appear to be a straight double points promotion through December 31, with a possible exception for Country Inns & Suites (which would require Sunday through Thursday), meaning that as little as $225 can earn you a free room. Otherwise, it’s a no muss, no fuss promotion.

As mentioned above, Club Carlson isn’t as big as its competitors but it does offer excellent value in the upscale and upper-midscale categories, as well as broad geographic diversification. When combined its the huge returns and easy redemptions, Club Carlson is one of the best loyalty programs in the lodging space.

 

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 18

Increased Airline Elite Status Through The Starwood/Marriott Merger (Or Vice Versa)

Mergers are generally not viewed as favorable for consumers. By concentrating power in fewer, rather than more, suppliers, the merged companies are often able to increase pricing, since there are fewer competitors.

Sometimes, though, combining benefits can work in your favor. Such is the case when it comes from earning airline elite status* through your hotel status.

Earning Airline Elite Status through your Hotel (Or Vice Versa)

marriott, united

You’ll have to hunt to find this page, but it’s there

Both Marriott (Marriott Rewards, or “MR”) and Starwood (SPG) offer you airline perks if you achieve their highest level of elite status.

  • Earn Marriott Platinum status and they will grant you United Airline Premier Silver. It’s not much, but it does get you a free bag, upgrades and priority airport services (check-in, security, boarding, etc.). Note that Increased Airline Elite Status Through The Starwood/Marriott Merger (Or Vice Versa)you’ll need to dig a bit on Marriott’s site to find reference to this benefit. You’ll also get a 10% bonus on one of the best unknown uses of MR points: Travel packages, which allow you to get airline miles at a highly advantageous rate when redeeming points for a hotel.
  • On the other hand, SPG Platinum status gets you some important Delta benefits. You won’t get Delta’s Silver status, but you’ll get one SPG point per dollar spent, as well as other airport services, including check-in, priority boarding and a free first checked bag.**
  • It also works in reverse. SkyMiles Silver and Gold members earn one mile for every dollar spent at Starwood, and Platinum & Diamond members get the benefits that a Starwood Gold member would at SPG hotels. Meanwhile, United Gold, Platinum and 1K members get matched to Marriott’s mid-tier Gold status. Hey, it’s enough to get you lounge access.

And Now What?

The merger between Marriott and Starwood means that earning status at one gets you the equivalent status at the other. For example, if you have Marriott Platinum status, it will automatically give you Starwood Platinum status as well, as long as you have linked your accounts. That also means that you’ll have twice the opportunity to earn airline elite status (or the benefits from it, in the case of SPG).

Does it even matter? It may not. Most people who stay enough at hotels to earn status also have status on at least one airline. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll always fly that particular carrier. You may be loyal to American but, if you need a non-stop from Fort Lauderdale to Denver, you’ll probably find yourself on United. Trust me, the free bag and improved seats make a difference!

 


*Beginner’s Hint: *If you are new at miles or need a brief refresher, read this post on elite status.

**Starwood also has benefit agreements with Emirates and China Eastern.

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 16

American AAdvantage eShopping Contest

A light promotion for the weekend relating to American Airlines eShopping, and it’s another “you have nothing to lose” type promo. Yes, the world of mileage is quiet.

AA Getaway Giveaway

american airlines

Happy people in the picture not included with the prize.

A few days ago, I wrote a piece on a potentially targeted United deal that would give you miles for participating in their eShopping program. Now, American has put forth a similar offer, although this one comes in the way of a contest.

Enter the Getaway Giveaway by September 29 and you can win up to 100,000 miles plus $2,500 to help offset the taxes. Three other folks will get 20,000 miles. Enter by filling out the form on the link. Okay, here’s what you need to know:

  • You’ll get an entry just for signing up (There’s a link if you are already signed up.) and 100 entries for subscribing to their email list.
  • For every $50 that you spend with a participating merchant through AA’s online shopping mall, you’ll receive 20 entries.
  • You probably won’t win, but it doesn’t cost you anything to enter. Might as well.

 

Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

Follow me on Twitter @FFMiles101 or share with the Facebook button below.

And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 14

Marriott’s Greatest Dessert Ever

Yesterday, I wrote a post in defense of Marriott. Today, well, I’m not sure…

Donut Disturb

donut disturb

“Hi, room service? I’ll have the Caesar Salad (dressing on the side) and a Diet Coke. Oh, and a 10-pound doughnut.”         Photo: Creative Commons

 

I’m assuming that this is one of those products created to generate publicity, like the $5,000 hamburger or the Golden Opulence Sundae.

Yes, all your decadent dreams can now come true as you and 37 friends munch on a 10-pound doughnut, delivered directly to your room at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa. And you can’t spell “Funfetti doughnut” without “fun” or, for that matter, “fet,” which sounds like the French word for party, “fête.”

And what will this treat cost you? That’s the best part. It’s a measly $219, and not only does it come with a couple of milkshakes but you’ll also get a $50 hotel credit which can be used for hotel dining if you’re still hungry. And while $219 may sound like a lot of money, consider this: The average doughnut weighs about an ounce and costs about $1.25. So ten pounds of doughnuts, or 160 of the suckers, would run you $200 at your average Dunkin Donuts. So for the additional $19, you are getting two shakes and $50. That is a deal if I’ve ever heard one.

Okay, technically it’s not a doughnut, but rather, a cake with a coffee lacquer to give it that new-doughnut smell (or appearance, as the case may be). But hey, anything that comes with sprinkles the size of a tricycle can call itself whatever it wants.

(And a hat tip to Flyertalk for the original article)

And the Credit Cards Are Back!

After a discussion with my credit card affiliate, I once again have links to credit cards. The site is still under construction, but you can get cards through the “Find Your Adventure Faster” banner on the Credit Cards for Charity page.

As a reminder, when you get a card through my link, it generates a commission. All commissions are donated to charity. For the past several years, all proceeds have gone to Cradles to Crayons, a non-profit that has received four stars from Charity Navigator. Cradles to Crayons provides kids with free essentials, such as clothes and school supplies. So the next time you need a credit card, I hope you’ll visit the page and do well by doing good.


 

Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

Follow me on Twitter @FFMiles101 or share with the Facebook button below.

And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 13

In Defense Of Marriott…

“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
-William Randolph Hearst

There’s nothing that generates clicks on a website faster than the hint of a good story (Come to think of it, I should have titled this page, “Four things you didn’t know about Marriott. #2 will horrify you!”). Whether it’s the Spanish-American war or an eclipse, we’re always drawn to a good story.

Did Marriott Really Strand Non-Guests?

frenchman's reef

Frenchman’s Reef.                                                                  Photo Credit: Creative Commons

It’s no surprise that Marriott has received some harsh publicity for allegedly leaving non-guests after Hurricane Irma demolished much of the island of St. Thomas. It made for a great headline: Evil corporation strands people because they didn’t pay to be rescued. But there’s likely a lot more to the story, as always seems to be the case after a natural disaster. People want a villain, and a tale this good creates one, even if it later turns out to be wrong (For more reading, see: Trump, Melania.). But there are multiple sides to every story, including this one, although the more mundane explanations don’t play nearly as well.

Since none of us knows who was say what to whom in at Marriott Headquarters, I’ll go with what makes the most sense to me.

Media has centered on the fact that Marriott did not board non-guests on a ferry boat to Puerto Rico, despite the fact that there was room for hundreds of people. That is a fact, one that Marriott has acknowledged. The discussion, though, has centered on the “why.” Explanations have ranged from “Marriott didn’t want the liability” to “bureaucracy.” Most of the reports in the press came from individuals who had heard the story third-hand, with a number of the quotes starting off with lines like “They told us that the Marriott CEO had said…”

What Makes Sense and What Doesn’t

Okay, a few things don’t make sense. First of all is the idea that the CEO said anything during the situation about denying travel. My guess is that the CEO wasn’t even involved. Not because he doesn’t care (I assure you, he does.) but because he would not have been even close to the best person to handle the situation.

Second, the that Marriott would strand people because they didn’t want the liability is ridiculous. First, they’re going to be liable for the 600 passengers that they had picked up. If they really didn’t want any liability, they wouldn’t have sent any boats at all. Second, let’s compare the relative outcomes. Marriott had to know that a story like this one would come out. The bad publicity it is getting is far more costly than anything that they could have been sued for (And what is that “anything,” anyway?).

Occam’s Razor

In this case, the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.

Marriott owns a hotel, not the port. In order to get onto the ferry (in fact, even to get past the dock’s gates), a passenger needed to be on the manifest. Despite the storm, the company was still required to submit a guest’s personal information. Marriott had that information for its guests when it created the manifest ahead of time. It did not have that information for the others at the dock.

According to a Marriott spokesperson, they were told that they had to leave immediately, due to the potential impact of Hurricane Jose.

Marriott’s explanation makes perfect sense to me. In the best of times, travel is filled with red tape. As you can imagine, this was a worst of times nightmare. There simply is no game plan for the situation. If the government says that you need to be on a manifest to get out of the country, the dock worker is not going to be the guy to overrule them. The idea that somebody heard that somebody else heard that the CEO didn’t want any liability is ludicrous, although it makes for a great read.

But Here’s What Else I know

In the real world, I know a number of senior Marriott executives personally. Without exception, every single one of them would have been out on the boat personally, helping to evacuate anyone who they could find. “Hospitality” is not a buzz word at Marriott. If you don’t live it, you don’t work there, period. They care about their guests and, more importantly, truly care about their employees.

So Who Are The Real Heroes?

CEO Arne Sorenson could not, of course, be there to evacuate the passengers. So who are the real heroes in the situation? I think you’ll already know the answer to this one, but if this piece from a guest does not make you want to visit the island, I don’t know what will.

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 12

United Partner Offer, Possibly Targeted

Keep your eyes open for a partner offer from United, which may or may not be targeted.*

Yesterday, I was reading a book about Las Vegas and thinking about the subject of casino complimentary gifts, or “comps.” A comp is a free perk that a casino gives you, whether it’s a free meal, a suite for a week or any of the above. Generally, the more you play, the better your perks**, but anybody can get the lowest level of comps just for walking in: a free drink. Sit at a machine and, even if you aren’t playing, a cocktail waitress will likely be over in minutes to take your order.

United’s Partner Offer

united

My path to a few extra points.

I do very little with United but somehow got targeted for one of their partner offers. It’s like a low-end casino comp. It’s not the greatest perk (up to 3,000 miles), but it costs me very little and will not require much work. Essentially, over the next seven weeks, I have to earn points with up to three qualifying partners to get the bonus miles. And who are the qualifying partners? I’m glad you asked.

united

They seem to have made it as simple as possible. Opinion Miles Club is a survey site, so I could simply take a survey. MileagePlus shopping is the shopping portal. I’ll probably buy something over the next few weeks that I could tie in with one of their merchants.*** MileagePlus X is a bricks and mortar shopping app, while Dining gives you points for eating at particular restaurants. In other words, It will cost me virtually no time or incremental dollars to earn the extras.

It costs you nothing to register so, even if you don’t intend to take part, it’s worth signing up if you get the offer.

 


*Beginner’s Hint: A targeted offer is one that is sent to only a certain group of people. You may be able to sign up for the promotion if you were not a recipient, but you may not get credited a bonus, even if you complete the requirements of the offer.

**If you are interested in gaming comps, I highly advise that you read Travelzork, which is written by my friend Mike. His is one of the few blogs that I know that concentrates on gambling and Las Vegas, and he’s an expert on earning comps without spending a lot of money to do so.

***While the shopping portal may help you earn mileage with this promotion, it’s probably not the best way to earn miles or money for shopping. I discuss portals in more depth here.

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 11

“Basic Economy” Credit Cards?

Airlines have already introduced Basic Economy seating, which gives you a lower fare in exchange for getting no seat assignment, boarding last, surrendering seven Constitutional rights of the airlines’ choosing, etc…

They seem to be expanding that model to other parts of the business, as well. For instance, we are getting the first of the BE credit cards. Traditionally, an airline credit card has come with an annual fee, which offsets the costs of the benefits and gives you a little skin in the game. Credit cards 2.0, however, come with no annual fee, since there are so few benefits to pay for. Let’s take a look:

United TravelBank

travelbank united

The TravelBank card, bank sold separately.

I have to admit, I’m having a tough time with this one. Not because they offer it, but rather, because anyone would sign up for it. (People will, of course.). It’s no fee. That’s great. There are a lot of no fee cards. It has a gimmick. That’s great, too. But it’s a gimmick that has been done better elsewhere, also for free.

The gimmick: You earn 1.5% back on all purchases, except for United purchases, when you earn 2% back. That credit is stored for you in you “United TravelBank,” where you can build a collection of credits toward your next flight.

Now, let’s compare this card to the Citibank Double Cash card, which gives you back 2% on every purchase, regardless of where you make it and in cash. So, by getting the United card, you are exchanging a half-percent on almost every purchase as well as the flexibility to spend it where you want. And while the Citibank card doesn’t give you 25% back on all in-flight food and beverage offerings on United flights, it does mean that you eat less airline food. Sorry, I’ll pass.

Delta SkyMiles Blue

delta, american express

To give credit where credit is due, Delta at least made a pass at offering some value on the Blue Delta Card. There’s no annual fee, but you do get a mile for every dollar spent, as well as a bonus mile per dollar at restaurants and on Delta flights.

You don’t get the flight benefits (free bag, priority boarding, etc.) that you do with the real card, and Delta miles are somewhat tough to value at a rate anywhere above a penny per mile, but at least you get a whiff at a bonus with this product. Most Delta cards, including those with an annual fee, only give you the double miles on Delta charges, not restaurants. Of course, this card only offers a 20% rebate on in-flight purchases.

One thing to watch on this card, from the T&C:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants whoHave or have had this product or the Delta SkyMiles® Options Credit Card, or Currently have or have had one of the following products in the last 90 days: Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, or Delta Reserve® Credit Card.

Of course, the sign-up bonus is only 10,000 miles, so you probably aren’t doing it for that reason.

 

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 09

Two New Hotel Promos: Marriott And Starwood

Marriott and Starwood have introduced their “not-so-fourth-quarter” promos (for the period September 12-January 15, which is four months). One is good and one is not so good. And personally, I was surprised by the good one. Regardless, don’t forget to register for the promotions or you might not get anything.

Marriott’s MegaBonus

marriott megabonus

And it comes with a really pretty picture

Marriott wins the top slot with its MegaBonus promotion. Typically, Marriott’s MB promo is something along the lines of , “Earn 2,000 bonus points starting with your second night in any given stay.” It’s not easy to achieve and often not worth the payoff.

The new MegaBonus is better. You’ll get a free night after two stays with the chain.* Just complete your stays by January 15, 2018 and you will get an electronic certificate for a free night in Categories 1-5 hotels. The promo also hints that you may get a follow-up offer if you complete two nights, but it doesn’t give any hint as to what that offer might be. Per the terms and conditions:

If a member completes two qualifying stays during the promotional period, an additional offer may be unlocked and become available in the members account within 2-3 days after the second qualifying stay.

I’d bet on getting an offer for a second free night for two more stays, but only the shadow knows. Or in this case, only somebody at Marriott.

Starwood’s Explore More

Not as good. You’ll get 1,000 bonus points per stay at most brands, while Aloft, Element and Four Points will offer you 500 points per night. If you hit 25 nights during the promotional period, you’ll earn a bonus 10,000 points. Those numbers don’t sound particularly high, but it’s worth remembering that SPG points are worth anywhere between two and three cents each, or about three times the value of a Marriott point and 5-6 times the value of a Hilton point. The cheapest nights start at only 3,000 points and the uber-luxury hotels are 30,000-35,000 points per night.

Sadly, not every hotel is participating in the promotion, meaning that you should check the list of participating properties before booking your trip.

 


Beginner’s Hint: It’s important to remember the difference between a “stay” and a “night.” A night is, well, a night. A stay starts the minute you check in and ends when you check out. For example, if you check in Monday and check out Thursday, you’ll have one stay that lasted three nights.

 

Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

Follow me on Twitter @FFMiles101 or share with the Facebook button below.

And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Sep 08

TSA Goes Organic, Discover Bonuses And Blog Changes

Hmm, let’s see, what’s new this week? A few credit cards, a few bonus and some fun stuff. Let’s do a little of each.

The TSA Wants Your Lunch

tsa

Prepare to remove these, at least until Amazon buys the TSA. Prime members will get a fast-pass. Photo Credit: Creative Commons.

Oh, good. In case security lines weren’t long enough. In the past, I’ve mentioned several of the items that the TSA is forcing passengers to remove from their bags for separate screening. One of those items was food. Sadly, it appears that the agency is moving ahead with a plan to force passengers to separate food from the rest of their carry-ons, with tests starting in Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. I assume that it has something to do with an inability to screen organic material, although it’s just as likely that somebody posted it on the break room suggestion wall. Provenance of security ideas has never been a particular issue for the agency.

On the plus side, I do look forward to the first time some kid posts a YouTube video of a TSO wrestling a tomato to the ground.

Rack Up Discover Cash At Amazon

discover

If you don’t have a Discover Card already, you’re costing yourself at least $300 per year. Every calendar quarter, Discover gives you a category in which it pays you back 5% on up to $1,500 in spending. The third quarter was restaurants. The fourth quarter will be all spending at Amazon and Target. With the holidays coming up and the return of back to school, when you run to the store because you bought the red three-ring binder instead of the purple one, you’ll surely spend $1,500 at those locations over three months. Okay, maybe not, but 5% back is unbeatable. And there’s no reason that you can’t stack this promo with JetBlue.

Discover already has the best customer service, a strong rewards program and a great cash back shopping site. The 5% is simply gravy.

And Some Sad News…

Sadly, you won’t be able to get that credit card from my site, as my relationship with my credit card vendor has ended. We broke up on a tough note but will try and remain friends. Thus, I’ve eliminated the “credit cards for charity” section of the blog (although I will continue to support Cradles to Crayons personally and encourage you to do the same). Any links going forward will be directly to the bank or travel provider’s page.

 

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