...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New addition to my earning game: IHG

I successfully added another travel/points option to my portfolio this month - the IHG Mastercard.  While most of the main points bloggers tend to look down on the value of these points, I see a great card that will help with grocery purchases as well as supplement my stay options at hotels overseas.  I always seem to run into Holiday Inn or Intercontinental properties, so why not have that option?

Here were the details:

60,000 Bonus Point
After you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 24 months.

Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at our hotels
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

10% rebate on IHG Rewards Club point redemptions
- Up to 100,000 points back each year.
Annual Free Night Worldwide (no property restriction!)
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Platinum Elite Status for as long as you're a cardmember

Not bad!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What to do with United flights? Credit to Singapore!

I've been trying to decide what to do about flying United in the future - the prospects of getting status back are slim, given the recent addition of spending requirements for each level.  Even though I've been flying American primarily, I'm sure that United flights are in my future.  What to do with the earning though?

I think the best way might be to credit the flights to Singapore - they allow for 100% earning across all fare buckets:

As a reminder, KrisFlyer miles are valid for three years before they technically expire.  An extension is possible upon request.

Are you currently crediting your UA flights to SQ?  What has your experience been?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Best Credit Cards for Grocery

I don't know about you, but a big percentage of my monthly budget is allocated for grocery purchases.  If you have a larger family, then your budget might be skewed even more toward your local supermarket.  I tend to look for credit cards that afford me some benefit for my typical monthly purchases, and in the case of grocery and food, this fits.  While I don't live close to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I do have a Windmill Farms location relatively close and I'm a short walk to my standard grocery store.  So...what cards make the most sense for supermarkets?  Sadly, my Chase Sapphire Preferred does not have a category bonus for grocery.  I must look elsewhere!

Here are my top choices:

Hilton Amex (no annual fee!)
Earn 7 points per $1 spent on eligible Hilton purchases
Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, supermarket, and restaurant purchases
Earn 3 points per $1 spent on everything else

United Mileage Plus Select
Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on eligible United purchases
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible gas, home improvement purchases, groceries, dining and Star Alliance purchases.

British Airways Visa  
Earn 2.5 Avios for every $1 you spend on British Airways purchases.
Earn 1.25 Avios for every $1 you spend everywhere else.

I know what you're thinking - these aren't particularly great choices.  If you have an Amex Premier Rewards Gold card, that will also get you 2x points for grocery - I cancelled mine when the annual fee came due.  Too much $!  Another option might be the IHG card from Chase if you have it - it also has a double points option.

What card do you use for grocery purchases?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hats off to Hyatt!

Hyatt customer service has always been excellent (for me).  Whenever I've needed to call their customer service number, there has never been an issue.  Same for the stays that I've had at properties worldwide.  I take great pride in sharing my experiences with managers and line workers, both good and bad, so as to improve the overall customer service experience.

As an example: at a recent Hyatt stay, I got to the room with my key and noticed that the door swipe was not working.  No problem - back to the desk and eventually to wait for a engineer.  When he arrived, he couldn't get it to consistently work either.  Guess it will have to wait till morning (and no leaving the room)...thought that was odd at the time.  What else did I discover on entering?  The cleaning job was not up to spec - found food on the floor near the couch.

I mentioned these things in the morning, and the manager was very nice - in fact, I was credited additional stay points for bringing it to their attention!

Have you shared your experiences with FOH staff at hotels you stay at?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Surveys = miles/points...Easy!

I tend to focus a lot on miles and points accrual via typical travel options (flights, hotels, etc).

But one area that may get overlooked in the points game is online surveys.  I must admit that I've been using the survey method to accrue a large number of points for the last decade or so - and it's easy to do.  As long as you make some time every day to click on the email links, you can get quite a number of points for redemption.

Here are my favorite sites:

E-Rewards - Just redeemed for yet another $50 iTunes giftcard.  Many options here, including for flight miles across a host of airlines including United, Alaska, AA, and Virgin Atlantic.

Mysurvey - Surveys come to you via your preferences and choices.  Plenty of redemption options.  I'm happy to refer you - send me your name/email and I'll get that out to you!

Do you currently use survey sites to augment your miles/points accrual?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deal Alert: $15 off $100 at Staples.com

Thought this deal might be good to post (especially if you're looking to take advantage of other points offers by visiting a local office supply store).  You have to make sure to sign up for the offer at the American Express website for your card, but the fine print says any purchase will qualify (including physical gift cards):

Not bad!  Make sure to select non-email delivery cards when going to the website.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Miles for dining complete!

For the last number of weeks I've been working to complete the 10 dine requirement to achieve an extra 10,000 United miles - you wouldn't think that dining 10 times would be much of a challenge, but I actually do quite a bit of cooking at home to try and save $, so it wasn't easy.

I'm happy to report that I successfully completed the challenge and will be watching for the bonus miles to post.

Did anyone else have similar success?