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Friday, March 25, 2016

Time running out for SPG Amex highest sign up bonus ever

As you are probably aware by now, American Express is offering their highest sign up bonus ever for their Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards (personal and business versions) with a chance to get 35,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. However, time is running out to take advantage of this offer and it ends next Wednesday 3/30/16 which is less than a week away!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What's in your wallet?

Despite using the slogan from Capital One, I actually don't have any Capital One credit cards in my arsenal. But I wanted to take this post to highlight some of the cards that I do have and discuss why I have them and in which order I obtained them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Carnival receives approval to start sailing to Cuba

Again, I realize this news may be a few days old but as they say better late than never. There has been a lot of talk about Cuba in the news lately with the recent historic visit by President Obama (and the awkward handshake that went viral), Starwood Hotels & Resorts signing a deal to control 3 hotels in Havana, and the announcement to resume commercial flights to Cuba in the near future and now there is one more way to plan a visit there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

AMEX Business Platinum Card 100K sign up bonus

I received an interesting offer in the mail today for a 100K Membership Rewards sign up bonus for the AMEX Business Platinum card which is one of the highest bonuses they offer. I had heard of reports of others being targeted for this offer but I never expected to be targeted myself. I had previously tried to see if I qualified for this increased sign up offer before when I was applying for the AMEX personal Platinum card last year but unfortunately I was only able to receive the standard 40,000 Membership Rewards sign up bonus which is what they are still advertising on their website.

Capital One becomes first financial company to partner up with Amazon Echo

I know this news is a few days old but I thought I'd share it regardless. Recently it was announced that Capital One teamed up with Amazon to let customers use their Amazon Echo to perform different actions such as paying your bill or checking your balance.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Free food from Chipotle

I know this has nothing to do with travel but I thought I'd mention it anyways. It is no secret that I have always been a huge fan of Chipotle. Even with the whole recent E. coli outbreaks I still love their food and think they are a quality company so I will keep going there.

And the 2016 best airline reward program goes to ...

The 5th annual FlyerTalk "Best Rewards Programs" awards were announced earlier today and the winners come as no surprise as they were also the winners from last year as well.

Should Zika affect your travel plans?

In anticipation of an upcoming cruise that I'm taking next week that is stopping at many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the inherent risks associated with the recent worldwide outbreak of the Zika virus.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Starwood signs historic deal to manage 3 hotels in Cuba

As the diplomatic ties between US and Cuba continue to strengthen, Starwood Hotels & Resorts just signed a historic deal giving it control over 3 hotels in Havana which is likely just the start of many more to come. This represents the first time an American hospitality company has struck a deal with the Cuban authorities since 1959 and comes just on the eve of President Obama's historic visit to Cuba which is the first by an American president in over 90 years.

Friday, March 18, 2016

More travel benefits for members of the military (and their families)

In a previous post, I talked about a limited time offer for a free companion airline ticket if you signed up for Veterans Advantage which is a program available to all members of the military (active, reserves, retired) and their families. While this offer has expired there are numerous other opportunities for members of our US Armed Forces to take advantage of when traveling.

Things just got MORE interesting with the Starwood buyout

As announced earlier this week, another player entered what seemed like an already set in stone deal between Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Marriott International that has shook up the travel industry. As outlined in a prior post, the relatively unknown fully financed Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group had submitted an initial offer for $76 a share which was already higher than Marriott's offer and they just upped the ante to $78 per share which equates to buyout of around $13.2 billion.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

FREE companion airline ticket, limited time offer

First, I want to give the disclaimer that this offer is not available to everyone in the general public. It only applies to those in the military, veterans, or their families so if you do not fall into one of these categories then there is no need to go any further

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Southwest offering sale for flights as low as $69 one way

I've noticed Southwest doesn't get too much attention in the travel blogs except when it comes to their coveted Companion Pass but they can they still be a good option in many cases. As I mentioned in a previous post, they are one of only 2 options for me to fly non-stop from my home airport in Indianapolis (IND) to Las Vegas (LAS) which I frequent often and the other choice is the budget airline Allegiant so in reality its my only option for non-stop flights. They also have some pretty generous policies such as their cancellation policy which allows you to cancel your flight for no charge and they are the last of the legacy carriers to offer not one but TWO free checked bags.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Another reason I love my AMEX Platinum Card

There is no doubt that the AMEX Platinum offers an array of invaluable benefits although does come with a price and has an annual fee of $450 so isn't for everyone. When I first got into this crazy game a year ago I was researching which card I wanted to apply for first and I ended up picking the AMEX Platinum and here are a few reasons why.

Activate Q2 bonus category for Chase Freedom now

In my post yesterday, I talked about how it was the last day to activate the Q1 bonus category for your Chase Freedom card. Hopefully you weren't one of the people that forgot to do this as it is too late now but that doesn't mean you can't be proactive and go ahead and activate for Q2 (April 1 - June 30) so you don't miss out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A few Chase Freedom updates

So as I alluded to in a prior post, one of the newer cards that I have been considering applying for is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card that is set to be available next month. However, it sounds like as of today you can apply for this card either through a secure message on their website or directly at one of their branches.

Things just got interesting with the Starwood buyout

As many people have already probably heard by now, there has been another offer on the table for the upcoming Starwood acquisition that was announced earlier today. The offer came from Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group which is largely unknown in the US but did make headlines when they bought New York's Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion back in October 2014 which was the largest-ever U.S. real estate purchase by a Chinese buyer at the time.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Experiencing Las Vegas for free

There is no doubt that the Sin City is like no other place on Earth and whether you like to gamble or not the city offers a little bit of something for everyone. That is one reason I've found myself returning time and time again and there are definitely ways to take advantage of what Vegas has to offer without having to break the bank. In this post, I'm going to highlight some of the ways I've managed to go back on numerous occasions basically for free.

How I got elite status in 3 hotel programs without any stays

While developing a plan of action to get to where you want to go may just be half the battle, the next issue to tackle is where you're going to stay once you get to your target destination. That's why having top tier elite status in multiple hotel loyalty programs becomes essential as any frequent traveler knows. It's not just the base point bonus or convenience of having guaranteed room availability and late checkout that makes these programs valuable but the elite benefits of many hotel programs can translate into literally hundreds of dollars in savings, especially when you start talking about suite upgrades, free internet/breakfast, lounge access, and free award nights.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My first experience booking award travel

As mentioned I am relatively new to the points and miles game and just booked my first award tickets to Germany last week so wanted to share my experience. I had already done a fair amount of paid travel over the past year to various places in the US such as Hawaii, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Las Vegas, and Maine but had yet to make the journey across the pond which has always been a goal of mine. We decided to set our sights on Germany as our destination of choice, mainly because my spouse had lived for 4 years there near the Vilseck area while he was stationed in the Army so knew the area well and had many acquaintances that still lived there.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Is there a doctor on board?

I have done a fair amount of flying over the years and never encountered any major issues except for some light turbulence but nothing like the recent Spirit Airlines brawl that broke out yesterday. However, that all changed last month on a short flight to Vegas for a quick getaway.

Time running out to buy 40% discounted United miles

United is currently running a promotion to buy United miles at a discounted price based on how many miles you purchase. The max discount is up to 40% and the breakdown is as follows:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What it's like being married to someone not interested in the hobby

In an ideal world you and your significant other would both be equally invested in playing the points and miles games but this is usually not the case. I happen to fall into that category and my husband could care less where we stay, what airlines we fly, and what credit card to use as long as we get to where we need to be. I find myself having to constantly remind him which card to use for gas vs restaurants vs flights and so on and so forth which is also constantly changing based on category bonuses as with the Chase Freedom card so I can understand from his perspective how it can be confusing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The next credit cards I'm considering

I'm always on the lookout for new credit cards to add to my growing collection and the cards I'm most probably going to apply for next are the Citi Prestige and the Chase Freedom Unlimited cards. Anyone who has been in the hobby for long enough has at least heard of these cards if not already holders themselves. Let me just give a brief overview of each.

Why I love TSA Precheck

For those of us who travel frequently (and even those who travel infrequently) there is probably no greater hassle than having to go through airport security. The lines are usually horrible, I always forget to completely empty my pockets or I'll leave a drink in my bag, and sometimes I am even lucky enough to receive a full body pat down. Also depending on how you budget your time you may even end up missing your flight or layover. That is why I believe TSA precheck is probably the greatest invention ever to come to the airline industry and here is why.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Indianapolis (IND) Delta Sky Club

As mentioned, my home airport is Indianapolis (IND) and the only premium lounge here is the Delta Sky Club so I visit this lounge quite frequently. There is one other lounge here which is the USO lounge located before security near the baggage claim but this is only for US military members and their families so I will not be reviewing this one although my spouse was in the military for 15 years so I have been to it.

My first attempt at blogging...

So I want to use this post as an attempt to explain the purpose of forming this blog and share a little bit about my background in order to give you a better understanding of what to expect in the future. Although I've been following the points and miles game for about a year now I still would consider myself as having only a beginner/intermediate level of knowledge so I will be writing from that perspective. I know just enough to be dangerous but am definitely no expert when it comes to searching for award space or booking on partner airlines and I actually just booked my first transatlantic flight last week using points to fly to Germany on United.