Hi guys! I was off the radar for a bit because I was cruising to the Bahamas with a girlfriend onboard the Norweigan Sky from Monday – Friday. As much as I love vacationing, this is one instance where I am happy to be home. I love to “disconnect”, don’t get me wrong, but it was extremely hard for me to enjoy myself knowing that I had zero access to my cellphone or internet. #firstworldproblems?
When we docked at the ports, I was that loser who ran off the boat with my MacBook searching for the nearest bar offering free wifi while the rest of the ship headed to their scheduled off-shore swimming-with-the-dolphins and snorkeling excursions and such (OK, I lied – I did snorkel for 2 hours in Freeport, but anyway…).
You would think that in this day and age there’d be a better wifi solution instead of a whopping 75 cents a minute on a cruise ship (hey, GoGo offers wifi at 30,000 feet above). Needless to say, I probably won’t be cruising again anytime soon (sorry Marshall Jackson! LOL). On that note – I am happy to getting back to some current events in the points and miles world!
So here’s the scoop from last week:
Free $5 from McDonald’s: Not to promote the obesity epidemic, but you can get $5 worth of food or gift cards from McDonald’s for free simply by syncing your AmEx to Twitter and loading the offer on to your card (by tweeting #AmexMcDs). If you don’t already know how to do so, Deals We Like covers it in full. When AmEx and McDonald’s did this promotion back in March, I took advantage of it by purchasing a $5 gift card with each of my synced cards. Those McDonald’s giftcards came in handy whenever I needed my unsweetened-iced tea fix while on the road!
Earn Up to 25,000 US Airways Miles Simply by Flying Star Alliance Partners: This might be US Airways discount version of the Grand Slam Promotion, but it’s definitely worth registering for if you plan to fly a variety of Star Alliance carriers between now and December 15. You must register for this promotion in order to qualify. Head on over to New Girl in the Air’s post for the complete promotion details.
My $14 round trip flight from EWR-BOS on JetBlue: Right when my cruise docked back in Miami on Friday morning, I had a swarm of emails to attend to. Amongst many messages was a delightful email from JetBlue featuring a code worth $20-$300 off a booking. Unfortunately my code was only worth $30, but I did find a generic $50-off code that was redeemable on one way travel. With that in mind, I decided to book a weekend in Boston for $7 each way just for the hell of it. Anyone want to meet in Boston during the 3rd weekend of October?
800 Virgin America Elevate Points for Joining Uber: If you haven’t joined Uber yet for the free credits I recently posted about, then new members can join for 800 Virgin America Elevate points instead. I personally have really enjoyed my first experience using Uber last weekend during my staycation at the Westin Times Square, and I’d value the credits more than the points, but if you just happen to love flying Virgin America or are just a few hundred points shy of an award, then it would make sense for you to choose the points.
Double Southwest Points on Any Flight: I have a confession to make – I have never flown Southwest before. Maybe I have as a child, but I just don’t remember it (Dad, can you confirm that statement?). Anyway, for those who love Southwest Airlines, Rapid Rewards members can receive double points on every flight when registering for the Nationwide Double Points Promotion. Deal ends November 15, and is only valid for new reservations booked after registering.
SPG Better by the Night Promotion: If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register for Starwood’s new “Better by the Night” promotion which runs from October 1 to December 20, 2012. Registration must be done by November 30 to qualify retroactively, so be sure to register now so you don’t forget!
- Double points on all stays of 1-2 nights
- Triple points on all stays of 3+ nights
- 250 bonus points on all stays booking online through spg.com
- 500 bonus points on all stays booking through the SPG iPhone app
The Hyatt Credit Card Just Got Cooler: I applied for the Hyatt Credit Card during my April 2012 app-o-rama, and I was instantly very attracted to the two-free night certificates that came with the card’s approval. Kevin and I wasted no time using those free nights, and we had an amazing, guiltless 2-night stay at the dreamy Grand Hyatt Kauai (related post). Well, I received a notice in my inbox stating that the Hyatt Credit Card just got cooler! Starting October 1, the card will include some enhancements:
While these enhancements are a nice addition to the already lovely Hyatt Credit Card that pays for itself each year with the free night certificate that comes with it, I would still use my Chase Sapphire Preferred over the Hyatt Credit Card for restaurants and airline purchases because I’ll essentially be earning 2.14 points per dollar on those purchases with the 7% dividend on all-earned points that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, along with the freedom to transfer my points 1:1 to a variety of hotel and airline partners such as United and Hyatt. At the end of the day though, the enhancements to the Hyatt Credit Card are still a nice touch.
Sept. 30 is the Last Day for Chase Freedom 5x Q3 Bonus: This is just a friendly reminder that September 30 is the last day to earn 5x points on restaurant and gas station spend of up to $1,500 (aka 7,500 bonus valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points) with the Chase Freedom Visa. I briefly posted about Chase Freedom’s quarterly bonuses, including instructions explaining how to activate your bonus categories. I’m pretty confident that I’ve met my Q3 $1,500 spend already because dining out is something I do on a regular basis (such a waistline and wallet killer), and sadly, I fill-up the car way too much than my wallet would like me to, so meeting the $1500 spend over 3 months came pretty easily and naturally for me. If you’re still shy of your $1,500 category spend substantially, consider buying gift cards to your favorite restaurants that you know you’ll frequent in the future, and also consider purchasing gift cards to your preferred gas stations. Never let your points go unearned! $1,500 in spend converts to an additional 7,500 valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points per quarter. If you don’t have a Chase Freedom Visa yet, the current offer is $100 cash back (10,000 Ultimate Rewards) after $500 spend within 3 months; however, I was recently successful in asking Chase to match me to the 30,000 offer that was valid at the time. Chase is pretty fair at matching you to a better offer if one should become available within 3 months of applying.
Club Carlson 100 Points a Day: Don’t forget that you still have until September 24 to continue claiming your daily 100 Club Carlson points!
Contest Reminder: Also – don’t forget that you still have a few hours to enter to win a $499 prize pack sponsored by National Emerald Club and Just Another Points Traveler! Head on over to this post to submit your entry. The winner will be selected by tomorrow morning at 9 am eastern time.