Category: Credit Cards

A 5-Minute Practical Guide for First-time Travelers to Paris, France

TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend and spent 3 delightful winter days in the City of Light.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Three Winter Days in the City of Light (February 2013)

This post, listing things not present or emphasized in Rick Steves’ Paris Guide, is meant to help those of you planning your first trip to Paris save some time and money (and maybe points). For our readers who are Paris veterans, feel free to add your tips and suggestions in the comment section.

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Putting Non-Bonus Category Spend on the Club Carlson Visa – A Secret Weapon to Earning Free Hotel Nights with Minimal Effort for Infrequent Travelers and Families

If you and your family

  • Only travel once or twice a year;
  • Don’t mind staying at Country Inns, Park Inns, or Radissons (for free) for your vacation or road trips;
  • Would like to minimize the number of credit cards your use on a daily basis;
  • Have no time or desire to manufacture credit card spending;

Then, there might be an easy solution. All you have to do is to put ALL your non-bonus category spending on a single hotel credit card.

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Get a Hotel Room for $35 a Night (Now through January 31, 2013) – Book Priority Club PointBreaks Hotels for 5,000 Points Only

Pura Vida – A Few Travel Tips for Costa Rica

TravelWhimsy and I took her parents to the amazing country of Costa Rica during Thanksgiving week. Two of our dearest friends, M & P, who had recently retired there, hosted us at their new home. M & P expertly planned almost every single aspect of our trip, so this is not going to be my typical trip report involving much about miles and points strategy. Instead, I will share a few notes I jotted down along the way that could help you better plan your future trips to Costa Rica. If you have never experienced PURA VIDA, don’t wait too long. It only takes 30-35,000 miles per person, and you won’t regret it!

Beautiful “Bluebird” (Yes, Pun Intended for You Mile/Point Junkies!) in Costa Rican Rainforest

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1,000 Free Priority Club Points + Possible Official 80,000 Points Sign-up Bonus Offer for Priority Club Select Visa Card (The Most Underrated Hotel Card You Should Never Cancel!)

Are you familiar with Priority Club PointBreaks? Every two months or so, InterContinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) releases a list of hotels bookable for only 5,000 points a night. Prority Club points can be “purchased” for 0.7 cent a piece, so PointBreaks hotels essentially cost $35 net a night (no taxes or fees charged for award nights). Upscale brand InterContinental and mid-scale brands Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo are often included in the sale.

TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the last PointBreaks sale and stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar while beach hopping in sunny San Diego. As platinum members (top-tier elite status is now a standard benefit for Priority Club Select Visa cardholders), we were upgraded to an ocean-view studio suite. Instead of reviewing the hotel, I am going to tell you

  • how you can get 1,000 free Priority Club points;
  • how you may get the official 80,000bonus-point offer for signing up for the Priority Club Select Visa card (current public Chase offer requires $1,000 in initial spend for 60,000 points) ;
  • and why this is one credit card you should never cancel.

 

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Southwest Giveaway Winners + Free Southwest Check-in Tool + Delta Snack/Drink Giveaway

Four lucky winners have just been randomly selected to each win two of the eight Southwest drink coupons.

If you are a Southwest flyer, read on to find out how you can automatically check into your upcoming Southwest flights exactly 24 hours before departure FREE of charge. If not, still read on to find out how you could win two of the six Delta drink/snack coupons (a $14 value) TravelWhimsy and I are giving away.

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I LUV Southwest (Companion Pass) + Southwest Drink Coupon Giveaway

Southwest Airlines just announced the 40%-off Big Winter Sale today, so I’d like to take this opportunity to go over a few reasons why I LUV Southwest (as promised) and how you could start to do so as well. To thank you for your loyalty and continued support, TravelWhimsy and I also would like to give away 8 Southwest drink coupons (beer, wine, cocktail). Check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.

A bit of background before I start. We are both fairly new to Southwest. Prior to our South America trip, we had only flown Southwest once or twice (many many years ago). We don’t travel for business, but will both have achieved United Airlines’ Premier Platinum status at the end of the year with over 75,000 actual miles flown on United just for leisure weekend travel (more on this in a separate post – another promise). I’m afraid that my loyalty to United (started on August 13, 1998) is waning…

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Leveraging 5 Marriott Deals to Get a 50-100% Rebate and Possibly 1+ Year of Marriott Gold/Platinum Elite Status

Once upon a time when TravelWhimsy and I were both working in Hong Kong, the JW Marriott Phuket was our favorite vacation spot. Ever since we moved back to the States, Marriott hasn’t really been our hotel chain of choice.

This fall/winter season, however, we plan to shift almost all of our hotel spending to Marriott because we are looking at a rebate of almost 100% when all is said and done.

If you happen to have hotel needs between now and January 15, 2013, concurrently taking advantage of some or all of the following 5 Marriott-related deals could net you at least a 50% rebate, plus a possible gold or platinum elite status good until February 2014.

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Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy

This is part 13 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

Throughout the series, both TravelWhimsy and I briefly touched on the topic of airport lounges and LAN’s international business class product. I’d like to take this opportunity to share our experiences with the various lounges we used during the trip, and to also throw in my two cents on whether it was necessary to fly business class or not.

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Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile

This is part 12 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

As many of you already know, Mrs. TravelByPoints is not so fond of cities. I, however, would not let an opportunity to visit the Chilean capital easily slip out of my hand, given that we did not have to use any extra miles or pay the $160-per-person visa fee flying directly from Easter Island.

In this post, I’d like to highlight three aspects of our pit stop that saved us time and money:

  1. Staying at the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport;
  2. Taking the airport bus;
  3. Joining the 4-hour free walking tour of Santiago.

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