Category: How to Get Started

Chase Ink Card – Your “Secret Weapon” to Earning 5% or 5x for Everyday Spending

**Giveaway of two invitation codes for Chase Ink – bonus points after first purchase with no minimum spend required!**

To get that 5% cash back or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points I talked about yesterday, you need a Chase Ink card (Bold for $95, or Classic/Cash for free). If you opt for the free Ink card, you will ALSO need to have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card in order to turn those points into free travel.

Why?

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Would You Like to Receive 5% Cash Back (or 5x Points) on Everything You Buy?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how you could use your Chase Freedom Card to get 5% cash back for your purchases at Walmart & Target. Recently, I also did a follow-up post on what credit cards you might need to maximize the return on your everyday purchases.

A couple of days after I wrote the Walmart post, I updated it with my own experience of purchasing a $500 VISA gift card at my local grocery store and then using it to buy gas. If you don’t mind the trouble of buying and using a prepaid gift card, you will be on your way to earning 5% (5x points) for almost all your purchases. [I started this post over the weekend, but today Frequent Miler posted his new discovery, and I will go over his strategy later in the post, too, for those of you interested.]

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How to Pay for a Night at the Park Hyatt and Get Almost All Your Money Back

TravelWhimsy and I recently spent our Easter weekend in Washington, DC for the 100th Anniversary of Cherry Blossom. For most of our cross-country weekend vacation runs, we’d use the $50 Country Inn & Suites certificates or Choice points we scored in last year’s Daily Getaways for hotel stays ($30-50/night).

For this trip (not our first time in DC), we decided to book and pay for one night at the Park Hyatt Washington DC, which normally goes for $400+/night. After the 14.5% tax, our hotel bill came in at $227.85; all the benefits we received for booking through American Express FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) made this stay practically free. I am going to talk about how you can do this, too, even if you don’t have the American Express Platinum card required for an FHR booking (I’ve cancelled my card already).

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Daily Getaways 2012 – Week 5 Deals Posted – Buy Hyatt Points at 1 Penny & Stay at Park Hyatt for $220!

Daily Getaways 2012 deals for Week 5 (May 7 – 11, 2012) have been posted. (You can see my thoughts on Week 1 & 2 deals here, Week 3 here, Week 4 Choice Hotels & Hertz points here.) There are no screaming bargains like the Wyndham or Choice points offers, but you might still find something that works for your upcoming hotel stays (I checked all offers for airline transfer redemption possibilities, but nothing attractive came up – cheapest transfer comes at a cost of ~2 cents/mile).

My personal favorite of the week 5 deals is the Hyatt points offer. You can buy Hyatt points for about $0.01 each (about 58% off the regular purchase price of 2.4 cents). A top Hyatt category-6 hotel requires 22,000 points, so you can stay at the Park Hyatt Paris, Park Hyatt Milan, or Park Hyatt Maldives, for about $220 all-in. Hyatt points do NOT expire; however, the official terms & conditions state that accounts inactive for more than 12 months are subject to closure (but in reality, accounts don’t get closed easily, and Hyatt offers outstanding customer service and will usually help you out).

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4 Nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Suites for Free? – A $6,000 Value

No-fee Overseas Cash Withdrawal & Ground Transportation, Dining, Sight-seeing in Italy

On the heels of TravelWhimsy‘s recent post on our delayed honeymoon to Italy, this is part 4 of a 4-part series to answer some of our readers’ questions on the nitty-gritty of how the trip was booked to maximize savings.

(1) Flights
(2) Train Tickets
(3) Hotels
(4) Everything Else

 

We are going to talk about the following.

(1) How to avoid paying ANY foreign transaction fees for your overseas cash withdrawal & purchases
(2) Ground/water transportation (other than high-speed trains)
(3) Dining
(4) Sight-seeing / Free iPod guided tours

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Reader Question: How Do I Use Miles & Points to Plan a Trip for Two to London?

Our Twitter reader Chris asked us for help with planning his upcoming 6-day/5-night trip from Washington DC to London in October with his girlfriend to celebrate his graduation from graduate school (Congrats, Chris!). I thought that this topic might be helpful to some of our other readers who might be considering a similar trip.

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9 Nights of 4-, 5-star Hotel Accommodation in Italy for $300

On the heels of TravelWhimsy‘s recent post on our delayed honeymoon to Italy, this is part 3 of a 4-part series to answer some of our readers’ questions on the nitty-gritty of how the trip was booked to maximize savings.

(1) Flights
(2) Train Tickets
(3) Hotels
(4) Everything Else

 

Taking full advantage of some of the hotel promotions offered in late 2010, we booked ourselves into some phenomenal hotels for a total out of pocket expense of $300 (vs. a normal cost of almost $4,000).

5 Nights at 4-star Hotel Berchielli in Florence: $45 (including full breakfast & free wi-fi)
2 Nights at 5-star InterContinental de la Ville in Rome: Free
2 Nights at 5-star Park Hyatt Milan (Milan & Lake Como): $75 (annual fee for Hyatt Visa Card)

 

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Daily Getaways 2012 – Week 4 Deals Posted – $30 for Paris hotels, or $124 for 1-week Car Rental in Europe!

Daily Getaways 2012 deals for Week 4 (Apr. 30 – May 4, 2012) have been posted. (You can see my thoughts on Week 1 & 2 deals here, and Week 3 Wyndham steal here.)

Week 4 has some hidden gems for those of you planning to travel outside of the US. Examples include hotels in Paris, Rome, or Venice for as low as $30 a night (including breakfast!), or a one-week Hertz car rental in Europe for $124.

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