Tagged: Credit Card

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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5% Cash Back at Walmart? Chase Freedom Card, April 1 – June 30, 2012!

Most of you are probably aware of the quarterly bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom Card. The current quarter (April 1 – June 30, 2012) bonus categories are grocery stores and movie theaters. Instead of the normal 1 point per dollar spent, you will receive 5 points per dollar spent, up to a spending limit of $1,500 for the 3-month period.

What you might not know is that your Walmart purchases DO qualify for the bonus points. The terms & conditions of most credit card bonus offers for spending at grocery stores (e.g., American Express, Citi) exclude stores like Walmart or Target. My personal experiences with various Chase cards have proven that Chase is an exception in that area. I have consistently earned bonus miles and points for my purchases at Walmart. Even though the official sample merchant list specifies that only grocery purchases at Walmart or Target qualify for the 5% bonus, it is impossible for Chase to break down your purchases.

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Alert: Chase Freedom Card, $350 Cash-back Bonus Offer

Update (11:45am PST, April 5, 2012): The $350 Chase Freedom offer link is no longer available for new applications.

Update (April 13, 2012): The 50,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred offer link is no longer available for new applications. Check out MillionMileSecrets’ Credit Cards Page for latest offers.

Right after Gary @ViewFromTheWing pointed out how fast Chase had been pulling their higher-than-usual bonus offers, I saw a link posted by a Twitter friend (Thanks, Michael Shimada!) introducing a $350 cash-back offer for signing up for the Chase Freedom card.

In my beginner series, I briefly talked about the benefits of having a combination of the Chase Freedom card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Ink Bold card. The 50,000-point sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred VISA card officially expired yesterday, but you can still get the bonus through this application link (for the MasterCard version).

Chase allows one personal and one business card application on the same day, so if you are interested in getting a combo today, you can apply for the Ink Bold card through MillionMileSecrets’ link.

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Business/First Class Tickets to Paris, Anyone?

This past Saturday, Travel Whimsy and I scored two award seats in the coveted Envoy Suites offered by USAirways. We are going to Paris in February 2013 to celebrate our 10th anniversary!

US Airways Envoy Suites

Our itinerary includes first class seats between Las Vegas and Philadelphia, and the Envoy class between Philadelphia and Paris. Had we had to pay cash for the tickets, they would have cost over $5,500 each. Our cost? 55,000 USAirways miles + $190 in taxes and fees each!

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How to Get Started

Thank you for stopping by! Before you dig in, you might want to read my very first blog post published on 03/12/12.

Here is a quick index of the “How to Get Started” series:

Miles & Points 101

  1. Things to Think about Before You Start [3/13/2012]
  2. What Is a Mile or Point Worth? [3/14/2012]
  3. Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit? [3/15/2012]
  4. What Credit Card(s) Should You Get? [3/17/2012]
  5. How Do You Keep Track of Everything? [3/19/2012]
  6. What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Mile & Point Balance? [3/21/2012]

Miles  & Points 201

  1. Should I Cancel That Credit Card? [7/18/2012]
  2. When Do My Miles & Points Expire? [8/4/2012]
  3. What Fees Do I Have to Pay When Making Award Bookings? [12/21/2012]

As we travel along the path of getting more miles and points, we will update this page accordingly with future series and posts relevant for beginners. Meanwhile, feel free to use the search tool and the categories in the sidebar to look for information. I have also added a few index pages to facilitate your navigation.

Below is a list of the follow-up posts that might help you get started:

  1. What Credit Cards Might Help You Maximize Return on Your Everyday Spending? [added April 18, 2012]
  2. A New Way of Valuing Your Airline Miles [added April 28, 2012]
  3. How to Earn 5% Cash Back (or 5x Points) on Everything [added May 1, 2012]
  4. Chase Ink Card – Your “Secret Weapon” to Earning 5%/5x [added May 2, 2012]
  5. More Things to Consider While Buying Gift Cards with Chase Ink [added May 7, 2012]
  6. “What’s in My Wallet?” – An Answer in a Graphic [added August 16, 2012]
  7. Use Charles Schwab Bank ATM VISA Debit Card to Access Cash Free Anywhere in the World [added August 21, 2012]
  8. How Much Do You Get Charged by Rental Car Companies for Earning Miles & Points? [added August 28, 2012]
  9. Getting the Best Redemption Values out of Your Airline Miles [added August 30, 2012]
  10. Bugeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation [added September 26, 2012]
  11. Putting Your Non-Bonus Category Spend on Club Carlson Premier Visa [added February 18, 2013]

 

 

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Miles & Points 101 – What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Miles & Points Balance?

Before we start, here is a quick index of the “How to Get Started” series:

  1. Things to Think about Before You Start;
  2. What Is a Mile or Point Worth?
  3. Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit?
  4. What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?
  5. How Do You Keep Track of Everything?
  6. What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Mile & Point Balance?

Besides getting credit card sign-up bonuses, using your credit cards to pay for all your purchases, and making sure you credit your flights and hotel stays to frequent traveler programs, what else is there for you to do?  Here is a quick list of things you can do, most of which will be covered in more detail in future posts.

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Alert – Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus Dropping

The publicly available application link I posted in the “What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?” post is now showing only 40,000 sign-up bonus points. However, there are still active links that will give the 50,000 offer. Please apply here if you’d like. Again, I do NOT receive any commission if you do decided to apply for the card. I have updated the link in the original credit card post, too.

Update 4/13/12: The 50k offer has expired, feel free to check out MillionMileSecrets’ Credit Cards Page for latest offers.

Miles & Points 101 – What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?

Before we start, here is a quick index of the “How to Get Started” series:

  1. Things to Think about Before You Start;
  2. What Is a Mile or Point Worth?
  3. Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit?
  4. What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?
  5. How Do You Keep Track of Everything?
  6. What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Mile & Point Balance?

As a beginner, you might find that there are an overwhelming number of travel-related credit cards out there. In the past year or two,  credit card sign-up bonuses have become so good that a general rule of thumb is NOT to apply for a card unless you get at least $500 (which generally means 50,000 miles/points). Some of the best offers last year all came with 75,000 or 100,000 sign-up bonuses. To help you answer the question “What credit card(s) should you get?” I am going to start by giving you a quick rundown on the three different types of miles & points credit cards.

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Miles & Points 101- Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit?

Before we start, here is a quick index of the “How to Get Started” series:

  1. Things to Think about Before You Start;
  2. What Is a Mile or Point Worth?
  3. Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit?
  4. What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?
  5. How Do You Keep Track of Everything?
  6. What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Mile & Point Balance?

Whenever we talk to people about signing up for credit cards to rack up miles and points, the single most frequently asked question is “Am I going to ruin my credit by doing this?” So, in today’s post, we are going to talk about how your credit scores are calculated, and how you can make your credit work for you in collecting miles and points. (There are other credit scores being advocated, but for the purpose of our discussion, we are going to focus on the still-widely-used FICO scores, ranging from 300 to 850.)

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