Author Archives: Scott Grimmer

Free First Class 2014: Manufactured Spending

This is the eighth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

One of the major ways to earn more frequent flyer miles is to “manufacture spending,” which is buying cash-like things with credit cards and then cashing them out.

Manufacturing spending increases the amount of money you spend on credit cards, which means you can clear more sign up and category bonuses.

Manufacturing spending is risky and advanced. I very rarely manufacture spending, and I only manufacture enough to clear mega sign up bonuses I couldn’t otherwise clear on cards with high minimum spending requirements.

I’ll run through a few of the major recent opportunities like Amazon Payments, Bluebird, Gift Cards with PINs, and Kiva and point you in the right direction to learn more ways to manufacture spending.

  • What are the main ways to manufacture spending?
  • What are the risks?

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Citi ThankYou Points Now Transferable to Seven Airlines

Citi ThankYou Points are now transferable to seven airline and one hotel program. Folks who have a Citi ThankYou® Premier, Citi Prestige®, or Citi Chairman card can transfer Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio to:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchard Plus

You can also transfer 1,000 ThankYou Points to 1,500 Hilton HHonors points.

This is an incredible step forward for Citi ThankYou Points and puts them in the ranks of the big three transferable points programs.

Certainly I would like to see more and better partners added to the transfer possibilities, specifically Citi’s partner American Airlines, but this is a great start and there is value with Citi’s current transfer partners.

  • What is the best Citi ThankYou Points transfer partner?
  • How can you get ThankYou Points?
  • How can you transfer ThankYou Points?
  • What are the other ThankYou Points redemption options?

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50,000 Rapid Rewards + $50 Statement Credit

Commenters are not having success with calling in. Writing a Secure Message is still untested. If you want a 50k offer, just wait a few months. They pop up every few months.

I got an email from Southwest over the weekend with the subject “Get 2 Roundtrip Flights along with a $50 statement credit for EarlyBird Check-In” that advertised the best Southwest credit card offer I’ve ever seen.

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The offer is for 50,000 Rapid Rewards (worth over $700 in free Southwest flights) after spending $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account. In addition, the card comes with $50 in statement credits to offset EarlyBird Check-In on four Southwest flights.

  • Is this a good deal?
  • Is this a public offer?
  • What is EarlyBird Check-In?

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Free First Class 2014: Shopping Portals

This is the seventh post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Most major airline and credit card loyalty program have a shopping portal. For instance, google “United shopping” and the first link is to the United Mileage Plus shopping portal.

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Shopping portals allow you to earn huge amounts of miles by making your normal online purchases through your favorite online stores. Just by starting at the portal and using its link to your favorite online retailer, you can get extra miles for your purchases.

The process for earning miles from portals is simple.

  • How do portals work?
  • How can you earn miles by shopping online exactly as you already do?

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Island Air Feat. Free Food, Massages, & Live Music at HNL

Island Air, a tiny airline with flights between Oahu, Maui, Lanai, and Kauai, is offering free Hawaiian food, massages, and live music at the interisland terminal at Honolulu International Airport until the end of August.

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Island Air Routes

  • How can you get in on the free?

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Make a One Minute Complaint for Free Flights or Magazines

Complain about any airline in less than 140 characters to earn 8,000 Spirit miles, which are enough for several magazines or three free flights for some people.

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This is a three-step process that takes just a few minutes.

  • What are the three steps?
  • What are the possible ways to redeem 8,000 Spirit miles?

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Free First Class 2014: Earn Miles from Flying

This is the sixth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

The last few posts were about earning miles from credit cards, which is how I earn 90% of my miles. Folks who fly frequently for business or the occasional paid ticket for vacation should know the basics of earning miles from flying.

There are five takeaways that I want to impart so that you know

  • when you earn miles from flying
  • how many miles you earn from flying
  • and what choices you need to make about where to credit the miles earned

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Free First Class 2014: Transferable Points Basics

This is the fifth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Transferable points programs are loyalty programs that allow a person to earn points that can be transferred to several different airline or hotel programs. The three most important transferable points programs are:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (MR)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints

Transferable points are extremely valuable for the two types of flexibility they offer.

  1. All three major transferable points programs have partners in all three airline alliance, which means you can book award space on over 60 airlines if you have Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, or Starpoints.
  2. You can use one transferable points account to top off several normal airline or hotel accounts that are just short of dream redemptions. These top offs are the highest value use of points since they take you from not having a dream redemption to having one.

I focus a lot on earning transferable points, and I am very happy when clients of my Award Booking Service come to me with transferable points.

  • How can you earn each type of transferable points?
  • What are the transfer partners for each type of transferable points?
  • What are my four strategies to maximize transferable points?

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Last Day to Make Money Getting Hilton Gold Status

Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*

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Free First Class Next Month 2014: Best Current Credit Card Offers

This is the fourth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

There are currently some huge sign up bonuses that folks new to the miles game can pick up.

I’ve categorized some of the best offers below, but before applying for any cards, I recommend checking out my Introduction to Travel Credit Cards from yesterday.

I also recommend getting a Free Credit Card Consultation instead of picking cards on your own. It breaks my heart when people come to my Award Booking Service with the wrong miles for the trip they want. There’s no reason to Make the Biggest Mistake in Our Hobby.

  • What are the best cards for beginners?

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HURRY: Limited Time Hilton Reserve Offer Ends Friday

Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*

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The limited offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card ends this Friday, July 18:

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening
  • $100 statement credit after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember

 

Starting Saturday, the publicly available offer will still include two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide and Hilton Gold Status, but the $100 statement credit after your first Hilton stay will disappear.

If you’ve been thinking about getting this card, now is the time.

  • How do the free nights work?
  • Where are the best properties to use them?
  • What do you get with Hilton Gold status?
  • How do you get the $100 statement credit?
  • What is the card’s retention bonus (it’s awesome)?

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Four Ways People Make the Biggest Mistake in the Miles Game

The biggest mistake in the miles game is collecting the wrong miles for the job.

That’s why I always advocate that people start at their end goal and work backwards. Figure out your dream trip and then figure out the best miles and points to collect for that trip. If you can’t narrow down your plans yet, at least collect flexible points that can cover the most possible trips.

And yet people make the mistake of collecting the wrong miles over and over and in a lot of ways.

  • What are four ways that people collect the wrong miles?
  • Are you collecting the wrong miles?

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Free First Class Next Month 2014: Introduction to Travel Credit Cards

This is the third post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

If you’re new to miles and points, you could easily open credit cards today with sign up bonuses totaling more than half a million miles and points.

There are other ways to earn miles and points, but none is as easy, quick, and cheap as opening up travel rewards cards. I’ve earned over 90% of my lifetime miles and points from credit cards, mostly from their sign up bonuses.

A startling amount of fun I’ve had in life has been the direct result of trips taken with miles earned from opening a credit card and meeting its minimum spending requirement. I don’t want to over-sell credit cards, but I don’t want to under-sell them either. They are the bread and butter of this hobby.

Today’s post will be one of the longest of the entire Free First Class Next Month 2014 series because I want the entire introduction to travel credit cards to be in one place.

  • How do travel credit cards affect your credit score?
  • How can you get three free credit reports per year?
  • What are the three things I look for in a credit card?
  • How do I double my miles with business cards?
  • How long do I hold my credit cards?
  • What about annual fees?
  • Will you ever run out of credit card bonuses to get?

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Air India Joins Star Alliance

Air India has joined the Star Alliance. Its direct flights between the United States and India are now bookable with United miles, Aeroplan miles, Lufthansa miles, Singapore miles, ANA miles, and any other type of Star Alliance miles.

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Award space is searchable at aeroplan.com and widely available.

Air India flights from the United States to Europe have fuel surcharges on cash tickets, but awards with United miles never have fuel surcharges, and Aeroplan is currently not collecting fuel surcharges on Air India award flights.

  • Where does Air India fly in the United States?
  • What cabins does it operate?
  • What is the price of an Air India award with United and other Star Alliance miles?
  • How can you search for and book an Air India award?
  • What amazing deal related to Air India award space probably won’t last?

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Free First Class Next Month 2014: Signing Up For Travel Loyalty Programs and Award Wallet

This is the second post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

In just a few days, you’ll be earning hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles, and you need a place to put and track them. Below are the bare minimum airline and hotel programs that Americans should be members of, and as you get more involved with the miles game, you’ll probably sign up for more.

By signing up for these programs, you’ll be able to take advantage of most major miles promotions, and you’ll be able to fly domestically and internationally for pennies.

Each program should just take a moment to sign up for, so don’t skip any even if you’ve never flown the airline. Trust me that they all have a lot of value. For instance, you might not expect that British Airways is often the best program for domestic flights within the United States.

If you already have an account, then try to sign into it, so you can figure out your account number and password. Write down your user name or number and passwords all in one place because you’ll add them into your new Award Wallet account today.

  • What airlines and hotel programs should you join today?
  • What is Award Wallet and why should you join it?

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