Get an Extra 3X on Gift Cards at Staples (So 8X If You Have a 5X Office Supply Card)

Update: Wow, instant response! Chuck from Doctor of Credit let me know this may or may not work. So for now, I think the best thing to do is start slow at your local Staples (like try $5 and see if it works) and go from there, should you decide to try this. Thanks all for any info you want to add!

I was poking around as I am wont to do and assembled an 8X combination that I think will work.

Now, I haven’t done this myself, but it seems totally do-able.

What you’ll need to get started is:

  • The MileagePlus X app (which I’ve written about) AND
  • If you want 8X points, a Visa or MasterCard that earns 5X at office supply stores

Such as:

You can also get 5X on top of what you’ll earn from any other card with the exception of a couple of Amex cards.

Or, if you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement and want to get an extra 3X at office supply stores, this should work nicely.

Stack 3X through MileagePlus X with 5X on another card

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Airbnb by the Numbers: An Update for 2016

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Also see: 

Back in 2014, when I rented my first Airbnb apartment, I felt like I was doing something crazy. Then, in 2015, I made an extra $60,000 from Airbnb rentalsafter taxes and expenses.

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Mike from Upgrd playfully calls me a slumlord. My Airbnb posts tend to get a LOT of polarity in the comments; I’ve addressed my moral and ethical position in this post.

I get a lot of questions about why I do it and how it’s going. So here goes.

Why I still love Airbnb

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AwardAce: An Awesome Companion for Your Miles & Points Programs

AwardAce is packed with great features

Whoa! I just discovered an incredible resource that will appeal to beginners of our little hobby, and to full-on points & miles addicts.  It’s super cool and geeky, so of course I had to share it with you guys.

AwardAce is packed with great features

AwardAce is packed with great features

Meet AwardAce. You can use the site for:

Now that I’ve found it, I’ll be playing around with it on the regs!

About AwardAce

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4 Useful Chrome Extensions for Travel & Shopping

Nope, nope, yes

Also see: 

I love using Google Chrome as a browser. It’s light, powerful, and has lots of good plug-ins… er, extensions.

Some of them have elevated to near-constant use territory.

I’ve written about useful apps because I love time-saving productivity stuff like a good millennial lol.

These 4 Chrome extensions come with my highest recommendation. They’ve helped me save a lot of time, money, and clicking around.

1. Hyatt – Show Me the Points

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How Out and Out Makes Money

I make huge piles of fake cartoon money

There’s been a lot of talk in the blog space this week about monetization, affiliate links, and the lengths bloggers will go to make revenue, including from Doctor of Credit and Rapid Travel Chai – people I hugely admire and respect. It all got me thinking.

Now feels like the right time to talk about this. Not because anyone’s ever asked. But because I want to finally put it out there so peeps can make their own informed decisions.

I make huge piles of fake cartoon money

Huge piles of fake cartoon money

Out and Out makes money in 3 ways:

  1. Credit card affiliate links through CreditCards.com
  2. Ad revenue and clicks from Amazon
  3. Advertising from BoardingArea

I’ll go into detail about each one.

1. Credit card affiliate links

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Chase OR Costco + Autoslash: Get the Best Price on Car Rentals

Laaaa!

I rented a car this past weekend in Albuquerque.

And I’m renting another one this upcoming weekend for a work trip to Austin.

I’ve rented enough cars by this point to rely solely on 2 places to look: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco Travel. One or the other of them has the best deal almost always.

car rental best price

Laaaa! Behold Costco Travel’s car rental search

For good measure, I usually run a search through Kayak, too – just to be sure.

Last week, I booked through Costco. And this week, I booked through Chase. One of them simply always works out for the best.

A quick comparison

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Why & How to Add Your American Airlines Number to British Airways Award Flights

Y YES

I recently booked American Airlines award flights from Dallas to Albuquerque with British Airways Avios points. I booked it pretty fast and let my British Airways loyalty number auto-populate in the spot for “Membership Number.”

british airways american number

So easy to let this slide

It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” type thing and easy to overlook.

But, if you have elite status on American Airlines, or certain AAdvantage credit cards with Barclaycard or Citi, you’ll want to change it.

Why to add your American Airlines number

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How to Get Free Gogo Internet (on American Flights With NO IFE)

sad

I’ve been flying American a lot lately, and there’s a loophole I sometimes use to get free Gogo internet. I used it today on my flight back from Albuquerque.

There are a couple of catches:

  • You can only get ~30 minutes of internet
  • This ONLY works on flights with NO IFE (in-flight entertainment) (as far as I know)

No IFE as in, no screens overhead or in the back of the seat in front of you.

If you’re lucky, you can squeeze out closer to an hour of free internet. But it depends on the flight – there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it.

Here’s how it works.

The trick to getting free Gogo internet

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My IHG Q3 Accelerate Offer Is Actually OK! How’s Yours?

holiday-inn-san-francisco-4384731508-16x5

I’ve gotten some pretty terrible IHG offers from IHG’s various “Accelerate” promotions (including one that required me to stay at a hotel brand with only 2 locations).

But their new Q3 Accelerate offer is actually… kind of OK (but couldn’t they come up with a different name for it? Even the URL is bland lol).

It’s not worth moving a minor mountain for or anything, but it seems I can stay at an IHG for 2 nights in September 2016 and earn an extra 35,000 IHG points.

My IHG Accelerate offer

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Just Booked a Trip for Next Weekend in 10 Minutes (Instant Transfers Save the Day!)

Yes yes yes

Also see: 

I’ll never forget the thrill and uncertainty of booking my first award ticket. I thought I’d show up to the airport and be turned away for not paying (or something like that). Can a flight really cost ~$11 when you book with… points?

That was a few years ago. But there’s still something so novel about booking award trips. Some of them are planned in advance, like my upcoming trip to Hawaii. And some are aspirational or in the future, like the Brussels Airlines flights I booked with Etihad miles.

Mmm, love the high desert

Love the high desert!

Long story short, I needed to spend a couple of days in New Mexico to get some work done there. Looking at my upcoming weekends:

  • Next one was open
  • After that, Austin for work
  • Labor Day weekend – nothing available with points
  • Hawaii

4 weekends = a month of plans. I started poking around and realized, holy crap, I’m gonna book this trip for next weekend!

Finding flights

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Just Booked: A Brussels Airlines Biz Class Award Flight With Etihad Miles

I'm coming for ya, Brussels!

Also see: 

Holy crap, it worked – I’m going to Belgium!

I'm coming for ya, Brussels!

I’m coming for ya, Brussels!

I found a ton of Business Class award seats between NYC and Brussels on Brussels Airlines in May and June 2017 (with a few dates in April and July available, too).

On Saturday, I transferred 37,000 Citi ThankYou points to Etihad Guest in hopes the space would remain. I checked this morning – no miles. But when I checked a few hours later, they were there!

I fired up United.com to hunt for dates:

Nearly every day in May and June 2017 has availability

Nearly every day in May and June 2017 still has availability

Tips: Tick “Show only nonstop flight availability” to isolate Brussels award space. And use “NYC” as the search if you want to see flights from both EWR and JFK.

Once I found the dates I wanted, I called Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767 with a pair of crossed fingers.

About the booking process

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The Top Card for Beginners? Yeah, the Chase Sapphire Preferred

You can stay at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Also see: 

I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point. A friend asks, “How do you do it?” Take all these trips to places like Hawaii, Tokyo and Osaka, Dublin, Barcelona, and more. How do you get free hotel rooms that cost hundreds of dollars a night?

“I want to travel like you do,” they say. “Where do I start?”

Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can stay at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

You can stay at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

And you have that moment where you’re thinking inside, “Well for starters, using that debit card for everything you buy isn’t helping anything.” *cough* Kierstin *cough*

You ask about their spending habits. “Do you shop online?” Definitely use a shopping portalget free miles for clicking a link.

And sign up for dining rewards while you’re at it because you never know when you’ll get some extra miles in your account – especially if you live in a mid-sized to large city.

As far as cards go… where to begin?

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