Citi Offering Instant Upgrades for Hilton Visa, but No Bonus

This morning, I got an email from Citi with an offer to upgrade my no annual fee Citi Hilton Visa to a Citi Hilton Reserve with a $95 annual fee.

The email subject was, “Upgrading your card means enhanced benefits.” I was excited because I’ve never seen an offer from Citi like this. So I was hoping to score some bonus Hilton points in the process. But, all you get with this offer is “One Weekend Night Certificate Opportunity and Gold Status.”

upgrade citi hilton visa

Ya know, nah

Thanks but no thanks. This isn’t a good deal with no bonus points involved. But I’m glad Citi is trying new things.

I also don’t know if they’re sending out targeted offers with this card or others, so it’s worth checking your email and junk folder to see if anything is in there.

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Refer 3 Friends to Ebates and Earn $75 (Share Your Links!)

I’m a huge proponent of shopping online through portals – you literally get free extra airline miles, hotel points, or cashback for clicking a link. It couldn’t be simpler.

I always check Cashback Monitor before buying anything online. And lots of stuff earns points or cashback that you wouldn’t expect:

ebates

I got Alaska miles for filing a DBA through LegalZoom

And I plan to file taxes myself this year through H&R Block. I was surprised to see I could get 19 Avios per $1. My taxes this year will be about $60, so that will net me a free 1,140 British Airways Avios points for something I was planning to do anyway.

Get 20% cashback or 19 Avios per $1 at H&R Block

Get 20% cashback or 19 Avios per $1 at H&R Block

None of the amounts are staggering individually, but it’s easy to see how it could add up over the course of a year – or even a few months if you shop a lot online.

a

Get $75 free bucks from Ebates

And Ebates has a promotion through March 31st, 2017 where you can earn $75 for referring 3 new sign-ups who make a $25 purchase.

About Ebates and cashback portals

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My Experience Getting the Southwest Companion Pass With Starwood Points

Also see: 

It is here! My coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

After a disappointing New Year’s Day announcement that hotel transfers would no longer count toward the Companion Pass, to a reversal a few days later after much criticism, the beginning of 2017 was a wild ride for Southwest.

Southwest Companion Pass

Back n forth on January 1st

I wasn’t surprised by the announcement – I predicted it would happen a year ago – but it was underhanded and calculating for them to “close the loophole” on January 1st with absolutely no forewarning.

It was sleazy and the opposite of transparent. And for those few days, I was kind of happy to not have the Companion Pass. Because why would I want to commit to a company that makes those sort of changes without warning?

Made it official on January 5th

Made it official on January 5th

But they did the right thing, and added a generous 3-month deadline. So that turned me around. Although they have devalued their revenue-based points system without notice twice in recent memory. So I still have that thought in the back of my mind.

My experience getting the Southwest Companion Pass

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How’d I Do for 2016 Travel Predictions?

Also see: 

Last year, I tried my hand at predicting… the fyoocha!

Travel Predictions

Go go gadget clairvoyance

So let’s recap and find out what happened in 2016 behind the smoky haze of palo santo and sage.

My 2016 Travel Predictions

1. Citi will add American Airlines as a ThankYou transfer partner

WRONG.

He's looking for Citi's new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

He’s looking for Citi’s new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

I don’t it’ll ever happen at this point. My hope is dwindling.

2. American Airlines will “get in bed” with Hilton

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Bahama Breeze: Part 2 – Exploring the Atlantis Resort in Nassau

Atlantis Resort Nassau

I referenced the enormity of the Atlantis Bahamas complex in my earlier review. But wow, this place is gigantic!

Walking through it all would be a nigh impossible task. There’s a free shuttle bus to get around the various towers. Most places are a 5- to 30-minute walk, depending on which tower you stay, and how quickly you walk.

Atlantis Resort Nassau

View from Dolphin Cay

The Atlantis is a city unto itself. It would take several weeks to experience the dozens of bars and restaurants, swim in all the pools, and walk around the beaches of Paradise Island. So go into it knowing you won’t see everything. But do sketch out a rough idea for what you’d like to see and do.

Atlantis Resort Nassau

You won’t get to all 21 restaurants and each of the 19 bars and lounges – not to mention everything else!

I had a Casino Experience Pass included as part of my 4 free nights, and that set us on a course to exploring the Atlantis.

Bahama Breeze Index

Using the Casino Experience Pass

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Out and Out’s Top 9 Posts of 2016

It’s been an incredible year. I’m thankful for readers new and old; for all the comments and emails; and for all the support.

Here are the most-read posts written in 2016.

Out and Out Top Posts of 2016

1. My Experience Getting the $650 Phone Credit With Citi AT&T Access More Card

out and out

RIP

Readers were intensely interested in this card. And for good reason: 3X Citi ThankYou points on all online shopping, including payments through Plastiq, and shopping at Amazon and Costco. The card isn’t available any more, sadly. But I still use it regularly to bump up my Citi ThankYou points balance – it’s a wonderful complement to Citi Prestige.

2. My Last Chase Card: Just Applied for Chase Freedom Unlimited

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My Best Advice: BOOK THE TRIP

Also see: 

Like most peeps, I am ready to put 2016 in the can. It was a good year. I visited many places for the first time, including:

Mmmmagick :)

Mmmmagick 🙂

And I got to return to a few places, like:

I also left New York – finally! – bought a house and moved to Dallas.

Moving into 2017, there’s a simple principle I’ll apply when it comes to booking travel: BOOK THE TRIP.

BOOK THE TRIP

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$130 in Free Uber Airport Rides (2 up to $65 each) for Amex Cardholders (Select Cities)!

This is gonna be a fast one so you can add this code ASAP.

Add code "AMEXAIRPORT" to your Uber account

Add code “AMEXAIRPORT” to your Uber account

The code is “AMEXAIRPORT” and you can get 2 free rides, up to $65 each, through December 31st, 2016 from these airports:

  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

You need to set an Amex card as your payment method.

Here are the full terms of this offer.

Looks like there are plenty left

Looks like there are plenty left

I just added this to my account and it went through right away. So hopefully there are plenty left.

This is another great move from Amex, after the 2X small business points promotion, cheap Hamilton tickets, and recent great Amex Offers.

They are doing good things and I’m really pleased to see this!

Get it while you can!

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Booked: 3 Free Nights at Hyatt Zilara Cancun With Points!

What I like most about the points and miles hobby is setting a goal, then attaining it.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to stay at the all-inclusive and adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun. And in a few weeks, I’ll be there!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points

Coming for ya, Zilara!

I used 75,000 Hyatt points for a stay that would’ve cost over $1,900 out-of-pocket. Here’s how it came together.

Booking a Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points Award

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I’m Switching to Alaska and Southwest (With Companion Pass) Next Week

Also see: 

American who? Delta what? Beginning 2017, I’m exclusively flying and crediting everything to Alaska or Southwest.

If I have to fly American, that’ll be credited to Alaska. Thanks to Alaska’s merger with Virgin America, I might not see the inside of DFW much next year. DAL is gonna become my new jam – and it’s only 10 minutes up the street.

Switching to Alaska and Southwest

I’ll be at DAL a lot more than DFW in 2017

I’m also going to transfer 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott to get:

I easily value that at least $5,000.

Bring on the Alaska and Southwest “Love”

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50% Off at Boxed for New Accounts + Amex Offer

Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. Here’s a good deal alert!

NEW Boxed users can get ~$67 worth of stuff for ~$31 by stacking a new account bonus, cash reward, Amex Offer, and clicking through a shopping portal. The discount works out to be slightly above 50%, assuming you can hit the target right around $67.

50% off at boxed

Stock up on household basics with over half off

I love a good stack! But keep in mind the math only works for new accounts. So you can either make a new account. Or just use the Amex Offer with a portal bonus and still do well.

Stack to get 50% off at Boxed

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Pick Up 30,000 Alaska Miles Every 45 Days

I recently picked up an personal Alaska Visa card, then tried to get another one soon after. It was automatically denied. Like, straight up the answer is no.

That’s unusual, so I thought it may have been because I didn’t lower the limits on my existing Alaska cards before applying. Not wanting to waste the hard pull on my credit (because multiple inquires on the same day are combined), I applied for the business version of the card and was instantly approved.

alaska miles every 45 days

Deeee-nied!

But I didn’t want to let it go. I called the next day to speak to a credit analyst (they are open 8am to 7pm and I usually apply for new cards late at night while tipsy) for reconsideration.

I offered to lower my limits on one of the other cards, as they are pretty high (like $20,000 each), but she said the denial had nothing to do with my credit score or account history. And moving credit lines wouldn’t help me, either.

I was denied because I already opened a personal Alaska card within the last 90 days – which was the first time I’d heard that. But apparently it’s been enforced sporadically for a while.

So I figured how to play by the “new” rules and still get my doses of Alaska miles: rotate between the personal and business versions of the card every 90 days.

Get 30,000 Alaska miles every 45 days

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