My Best Advice: BOOK THE TRIP

Mantra

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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)!

Add code "AMEXAIRPORT" to your Uber account

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!

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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

2016-12-25_11-47-22

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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

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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

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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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Bahama Breeze: Part 1 – Review of My Free Room at Atlantis Beach Tower, Nassau

View from the balcony

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There are a few things in life that make me say, “Hell, yes!” as fast as 4 free nights in the Bahamas.

atlantis beach tower review

Exterior of the Atlantis Beach Tower

I wrote about the details of how I did it, but in a nutshell:

Booking was simple. I requested my dates (December 10th to 14th), booked a non-stop flight there from DFW to NAS with Avios points, and booked a flight back (with a connex at MIA) with American miles.

I was aflutter about the experience, how the benefit would play out, and what the room would be like. I am happy to report it was a wonderful trip.

Bahama Breeze Index

Arrival and check-in

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6 Last-Minute Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for the Frequent Traveler

An incredibly affordable and thoughful gift

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Yeahhhh buddy, ’tis the season (for putting things off to the last minute)!

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, there’s still time to order gifts before Christmas with free 1-day or 2-day shipping.

Here are some cute stocking stuffers for anyone who travels often. And hey, if you get an Amazon gift card, maybe you’ll treat yourself to a couple of these. (Or if you buy one, use your Discover It card for 5% cashback through December 31, 2016. Just remember to activate your bonus before you shop).

6 Gift Ideas for Travelers

1. Noise-canceling earbuds

For the love of gods, yes yes yes. These little guys are worth their weight in gold if you want to work or read during your flight. And if you get the seat next to a screaming child (we’ve all been there), they can go a long way toward preventing that third Aleve (or is that just me?).

gift ideas for travelers

The prices run the gamut

Earbuds are like cars: there are cheap ones, and there are really not cheap ones. What’s funny is how, at all price ranges, you can find a solid pair with nearly all 5-star reviews.

I’d personally go middle-of-the-road, but whatever you decide on will surely be welcomed with open arms. I mean… ears. 🙂

2. Travel tubes

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I Saved $3,000 With Citi Prestige Last Year (and Got a Retention Offer)

I still luh ya, but not *as* much

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My Citi Prestige card’s $450 annual fee recently posted. I will happily keep it for another year (if only to have Admirals Club access through the end of July 2017).

I’ve dutifully tracked the value I’ve gotten on the Citi Prestige by the Numbers page. But I want to dig into the numbers a little more.

citi prestige worth keeping

Sorry for the selfie, but I needed a pic for this post

I also got an retention offer to earn 7X Citi ThankYou points on $8,750 in spending on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies – which is fine because I book ALL my airfare on this card to take advantage of its industry-leading trip delay and cancelation insurance that kicks in after only THREE hours (better than Chase Sapphire Reserve and any personal Amex card).

Year One by the numbers

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Yes! Hamilton Tickets in Chicago for $120+, Many Dates Still Open

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Earlier today, The Points Guy broke the news (which they found via Reddit) of Hamilton tickets in Chicago starting at $85 for peeps with an Amex Platinum (or Centurion) card.

My friend Jas actually got 4 tickets to the January 21st performance for $65 each. January in Chicago didn’t sound so hot (literally), but I was interested when I saw a date in March opened up.

However, when I called, there were actually LOTS of days with plenty of tickets. So I’d encourage you to call Amex concierge and ask!

I had them check:

  • March 11th (2pm and 8pm show)
  • March 12th (2pm show)
  • March 14th (7:30pm show)
  • March 18th (2pm and 8pm show)

It seemed laborious for my poor phone agent to check all 6 in a row, especially because I kept comparing the seats against the seat map I had open during our call.

hamilton tickets chicago

Over an hour of lovely hold music before I got a rep

However, every single show had tickets available. So if you’re still looking for – or if you want a crack at – these tickets, I’d say call immediately and have them check the date and time you want.

Some seats were for $120, but others were $180, depending on location and view.

Incredible savings for Hamilton tickets in Chicago

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Google Photos App: A Must Download for Unlimited Backup

Gamechanger alert

I read about the Google Photos app from Jeanne at Le Chic Geek back in July and downloaded it based on her write-up.

I was initially wary of:

  • Another app
  • Another recurring charge on my card
  • Another something to keep track of
Google Photos App

Gamechanger alert

But I’ll go ahead and say, you can do well with the free version. Especially if you don’t already have a backup.

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You get free unlimited storage if you go for a reduced file size

In fact, whether you decide to pay the $2 per month or not, this app is a MUST download.

Why the Google Photos app?

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Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card Has No Fee the First Year, Plus $400 in Travel Credit (and Free Lounge Access!)

My friend Angie passed this tip along today, and I must say I was very tempted.

You can pick up the Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card with no annual fee the first year.

Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card

Good deal alert!

For those of you who can’t earn the sign-up bonus on an Amex card, the good news here is there isn’t one – so you’re not missing out on anything.

Plus, now is a good time to apply because the $200 annual travel credit will reset in January 2017.

So you essentially get the card free for a year, plus $400 in statement credits ($200 in 2016 and $200 in 2017).

Why the Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card?

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