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

An incredibly affordable and thoughful gift

Also see:

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

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

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

I still luh ya, but not *as* much

Also see: 

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

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

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

as

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

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

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.

sa

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?

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

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?

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Honest Review: Chase Ink Preferred 80,000 Point Offer

Um, what business is he in? Cuz I'd be all up in it

RIP: Chase Ink Plus was one of the best cards for 5X categories. Yes, you earned 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores, and on phone, cable, and internet service. And 2X on hotels and gas.

chase ink preferred review

Um, what business is he in? Cuz I’d be all up in it

Chase Ink Plus is gone and in its place… the Chase Ink Preferred. But they nerfed the 5X categories! (And kept them on the Chase Ink Cash, thank gods.)

If you’ve opened more than 5 new cards in the last 24 months from ANY bank, go ahead and stop here. And read some of my other posts. Cuz its unlikely you’ll be approved for this one.

Or get one of these cards, which aren’t subject to the 5/24 “guideline”:

  • Chase British Airways
  • Chase Hyatt
  • Chase IHG
  • Chase Fairmont
  • Chase Marriott Business
  • Chase Ritz-Carlton

If you’re on the prowl for a card to use for your small business, the Chase Ink Preferred is still extremely worthwhile.

The short

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

I Imagined a New Premium Chase Card… How’d I Do?

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

Also see: 

Back in March, I imagined what a new premium Chase card would look like. By August, we had a new bundle of joy: the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

I had high hopes for such an offering. So I thought it’d be fun to look back and compare what I wanted at the time to what actually came about.

And because my points & miles predictions for 2016 aren’t doing so hot. Oops.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: What it is

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Honest Review: Chase Freedom (With Any Sign-Up Offer)

asd

Also see: 

Let (Chase) Freedom ring!

I love this card. 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on up to $1,5000 in spending per quarter – 7,500 bonus points – in rotating categories? And useful ones to boot? OK!

That’s why I called it the best card for shopping this holiday season

Chase Freedom review

2016 was another strong year for Chase Freedom quarterly bonus categories

This card has been a bastion in my arsenal for years by now. 

And why not? It’s free to keep forever. In fact, it’s my oldest card – I’ve had this account since 2002. So it’s been almost 15 years!

Chase Freedom provides an easy way to rack up an extra 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year. That’s worth $300 on its own, which is awesome for a card with no annual fee.

Its power lies in pairing though, so be aware. However, 5% cash back – on its own – is nothing to sniff at, either.

The short

If you spend a lot in the rotating bonus categories, this card is an ace in hand. 

The long

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Hotel Review: Aloft Winchester, Virginia

asd

During my drive from Brooklyn to Dallas, I planned to stay 2 nights at hotels along the way. Long story short, my freaking car broke down. And I was plunged into a land of endless Plan Bs.

I prefer Hilton hotels. So during a fuel stop around dusk, I searched for a room on the Hilton app. Nothing was available within 100 miles. And I was tired from driving since 4am.

I didn’t have 100 miles left in me. I was ready for anything – even a roadside motel, “Psycho”-style.

So I checked Hyatt and Starwood. No Hyatt hotels in rural Virginia (not a surprise, but worth a looky-loo).

But there was a random Aloft hotel 45 miles away. I booked a room at the Aloft Winchester, nestled near the West Virginia border in extreme northern Virginia. It was ~$120 with taxes for the night.

As an added bonus, there were no pet fees! Hilton likes to charge $30 to $75 as a non-refundable pet deposit. So that was a silver lining.

Aloft Winchester review

Location of the Aloft Winchester

I booked on my phone and sped down the highway. I was so tired, my eyes were literally crossing. And I was getting bad road hypnosis.

Obviously, I made it because I’m writing this now. That day is etched into my memory as one of the longest of my life…

Arrival and check-in

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

The 4 Best Credit Cards for Holiday Season 2016

asd

It’s nearly mid-November, how’d that happen?

I’m gearing up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, as I’m sure many of you are, too.

holiday 2016 best credit cards

Dear everyone I know, you might get a kitchen appliance. Love, H.

Here are my top picks for cards to use for gift shopping and travel this holiday season.

Holiday 2016 best credit cards

1. Chase Freedom

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

4 Free Nights in the Bahamas, Thanks to FoundersCard!

Up next: 4 free nights in the Bahamas!

Also see:

The (good) hits just keep on coming! (I wrote about a free private jet flight from FoundersCard yesterday).

I got free Caesars Diamond elite status this year from FoundersCard, which comes with a ton of benefits, including:

  • Diamond lounge access
  • No resort fees at Caesars properties
  • $100 celebration dinner
  • Priority lines everywhere

Because of this, I’ve been thinking about a weekend trip to Las Vegas.

Up next: 4 free nights in the Bahamas!

Up next: 4 free nights in the Bahamas!

Another benefit of Caesars Diamond status is 4 free nights at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas (part of the Marriott Autograph Collection).

Well, I just called to book it – and it went off without a hitch!

I used British Airways Avios points for flights there. And American miles for flights back. Total cost of ~$214 for round-trip coach flights for 2 from Dallas to Nassau. But the whole experience is worth nearly $2,600.

That includes 4 free nights from Caesars Diamond status – courtesy of FoundersCard. I’m so stoked!

About the 4 free nights

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!

Cool! FoundersCard Members Get a Free Private Jet Flight With JetSmarter

asd

Also see: 

It’s no secret I love my FoundersCard membership. It’s not for everyone, but I’ve gotten outsized value from it. And continue to be impressed by their offerings, like free Diamond elite status with Caesar’s among a ton of other travel benefits.

There’s a fun new promotion for a free seat on a private jet through JetSmarter.

I was a smidge jealous when I saw fellow blogger Angelina scored a free seat. But now I may be joining her ranks!

free private jet flight

The deets are buried in the fine print. But it works!

Now FoundersCard has a deal where members can get a free 3-month JetSmarter membership. And as part of that, a free JetDeals flight. It’s only a one-way flight, so you’ll have to find another way home.

But considering these tickets can be pricey, not to mention an awesome and unique experience, this is yet another innovative FoundersCard perk.

And depending on where you depart, this benefit alone can totally cover the $395 a year membership cost.

The JetSmarter benefit

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!