Just the Tip(s)

Category Archives for Just the Tip(s).

New App Alert: AirHelp. Know Your Options When You Get Bumped from a Flight

Ever been bumped from a flight and had no idea what your options were?

Nowadays, with mergers, elimination of hubs, and less competition on certain routes, airlines routinely oversell flights based on how many people haven’t shown up for the flight in the past. Sometimes the bumps are voluntary, and fliers are happy to accept a voucher or rebooking for a future flight. But what if you’re bumped against your will? What are your options?

Read More

Club Carlson: Is Second Night Free Using Points and Cash?

As a few of you know, there are some changes coming to Club Carlson starting March 15th (say it ain’t so!). Club Carlson has been one of the most generous hotel loyalty programs since its inception. It’s only fair that they take a little bit back. After all, the program wouldn’t be profitable if they continue to give give give.

Even with the upcoming devaluation and category changes, it still manages to offer supremely great value – especially if you hold the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card. Cardholders get 2-4-1 award redemptions. Meaning if a hotel costs 44,000 points per night, you can get TWO nights for that amount of points instead of just one – an amazing value no matter who you slice it.

They also offer Points + Cash redemptions. The question is, as a cardholder, do you still get the 2-4-1 deal on the points side? 

The answer: NO.

Read More

FoundersCard Membership: Is it worth it?

Also see:

Update: You can lock in a FoundersCard membership for $295 a year through May 13th, 2016 when you sign-up with my link. This is $100 less than the usual rate!

FoundersCard popular benefits
FoundersCard popular benefits

Why I joined

I joined FoundersCard earlier this year from a referral I received after flying in Pearl Class on Etihad. I mostly signed up to be able to review the benefits and see if they’re really worth it. So far, so good. I’m on target to more than recoup the annual fee.

The membership offers numerous discounts on a LOT of different services that are useful for business, lifestyle, or travel. There are one or two that I really zeroed in on, and I think the card could offer a lot of value both with monetary discounts and with opportunities.


Read More

Awesome Deal Alert: 60% Off Beds at the W Hotel Store

For anyone who’s ever stayed at a W Hotel, you’ve gotten to experience firsthand how great the beds are. They actually sell them, often for around $1,000 to $1500 (more or less, depending on which options you choose).

They’ve just put up a sale with a 60% off promo code – easily the best sale they’ve ever had. The code is W6EM9

I tested it out and added a Queen Plush Top Mattress to a cart which retails for $1,059.

With the promo code that price comes all the way down to…

Read More

Las Vegas is great for Hyatt Gold Passport Members

Screenshot 2014-03-04 19.16.12

After the stay at New York-New York Hotel & Casino for two days, it was time to move across the walkway for a one-night stay at Excalibur. Both of these hotels are part of MLife, MGM’s loyalty program, and they’re literally connected by a long walkway. These hotels are located on the south side of The Strip, and very close to the airport. A taxi to/from was only $15 in each direction.

Why so focused on MLife? For Hyatt stay credits, of course. By switching hotels, I got three nights and two stays credited to my Gold Passport account, which is Hyatt’s loyalty program. A few months ago, Hyatt announced a partnership with MGM with reciprocal benefits between MLife and Gold Passport. I recently got the Chase Hyatt Visa, which comes with Platinum status just for having the card. And because of this partnership, I found myself as a mid-tier Gold with MLife, which gave me priority checkin/checkout, bonus points for staying in the rooms, and a bonus for gambling in the casinos.

Read More

Unpublished/Secret Benefit of the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card?

You got a hidden benny, buddy?

You got a hidden benny, buddy?

I’ve consistently noticed, month after month, that I receive 3x Membership Rewards from online purchases when I pay with my American Express Premier Rewards Gold card. 

NOWHERE is this written out, but in practice, it has worked for me for nearly a year. The most obvious example is when, one month, I sent $1000 via Amazon Payments and got 3,000 MR points put my account. There have been other, smaller purchases that have triggered this, too. $50 from fab.com. An order at shoes.com. A few other things from drugstore.com and Kohls.com. The thing they all have in common is that they are purchases made online.

I’ve tried this with the Platinum Card – nothing. This little trick seems to be isolated to the PRG card. If so, it might be worth using this for online purchases in conjunction with clicking through portal links.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is this an unpublished/secret benefit of having the PRG card?

New to Points and Miles? Read My Getting Started Guide!

A year or so ago, I made an e-book about how to get started with points and miles. I listed it on Amazon – a slim volume full of info. My friends kept asking me about it, and I kept emailing them copies. I’ve gotten some good response from it, so I decided to add it as a brand new section to Out and Out. I made a new tab called “NEW?” which contains the exact same information as the e-book, updated even, to reflect the current state of US Airways.

Please click here to start exploring the sections of the guide, or simply hover over the tab at the top of the website to access a drop-down menu. Feel free to pass the link along to anyone who might be interested in collecting points and miles. I tried to make it as simple and as thorough as possible. Please leave comments or email me if anything is unclear!

Hope this helps others get into the points and miles game. There are still plenty of strategies out there for free (or really cheap) travel.

Of course, if you’d rather have a nice volume for an e-reader or Kindle, you can still buy the e-book from Amazon (and I appreciate your support!).


Confession: I Got a Kohl’s Card


Late one cold, hoary evening, I did the unthinkable: started dabbling with some store credit cards.

The psychology of it goes back a couple of weeks when I signed up for a LivingSocial coupon to get a Costco membership for really cheap. When I went in to activate the membership, they successfully upsold me to an Executive membership with the best sales pitch of all time, dang it. They also offered me a Costco card, which offers 3% Costco cash back on gas, 2% back on Costco and restaurants (?!) and 1% on everything else. However, the benefits were duplicates of categories I already enjoy with other Amex cards, and I couldn’t justify getting my credit pulled for it. With the Fidelity American Express, I get 2% cash back at Costco, at restaurants, and on every other purchase, period, with no limits. Also no annual fee. So, no, I couldn’t do it.

Anyway, after that, I started poking around online to compare Costco prices to other department and grocery stores. I wanted to make sure I’d REALLY be saving, especially as shopping at Costco.com means giving up portal bonuses. Somehow, I ended up on Gap.com. Now, I’ve had a Gapcard since 2005, no annual fee, not hurting anything by having it and might as well keep it to help age my credit by this point. I noticed an offer to upgrade to a Gap Visa and get an increase on the limit from $1,000 to $2,500. No hard pull (called to confirm) since I was pre-approved and $50 in cash to spend at the Gap. Might as well help my credit and get some new jeans. Accepted the offer.

Then, navigated my way to Kohl’s. Now, both Frequent Miler and Frugal Travel Guy (whom I stole borrowed this post title from) have both sung the praises of Kohl’s and its card for a while by now. After all, it offers:

  • Frequent 30% off discounts for having the card
  • $10 back in Kohl’s Cash when spending $50 at certain times
  • The 30% off and the Kohl’s Cash promotions often overlap
  • Chase has been offering 10 points a dollar through its portals for a loooong time ($100 spent gets you $20 back in Kohl’s Cash PLUS 1,000 Ultimate Reward points, which I value at ANOTHER $20 back, in a much more versatile currency)
  • Free shipping over $75
  • LOTS of discounts on home items, small appliances, clothes, other department store-type stuff that I might not want to buy at Costco (since Costco is what opened this whole Pandora’s box of store cards anyway)

I poked around through the website and saw lots of things I could pick up for home: an area rug, a new dog bed for Fenwick, some new towels, maybe some new socks and thermal undies (why won’t this winter END?). Getting cash back, Ultimate Rewards points, and 30% off sure sounded nice. And the main selling point was that you only get the discount if you have the card. That, and if you spend over $600 a year, you get even more coupons and VIP status with Kohl’s. I’ve never had VIP status with a department store before.

The other thing, as with any decision to get a new card, was personal. I do think I’d like to spend some time to spruce up my apartment, and thought that having this card would help me both save and earn some money at the same time. Plus, it’s no annual fee. It’ll help to age my credit and improve my available-to-used credit ratio. Why the heck not. I filled out the little form, and 60 seconds later had a new Kohl’s card.

I get my first chance to use the 30% off + Kohl’s cash + UR points combo starting on March 7th. They have a discount code for 30% off and free shipping on any order. Here’s the scoop:

30% off promo code is MARCH30

Free shipping promo code is MAR4USHIP

Both codes are valid from March 7 – March 16, 2014.

Everyone earns Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent March 7 to March 16

Redeem dates to be added. Happy shopping!

Anyway, will post updates when I make my first purchase. Can’t wait to get a new dog bed for Fenwick. They have literally hundreds to choose from. I spent over an hour selecting the perfect one after reading lots and lots of reviews for each dog bed. Like I said, it was late on a cold, hoary evening. 🙂