Bottom of the Barrel: Have I Gotten All the Points & Miles Cards I Possibly Can?

I wanna type out loud for a sec to assess which card offers I can still earn. Before I begin, I know there aren’t many.

After all, I currently have about 30 cards and have rotated through many others since I started the points & miles game in 2012 (and heavily in 2013).

which cards are left

My first award trip was to Hawaii in 2013, with Delta miles and Hilton points

So what’s left for me? I know it’s not much.

Let’s take a deep dive.

Which cards are left that I can even get?

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3 Excellent Amex Small Business Card Welcome Offers – Which Is Best for You?

Update: The Starwood small business Amex 35,000 point offer expired as of 3/28/18. It is NO LONGER available. 

Amex is bringing it with their small business cards. There are notable welcome offer increases on a few of them right now.

And they are definitely NOT created equal.

amex business card offers

#spgamex is gonna go the way of the #dodo

Here’s what to consider about each one.

Big welcome offers on Amex small business cards

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IHG Elite Members: Get a Free Kindle Book This Week – and Another One Next Week

Quick update about free Kindle books because:

  • They’re free
  • I noticed you can actually get full-length books now instead of just “singles”

You can get a free eBook just for being an IHG member (so anyone can get a free one). Redeem it through the IHG app!

free kindle book

How bow dah?

Even better, you can get free books each quarter if you have elite status with IHG. (The number of books you can get depends on your status tier.)

You can get a free book this week. And another one next week on Sunday, April 1st – because it’ll be a new quarter! 🙂

Free Kindle book deal from IHG

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Electric Tokyo: A $15,000 Week in Japan for $58 (With Business Class Flights and Free Hotels!)

Oh my purness, I cannot wait to get back to Japan right meow. 😻

I’ll be back in early April – just in time to catch the end of cherry blossom season (!) according to the forecast.

I went during the same time 2 years ago and fell completely in love with Tokyo (and Osaka). But this trip will be a whole week in Tokyo.

I’ll fly there and back in American Airlines Business Class, Dallas nonstop to Tokyo. (I reviewed the First Class cabin last time).

I’ll be at the Hilton Tokyo again for 3 nights (here’s my review). And at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo for 4. Was hoping to stay at the Conrad Tokyo for at least 2 nights. But demand was too crazy, obvi.

tokyo with points 2018

I also used 54,000 American miles, 50,000 Alaska miles, 180,000 Hilton points, and 200,000 IHG points

Still, I paid ~$58 out-of-pocket for a trip that retails for nearly $15,000. My only expenses when I get there will be train fares, food food food, and admission to art museums.

Here’s how I booked it!

To Tokyo with points, 2018 edition

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12 Ways to Save Money (And Have Fun!) on Your Next Road Trip

I recently took a road trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to Denver – and back to Dallas. It was 1,925 miles and 29 hours of pure asphalt that took us through plains, mountains, and prairies.

I spent time preparing for the week-long journey. And figured how to save cash and have fun on the way. Because that’s a lot of time in a car!

If you don’t plan it right (or at all), you’ll likely spend too much, miss cool opportunities, or generally have a miserable time. And no one wants that. 😾

ways to save on road trips

A little planning = big savings and fun on your road trip

Here are tips to make your next road trip smooth as asphalt.

12 Ways to Save on Road Trips

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Why I Bought a New Car (With a Car Note!) Despite FIRE

Also see: 

I wrote how I bought a car with credit cards in early 2016. It was a used 2004 Subaru Forester. And it fit my needs at the time.

I swore I’d never buy a new car. It’s a badge of honor within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community to have an old car with tons of miles on it. It means you’re frugal. And saving. And “doing it right.” A quick search on Reddit returns more opinions than you can ever filter through.

There’s even a rap song called “No Car Note.” (“I love my ’98 Honda!”)

But after running the numbers, I broke my own rule. And bought a 2017 Nissan Versa Note. With a car note.

New or used car? Why I went new

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Points Are a Currency – And YOU Get to Set the Value

Also see: 

Peeps conceptualize their points & miles in various ways. I’ve heard the argument they’re worth as much as you’re willing to pay in cash – logic that has always failed me. I use points because I won’t pay cash… right?

If I get a $10,000 Business Class flight for say, 50,000 miles – but I’m only willing to pay $1,000 in cash for the flight, does that mean the miles were worth the retail value of $10,000… or my “willing to pay” price of $1,000?

points worth

I used points to fly Lufthansa First Class… a product I’d NEVER pay cash for!

To me, they’re worth up to the cash cost because I typically travel for pleasure. Even though I value most points & miles at 2 cents each (at least!). Which in this case, 50,000 miles would be worth at least $1,000 but actually much more because of the retail price.

Knowing the selling price is the thrill of the deal. That’s the point of points in the first place (or First Class). And often, I use points & because only because of the retail value, despite what I’m “willing” to pay.

So I set my minimum value at 2 cents each because under that, you might as well use a 2% cashback card for the same (or better) result. I collect points for those times when I get outsized value – that’s what makes it worth it. And why I set the points value at – benchmark low – 2 cents each. But it all depends.

What’s your points value?

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Capital One Venture: A Solid 2X Card for Simple Rewards With No BS

I get it. Not everyone spends their Friday nights taking epsom salt baths and pondering the workings of various points programs.

Lots of peeps directly asked about the Capital One Venture Rewards card: is it worth getting?

My answer’s always been: yeah, if you don’t want to deal with points programs.

capital one venture review

The $500 sign-up bonus covers 5 years of the annual fee and is worth ~302,000 Chilean pesos (I drew that bull)

It has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived the first year. But the ease of redemption and earning might be worth it if you like the Capital One ecosystem.

Capital One Venture Review

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PV PLZ: Couples Massage at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Spa

(This is the last post about Puerto Vallarta, by the dubs.)

Y’all. I did something I’ve never done at a hotel before: paid out-of-pocket for a fancy spa day. I got a body scrub, body wrap, facial, and full-body massage. It was opulent, decadent, and completely amazing.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta spa

Getting ready for my spa day at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

During our stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, my friend and I took a stretching class one morning. On the way, we passed by the spa, mostly out of curiosity.

After touring the facility and taking a look at the spa menu, we decided the couples massage was actually a great value. So we set up the appointment to spend 4 hours in heavenly bliss.

PV PLZ trip report index

Breaking down the spa deal

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Everyone Should Dump Stupid Bank Fees (5 Options to Consider)

Also see: 

If you’re paying fees to access your own money, it’s time to dump your stupid bank.

Do it now do it now DO IT NOW. If you pay $10 a month for not carrying a minimum balance, $2 to request a balance, or ATM fees when you need to withdraw money, vote with your feet. Get. Out. NOW.

dump your bank

Nope nope nope

I’ll share bank accounts that are completely FREE to have and use with NO minimum. Oh, and you don’t need a physical branch.

Get a FREE bank account (don’t pay to access your own money!)

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What It’s REALLY Like to Travel While Gay

Also see: 

WARNING: This post contains graphic language that some may find offensive or triggering. If that’s you, please do NOT continue. 

There are places in this world I’ll never visit. Not because I don’t want to see them. But because they don’t want to see me.

Aside from political or economic strife, the entire globe is available to you if you’re a straight, white, cis man. But being a gay traveler, it isn’t possible.

travel while gay

I know I’m not wanted everywhere in this world. And I won’t go to those places. There’s a reason why

In fact, I’m used to watching my back when I visit different neighborhoods in my own town. I know that stopping at the wrong gas station can get me killed. Or that holding a partner’s hand in some countries can get me thrown in jail for obscenity, or executed.

There are a few things I always think about before I decide to take a trip. As a gay traveler, my biggest goal is to make it back home.

Why is it like this?

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The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer

To start, the Blue Business Plus Amex is a small business card. But Amex is known to be generous with small business card approvals, so long as you have a for-profit venture, or are aiming to make a profit.

This card got instant “workhorse” classification. And it’s been a stalwart companion in my wallet since the day I got it.

amex blue business plus 10,000

MVP status, this one

When it launched in Summer 2017, there was a brief welcome offer for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. But when that faded, it went to nothing.

Now a welcome offer of 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points is available. But I think this card is good enough to get even without a bonus!

About the Blue Business Plus Amex Read More