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Booking Hawaii: Part 3 – Hilton Hawaiian Village and Tending Reservations

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I’ll go ahead and tell you the moral of this story: tend to your reservations.

After booking 4 flights to Honolulu, then adding my little brother into the mix, the final piece of the puzzle was to book the hotel rooms.

Step 1: The paid stay

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Promos Gone Wild: Earning Miles & Points For Rent (Guest Post)

Hey all! Meet Spencer!

He loves the Plastiq and Citi AT&T Access More combo as much as I do. I thought it would be fun to add his ideas about the recent RadPad promotion debacle that lead to the new Plastiq offer – to shake it up a little here at ol’ Out and Out. 🙂

A big thanks to Spencer for lending his thoughts!


Anyone who’s read Out and Out knows Harlan LOVES earning miles and points when he pays rent. When there’s a fun promo, you better believe he’s ready for it.

The Rent Promo Of The Year (Or Not)

Two weeks ago, RadPad rocked the points world with a promo that allowed fee-free credit card rent payments via Android Pay.

plastiq 1.75%

Gone too soon

This earth-shattering offer was set to run through the end of 2016. That’s four months of fee-free, points-earning rent fun!

Fast forward to last night.

RadPad posts an update on their blog. They have pulled the promo.

RadPad’s crushing announcement

RadPad’s crushing announcement

Only people who registered prior to August 24th, 2016, would be eligible and they will only be eligible for one rent payment that has to be paid by August 31st, 2016.

According to RadPad, Android Pay use increased from less than 5% of rent payments to 70% in the span of two weeks. That’s insane!

Well, so much for that points windfall.

If you were set on fee-free RadPad, where does that leave you?

The Consolation Prize (It’s A Good One)

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Booking Hawaii: Part 2 – Using Citi ThankYou Points for Award Flights on Delta and United

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When last we parted, all was happy and good. Flights for 4 people were booked to Honolulu. Then life, as it does, got in the way.

Jay went back to New York for a too-good-to-pass-up film job. That’s right – I am now in Dallas alone. *cue torrential tears*

That was a whole other wrenching experience, but it also had consequences for this planned trip.

“So no Hawaii trip?” “I can’t.” Crap.

No Honolulu for you?

No Honolulu for you?

I called Connexions Loyalty (the travel agency Citi uses to book flights with ThankYou points) to ask if I could transfer the ticket to my little brother. I knew it would be a long shot, but worth trying.

The best they could do was cancel the ticket and give Jay the credit – no transferring, no name-changing. Oh, and there would be a $200 fee to redeem the credit. That stung, but at least part of the ticket will be put toward eventual travel.

By the time this all shook out, I accumulated more Citi ThankYou points. And continue to earn 30,000 to 40,000 ThankYou points per month.

Then I thought, why not take my little brother anyway?

How to add another person to the trip?

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Booking Hawaii: Part 1 – Flights for 4 to Honolulu

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Next month, I’m headed to Honolulu with my Mom, stepdad, and little brother. I’d been throwing around the idea of a family vacation for a while.

I haven’t been back to Hawaii since 2013.

I enjoyed my time at the Hilton Hawaiian Village so much, I swore I’d go back someday. And now that I’m all Hilton-y and have Diamond elite status, I thought my Mom would absolutely love staying here with me. So I wanted to treat her to a trip.

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

But first, to get there.

Sussing out flights to Honolulu

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NYC-BRU J Award Seats on Brussels Open May & June 2017 – Book With Citi ThankYou Points!

I just so happened to be casually looking for JFK-BRU Business Class award space on Brussels Airlines because that’s what Saturday mornings are for, right?

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

I was able to find a Business Class award seat on the JFK or EWR to BRU route nearly every day in May and June 2017 (with a few dates in March and April, too).

The reason I’ve had my eye on this award is because Citi ThankYou points transfer 1:1 to Etihad Guest miles. And Etihad has a very generous award chart on this particular route.

as

37K round-trip in Business Class? Yes, plz!

A round-trip ticket in Business Class costs just 36,620 Etihad Guest miles. Of course, you have to transfer in increments of 1,000, so realistically this will cost 37,000 Citi ThankYou points. Which is a steal. 

Look

Look for SAVER award space

United would charge 70K miles each way, or 140,000 miles, round-trip. So you’ll save a huge number of points by booking through Etihad instead.

How to find the space

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Should You Use a 0% APR Card to Pay Off Debt?

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NOTE: The card APRs in this post are current at the time of writing (July 28th, 2016). Be sure to check the offers for more details.

So here’s an idea I’ve been tossing around.

It absolutely burns me up that I’m still dealing with student loan debt. And it should. Mr. Money Mustache said it best:

YOUR DEBT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU “WORK ON”. IT IS A HUGE, FLAMING EMERGENCY!!!

I’ve put off paying down this debt because there have been other opportunities to earn more: I bought a house, maxed out my IRA, started Airbnbs, and now I’m looking at buying a duplex in the DFW area.

All of these things either appreciate or earn more than the interest I pay on my student loans.

But I’ll be damned if carrying that balance doesn’t give me a red rump.

The idea

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New Changes to Citi Prestige, Complete With Typo of Points Worth 2 Cents Each for AA Flights

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Update: The old 50K offer is still available! I’d apply sooner rather than later if you want it. It also says you’ll get AA lounge access still.

Update: Peeps on Reddit are reporting the 2 cent valuation, too. Who knows if Citi will honor this – it does seem like a careless typo after all, which is honestly inexcusable for a bank of their size.

Welp, the dreaded changes to Citi Prestige are in:

  • 40,000 Citi ThankYou points as a sign-up bonus
  • Minimum spending increased to $4,000 in 3 months
  • Dropping American Airlines Admirals Club access (but here’s an easy way to get in anyway)
  • No changes to 2X dining category (or any other bonus categories)

I’m guessing they had to axe the AA lounge access because of upcoming arrangements between Citi and Barclays with AA cards. That is fine. They could’ve been much worse.

Citi being Citi?

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Citi AT&T Access More Card Earns 3X for Student Loan Payments on Plastiq

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I made a test payment to my student loan company through Plastiq and earned 3X Citi ThankYou points with the Citi AT&T Access More card.

I’ve written how easy it is to boost your ThankYou points balance by paying rent and mortgages via Plastiq with that card.

Literally the devil

Literally the devil

And now, there’s another way to earn Citi ThankYou points if you need to make student loan payments.

About Plastiq + Citi AT&T Access More

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Best Cards to Use for Amazon Prime Day

It’s here – Amazon Prime Day. I was excited to see what Amazon would do today (July 12th, 2016) after the disappointing selection last year.

Prime Day

Prime Day is here, and it’s worth it this year

It looks good – there are many worthwhile deals for items like TVs, tablets, portable readers, clothes, even cleaning supplies.

Discounts are around 25%, with some items even more reduced. So it might be worth it to stock up – or at least see if something catches your eye today.

What’s Prime Day?

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Is Citi Planning Changes to the Prestige Card?

I got an email from Citi asking me to take a survey put together by ISG Research (Insight Strategy Group).

Citi's

Citi’s rather vague email

The subject was, “We want your feedback on the best credit card rewards programs.”

But once I got into it, I realized they were asking about the Citi Prestige card.

The email even said, “Cardmember since 2015,” which was the year I got my Citi Prestige card.

In the survey, they ask the respondent to consider several mash-ups of card features and select the best option.

They throw around current Citi Prestige features like the 4th night free, annual fee, transfer partners, and ancillary benefits like the 3 free rounds of golf.

What is Citi considering?

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App-O-Rama: 4 New Cards and ~200,000 Points

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Oh man, looking back on my first AOR 3 years ago is such a stroll down memory lane.

Still the best high I've found

Still the best high I’ve found

I was still newish to points and miles, new to blogging, still finding my voice and figuring out my travel goals.

I mentioned them at the time:

My travel goals for this round of apps are Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Dublin, Seattle, Alaska, and eventually, Australia. I’d also LOVE to fit in Vienna/Prague sometime this summer.

I made it to all of those places with the exception of Prague (which I mentioned recently as a possibility with Hilton points, so it’s still on my radar):

It goes to show the power of setting a goal.

But I should take a little wisdom “Three Years Ago Harlan” because my recent round of applications were rather scattershot. After I get settled in Dallas, I’m gonna need to plan a lot of trips with all the points and miles I’ll earn from this newest AOR.

4 new cards!

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Earn Points for Rent and Mortgage Payments With Plastiq (2% Fee With MasterCards)

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I’ve long enjoyed using RadPad despite its 2% fee because I’ve been earning 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on rent with my Citi AT&T Access More card, which far outweighs it, especially when paired with Citi Prestige.

But on June 1st, 2016, RadPad is increasing its rent bill payment fee to 3.49%, which makes the service much less appealing.

Byeee

Byeee

But, Plastiq easily takes its place – and charges a 2% fee on MasterCard payments. Even better, you can earn 3X Citi ThankYou points with the Citi AT&T Access More card. And, it works on mortgage payments, too.

Plastiq is the new sheriff in town

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