Buying Membership Rewards at Saks Fifth Avenue

While you might not think of credit card points as something you “buy,” there is certainly a value to them, and if you can find a good deal, you should go for it!  The trouble is sometimes in finding the deal. In this case, it all began with an AmEx…

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Mattress Running at the Holiday Inn Express Brockton

No, I didn’t check in to a 5 star resort, and I didn’t sip champagne from a room service flute.  I did, however, get 6,566 IHG points (worth somewhere around $45.96) on a $130.19 stay.  Still not impressed? That’s ok, I don’t blame you. But there is more to the story….

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Nashville: The Details

Only a month late!  When I realized we had hit October, I knew I had to get this one posted.  Not sure how many folks read these ones, but I always find it interesting to dig into some of the scheduling and budget details for traveling.

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The Black Hills of South Dakota

The Black Hills includes everything you’ve read so far, and because there’s so much there, I wanted to break it up into a few separate posts.  There is simply no way to explain everything in one.  For a place you might never have heard of, there sure is a lot…

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National Parks, Monuments, and Places to Explore in the Black Hills

One of the great aspects of this area of the country is the land.  Luckily, much of it is protected in some form by the National Park system, and you’d regret not seeing at least some of it.  If you’re in the area, be sure to explore some of the…

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Monthly Points Update June 2017

June! Can’t believe we’re half way through the year.  It’s flown by…even though I (sadly) haven’t done that much flying.  Luckily, the summer has a lot of travel coming up:  Austin this month, Denver/South Dakota the next, and Nashville in August.  Meanwhile, I’ve been socking away points and waiting for…

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Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Rapid Rewards

We’re working on one final hurrah for the Companion Pass – I’m going to snag a few vacation days, and we’ll plan 4 or 5 days in Havana, Cuba sometime around the end of the year!  Obviously, I couldn’t just let the Companion Pass sit there and collect dust.  My…

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Flexible Points for the Win!

I keep meaning to diversify my points. I have a whole pile of American Airlines miles (thanks Citi), plenty of American Express Membership Rewards, United MileagePlus miles, and a smattering of points with Alaska and Virgin America (soon to be combined anyway).  I had a healthy balance of Southwest Rapid Rewards,…

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Costa Rica: The Details

Well, let’s wrap up these Costa Rica posts, shall we? I love reliving the trip, but all good things must come to an end!  Besides, the faster I get these posts out, the more I can focus on the next trip – a weekend trip to Austin, Texas in June!…

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Investing with Rewards

Hey everyone! You know what I find really interesting? All the stats on this blog, any blog, really.  Come to think of it, I guess I just like statistics!  (Hey, anyone that tells you travel hacking doesn’t attract folks with a geek side…is lying.) It’s not a big blog over…

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Charm City Part 1: Start with Sunshine, Great Food, and Some Important Landmarks

Somewhere between reminders to “Be careful!” and short interrogation sessions – “Why would you even want to go there, what is there to do?” – we planned our visit to Baltimore over President’s Day Weekend. We weren’t scared off.  We didn’t feel scared at all, even walking through some of the trickier…

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Thoughts on the Airline Reimbursement Perk from American Express

American Express just isn’t what it used to be.  (Ask your grandfather.)  Sure, there’s this lingering air of prestige* when you pull out the Platinum card, but there are plenty of cards licking at its’ heels.  You can make (and probably win) the case that a card like the Citi Prestige…

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An Overnight Amtrak Ride, BOS-BAL

We survived! I mentioned briefly a few weeks ago that I’d be taking an overnight train with the family down to Baltimore, and we made it!  Honestly, I was a little apprehensive at first.  I really hit the rails running, making my first Amtrak journey a nine hour overnight ride.…

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2016 Review

I surprised myself with 2016 – happy to report it was a really successful year! In my 2015 Review post, I went through some of the highlights of that year, as well as some goals for 2016.  I want to take some time and review 2016 now!  Like I said,…

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Just another ride home from the airport: Triple stacking an Uber promotion

No, unfortunately, it wasn’t me heading home from the airport.  Full disclosure…I haven’t gotten time to travel since exploring Chicago this past October. I know!  I’m getting restless, but don’t worry.  I do have a few travel ideas coming up in the next couple of months. I happened to have friend…

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First Impressions: Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card

My second business credit card! When I applied for my first business card, I only based it on my occasional reselling of items on Amazon or on Ebay.  Luckily, American Express was happy to stroke my ego, agreeing that I had a “business” and I snagged a Starwood Preferred Business…

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Points Update December 2016

Hey everyone! Remember that Keeping Score page I created a while back? I totally understand if you don’t remember.  I realized the page wasn’t entirely useful in its current state.  You see, I update it every month.  That’s great for me, I get to see how far I’ve come.  But…

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Review: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

I recently product changed my Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite card to an AT&T Access More card from Citi (details to come).  The biggest reason I downgraded was the Executive card’s whopping $450 annual fee.  After the first year, I just couldn’t justify paying the high fee.  Originally, the card…

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First Impressions: Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard

So, the latest weapons in my arsenal are two new cards from Bank of America.  One personal, one business.  On the personal application, I opted for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard. I actually plan on keeping the Amtrak card long-term.  Some of the benefits we’ll discuss below will be…

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Earning Virgin America Miles with AirBnB

I love new partnerships between companies I use! And although this one isn’t new, it’s great.  AirBnB is a fantastic option for lodging while you’re travelling.  Usually the cost comes in low, and it offers a bit more local flair to your journey.  We’ve used AirBnB in Peru, and then…

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Mexico: The Details

If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we had a great time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula a few weeks ago.  True to form, I couldn’t just have fun…I had to get home and analyze the entire trip.  But let’s be honest, this is part of the fun for…

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Mexico: Chichen Itza and Ik Kil

Here’s the one you guys were waiting for:  Chichen Itza. As soon as we told folks we were going to the Yucatan, people wanted to know two things: “Are you going to stay on the Riviera Maya?” “Are you going to see Chichen Itza?” I can happily say that the…

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First Impressions: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business

My first business card! And shipped overnight, no less.  Long story. At any rate, I’ve very much enjoyed the opportunity to get started on some business credit history, and have access to some of the benefits of a business card.  I do plenty of little “side-gigs,” and with a dedicated business…

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First Impressions: Chase Southwest Plus

I took a break from my “First Impressions” posts on my new credit cards, as I thought they were starting to get repetitive.  Apply.  Get card.  Spend $$$.  Get miles.  Travel. Obviously, credit cards don’t differ heavily from one to the next on the surface.  Sure, there’s a few different…

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World Elite MasterCard Benefits: Wings

We’ve looked at all the ways a World Elite MasterCard will put you behind the wheel. We’ve analyzed some of the benefits for riding the waves. But what if the World Elite MasterCard in your wallet could give you wings too? I know, I know.  Very dramatic intro.  There was…

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First Impressions: Barclaycard Arrival+ World Mastercard

Application Process The Barclaycard Arrival+ application process was the same as any other online credit card application.  I was approved instantly upon completion of the application for a $5,000 credit line.  Not bad I thought, but definitely not as high as a few other cards I’ve had.

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