Become a TravelWithMiles Guru Contest!

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What would you do if you had a frequent flyer expert like me sitting right beside you telling you exactly what to do to earn the miles and book an amazing vacation?

Someone who could:

  • Help you repair your credit (Imagine our Credit Repair 101 but with custom advice!)
  • Give you personalized recommendations on the best credit card to reach your goals (Did you know you can get 40,000 miles with no spending requirement just by getting one card?)
  • Show you other completely free ways to earn miles
  • Show you how to get miles for money you already spend every month
  • Show you ways to get miles for any dollar you spend including rent, car payments, student loans and more
  • Walk you step by step through sophisticated manufactured spending strategies (such as How to Spend Money without Spending Money)
  • And do all of it either in person or via Facetime / Skype!

To celebrate passing 2000 Fans on our Facebook page, we are running a contest that will give you exactly the personalized help I mentioned above for a period of 3 months.  I am so confident that I can help the winner earn miles that I will make you a guarantee!

IMG_5915

Cancun, Mexico

If at the end of 3 months of my guidance, you haven’t earned enough miles for a free plane ticket to Cancun, Mexico from your location in the continental U.S. , then I will give you one completely free using my miles!

To Enter:

  1. Like TravelWithMiles on Facebook
  2. Like and Share this picture on Facebook as a “Public” share so we can see it and count it.
  3. Sign up for our email newsletter
Sign Up Today!

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Now there are a couple of terms & conditions:

  • You need to be willing to commit to one hour a week via in person or Facetime / Skype
  • You need to be willing to try new things including applying for a credit card or opening a miles earning debit card.  We won’t make you do anything you aren’t comfortable with and will show you how and why we are making every recommendation.
  • Open only to U.S. residents (Sorry International Fans!) and one entry per person.
  • If at the end of the 3 month Guru Training period you don’t have enough points or miles for a coach ticket from your home city to Cancun, Mexico, then we will use our miles to get you one subject to award availability dates
  • The winner will be chosen from the eligible entries in one week on Friday, July 25th at 5 PM EST.

That’s it, good luck and thanks for being a fan!

 

Chase Ink Plus 70,000 Point offer available in Branch

Chase has made a 70,000 point offer for the Chase Ink Plus business card available in their branches.  As of right now this isn’t available online.  You have to spend $5K in the first 3 months to get the bonus.  This is the credit version of the Chase Ink Bold charge card.  I have made hundreds of thousands of miles from my Chase Ink Bold card with the 5X points bonus it gives you for Office Supply stores.

Thanks Cyin on FT for the pic!

Thanks Cyin on FT for the pic!

This is the best offer I have seen for these cards since they originally came out, so if you were thinking about getting one, then now would be a good time.  Note that you will have to pay the annual fee on this one, but the $95 is worth it for the extra 20K Points over the standard 50K offer.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

 

Is it safe to fly right now?

With the not too distant disappearance of MH370, the recent shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine, the crash of TransAsia Airways G222 in Taiwan in inclement weather, the FAA banning flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket hits just a mile from the airport and just today Al Algerie flight 5017 crashing, it begs the question Is it safe to fly right now?

Armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk regionI personally have been to both Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur so I feel a little more of a connection to the recent missile attack.  This isn’t the first time the FAA has blocked access to certain country’s airspaces.  In fact, they even have a graphic prepared about the most dangerous places to fly.FAA AirspaceBut as I do with anything when I want to make a decision, I want to look at the numbers: The Wikipedia page for Aviation Incidents and Accidents makes me feel even worse showing 20 major incidents since 1980 with hundreds of lives lost in each one.  Air FatalitiesAck!  I don’t want to be in a plane at all looking at that graph!

But when I look at the total number of Airline Movements for 2007, I see numbers like 76 Million airline movements per year so you do have to put things in perspective.  This quote from that Wikipedia article puts it better than I could summarize:

Per every billion kilometers traveled, trains have a fatality rate 12 times over air travel; by comparison, fatality rates for automobiles are 62 times greater than air travel. By contrast, for every billion journeys, buses are the safest form of transportation. By the last measure, air transportation is three times more dangerous than car transportation, and almost 30 times more dangerous than bus”

So that means on any given trip, it is more dangerous to be in a plane than a car. But when you are deciding between air travel and car travel you have to look at the number of miles you are going because each additional mile in a car increases the danger of an accident.

The best statistic to look at to make you feel better is that your odds of dying in a plane crash are 11 million to one.  The odds of being struck by lightning in any given year is 700,000 to one.Back to the FutureSo if you don’t sit around worrying about dying from 2.31 Gigawatts of electricity, then I wouldn’t think twice about getting onto a plane.   Especially if it is going somewhere fun like Ibiza!  And remember too, that 74.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot! ;)

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

 

Get paid $13 for earning 400 miles with Amex and Best Buy!

Don’t forget to enter our TravelWithMiles Guru contest that ends Friday.  A free plane ticket to Cancun is guaranteed but maybe even more!

I’ve talked about Amex Sync offers in the past and have made money and miles with them several times.  I even recently gave away one of the CPK gift cards that I received with a Sync offer to a lucky Facebook reader.

Best Buy has a current Amex Sync offer for $25 back with a $250 purchase. It is super easy to get.

  1. Register for the Promotion
  2. Buy $250 worth of anything at Best Buy (including gift cards)
  3. $25 credit will automatically post to your Amex account

1. Register for the Promotion

You can register for the promotions within Amex online account (where you pay your bill online), or via Facebook, or via FourSquare, or Via Twitter.  I prefer using Twitter because it is fast and I get an instant tweet back confirming my sign up.  I don’t really use Twitter but set up an account just for promotions like this.  If you haven’t linked your Amex Card to the Sync Program yet then Click on this link and then Click on Sign in with Twitter.Sync TwitterIt will then pop up an authorization screen where it lets you connect your twitter account to your Amex Sync account.  Just put in your Twitter login information here (notice the site is on Twitter.com so you aren’t giving your login info away to some third party site).  Don’t worry if this sounds complicated.  It’s not!Amex Sync AuthOnce you get logged in you link your Amex card to your twitter account.

Once all that is done, you just Tweet #AmexBestBuy and you should get a tweet back as well as an email confirming your signup (or letting you know if there is a problem like they have reached capacity, which happens sometimes).  If you want to use Facebook or Foursquare then follow the directions at this page, but I find Twitter to be the quickest.  Keep in mind if you have multiple Amex cards, you can sync each one with a different method and get multiple sync bonuses.  At that point you are ready for Step 2.

2. Buy $250 worth of anything at Best Buy (including gift cards)

I didn’t need any electronics right now so I decided to go with my favorite thing to buy, gift cards!  They mainly have Best Buy gift cards, but if you look carefully in the same section, they also have Best Buy branded VISA gift cards.  Score! They look like this. Best Buy Gift CardsI bought two of them for $205.95 each for a total of $411.90.  At the cashier I had the cashier put $250 on my Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, and then the balance on my US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® (I am trying to build up my US Airways miles so I have enough for a fun trip).  So total I will receive 250 SPG points and 162 US Airways miles. I will have paid $411.90 and receive a $25 credit back, for a net profit of $13.10.  Which brings us to the easy part, step 3.

3. $25 credit will automatically post to your Amex account

This part happens really quickly.  More or less immediately after you make the charge, you should get an email thanking you for using your synced card at Best Buy.Amex EmailThe credit should post to your account within one or two days even though it says it can take up to 90.

What now?

Now that you have $400 in Visa gift cards, what to do with them?  You have several different options.  Of course you can just spend them for day to day expenses.  Or you can load them onto your Bluebird card and use them to Pay your rent or Mortgage.  Or you can even get money orders for them from Walmart or Kroger! So many options and all of them are great!  You will need to set the PIN on these Metabank VISA cards before you can use them for this by calling 1-888-524-1283.

I know it doesn’t seem like this is a huge deal.  And it isn’t.  But if you look back at all of the Manufactured Spend posts we have made over the last few weeks, you will see that they really add up over time to a decent chunk of miles!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

 

TWM, Take Me Away to Croatia for Free!

Don’t forget to enter our TravelWithMiles Guru contest that ends Friday.  A free plane ticket to Cancun is guaranteed but maybe even more!

This is another in our Take Me Away series of articles.  We first showed you how to get to Bali for free then tackled Costa Rica, then showed you how to get to the World Cup!  I took my own advice and ended up flying to Costa Rica in May for only $45!  If you don’t have miles yet, take 30-45 minutes and complete our free Getting Started page so you will be ready next time.

Croatia

When I dug into how to get to Croatia using miles, I checked the main three alliances of OneWorld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance for routing to Croatia.  If you want to know more about alliances and how they work read our ABC’s of Airline Alliances article.

What I found was that to get to Split, Croatia (which is on the coast and where Yacht Week Croatia leaves from ), Star Alliance had the best routes and availability.  Skyteam only can route you to Split through Moscow so I eliminated that option.  That leaves Star Alliance and OneWorld so today we will show 2 different ways to get to Croatia for free!

Option 1: Use 60,000 or 100,000 United Miles

Star Alliance has the best routing and availability to get to Croatia and you can get there for 60,000 United Miles in coach or 140,000 United Miles in Business Class. We looked for seats in June 2015 and found several options such as Miami to Split via Frankfurt on Lufthansa for 60K + $139.
MIA-SPU United If you have the miles, Business Class across the pond is always preferred.  Although with the extra connection in Lisbon and the miles savings even I might choose coach over 140K + $139.MIA-SPU United BizGetting these miles is actually quite easy.  I would recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with its 40,000 point sign on bonus then transferring those points to United.  For the remaining 20K miles, I would Spend Money Without Spending Money, or Get Frequent Flyer Miles by Paying your Rent or Mortgage.

You could also get the Chase Ink Bold card with its 50K bonus and get the remaining 10K from the same ways listed above, or of course, just normal spending.

You could also get the United Explorer Card which will give you 30K to 50K depending on what your account is targeted for. You may have to be logged into your United account to see the higher bonus.

Option 2: Use 60,000 or 100K American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

For this one award seats aren’t available yet for next summer so I searched for this summer to see what sorts of flights would be available, and it doesn’t look good.  3 connections and two overnights on the way home for 60K miles and $311 in fees and taxes.

MIA-SPU AA

To get the miles you could just pick up the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with it’s 40K bonus after spending $1 or the Citibank AA Platinum Personal MC with its 50K bonus after spending $3000.  Make up the different in miles needed by Spending Money Without Spending Money, or Getting Frequent Flyer Miles by Paying your Rent or Mortgage.

Finding Business Class options for 100K was a challenge so if you wanted to fly Biz you would need to be even more flexible with your dates and routing.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Star Alliance / United option is really much better than any of the other ways to get there.  That is what I would focus on to get there.  Since Croatia and Europe are much more popular in the Summer, now is the perfect time to start getting your miles together for a trip next year.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

 

1500 US Airways miles for Spending $1? OK.

Don’t forget to enter our TravelWithMiles Guru contest that ends Friday.  A free plane ticket to Cancun is guaranteed but maybe even more!

Barclays Bank just loves to keep on giving!  I received a 40,000 US Airways Mile sign up bonus after spending just $1 on my US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® a few years ago.US Air Bonus Banner

Since I have been out of town, I haven’t been able to activate a replacement card they sent me.  Well, I guess they really wanted me to activate it because I got this in the mail as well.US Air 1500This is one of the reasons I tell people not to cancel their cards right away after they get the sign up bonus.  Sometimes they will surprise you with little bonus offers during the year that are a great deal.  In this case, I just have to make any purchase, even if it is $1 and I will get 1500 US Airways miles!  And then when I logged onto my account online, I got another offer!US Airways 20 PercentThis means I’ll get 1.2 Miles per dollar for normal purchases and 2.4 miles per dollar for US Airways purchases for the rest of the summer.  Nothing earth shattering, but free miles are free miles!

So US Airways card holders check your email and online because you might have a similar offer.  And if you don’t have this card yet, then why not apply now for 40,000 Miles after spending $1!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested!

 

How to Buy Money Orders with a Gift Card at Kroger

I have been buying money orders at Walmart with gift cards for a while now to earn free miles from my US Airways card, but I have been looking for a closer alternative because the Walmart is a little out of the way for me.  I just recently found that you can also buy money orders at Kroger grocery stores! This means that I have another place to take my Simon Mall Gift cards, and the gift cards from offers like the $15 free from Bank of America and Kmart offer and $20 free and 2000 miles from Staples offer that I wrote about this week.  This is a key part of my plan on How to Spend Money without Spending Money for almost Free Miles!

How to do it

Start out at the Guest Care and Money Services Desk.

IMG_9309My location was selling them for only $0.69!IMG_9296Tell the cashier you need a $1000 money order (or whatever amount) and they will ring up the total.  You can do multiple money orders at one time but if you get $3,000 or more they have to fill out a form with your ID.

Tell them you are paying by debit card and tell them you want to split the transaction and put $500 on your debit card (or whatever amount your gift cards are for). Remember that you need to have set the PIN for the gift cards before you use them!  Then swipe your card on the credit card terminal that looks like this.IMG_9297Confirm the amount on the screen.IMG_9300Then enter your PIN.IMG_9298Repeat this as many times as necessary until you have a zero balance.  I typically use up all of my gift cards completely and then pay cash for the balance (which is just the money order fees)IMG_9302And you are done! You can then take this money order and deposit it in your bank account.

Conclusion

Since there are a bunch of Kroger stores in Nashville where I am currently visiting, having another option besides Walmart to buy money orders and liquidate gift cards is great.  Do you know any other locations where you can use gift cards with a PIN to buy money orders?

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested!

 

400-2000 Free Points this week with Staples.

You really can’t beat deals where you get paid to take points. When these come up I like to go big like when I made 43,000 points in one week at Officemax.  This is another one of those deals, but just a smaller one. This offer is good though July 19, 2014.

What do you need?

The Deal

Staples $300

Staples has a deal this week where when you buy $300 worth of gift cards you will get a $20 Staples gift card in the mail via their easy rebate program (which is the easiest online only rebate program and only takes about 3 minutes to complete when you get home).

How to do it

Go to your local staples and find two $200 Mastercard gift cards.  You might call ahead to make sure they have them in stock before you drive there since not all stores carry the $200 variety and the Visa gift cards won’t work for this promotion. They will look like this (they are the same cards we bought in the recent $15 free money deal at Kmart).200 Mastercard

By buying two $200 gift cards each with a $6.95 fee, you will minimize the % of the fee per dollar.  This means that your total cost will be $413.90 for two gift cards.  If you use the US Airways card, you will get 413 US Airways miles for this purchase.  If you use your Chase Ink Bold card, you will get 2070 Ultimate Rewards points since they give you 5 miles per dollar at office supply stores like Staples. Remember you will be getting a $20 Staples gift card back in the mail in a few weeks which will mean you got $400 in gift cards for $413.90 – $20 – $393.90!

What to do with the gift cards?

Conclusion

You really can’t go wrong with this deal.  Getting paid to take points is one of the things I love about the points and miles game!  Enjoy!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested!

 

Awesome Deal Alert! Miami to Ibiza in September for $672

Ibiza Closing Parties 009I prefer to go to Ibiza like I did last year in First Class for only $218, but I know some of you haven’t followed our 45 minute Getting Started page yet so don’t have the miles you would need for that yet.  My friends at the Flight Deal posted this today for Miami to Ibiza and it is such a great deal that I wanted to share it with my readers.  I know some of you are planning Ibiza trips for this year and this one is a steal! Do your friends a favor and share this post with them! The fares on sale are originating in Miami and terminating in Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, Mallorca, Bilbao, Malaga, Tenerife or Valencia in Spain.

I found some awesome flights for Ibiza for Sept 14-20th.  You leave on Sunday the 14th and get there in time to make it to DC-10 on Monday, one of the best parties on the island.  Then you leave at 3 PM on Saturday afternoon, have an overnight to explore Madrid (23 hour layover) then come back Sunday to Miami at 3 PM.Ibiza-672Other dates were available as well for 5-8 day trips.  The prices range from $672 to $770 or so. Ibiza Calendar

I was able to verify that these fares were available both on CheapoAir , CheapFlights and Orbitz so get to it!  I really don’t think these will last. Air Europa is in the Skyteam Alliance but unfortunately due to the fare code that this ticket has you can’t earn Delta Skymiles on this flight by putting your Skymiles number in.  Read my article about the ABC’s of Airline Alliances for more details on how that works.

If you would rather go for free like I do, then why not get started with the US Airways card that gives you 40,000 miles after your first purchase!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested!

 

Free $15 with your Bank of America Credit or Debit card and KMart

We realize that not every deal can be 43,000 Ultimate Rewards points in a week.  Sometimes, you come across a little deal that is just free money.  This is one of those deals.  It probably isn’t worth a special trip, but if you are running to Simon Malls to buy some gift cards so you can Get Miles for Paying your Rent or Mortgage and their happens to be a KMart on the way, why not pick up an extra $15?

If you have a Bank of America credit card or debit card, they have a section on their online banking under Cash Back Deals called BankAmeriDeals.BankAmeriDealsDeals come and go, but the one we are interested in is the one for 10% cash back at KMart through 7/22/14.  When I click on the logo, it gives you more details.KMart Details

All you have to do is go to KMart and buy $150 worth of anything and Bank of America will give you $15 back as a credit on your account.  When I went there I found a big gift card rack with Amazon gift cards, restaurant gift cards, phone gift cards, and most importantly, Visa and Mastercard gift cards!  I grabbed a $200 Mastercard which had a $6.95 fee that looked like this.200 MastercardI took it to the cashier and told them I wanted to put $150 on my Bank of America card then the remaining balance on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  This way I will max out the $15 total benefit with my Bank of America card and get Ultimate Rewards points for the balance ($56.95).

When I opened the package I instantly saw what I was looking for, the PIN code.IMG_9311I was able to take this card along with some others and buy a money order at the Walmart money center.  I then was able to deposit that money order in my checking account which I used to pay off the credit card bill.

At the end of the day, I spent $206.95 and got a $15 credit.  So after the fee this comes to $8.05 in profit, but I also got 1% cashback on the BoA charge (so $1.50) plus 56 UR points.  Not a home run by any means, but $8 is enough for lunch at a lot of places.  Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch! :)  Note if I wanted, I could have bought a $150 Amazon gift card which has no fees and gotten the full $15 in cash back.  Since I didn’t have any Amazon purchases planned, I preferred something I could easily convert to cash.

What do you think?  Is this worth your time if you are already out and about? As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!