Blackbird Friday: Amex shutdown of thousands of Bluebird accounts

BlueBirdRIPWell, it has been a great run.  Back in October 2012, Amex and Walmart launched the Bluebird account, a prepaid checking alternative for people who were sick of the fees charged by banks or had problems with overdrafts.  For those of us in the points and miles game things got more interesting when it was possible to reload your account using gift cards.  This gave us $5000 in almost free spending each month which made it a snap to meet high spend requirements for both sign on bonuses and ongoing spending bonuses. Well today Bluebird’s time came to an end for many many folks including myself who used it for liquidating $5K of gift cards each month.  The hammer dropped on thousands of account at about 10:57 EST this morning.  Emails came out shortly before then:

BluebirdRIP

All accounts were not effected but judging from the FlyerTalk thread it was a wide selection of accounts.  The obvious candidates were people who loaded their card with the maximum of $5,000 each month and then did a Bill Pay to a credit card or otherwise cashed it out via ATM or bank transfer.  While this is definitely a blow to many, there are still alternatives such as Money Orders with Gift Cards at Walmart and Money Orders with Gift Cards at Kroger so if you are stuck with a bunch of gift cards, don’t despair!

The miles game operates in ebbs and flows and when one door closes another one opens.  Besides if nothing ever changed then what would I write about!? 🙂  Respond in a comment below if you were effected and what you will do as an alternative.

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!

Awesome Deal Alert – Miami to Berlin, $503 round trip!

I know a lot of my readers are interested in Berlin for the music scene (Hello Berghain) and culture so this Black Friday deal might be right up your alley!  Berghain-LinkOur friends over at Flight Deal found a great fare on Air Berlin from Miami to Berlin for  $503!  We found similar fares for many dates in both January and February 2016. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 5.06.13 PM Here is a sample fare from Priceline leaving January 21, 2016.

Air Berlin is a member of the Oneworld Alliance so you could credit the miles to either British Airways or American Airlines for easier use.  Getting to Europe this cheap even during the off peak season is awesome!  Fares this low usually go quickly so if you are interested, I would book sooner rather than later.

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!

6000 Bonus United Miles for shopping online!

This time of year brings a bunch of holiday shopping promotions where you can earn tons of extra miles!  United MileagePlus Shopping just announced a promotion where you can get up to 6000 bonus miles on top of what you would normally receive.United MileagePlus Shopping 6000 Bonus  If you have never shopped online and earned miles then check out this article on Online Shopping for Mega Miles.  Here are the details on this promotion.

  • Spend $150+ : 500 Bonus Miles
  • Spend $350+ : 1500 Bonus Miles
  • Spend $650+ : 3000 Bonus Miles
  • Spend $1250+ : 6000 Bonus Miles

This offer is cumulative which means you can get the bonus even if you shop over different orders and different merchants.  The offer is valid from November 6th – 24th.  This is a great time to get some Christmas shopping done and make a bunch of extra miles doing it!  If you stack this with some of their current specials such as Nordstrom’s for 12 miles per dollar, then you could get 21,000 miles for $1250 in spending which is just about enough for a free ticket anywhere in the US!

Note, I don’t see a splash screen when I click on the link so here are the terms and conditions that were contained in the email I received. This offer is automatically applied to all purchases during the promo period so just shop through the portal and you are all set!

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!

“*During the “Holiday Early Access” bonus campaign, which runs from November 6, 2015 through November 24, 2015 at 11:59:59 pm ET (the “Bonus Period”), Member will receive a one-time bonus of up to 6,000 bonus award miles on qualifying purchases, in addition to the standard miles earned from shopping online through MileagePlus® Shopping. Bonus miles will be issued based on Member’s cumulative qualifying purchases made during the Bonus Period: 500 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of at least $150; 1,500 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of at least $350; 3,000 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of at least $650; or 6,000 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of $1,250 or more. Returns, cancellations, shipping and handling, taxes, gift card or other cash equivalent purchases, and certain products are not included in the bonus award miles eligibility calculation; please see the MileagePlus Shopping site for details on product eligibility and/or any coupon code details or other usage restrictions. Please allow 8-10 weeks after the Bonus Period for bonus award miles to post to your MileagePlus Shopping account. The maximum number of bonus award miles that will be awarded to an eligible MileagePlus Shopping account through the “Holiday Early Access” bonus campaign is 6,000 bonus award miles. This offer cannot be combined with other offers or promotions. Please check the MileagePlus Shopping site daily for updates to increased earning opportunities. Void where prohibited by law. “

Get 15,000 Club Carlson points with any Park Inn booking!

Though December 31, 2015, Club Carlson has a great promotion available where you can earn 15,000 Gold points when you book one night at any Park Inn hotel in the Americas.  You can view a list of the locations here, but I saw one in Orlando for just $69 a night that would qualify and could work if I go to Hollywood Horror Nights this year.  unnamed

15,000 points is enough for almost two free nights at a Category 1 property (9K each night) such as this Radisson Blu in Egypt.Radisson Blu El Quseir Egypt LinkSo book one $69 hotel night and get two free nights at this awesome resort!  What a deal!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter 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!

Make money AND UR miles with OfficeMax and Chase Ink

Through Saturday, August 29, Officemax is having an unadvertised special where you get a $15 rebate when you buy $300 worth of Visa gift cards.  I made a whopping 24,000 miles during a promotion just like this one around Christmas by driving around to different OM stores.  By buying 3X$200 gift cards you will get an instant $30 discount off the total automatically.  The gift cards each have a $6.95 fee so your total for all $600 in gift cards will just be $590.85 [(3X$206.95) – $30]!  This means you are getting $10 for free!IMG_7426

Hello, free lunch!

But wait… There’s more!  If you use a normal miles earning credit card you will score 591 miles or points, but if you use the Chase Ink Plus card (which gives you 5X points on Office Supply stores like OM) you will take home almost 3,000 of the ultra valuable Ultimate Rewards points.

You can usually do this once per day at every OfficeMax in your local area (if they aren’t sold out of course).  Note this works for the $200 and $100 gift cards but the $200 are a better value since the fee is approximately the same.  Keep in mind that even though they are merged, this promotion is only at OfficeMax stores not Office Depots.  You can also call before you go to make sure they have the $200 Visa’s in stock so you don’t waste a trip.

Make money and miles… Does it get any better?

1000 Bonus Starpoints with any weekend SPG stay for 3Q2015

Starwood Preferred Guest just announced a promotion from now until August 31, 2015 where you can get a bonus 1000 Starpoints whenever you have a stay that includes a weekend night (defined as Fri, Sat or Sun except in the middle east where it is Thu, Fri, and Sat).SPG Weekend bonus This promotion can be a sweet deal especially if you have a low cost one night weekend stay to boost your points earnings.  To maximize it if you didn’t mind moving properties a bit, you could do three different SPG properties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and get 3000 extra Starpoints plus you get to see different properties too!

I recently used 10,000 Starpoints a night to score this room in Detroit during the Movement music festival.  Paid rates were $379 a night which gave me a value of 3.79 cents per point! This promotion will get you 10% of a free room like this every time you use it which is pretty nice!Westin Detroit

Free points are always welcome.  We will see what the other chains come up with this quarter to find the best value and let you know our thoughts!

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!

The easiest 1000 AA Miles you will ever make!

Every once in a while a promotion comes up that is so easy it is crazy!  How about a completely free 1000 American miles for 2 minutes of your time?  All you need for this promotion is a free American Airlines AAdvantage account.  No credit cards, no purchase, no muss, no fuss! This promotion is available from now to June 12, 2015 but do it right now so you don’t forget!

AA Plane LinkClick here to get easy free miles!

To show you exactly how easy it is we took a video and it took us a little over 2 minutes.  That is 500 miles a minute or 30,000 miles per hour! 🙂

Are these the easiest miles you have ever earned?  Let us know in the comments!

1000 free points for e-Statements? Sign me up! Happy Belated Earth Day!

Sometimes they make earning points so easy!  This is one of those times! Club Carlson (the loyalty program for Radisson plus some other chains) just sent me an email for a free 1000 points if I agreed before April 28 to take electronic statements via email and an electronic version of my membership card.  Of course I will do that!  Since I have Awardwallet, my membership cards are long thrown away anyhow and I hate junk mail so this is win-win! And if you don’t have a free Club Carlson account, then why not do our Getting Started page now so you can take advantage of the next special that comes around. Continue reading “1000 free points for e-Statements? Sign me up! Happy Belated Earth Day!”

2000 Easy Ultimate Rewards Points this week from Staples

Now through Saturday. April 25, 2015 if you have an Chase Ink Plus, Ink Bold or Ink Cash card you can pick up an easy 2000 Ultimate Rewards points!  Staples is having a special where if you buy $300 of either their MasterCard or Visa gift cards, they will via easy rebate (this means it is all online and not a mail in rebate) send you a $20 Staples Gift card by mail.

Staples Gift Card promoThe process in easy steps. Continue reading “2000 Easy Ultimate Rewards Points this week from Staples”

How I am flying to Chicago for just $11 and 5800 points!

This is another post in the How I am Series of articles that show you the nuts and bolts of how I play the free travel game.Chicago Bean Link

They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity and I am a very lucky guy.  When I saw that my friend and Incorrect Records label boss Anthony Attalla was spinning at a birthday party at Spybar in Chicago in May, I was on the lookout for a deal on award tickets.  I just scored round trip airfare for just $11 and 5800 Southwest points which is a steal! I’m going to do this one a bit differently and break this deal down backwards. Continue reading “How I am flying to Chicago for just $11 and 5800 points!”