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

Ibiza Closing Parties 009Edit 7/27/14: Fare Gone! Congrats to all who got in on it! Make sure to sign up for our newsletter on the right hand side of our home page so you don’t miss the next big deal!

I 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!

5 Ways to get a Free Credit Score

Did you know that some credit cards will tell you what your credit score is for free?  Knowing your credit score is one of the most important things when you’re working on Credit Repair or about to apply for a new credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred with its 40,000 point sign on bonus.  Your credit score is computed by scoring different things in your credit file to come up with an objective number to help creditors quickly make credit decisions.  Credit ScoreWhile the above graph tells you what is important, it doesn’t tell you exactly what your score will be which is why it is great to be able to see your score regularly.  Here are some of the cards we recommend that allow you free access to your credit score:

1. Discover It Card.

This card is great because it not only gives you your FICO score but also has no annual fee (all of the rest below have annual fees).  This is one of the reasons that I still have this card even after getting it over 20 years ago.  Discover makes it really convenient by giving you credit score each month right on your monthly statement.  This makes it easy to keep an eye on that all important credit score.  Add this to the fact that Discover has a great cashback program with quarterly bonuses, great promotional 0% interest balance transfer offers (such as the 18 month interest free offer they currently have for new signups), no foreign transaction fees and is the only cars that you can use reliably in China, I really think that this card should be in everyone’s wallet.

 

 

2. US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

USAirThis card is one that we recommend over and over because of its generous 40,000 mile bonus with just $1 in spending!  In fact, I used part of this bonus recently to go to Austria, Germany and China in business class for just $184!  It also gives you a free FICO score via their website when you log into your account dashboard.  Their standard benefits of a free checked bag and a 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards definitely are useful to have.  To add a cherry on top, they have a 15 month 0% interest offer for balance transfers made in the first 45 days after your account opening.  Since US Airways has merged with American, these miles will eventually become American miles in 2015 and this card will disappear as we discussed in this article.

 

 

3. US Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card

US Bank FlexperksThis card is one we haven’t covered in a full article yet but we wanted to include it because it gives you a free Experian Credit Score monthly.  The 20,000 Flexpoint signup bonus can be redeemed for an airline ticket that costs up to $400 which can be a good value if you are trying to earn status with an airline while you redeem the bonus.  If you redeem your points wisely, you can end up with 2% back on normal expenses, 4% on airline purchases and cell phone bills, gas or groceries.  Look for a full article digging into this card soon, but for now check out the application page for details.

 

4. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Arrival Card BigThis card offers not only a free monthly FICO score, but also a 40,000 Arrival Mile sign up bonus that can be redeemed as a statement credit for up to $400 in travel related expenses.  We previously wrote about the 7 best ways to use the Arrival Card bonus, another article about the benefits in detail, and another article as a general overview.

 

 

5. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Capital One VentureCapital One Venture Rewards gives you a monthly non-FICO Transunion Educational Score each month via their online dashboard.  We got this card when they were offering a great100K bonus, but the 40K bonus they currently offer is still good for $400 in travel expenses.  This card offers 2X miles for every purchase which means it is worth 2% as a credit for travel related expenses.

 

Conclusion

By getting a credit card that gives you a free credit score each month it allows you to keep an eye on your score without paying for it.  This way if you notice a score drop due to mistakes on your credit report or fraud, you can quickly notice and take action.  Having quick access to your credit score also helps if you are doing our Credit Repair 101 Section and want to see how the changes are effecting your credit.  Finally, it allows you to know when the best time to apply for that new card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred is and its 40,000 point sign on bonus!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!

Austria, Germany, and China 2014: Part 12 – Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

This is part 12 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

I arrived in Xi’an (pronounced SEE-ANN) via high speed train and made my way to my hotel, the Ibis Heping Gate, which I booked on Expedia at a rate of $31/night with 5% cashback through UPromise.com.  It ended up being a bit of a walk from the Metrostation and I would probably recommend a taxi if you have luggage. I passed some interesting passenger bridges along the way…IMG_8271 In the Ibis elevator, I had to take a picture of this awesome sign.IMG_8266 The next morning, I took the tourist bus (which leaves from the train station) to the area east of Xi’an where the Terracotta warriors were discovered in 1974.  Hard to believe that no one even knew about this amazing feat before then!  This was built as a tomb for the First Emperor of a unified China, Emperor Qin. He ascended to the throne when he was only 13 and immediately ordered the start of construction on his tomb.  He was advised that whatever he was buried in his tomb with would go on with him to the afterlife which is why he decided to bury thousands (estimated 10,000) of these Terracotta Warriors to protect him after his death, including some people and horses alive.  700,000 people worked on his tomb during his life and after his death.  This is Pit 1. IMG_8294And a video of me walking into the main room for the first time.

Notice how each of them has a different face and hair style.IMG_8282

It was raining a bit but I still headed outside and took a walk around the grounds.

When I got back to town I grabbed a bite to eat and took pictures of some of the random things I saw.

The next day I walked along the old inner city wall and took in some great views of the old and new city.

 

On my way home, I saw a familiar sign in an unfamiliar place so I had to go in and check it out!IMG_8364This wasn’t your American neighborhood Walmart! (and I couldn’t get money orders like I do in the US!)

My last day I checked out the Bell Tower, the Muslim Quarter, the Great Mosque of Xi’an and wandered around trying fun foods.

 

Bell Tower of Xi'an
Bell Tower of Xi’an

On my next to the last day in Xi’an, I figured out that I would only have time to see either the Tianzi Mountains (numbers 1, 4, and 12 in my 12 sights I wanted to see) or Leshan (numbers 3 and 5 in my 12 sights I wanted to see). I ended up deciding to go the Pandora like mountains of Zhangjiajie and skipped Leshan which would end up being a mistake.  Getting from Xi’an to Zhangjiajie would have taken a lot of time via train (because there wasn’t high speed service) so I decided to pick up a one way flight from Xi’an to Dayong for $138 on China Eastern Airlines.  In my normal fashion, I ended up getting to the beautiful new airport with only minutes to spare, but made it on my flight.IMG_8386 As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!

11 Must Have Travel Apps

This is another of our Reader Questions series of articles. I’m also including it in our No Credit No Problem series because these can be useful even if you don’t have a credit card yet!

Stacy writes: “I recently received the 40,000 bonus miles from the US Airways card you recommended and am planning a trip to Europe this summer using the bonus! Thanks!  You talk a lot about using your smart phone for different things while you travel.  What are your favorite apps?”

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while because my smartphone (an unlocked 64 GB iPhone 5S) is so important to me when I travel.  I often joke that whenever I start to worry if I have everything before a trip, I say “iPhone, Macbook AIr, Passport.”  As long as I have those three everything else I can buy / replace on the trip.  These are my favorite apps and 9 out of 11 are completely free! (the other two are just $1.99 and $4.99 so they won’t really break the bank.)  These all make my travel experience less frustrating and more rewarding.

1. Awardwallet

Awardwallet keeps track of all of my frequent flyer and loyalty accounts so I always have my number handy (no more of those plastic cards cluttering my wallet!) and keeps track of my balances and when miles are expiring so I can do something about it before they do.  This is the second item in our Getting Started program, and there is a code in that article for a free 6 month upgrade to AwardWallet Plus, so check it out! Seriously.  Get this!
AwardwalletAwardWallet on IOS

AwardWallet on Android

2. GlobeConvertFree

This app converts anything to anything!  I use it most often for currency conversions and it downloads updated currency tables whenever it starts if you have a data connection.  But if not, it uses whatever the last rate you downloaded was.  Useful when you are trying to figure out the price of gas in other parts of the world (Liters what?) or temperature (I’m so American LOL)

GlobeConvertConvert on IOS

I don’t think this is released on Android but if anyone knows a similar one that they have experience with, leave a comment below and I will add it.

3. Google Translate

I use this all, all, all the time.  You do need a data connection, but it is invaluable to me. This app is a front end for the Google Translate web page.  It isn’t perfect, but it is good enough.

TranslateGoogle Translate on IOS

Google Translate on Android

4. World Travel Guide Offline

Probably my most important app when it comes to enjoying my trips.  It has awesome recommendations for every city in the world for places to eat, things to do and see, how to get to the city from the airport and so much more.  And it is all offline and downloaded to your phone so you can access it when you are on a plane or when you don’t have a data connection.  It is an offline version of a lot of the wikitravel site which is awesome. This one is $4.99 but I would pay $49.99 for it!

World Travel GuideWorld Travel Guide on IOS

World Travel Guide on Android

5. Kayak

I use this app most of the time to price out airline tickets that I can’t use miles for but it can be useful for hotels as well.

KayakKayak on IOS

Kayak on Android

6. TripAdvisor

I use this app when I want to look at picturess of a hotel and read reviews before I decide to book (either for paid stays or for miles).

TripadvisorTripAdvisor on iTunes

TripAdvisor on Android

7. Google Maps

I use the built in Apple Maps most of the time since it is more convenient especially with Siri, but for public transportation such as trains, subways, and buses, Google Maps is the king!

Google MapsGoogle Maps on iTunes

Google Maps on Android

8. Waze

You think Google maps is the best until you travel to Central America such as Panama or Costa Rica.  Waze maps are much more accurate in places where Google Maps hasn’t driven their cars around.  And you will really appreciate the crowd sourced traffic routing that it has when you are stuck in the legendary traffic of Panama City!

WazeWaze on iTunes

Waze on Android

9. Uber

Uber is a taxi alternative in major cities around the world and it makes sure you avoid the sometimes horrible experience of hailing a cab in some cities.  No stinky cab drivers talking away on their phone, long hauling you, and talking on their phones here.  Professional drivers with clean cars at similar rates to the taxis is the way to go.  I have a promotional link that will give you $30 in free credit, so click on this link and sign up first then download the app to get free credit

UberUber on iTunes

Uber on Android

10. Skype

This app is so useful not just for video chatting with friends and family, but also for calling your credit cards if there is a problem since toll free calls are completely free even using audio only.Skype

Skype on iTunes

Skype on Android

11. Whatsapp

When you meet people from around the world, whatsapp is how they communicate since you can send messages without paying expensive international SMS and MMS rates no matter what country you are from.  $1.99 but worth it!

Whatsapp

Whatsapp on iTunes

Whatsapp on Android

Conclusion

There you have our top 11 smartphone apps that we can’t live without!  Do you have another travel app that you love?  Tell us in the comments below!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!

How I Traveled with Miles in 2013

As each year ends, I think it is important to reflect on what has happened in the last year.  As I make decisions on how to acquire and use miles in 2014, I wanted to see what value I had received from my miles in the last year.

Looking back and writing it all down has helped me remember why I am so obsessed about points and has me looking forward to my travel in 2014!

If you are ready to get started, why not try the Chase Sapphire Preferred card?  With the Ultimate Rewards points it has, you can transfer them to all of the airlines I used to fly this year!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Ibiza 2013: Part 2 – Lufthansa First Class lounge in New York – JFK

This is the second post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

I started off at the same JFK Lufthansa lounge that I went to on my Eurotrip 2013, except this time instead of going to the Business Lounge, they let me into the keyed elevator to go to the top floor Senator Lounge.

IMG_6865

You could tell a difference immediately with the quantity and quality of the wines and liquors compared to the somewhat limited Business Lounge downstairs.IMG_6866They even had Patron in case I was in the mood for shots before the plane!

IMG_6870From the top floor First Class lounge you had a great view of the gate where your plane was.IMG_6873One of the differences between First Class and Business Class is the availability of sit down multiple course dining in First Class.  I had been traveling since 8:30 in the morning so was excited to put their kitchen through its paces.IMG_6874The menu had several tempting a la carte options in addition to the salad bar and hot buffet.IMG_6875I chose the Seared Sea Scallops which was a great choice!IMG_6876I enjoyed the desserts as well from the buffet. For the purposes of the article I had to try them all!

IMG_6871 IMG_6872I had about 4 hours to enjoy this lounge before my flight so I after my leisurely lunch I decided to take a shower before my transatlantic flight.  The bathrooms which were located down on the Business Lounge floor did the trick to refresh me before my third flight of the day.IMG_6877

I enjoyed a few beers and the free wifi while I waited for my plane to start boarding. In the next article I will cover the First Class experience in the Lufthansa A-330.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Facebook or Twitter!