Every year around this time American Express has a promotion called Small Business Saturday where in an effort to support local small businesses they give away free money! This year’s offer is a bit different than the last time I participated in 2012, but it is possibly even better than ever! This year Amex cards as well as Bluebird prepaid cards will work. Continue reading “Amex and Bluebird users! Don’t miss Small Business Saturday November 29”
Reader Javier asked recently in the comments on this article: “Keith turned me on to your site on Facebook. I wanted a little direction. I have the Capital one Venture card with 2x per dollar spent. I crunched the numbers for last month and if I switched to the Chase card I would be down about 3200 points/miles. Capital One doesn’t necessarily use the miles redeem system, they just reimburse you for the travel based on the amount of the ticket. How would I be able to utilize your system with Capital One?”
I started writing a quick reply but it quickly got more involved with examples so I wanted to make this into a more comprehensive post that I could refer people to in the future since this is a common question. This is a long post, but read and digest it slowly because it is an important one. If you don’t want all the details, skip to the bottom to the Conclusion TLDR section.
What is the difference between a cashback card and a miles card? Continue reading “Should I get a cashback or a miles card?”
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.
- Register for the Promotion
- Buy $250 worth of anything at Best Buy (including gift cards)
- $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.It 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!Once 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. I 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.The credit should post to your account within one or two days even though it says it can take up to 90.
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+, 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!
American Express cards such as the Green Card, the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card, the Amex Platinum Card, and the Amex Business Platinum Card all earn Membership Rewards points when you spend. One of the great benefits to this type of points is the flexibility they provide. One way to use Membership Rewards points is using their Pay With Points option which gives you a value of 1 cent per point toward travel booked with Amex Travel, on Amazon.com or on their online shopping mall. However the best value in my opinion is when you transfer those miles to their partner airline or hotel programs. Today we are going to show you how to transfer your points to airlines for booking free air travel. Start by going to the Membership Rewards web site , logging in, then clicking on Travel.
If there are transfer bonuses available, you have to click on the name of the transfer partner. These bonuses can be as much as 50% so make sure to check them out for a way to make your points go even further! I used a 30% transfer bonus with British Airways a while back to turn 94,000 MR points into 122,000 Avios Miles!
I am going to assume you have already found the flights you want on one of their airline transfer partners such as British Airways. For example, if you want to go to Cancun from Miami for you and a friend, it is 9000 British Airways Avios round trip each.
So to transfer 18,000 Avios from your Membership Rewards account, you would simply click on the British Airways icon on the Transfer Points screen, and the following screen appears.
As you can see, Amex is currently having a 40% transfer bonus with British Airways so you would only need to transfer 13,000 MR points to get the 18,000 Avios needed for your trip. What a deal! Once you click transfer it can take up to 48 hours for transfers to be completed, but it will usually be quicker so you can hopefully grab those award seats while they are still available.
So there you have it! How to transfer points from Membership Rewards to Airline Miles! 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!
I have written about these deals in the past and another three just popped up that I will be taking advantage of.
You will need one of these cards to take advantage of these offers (although it might appear on any Amex so check yours!):
- Starwood Preferred Guest Amex
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Amex
- Amex Premier Rewards Gold
- Amex Business Gold Rewards
- Amex Platinum Card
- Amex Business Platinum Card
- Register online at Americanexpress.com for both promotions for all of your cards
- Buy $250 in gift cards at Best Buy, a $40 gift card to California Pizza Kitchen at your local CPK, spend $75+ at Walmart.com
- Automatically get a $25 credit for the Best Buy purchase, $10 for the CPK purchase, and $15 for the Walmart.com
- Liquidate the giftcards by using them or Cardpool
1. Register online at americanexpress.com for both promotions for all of your cards
Go to americanexpress.com and log onto your online account. On the bottom there will be a box labeled My Offers that looks like this.
There will be a number of available offers, but the ones from Best Buy, California Pizza Kitchen and Walmart.com are the ones I am focusing on today.
Click on the Get offer button next to it and a screen that looks like this will pop up. Click on Add to Card.
2. Buy $250 in gift cards (or purchases) at Best Buy, a $40 gift California Pizza Kitchen in store, and $75 in purchases at Walmart.com.
For Best Buy, you will need to go into store if you want to get the $200 Visa Gift cards, or if you actually need some electronics you can buy them online. The Best Buy closest to me only has Visa Gift Cards (variable load from 25-$200 with a $5.95 fee), iTunes and Best Buy Gift cards, although I know some places have Amazon.com GCs and others. I bought a $200 Visa GC and a $50 Best Buy gift card. Note this needs to be $250+ all in one purchase, not separate purchases.
For California Pizza kitchen you will need to physically go into a location near you on their participating locations list and buy a $40 gift card.
For Walmart.com, just go to their web site (after checking what cashback you want to get from Cashbackholic.com ) and pick your stuff you want. As long as the total is over $75, it should qualify.
Since I have the SPG Business Amex, I will get 315 SPG points ($365 for the purchases – $50 in credits) for these purchases.
3. Automatically get a $25 credit for the Best Buy purchase, $10 for the CPK purchase, and $15 for the Walmart.com purchase.
Almost immediately after you make the purchase, you will get an email from American Express thanking you for your purchase at the merchant, although it did take up to an hour for one of my purchases.
4. Liquidate the giftcards by using them or sell at Cardpool
If you have purchases planned at Best Buy then you can simply use that gift card. The same goes for the CPK gift cards if you like the food at California Pizza Kitchen.
If you want to get your cash back, it is still a money maker to sell the gift cards at Cardpool. As of today, you can get $45 for the $50 Best Buy gift card. A $40 gift card at CPK is only selling for $28 so I wouldn’t do that offer unless you actually wanted to eat there.
This certainly isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but they can’t all be 264,000 points at once :). Little deals like these help to offset the annual fees that you pay for the Amex cards.
I am always shopping for deals, both for things I want and things to buy and resell. I had had my eye on a 70″ Sharp TV ever since I saw the monster in a Sears store. But I am never one to pay retail and would rather not buy something than overpay. I was really happy with the deal I recently worked out, and while it doesn’t involve earning tons of miles per se, I think it will show some of the ways I save money every day on big purchases.
First off, this TV has a retail price of $2,799 which would normally be much more than I want to pay. Here is a review of the TV I ended up getting. The cheapest price I had seen online was around $1600 at the time. As many of you know, I love shopping at Sears (like I did when I got 264,000 Ultimate Rewards points and $1000 by shopping and then reselling tablets). They frequently have Shop Your Way promotions that add a lot of value to things bought there and decrease my effective cost.
One of the lesser known secrets is to shop for things on SearsOutlet.com. Most of the products on this site are brand new and are last year’s model they are closing out or they also get rid of their floor models there. I had been checking in every once in a while doing a search for “70 LED” and seeing what the prices were. There are often times some real steals on bigger TVs there. The problem is with the floor models you have to pick them up from whichever store has them. I saw a great price once of around $1000, but it was in Hawaii and while I would love to go, coming back with a TV would be problematic. 🙂
Since I have bought and sold so many tablets for resale on my Amazon.com store, I have platinum status with Shop Your Way Rewards. This makes me eligible to get 15% back in Shop Your Way Reward points on one day each quarter, but sometimes more than one day. So if I buy $1000 worth of goods then they give me $150 in points to use for a future purchase. In fact I still had $407 worth of these points (407,000) saved up from previous purchases of tablets for resale. They happened to be having one of these special 15% back days on April 9th so I went to the Sears Outlet page and lo and behold they had this 70″ TV in Ft. Myers which is about 2 hours from where I live. I also had some friends in Naples I could visit if I could work out a deal.
The price was $1193 which wasn’t the lowest price I had seen but it was the lowest I had seen in Florida. It showed on the site it was a floor model and didn’t have any missing parts or damages, but I called the store and got transferred to the TV department and asked for the condition before I bought it. They said they had two of them and they could give me the one in better shape if I bought it. $1193 was a good price but I couldn’t stop my deal there.
I searched around online for a “SearsOutlet Coupon Code” and I found a code for 10% off that was valid. Score! This would save me $119. But I wasn’t done yet. Since I was buying it on the Shop Your Way Cyber bonus days, I got 15% back for $157 worth of points.
I ALWAYS look for miles or cashback offers by using a shopping portal online. For you new guys, a shopping portal just means you log onto an account then go to their online shopping mall. I searched for SearsOutlet on both Cashbackholic.com and evreward.com and found out that I could get 5% cash back if I used the UPromise.com shopping portal. This was more valuable to me than the 3 miles per dollar I could get on American.
I could have used gift cards to sweeten the deal even more, but I wanted to put the main charge of $732.58 on my Business Gold Rewards American Express so I would add 1 free year onto the warranty at no cost. When I buy for resale, I don’t mind using gift cards because I don’t care about the warranty so much since I won’t be keeping it. But since this was personal, I wanted the extra protection (which gave me added safety since it was a floor model.) I also got 732 Membership Rewards for spending $732 on my Amex!
So the grand total ended up being:
- Retail price: $2,799
- Sales Price: $1193.93
- Sales Tax: $64.47
- 10% discount for coupon: -$119.39
- 15% in Shop Your Way Rewards Points: -$157.17
- 5% in UPromise Cashback: -$59.70
- Redeemed 406,430 Shop Your Way Rewards Points: -$406.43
- Net cost: $515.71 and I received 732 Membership Rewards points.
Now that’s what I call a deal! I am planning on selling my old TV for at least that much so I effectively ended up with a larger TV for very little if any out of pocket!
I hope this gives you guys some ideas on ways to purchase things and teaches you a thing or two. Feel free to comment with your deals that you are proud of!
This is the first post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 1 – How I am taking my Dad to Ireland, Scotland, and Wimbledon in London in Business Class for $137!
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 2 – Planning for Hotels in Europe for Maximum Miles
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 3 – The Orlando Star Alliance Gold Lounge and the first change of plans
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 4 – Layover in New York City
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 5 – The JFK Lufthansa Lounge
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 6 – Brussels Airlines JFK-BRU in their new Business Class
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 7 – 13 Hours in Brussels
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 8 – Two Days in Dublin
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 9 – Waterford, Kilkenny, the Butler Castle, and a bit of Blarney
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 10 – Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 11 – Galway and the Cliffs of Moher
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 12 – Belfast, the Ferry to Scotland and Train Travel
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 13 – Playing the St. Andrews Old Course, Aberdeen and the Drambuie Incident.
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 14 – Searching for the Loch Ness Monster, Eilean Donan Castle, and Turnberry Golf Course
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 15 – London and Wimbledon
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 16 – 22 Hours in Frankfurt
- Eurotrip 2013: Part 17 – Lufthansa Business AND New First Class FRA-AID on Boeing 747-800
My Dad loves tennis. Like really loves it. Like he Tivos two different tennis matches while he watches a third. He watches the tennis channel. Back around Christmas time, I was trying to come up with an over the top gift for him and I was trying to think of a trip we could take together. As I watched him watch recorded tennis matches, I thought about how he had never been to Wimbledon in London, which I consider to be the most epic tennis tournament each year. He is also an avid golfer and I knew that some of the best and oldest courses in the world were in Scotland including the famous St. Andrews. He is also a history and genealogy buff and I knew that my ancestors the Butlers lived in Kilkenny Castle in Ireland for 600 years. On a selfish note, I had been to London several times, but had always wanted to visit Ireland and Scotland.
So my plan was hatched: For Christmas, I would give him a trip to Ireland, Scotland and Wimbledon! Since Wimbledon was in the last part of June / early July, I had time to get the flights in business class. I knew that I could use my 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points I received from my Chase Sapphire Preferred card as an annual bonus along with some of the 264,000 points I got by shopping with Sears to go round trip to Europe for 100,000 miles on United (and other Star Alliance carriers). I checked some flight times and printed out a sample itinerary which I presented to him on Christmas day. I was waiting to book it just in case there was a problem with the dates or anything.
He was thrilled but I didn’t end up trying to book it until mid March. Once I started looking using United’s Award Seat system the frequent flyer tickets quickly started disappearing daily! Since I was leaving from Miami and him from Nashville, I knew we would probably have to meet from one of the gateway cities such as New York or Charlotte for the trip across the pond. I found some flights on US air, but when I researched their business class seats on the plane available, I saw that they were not the fully flat which makes it hard to get any good rest (you end up feeling like you slept in a lazy boy chair). I searched many alternate routes and ended up finding some business seats on Brussels Airlines on the way there and on Lufthansa on the way back.
The main trip was for 7 nights in Ireland, 4 nights in Scotland and 4 nights in London. This would allow us enough time to tour the Irish countryside, see the ring of Kerry and the castle where the Butlers lived, play a couple of rounds of golf at some famous Irish and Scottish courses and fully experience Wimbledon in London. I was able to include an overnight in New York, an all day layover in Brussels, an overnight in Frankfurt, and a free one way in first class to San Diego in the winter. These are sort of complicated topics so I will write additional articles about them, but I ended up quite pleased with how the trip worked out.
And the cost for this amazing trip? 100,000 united miles and $137! I used my Business Gold Rewards from American Express to pay for the $137 since I get triple miles on airfare charges. I have a feeling the memories we are going to create will be priceless! And we just so happen to leave the day after Father’s Day so it will be even more special. Why don’t you get started today so you can surprise someone you love with something amazing! I can help!
Edit 12/11/2013: This offer is no longer available. There is currently no signup bonus for the Business Gold Rewards card.
American Express just released an offer for their Business Gold Rewards card of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. I talked in this post about how to apply for business cards even if you aren’t some big corporation using your personal credit information.
Today, I am going to show you the easiest way to meet the $5,000 spending requirement without really spending anything!
So you apply for the card and are approved. Perfect! Amex has great customer service and they will get your card to you within a few days.
Once you get your card, go to your local CVS and buy two $500 Vanilla Reload cards which will be a total of $1007.90 ($500 each plus a $3.95 fee each). They will look like this.
Read this article I wrote about using the Bluebird for paying your rent to see how to load the prepaid cards on your Bluebird account (which is really quite simple and only takes a few seconds).
You can only load $1000 a day onto your Bluebird account and most CVS will only let you buy $1000 in prepaid cards per day so it will take you 5 days to get $5,000 into your Bluebird account. Once you have the $5,000 in your account, then we set up your new Amex as a bill to be paid from your Bluebird account (just like we set up your landlord in this Bluebird article). Then we use the $5000 in the Bluebird account to pay off the Amex. This whole process can take as little as 7 days. And you will be the recipient of 55,000 membership rewards points! (50,000 for the bonus and $5,000 for the purchase of the reload cards).
This whole thing really is this easy! Don’t make it more difficult than it is!
- Get Credit Card
- Reach minimum spending by buying Vanilla Reload cards
- Deposit Reload Cards into your Bluebird account
- Use Bluebird balance to pay off credit card
- Get your almost free miles and come travel with me!
At this point you will have a paid off Amex which you can then use whenever you have to buy airfare (since it gives 3X points on airfare). That is what I use mine for mainly or when I need the additional Warranty Protection that Amex provides.
So what are you waiting for? Apply now and get travelling!
This content is not provided or commissioned by the company whose products are featured on this site. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser’s affiliate programs.
Edit March 14 – This offer, unfortunately came and went quickly and is no longer available.
I have written in the past about the limited time 75,000 Point Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express. I got this card myself last year. In the previous post I just linked I talked about different ways to use those points such as a trip for 4 to Bogota or a trip to Paris. Today I am going to talk about why you can apply for a business card even if you aren’t some big corporation. But before I get into that, here are the terms of this limited time offer that expires March 14th.
- 75,000 Membership Reward points after you spend $10,000 within the first 4 months
- No annual fee the first year, then $175
- 3x Points on Airfare, 2x points on advertising, gas at standalone US gas stations, and shipping, 1x on everything else.
This is a charge card not a credit card which means the balance has to be paid off each month in full, and carrying over a balance isn’t possible which helps some people stay in control of their budgets. I like to use this card whenever I have any airline spending (such as taxes on award tickets) because it gives me 3X points on airfare. Click here if you are already convinced and ready to apply!
How you can apply for a business card if you are just an individual.
When people see a great offer for a business card, a lot of times they get scared off because they don’t think they have a business, or so they think. Many of us have small businesses that we don’t even think about. Have you ever bought anything at a yard sale and then sold it later on craigslist or ebay? Then you have a business! Have you ever bought anything in bulk then resold individually? Then you have a business! Do you have a flair for decorating people’s houses, or cleaning, or help people with their finances? Any of these could be your business!
There isn’t a requirement to have an office or a business phone number or business cards or anything like that. Many people get business cards just to help with accounting by having all of their spending in one place, but there is no reason you can’t put personal spending on the card as well. In the example of the Amex Gold card here is how you might fill out the application for an ebay or reselling type business:
You use your SSN in the Federal Tax ID section since you are a sole proprietor (that means the business is just you and not incorporated). On the next screen you would put in your personal details which would be very similar to your entries on the first page. They claim a decision in 60 seconds but sometimes it takes a few days.
This is the best offer for this card I have ever seen and there is no reason to wait if you want these points. This offer normally comes around two or three times a year so if you aren’t in a position to take advantage of it right now it isn’t the end of the world, but it is a great time! If you are worried about meeting the $10,000 spend requirement I will be writing an article about how to easily reach it in two months without really spending much at all! As usual, if you have any questions regarding anything, feel free to add it in a comment!
I have done several posts about how much money Amex has given me this year, from $100 at Dell, to $25 at Costco and $10 at CPK. But they still want to give more with the Small Business Saturday promotion! This one is so easy.
- You just have to register your American Express Card or cards (I have 3) at this page
- Locate a small business near you that is participating on this page. I found hundreds within 5 miles of my home (including my favorite Tex-Mex place, Taco Rico).
- On Saturday, November 24, go spend $25 minimum at any of the merchants and you get a $25 credit back on your statement in a few days.
They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but this is exactly that! Buy lunch and spend at least $25 and it is free after the credit! Or find a merchant that sells gift cards and buy a $25 one for a Christmas gift or for a future date. With so many merchants, you are sure to find something you can use. Here is a list of Amex cards that will work for this promo (prepaid Amex unfortunately doesn’t work).
- Starwood Preferred Guest Amex
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Amex
- Amex Premier Rewards Gold
- Amex Business Gold Rewards
- Amex Platinum Card
- Amex Business Platinum Card
- Citibank AAdvantage Amex
What are you waiting for, sign up now for this promo because space is limited. (Wow, that sounds like an infomercial, but it happens to be true.)