Chase United Explorer 50K Mile offer!

United Explorer 50KEdit 10/26/14: The public offer of 50K has expired but you may still be able to get it!  The trick is you need to log into your United MileagePlus account FIRST and then click on the above banner to see your signup offer.  Let us know in the comments if this works for you!

The Chase United Explorer 50K Visa has been on our Top Credit Cards page for a long time and while there were targeted sign up bonuses for some accounts, the standard sign up bonus was 30,000 miles.  They have updated their page to reflect that anyone can now get the 50,000 Mile offer after spending $2000 in the first 3 months of having the card.  The annual fee is waived for the first year and then $95 afterwards. Continue reading “Chase United Explorer 50K Mile offer!”

TWM, Take Me Away to Bali, Indonesia for free!

This is the first in a series of articles called TWM Take Me Away! where I will pick a destination a reader wants to go to and show you how to get there for free with miles!

A reader contacted me recently:

“I am taking the time to message you right now because I want to go to Bali at the end of August for my birthday and I’m trying to figure out how much to save to have. And also around what months should l look into buying a flight ticket.”

Bali is definitely on my bucket list due to the amazing culture , beautiful scenery and friendly people.Bali


I priced out a ticket around those dates on and the cheapest I could find was $1401 on Delta for JFK to DPS (the airport in Bali) via LAX and TPE which seemed like a decent price since you are flying halfway around the world.  Business class was over $6,000!  But the name of this site is Traveling With Miles not Traveling with Cash, so lets see how we can get there for free.

1. Use 70,000 or 110,000 American AAdvantage Miles to book OneWorld flights.

According to the American Airlines OneWorld chart on this page, you can go from North America to 70,000 Miles round trip in economy class and 110,000 Miles Round trip in business class. I checked and there is some availability on Cathay Pacific which has a great business class product if you can be flexible on dates throughout August.

Cathay Business
Cathay Pacific New Business Class Seats

It is a 15 hour flight from JFK to HKG so I would definitely recommend business class.  As a general rule, for any flight 5 hours or more, I try to do business class if I have the miles because it makes the experience much more pleasant.

If you wanted to get these miles, you could get 50,000 from the Citibank AA Platinum Personal MC, then wait 65 days and apply for the 50,000 Mile Citibank AA Platinum Business Mastercard.  That will give you more than enough for a coach ticket and almost enough for the business class seat.  With a some of our online shopping deals for American Miles, you should be able to make the difference up easily.

2. Use 65,000 or 120,000 United miles to book on Star Alliance

This price will change drastically on February 1 when United changes their award chart so if you happen to want to book this trip, do it now.  I just did a search and found a coach flight departing from EWR to DPS via TPE on EVA and then returning from DPS to EWR via TPE and LAX (on EVA and United on the way back).United Bali CoachThere was also business class availability for 120,000 and $25!

United Bali BusinessNote that these prices will be going up to 80,000 for coach and 160,000 for business after February 1.

To get these miles, you could start with the 40,000 miles from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you get after spending $3,000.  After 93 days (the minimum for chase to apply for multiple personal cards) you could get another 50,000 from the Chase United Explorer (will need to be logged into your MileagePlus account to see this offer).  You could also take advantage of some online shopping for miles like I did with the 1800 Miles for $75 shopping and 12-16X Miles shopping at Sears.

3. Use 80,000 or 120,000 Delta miles or 70,000 or 125,000 Korean Air to book on SkyTeam

Korean Air Prestige Seat
Korean Air Prestige Seat

I have included two options here because you may have either type of mile.  I picked up 30,000 Delta Miles when I got a Suntrust debit card, and 100,000 when I did some Skymall shopping.  I am also including Korean Air because they are a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards which might be easier to earn miles with. FYI, the Delta business prices are going up February 1, and the Korean Air prices are going up on June 1.

If you can find availability on Korean Air flights (which you could book with either type of mile) for JFK to DPS via ICN (Seoul), then you should be able to get the above pricing if you are flexible about your travel dates.

To get these miles you could get 30-50,000 Skymiles by getting the Delta Amex card at this link. But I would recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 40,000 Ultimate Reward Points, then getting the Chase Ink Bold for 50,000 more.


Grand Hyatt Bali
Grand Hyatt Bali

For hotels, it looks like the best values are either the Grand Hyatt property or use cash and points at one of the SPG properties.1. For 12,000 Hyatt Gold Points per night you can stay at the Grand Hyatt Bali

W Bali
W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak

2. For 10,000 SPG points + $180 cash a night you can stay at the W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak.  This can be especially rewarding if you have Platinum status with SPG and could possibly get upgraded to a suite.

Le Meridien Bali
Le Meridien Bali

3. For 6000 SPG points and $110 a night you can stay at the Le Meridien Bali

Sheraton Senggigi
Sheraton Senggigi

4. And for only 3000 SPG points per night you can stay in the super secluded Sheraton Senggigi (although it is on a different island than bali so you might have to find your way there)

For the Grand Hyatt property, they are a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards so the Chase Sapphire Preferred 40,000 bonus could help you out. For the SPG properties, the 25,000 mile bonus from the SPG Amex and the SPG Business Amex could get you some free nights.

5. Another good option might be to get the Barclays Arrival card and then use the $400 sign up bonus (40,000 points you can redeem for $400 in travel expenses) just pay cash for a reasonably priced hotel or hostel or bed and breakfast you find there.

Whew!  That was a lot of information!  But I hope that this shows you how you can get to Bali for free with a little planning.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Awesome Deal Alert! 12-16X Miles at Sears via United Mileageplus Shopping


Sears occasionally has some awesome promotions such as when I made 264,000 Ultimate Rewards points and $1000 with Sears and when I received 189,000 Southwest points and the companion pass via online shopping. This is one of those times!

For today and tomorrow you can get 12 United Miles per $ that you spend on If you have the United Explorer card, the rate goes up to an amazing 16 Miles per $!  Now even though the terms and conditions say gift cards don’t apply, in my experience as long as you order the physical gift cards the miles will still be awarded.  Read this recent post of ours about maximizing sears purchases by quadruple dipping using Plink for bonus points you can redeem for giftcards.

The way to maximize this is to buy the physical gift cards today using a Plink optimized amount of $50 per gift card. Since the gift cards purchased at Sears are issued by KMart (they have the same parent company), you will need to have KMart in your Plink wallet.  By the way I get 100 Plink points (worth $1!) if you sign up for Plink using this link 🙂 so thanks!

So an overview of how this would work if you wanted to get $1000 of gift cards would be.

  • Buy twenty $50 gift cards in separate transactions each time starting at the Mileage Plus Shopping Portal
  • For each purchase, you would get 12X$50 = 600 united miles and 300 Plink points.
  • So if you bought 20 gift cards you would get 12,000 United Miles and 6,000 Plink points (worth $60 in gift cards).
  • This is in addition to whatever miles or points you would get from the credit card you use.
  • Once you get the gift cards you can go back through the shopping portal again and will get more miles when you use the cards for merchandise!

So what to do with the gift cards if you don’t actually need anything from Sears?  What I do is buy and sell tablet PCs.  I can usually buy and sell them for about the same amount.  I have had really good luck with the new Nexus 7 model from Asus.


Read this post for an example of how I bought and sold tablets without losing much and scored a bunch of miles!.  Once you buy and sell enough with Sears you can become a Platinum member in their Shop Your Way Rewards program and get an extra 15% if you buy on the right days.

What to do if you have never done anything before?

If you want to get started here are the steps to take.

  1. Sign up for a free United Mileage Plus frequent flyer account.  This is the account you will get the miles deposited to.
  2. Log into your Mileage Plus Shopping account using the frequent flyer number and PIN you just created.
  3. Sign up for a free Plink account.  Add Sears and KMart to your “wallet” once you have your account set up and download their mobile app.
  4. Then follow the guidance above to get started.  Start with just one $50 purchase if you want so you can see how the process works and buy something you need at Sears (they sell a ton of stuff).  Then next time you will have all the accounts set up so you can swing for the fences and get a ton of miles!

Feel free to comment on this post if you have any questions and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!