Showing posts with label Great Deal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Great Deal. Show all posts

April 19, 2016

$25 Off on Gift Cards at

Amex is out with a great new Amex Offer providing $25 savings on a $100 purchase at  The offer runs through 6/19 and is good on gift cards, just not electronic gift cards.  If you go through an online shopping portal, you may be able to earn an additional 2-3x miles or points from the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall.

Note that the offer is targeted and I wasn't targeted on any of my 5 American Express cards.  Emily did receive the offer on all three of her cards and I was able to successfully add it to all three (open up a new tab in your browser, select each card in a different tab, navigate to the offer, and you should be able to add it multiple times. sells a variety of gift cards.  A Visa gift card comes with a $6.99 purchase charge while other gift cards (i.e. Starbucks, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, etc...) come with a $1.99 purchase charge and free shipping.

So you could easily pick up a $100 gift card for $101.99 and then receive a $25 statement credit back from Amex.

I will be maximizing this deal by purchasing three $100 gift cards (non Visa to merchants we'd spend money at anyway) for a total savings of $69 not including the Membership Rewards points and cash back I'll earn for the purchases.

You can check to see if you were targeted online or on the mobile app by clicking on "Offers."

April 2, 2016

Outstanding Business Class Availability on Turkish Airlines

Via VFTW, there is outstanding award availability for the entire family on Turkish Airlines from the US to Istanbul and beyond.  We flew Turkish several times in late 2013 from Istanbul to Dubai and back home through Houston.

Turkish IST lounge putting green

We greatly enjoyed the entire experience from the lounge in Istanbul to food and service on board.

Turkish Istanbul IST lounge pool table

With fully flat seats (unfortunately in a 2-3-2 layout on the 777) you'll arrived rested and ready to explore Turkey, Europe, or wherever your final destination takes you.

Turkish 777-300ER

A quick search using the search engine (where a one-way ticket will cost 70,000 miles with no fuel surcharges) yields availability virtually everyday through the summer months and beyond.

Denver to Istanbul this summer for 2

There is business class availability everyday you see blue or green.  Sample routing (from Denver) routes through Atlanta where the long haul segment is operated by Turkish's 777-300ER.

280,000 miles for two roundtrips is easily obtainable since United is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner.

March 19, 2016

Starwood Amex 35,000 Point Bonus

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card has been in my wallet since 2004.  I reviewed the card a couple of years ago and since then, the value proposition of the card has only been strengthened.

Current SPG Amex Bonus
The bonus is up to 35,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.  For context, the bonus was raised to 30,000 a few times over the last few years.  Two years ago, the standard offer was 25,000 points.  I remember getting the business version of the card prior to that with a 20,000 point bonus and being very excited.  So 35,000 points is unreal.

December 31, 2015

Etihad First Class Apartment Booked!

After starting our premium flying careers with amazing Asian carriers, we're just now dabbling with the ME3 (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar).  At the moment, the pinnacle of ME3 premium cabin flying is Etihad's A380 First Class Apartment.  The Residence (literally 3 room accommodations on Etihad's A380) 's pretty sweet but unless you're about to shell at $32K for a one-way flight, it's likely unattainable.  Good news is the First Class Apartment is totally attainable with American Airlines miles.  The catch (at least on the flagship JFK - AUH route) is that award space is now only being release at the very last minute.

Emily and I have been talking (this week) about a trip in early March for my birthday.  Our timing was pretty impeccable as the flood gates opened on Wednesday.  Etihad was releasing up to 3 First Class Apartments available for the Abu Dhabi to New York segment.  Major thanks to Gary and Lucky for posting early on this.

Another catch - AA agents in the US sometimes have trouble seeing award availability. For whatever reason, that's not the case for Australian call center agents.

I found seats on a day that worked for our schedule and Skyped the Australian AA call center centre.  After waiting on hold for an agonizing 35 minutes, my call was answered by an extremely friendly agent.  He was able to see the space and had us booked in under 5 minutes.  This morning, the award ticketed!  Total cost was 90,000 AA miles and $38 USD each.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

We are both beyond excited.  We do want to spend a day in Abu Dhabi but not much more than that.  So we'll be looking to spend time in Europe before making our way to Abu Dhabi for the flight home.    I didn't think I'd be able to top my Emirates experience but I have a feeling this is going to be even better.

They say timing in life is everything and that was certainly the case here.  I've been fortunate to catch a few of these (Singapore in 2012 and Asiana in 2014) where impossible award availability become virtually unlimited in a very short period of time.  The trick is taking advantage quickly - don't think, just book.  You'll be happy you did.

December 6, 2015

Review: Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai (2015)

Planning & Booking
American Express Centurion Lounge DFW
Emirates A380 First Class Dallas to Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates 777-300 First Class Dubai to Male
Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives - Resort & Park Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives - Water Villa
Transfer to Male
Singapore Airlines 777-200ER Business Class Male to Singapore
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room Singapore
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Singapore to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco

After a phenomenal flight on Emirates we were first off the A380 and through immigration in a matter of minutes.  We hit the ATM and duty free to grab a bottle of scotch given that liquor is about the only thing not included at Al Maha.

Since we didn't check bags we were outside of customs 30 minutes after exiting the plane.  It was a sunny and warm day in Dubai as we met our driver in the arrivals hall.  I had pre-booked transportation (our driver was waiting for us with a name placard) through the hotel which I would highly recommend.  Round trip transport cost around $150.  The resort is a 45 minute drive from the airport.  The last 15 minutes you're driving through conservation park over dirt roads with little light.  Our return trip was going to be very early in the morning so we were glad to have someone that was used to navigating the route.

Welcome to Al Maha

Before I get into the review, a little background on Al Maha.  The resort is situated in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve which is essentially a protected park owned by the government.  While others can use the park, Al Maha is the only hotel located within the boundaries.  The park is pretty massive - encompassing 225 square kilometers which is nearly 5% of Dubai.  The resort plays a pivotal role in managing the park's ecosystem and sharing all that the park has to offer with others.

November 18, 2015

Chase Freedom Offering 10x at Amazon!

Chase is out with another great offer for Chase Freedom card holders.  The Freedom card rotates 5x earning categories (quarterly) on up to $1,500 in spend.  For Q4 the bonus is available at Amazon and Zappos.

10x at Amazon and Zappos

Chase recently announced that Freedom card holders would be able to earn 10x on an extra $1,500 in spend between 11/23 and 12/31.  This is above and beyond the 5x earnings from 10/1 through 11/22.

So hypothetically you could earn 22,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards (if you paired a Chase Sapphire or Ink Business Card with your Freedom) on $3,000 in Amazon/Zappos spend.

Not sure I'll be able to get to $3K in spend but I will definitely be waiting to make some key holiday purchases until 11/23.  Earning 10x cashback that can then be converted to United, British Airways, Hyatt, etc... points is like earning more than 20% back on your holiday (or everyday) spend.  This is a pretty phenomenal deal.  Kudos to Chase for stepping up their game at the end of 2015!!

August 9, 2015

Update on Amex Offers

American Express offers "Amex Offers" to their cardmembers as a perk and a is a marketers dream.  I'm not sure who funds the offers (probably a combination of the retailer and Amex) but I've done a nice job taking advantage of them over the years - thanks Amex!

If you haven't heard of the program and have an Amex card in your wallet, sign in to your account online and scroll down to the bottom of the page to the "Amex Offers and Benefits" section.  Click on "Available" and you can scroll through the offers.  If you see something you like, you can click "Add to Card" to load the offer onto you card.  Go meet the minimum spend requirements and you'll have a statement credit within a handful of days.

As you can see, I've saved nearly $600 on this card alone over the past couple of years.

You can also add Amex Offers via Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare although I've found it easy enough to add them online/via the mobile app when I'm logged in checking transactions.

Amex has really been stepping things up lately.  In the last 30 days, I've taken advantage of offers from Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Petco, Jonathan Adler, West Elm, and Home Depot to buy things I was going to anyway.  You can even double dip on these offers by going through an online shopping portal.  Next time you're online or checking on your card via the mobile app, check out Amex's Offers!

March 10, 2015

IHG Vegas Flash Sale Live Early

The IHG Las Vegas flash sale I posted about last week seems to be live early.  Originally, the sale was slated to begin at 10AM MDT today.

I was able to make two weekend bookings at the Venetian for October for 25,000 points per night.  Rates were going for $300+ AI so 25,000 points is an absolute steal.  You can access the flash sale here.

Keep in mind these rates are cancel-able so if you think you might "need" a Vegas trip in 2015 and you have the IHG points, you might as well book a weekend.  We are were sitting on 170,000 IHG points so it made sense to lock in a couple of options during football season.

February 23, 2015

Great Deal - Vancouver Hotel Promotion

As they've done in the past, beVancouver is offering some great deals on hotels for stays prior to 4/30.  They are offering American Express gift cards in denominations ranging from $25 to $125 (nicer hotels come with the higher denomination) per stay based on the level of hotel.  They are also offering an extra $50 gift card for additional nights.  You can have up to there bookings per person so in theory could stay at three high end hotels each for one night and get $375 in gift cards.

Big rebates on Vancouver hotels

We are headed to Vancouver in April for a few nights so I checked out the promotion to see if it would work for us.  We are staying at one of the Fairmont properties for the first couple of nights and then the Shangri-La for the final night.  It's the only Shangri-La property in North America and I've always wanted to stay in one of their hotels in Asia so figure this would be a good chance.

We booked our night through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts with our Platinum Card at a rate of $221 USD (Superior Room) which includes wifi, breakfast for two, and a $100 USD credit to be used at the property.  The rate also provides the opportunity for early check-in, late check-out and an upgrade.

Shangri-La Vancouver Superior Room Quote

Through the beVancouver promotion, the rate for the Superior Room is also $221 USD (275 CAD) but comes with a $100 USD (125 CAD) American Express gift card.

With the beVancouver promotion, you're spending $121 for a pretty phenomenal hotel room.  But everything else is going to be "extra."  With the FHR rate, you're spending $221 for the same hotel room but also getting free breakfast, wifi, and $100 to spend at the spa, bar, on room service, etc...

I value the breakfast at about $30 and obviously we'll use the $100 credit at the bar.  So take that into consideration and the FHR rate is <$100.  We're keeping our FHR reservation but this is still a great deal.  Anyone going to Vancouver for business or vacation should definitely look into it!

February 16, 2015

50% Off at Neiman Marcus with Visa Checkout

Neiman Marcus is offering $50 off a purchase of $100 (regular priced merchandise only) when you pay with Visa Checkout.  If you don't already have Visa Checkout, it takes all of 3 minutes to signup. The deal expires tomorrow, 2/17.  To get the deal, select "pay with Visa Checkout" and you'll automatically receive $50 off your order.

Yes, Neiman Marcus is insanely overpriced and most of the stuff they sell is more than $100.  That said, they do have a lot of great travel stuff including Tumi accessories.  You could pick up a travel kit for $95 and add some socks to clear the $100 threshold.

I was able to get a Tumi Alpha Bravo travel kit (last one so no longer available) which retailed for $115 but I scored it for $65.  I also used my ShopRunner account to get free 2-day shipping and went through the Shop with Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall and earned 5x points on the purchase.

This is a pretty good deal if you were already in the market for something that NM sells.