Category Archives: General

I Got $10 to Upgrade to First Class

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  The kids finished up school, started summer camp and my older son and I went to North Carolina.  In a previous post, I talked about how I was using vouchers we got from being bumped (on our Wyoming trip) to help pay for our trip to North Carolina.  That allowed my son to have a special week with his cousin.  They attended a detective summer camp, went to a fun park, went rock climbing and had an all around fantastic time.  You can imagine that at the end of the week, he was pretty sad to leave his cousin.

When we checked in at the airport, the kiosk asked if we wanted to upgrade to first class for $45 each.  It’s a short flight (about an hour) and normally I wouldn’t upgrade.  But then I remembered the 2 new American Airlines credit cards I just got will give you a $100 statement credit after you make a qualifying purchase with American Airlines (which we were flying).  So, in total, it would cost us $90 to upgrade, but we’ll get a $100 statement credit – netting us $10.  (I’m not planning on taking another American Airlines flight this year, so I wouldn’t have a chance to get the credit another time – although some people have had luck getting it buying gift certificates.) Taking his first class flight certainly helped take the sting off of leaving his cousin and luckily we’ll get to see them again in August when we both go back to Buffalo.

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Getting Points for Father’s Day Purchases

Whenever you’re buying something on-line, you should always check to see if a frequent flyer program will give you miles for your purchase through their shopping program.  Yesterday, I was looking to buy a deck box as part of a Father’s Day gift for my husband.  We looked at Home Depot and Amazon before finding one that we liked at Lowes.com. 

Before purchasing it on-line (with pick-up at our local store), I checked the American Airlines and United shopping portals to see if they offered any miles for purchases at Lowes.com.  American didn’t offer any miles.  However, United was running a promotion for Father’s Day.  Instead of the normal 2 miles per dollar, they were offering 6 miles per dollar.  Other notable offers for Father’s Day on United are:

  • 9 miles/$ at Cabela’s (normally 3 miles/$)
  • 18 miles/$ at Omaha Steaks (normally 6 miles/$)
  • 6 miles/$ at Macy’s (normally 2 miles/$)

It was a very simple way to earn extra points for something we were already planning on purchasing.  It will also extend the expiration date on our miles.

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Books, Tack on Rules, and the Bidding Traveler

Today you’re going to get a little of bit of everything.  The last couple of days I’ve read some really great blog posts and found a web site that I think will be very useful to people looking for inexpensive hotels.

I read a number of blogs every day.  I think of them as my morning newspaper.  Nearly all of them are focused on travel and financial related topics.  One of these blogs, Money and Map, had a great article about how your child can get a book for free this summer at Barnes and Noble.  The post explains exactly how to participate in the promotion.  Essentially the kids need to read 8 books and then they get to pick one book for free from a list of books at Barnes and Noble.  I suggest checking out the other posts on her site as well.  She has great information about taxes, family travel and other financial topics.

Another blog that I love is One Mile at a Time.  This blog is very well known in the travel hacking community for good reason – he knows a ton about the game and knows how to explain it so everyone can understand.  I’ve also found him to be one of the definitive sources for information on the American Airlines frequent flyer program.  And a post this week shows just how well he understands the program.  He wrote about the rules for the North American gateway city stopovers.

Finally, I’m trying to plan a weekend getaway for my husband and 2 friends.  I was searching the various options for booking a hotel room such as using points and Priceline.  While researching the Priceline option, I came across a web site called The Bidding Traveler.  You may recall that a long time ago I wrote bidding strategies for bidding for hotels on Priceline where I talk about how you can get extra bids each day by including other zones that don’t have hotels in the category that you want.  It is a very effective yet manual process.  Well, The Bidding Traveler web site seems to make the process a whole lot easier.  You give the web site the minimum and maximum you’re willing to pay and they execute the bids using the permutations I talked about on the bidding strategies post.  You can read more about the site on this FlyerTalk thread.  I haven’t used the site yet, but I expect to once I know exactly which city they want to go to.

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American Airlines’ Golden Tickets Investigated

I heard a very interesting story yesterday on NPR that I thought you guys might be interested in.  Back in the 1980s, American Airlines offered an passes for unlimited, first class travel for life.  The tickets were pricey – starting at $250,000.  However, American Airlines is saying that some people who bought those tickets are costing the company millions of dollars a year.  They launched an investigation into the use of these tickets.  Check out the story on NPR.

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I’ll Be Posting Again Soon

Thanks for the prompting to post again. :)   The last several weeks have been kind of crazy.  We went to Disney World with the kids for Spring Break and I’m running our sons’ school’s Bingo Night this week.  Plus there hasn’t been anything particularly exciting in the world of travel hacking.  I will be posting again soon.  It might not be until this weekend (after I get through Bingo Night).  I hope everyone is doing well and having safe travels!

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