CT.com Vacation Sweepstakes

For CT residents only: A friend of mine passed along a sweepstakes link that I think many people may be interested in.  It’s a sweepstake where you can win a copy of Go Vacation for the Wii and your own 3-night vacation for 2 (including airfare and hotel) sponsored by Southwest Airlines.  The sweepstake runs until December 26, 2011 and you can enter 10 times a day per email address and per person.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards – Southwest New Partner

According to The Points Guy, on January 5, 2012, Chase Ultimate Rewards will be adding Southwest to its list of transfer partners.  The points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio.  And these points can be used on any Southwest flight.  The number of points you will need to redeem for a flight will depend on the fare class that book.  You will get:

  • 1.67 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Wanna Get Away fare
  • 1 cent per mile if you’re redeeming for an Anytime fare
  • .83 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Business Select fare

These points will not count towards the Companion Pass.  If you want to read more about this, check out The Points Guy’s post about it.

I am becoming a huge fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.  We’ve had a card with this program for many years now.  I didn’t understand the value of these points until recently (we used to redeem for cash back ).  As Chase expands the number of partner airlines, these points become more and  more valuable.  As much as I hate that Chase seems to be cornering the market on co-branded airline credit card, it may actually help them expand the number of partner airlines in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Another great feature of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that you can transfer your points to anyone!  Most programs will allow you to only transfer to cardholder accounts.  The fact that you can transfer to non-cardholder accounts is a huge benefit.  This means that you could top off accounts for family and friends.

If you don’t have a Chase credit card with Ultimate Rewards, you might want to look into it.  I would suggest looking into both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire card.  I talked about how you can transfer between the accounts in another post

Why would you want both cards?  The Chase Freedom card does not have an annual fee.  However, it does not allow you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airlines.  But it does have special bonus categories every quarter where you can earn 5 points for every dollar spent up to $1,500 spent.  The categories change every quarter.  The Chase Sapphire card has a $95 annual fee.  The current offer waives that for the first year.  The Chase Sapphire allows you to transfer points to partner airlines.  So you can earn points using your Chase Freedom card and then transfer them to our Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards account and then on to partner airlines.

The best current offer that I know of for Chase Freedom card is $300 cash back after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months.  The best current offer that I know of for the Chase Sapphire card is 50,000 point bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. 

You can also get the Chase Ink Bold card if you have a business (it also participates in the Ultimate Rewards program).  The best offer that I know of for that is a 50,000 point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

The above is my personal opinion.  I do not receive kickbacks of any kind from any company.  You need to decide what is best for you and your credit.

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Gold Delta Skymiles Amex – 45,000 Mile Sign-up Bonus

American Express has upped the sign-up bonus from 30,000 miles to 45,000 miles.  To get the bonus,  you have to spend $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months.  It also comes with the following:

  • Your first checked bag is free for you and up to 8 others on your itinerary on every Delta flight
  • Priority boarding on Delta flights
  • A $99 domestic Economy Class Companion Certificate each year when you renew your card
  • Pay with Miles – an exclusive benefit for Cardmembers – allows you to pay for all or part of a Delta flight with miles (10,000 miles will get you $100 off a flight)
  • In-flight savings of 20% on Delta flights on food, beverage and entertainment purchases
  • $25 Delta Sky Club access
  • Double miles on Delta purchases and one mile per eligible dollar spent for everyday purchases
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, the $95

The offer is good until December 19, 2011.  And the offer is good for both personal and business cards.

I’m not crazy about Delta miles because they are harder to redeem at the lowest rates than nearly any other airline.  But this is one of the best offers I’ve seen for the card.  I also like that the card is not offered through Chase since so many others are through Chase.  It will allow you to spread your applications.

HT: One Mile at a Time

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Busy, busy, busy – Christmas Traditions

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a very busy time in our household.  Every year, we host a big holiday party at our house for our kids’ friends and their parents.  We have an ornament exchange for the kids.  And every kid gets to decorate a gingerbread house.  My friend and I make all of the gingerbread houses from scratch and assemble them before the party.  As you can see from the picture, it’s a crazy but super fun time for the kids.

This year we decided to add some “fun” for the adults – an ugly sweater contest.  I’d post pictures of that but I want to protect the innocent.

The next morning, we went to my work’s Children’s Holiday party.  It’s quite an event.  They rent out a movie theater complex.  There are different activities in each of the theaters.  One you can have a family picture taken and it’s made into an ornament.  In another theater the kids get to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and some elves.  There are art projects in another.  And every kid get a little present.  There are balloon artists and a magician in the hallways.  In the front foyer, they have a mechanical, ride-on reindeer and polar bear.  After all the activities, you get to watch a movie.  This year, we watched The Muppet Movie.  It’s quite an event.

A friend of mine hosts a cookie swap every year.  I have to figure out what I’m going to make this year.  I’m thinking maybe snickerdoodles.  A couple years back, the dads decided that they deserved a night out like our cookie swap.  So they started a tradition of a beer swap.  So it’s makes for quite a fun filled time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What are some traditions you have in your family during the holiday season?

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Round-trip NYC to San Juan, PR – $185 all in

There is an unadvertised price reduction on fares between New York City and San Juan, PR.  You can now get a round-trip ticket for $185 including taxes!  You can find a calendar of fares on Fly.com here.  The best fares seem to be in May and early June.  Most of the dates I checked were coming up at $245 which is still a great deal. 

I love Puerto Rico.  I lived there for a year and a half in my early twenties.  Here are my posts on some of my recommendations for Puerto Rico.  Also if you’re looking for a more secluded Puertican vacation, consider visiting one of the smaller islands of Puerto Rico – Culebra and Vieques.  Feel free to send me any questions you might have on Puerto Rico.

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