Amex SimplyCash Limited Time $250 Offer Ending April 28 (Must Be Approved By)


In February, the Amex SimplyCash card released a new offer of $250 as a sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 within 3 months of account opening. That’s a fairly compelling offer, especially for those who like cash back! The card has no annual fee and offers 5% cash back for shopping at office supply stores, where I typically buy merchant gift cards to Starbucks, Macy's, Sephora, Home Depot and so on to fully maximize my shopping rewards. Many of my friends, family members and readers already … [Read more...]

Maximize Q2 2014 Chase Freedom 5% Categories: Restaurants and Gift Cards at Lowe’s

Chase Freedom Categories

The Chase Freedom card has quarterly rotating categories that offer a bonus of 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar up to $1500. That’s 7500 points if you maximize the promotion quarterly, or 30,000 points a year. This quarter, the categories are: Restaurants. Lowe's Home Improvement Stores. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are redeemable for cash back at 1 cent each (so 5 point per dollar = 5% cash back). Additionally, if you have one the premium Ultimate Reward cards like the … [Read more...]

Guide to Visiting South American and Easter Island with Miles Part 1: Using American Airlines Miles

Easter Island moai

I am going to be visiting Buenos Aires and Easter Island in December and booked a business class ticket with miles. I am extremely excited to be visiting one of my dream destinations. In a quick series of posts, I am going to go over the options for planning a trip to South America that includes Easter Island with miles. Although the way I booked my ticket is no longer available, there are still some good options with different miles programs. In particular, there is now a very good option with … [Read more...]

American Airlines Makes Surprise Drastic Award Changes

American Airlines came out with a number of changes this morning concerning redeeming AAdvantage award miles. One of the things they got rid of was one of my favorite tricks when it comes to redeeming miles: The ability to book a one-way flight within North America and a one-way flight to Europe months later for just 20,000 miles total. Award chart changes are, of course, to be expected, especially with the merger of American Airlines and US Airways coming up. As more miles becomes outstanding, … [Read more...]

Booking an American Airlines Award to Easter Island: Problems I Encountered

Easter Island moai

I previously wrote about how I used the American Airlines oneworld explorer award to book business class award tickets to Easter Island. As I explained in my post, flying to Easter Island with American Airlines miles requires connecting in Chile. Easter Island is in the South Pacific region while Chile is in South America Zone 2 region. Because American Airlines regular awards do not allow connections in a third region, I would have to book two separate awards and business class flights would … [Read more...]

New Park Hyatt Vienna Expected Opening June 1 and Category Announced

A room at the new Park Hyatt Vienna

Hyatt has been excellent at opening new hotels in exciting locations lately. Last year, I was very happy to stay at the new Andaz Maui at Wailea and it certainly did not disappoint. This year, the most anticipated hotel opening for me personally is the new Park Hyatt in Vienna. Rooms are not bookable yet, but the current opening date is set for June 1 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse,  The hotel is set in 100-year-old building that once housed the Austrian Hungarian … [Read more...]

Vanilla Reloads “Cash Only” Policy Is Not Nationwide (At Least Not Yet)

Vanilla Reloads going cash only

Update: As of 4/2/2014, I am no longer able to buy Vanilla Reloads in NYC with credit cards. Others have reported credit card options disappearing in various cities. There have been reports of a new memo (see the post on View from the Wing) detailing a chainwide rollout of the "cash only" policy on April 4, 2014.  Yesterday, I wrote about a CVS memo indicating that Vanilla Reloads and other reloadable cards will be switching to a "cash only" policy starting today, March 31. Everyone awaited … [Read more...]

Vanilla Reloads at CVS May Be Cash Only Starting Tomorrow

Vanilla Reloads going cash only

Vanilla Reloads are an excellent tool for boosting our miles and points earnings. We've been purchasing Vanilla Reload cards at CVS, loading them onto our Bluebird/Amex Serve and then using these to pay our bills. This allows us to leverage our mortgage, rent, student loan bills, etc. into miles collecting opportunities. Vanilla Reloads have been a valuable tool to meet minimum spending as well as earn miles for more trips down the road. For more information, you can read my post: The Bluebird … [Read more...]