I dropped the ball on publishing the points and miles checklist on the first of the month, but we’ll just blame it on the fact that
I was too busy to write it it fell on a weekend and most of you wouldn’t be around to read it. This month, there are lots of opportunities to earn free miles, take advantage of some great hotel promotions, credit card spending bonuses, and more…
❑ Reload Redbird. I got called a “greedy b****” recently by a troll old enough to know better, who took offense to the fact that I have multiple Redbird cards. I know, people just keep getting more and more charming. Anyway, if you happen to be a “greedy b****,” it’s time to not only reload your Redbirds for the month, but Amex for Target as well (you can load $5,000 every 28 days). I got most of this done in the past few days and while I never thought I’d say this, I’m looking forward to no more trips to Target for the rest of the month.
❑ Register for Points and Miles Conferences. Tickets for the Chicago Seminars, which went on sale last week, are still available. This event is great for those who are new to points and miles or want a place to connect with fellow hobbyists. I’ll be attending this year and am looking forward to it. For the more advanced travel hackers, there’s FTU Advanced in D.C. and Dallas. I may attend this event as well, though I haven’t made up my mind yet. If you’re interested in either one, tickets are still available and there’s no telling if/when they’ll sell out, so buy your tickets early.
❑ 1,000 Free AAdvantage Miles. American Airlines is offering 1,000 free AAdvantage miles for taking part in AAdvantage University. All you need to do is watch a couple of short videos, take a few brief quizzes, and 6-8 weeks you’ll have 1,000 AAdvantage miles. The promotion ends June 12, 2015 but you might as well knock this off your to-do list now.
❑ Earn 1,000 Free Hawaiian Miles. Now that the Hawaiian MilesFinder is compatible with Safari, there’s one less obstacle in earning 1,000 free Hawaiian miles every month. The other obstacle? Earning 1,000 Hawaiian Miles every month by performing 3,000 searches. It’s not easy, unless you have a really terrible job you hate and need some way to pass the time at work.
❑ Free Airport Lounge Access. If you’ve got an upcoming trip and anticipate the need to buy an airport lounge day pass, then you should claim your $10 discount code from LoungeBuddy. Even if you don’t think you’ll use it any time soon, it doesn’t hurt to add it to your account. Use my referral link or code (ptchaser) to claim the $10 discount. Full disclosure: I’ll receive $5 cash when you purchase a day pass.
LoungeBuddy is also running a $1,000 giveaway through May 15, 2015. Ten lucky winners will each receive a $100 LoungeBuddy credit, which can be used towards the purchase of day passes at participating airport lounges. Speaking of participating airport lounges, through May 15 LoungeBuddy is offering free day passes to the first 50 people at the following newly Plaza Premium lounges:
- London Heathrow (Terminal 2 and 4)
- Hong Kong (Terminal 1 Departures West Hall and Terminal 2 Arrivals)
To get your free day pass, simply send an email with “Plaza Premium Lounge Free Visit” in the subject line.
❑ Get 50% off at IHG Hotels in Mexico. Through May 8, 2015 IHG Rewards Club members can book reward nights the following hotels in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for 50% off:
- Holiday Inn Resort Acapulco, Mexico
- Holiday Inn Resort Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Holiday Inn Express Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Holiday Inn Express Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Crowne Plaza Acapulco, Mexico
- InterContinental Cancun, Mexico
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba, Aruba
- InterContinental Playa Bonita Panamá, Panama
To qualify for the 50% discount, awards must be booked by 12:00 PM on May 8, 2015 for stays through May 31, 2015.
❑ Save Big with Hyatt. Chase Hyatt Visa cardholders who registered by the May 31 deadline will get 20% off award bookings through July 31, 2015. The discount applies to award redemptions, Points + Cash awards, suite upgrades, dining, and spa redemptions. If that’s not exciting enough, Gary shows you how to stack this promotion with Hyatt’s 40% point purchase bonus for additional savings.
❑ Book Club Carlson Stays Before June 1. The Club Carlson credit cards once offered the most generous hotel card benefits: The last night free on award bookings of two or more nights. Many cardholders maximized this benefit by booking stays in 2-night increments. For example, a couple would book two nights each at the same hotel in order to get four award nights for the price of two. Unfortunately, Bonus Award Nights will be discontinued on June 1, 2015, but you can take advantage of this benefit for stays after this deadline by booking them by May 31. UPDATE: This morning, Club Carlson announced yet another devaluation, with 212 hotels moving up at least one category on June 1. All the more reason to redeem points before that date!
❑ Mattress Run with Club Carlson. Speaking of Club Carlson, don’t forget to take advantage of current stackable promotions with a cheap mattress run. In the past, I’ve found cheap hotels out of state that were willing to let me check in and out remotely. Look for Category 1 Club Carlson properties in cheap hotel markets like Dallas, Orlando, and Norfolk (VA). Hotels near airports or in the suburbs are always a good bet.
❑ Keep Earning 1.25+ Avios Per $1 Spent. On April 30, the British Airways Visa Signature credit card downgraded the payout on non-bonus category spending. Instead of 1.25 Avios per $1 spent, cardholders will earn just 1 Avios per $1. Despite this change to the earning structure on the co-branded credit card, you can continue earning upwards of 5 Avios per $1 through other means.
❑ Take Advantage of Spending Bonuses. Through June 30, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5x points per $1 or 5% cash back on purchases at Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Overstock.com. I can’t think of a worse line-up, but that’s probably just me being negative when it comes to shopping in general. If you haven’t activated this quarterly bonus, be sure to do so by June 14.
If you have a Bank of America Alaska Visa Signature credit card, keep an eye out for targeted spend bonuses. My dad received an offer for an extra 2 miles per $1 spent (up to 2,500 miles) on flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through June 30, 2015. I have yet to receive such an offer in the mail, though it wouldn’t be much use to me since all of my travel spend gets charged to my Barclay Arrival card. My favorite spending bonus of the moment has to be 50% bonus miles offered to Barclay AAdvantage credit cardholders. This bonus applies to all spending and is good for purchases made through June 30, 2015.
❑ Double Your HHonors with Hilton. If you’re staying at one of the 3,400+ hotels participating in Hilton’s Double Your HHonors promotion, be sure to register in order to earn double points or miles. This promotion is valid on stays through May 31, 2015.
❑ Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is less than a week away. This should be plenty of time to not only buy a gift but earn some extra miles. Don’t forget to use a shopping portal at popular online merchants, or take advantage of credit card category bonuses if you’re going to pick up gift cards at bonus category merchants. Merchants like 1-800-Flowers and FTD offer massive bonuses on flower orders, though lots of people consider them overpriced and prefer to buy flowers from a grocery store. If you’re taking mom out to a restaurant, make sure you register your credit card with a dining rewards program to earn up to 8 additional points per $1 spent.
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