Keep Your Frequent Flyer Miles Active with Thanks Again

Thanks Again Loyalty Program QR CodeThanks Again is a loyalty program that awards airline frequent flyer miles for parking and other purchases at 170 airports throughout the U.S.

If you sign up via BWI’s link, you can earn 100 airline miles or 200 hotel points for enrolling!  This enrollment bonus is valid through December 31, 2015.

Thanks Again allows you to automatically earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points when you park, shop and dine at BWI or any of the other participating airports, such as RDU, DCA, BOS, PIT, FWA, AUS, and dozens of others.

This is a great way to extend the expiration date on an inactive frequent flyer account, or to maintain steady activity on the account.

Thanks Again Bonus Rewards

Simply register one or more American Express, Visa, or MasterCard credit card and pair it with the rewards program of your choice.  You will automatically earn one  extra mile, or two extra hotel points, when you shop at any of 24,000 participating locations.  This is on top of any other points you are earning with the card.

Real big spenders earn 5x miles or 10x points if they spend $1,000 in a calendar quarter.  

 Thanks Again Participating Loyalty Programs

  • AeroMexico Club Premier
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Frontier EarlyReturns
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • US Airways Dividend Miles

 Hotel Programs

  • Hilton HHonors
  • VOILÀ Hotel Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

Have you tried Thanks Again?

Can I Interest You in a Free Glass of Sparkling Wine, or Perhaps Free Dessert?

MasterCard Concierge App
MasterCard Concierge App, Free on iTunes

If you have a World or World Elite U.S. Mastercard, you may be interested in the new MasterCard Concierge app available for free on iTunes.

The App is your key to finding special offers and discounts at restaurants at select locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Most of the restaurants included to date are fancy steak houses or expensive French bistros, but there are also Japanese, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern offerings.

MasterCard Concierge App
MasterCard Concierge App

The typical offer is for a free glass of sparkling wine or a free dessert to accompany your meal.

You’re not going to get rich off these offers.

But the Concierge app may come in handy some day if you find yourself headed to a participating restaurant in a big city like Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, or Las Vegas.

You must call or email the MasterCard Concierge to access the offers.

Credit Cards Eligible for the MasterCard Concierge Program

Examples of cards that may be eligible include the Barclaycard Arrival and Arrival Plus, as well as the The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® and the The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®.   

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is currently offering  40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee.

This is a pretty good deal for accruing U.S. Airways Dividend Miles, because there is no minimum spend requirement to worry about.  40,000 Dividend Miles could come in handy with the American/USAir merger underway, and the upcoming merger of their frequent flyer programs.  I got this card for that very reason.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® offers 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.



Which No Annual Fee Credit Card Pays 3% Cash Back on All Travel?

Sam's Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard
Equipped with chip and PIN technology

There is a rewards credit card flying under the radar that pays 5% cash back on gas3% cash back on all travel, and dining out, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Can you guess which card this is?

Here’s a hint:

  • it is a no annual fee card;
  • it requires you to be a member;
  • membership is open to everyone but costs $45.

This Card Pays Higher Cash Back on Travel Than Better Known Rewards Credit Cards

No, it is not the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card.  The PenFed card earns 5x points on airline tickets, and 1x point on other purchases.  It offers a signup bonus of $200 after spending $2500 in the first three months and has no annual fee.

No, it is not the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® which pays 2x points on restaurant meals and all travel expenses, and redeposits 10 percent of redeemed miles back into your account.  The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® card offers 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and has no annual fee.

No, it is not the Chase Sapphire card which pays 2x points on dining, 1x points on other penes, and an extra point on hotels and air fares booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards.  The Sapphire card offers 10,000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months and has no annual fee.

Meet the Sam’s Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard

Sam's Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard
Sam’s Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard

The Sam’s Club 5:3:1 MasterCard pays 5x points on gas purchases, 3x points on all travel, 3x points on restaurants, and 1x points on other purchases.  

I don’t know of no other no annual fee rewards credit card that pays 3 percent cash back on restaurants, hotels, rental cars, airline tickets, train tickets, buses, cruises, tours, and timeshares!  (If you have any contenders, please share in the comments.)

Some cards pay bonus points on car rental and hotels, others on restaurants or air tickets.  But the general travel rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire or the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® pay 2 or 2.2 percent respectively on travel and dining.

The Sam’s Club credit card comes with the latest chip technology for added security.  The card will be PIN enabled, meaning it can be used in situations such as overseas train stations where a PIN is required.

If you apply by August 31, 2014, and you will earn a $20 statement credit after spending $50.

There is no annual fee for the card, but membership in Sam’s Club is required, and membership costs $45.  

There is a maximum of $5,000 in cash back rewards during any “reward period” which is a calendar year.  You’d have to be a real big spender to exceed that cap!

Sam's Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard
Sam’s Club 5:3:1 Cash Back MasterCard

Here are some specifics:

  • 5 percent cash back on fuel at gas stations (for the first $6,000 spent on fuel each calendar year). That’s good at all gas stations in the U.S. (except gas stations run by other warehouse clubs and super centers.) After the first $6,000 in fuel spending each year, you earn 1 percent back.
  • 3 percent cash back on restaurants worldwide (including fast food, bars, and catering, but excluding purchases at other warehouse clubs).
  • 3 percent cash back on all travel. Travel includes: rental cars; airlines; hotels; passenger rail; bus lines; cruise lines; time shares; travel agencies (although not those offered by other warehouse clubs); travel sites; and tour operators.
  • 1 percent back on all other eligible purchases.

Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions for all the details.

The Sam’s Club 5:3:1 Cash Back Credit Card Has Some Quirks

There are a few weird things about the Sam’s Club 5:3:1 card.

  • First, cash back rewards are issued just once a year in February.
  • Second, the rewards are in the form of a check made payable to Sam’s Club.
  • Third, the checks can only be cashed at a Sam’s Club.

These features are a big turn-off for me!

How to Get Sam’s Club Membership for “Free”

The usual cost of membership in Sam’s Club is $45 per year.

Several times a year you can find special offers for Sam’s Club membership via Groupon.

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MasterCard Contest: Win a Trip to London to See Justin Timberlake in Concert

MasterCard Contest to See Justin Timberlake Every time you swipe your MasterCard, you are entered into a contest to win a trip to London!

MasterCard is running a contest as part of their Priceless Surprises campaign to win a chance to see Justin Timberlake live in London on The 20/20 Experience World Tour.

They launched the campaign with an amusing video with JT that aired during the Grammys.

Every time you use your MasterCard you are automatically entered into this contest (just like the Visa contest to win at trip to the winter Olympics.)

If you want to increase your chances of winning, TWEET or INSTAGRAM using the hashtag #PricelessSurprises.  The more you tweet and post, the more chances you have.

The grand prize is a 5-day/4-night trip for winner and a guest to attend a 2014 Justin Timberlake concert in Europe as part of his 20/20 Experience World Tour. The trip includes round-trip coach air transportation, hotel, ground transportation, concert tickets, and a city tour.  The grand prize also includes $6,000 that may be used to help offset taxes.

 The value of this “priceless” prize:  approximately $19,500.

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Beware Free Shipping by MasterCard!

Free Shipping from Major Retailers with MasterCard

MasterCard offers a nice little perk to cardholders to pick up the tab on shipping charges from five popular online retailers.

The Free Shipping by MasterCard offer provides rebates of up to $20 on two-day shipping charges for purchases from Macy’s, Best Buy, QVC, Kohl’s, and Walmart.  

You can get up to $500 in rebates over a six month period.

To be eligible for a rebate you must:

  • register your MasterCard with the free shipping program
  • begin your purchase from the Free Shipping by MasterCard shopping website
  • choose the retailer’s two-day shipping option at check-out
  • pay for the entire purchase, including two-day shipping, using the registered credit card
  • Email the order confirmation to MasterCard within 30 days of the original purchase date

If you follow these steps, a rebate of up to $20 will be credited to your account and appear on your billing statement in one to two billing cycles.

A variety of MasterCards are eligible for the program, such as the popular Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®,  the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® and the The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®, among others.

Beware the Jabberwock, My Son!

Sound good?  Tread carefully.  Like the Amex ShopRunner program that also offers free shipping, participation in this MasterCard rebate program means that you will forgo any cash back or points payouts that you could have earned by going through an online shopping portal like FatWallet, Ebates, or the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall.

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Barclaycard Arrival: The Definitive One Year Review


2/20/2014 Update:  The terms of this offer were changed today.  In order to earn the 40,000 bonus points, you must spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card.

Is Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for General Spending?  

Over the last couple of months, my family has had a number of major expenses pop up some of which may resonate with you:

  • the check engine light came on in my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid:  $5000 repair bill
  • ditto for my husbands 2003 Volkswagen Passat:  $3800
  • my daughter got braces:  $4650
  • the heat pump finally gave out:  $6995

Granted it is unusual to have so many large, chargeable expenses totaling $20,000 in a two month period.  But it it is easy to anticipate similar health, home maintenance, and auto repair expenses over the course of a year.

In our case, the car mechanics, the orthodontist, and the HVAC installer all accepted credit cards for payment, but only MasterCard or Visa, not American Express.  That mirrors my experience with other small business vendors where we have regular large expenditures, such as the dog kennel or the vet.  

None of these household expenses are considered “bonus” categories with any credit card product that I am aware of.  Except the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, that is.

(There is a Fidelity credit card that pays 2 times points, but it is an American Express card, which is not accepted everywhere.  There is a Capital One Venture card that pays 2 times points; the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® effectively pays out 10 percent more than that — 2.2 percent.)

Earn 2.2 Points on All Charges, if Redeemed for Travel Expenses

BarclayCard ArrivalIt’s a bit redundant, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® — pays 2 times points on everything.  There is no limit on the amount of points you can earn.

In my case outlined here, with $20,000 in expenses we could earn 4o,000 points.  40,000 points can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel expenses (the points are worth half that if redeemed for cash).  You earn a ten percent bonus on redeemed points, so 4,000 points are redeposited in your account, worth another $40 toward travel expenses, for a total of $440.  The ten percent bonus provides an incentive to keep using the card in order to redeem all your points.

How Much Travel Can You Buy for $440?

Exactly $440 dollars worth!  Depending on your bargain hunting skill and preferences, you can use this money for budget hotels, rental cars, train tickets and airfare.

You can travel when you want, and where you want, without worrying about limited award availability or blackout dates.

What’s more, you will earn frequent flyer miles and loyalty program points on your purchases!

I was an early adopter of the Barclaycard Arrival — I received a targeted offer and opened the card a year ago.  I have written about it on and off, but I wanted to share my experience with the card one year out.

By comparison, with a miles earning credit card, my recent charges would earn 20,000 miles  — perhaps enough for a one-way ticket on Southwest Airlines or two roundtrip tickets on Amtrak, but hard to redeem for much else.

Get a Sign-Up Bonus Worth $440 Towards Travel

Some credit cards are good for everyday spend, others provide generous sign-up bonuses.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® does both!

Beyond the 2.2 percent payout rate for general expenses, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers an excellent signup bonus.

If you spend $3,000 within three months of opening the card, you get a bonus of 40,000 points, which can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel.  Furthermore, you earn 10 percent back on all redemptions for travel expenses, meaning another 4,000 points are awarded, making the initial bonus worth more than $440.

Other Benefits of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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Priceless Cities: MasterCard’s World of Discounts

Priceless Africa from MasterCard

If you currently hold a MasterCard you may have heard about the Priceless Cities program, which offers cardholders unique opportunities and discounts in several U.S. cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.  

Registering for the program gives you access to exclusive offers.

For instance, in researching our upcoming trip to New York, I found special offers for early entry or evening tickets to the fabulous holiday train show at the New York Botanical Gardens, as well as discounted tickets for standard admissions.

There were also some club, hotel, entertainment and restaurant discounts, and a special venue for viewing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

But did you know that Priceless Cities is actually an international program?

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Part 3: Check Inn to 20 to 40 Percent Savings with CLC Lodging

Check Inn CLC Lodging

If you’ve ever wished your small business could take advantage of the discounts on lodging that big corporations negotiate with hotels . . . you may be in luck!

If you have a small business credit card such as one of the Chase Ink MasterCards, there’s a little known benefit that can save you 20 to 40 percent on lodging costs.

I stumbled upon several seldom-publicized travel savings opportunities which I discuss in a three-part series of articles.

Part 1: Visa SavingsEdge

Part 2:  MasterCard Easy Savings

Part 3:  Check Inn – CLC Lodging

The MasterCard Easy Savings program offers cash rebates for certain everyday business purchases.  You need to register your business MasterCard (such as the Chase Ink credit cards) in advance.

One of the most attractive benefits of the EasySavings program is free membership in the Check Inn Card program run by CLC Lodging.

This program offers pre-negotiated “corporate discounts” of 20-40 percent on lodging with 17,000 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s How it Works:

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Part 2: Stack Savings on Chase Ink MasterCards — Automatically!

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 12.11.10 AMIf you have a small business credit card such as one of the Chase Ink cards, there’s an easy way to earn an extra 1-10 percent savings on certain purchases.

I  stumbled upon several seldom-publicized travel savings opportunities which I discuss in a three-part series of articles.

Part 1: Visa SavingsEdge

Part 2:  MasterCard Easy Savings

Part 3:  Check Inn – CLC Lodging

These three savings programs for small businesses are among the best kept secrets in the travel blogosphere. The programs have all been around for years and they are a cinch to use.

The MasterCard Easy Savings program may be even a better deal than the Visa SavingsEdge.  I say that because you can earn statement credits for every day expenses like gasoline, and even car repairs at  20,000 brand name gas stations.   

If you register your small business credit card with the MasterCard Easy Savings program, you will automatically receive a cash rebate on your statement for certain everyday business purchases.

No coupons. No codes. Savings are automatic. What’s even better is that you can stack these rebates on to other points earning opportunities.

The MasterCard Easy Savings program offers savings on everything from office equipment to shipping, from hotels to rental cars. Every time you use your enrolled MasterCard small business credit card at a participating merchant, you get an automatic cash rebate on your monthly statement.

So which MasterCards are eligible?  For starters, the Chase Ink business MasterCards participate in the Easy Savings program.

For frequent travelers, it is notable that you get 1% back at many gas stations (through the Fuelman network), 5% back for car rentals at Budget and Avis, 5% back for Frontier Airlines purchases, 5% back at Wyndham hotels, and 4% back from any hotel in the MasterCard hotel network.  I checked my local area and found that the hotel list is quite broad and includes both Hilton and Marriott hotels among many others.  Most every local gas station is a member of the Fuelman network.

Merchants participating in the Easy Savings discount program include:

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