We Took the Bait: Chase Bank Dangles $150 or 15,000 Miles

Dangling dollar If you have a reluctant spouse, maybe you can sympathize with this story.  My husband’s Chase United Explorer Card was coming up on its first anniversary.  On this month’s statement, he was hit with the $95 annual fee.

The last time he faced a similar situation, he told the Chase customer service rep that he wanted to cancel his Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card because he no longer flies Southwest.  No, no no!  He should have said that he loves to fly Southwest but was concerned about the $69 annual fee.  Chase was happy to cancel his Southwest credit card.

The fact of the matter is that we do fly Southwest.  When my Rapid Rewards credit card came due for the annual fee, I asked to speak to the retention specialist and was offered an extra 3,000 miles (6,000 total miles) for the $69 annual fee.

So this time, I offered to make the call for my husband.  

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Holiday Spending Bonus from Southwest

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 11.40.19 AMReports are popping up about targeted bonuses for credit card spending between now and the end of the year.  The bonuses are targeted to select holders of various credit cards issued by Citi, Barclays, and Chase banks.  These deals offer extra points for general or category-specific spending over the next three months.  The offers typically are capped at a certain spending limit.

I received an offer from Chase and Southwest Airlines for 3,000 bonus points if I spend $5000 on my Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card between October 1 and  December 31, 2013.  The bonus is on top of the regular 1x point you earn on purchases.  You must pre-register your card to receive the bonus points.

In effect, the bonus boosts the earn rate on eligible Rapid Rewards credit cards to 1.6x points for the last quarter of 2013.

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Major Devaluation of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Miles

Boo Hiss.  Southwest Airlines has just announced a major devaluation of the Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program:

Wanna Get Away® reward flight bookings made on or after March 31, 2014 will require 70 points per dollar. This is an increase from the 60 points per dollar currently required.

In other words, the miles will be devalued by 15 percent.

Ten Loyalty Programs with Birthday Bonuses (+130 more)

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.06.35 PM
Virgin America Birthday Bonus

Today my thoughts turn to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11.

Today is also my birthday.

Today while most people are remembering the tragedy that occurred 12 years ago, I find my inbox overflowing with birthday greetings from various frequent flyer and loyalty programs.

It’s strange.  I guess birthdays are big business, and loyalty programs everywhere are getting on the bandwagon.

These are the birthday benefits I’ve racked up:

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Penn & Teller 2-For-1 Ticket Deal

Everything in Vegas has a promo code or can be comped so I was surprised how hard it was to find discount tickets for the  Penn & Teller show when we were in Las Vegas last summer.   Eventually, I tracked down a discount code on Travelzoo, but it was not as good the 2-for-1 deal as that Southwest Airlines is offering its passengers.Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 6.38.32 PMPenn & Teller are illusionists extraordinaire — and their show combines humor, magic, and libertarian political philosophy.  Their shtick is to demonstrate how magic tricks are done.  Penn does all the talking and Teller is mostly mute.  

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Part 1: Travel Savings Bonanza for Visa Small Business Card Users

I just stumbled upon the motherlode of travel savings opportunities which I will address in a three-part series of articles.

Part 1: Visa SavingsEdge

Part 2:  Mastercard Easy Savings

Part 3:  Check Inn – CLC Lodging

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

The first program, Visa SavingsEdge, discussed in today’s post, is good;  the second program, Mastercard Easy Savings, is even better;  and the third program is great.  Please signup for email notifications of these future articles.  

Visa SavingsEdge

If you are a small business owner and have a Visa business credit card, you may be interested in the Visa SavingsEdge program.

Visa EasySavings Travel Discounts
Visa EasySavings Travel Discounts

With a single registration, you can receive automatic discounts from dozens of vendors.  The savings show up as credits on your monthly statement.  No fuss, no muss.  This is the lazy person’s savings program.

The program is for holders of Visa small business credit cards.  All you have to do is register your card once and the discounts are automatic.

You can check whether your card is eligible on the Visa website.  My Chase United Mileage Plus business card and my Chase Southwest business card are both eligible, and I have heard that the Club Carson Business Card is also eligible.

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How I Saved $1200 on a Roundtrip Ticket

Last week, I needed to book a roundtrip flight from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Washington, DC (IAD) in a big hurry and airfares were through the roof:  $1297 on United Airlines to be precise.

No way, Jose!  Instead, I purchased the “economy” class ticket for 37,500 United Mileage Plus miles, a $7.50 fee, and a $75 close-in booking charge.

I “earned” the miles by opening a United Mileage Plus credit card with Chase Bank, by   accumulating some frequent flyer miles from a few long-distance flights.

Dulles International Airport Image by Metropolitan Washington  Airport Authority
Dulles International Airport
Image by Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

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A Sneak Peek into the AMEX Retention Department

I opened a boatload of travel rewards credit cards in 2012 — and now it’s time to pay the piper.  For many rewards cards, the annual fee is waived the first year, but the fee is due in full on the one year anniversary.American Express Credit Cards

I read about retention bonuses, and wanted to give it a try.  If you call the number on the back of your card to say that you are considering canceling  — because you are concerned about the annual fee coming due –the bank may offer you a variety of incentives to keep you as a customer.  If you tell them you want to cancel the card because you no longer need it — they will probably just cancel it without offering any retention incentive.

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Friday Night is Movie Date Night — Fandango Twofer

Fandango.com is offering a great deal for buy one get one free movie tickets.  This deal is really easy:

Iron Man 3 Opens in Theaters Friday May 3
Iron Man 3 Opens in Theaters Friday May 3

1.  Purchase 2 movie tickets to a Friday show with Fandango on a Friday.

2.  Pay with a Visa Signature Card (lots of cards will qualify)

3.  Receive 1 of the tickets free.

The limit is 1 complimentary movie ticket per Visa Signature card purchase, per 30 day period, and is valid through August 19, 2013.

The tickets must be purchased on a Friday for a Friday showing.

If you have 1 Visa Signature card, you could take advantage of this offer up to 4 times before the August 19th deadline.

If you have more than 1 Visa Signature card — you could be eligible for multiple BOGO movie tickets.

For instance, the Chase Freedom card, the Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Card, and the Chase Southwest Rapid Reward card each would each qualify, as would many other Visa Signature credit cards.

Hey — Iron Man 3 opens in theaters this Friday!  Are you going?

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