Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time for Some Changes


Points Cash Miles is currently undergoing a redesign.  For the next couple of weeks I'm going to be playing around with the layout and overall appearance of the site and I've started on some new material with plans of a few posts in the next couple of weeks with a return to regular posting towards the end of the year

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

An unexpected free gift card - Bing Rewards

So I should start off by mentioning that this post isn't directly related to the typical miles and points.
It does fall under the Cash category though, and at least for blogging purchases, "Cash" is my middle name.

I don't specifically remember signing up for Bing search rewards, but I happened to notice recently that whenever the Bing search page would load, I would see my name along with a number that was a little bit higher each time I saw it.  I finally clicked on this and found out that I had apparently been earning bing.com rewards points for some time.

I had enough points for $10 worth of gift cards.  I redeemed the points for two $5 Tango Cards which were e-mailed to me within a couple of days. From what I can see so far, this deal is probably good for around one $5 gift card per month.

I don't actually go to the bing.com page to do my web searches, my default search engine setting in Internet Explorer is Bing, so I'm really earning these points without doing anything different from how I would normally browse the internet.  It may not amount to much but it's free, and if nothing else it will cover a few coffee runs at the airport Starbucks.

  If you're interested in signing up for Bing rewards, You can check it out at my link HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plastic Jungle - $20 Bonus through 1-19-2013

Plastic Jungle is currently offering a $20 discount off a future purchase of discounted giftcards

It appears that this offer is combinable with TopCashBack for an additional 2.5%.  I'm not a big fan of TopCashBack compared to other cash-back shopping sites, but they are the only one with a link for Plastic Jungle, so in this case they'll get my business.

This is a pretty good offer on it's own if you happen to have a couple of gift cards that you need to liquidate.  It can be an even better offer if you recently used your AmEx Platinum $200 airline reimbursement to pick up a couple of American Airlines gift cards.   It just so happens that I did this just last week, so I have $200 worth of AA giftcards that I've got no immediate plans for.  I'll get $160 cash for the gift cards, $4 from TopCashBack (hopefully) and $20 towards a future giftcard purchase.  In this case I value the cash now over the airline giftcards to use at a later date, so sometime today I'll be taking advantage of the offer.

If you're interested in learning more about Points, Cash, & Miles, consider following by email or just bookmarking the page - I'll be here with new material 2-3 times a week, possibly more if there happens to be anything I find really exciting in the world of points and miles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hilton 24 Hour Sale - Starts Now!

Starting right now at 11:00am eastern Hilton is running a 24 hours flash sale for up to 40% off weekend stays plus 2,500 bonus points.  This is really just an additional bonus on top of the Any Weekend Anywhere sale that runs through the end of the month.  You have to register though Facebook for the bonus points and then book through the sale link HERE  Details are below:

Hilton HHonors

Here's the Text from their Facebook page:
Come back on Wednesday, January 16th at 11:00AM ET and register for the 24-Hour Flash Bonus Offer. To earn your bonus, simply book a stay with the Any Weekend, Anywhere Sale and you can save up to 40% on weekends throughout 2013 at participating hotels and resorts worldwide. Plus, once you complete your stay you'll get 2,500 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points for every weekend you book. Start making plans for all of your weekend getaways today.
 And the link to register: HERE

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dining Rewards - Don't Even Think About Paying Cash for Dinner

From my NYC trip at the beginning of the month, I have a good example of why you should never pay with cash for dinner.

I was checking account balances yesterday and noticed that my HHonors balance was a few thousand points higher than the last time I had checked.  I knew that points from my Hilton Amex and the points from my New Year's Eve stay had already posted as I mentioned in Friday's post.

It turns out that the points in question were from the HHonors Dining program.  Now I knew there would be a few points coming from dining in NYC, and I knew that the Gelato Stand in Grand Central Terminal is a participating business, but I had absolutely no idea that the restaurant we had went to for dinner on New Year's Eve was even part of the program.

My girlfriend had actually made the reservation at Megu Midtown through OpenTable, and earned OpenTable points for the reservation, so it appears possible double dip on reservations like this one.

I hadn't spent much cash so for the trip up until that point so I was considering leaving cash until I reminded myself to put it on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card since it earns double points on dining.  Overall, I ended up earning 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points plus 8 HHonors Points per dollar spent.  It normally wouldn't be enough to have me going out of my way to pick a restaurant, but It's a nice bonus when you can get it.

In this case, it was a perfect scenario  This was by far the most expensive meal we ate in NYC, the food was excellent, and then later I find out I earned HHonors points.  Awesome.

Sashimi Cave at Megu Midtown

I'll likely be back to Megu on a future New York Trip, and you can bet I'll be making sure my card is registered with HHonors Dining.

If you already use a Dining Rewards program, now's a good time to double check that all of you credit cards are enrolled.  If you're not already using a dining program, there are several to choose from and the links are below.  I personally use HHonors Dining, but something else may work better for you.  I'll be doing a write up covering all of the programs in the next week or so to help you make your decision.

HHonors Dining
AAdvantage Dining
Mileage Plus Dining
SkyMiles Dining
Rapid Rewards Dining
Priority Club Dining

Sunday, January 13, 2013

12 Free Points or Miles - Audience Rewards Trivia 1-13-2013

Regular posting will commence / resume on the 7th but in the meantime here's a quick Audience Rewards Trivia Update:

Audience Reward Trivia update

You can pick any one of the 4 programs to answer the questions, but you only get to answer them once.  As usual I'll be focusing on the SPG program as I value Starwood points more highly than the rest

Your Trivia Questions and Answers for 1-13-2013:

Cougar, the Musical plays what Off Broadway theatre? 
St Luke's Theatre
What pop star is behind the music for the upcoming Broadway show, Kinky Boots? 
Cyndi Lauper
What religion is prominently featured in bare: the musical? 
What new Disney musical has been rumored to be coming to Broadway in the spring of 2013 after Mary Poppins closes? 
Where is Sherrie in Rock of Ages originally from? 
Who directed The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway? 
Harold Prince

Audience Rewards Triva Update

The Audience Rewards Trivia Pages have been updated - I'll have the answers up as soon as I get a chance to check them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

No Paid Stay? Sign Up for those Hotel Bonuses Anyway

Typically the hotel rewards programs view award stays a little bit differently than paid stays.  Most hotels don't count the stay or number of nights stayed towards elite status, although Starwood's SPG program is a notable exception.

You can generally earn points at the usual per dollar rates on any incidentals such as meals charged to the room, bar tabs, etc.   This probably isn't all that surprising, what does surprise me though is that it's often possible to earn bonus points from quarterly promotions on award stays.

Here's an example from my recent stay at the DoubleTree Times Square:

As you can see I only earned 321 base points yet earned 3,000 points from HHonors Q4 1,000 Reasons to Stay Bonus.  Definitely a reason to make sure you have at least something that will generate base points charged to the room on award stays.  In most cases, if there are no room charges, no bonus points will post.

I always make a point to sign up for the quarterly bonuses from any of the chains I may be staying with,  whether I have paid stays or award stays planned.  I usually even register for the promos for my primary and secondary rewards programs even if I don't have stays planned, just in case something unexpected comes up.

Here's a list of the Q1 Hotel Promotions I know of so far:

If you're interested in learning more about Points, Cash, & Miles, consider following by email or just bookmarking the page - I'll be here with new material 2-3 times a week, possibly more if there happens to be anything I find really exciting in the world of points and miles.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year - New Task List

Happy New Year !!! (I may have started this post about a week ago but just finished it this morning)

I figured I'd start the year off with a bit of a task list of things I'm doing to get the year started off right in the Points Cash Miles world.

  •  Check your hotel points and airline mileage account balances and more importantly, the expiration dates.  I started with this task because I consider it to be the most important.  there's nothing I hate more than losing the points we work so hard to collect.  Over the coming weeks, I'll be going though all of my accounts and will provide some ideas for how to extend the expiration dates for the various programs.

  • American Express Platinum card holders - $200 Airline Reimbursement Choice - this benefit is based on calendar year as opposed to membership year, so if you carry this card you are now eligible for another $200 worth of Airline reimbursements.  You can view or change or airline choice HERE.

  • Also for Amex Platinum Holders, If you haven't already called to have your complimentary Starwood Gold status added to your SPG account, now's as good of a time as any to do so.  Just call the number on the back of your American Express and they'll initiate the call to SPG. 

  • Chase Freedom 5% signup - Gas, Starbucks and Drugstores up to $1,500 of spending - If you carry this card and haven't already activated the 1st quarter benefit, do so now.  The link is HERE 

  • MrRebates.com - I used Mr. Rebates for at least half of my online holiday shopping this year, so it's time to check to make sure my purchases are showing up in my account.  My favorite shopping portal is the Chase Ultimate rewards portal but often I find that the cash back percentage is higher at Mr. Rebates.  I've had great results with Mr. Rebates and have only once had a cash back tracking issue which was quickly corrected after I emailed customer service.  Mr. Rebates does reward referrals, so if you decide to give them a try I'd appreciate if you'd use one of my links.

  • Amex Small Business Saturday - if you haven't already, check to make sure you've received your $25 credits on each of the cards you may have used at a participating small business.  If you are still waiting, it's time to send a secure message to customer service through the American Express website.  I actually had a $25 credit that didn't show up due to the charge not posting to my account until 11/25, the day after small business Saturday. A quick note to customer service was all it took to get the credit posted to my account. 

  • Back in September MyPoints had a deal with OpenSky that offered 150 points per dollar spent.  If you participated, you may be sitting on a bunch of MyPoints that need redeemed.  Mommy Points wrote about this recently - read more HERE.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Free Travel Review

At the beginning of a new year I like to take a look back at the previous year and analyze my expenditures of points, cash, and miles for travel the previous year.  This helps me to plan for future trips as well as check if I've been getting the best deals and make sure it's still worth the time commitment involved in playing the points and miles game.

I'm hoping this post doesn't come off as bragging - that's not the intent; there's plenty of people out there who just can't wait to tell you how awesome they are and I'm not one of them.  I'm simply a guy who loves to travel.  With moderate travel resources and 3 weeks of vacation each year, I look to make the most of it, and points and miles have been helping me do so for the past 5 or 6 years.

Rockefeller Center Tree - Dec 2012

2012 saw quite a few weekend trips but nothing earth shattering - there weren't any flights in international business class or exotic destinations this year and probably none to come in 2013 either.  I do have some big ideas for 2014 but we'll get to that later...

Free (or nearly free) Travel in the past 12 months has included the following:

- 2 first class tickets to NYC (American Airlines - 27k British Airways Miles)
- 2 coach tickets to return from NYC  (American Airlines - 9k British Airways Miles)
- 3 nights at the Waldorf Astoria NYC (150k Hhonors Points)
- 4 tickets to Las Vegas on Southwest (2 expired award vouchers + $100)
- 2 return tickets from Las Vegas - (38k Southwest points)
- 1 night at the Radisson Cleveland Gateway (10k Club Carlson points + $80)
- 1 night at the DoubleTree in downtown Columbus, OH (0 HHonors points)
- 1 round trip to Vegas (21k Southwest points)
- 2 rooms for 1 night at the Palazzo, Las Vegas (Free Credit Card Night, 50k points)
- 3 round trip tickets to Nashville  (roughly 40k Southwest points)

I finished out the year with a returning  to NYC for New Year for the second straight year but I'll include that on next years travel listing as the trip ended in 2013.

Overall I burned a decent number of HHonors points and a ton of Southwest points (actually I didn't have SW points so I was transferring Ultimate Rewards points).  I'll need to restock, as Hilton is my go to hotel chain for reward stays and Southwest is my airline of choice for trips to Las Vegas.  In the coming weeks I'll outline my plans for reloading my accounts.

At this point I'm not exactly sure what  travel 2013 will hold, but I'm eyeing a return to Vegas in the spring or summer and possibly NYC for New Year's Eve again next December.  Once I get a better idea I'll be putting together some travel goals for the year as well as developing a plan to achieve them.

If you're interested in learning more, consider following by email or just bookmarking the page - I'll be here with new material 2-3 times a week, possibly more if there happens to be anything I find really exciting in the world of points and miles.