Posts Tagged With: Cheap Travel

Free Miles, 60K Citibank Offer, Southwest premier Credit Card 50000points and $100 Statement Credit

1) 250 Free Virgin Atlantic Miles – If you agree to install their shopping portal toolbar “Shops Away”, Virgin will award you 250 miles for doing so. To get this offer, click this link for Shops Away and then click shop today. After logging in and hitting shop now, click Mile Finder up top to see this offer. I would install this in a browser I normally don’t use such as Firefox.

2) 100 Free Aeroplan Miles – Signup to receive emails from Home Hardware and they will give you 100 Aeroplan miles for doing so. This is the frequent flyer program for Air Canada and while 100 miles isn’t a significant amount at all, it is an easy way to reset the expiration date on the miles in your account. Make sure to use a backup email address for this (unless you actually care to receive these newsletters).

3) Citibank 60,000 Hilton HHonors Points Visa – Citibank has temporarily increased the offer on this no annual fee Hilton HHonors credit card from 40,000 to 60,000 for spending $1,000 in 4 months. This card will not be useful for many of you except for those trying to top off their Hilton HHonors balance. I will be picking this card as I need to top off my Hilton balance and also the no-annual fee aspect is appealing although I may cancel this card and re-apply in 18 months to get the sign-up bonus again.

4) Yesterday, I received an email from Southwest with the best offer I’ve ever seen on the personal Southwest card – 50,000 points + $100 statement credit. This offer is targeted however and the link I have for the card pre-populates my information in the application. However it might be possible for anyone to get this offer by phone.

swcc

From my understanding there are several different offers being promoted to Rapid Rewards members including the standard 50,000 point offer on the personal Southwest card as well as a 60,000 point offer on the Southwest Business credit card. In the comments of this post from Doctor of Credit, someone was able to successfully apply for the 60,000 point offer on the business card even though they weren’t targeted as the phone number on the application was a direct line to a department that handed this special offer.

I don’t know if this will work for this offer but the phone number listed on the application is 1-866-836-0917. Applying by phone might work to get the better offer but this is a huge YMMV situation. They might ask for an invitation number in which you try to say you accidentally deleted the email but maybe they can look up the offer for you. Do not apply for the card on the phone unless the rep confirms you are applying for the better offer which includes the statement credit. 

Categories: cheap travel, Credit cards, Free Miles, Hilton | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to park cheap and NOT pay outrageous Airport parking cost?

Introduction

Are you tired of paying $10, $15 or even $20 per day in airport parking costs while traveling? is it frustrating driving around an airport lot looking for a parking spot when you have a flight to board in the next hour? Today, I will share with you a parking service called Just Park that could save you some serious dough, time and frustration!!

Airport parking is never fun

What is Just Park?

Here is an excerpt from Just Park’s website “JustPark is Europe’s leading provider of pre-bookable parking. The idea is brutally simple: we connect drivers in search of parking with anyone who has a space going spare, whether in a car park, private driveway, church, school, or pub.” Although the website indicates its a European company but they service most cities in North America.

How to Book using Just Park?

You will first need to register and create an account. You may use my affiliate link to sign-up and once you create an account Just Park will also let you refer others and earn bonuses up to £500. destination

We are traveling to UAE (Dubai) from April 2nd to April 9th and our outbound flight is from IAD  airport in Dulles, VA. So I performed a random search for parking spots around Dulles International Airport. Below are the results –

results

You can easily sort the results via price, distance from airport, rank, rating etc etc…To give you an comparison on savings below is a snapshot of parking cost at Dulles Airport @17/day. A week of parking at Dulles Airport will cost me $17×7 = $119 compare to $5×7 =$35 using Just Park saving me almost $84. 

dulles parking cost

A potential drawback using Just Park is that you  still have to figure out a ride back and forth from the parking spot to the airport which may not be convenient to everyone so do your Maths. You can always use UBER  as there are always plenty of drivers around the airport area and the rates are cheaper than regular taxi. If you do not have a UBER account you can sign-up my referral link and earn $20 credit on your next ride. Also, some people may be concerned with the safety of their car but you can always read the reviews before making a reservation.

Bottomline

Just Park service makes sense when you have to park your car for longer periods (a week or more). The cost of parking is definitely cheaper than airport garages but you still have to figure out a ride back and forth from the airport which may not make be convenient for everyone. I plan to use Just Park service to park my car at a location close to Dulles Airport for our upcoming trip to UAE as the savings make complete sense. You can sign-up for Just Park Service here.

Have you used the app before? What has been your experience using off-location parking lots?

Categories: Airport Parking | Tags: , | Leave a comment

IHG releases Pointsbreak Hotels for stays bookable February 25th to May 31st 2015

You can read my earlier post on How to Book IHG Hotels for $35 a night.

What are Pointsbreak Hotels?

PointBreaks are one of the very best deals in the miles and points world at just 5,000 IHG points per night for a hotel room that can other times go for 10,000 – 50,000 points per night! You can easily earn 70,000 IHG points by signing up for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit card at Creditcards.com under Travel and Airline category.

The list of hotels bookable February 25th-May 31st 2015

You can follow the thread at Flyertalk to keep a track of when hotels go bookable at the Pointsbreak rate tomorrow morning ~9:00 am EST. But act fast as inventory is often limited and only a set number of rooms are available under this promotion.

Here is a small sample of the featured properties:

  • InterContinental Lhasa Paradise, Lhasa, XZ, China
  • Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota, Colombia
  • Hotel Indigo San Jose Forum Costa Rica
  • Holiday Inn Genoa City, Genova, Italy
  • Holiday Inn Express Tampa-Anderson Rd/Veterans Exp, Florida, United States
  • Staybridge Suites West Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Candlewood Suites Bloomington, Indiana, United States

For only 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points, you can stay at the InterContinental hotel in Lhasa, China or the Hotel Indigo in San Jose, Costa Rica!

PointBreak hotels in Asia, Middle East, and Africa:

  • InterContinental Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
  • Crowne Plaza Chongqing New North Zone (China)
  • Crowne Plaza Jinan City Center (China)
  • Crowne Plaza Tianjin Jinnan (China)
  • Crowne Plaza Xiangyang (China)
  • Crowne Plaza Zhongshan Wing On City (China)
  • Holiday Inn Express Nantong Xinghu (China)
  • Holiday Inn Hangzhou Xiaoshan (China)
  • InterContinental Lhasa Paradise (China)
  • Holiday Inn New Delhi Int’l Airport (India)
  • Crowne Plaza Ube (Japan)
  • Holiday Inn Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)

PointBreak hotel deals in Europe:

  • Holiday Inn Tampere (Finland)
  • Holiday Inn Express Saint – Nazaire (France)
  • Holiday Inn Express Marseille – Provence Airport (France)
  • Holiday Inn Fulda (Germany)
  • Holiday Inn Express Guetersloh (Germany)
  • Holiday Inn Budapest – Budaörs (Hungary)
  • Holiday Inn Genoa City (Italy)
  • Crowne Plaza Vilnius (Lithuania)
  • Holiday Inn Express Arnhem (Netherlands)
  • Crowne Plaza Bucharest (Romania)
  • Holiday Inn Elche (Spain)
  • Holiday Inn Express Campo de Gibraltar – Barrios (Spain)
  • Holiday Inn Express Braintree (United Kingdom)
  • Holiday Inn Cardiff – North M4, Jct.32 (United Kingdom)
  • Holiday Inn Darlington – A1 Scotch Corner (United Kingdom)
  • Holiday Inn Express Hamilton (United Kingdom)

PointBreak Hotel Deals in Central and South America

  • Holiday Inn Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport (Argentina)
  • Holiday Inn Express Belém Ananindeua (Brazil)
  • Holiday Inn Fortaleza (Brazil)
  • Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota (Columbia)
  • Holiday Inn Express Medellin (Columbia)
  • Crowne Plaza San Jose Corobici (Costa Rica)
  • Hotel Indigo San Jose Forum Costa Rica
  • Holiday Inn Guatemala (Ciudad De Guatemala, Guatemala)
  • Holiday Inn Express Tegucigalpa (Honduras)

PointBreak Hotel Deals in Mexico

  • Crowne Plaza Tuxtla Gutierrez
  • Holiday Inn MEXICO COYOACAN
  • Holiday Inn Express TOLUCA GALERIAS METEPEC
  • Holiday Inn Express TOLUCA ZONA AEROPUERTO
  • Staybridge Suites Guadalajara Expo
  • Holiday Inn Monterrey Norte
  • Holiday Inn Express Queretaro
  • Holiday Inn Express GUAYMAS
  • Holiday Inn Reynosa Zona Dorada
  • Holiday Inn ORIZABA

PointBreaks Hotels in Canada

  • Staybridge Suites West Edmonton (Alberta, Canada)
  • Holiday Inn Express Milton (Ontario, Canada)

PointBreaks Hotels Deals in the United States

Alabama

  • Holiday Inn Express Dothan North
  • Candlewood Suites Huntsville – Research Park

Arkansas

  • Holiday Inn Little Rock-Airport-Conf Ctr

Arizona

  • Holiday Inn Express Nogales
  • Holiday Inn Express Page – Lake Powell Area

California

  • Holiday Inn Express Beaumont – Oak Valley
  • Holiday Inn Express Calexico
  • Holiday Inn Express Moreno Valley (Lake Perris)
  • Staybridge Suites Sacramento Airport Natomas

Colorado

  • Holiday Inn Express Fraser – Winter Park Area
  • Holiday Inn Express La Junta

Connecticut

  • Holiday Inn Express Southington

Florida

  • Holiday Inn Express Tampa-Anderson Rd/Veterans Exp

Georgia

  • Holiday Inn Express Commerce-Tanger Outlets
  • Holiday Inn Express Macon-West
  • Holiday Inn Express Warner Robins North West
  • Holiday Inn Express Waycross

Iowa

  • Holiday Inn Express Clinton
  • Holiday Inn Express Le Mars

Idaho

  • Holiday Inn Express Boise-University Area

Illinois

  • Holiday Inn Express Bloomington West
  • Candlewood Suites Elgin NW-Chicago
  • Holiday Inn Express Rochelle
  • Staybridge Suites Rockford

Indiana

  • Holiday Inn Express Auburn-Touring Dr
  • Candlewood Suites Bloomington
  • Candlewood Suites Indianapolis Airport
  • Holiday Inn Express Scottsburg

Kentucky

  • Holiday Inn Express Murray
  • Holiday Inn Express Pikeville

Louisiana

  • Holiday Inn Covington
  • Holiday Inn Morgan City
  • Holiday Inn Express Scott-Lafayette West

Massachusetts

  • Candlewood Suites West Springfield

Maryland

  • Holiday Inn Express North East
  • Even Hotels Rockville – Washington DC Area
  • Holiday Inn Express Waldorf

Michigan

  • Holiday Inn Express Grand Blanc

Minnesota

  • Holiday Inn Express Mankato East

Missouri

  • Holiday Inn Express Kirksville
  • Holiday Inn Express Lebanon
  • Holiday Inn Express St Louis – Central West End

Mississippi

  • Holiday Inn Express Greenville
  • Holiday Inn Express Meridian
  • Candlewood Suites Tupelo North
  • Holiday Inn Vicksburg

North Carolina

  • Holiday Inn Express Conover (Hickory Area)
  • Holiday Inn Express Laurinburg
  • Holiday Inn Lumberton North – I-95

Nebraska

  • Holiday Inn Express Lincoln South

New Hampshire

  • Crowne Plaza Nashua

New Jersey

  • Holiday Inn Express Vineland Millville

New Mexico

  • Holiday Inn Express Silver City

Nevada

  • Holiday Inn Express Fallon

New York

  • Holiday Inn Middletown-Goshen
  • Holiday Inn Express East Greenbush(Albany-Skyline)

Ohio

  • Holiday Inn Express Bryan-Montpelier
  • Holiday Inn Express Toledo North

Oklahoma

  • Holiday Inn Express Bartlesville
  • Holiday Inn Express McAlester
  • Candlewood Suites Woodward

Pennsylvania

  • Holiday Inn Express Drums-Hazleton (I-80)
  • Holiday Inn Express Frazer-Malvern
  • Candlewood Suites Harrisburg
  • Holiday Inn Lansdale
  • Holiday Inn Express Irwin (Pa Tpk Exit 67)

South Carolina

  • Candlewood Suites Columbia-Ft. Jackson
  • Holiday Inn Express Greenwood
  • Holiday Inn Express Lexington-Hwy 378

South Dakota

  • Holiday Inn Express Vermillion
  • Holiday Inn Express Watertown

Tennessee

  • Holiday Inn Express Athens

Texas

  • Candlewood Suites Abilene
  • Holiday Inn Express Carthage
  • Holiday Inn Express Center
  • Holiday Inn Express Cleveland
  • Candlewood Suites Decatur Medical Center
  • Holiday Inn Express Ennis
  • Holiday Inn Express Falfurrias
  • Staybridge Suites Laredo International Airport
  • Holiday Inn Express Levelland
  • Holiday Inn Express Lufkin South
  • Candlewood Suites Mount Pleasant
  • Holiday Inn Express Fort Worth North – Northlake
  • Holiday Inn Express San Antonio SE by AT&T Center
  • Staybridge Suites San Antonio – Stone Oak
  • Holiday Inn Express Wharton

Utah

  • Holiday Inn Express Salt Lake City South – Murray

Virginia

  • Holiday Inn Express Christiansburg
  • Holiday Inn Petersburg North- Fort Lee
  • Candlewood Suites Richmond North-Glen Allen
  • Holiday Inn Norton
  • Holiday Inn Express Rocky Mount/Smith Mtn Lake
  • Staybridge Suites Quantico-Stafford

Washington

  • Holiday Inn Downtown-Everett
  • Holiday Inn Express Tacoma South – Lakewood

Wisconsin

  • Holiday Inn Conference Ctr Marshfield
  • Holiday Inn Wausau-Rothschild

West Virginia

  • Holiday Inn Express Newell-Chester WV

Wyoming

  • Candlewood Suites Sheridan

Bottomline:

If you have an upcoming trip to any of these destinations than you better be glued to the computer around 9:00 am EST when the bookings go live as the inventory is always limited.  IHG points can be easily earned via the IHG Rewards Credit card which you can sign up at creditcards.com under Travel and Airline category or you may transfer points from Ultimate Rewards program if you have the Chase Ink Business cards which also has a limited time increased 60,000 points offer.

Are you planning to use this promotion on your next stay? Share your thoughts if you plan on using this promotion or if you’ve used it in the past

Categories: Credit cards, Hotels, IHG, Pointsbreak | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Spice Jet “Cheaper than Train Sale” for travelers in India

 

SpiceJet, the airline which started the concept of aggressive sales in India last year, is back with another sale which looks great. This is their third sale this year (2015), and is valid for flights between July 2015 to October 2015. They are calling this sale as “Cheaper than Train Sale”. You need to book your tickets by 23:59hrs 13th February 2015

spice jet

 

What is Spice Jet and more details on this offer?

SpiceJet is an Indian low-cost airline. It is the country’s fourth largest airline by domestic passenger share. The airline operates more than 230 daily flights to 49 destinations, including 41 Indian and 8 international cities.

Domestic flights start at Rs.599 (approximately $10) all-in, and international at fares starting only Rs. 3499 (approximately $70) all-in. The airport charges and taxes are not included in these amounts. More terms and conditions are listed on the offer landing page.

I put in a random date of departure from Mumbai (BOM) traveling to Dubai (DXB) on July 12th and the results areastonishing!!

 

spice jet

You can get to Dubai from Mumbai under Rs. 5000

If Dubai is on your too do list then I will be amazed if you will find fares this low from India.

Dubai-City-Most-Popular-Attractions-Visit

Scenic Dubai by evening

Bottomline

SpiceJet’s “cheaper than train” offer is great for folks in India who would like to take advantage to visit some places both domestic and International for real cheap. You can get to destinations within India for under Rs. 599 (approximately $10) and International destinations like Dubai under Rs. 5000 (approximately $80). Let me know in the comments sections below if you plan to take advantage of this offer.

 

 

Categories: cheap travel, India, Spice Jet, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

How applying for and using credit cards wisely can actually improve your FICO score?

[Disclosure: I do  earn referral for some of the credit cards in this post. Thanks for the support if you ever apply through the site.  To find other top deals check out the top credit card offers or you can also check offer at creditcards.com.]

What is a FICO Score?

I have been helping a lot of friends and family in the last few days  plan their next travel  via credit card sign-up bonuses  and it has come to my realization thay lot of people have  reservation applying for  new credit cards. This reservation is valid if you were to carry a debt and pay high interest on carry forward balances. But, if you are good with finances you can actually use credit card sign-up offers to really travel big while paying pennies.

 

Eiffel

Making dreams come true

 

So, I thought I should write an article of how managing my credit cards and applying for credit cards actually has put my FICO score in top 1% and help me secure other loans (auto and mortgage) at the lowest interest rates while saving us thousands of dollars long-term.

The most widely used credit scores are FICO® Scores, the credit scores created by Fair Isaac Corporation. 90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores to help them make billions of credit-related decisions every year. FICO® Scores are calculated based solely on information in consumer credit reports maintained at the credit reporting agencies.

By comparing this information to the patterns in hundreds of thousands of past credit reports, FICO® Scores estimate your level of future credit risk.

Base FICO® Scores have a 300–850 score range. The higher the score, the lower the risk. But no score says whether a specific individual will be a “good” or “bad” customer. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders use to determine your actual interest rates.

How wisely using credit cards can actually boost FICO score and get you better interest rates ?

In 2014 I applied for a total of six credit cards (and five for my wife) which helped us earn over 700,000 miles, which some may argue is on a high side but honestly I was conservative (compare to other I personally know applied for 10+ and still have an excellent score). We were able to take some fantastic trips in 2014 and 2015 is just about to get better!!!

Spanish Paella

Enjoying cuisines around the world – my new favorite Spanish Paella!

Below is a snap shot of my credit score and history from the last year. You can find your FICO score for a small fee by visiting myfico.com but is available free of charge if you are holder of either the US Airways Premier World Mastercard or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

amit fico score

Free FICO score from the Barclaycard website

fico score history

FICO Score History since Feb 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My score in Feb 2014 was 786 and now almost after a year stands at 814 . The maximum score anyone can attain is 850 but in my knowledge a score of 750+ will qualify you for best interest rates for auto and home loans and long term save you thousands of dollars. I always pay off my credit cards in full and keep my utilization ratio less than 20%. Refer to my article on credit 101 for more information.

Bottomline

Applying and smartly utilizing credit cards can actually help you improve your FICO score and benefit you financially long-term if you pay off your credit card in full and keep your credit utilization low. Signing up for credit card can help you earn miles and points and travel the world for pennies.

 

Welcome Le Meredien Barcelona

Warm welcome at Le Meredien Barcelona Suite

 

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities

Categories: Barclaycard, cheap travel, Credit cards, FICO, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

70,000 Bonus Points + Free Night Every Year with the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard

[Disclosure: I do  earn a referral for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard. . To find other top deals check out the top credit card offers or you can also check offer at creditcards.com.]

IHG_CreditCardBonus-700x325

Application Link : IHG Rewards Club Credit Card

IHG Rewards Club (previously called Priority Club) is the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotel Group and includes the following hotels:

  • Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts
  • Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Even Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Staybridge Suites

Chase is now offering a limited-time increased 70,000 point sign-up bonus on the card. To earn the 70,000 point bonus you’ll have to spend $1,000 within the first three months. The offer is slated to end March 31, 2015.

Should You Apply for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard?

One of my favorite aspects of the the IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard is that after the first year you pay the low $49 annual fee you get a free night at any IHG hotel. This can mean staying at a $500+ hotel for just paying the $49 annual fee. The card also comes with some other travel benefits worth mentioning.

The 80,000 bonus point offer has mostly been targeted and to apply it was necessary to have a offer code. There is no way to tell if this offer will ever be publicly available, but it has not been publicly available in the past. Few perks of this card –

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.42.50 PM

Application Link – IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

70,000 IHG Points Sign-up Bonus

You’ll get 70,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months on the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard. The value of the 70,000 point sign-up bonus is easily worth roughly $490 in free hotel stays given that you can buy IHG points for 0.7 cents each using the Cash & Points loophole.

Annual Free Night

One of the top perks from the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard is that you earn a free night certificate each year after you pay the $49 annual fee. This means that every year you keep the card you get a free night certificate that you can use at ANY IHG hotel.

This free night canbe used at ANY IHG Rewards Club property, which means you can use the night at the most expensive aspirational InterContinental hotels and get close to ~$800 of value for the free night.

The free night certificate is emailed on the card’s anniversary and valid for 1 year from the issue date. You’ll have to book and stay before the certificate expires.

You can book a free night with the certificate as long as there is award night availability — you can easily check on the IHG Rewards Club website or call 877-318-5890 to redeem your free night.

Free Platinum Elite Status

The IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard gives you automatic Platinum elite status and will get you perks such as:

  • Free internet (plus free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites)
  • Room upgrades subject to availability
  • 50% points bonus on paid stays

One downfall of the IHG Platinum status is that it is not eligible for benefits at InterContinental hotels since they have their own loyalty program. It may be hit-or-miss how you are treated as a Platinum member during Intercontinetal stays, however I’ve received free breakfast a number of times from having Platinum status.

10% Points Rebate On Redeemed Points

You earn a 10% points rebate when you redeem your IHG points on award stays. This is a nice perk and means that when you redeem all of the 70,000 points from the sign-up bonus you will get 7,000 points back. Note: the maximum points you can earn in a calendar year is 100,000 (just in case you plan on redeeming 1 million IHG points)

No Foreign Transaction Fee and Low Annual Fee

The IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard has no foreign transaction fee which makes it a good card to use on trips abroad.

The annual fee is waived the first year, and only $49 per year after that. I’ll be happy to pay this fee every year to get the free night certificate and consider it a great value.

Recap

Even with a slightly lower sign-up bonus than the all-time highest of 80,000 points, the card offers a lot of benefits for anyone who frequents IHG properties. I’ll still consider this one of the most underrated hotel credit cards out there.

With the 70,000 points bonus and a free night certificate every year after the first year, this is a great card to have (and keep) in your wallet. Plus the card comes with some great perks including automatic Platinum elite status which gives you room upgrades upon availability and free internet.

 Application Link 

 

Categories: Credit cards, IHG Hotel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Two Browser Trick working for Alaska Airline 25000 miles bonus

What is the two-browser trick?

One of first tricks I learned from other blogs was the infamous “two browser trick” with Citibank American Airlines credit cards in which you could get two American Airlines credit cards with a 75,000 mile signup bonus if you applied for the cards at the same time using different internet browsers (in private browsing mode). Well, I can now confirm the newest two browser trick: Alaska Airlines personal credit cards from Bank of America.

How can you earn 50,000 miles++ using this trick and may be only one credit inquiry?

One of the “so called” drawbacks in you get a credit inquiry when applying for a new credit card and you should always limit the number of credit inquiries on your report at least six months leading into a major loan such as auto or home mortgage. Read my Credit 101 article for more.

While prepping for a friend’s  latest round of credit card applications (app-o-rama), I wanted to include an Alaska Airlines credit card since they are churnable as you can get the signup bonus again and again without any issue. On Flyertalk, there was a post of someone getting approved for both cards at once so I decided to try it and report my findings. The current best offer for the Alaska Airlines credit card is 25,000 miles + $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in 3 months with the annual fee of $75 NOT waived. This isn’t the largest ever signup bonus for this card and not necessarily an exciting offer by itself.However if you could double this offer for a single credit inquiry, this offer becomes more attractive.

Here my buddy got approved for two personal Alaska Airlines credit cards:

  1. Closed all internet browsers and opened an incognito Google Chrome window and a private session Internet Explorer (I’m sure a private window in Firefox would work as well).
  2. Pasted the link for the 25,000 mile offer + $100 statement credit in each browser.
  3. Important: On one application, he chose the Northern Lights design while on the other  chose the Classic design. I have no idea if this actually made a difference but my thinking is BofA’s computers will not mark the applications are duplicates since technically the applications are different due to the card design. I haven’t tested trying out the same design on each but I recommend doing different designs since I know this works.

 

alaskaairdesign

4. He completed the application  in each window quickly to avoid possible timing out the page but  did NOT click submit yet.

5. Once he got to the next page before hitting the final submit application,  quickly verified the information  entered on each was identical (with the exception of the design of the card noted above).

6. He clicked submit on one application  immediately, as quick as he could (use ALT+TAB) switched to the other application and hit submit. All done in about a second or so. I don’t know how quick you need to be but I imagine a few seconds is fine.

7. About 30 seconds later, he got the message that application was instantly approved for both cards with identical credit lines on each card. Make sure the credit line is above $5k otherwise you will get approved for a lower level card and not receive the 25k miles.

8. Since there is no minimum spending requirement for the 25,000 miles (you only need to spend the $1,000 to get a $100 statement credit), the miles should have posted a few days after approval. He applied for the cards on 1/12 and 50,000 miles posted on his account on 1/18 though the activity was backdated to 1/15. SUCCESS!

9. You may see two credit pulls from Bank of America on your credit report. They haven’t combined just yet but I fully expect them to do so within a few weeks. And if they don’t, I’m confident my friend can call and get the pulls combined.

10. Even though the above worked , there are some remaining open points:

Will this work for other Bank of America credit cards? I don’t know and I haven’t test this out to try it. Personally, I believe the offers from BofA to be pretty weak with the Alaska Airlines card as the true standout among their offers due to how valuable their points are.

What if I’m not instantly approved and I have to call the reconsideration line? I don’t know how Bank of America will react if a rep see two pending applications. They will most likely assume it’s a duplicate application but you might be able to explain why you need two cards. You could explain that you want to track different type of expenses or if you added an authorized user on one card, you want to keep the expenses from individuals on separate statements. This is a big YMMV.

Can I do this with Bank of America Business cards? Again, I don’t know and I haven’t tested it. What is interesting though is that after applying for the personal card, on the approval screen my friend was offered the chance to apply for the business version of the card as well. I didn’t try it out as my friend doesn’t have a legitimate business but I did have someone else try this for me. The business application was initially marked as pending after getting approved for both personal cards. After a call to reconsideration, he was approved so in total he netted 3 Alaska cards (2 personal, 1 business) in a day.

What can you do with Alaskan miles?

Refer my post under 80 dollar travel hack of how you can book two one way for the price of one by using Alaskan Airmiles. Another great way to use Alaska air miles is booking award tickets on Emirates where Economy ticket from US to Dubai . The snapshot below shows available dates for later this year.

Emirates-Award-Availability-1

Categories: Alaska Airlines | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Amazing Deal Alert Iceland for $99 each-way, London for $205 each-way

Iceland’s low-cost carrier WOW Air is launching service from to Reykjavik from Boston (BOS) and Baltimore (BWI), beginning in March and June of 2015, respectively. And WOW are they doing it in style, offering great deals on flights from both destinations not only to Iceland, but also to other European destinations including London.

You can now book travel from Boston and Washington on WOW Air for next year, with several weekly flights to Iceland and onwards to London and Copenghagen. A search in October turned up this one-way flight from Boston for only $99.

I did a random search for the month of September for a flight from BWI to Reykjavik and below is the result.
wow airSimilar fares are also available from Boston. I did a search for September 14th from Boston to London and below are the results

wow boston

The fare is $205.89 for a one way flight to London – Not bad eh?

Doing a little bit of more research these fares are available for departure on most Mondays but you can play around the website to find other dates. You can book as far out as the end of the year, and there seems to be decent availability. While there doesn’t seem to be a published end date to these fares, I recommend buying soon so you don’t miss out.

Categories: iceland, london | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How Credit Card Applications Affect Your Credit Score

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Using the credit card strategy wisely can really help you travel big with small money

There’s no way around the fact that credit card sign-up bonuses are among the quickest and easiest ways to earn points and miles. 2014 was a great year with some of the best offers from Citi such as the Executive card which offered 100,000 AA miles and several peeps including me were able to get this card more than once and played a big help in helping me earn more than 700,000 miles in 2014 alone.  Even if you received your airline tickets for free, it would still take you around 100 hours in the air to earn 50,000 miles, which is what many credit cards offer after spending 60 seconds completing an application, and then using the card to make everyday purchases.

Yet I find that new points and miles enthusiasts are often reluctant to dive headlong into a card application out of concern for how it might affect their credit. So today I want to answer one of the most common questions I get from folks who are new to the game: “How do new card applications affect my credit score?”

Royal palace

You could enjoy seeing the Royal palace in Madrid as we did this past Thanksgiving in 2014 using credit card sign up bonuses

Short answer: Not much

Opening a new line of credit has both positive and negative affects on your score. On the positive side, being extended a new line of credit reduces your debt-to-credit ratio (for a given amount of debt). Remember, your credit history and your credit score consider your “debt” to be the sum of all of your most recent statement balances, regardless of whether you avoid interest by paying them in full. Therefore, having a larger total line of credit minimizes your debt-to-credit ratio and improves your credit score.

Hyatt Du Louvre

We Stayed at Hyatt Du Louvre where a room could go for almost 800 Euros a night for Free for a total of four nights

Hotel_du_louvre

I used 80,000 Hyatt Points for 4 night stay at this hotel for NADA!!

As an example, suppose you had one card with a credit line of $5,000, and you maintained a balance of $1,000. Your debt-to-credit ratio would be 20%. If you then opened a second card also with a line of $5,000, your debt would remain the same, but your total line would be $10,000, so your debt-to-credit ratio would fall to 10%. This makes you appear less risky in the eyes of credit bureaus, and increases your score accordingly.

Opening a new card also increases your total credit history (the number of data points available for creditors to gauge your credit-worthiness). In fact, people who try to improve their credit score by avoiding credit cards, or having just one open account, often find that their scores are not nearly as high as they expected.

Delicacies in Spain

Some yummy desserts in Spain.

How to know you Credit Score – 

Check out and sign up via Credit Sesame to know your credit score for free. There are also some cool features on the website. that credit sesame offers you for free. I’ve been using their service for years and very happy not only because it is free.

Going back to our discussion on the downside, opening a new line of credit can reduce the average length of the accounts in your credit history. It also impacts the portion of your credit score called “new credit,” which penalizes you for opening up too many new lines of credit in a short period. FICO doesn’t do this to discourage people from earning travel rewards, it’s just that their credit scoring formula interprets such behavior as a sign of financial distress, like someone taking out several new loans to pay bills.

On the whole, the positive and negative consequences of opening a new credit account largely cancel each other out. Those who open up a single new credit card account typically find that their scores go up slightly, as the scoring formula doesn’t really penalize them for adding a single new line of credit. Those who open up multiple accounts in a short period of time typically see a modest, temporary drop in their credit scores (although most see overall improvement as time passes and the average length of credit history increases).

View of La Ramblas from our Suite at Le Meredien Barcelona

barcelona suite 2

I was able to score three nights in this suite at Le Meredien Barcelona with just once credit card a total value of more than $1200

Free Champagne and Chocolate covered strawberries complements from the hotel

Keeping perspective

I could go on all day about the nuances of debt-to-credit ratios and various theories on how to improve the average length of your credit accounts, but I don’t believe there’s much to be gained by diving too deep into that area. The exact FICO consumer credit scoring formula is a secret, but they disclose that your length of credit history only comprises 15% of your score, and the “new credit”  portion is a mere 10%.

ce_scorebreakdown

In contrast, your payment history makes up a whopping 35% of your credit score, and your amounts owed is another 30%, each of which is greater than the cumulative weight of your length of credit history and your “new credit.” The moral of the story, then, is to always pay your bills on-time and carry very little debt. If you do those two things, your credit score will likely be excellent (unless you go out of your way to avoid having any credit history at all).

Make sure you don’t carry any debt on credit cards, the high interest rates will offset several benefits otherwise.

The pitfalls of credit card use

There’s one crucial way that credit cards can upset your finances in general: interest. About two-thirds of American credit card users regularly carry a balance on at least one of their accounts, leading to costly interest charges. Many of these credit card users view opening a new line of credit as an invitation to spend more money and incur more debt.

Those who carry a balance that accrues interest on their credit cards should forget about earning travel rewards and instead focus on paying that debt off as soon as possible. Reward credit cards invariably have higher interest rates than non-reward cards, and offer less attractive promotional financing. Earning $25/month in airline miles won’t do you any good if you’re losing $25/month (or more) to interest by carrying a balance.

Furthermore, those who would be tempted to use a new line of credit to make unnecessary purchases, or who have trouble controlling spending, should question their use of credit cards altogether.

First class

Enjoying delicious food on board Business Class of US Airways

Bottom line

Credit scores and credit cards are tools, and like many tools, you should learn to wield them correctly or someone will poke an eye out. Credit card applications won’t hurt your credit score in the long run, but make sure your applications and expenditures are sensible in the scope of your own personal finances. Spend responsibly, and pay your balances in full and on time, and both your credit score and your points and miles accounts will prosper.

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Deal Alert – United – $556: Chicago / Washington D.C. / Boston – Istanbul, Turkey. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

Per the Flight Deal there is an awesome sale to Istanbul, Turkey from major US hubs – Chicago, Washington D.C and Boston.

The deal is valid for travel on outbound from January, 2015 – March 27th, 2015. Must purchase at least three days in advance of departure. You can check the ITA Matrix for far availability.

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Istanbul

I did a sample search for travel in March for a 5-night stay and here are the results –

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Sample travel dates via ITA Matrix

You can also use another powerful travel tool Google Flights to perform a similar search and here are the results

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Search results for flights to Turkey from Washington D.C via Google Flights

Bottomline –

You can get to Turkey next year for a really decent fare of under $600. I am not sure how long these fares would last so you may want to act on it NOW!!. You can also consider applying for one of my favorite travel rewards credit card the  Barclaycard Arrival Plus Mastercard and earn $440 towards travel credit which could help you bring the cost of the travel tickets further down.

Categories: Barclaycard, Turkey | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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