Tag Archives: credit cards

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My 7 Tips for Using Award Booking Services

It seems to me in the world of travel there are three phases: the planning process, the getting there process, and the being there process. For me, the planning process can sometimes be the most daunting. It’s fun and exciting to acquire all the miles and points and pick my dream destinations.  And then comes booking the award tickets. Exciting, though often oh-so-frustrating.

If you’re like me, there are times when you’ve considered using an award booking service. You want help booking the tickets, planning a great itinerary, and choosing the best aircrafts and class of service. In other words, you want a great value for the miles you’ve accumulated. Who wouldn’t?  After personally using various award booking services, and settling on the one I think is the best, here’s my list of 7 must-know tips.

I’ve had very varied experiences using these services and I want you to benefit from what I’ve learned. I want you to get the best possible value and have the smoothest experience when you hire award booking services.

7 Tips For Using Award Booking Services

1. Your Preferences. It clearly helps to have specific destinations in mind, as well as approximate dates. However, I’d suggest having a back-up plan both for destination and dates. Knowing what’s most important helps, too. For instance, are non-stop flights more important than class of service?  Would you fly business class even if you’ve got the miles for first class if the route is non-stop and on the exact dates you want? Knowing your preferences helps the award services guide you. Continue reading

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Google Flights Price Tracking, WOW Air KEF-SFO & JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Travel Credit

Good morning everyone, happy Thursday.  I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to everyone who attended the SF Travel Hackers March Meetup last night.  I gave a presentation about my recent trip to Iguazu Falls, Argentina.  I will work on getting that presentation turned into a blog post “soon”.  In today’s post, I will show you how I used Google Flights to track a WOW Air flight from Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) to San Francisco (SFO).  I’ve always been interested in Iceland, and even more so after reading Whitney’s posts (Iceland & What I Wish I Had Known Before Going – Part 1 and Part 2).

I’ve been planning a trip to Iceland for the last few weeks and knew the dates I wanted to travel, but I just had to wait for the price to go down.  One of the many great things about Google Flights is that you can track specific routes on specific days, and you can even track specific flights on specific days.  I received the following email from Google Flights that the WOW Air flight I was tracking dropped from $469 to $263.  Granted, this is not the cheapest possible WOW Flight I have ever seen, but the price was right for me so I jumped on the deal.

Google Flights Price Drop KEF-SFO Email Alert

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Easily Track Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses & Bank Account Bonuses with these 2 Spreadsheets

Hat tip to my friends Bodie and Ramzi for the reminder.

Good afternoon everyone.  2 weekends ago, I was at FTU (Frequent Traveler University) Advanced in Seattle and, naturally, the topic of credit card sign up bonuses and bank account bonuses came up.  Call me old fashioned, but I have a spreadsheet for just about everything – including credit card sign up bonuses and bank account bonuses.  If you are just getting into the credit card or bank account bonus game (I made $2,850 last year from bank account bonuses), it is very important to be detail-oriented and organized.  I have used these 2 spreadsheets since day 1 (I’ve made some modifications along the way), but I think they can definitely keep you organized.  Up first, I have my Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Template.xlsx.  Let me explain this spreadsheet.  Please ask me a question if I miss anything or if anything is unclear:

  • Credit card name, merchant type, credit card number, CVV (3 digit code on the back or 4 digit code on the front of AMEX cards) and expiration date are pretty self explanatory.  I use real data and password protect the spreadsheet, but you can use the last 4 digits of your cards if you feel more comfortable.  I use real data so I can purchase anything online, wherever I am, without having to carry every single card with me.
  • Phone numbers are great for calling customer service without having the card in front of you and come in handy if your card is lost or stolen (most of these numbers are saved into my phone as well).
  • Credit limit is not super useful, but if I need to make a large purchase, I know exactly which cards have big credit limits.  It can also be helpful if you need to make a reconsideration call and move some credit around from existing credit cards.
  • I also track all of my debit cards and authorized user cards so all the info is in one place.

Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Template 1

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My IHG Accelerate Promo Bonus Points Posted Quickly (with no Customer Service Calls/Emails)

Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend.  A few months ago, I registered for IHG’s Accelerate promo where I had to complete a few requirements between January 1 and April 15 to complete the promo.  The requirements differ from person to person as well as the number of bonus points offered.  Here are my requirements:

  • 3,000 IHG Points – Complete 1 stay
  • 10,000 IHG Points – Complete 5 nights
  • 2,000 IHG Points – Book 1 stay with Points + Cash
  • 1,500 IHG Points – Use your Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card to pay for a stay

If I completed at least 3 out of 4 requirements, I would get 23,500 bonus IHG Points, on top of the bonus points earned above.  I’m happy to say that I recently completed my third requirement and the bonus points posted.  I think I could have technically booked 1 stay, paid with Points + Cash, and used my Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card to complete 3 requirements with only 1 night.

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