Hotel Hack: Book Award Night When Only Cash Rates Available (YMMV)

Good morning everyone.  This is a hotel hack that I have used a few times to various degrees of success.  It is definitely in the “gray area” of travel hacking (read Frequent Miler’s Blogging the Line post), but all’s fair in love, war, and award redemptions, right?  I don’t want to state any specific hotel chains or specific hotels that have worked for me, but this should technically be possible everywhere, but your mileage may vary (YMMV).  For this hotel hack, let me paint you a picture…

You are in the middle of planning your trip, the award flights are booked, the discounted rental car is booked, your activities are all planned out, but the hotel you have your eye on is not available on points.  Bummer!  Not to worry, there may be a way to book the hotel on points for the night you want.

Image source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0795957/mediaviewer/rm3400816384

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American Express Card Changes: Claims Resolution, Person to Person Transactions & Plan It Feature

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend.  My American Express Gold Card statement just closed and I noticed that there were a few “Important Changes” listed at the bottom of my statement.  I will share the details of those changes and provide my thoughts.  There was also a change to the Plan It feature listed on my American Express Everyday Credit Card statement, which I will share at the bottom of the post.  To get started, American Express announced immediate changes to the “Claims Resolution and Claims Resolution for Covered Borrowers” section and upcoming changes regarding “Limits on person-to-person transactions” that will go into effect on November 1, 2019.

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Dealing with Banco Popular’s Avianca Vuela Credit Card Identification Verification Process

Updated at 9:30am PT on 8/28/19: My 60,000 bonus miles posted today.  Scroll down to the end of the post to see more details.


Good morning everyone.  As part of my July App-O-Rama, I applied for and was instantly approved for the Banco Popular Avianca Vuela Credit Card, I even wrote a post about unboxing the new credit card.  Everything looked good on my side, my credit card was activated and the $149 annual fee posted to my account (the only charge on my first statement).  I paid the credit card and tried to make a few online purchases to complete the $1,000 minimum spend requirement, but my transactions kept getting declined (so embarrassing…).  Uh oh, this didn’t sound good.

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5 Buy Miles/Points Promos Ending Soon: United (85%), Hyatt (40%), Alaska (50%), American (10%) & Etihad (20%)

Good afternoon everyone.  I was working on my Buy Miles & Points Page and found a few offers ending soon.  Always check the math to make sure that buying miles & points makes sense for you.  Do not buy miles & points speculatively unless you have a use in mind.  With that said, here are 5 offers that end this week.  Up first, United Airlines is offering up to an 85% bonus, depending on the number of United Airlines MileagePlus Miles you purchase.  This offer expires tomorrow – August 27.

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My Disappointing Experience with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Point Rebate

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend.  2 months ago, I wrote First Class Flights Cheaper than Economy with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Points Rebate.  In that post, I showed how I booked an Alaska Airlines first class flight using American Express Membership Rewards Points to trigger the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate.  That flight was booked on May 30 for travel in mid October and cost 19,666 Membership Rewards Points.  According to the benefit terms, the rebate should appear in 6-10 weeks.  Based on the May 30 booking date, the 10 week mark was August 8.  I kept checking my Membership Rewards account ever few days in August, but no Membership Rewards Points ever posted.  On Friday, I decided to call the American Express Membership Rewards department to investigate the issue.  What ensued was not a very pleasant experience with the rep.

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