Archive | July 2014

How do you get a whole bunch of Avios points for cheap? (In time to travel this winter)

In a previous post from a few months back, I went over a strategy that combined your RBC points and Aeroplan points into Avios. We like Avios here at our page because of all the redemption flights you can get for as little as 9000 Avios which is great.

See out Avios page on that.

Some people I talk to are still wary of the whole “credit card thing” – sure, if you aren’t comfortable with this are are not prudent paying off debts on time – don’t do this. But for more and more I chat with, this is working out well for them – and who knows how long Amex will be this generous.

I will go over the scenario for 1 person and add the 2 person (or couple) strategy after.

When the process is complete in say 6 months from now (Christmas travel season/March break) 1 person can end up with about 80,000 Avios for $120.

Avios are worth anywhere from 1 cent to 2 cents each depending on how you use them.

So…$800 – $1600 of travel for $120. Worst case is $800, some people can get $1600 or better.

2 of you? 180,000 Avios for $240.

So…$1800 – $3600 of travel for $240.

See why we do this?

1. Get the Amex Gold Rewards Card. no fee first year.

After you spend $500 on it, you will get 25,000 MR points which can be converted 1:1 to Avios.

2. Get the Amex Aeroplan Gold Card. no fee first year.

After you spend $500 on it, you will get 30,000 Aeroplan which eventually through a process (see previous post link top of page) will get you 30,000 Avios.

Some people have chosen to do this at the same time, which is fine. Some may say apply for all 3 cards the same day so as not to trigger too many credit pulls – it is up to you.

3. Get the RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card.

You will get 15,000 RBC points, which eventually can be converted to 22,500 Avios through the process mentioned at the top of the page. Annual fee on this one is $120.

You can get a no fee RBC card, but you need the RBC card to convert Aeroplan to Avios, and I don’t mind paying $120 for 22,500 Avios. To me I can get $450 in travel out of that.

So, after you do some spending on these cards, say $2000-$3000 total, you will have about 80,000 Avios.

Now, if you can “refer” a travel partner, they can get the same points, PLUS you will get an extra 10,000 MR points to refer them to the Amex Gold Rewards Card, then an extra 10,000 Aeroplan points to refer them to the Aeroplan GoldCard.

So, as mentioned earlier, 180,000 Avios for $240.

This is simply awesome. So if you are still reading this and wondering if it works – it does! (for Canadians – we need some credit card breaks)

Then you wonder – what the hell are 180,000 Avios?

Want to go to Florida Christmas and Spring Break? I do.

Detroit – Tampa is 18,000 Avios total round trip – to Miami it is 20,000 Avios.

What? So my “travel partner” and I just picked up 10 round trip flights from Detroit to Tampa…for $240?

You wish. It will cost you a whopping $5.00 in taxes per flight. 5 bucks. Seriously.

 

Can you still get an Amex bonus and use it before summer ends? YES!

Holy Smokes I just found Detroit – Atlantic City $91 return late August for 4 nights on Spirit.

Our posts from this month have included ways to travel on Amex MR points.

Here is the link to apply for that no-fee card.

This is a very simple procedure but I still get requests on how to accomplish this.

Basically, you apply for the card, get the card a week later, spend $500 on the card and qualify for the bonus (25,000 MR) – which gets posted immediately. Some other cards post the bonus points on a monthly basis, but this card posts your points right away – which can be used right away!

A second bonus of this card is that you can “refer a friend” and collect another 10,000 MR points.

If you “refer” your partner, you now have 35,000 MR points ($350 in travel) and your partner has 25,000 MR points ($250 in travel).

Rather than go into the different ways you can use those points – for this we will just say use the Amex Trip Flex option.

There is no fee on this card for the first year and you may cancel it after you use the points – some people in the field say keep it a minimum of 10 months and I would agree.

So, you may be at a point in your summer where a getaway sounds pretty good right about now – and this is a nice way to get one worth $600 if you have a partner willing to do this too.

I’ll keep it simple – the last 2 weeks of August are about when all the points would be in your account safely and it is also a very cheap time to fly places – out of Detroit for this post.

Detroit – Atlantic City – $128 late August – if you are in $9 club – Spirit COST $60 (worth it if you fly more than once on Spirit in a year or are paying for more than 1 flight) – you GET THAT FLIGHT FOR $91!!!

– Myrtle Beach $192 or $180 if in $9 club – last week of August (Spirit)

– Ft. Lauderdale $155 last week of August (Spirit)

– Dallas $180 last week of August (Spirit)

Point is, there is still time to get that card, get the MR points and take a well deserved break before school starts. If the whole school thing doesn’t affect you, take the free travel money.

 

 

 

Atlantic City Trip

Well, the first thing I should say is that I had a great time with two good friends and this is a destination that is good for both getaways and families.

I would take my wife and young children here anytime – I will say why later.

As mentioned in a previous post, the flight was about $110, hotel rooms comped as well as a Circue du Soleil show. We had to pay for food, drinks and whatever we gambled.

If you don’t know Atlantic City, a cool thing about it is that if you stay on the Boardwalk like many, you only need to get a cab to and from the airport – you can walk around and have a great time without renting a car.

We stayed on the far end of the Boardwalk in the “Showboat” Hotel which is closing down next month, I’m glad we got a chance to stay there before it closes. It is under the “Total Rewards” umbrella which also includes Atlantic City hotels Caesar’s, Bally’s and Harrah’s.

My friends get good comps from Total Rewards so that made the trip cheaper!

I’ve been there twice now and it really is a “mini Vegas” with a beach.

You can walk one end of the Boardwalk to the other in about an hour if you are really moving – so I got morning walks in to try and work off some of the extra food and drink we consumed.

It is a really nice walk if you go early enough and not too crowded if you go before 9am.

So, if you like to gamble there are plenty of Casinos to choose from – I won’t name them all.

Most Boardwalk hotels have huge casinos and pools if you want to take a swim.

These hotels are massive and can be intimidating to some at first, but once you know the lay of the land you are usually OK.

The Boardwalk itself is truly something to behold and is a really cool experience to walk on.

As you walk, there are casinos everywhere along, shops to buy gifts in and bigger shopping venues like the Pier at Caesars which has something for everyone. At the Steel Pier there is a carnival that is open seasonally.

You could really spend a day wandering the Boardwalk your first time there is so much to see and do.

We have a favourite restaurant – Bill’s Gyros, fav. bar – Bally’s Wild West Mountain Bar, fav buffet – Showboat’s is $20 and a great selection. Maybe if you have been you have some different choices? Feel free to comment.

As I am typing this I went back to check flight prices in late August – still about $125 to get there round trip from Detroit! Amazing price on Spirit.

People bash Spirit, we know – but it’s a 80 minute flight – so if customer service isn’t perfect or your seat is kinda small – put up with it.

So ya, you can go here for a guys trip away or a girls trip away and have a blast.

But as I walking one morning I thought I would make an effort to notice families and things to do for kids – plenty!

You could keep it simple and do beach morning and pool afternoon with a walk along the boardwalk in there somewhere.

You have the Steel Pier Amusement Park, and a great put-put right on the Boardwalk.

For our family the beach/pool combo usually is good for a few days so the extra attractions are just bonus. There were plenty of families there as well.

You can also rent bikes to check out the Boardwalk, but not past 10am as it gets very busy.

You don’t have to stay on the Boardwalk, but when you go out front of the hotels you get into residential areas right away- which is OK but not as fun or probably not quite as safe.

I wouldn’t go for a week, but a 2-4 day trip is a great option for anyone – single, group of guys/girls or a family trip.

Please feel free to add any comments!

We did a quick video from the Steel Pier as well at night.

These 2 pics are from the walkway from Caesars to the Pier Shops at Ceasars.

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AtlanticCity post coming soon!

Ok Big Rick, the Grey Ghost and I have been having fun in AC for 4 days. Big Rick and I did a video and I have a write up coming in the next day or two about it. Fun for all ages- thanks for reading everyone across the world – wow we are getting people from all over reading us! We will get back to posting every second day or so soon!
Thanks for reading!

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What can $600 in travel get you this summer? Part 5 – Washington, DC

So, we have been telling you for half a year now that one Amex card – the Amex Gold Rewards card will give you 25,000 MR points, your partner 25,000 MR points and you get 10,000 more MR points for referring them. Total MR points is 35,000 ($350 in travel) for you and 25,000 ($250 in travel) for them. See our Amex page on this and our Worst case Scenario page. It’s easy and free your first year – if you end up cancelling your card before the year is up you will not have paid a dime – other than paying off your monthly bill!

The purpose of these next few posts is to see what that free money can do for you this summer.

Now bear in mind from the time you apply for the card, get the card, refer your partner, get your points, and they get their points it could take as little as 2-3 weeks if you both spend the $500 on the card right away – or longer – but this will assume you can use this travel by mid August. You just book it on your Amex card and use their Trip Flex option.

So, we did a whole Detroit Summer Series on cheap flights out of Detroit so I’m going back to check if those great prices are still available.

Check out some of those posts – some really great prices out there!

You know what? If you want to go somewhere the last week of August – not everyone’s first choice I know – it is sooo cheap!

Detroit – Washington, DC – Mon Aug 25 – Thur Aug 28 – $188 on Delta.

2 flights = $376 US – use up your 35,000 (350 CDN) and you might owe about $70.

You still have your partner’s $250 credit.

There are many hotels  with a nice pool that you can get for about $350-400 CDN for the 3 nights.

Check Google Hotel Finder, Trivago, whatever.

Days Inn, Capitol Skyline, Windsor Park, Kimpton Helix to name a few.

These are rated at 70/100 or better on Trivago.

Call it about $375 on the hotel booking – leaves you paying about $125 out of pocket after applying the 25,000 (250 CDN) credit.

So there is option #5 – Washington, DC for 3 nights including flights – cost a couple about $200 total.

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What will $600 in free travel get you this summer? PART 4 – Boston!

So, we have been telling you for half a year now that one Amex card – the Amex Gold Rewards card will give you 25,000 MR points, your partner 25,000 MR points and you get 10,000 more MR points for referring them. Total MR points is 35,000 ($350 in travel) for you and 25,000 ($250 in travel) for them. See our Amex page on this and our Worst case Scenario page. It’s easy and free your first year – if you end up cancelling your card before the year is up you will not have paid a dime – other than paying off your monthly bill!

The purpose of these next few posts is to see what that free money can do for you this summer.

Now bear in mind from the time you apply for the card, get the card, refer your partner, get your points, and they get their points it could take as little as 2-3 weeks if you both spend the $500 on the card right away – or longer – but this will assume you can use this travel by the end of July. You just book it on your Amex card and use their Trip Flex option.

So, we did a whole Detroit Summer Series on cheap flights out of Detroit so I’m going back to check if those great prices are still available.

Check out some of those posts – some really great prices out there!

You know what? If you want to go somewhere the last week of August – not everyone’s first choice I know – it is sooo cheap!

Detroit – Boston Mon Aug 4 – Thur Aug 7 (3 nights) – $179 on Southwest.

2 flights (bags fly free!)  = $358 US – use up your 35,000 ($350 CDN) and you might owe $50

You still have your partner’s $250 credit.

There are many hotels  with a nice pool that you can get for about $250 CDN for the 3 nights.

Check Google Hotel Finder, Trivago, whatever.

There are a couple of Best Westerns – BW Airport Inn gets a rank of 82/100 and BW Executive Court Inn gets a 86/100. Both of these will cost you about $250 for the 3 nights.

Point is that the $250 credit will get you 3 nights in a decent hotel – for free!

So there is option #4 – Boston for 3 nights including flights – cost a couple about $50 total.

Monday July 14 last day for huge Aeroplan bonus of 30,000 points!

That title says it all. The bonus ends tomorrow. It is truly an amazing bonus when you think of it.

30,000 Aeroplan to sign up for one credit card, spend $500 on it and the points are yours. No annual fee for the first year.

If used wisely for us near the US border – those 30,000 can be converted to Avios and that is 3 round trip tickets from Detroit to places like New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Charlotte NC to name a few – for about $5.00 in fees. Incredible.

Try it – it really is a great offer from Amex.

Here is the link to sign up…for one more day!

Amex AeroGold Card.

Erica Ehm is doing it- why not you?

Erica Ehm has a website, which I will leave the link for, that is saying the same thing we have been saying since last December- the Amex Gold Rewards Card is awesome…and you travel free when you get one!
I used to watch her on MuchMusic here in Canada in the 80’s, and it sounds like she is doing great! I’m glad she is telling people about this card, as it seems like a “no brainier” to at least get it one time, and take the 25,000 points and do whatever you want with them. No fee first year and you just need to spend $500 on it. Give her post a read…and Erica- if you happen to read this- I’m glad your doing well- I always thought you did a great job at Much!

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/erica-ehm-exposed/20140604/how-to-travel-for-free-using-your-rewards-card?=EM&utm_source&utm_medium&utm_campaign

 

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What will $600 in travel get you this summer? PART 3 – DENVER for $120!

So, we have been telling you for half a year now that one Amex card – the Amex Gold Rewards card will give you 25,000 MR points, your partner 25,000 MR points and you get 10,000 more MR points for referring them. Total MR points is 35,000 ($350 in travel) for you and 25,000 ($250 in travel) for them. See our Amex page on this and our Worst case Scenario page. It’s easy and free your first year – if you end up cancelling your card before the year is up you will not have paid a dime – other than paying off your monthly bill!

The purpose of these next few posts is to see what that free money can do for you this summer.

Now bear in mind from the time you apply for the card, get the card, refer your partner, get your points, and they get their points it could take as little as 2-3 weeks if you both spend the $500 on the card right away – or longer – but this will assume you can use this travel by the end of July. You just book it on your Amex card and use their Trip Flex option.

So, we did a whole Detroit Summer Series on cheap flights out of Detroit so I’m going back to check if those great prices are still available.

Check out some of those posts – some really great prices out there!

You know what? If you want to go somewhere the last week of August – not everyone’s first choice I know – it is sooo cheap!

Detroit – DENVER Mon Aug 25 – Thur Aug 28 (3 nights) – $211 on Spirit pp.

2 flights  = $422 US – use up your 35,000 ($350 CDN) and you might owe $120

You still have your partner’s $250 credit.

There are many hotels that you can get for about $250 CDN for the 3 nights.

Check Google Hotel Finder, Trivago, whatever.

Since I don’t know Denver I thought I would list a few hotels that got a rating of 80 or better out of 100.

Quality Inn and Suites, Denver – $249 CDN

TownPlace Suites Denver – $255 CDN

There are a few with an 80+ rating for about $100 CDN per night.

Point is that the $250 credit will get you 3 nights in a decent hotel – for free!

So there is option #3 – Denver for 3 nights including flights – cost a couple about $120 total.

Sick of high gas prices? Reward yourself once a year with a treat!

I was curious as I was filling my tank today – how much does the average Canadian spend on gas per year?

Well, travelsmart.ca did a study based on the price being $1.23/L and found the number was $1942 per year. I don’t think prices are going much lower, so let’s use a ballpark figure of $2000 per year per person.

That’s about $40 a week – sound about right? Of course depending on your personal circumstances that number could be way higher or lower.

You can do something with that spending – turn it into free hotel stays, a free flight, or if you are still loving the Canadian tire Mastercard (WHY?) you can pick up some free kleenex now and then.

So…what credit card to use for this spending?

My first choice is actually a card we have no connection to at all – RBC Rewards Visa Gold – no fee and you earn 1 RBC point for every $2 spent. Actually, I like the Visa Infinite Avion Card better – it’s $120 fee is worth it considering the 15,000 RBC points they welcome you with. Every dollar spend earns 1 RBC point.

Then, you get an Esso Extra account, and get gas as much as possible at Esso.

Here is what I do. Say I spend $50 at Esso on my Infinite Visa and swipe my Esso Extra card (I use Speedpass which does both) I get 50 RBC points + 50 Esso points which equals 30 RBC points. That is 80 RBC points on purchase. But wait, twice a year RBC offer a 50% bonus on RBC points converted to BA Avios. I wait for that and end up with 120 Avios on that original $50 purchase – or my purchase price of gas times 2.4 = how many Avios I end up with.

For a couple spending 4000 a year on gas that is 4000 x 2.4 = 9600 Avios -enough for a short haul round trip flight somewhere – awesome!

My second choice is using the Amex Gold Rewards Card we talk about on our Amex page.

This just gives you 2  MR points per dollar spent on gas. So that $50 gets you 100 MR points.

Same couple spending $4000 a year get 8000 MR points – almost enough for a short haul round trip (you need 9000MR) – you could also use Trip Flex option and have $80 towards travel – but I like the fact you are close to a free flight. When you sign up for the card you get a 25,000 MR bonus anyway!