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Helping ordinary frequent fliers achieve extraordinary travel goals through air miles and points.

$20 Credit With $100 Purchase At Staples With American Express Sync

If you don't regularly check your American Express "Amex Offers For You" tab, you should.  Right now a lot of cardholders are reporting an awesome Sync deal from American Express with Staples.

You get a $20 statement credit when purchasing $100 at Staples (not online).

To get the offer, log in to your American Express account.  Click on the Amex Offers For You tab (as pictured below) to discover all of the great Sync deals, including Staples.

Navigate down the list of offers to see if the Staples Sync offer is available for you.  It should look like this:

On the right, you'll want to click the Save Offer button.

****This is important if you have more than one American Express account****

For those of you with more than one American Express, it is possible to sync the same offer to all cards.  You must make sure that different tabs are open on your browser though.  For example, I have the SPG American Express and the Hilton HHonors American Express.  When I load offers to my cards, I ensure that I can see the SPG card offers on one browser tab, and the Hilton offers on another browser tab.  I then save the offer to each card.

Question: How do I spend $100 at Staples?

Answer: EASY

You could do any of the following:

  1. Buy $100 of goods you would normally have to buy (save $20).
  2. Purchase a $100 MasterCard or Visa gift card with $5.95 transaction fee (profit $14.05).
  3. From now through Saturday, October 25th, purchase three $100 Visa gift cards with three $5.95 transaction fees and you'll also get a $20 prepaid Visa card as a rebate (profit $22.15).
  4. From now through Sunday, October 25th, purchase two $200 Visa gift cards with two $6.95 transaction fees and you'll also get a $20 prepaid Visa card as a rebate (profit $26.10).

Those are just four options that I can think of, off of the top of my head.

My Two Cents

I'll definitely be taking advantage of this Staples American Express Sync promotion.  The deal expires on November 9, 2014, so there is plenty of time to take advantage of this promotion.

If you don't regularly check your Amex Offers page I highly recommend it.  There are constantly some amazing offers!


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Earn More Air Miles and Points (Beginner Series) - Earn Hotel Points

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Types of Miles/Points
Part 3: Determining Your Loyalty
Part 4: How to Earn Air Miles
Part 5: Earn More Air Miles - Elite Status
Part 6: How to Earn Hotel Points
Part 7: Earn More Hotel Points - Elite Status
Part 8: Applying for Credit Cards
Part 9: How to Earn Credit Card Points
Part 10: How to Earn Cash Back
Part 11: Using Shopping Portals
Part 12: Dining Programs
Part 13: Manufactured Spending
Part 14: Other Methods to Earn Miles
Part 15: Keeping Track of Your Miles/Points

Many beginners know the power of air miles!  What a lot of people don't understand is that you can get equal, if not more value out of hotel points.  There are some tips and tricks to ensure that you earn hotel points.

The Basics To Earning Hotel Points

The key to earning hotel points is a bit different than air miles.  When you book a flight through Priceline.com, Expedia.com or Orbitz.com, you have the option to enter your frequent flyer number and earn miles for those flights.  With hotels, you will not earn hotel points when booking reservations through third party websites.

To ensure you get your hotel points, you will want to book your reservations directly through the hotel website (i.e. IHG, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, etc).  If you're concerned about getting better rates on third party sites, most hotel companies have a Best Rate Guarantee policy that ensures you'll get their lowest rate, and in turn, book your reservation through them.  For more on Best Rate Guarantees, see this post.

Earn points at the Andaz San Diego - A Hyatt property

Earn points at the Andaz San Diego - A Hyatt property

Sign Up For Hotel Member Accounts

Before you diving in head first, make sure you have accounts with the various hotel properties you will stay at.  Here are some of the more popular hotel chains:

Once you have signed up, you'll want to make sure you have all of your points earning options set up properly.

Hilton HHonors signup page

Hilton HHonors signup page

Not Worth Earning Air Miles for Hotel Stays

Most hotel loyalty programs allow you to earn air miles for your stays.  If you have the option to earn hotel points OR air miles, it's almost always worth earning the hotel points!

Make sure you go to your profile for each loyalty program.  For instance, Hilton HHonors allows you to earn points + air miles.  But you can also choose points + points!  I always go with points + points.

JW Marriott in Los Angeles, CA

JW Marriott in Los Angeles, CA

The BIG Differences in Hotel Points

Make sure you become familiar with the way to earn points with different hotel chains.  I say this because 100 Hilton points is worth significantly less than 100 SPG points.  At the same time, it's MUCH easier to earn 100 Hilton points than it is to earn 100 SPG points.

With hotel chains like Hilton, you may earn 15 points per dollar spent on reservations, whereas you may only get 2 points per dollar spent at SPG properties.

Knowing the ins and outs of each program is important prior to diving in.

Hilton Phuket, Thailand

Hilton Phuket, Thailand

Conclusion

If you are mainly concerned about earning air miles, and choose to sleep on friends couches or do VRBO or AirBNB, then hotel points may not be for you.  But if you like walking through the doors of a 5-Star Park Hyatt, then you definitely will want to start earning hotel points!


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More Free Air Miles / Points From Staples

Last week, Staples was dishing out $20 gift cards for purchases of $300 (or more) in MasterCard gift cards!

This week, they are offering the same promotion, but with Visa gift cards!

How to take advantage

First and foremost, you will want to have a credit card, like the Chase Ink Plus that awards you with 5x points at office supply stores!

The promotion states that you need to purchase $300 in Visa gift cards in order to earn the $20 Staples gift card.  The $200 Visa gift cards are the maximum denomination that Staples sells.  The fee on those cards is $6.95 (versus $5.95 for the $100 gift cards).

1 x $200 gift card + 1 x $100 gift card

A $200 gift card will cost you $206.95.
A $100 gift card will cost you $105.95.
Total cost = $312.90
Total points = $312.90 x 5 = 1,565 points
Total profit = $312.90 - $20 gift card - $300 Visa cash value = $7.10

2 x $200 gift card

A $200 gift card will cost you $206.95.
Total cost = $413.90
Total points = $413.90 x 5 = 2,070 points
Total profit = $413.90 - $20 gift card - $400 Visa cash value = $6.10

For $1 more you'll earn an extra 505 points (valuation = $.00198/point).  In other words, it makes much more sense to buy two $200 Visa gift cards and get the extra points!

Staples Easy Rebate

The rebate system is truly easy.  Make sure you hang onto all of your receipts.  Additionally, the promotion is only allowable for one household!  So be careful that you're not using the same information (if you're trying to earn more than one $20 gift card).

Getting rid of the Visa gift cards

For those of you who read Dovertime, this is easy.  For those that do not read Dovertime, below are some great options:

  • Use them yourselves for every day spending
  • Give them as gifts
  • Load your Bluebird or Serve accounts
  • Buy money orders

My Two Cents

Like last week's MasterCard deal, I can promise you I will be all over this Visa gift card deal!


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Man Travels 550,000 Miles Through 177 Countries In One Car

Every once in a while, there is a story of travel that moves you, sends chills down your spine, makes you laugh or even brings tears to your eyes.

Last night, I stumbled upon an article of a German man, Gunther, who spent 26 years of his life trekking 550,000 miles through 177 countries in one single vehicle; a Mercedes Benz G Wagon (circa 1980's style).

This story literally has everything you could ask for and more!  There is a love, danger, near-death experiences, triumph and above all else; freedom and adventure.

Dovertime mostly consists of earning air miles and points to help travel for free.  Lately, I've really become interested in the finer aspects of travel, such as first class flights and five-star hotels.  But after watching the video below and reading the article by BBC, I was slapped in the face with a great reality check.

There is so much more to travel than fancy things.  Take a lesson from Gunther and his beloved car, Otto.  Gunther has seen more of the world than most of us ever will, and not once during his journey did he stay in a hotel.

Take the time, watch the video and read the article!


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