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

Southwest Airlines Soon To Service COSTA RICA!

Fresh off the press this last week is news from Southwest Airlines that they will begin offering service to San Jose, Costa Rica!  with an application filed with the US Department of Transportation, Southwest Airlines could begin flying a daily round-trip service between Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) by March 7, 2015.

Costa Rica will become Southwest Airline's sixth international destination including the current five destinations listed below:

  1. Aruba
  2. The Bahamas
  3. Jamaica
  4. Cancun, Mexico
  5. Los Cabos, Mexico

Conclusions

This is exciting news for frequent fliers of Southwest Airlines.  Especially those who have obtained a Companion Pass that will allow both you and your companion to go to some great international destinations!

The first thought that came to mind when hearing of this news from Southwest was a new found opportunity to visit the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort (by Hyatt).  At 15,000 points per night, this property is amazing and if I can have a companion travel for free, we might have to check it out!


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1,000 Bonus Miles - United Shopping Mall

From now through September 18, 2014, you could earn 1,000 bonus miles for qualifying purchases made through the United MileagePlus Shopping Mall.

In order to qualify for the 1,000 bonus miles you must spend a cumulative $225 through the mall.  For example, you could spend $100 at Nordstrom followed by $125 at Macy's within the time frame and qualify for bonus miles.

It normally takes about 6-8 weeks for bonus miles to post through the United MileagePlus Shopping Portal.

Terms and Conditions

*9/12/14 through 9/18/14 11:59 PM ET receive 1,000 bonus miles when you spend a cumulative amount of $225 online through MileagePlus Shopping. Returns, shipping and taxes are not eligible for bonus. Please allow 8-10 weeks for bonus miles to post to your account. The maximum number of bonus miles that can be awarded to each qualifying member through this promotion is 1,000 bonus miles. This offer cannot be combined with other bonus offers. Increased earning opportunities are for a limited time only and at the discretion of each individual merchant. Please check site daily for updates to increased earning opportunities.
— United MileagePlus Shopping Portal

Conclusions

Shopping portals are offering these types of bonuses more and more to entice customers to shop through their portals.  If you need to make purchases between now and September 18, 2014, I would definitely consider attempting to go for the bonus!


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Club Carlson Fall 2014 Promotions Galore!

Club Carlson just announced a bevy of awesome Fall 2014 bonus promotions that could put points in your possession!

3,000 Bonus Points For Smartphone App Reservations

It begins with a promotion that could award you with 3,000 bonus points for making reservations through their smartphone app!  From now through November 16, 2014, you can earn 3,000 bonus points for each stay booked with the Club Carlson mobile app.

To get your bonus points, follow these steps:

  1. Signup for a Club Carlson account here
  2. Download the Club Carlson app (iTunes or Android) here
  3. Open the app on your phone
  4. Book a reservation using the app
  5. Reap the bonus points after your stay

According to the terms and conditions, you must pay in full for a Gold Points-eligible stay.  In other words, you will not get bonus points for a free night redemption or Points+Cash stay.  Check-in and check-out must occur between September 8, 2014 and November 16, 2014.

You can earn multiple bonuses throughout the promotional period.

Conclusions

I love promotions like these!  It's just as easy to book a reservation using a smartphone app as it is on the website.  So why not go for the 3,000 bonus points!  Don't forget to use your Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature to earn 10x points per dollar spent!

Business Time Triple Points

From now through November 30, 2014, you could earn triple points for business stays.  For business travelers, you can earn 3x points at select Club Carlson properties on weekdays only.  Simply enter promotional ID BIZTIME3 for Sunday through Thursday night stays.

Be sure to review the website before booking any trips as only select properties are participating in the promotion.

According to the terms and conditions, both check-in and check-out must occur prior to November 30, 2014.

This promotion is a big one as you'll earn 60 points per dollar!!!!!!!  Combine that with a Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card and you're earning 70x points!

Power Points - 25% off Award Stays

As part of another fantastic promotion being offered by Club Carlson, you can save 25% when booking award stays through November 30, 2014 through their Power Points promotion.

When searching for your hotel use the promotional ID code POWERPTS.  Be sure to check this website prior to searching as only certain hotel properties are participating in the promotion.

Below is a chart that illustrates the difference between a regular free night redemption and one using the 25% discount.

Hotel CategoryRegularDiscounted (25%)
19,0006,750
215,00011,250
328,00021,000
438,00028,500
544,00033,000
650,00037,500
770,00052,500

As you can see, using the discount offer provides great savings!  The terms and conditions aren't clear about having to check-in and check-out prior to November 30, 2014.  It looks as if you only have to secure the reservation before November 30, 2014.

Once again, using a Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card will allow you to get two nights for the price of one.  When you have this credit card and book an award night, they'll give you a second night free.  This means that you could get two nights at a Category 7 property for 52,500 points under the discounted rates.

Weekend Extender - 3rd Weekend Free

Last, but definitely not least is the Weekend Extender promotion that runs through November 30, 2014.  Book a three-day weekend using the promotional ID code WEEKENDX.  You will pay for two nights and receive the third night free.  In order to take advantage of this promotion, you must be staying either Friday & Saturday nights or Saturday & Sunday nights.  So your weekend combinations could be as follows:

  • Thursday - Sunday
  • Friday - Monday
  • Saturday - Tuesday

Be sure and check the website to ensure your desired property is participating in the promotion.

According to the terms and conditions check-in and check-out must occur prior to November 30, 2014.

Conclusions

Four promotions all at once is hard to handle!  Your miles may vary when trying to stack promotions (take advantage of more than one of the above promotions).  The only language that makes me believe one of the promotions is not stack worthy is from the terms and conditions on the Weekend Extender promotion - 

The Promotion is not valid for existing reservations and may not be used in conjunction with any other package, promotion, group or convention rate, or any other discounted rate
— Club Carlson Weekend Extender T&C

I wish there were more quality Club Carlson properties around the United States.  I would be all in on these promotions!


To stay on top of all bonus promotions, bookmark the Bonus Promotions page.

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RIP - Amazon Payments

Hot off the press yesterday was news that Amazon Payments will no longer be a viable manufactured spending resource effective October 13, 2014.  If you're unfamiliar with Amazon Payments, it is a service by Amazon.com that allows you to send and receive up to $1,000/month from people.

The news saddens me for a few reasons.

No More Person-to-Person Bill Pay

For the last couple of years my family has reimbursed each other using Amazon Payments for cell phone bills.  It was very simple.  I would pay the bill with my credit card, and family members would pay me via Amazon Payments with their credit card(s).  Everyone gets points and it was 100% FREE!

I used Amazon Payments for other reasons like this as well.  Most recently, my wife just sold a dress to a lady across the country and she paid us via Amazon Payments.  It was quick, easy and FREE!

One Less Manufactured Spending Option

Back in October 2013, I applied for an American Airlines card, and two Southwest Airlines Visa's.  I had some serious spending requirements to fulfill in order to get the signup bonuses (and SW Companion Pass).  Using Amazon Payments really helped me achieve those goals and get the Companion Pass.

Now, unfortunately, this method of manufactured spending will be in the rear view.

Conclusions

I only used Amazon Payments for manufactured spending a few times, because it was easy and free.  In retrospect, I'm going to miss the ability to pay family and friends or receive payments from family or friends with Amazon.  It made reimbursing a buddy simple!

RIP Amazon Payments.  You will be missed!


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