How To Score a Samsonite Luggage Set for Cheap!

If you are in the market for a new luggage set as I am, you will find this latest Google and American Express offer enticing! Currently, there is an offer available to American Express card holders for $20 off $50+ at Google Express. Google Express is a convenient online shopping experience, in which all the stores are available in one place. You order everything you want from one site, and they ship it to you. No need to login different store sites, remember passwords etc etc. Pretty handy shopping site, especially with the holidays closing in.

If you haven’t used Google Express, you are in more luck, because on top of that offer, there is an additional 20% off promo code available to new users!  So currently, there is a nice Samsonite Ziplite 3.0 Hardside Spinner Luggage set for $129.99 there from Kohls. Add this to your cart and click on the up arrow for promo code FIRSTORDER20 (should do it automatically) and click APPLY. I would also uncheck any marketing and promotions selections, unless you like junk mail. Also, you might notice at the top right, there is an estimated tax charge. Ignore that if you are in a state that doesn’t have sales tax (like myself in Oregon). So the breakdown should be
$129.99 Total
– $26.00 (20% promo code discount)
– $20.00 (American Express Offer $20 off $50)
Total should be $83.99 for a nice set of quality Samsonite suitcases with a 10 year warranty.

Now you aren’t obligated to use this offer and promo code for a nice set of luggage. You can get whatever your choosing on Google Express. Just do the math on whatever you buy and make sure it works out for you, as some merchants have shipping charges and minimum purchases for free shipping.

Also make sure you load the offer to your American Express card FIRST before you click the Place Order button, otherwise you won’t see the statement credit. To do that, login to your American Express account online, and scroll to the bottom for Amex Offers.

Let me know what you all plan to get if you’re going to use the offer. I’m interested to learn what other great deals on there.  I have the offer available on 3 of my American Express card accounts!

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How to Get a Free Passport

Qantas is running a promotion currently, which is discounting your tickets to Australia by $135 for each ticket.  Apparently, they took notice that not a lot of Americans have passports, and they want to help fix that.  Simply go to qantas.com/passportredeem and enter the promo code “PASSPORT”, and select your flights.  Depending on where you are flying from, the savings could be real, or they may be more expensive than competitor flights.  You will either way, save $135 for most flights selected.  If you happen to have a passport already, you still get the promotional savings.  Just make sure you enter the promo code when making the booking.  This is a great offer, if you were heading over to the land down under in the coming month or so. Getting a discount of $135 for each passenger is pretty good. You can also credit your miles to American Airlines, or Alaska Airlines if you like, since they are partners. Check your dates and make the booking, and let me know how much your flights came to. From Portland, Oregon, it was still too expensive for me to drop on a trip to Sydney. However, originating at a gateway city such as LAX, or SFO might yield lower prices.  Happy Travels!

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Buy United Miles, Get A Bonus!

United Airlines is currently running a promotion on buying their miles and getting an extra bonus on top.  From now until September 29th, you can get up to 75% bonus on purchased miles.  Buy 5000 – 19,000 miles, you get a 25% bonus.  Buy 20,000 – 29,000 and get a 50% bonus.  Buy 30,000 – 85,000 and get a whopping 75% bonus.  Granted, its going to be expensive to buy these miles, but if you need to top off for an award ticket or two, I would go for it, as seats fill up fast for even next summer and beyond.  I have a friend who currently is looking to spend Spring Break in Amsterdam, and would like to experience the Keukenhof season, which begins on March 22nd, 2018.  Looking at availability on their website, there are flights available under the saver award levels, but they are going fast.  You can get 40,000 miles for applying for the Chase United Explorer card, and buy up the remaining miles, to get 60,000 miles, which is enough for a round trip ticket to Europe. You can also see if you are targeted for the 60,000 miles + $100 statement credit offer United is giving some of its Mileage Plus customers.  Log into your United account and see if the promotional 60K offer pops up for you.  However, if you need two tickets, then you will have to buy more miles, so price it out and make sure you aren’t paying more than what it would normally cost you to buy the ticket flat out.  It doesn’t always make sense to use miles in some cases.

Click HERE to view all the details and to purchase miles with the bonus.  Remember, you have until September 29th, 2017 to take advantage of the offer.

Award Ticket vs. Paid Ticket

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How to Use Hilton Points at Amazon.com

It looks like Hilton Honors is now letting giving its members the ability to pay for purchases at Amazon.com with points.  Check your emails, on instructions on how to link the two programs together, so you can start using points to pay for purchases at Amazon.  This adds to the long line of rewards programs from various cards, such as Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Discover, and now Hilton Honors.  Having the flexibility to pay for purchases at Amazon with points from other programs is good, but you have to weigh in the advantages and disadvantages.  I personally, value Chase Ultimate Rewards, for redeeming for travel purchases, so I would never use them at Amazon.com for making purchases.  I would however, use my Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for making the actual purchases. This opportunity is nice if you are sitting on some Hilton points, and have no idea what to do with them, and would rather spend them on everyday purchases, that you would normally make at Amazon.

Now with that being said, Hilton Honors aren’t the greatest points to keep or hoard, as they have been devalued tremendously in the last couple years.  You need A LOT to stay in some of the nicest properties, such as The Conrad Rangali Maldives, or The Grand Wailea in Maui.  These require usually 75,000 to 95,000 PER NIGHT! …..ouch!  However, they do have some sweet spots, and if you are like me, sitting on a few tankers full of points, then I do NOT recommend blowing them on toilet paper, or selfie sticks at Amazon.  Redeem them for those magnificent properties that are category 8 or higher.

 

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Need a Passport Photo? Make Your Own!

Well its that time again when I need to renew my passport, and get passports for my girls. Of course, I could always head down to Costco to get them taken, but I have found its cheaper and easier actually to do it myself.  My kids just cant stand still, and they think they getting a shot at the doctors office for reason when I take them to Costco, or Walgreen’s.  A few years ago, the apps available were kinda testy, buggy, and not so friendly to use, but I found one in the Play Market that is pretty easy to use, and best of all, it was FREE.  I just snapped a photo in my upstairs room that has plenty of afternoon sunglight glaring in, against an off white wall, which made things easier.

Use this website idphoto4you.com  to make the final touches, and get them ready to be printed on 4 x 6 size.

Send them over to your favorite print center ( I chose Walgreen’s) and then cut the desired picture and attach it to the application.

Send your application via FedEX, UPS, or USPS Priority Mail, but with tracking. Make sure you dont send it without some form of tracking in case it gets lost in the mail.  After checking to see if your check got cashed, with your bank, check the status of your application at the State Dept website. In most cases, you should have it in 2 weeks, as I did.

Save yourself some money and try doing this yourself. Especially if you are doing multiple passports.  Every dime counts when you are trying to save up for a family holiday. You also have the option of doing it all yourself, with applications like Photoshop, like my friend Jon Khoo of Wanderlusty did.  Have you tried taking your passport all by yourself? Happy Travels.

 

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Spanish Low Cost Carrier Vueling to use Avios

It looks like another airline will be using Avios soon as its frequent flier program. Spanish carrier Vueling, which is based out of Barcelona will replace its current loyalty program, Punto, with Avios. This is turn will let Vueling Club members to receive bonus Avios points for flying on basic fares, or less restricted fare classes.  Furthermore, members will be eventually be able to use Avios points to redeem for the entire cost of a flight, as long as they have enough points to do so. This will include everything, including taxes. They now join British Airways, AerLingus, and Iberia, that use the currency.    I’m glad to see this, as this opens another avenue to take a low cost carrier in Europe and be able to use points that are available to members in the United States, such as myself.  Avios are pretty easy to get these days, considering there are credit card bonuses out there.  Having this flexibility is great, as it gives you more options to use when flying around Europe.  I am not familiar with Vueling, but with this news, it may be a good to know what to expect, and any other pertinent information, should I need to book an Avios ticket in Europe. Looks for these changes to occur in the next month or so.  Happy Travels.

 

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Delta Offering New Amenity Kits

Looks like after September 1st, Delta passengers flying in premium cabins will be offered the hard and soft cased TUMI kits. The kits will be available on all Delta One flights, including coast-to-coast flights between JFK and LAX/SFO, BOS-SFO and DCA-LAX, and will feature the hard- and soft-cased TUMI kits. The cool part is you can have them custom monogrammed for free at retail TUMI locations. Included inside will be a patch that will be required upon request to have them monogrammed. The new TUMI kits will include hand cleanser, mouthwash stick, TUMI eye shades, and updated striped socks, along with travel necessities such as lip balm by Kiehl’s, a dental kit with Crest toothpaste, tissues, and ear plugs. You can read more about it on Delta.com.

Customers flying in the Delta Premium Select cabin, will be gifted with the soft TUMI blue pouch, which includes Malin+Goetz lotion, a dental kit, eye mask, socks, and ear plugs.

You can read more about the TUMI kits and the refreshed changes at Delta.com. TUMI is undoubtedly awesome at making amenity kits, and I hope to book myself on one of these flights just to score one.  Let me now if you get one and what you think of it. Also let me now which amenity kit you like the best. Happy Travels.

 

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Use United Miles to get TSA Pre for 5 Years

United Airlines has come up with an offer for acquiring TSA Pre clearance for 10,000 United miles.  The deal is pretty simple, and includes pre-clearance at most airports, which could be useful during busy travel times.  The terms state the offer is available only to Mileage Plus members, with an account address in the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or Guam.  You will be given a payment code which will cover the application fee.  Remember, if you have Global Entry, TSA Pre Check is included, so you don’t need to apply. If you are a Mileage Plus member, and interested in using 10,000 miles to get this, check out the link below.

LINK TO OFFER.

Honestly, I think to blow 10,000 miles on this offer is a waste, as I find better uses for those miles. I was lucky enough to be a card holder for the TraveElite card, which gives me FREE Global Entry.  I’m not going to put a price on the miles as they are as valuable as YOU see them. Some people find United miles worthless, as they are expensive to redeem on partner airlines, and some people find them as valuable as gold, as they may be used for a sweet spot redemption, such as Swiss, or Lufthansa, if the availability is there. Let me know if you think this is a good value.  Happy Travels.

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Singapore Airlines Failure at Special Meals

One of best experiences about flying on a world class carrier is the fact they offer meals that are notches above the standard airline meals, that are usually served all the time.  Singapore Airlines is no exception. We flew Singapore a few times to Malaysia and the executive class meals were pretty good, offering an array of seafood options that met our dietary restrictions.  However, to play it safe, some folks will order the special meal, just to make sure they are covered in terms of a meal offering. After all, it is 17 hrs across the Pacific Ocean, and a Snickers bar just wont cut it.  On a recent flight though, I was really surprised the offering Singapore laid out on a plate for my friend, who was flying in business class from Singapore to San Francisco.  It appeared to be some sort of mystery meat, with no flavor whatsoever.  Dried noodles accompanied it, and the presentation was more acceptable for a  call center cafeteria, than a $5000+ business class ticket cabin.  Seeing this was very disappointing, as Singapore Airlines is known for stellar service, great seats, and an overall excellent in-cabin experience.

Halal Mystery Chicken?

Back in 2014, I recall Chloe Pantazi putting out a list of the 10 most regrettable airline meals ever, and it was pretty interesting to see the offerings, but most of these were economy class meals, which is expected, and some of them were not special meals. Being how bad these meals were, I would hate to order special meals.

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Update: Chase Offers Me (sort of a) Compensation

A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from Chase informing me of an annual fee increase on my Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is one of my favorite credit cards, and its ability to transfer points into numerous airline and hotel programs, makes it one of the heavy contenders out there. Ultimate Rewards points are one of the best points currencies out there, and I would hate to lose them. Furthermore, I have plans for future travels to Asia, and Europe using these points. They basically told me if I did NOT agree to the increase, then I would have to close out my card. I wouldn’t forfeit the points because I also have the Chase Freedom card, which is also an Ultimate Rewards account, but there is no ability to transfer into airlines. Its mainly cash back.
I decided to write them a snail mail letter asking them for compensation, and they have replied.

I was hoping for something a little more than $60, which is really 6000 points, but I guess at this point, its better than nothing, and will offset the cost for the next 6 years, if you think about it. I was paying $85 rather than $95. This also is a lesson in that if you are not happy with the service, say something. Otherwise, you have no reason to complain.

Happy 4th Everyone.

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