πŸ“£ Three Things for Thursday: Back to the Basics

Hey everyone. Today's note is just three simple reminders. This game of points and miles can get complicated and overwhelming, but let's not forget: it's the simple things that matter most. Don't sweat the small stuff & leave the complicated stuff to me!

1) If you aren't working toward a sign-up bonus, it might be time to consider another credit card. Drop me a note and we can decide what is next.

2) Keep an eye on all those pesky emails from the banks - sometimes good deals pop up. For those of you with a Freedom Unlimited, Chase is sending out targeted offers (I didn't get it) for 3,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in each of August, September, and October. You just have to activate the offer in the email if you're targeted.

3) If you have a Chase Ink Preferred, are you milking the 3x points for payments on Plastiq? I just spoke with a member who is going to earn over 300,000 points this year just by paying rent and car payments with that card. That's 2 trips anywhere in the world in Biz Class just for making payments he was already making! 
If you have this card, reach out to me so we can really leverage this opportunity. And if you don't have this card, then you still have a shot at the 80,000 points sign up bonus!

πŸ“£ Deal Alert: Miles for Stock Advice

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 5.13.46 PM.png

Want a quick 7400 AA miles (worth ~$140)?
Or how about 5800 United miles (worth ~$110)?
Or 5400 Alaska miles (worth ~$115)?

These are the current increased bonuses you can get by signing up for a Motley Fool subscription - a website that gives stock advice. You have to keep your account active for 45 days to get the miles, so you'd end up paying two months of subscription ($19/mth).

To access these deals, you have to use the shopping portal of your choosing to make the purchase. Go to cashbackmonitor.com and search for Motley Fool. It will then lead you to the shopping portal of your choice. (you can only choose one of these deals, so pick a program that you're already collecting.)

$38 out of pocket for over $100 worth of miles is a nice deal. And who knows, maybe you get some great stock tip in the process (or maybe you never read a word of it). Just don't forget to cancel before you get billed for a third month!

Reach out if you have any questions!

πŸ“£ Deal Alert: Delta SkyPesos (I mean SkyMiles) Promos

Yes, I'm harsh on Delta's award program. But I'll admit that it's getting a bit better. They are running a few promos right now that could get you a decent boost in points. These promos aren't for everyone, but if you are already collecting Delta miles, then these might make sense for you:

1) You can earn Delta miles on every Lyft ride you take just by linking your accounts: https://www.deltalyft.com/

2) Register for this promo to earn 50% bonus miles through 9/30/18 on any miles earned through Delta's partners (hotels, Airbnb, rental cars, dining program, and the Delta shopping portal): https://www.delta.com/mypromos/acelanding.action?offer=PartnerDaysofDeals

Have a great week!

πŸ“£ Last chance to buy SPG points

Tomorrow is the last day to buy SPG points at the 35% discount. Then, on August 1, SPG points will merge with Marriott and be gone forever. This is the last good opportunity to buy them. If you have not yet talked to me about your Marriott and SPG balances, now is the time! 

I will be up for several more hours, so send me a note if you want to chat tonight. I am tied up all day tomorrow, so this is really the last chance to discuss your plan!

πŸ“£ Amazon Prime Day - an 11th Hour Deal to make your head spin

Happy Amazon Prime Day. Lots of discounts on many items, so I figured I'll give you a stackable deal if you want to make a purchase while there's still time. Fair warning, this will overwhelm you - it is advanced level stuff.

Note: you need an Amex that earns Membership Rewards points (Platinum, Gold, Blue Biz Plus, etc.) to make this work.

1) Go to your Amex Offers. If you have the Amazon 3x points offer, activate it. If you don't have the offer, no worries. You can still participate in this offer.

2) Go to Amazon and load up your cart with an item sold by Amazon.com (You can see this info on the product detail page. Products sold by third parties that are fulfilled by Amazon won't work). For purposes of this demonstration, let's say you want to buy Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones for Apple devices: LINK
It's normally $299 but currently on sale for $125.

3) Add an Amazon Gift Card to get the amount (using the original product price, not the Prime Deal price) up to $500 total. So, for these $299 headphones, you'll add a $201 gift card: LINK

4) No go to the payment page. If you haven't already done so, link the Amex card that has the 3x Amex Offer on it. Then, it will give you an option to pay with your Amex points. After today, PLEASE never pay with Amex points. But for this occasion, you are going to put in that you want to pay just $0.01 of your purchase with points (it'll deduct a single point, and the rest you can use the credit card).

5) Now enter coupon code: AMEXSWP20PD. This will give you 20% off of your entire order up to $500 (which is why you added that Amazon Gift Card)

Your total cost:
For this purchase, you'd spend $260 and receive:
- $201 Amazon gift card
- a pair of headphones that retails for $299
- and you'd earn 3x points (780 total, which I value at $19.50)
In other words, you just bought $299 headphones for $39.50

This works with all sorts of items. A savvy EGTer just used this trick to purchase an Amazon Echo Show & a smart plug for $70.44. That’s $195 savings!

There are a couple other steps you could take to shave off a few more percentage points, but I think this is good enough for now. Good luck! Send me success stories.

I told you your head was going to spin.

πŸ“£ New Amex Offers

If you have an Amex in your wallet, don't forget to check your Amex Offers from time to time. These neglected deals can sometimes be great ways to earn tons of points or cash back. Access your offers by logging into your account and scrolling to the bottom of the Account Summary page.

Some new offers have popped up in recent days that you may find appealing. For example:

- 3x points on all Amazon purchases (I have this on my Platinum card)
- 15,000 points for spending $750 at any Four Seasons hotel in the US
- 5,000 points for spending $250 at certain Hilton properties
- 2,000 points for spending $100 at Wayfair
- and hundred of others

A couple reminders:
1) Be sure to read the terms to make sure your purchase qualifies. I've made that mistake before.
2) Everyone has different offers on their cards, so you may not have theses ones I mentioned, but you may have others that I don't have. Scroll through them - most cards have dozens to choose from. If you have multiple cards, be sure to look at each card separately!

If you have any questions, you know where to find me!

πŸ“£ Member Forum Update

There are a couple new items in the Member Forum (easygotraveler.com/forum): 

1) I just put up a new post about the SPG-Marriott merger. We are 2 weeks away from the Aug. 1 merger. If you have points in these accounts, read this post. It may help you decide when/how/where you redeem those points.

2) In the Forum's Marketplace, a member is selling a brand new Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD WI-FI 2 TB. For you hardcore photo/video/drone fans, this could be something of interest to you!

Have a great week.
-JJ

πŸ“£ Deal Alert: iPhone users - Free Travel App (today only)

Happy Friday! For all of you iPhone users, you can download the CityMaps2Go Pro app (normally $10) for free today through the App Store. I have never used this app, but after playing with it for a few minutes, it looks like it could come in handy on the road (and it's free, so why not?). Here's the description:

Download entire city, county, district, and province maps for offline viewing with this navigation app. World travelers who aren’t able to utilize data while out and about. View curated guides, find points of interest, and even book tours. CityMaps2Go Pro covers almost the entire globe, so no matter where you are you can be prepared for the adventure ahead.

πŸ“£ Monday Morning Mashup: Points News, EGT News, & Emoji Nonsense

Happy Monday everyone! Some quick updates to get the week started:

1) New post in the Member Forum. The Marriott Credit Card πŸ’³  has a 100k sign-up bonus. I explain why this card might not be worth your time. easygotraveler.com/forum

2) There's also a new feature in the Member Forum. I added a "Mailbox" πŸ“« section. This is a place where you can publicly post questions about anything travel related. Once or twice a week, I'll go in and answer any mail y'all sent to me!

3) A quick EGT update. The last month πŸ—“ has been amazing. I just wanted to highlight some fun facts and a few things that are happening behind the scenes:

- On Wednesday, two EGT members will be getting off an airplane in Houston. πŸ›¬ 2 hours later, two different EGT members will be boarding that exact same airplane. πŸ›« Maybe I should put you in the same seats so you can leave notes for each other! πŸ˜† This is the closest encounter we've had. One of these days, there will be a surprise collision of folks wearing Easy Go t-shirts πŸ‘• on a plane or in an airport. If you're the first, I want pictures!!!

- In the last week, I booked award tickets to Rwanda πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ό, Spain πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ, and an around-the-world honeymoon🌏 (member honeymoon #2). But I give myself three gold stars ⭐⭐⭐ for the most improbable booking I've ever done: Business Class tickets for 6 people to Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί over Christmas/New Years. 🀯

- My developer πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» is in the final stages of a HUGE upgrade to the member portal. I'll give you a sneak preview later this week.

- Member Amenity Kits are in stock (finally)! If you haven't received an entire kit (t-shirt πŸ‘š, backpack πŸŽ’, luggage tag πŸ›…, and credit card sticker bookπŸ’³), send me a message with your shipping address and t-shirt size/cut/color preference. I have:

Women 🚺:
- V-neck (purple or charcoal)
- Racerback Tank (charcoal or pink)

Men 🚹:
- Crew neck: (charcoal or aqua blue in all sizes, or a smattering of other colors in various sizes - royal blue, light green, dark green, red, maroon, brown)

Have a great week! β˜€ πŸŽ‰ Stay cool out there! 🍹🍻

πŸ“£ British Airways Double Avios Shopping Portal Event!

British Airways' shopping portal is doubling earnings at all stores for about 23 more hours (ends July 8 at 4pm Pacific), making for some sweet shopping deals!

BA Avios are a great currency for shorter flights. They are a OneWorld alliance member, so Avios can be redeemed on partner flights with several airlines including American, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Qantas, and more. They are also a transfer partner of Chase & Amex, so it's easy to top off the balance for future redemptions.

You'll need a BA account, which you can set up very quickly here: https://www.britishairways.com/travel/register-now/public/en_us?source=PHP-Register-Top
Don't forget to stack the shopping portal bonus by paying (when possible) with MileagePlus X or Gyft (via Paypal with the Ink Cash card) to earn even more!

Everything is increased, so you need to go look for yourself. But here are some deals that stand out:
-Nike: 12x Avios (best stack is MPX app for another 5x)
-Apple: 6x Avios (I've never seen it this high! Not stackable) 
-Overstock: 14x Avios (stack with MPX app for another 5x)
-Target: 4x Avios (stack with Gyft/Avios/Ink Cash trick if you can)
-eBags: 20x Avios (no stack)
-And many, many, many more.

Here is a link to the bonus offers. Make sure you toggle this page from UK (default) to US. https://www.shopping.ba.com/top/special-offers

Let me know if you have any questions!

πŸ“£ Excited to share...

Good morning everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that as of this morning, I am the newest contributor to The Points Guy website. They just published my first article today. I hope you enjoy!

https://thepointsguy.com/news/maximize-starpoints-before-marriott-spg-combine/

Lots more content to come, so stay tuned.

This article is a good reminder that now is the time to plan if you have SPG/Marriott points saved up. They'll lose value on August 1, so it's best to come up with a plan now. Many of you have already scheduled check-in meetings with me. If you haven't, I recommend doing so. There are some point conversions we can do now that might pay off huge later.

πŸ“£ Breaking News: Hotel Happenings

Lots of new information is being released today from a couple major hotel loyalty programs. 

Hyatt and Chase announced a new credit card this morning (the World of Hyatt card), available immediately. It slightly improves on the old Hyatt card while increasing the annual fee from $75 to $95. I'm personally quite pleased with new version, and some of you may be good candidates for it on the back-end of your 5/24 count.

But I'm not so pleased with what we found out today about the imminent Marriott/SPG merger.  Fortunately, we have until August 1 to prepare. Without getting into the weeds, if you have a significant number of points in either program (50k or more SPG, 150k or more Marriott), you should schedule a meeting with me to start strategizing. If you don't take action in advance, you could lose some serious value.

I'll keep monitoring for more updates. Stay tuned!