Karen R. C. L. from the city of Brotherly Love has donated 20 Southwest drink coupons for our military service members. I have divided them into five envelopes so drop me a line at.
It’s Rookie Travel Tips Friday!
Our winning tip from last week goes to Nick H. (Next Friday we will announce the July winner of the $100 gift card!)
“My rookie tip relates to credit card bonuses. Make sure you are getting what you think you signed up for. Always look to see that the terms and conditions match the offer link you think you are signing up for. Clicking on a 50,000 mile offer doesn’t always take you to a 50,000 application. Always make sure everything lines up to your expectations. You may have to clear your computer’s cookies, call an agent to confirm, etc. Once you are sure you have the offer you want, make sure you print out your terms and conditions as well as a screen shot or the receipt of your order and any other documentation that shows the offer you want. Sometimes offers don’t go through as planned or they hit snags, so documentation is key. Screen shots, confirmations, agent’s name, and date/time you spoke to him or her can all help get what you are missing.
I am currently fighting Chase/Continental (since February) for my last 15,000 miles from the 25,000 debit card sign up. Somehow Chase has no record of me signing up for a debit card that gives a bonus. If I didn’t have my printout clearly stating that I had signed up for a 25,000 mile offer, I would definitely have no leg to stand on.
Hope this helps others avoid mistakes.”
Hotel Points: Oh, how I need some
Starwood Preferred Guest
As many of you already know, the Starwood Preferred Guest program acts almost like an airline alliance program. A group of hotels come together under one program offering SPG points and promotions. Members can obtain and redeem points in a variety of ways with many different hotels within the program. It’s free to join. Just go to the website and follow the “join” tab to enroll.
There are multiple ways to earn and maximize points. Following the basics will earn you some steady points year-round, but stay tuned to the blog for deal alerts and creative ways to earn and use your points for the best possible deals.
The Hotel Stay:
The first and most basic way to earn points is through hotel stays. SPG membership has tiers, or status, just like an airline program. And at the Basic Preferred Guest level, you earn two starpoints for every eligible dollar spent at SPG hotels when booked through their sites, hotels, call centers, or travel agents. Gold and Platinum members earn three points per dollar under the same criteria. You can also earn points on dollars spent on food and beverages within the hotels.
SPG Card Promo available through 8-22-2011
Rick has advised me to use this card for all of our everyday spends. If you get the card for more than one member of the household, such as you and your spouse, that’s 60,000 points with a pretty decent minimum spend requirement. Additionally, they have offered an SPG Business Card with the same 30,000 point bonus with the same spend requirement and annual fees. You may also apply for additional cards for employees.
- I’ll earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar spent at hotels and resorts in the SPG program.
- If I stay two nights, booked with my SPG card at participating Sheraton hotels, I’ll get a third night free (good through December 31st 2011). Promo Code ZHA or ZRA.
- I’ll receive credit for five nights and two stays toward SPG elite status each year per account.
- I’ll achieve Gold Status each year through stays or by spending $30,000 on my card. That’s $2500 a month.
Every family is different, but if you can get creative with what you can put on the card, you can easily hit $2500 a month. My advice for getting Gold status for the family is to get the bonus points maxed out on each card then use only one member’s card to earn the status. Then you can book hotel travel under that member’s Gold status.
How do I reach a minimum spend or a monthly number?
- Charge all your everyday expenses on that card
- Pay tuition using the card
- Pay any monthly bills you can on that card, i.e. electricity, car payment, mortgage, phone bills, etc.
For those of you who live in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Texas, you can choose Energy Plus to supply your electricity and earn some extra bonus points:
- 5000 bonus Starpoints after two months as an Energy Plus customer.
- Unlimited year-round Starpoints for paying your bill – two Starpoints for every $1 spent in supply charges.
- 100% wind power at not extra cost-exclusive for SPG members
- 50 Starpoints per day for every qualifying rental with Avis at participating airport locations.
- Free unlimited mileage with most cars.
Preferred Guest 1-888-625-4988
You can only book on airlines that offer a 1:1 points redemption ration with SPG. The maximum you can redeem is 50,000 points. It is the your responsibility to make the flight arrangement. And the hotel awards are not for sale without the airline transfer. The hotel night award reservations must be confirmed and the “Nights & Flights” award must be ordered on the same day the Starpoint-to-airline-transfer award is ordered. The hotel award can never be less than five nights, and if you want to add additional nights you must do so separately.
This is a great way to get a free vacation out of a few deals’ worth of points. Now I am starting to see how it can be done. But there are lots of terms and conditions, so always read the fine print and print a copy of the deal to keep on hand.
– Shannon, The Rookie