Hey there, Frugal Travelers!
As Rick said, I’m a bit of a geek (you’ll soon see) and yesterday for my birthday — what did I do? I flew from my home airport in Savannah (SAV) on Delta to Atlanta (ATL), spent the night at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel Atlanta Airport, and I’m headed to Houston (HOU), Austin (AUS), and finally Los Angeles (LAX) before I head home on Friday for three and a half days — only to head out for another three days. If it sounds tiring, believe me, it is. But it’s worth it!
With help from Rick, who guides us all with leisure travel, and Shannon, who breaks in our rookies, and Andrew, who shares all the cool / exotic locations he’s been to (and will go to), I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share my experiences. I travel for business almost every week. And over the weekend, I do what most business travelers dread: fill out expense reports!
I know I can learn a lot from everyone here, and hopefully I can offer some insight and help to all of you road warriors out there so that you can get the most out of your time on the road. Time away from home and loved ones is always difficult. But if we do this right, all of us (and our families) can share in fruits of our travel labor.
My primary airline is Delta, with whom I hold Diamond Medallion status. My primary hotel loyalty program is Starwood, where I’m a Platinum Preferred Guest. After this week I’ll have 106 Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS) and 192,644 MQM with Delta, and 47 stays / 81 nights (I did a lot of hopping with SPG’s second quarter promotion).
My “earnings” for this week will be:
Delta – 6401 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) and 14403 Redeemable miles (RDM)
Starwood – 1 stay/night credit (and associated points).
I’ll also get a small cash-back bonus through ebates.com for clicking through their link to book both my flight and hotel, and, of course, all the credit card spend with their associated bonuses. Two of my hotel nights were booked on Priceline and two others were booked on a special discount rate that doesn’t earn stay credit. Not my typical week, but it is what it is.
I’ll lay out a pretty penny for the week and will get reimbursed 100 percent. My out of pocket expense: $0.
Five nights, five airports, three hotels, 200 miles in a rental car with some co-workers, and hopefully a decent meal or two (oh yeah, I’m also a foodie, so expect a picture or two of something I find delicious).
One tip previously mentioned that I made use of this week was the US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall. I have a small balance with US Airways but needed to extend my mileage expiration. Install the toolbar (+500 miles) … perform 3 Internet searches through the toolbar (+1 mile), and the miles posted 14 days afterwards. I’ve since removed the toolbar but still use the site to get miles on my Amazon.com purchases (the only way I know to get anything extra when purchasing through Amazon); don’t miss out on the free miles, even if you just use it for a magazine subscription.
If you have any suggestions, feedback, or post recommendations for me I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Get your own FAA Airport Diagrams.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49