Marriott Offering Extra 1,000 United Miles For Hotel Stays

Marriott is offering United MileagePlus® members a bonus of 1,000 United MileagePlus®  miles on select Marriott hotel stays.  The extra 1,000 United miles are in addition to the Marriott Rewards® points or MileagePlus award miles that you will earn for staying at a Marriott property.

The details of the promotion are as follows:

  • Offer valid for bookings made by September 5, 2014 for stays between July 23 and October 31, 2014 at participating Marriott properties.
  • Participating Marriott properties include select JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, and Marriott Hotels located in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Here is the complete list of participating properties.
  • A maximum of 1,000 bonus miles can be earned per stay and a maximum of 5,000 total bonus miles can be earned with this promotion.
  • Registration for this promotion is required. Here is the link to the registration page.

While 1,000 United miles is not a huge amount, if you are planning on staying at a participating Marriott property in the next few months it is worth registering for this promotion.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Officially Increased to 70,000

If you were considering applying for the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card in the near future now might be the time to do so.  Chase has officially increased the sign up bonus for a limited time on its Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card to 70,000 (the bonus is normally 50,000 points).   I say officially because sometimes there are 70,000 offers available on flyertalk.

In order to earn the sign up bonus, you will need to spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  Upon opening the card you will also receive a free night stay at a category 1-4 hotel.

The 70,000 sign up bonus is enough for 9 free nights at a lowest category Marriott property and 1 free night at a highest category Marriott or Ritz Carlton property.  Here is the link to the award chart for Marriott and Ritz Carlton properties.

Other features of the card include:

  • 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton properties; 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, car rental agencies & restaurants; 1 point for every $1 spend on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee the first year
  • $85 annual fee after the first year but you will receive a free night stay in a category 1-5 hotel each year after account anniversary.
  • 15 Elite Credits after account opening and every year after account anniversary, giving guaranteed Silver Elite status every year.
  • Every $3,000 spent on purchases earns one additional credit toward elite status.
  • No foreign transaction fees; chip and signature technology

Marriott is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards so there are many other Chase credit cards you can use to earn Marriott points (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Chase Ink cards). However, this card offers an easy way to earn Marriott points if you want to save your Ultimate Rewards for other airlines and hotels.

Personally, I am still deciding if I should apply for this card as I have a lot of Chase cards already.  I am not loyal to one hotel chain, so am open to staying at a Marriott hotel depending on the destination.  I have a lot of Ultimate Rewards points but I like to use those for award tickets on United.

Is anyone considering applying for this card?

Earn Ultimate Rewards Points for Referring Chase Credit Cards

Do you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom card?  If the answer is yes, you can earn points for referring these cards to your family or friends if they apply and are approved using your referral.

Here are the details:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: You must invite your friends by October 31, 2014. Your friends have until November 30, 2014 to apply, be approved and use their Chase Sapphire Preferred card by February 28, 2015.

Chase Freedom: You must invite your friends by October 15, 2014. Your friends have until October 31, 2014 to apply, be approved and use their Chase Freedom card by January 31, 2015.

You’ll get 5,000 bonus points for each friend who is approved and uses their new card(s).

Here is the link to the referral page.  For more information here is the FAQ for the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer and the FAQ for the Chase Freedom offer.

For both of these cards, you can invite as many friends as you want but you will only earn the bonus for 10 friends because there is a maximum of 50,000 bonus points per calendar year.

You can invite specific friends by having an email sent to them or if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can click on the Facebook and Twitter icons and post an invitation link on your page.

Both of these cards are great all around credit cards for earning points which can be transferred directly or indirectly to various hotel and frequent flyer programs. For more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom cards check out our Best Credit Cards page.

Chase periodically offers cardholders opportunities to earn points by making referrals through https://www.chasereferafriend.com.  It does not hurt to check any of your other Chase cards to see if they qualify.  In the past they have offered points for referring one of the Southwest cards which might still be available.

10% Discount on Protea Hotels for Marriott Rewards® Members

Protea Hotels will be joining Marriott Rewards sometime in 2015, but currently Marriott Rewards is offering its members 10% savings on the best available rate for bookings made at Protea Hotels.

protea

Protea Hotels is Marriott’s newest brand and has over 100 locations in South Africa as well as Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  Protea Hotels will join Marriott Rewards as a fully participating brand sometime in 2015 at a date yet to be determined.  At that time Marriott Rewards members will be able to earn and redeem points and miles, as well as enjoy elite benefits at Protea Hotels.

In the meanwhile, Marriott Rewards is offering a 10% discount on the best available rate for its members.  While Marriott Rewards members are entitled to a 10% savings, stays at Protea Hotels will not yet earn Marriott Rewards.  Here is the link to the promotion and the terms and conditions.

I am excited that Protea Hotels will be joining Marriott Rewards in 2015.  One reason I am not as enthusiastic about earning hotel points as I am earning frequent flyer miles is that sometimes it is hard to find chain hotels in some of the destinations I travel to.  It’s been a few years since I have traveled to Africa and I am itching to go back soon.  Tanzania is on my wish list and I would also love to return and see more of  Zambia and Uganda.  I am excited that next year there will more options to redeem hotel points for properties in Africa.

Should You Enter Wyndham Rewards One Million Dollar Sweepstakes?

We both received emails today from Wyndham Rewards regarding its Wyndham Rewards One Million Dollar Sweepstakes.  While we both entered as it literally took less than 30 seconds to enter, you might not want to bother if you cannot attend a prize drawing event at a yet to be determined date and place in the U.S.

There will be 2 grand prize winners of this sweepstakes-one from the U.S. and one from Canada.  Each winner is given the opportunity to participate in a prize determination drawing at a special event.  The event date and location is not specified in the rules.  According to the rules, the event “will be in the United States and is currently anticipated to occur during the final quarter of 2014. Dates and locations are subject to change.” If a winner cannot attend the event, the prize will be forfeited.

So if your job or personal circumstances are flexible enough to attend an event somewhere in the United States later this year, here is more information:

During the event, each of the 2 winners will select 1 envelope from among 50 envelopes- 49 of them will contain a message that they win $10,000 and 1 will contain a message than they win $1,000,000.

So while there is no guarantee that anyone will win $1,000,000, at the very least 2 people will win $10,000 and a free trip somewhere in the U.S. (including free air transportation, 2 nights hotel accommodations and $500 spending money).

The complete rules for Wyndham Rewards One Million Dollar Sweepstakes can be found here.  Click here to enter.

20% Bonus On Transfers From Starwood to AA and US Airways – Is it a Good Deal?

I received 2 separate emails from both AA and US Airways today that they are offering a 20% bonus on Starpoints transferred through July 31, 2014 to either AA or US Airways miles.

Normally, a transfer of 20,000 Starpoints to AA or US Airways earns a 5,000 mile bonus, resulting in 25,000 AAdvantage or US Dividend miles.  Through July 31, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, you will end up with 30,000 AA or US Airways miles.

Here is more information from US Airways and AA.

My Thoughts on the Transfer Bonus

While I think it is great news that Starwood is offering extra limited transfer bonuses like American Express sometimes does, I personally will not take advantage of this transfer bonus as I find it much easier to earn AA or US Airways miles than Starpoints.  At this point, I prefer to save my Starpoints for free hotel stays.

It is fairly easy for me to earn AA or US Airways miles through credit card sign up bonuses, online shopping, dining programs and more.  Both AA and US Airways have allowed me to earn a sign up bonus on their credit cards multiple times.

Whereas, Starpoints are much harder to earn without staying at SPG hotels.  Starwood does not offer a dining program or an online shopping mall.  There is only one credit card-the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express- that earns Starpoints (although there is both a personal and a business version).  The sign up bonus for Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is much lower than the sign up bonuses offered by AA and US Airways co-branded credit cards, it doesn’t have any bonus categories for everyday spending and is no longer churnable.  So unless I spend a lot of money or do a lot of manufactured spend, it is hard for me to earn a lot of Starpoints outside of the initial sign up bonus.

Should You Take Advantage of the Bonus?

While I think Starwood points are best used for hotel stays, the decision depends on your personal needs and spending and travel habits.  If you are low on AA miles and/or US Airways miles and need them for a redemption soon, then this is a good opportunity to earn an extra 20% miles.  When I first started collecting miles and points, I did transfer Starpoints to AA miles because I needed them immediately for an upcoming trip.

Readers, what do you think of the increased transfer bonus? Will the higher bonus prompt you to transfer your Starpoints to AA or US Airways miles?

Earn Points For Free Travel By Referring Credit Cards to Friends and Family (Limited Time Offer)

UPDATE:  The present offers have expired but Chase is again offering its referral program.  See Earn Ultimate Rewards Points for Referring Chase Credit Cards.

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Do you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest (personal or business) credit card?  If the answer is yes, you can earn points for referring these credit cards to your family or friends if they apply and are approved using your referral.  The Starwood Preferred Guest card is offering a higher than usual sign up bonus for a limited time so this would be a great time for anyone considering these cards to apply.

Here are the details:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

You must invite your friends by June 30, 2014. Your friends have until August 31, 2014 to apply, be approved and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card by November 30, 2014.

You’ll get 5,000 bonus points for each friend who is approved and uses their Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  You can invite as many friends as you want but you will only earn the bonus for 10 friends because there is a maximum of 50,000 bonus points per calendar year.

You can invite specific friends by having an email sent to them or if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can click on the Facebook and Twitter icons and post an invitation link on your page.

Here is the link to the referral page and here is the FAQ.

In my opinion this is one of the best all around credit cards for earning points and miles. For more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card check out our Best Credit Cards page.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (personal and business version)

You must submit referral by June 30, 2014 and the referred individual must apply through the e-mailed link and be approved by June 30, 2014.

American Express is offering 5,000 Starwood points per referral up to a maximum of 55,000 Starpoints per calendar year.

If you have a Starwood Preferred Guest or any American Express credit card, login in to www.americanexpress.com/refer to see if you are eligible to make a referral.    There are referrals available for the Starwood Preferred Guest card but there might also be referrals available for other American Express cards as well.

You can only make a referral for the exact same type of card you have so if you have the personal version you can only make a referral for the personal version and if you have the business version you can only make a referral for the business version.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of up to 30,000 points (instead of the usual 25,000 points) so this is a good time to apply.  For more information on the Starwood Preferred Guest card check out our Limited Time Credit Card Offers page.

To summarize, if you have one of these credit cards and you have a friend or family member that might be interested in applying, this is a good opportunity for you to earn extra points and for your friend to earn a great sign up bonus.  These cards would definitely be in my top ten cards that I would recommend to anyone looking to earn points for free travel.  I am personally not sending this to any friends but am referring family members that were waiting for the increased sign up bonus.

United to Award Miles Based on Ticket Price

Many of you have probably already heard the news earlier this week, but in case you have not, I wanted to briefly summarize United’s changes to its MileagePlus program.

United Airlines announced on Tuesday that they will be changing their MileagePlus program as of March 1, 2015 so that flyers will earn award miles based on ticket price rather than distance flown.  Another way to describe this change is that United will move to a “revenue-based” award program.  Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America already have “revenue-based” programs and Delta announced similar changes earlier this year for 2015 as well  (United’s changes are almost identical to Delta’s changes).   Many experts expect American will eventually announce similar changes after they merge.

Summary of Changes:

The changes to United’s award earning structure will apply to most tickets for travel departing on or after March 1, 2015, regardless of when you purchase the ticket.

Members (without elite status) will earn five (5) award miles per dollar spent, while those with MileagePlus Premier status will earn more as follows:

•Members (without elite status) will earn 5 award miles per dollar
•Premier Silver members will earn 7 award miles per dollar
•Premier Gold members will earn 8 award miles per dollar
•Premier Platinum members will earn 9 award miles per dollar
•Premier 1K members will earn 11 award miles per dollar

The number of miles that can be earned will be capped at 75,000 award miles per ticket regardless of price. There will not be a minimum number of award miles you can earn for a flight. Continue reading

Free FICO Credit Scores for Barclays Cardholders

Did you know that Barclays offers free FICO Credit Scores to its credit card holders? Barclays began offering free FICO scores to holders of some of its credit cards back in November, 2013 and has since expanded this offer to more of its cards.

I was reminded of this today after receiving an email from Barclays regarding my US Airways Premier World MasterCard inviting me to log in to see my FICO credit score.  According to the email:

Dear Patti,

We have received an updated FICO® Credit Score for you. To view your updated FICO® Score, at no cost, log in to www.usairwaysmastercard.com/score, log in to your credit card account, and select “Tool”. This Alert and complimentary online credit score access are available to you as a US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard Cardmember.

The FICO® Score is one of the factors we use to manage your account with us, and it is based on your credit file at TransUnion. TransUnion and FICO – Fair Isaac Corporation – are third party providers and are not affiliated with Barclaycard. Barclaycard cannot guarantee the accuracy of the credit information that is provided by third parties.”

I logged in and after agreeing to the Terms of Use I was able to see my FICO Score.  The Terms were pretty standard but they did mention that in order to view your FICO® credit score, your account must be open and active (having activity within the past 150 days).   There was also a chart showing the FICO score over a 12 month period but mine started in May so there was only one entry.  But it does look like in the future I will be able to check my 12 month FICO score history just by logging into my account.

Although most people that apply for multiple credit cards monitor their credit score before and after applications, I must confess that I really don’t check my credit score that often.  I don’t plan to apply for any big loans (such as a mortgage or car loan) in the near future and I keep getting approved for credit cards.   But I would recommend anyone that wants to start applying for multiple credit cards or plans to take out a big loan obtain a copy of their credit report and start monitoring their credit score.  Having a Barclays credit card is an easy and free way to monitor your credit score.

The only Barclays card I currently have is the US Airways Premier World MasterCard and it is one of the top credit cards I would recommend to anyone looking to earn free miles.  For more on the US Airways Premier World MasterCard check out our Best Credit Cards page.

Our First Blogging Award Nomination!

We learned last week that we were nominated for a Liebster Award by fellow travel blogger Katie of The World on my Necklace.

liebster_award_badges

OK, so the Liebster Award is not an actual award. It is a networking chain between new  bloggers recognizing other bloggers. Still it is exciting to be recognized!

The rules for the Liebster award are as follows (stolen from Katie!):

■Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
■Answer the eleven questions they ask you.
■Nominate eleven bloggers with less than 500 followers.
■Ask those eleven bloggers eleven questions.
■Let those bloggers know that they have been nominated so they can continue the chain.

Thanks for the nomination Katie, we really appreciate it!

Below are the questions Katie posed to us and our answers (we think alike so it was not too hard to agree on a combined answer from both of us): Continue reading