My Experience Visiting a Cadillac Dealership for 7,500 Free American AAdvantage Miles

As some of you may already know, American Airlines currently has a limited time offer where members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program can earn 7,500 free miles for test driving a Cadillac.  I “completed” my test drive yesterday and will hopefully receive my 7,500 miles in a few weeks.

Earn 7500 AA aadvantage miles for Cadillac Test Drive

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Place Vendome Controversy…Should Authorities Pull the Plug?

American artist Paul McCarthy is creating quite a stir in Paris with a 24ft tall inflatable Christmas tree titled “Tree”.  The controversy is not centered around any sort of religious issue but rather one of a more, um, earthly nature.  Located in the Place Vendome, the sculpture has some on twitter suggesting that it strongly resembles a sex toy and should be removed.

I would like to give the artist the benefit of the doubt but a quick google search reveals he is no stranger to controversy.  In any case, social media users have already begun posting photos creatively posing with the suggestive artwork.

To see the what the controversy is about here is an article from the Independent.

Win A Free Trip To The People’s Choice Awards!

Delta SkyMiles Experiences

Delta is having a sweepstakes where you can win one of 3 unique travel experiences:

  • One (1) grand prize – People’s Choice Awards 2015 VIP Experience (consisting of two $500 Delta eCerts credit vouchers for air travel, 2 nights accommodations at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, access for 2 to the People’s Choice Awards pre-event reception and red carpet viewing area to view celebrity arrivals, 2 orchestra section tickets for the People’s Choice awards ceremony and a check for $500).
  • One (1) first prize - Exclusive Resorts Luxury Getaway (consisting of two  $500 Delta eCerts credit vouchers for air travel, 1 consecutive 4 night stay in an available Exclusive Resorts residence in one of the following destinations: Los Cabos, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica; Real del Mar, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico or Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii).
  • One (1) second prize - Special Access to Flavor! Napa Valley Festival (consisting of two $500 Delta eCerts credit vouchers for air travel, 3 night’s hotel accommodations at Andaz Napa, plus wine and food tastings, celebrity chef-hosted meals and cooking demonstrations at the festival from November 21 through November 23, 2014).

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Chase Freedom Fourth Quarter 5% Bonus Categories

October 1 is the first day of a new quarter and a new set of  5% bonus categories for the Chase Freedom card. Chase Freedom Five Percent Categories

This quarter (October 1, 2014- December 31, 2014),  the Chase Freedom 5% categories are, and select department stores.  The 5% only applies to the first $1,500 spent on combined purchases each quarter.  This means if you spend $1,500 on a combination of, and select department stores this quarter you will receive a total of 7,500 points (1,500 plus a bonus of 6,000 points).  Here is a link from Chase that explains what qualifies as a select department store.

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Win 150,000 United MileagePlus Miles + $5,000 in Cash and Gift Cards

The Shop Away Sweepstakes is giving 1 winner 150,000 United miles AND $5,000 in gift cards and cash!


The sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old and are also MileagePlus® members at the time of entry. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.  The sweepstakes ends on October 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Central time.  For more information, here are the official rules.

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One Day Airfare Sale: Houston to San Francisco Starting $14.99!

Frontier Airlines announced today that it is expanding with new non-stop service between Houston and San Francisco starting November 20.

In addition, for one day only (Monday, September 22, 2014) there is a sale from as low as $14.99 one way! There are also tickets from $39 which is a great deal as well.


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Review: American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas

We had read such great things about the American Express Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas so we were excited to check it out.  American Express Centurion lounges are supposed to be really nice compared to other US airport lounges.


Lounge access is not something that is super important to us since we usually do not get to airports early enough to spend much time in lounges but it is nice to have someplace to relax when we have a layover.  So was this lounge as great as they say?

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New Frontier Routes from Chicago O’Hare + One Day Sale Starting $29 One-Way!

As of today, Frontier Airlines has started service at Chicago O’Hare.  Flights between Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles started today.  Flights to Cleveland, Denver, Atlanta, Phoenix and Salt Lake City will begin in October and flights to Orlando will begin in December.  Here is an article from USA Today which offers more information.

In addition, for one day only (Monday, September 15, 2014) there is a sale offering tickets from Chicago O’Hare as low as $29 one way.


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$25 American Express Gift Card Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in our $25 American Express gift card giveaway!


The winner selected at random is @PhillipEmerson.  Phillip, we will be contacting you to send your prize.

For those of you that did not win or did not get a chance to enter, we plan on having more giveaways in the next few months including another $25 American Express gift card, United Club lounge passes and a United First class amenity kit.

Win a Trip to Antarctica!


Columbia’s TurboDown to South America & Beyond Sweepstakes is offering one (1) winner a free trip to Chile and Antarctica for 2.  The grand prize trip package includes:

  • Two (2) round-trip economy tickets from the U.S. to Punta Arenas, Chile
  • 5- day land trip (including ground transportation, meals and lodging) near Punta Arenas in the Torres del Paine National Park
  • 5-day EcoCamp trek in Torres del Paine National Park for 2 (including lodging and meals)
  • 10–12 day Antarctic Explorer discovery expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula from Quark Expeditions for 2, including lodging and meals while onboard the ship and various activities
  • TurboDown jackets and other Columbia Sportswear gear
  • A $5,000 USD check payable to the grand prize winner to assist with personal tax liability that the winner might incur.

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Did You Enter Our $25 American Express Gift Card Giveaway? [Giveaway Ended]


In case you missed it last week, we are giving away a $25 American Express gift card to thank our readers.

Here is how to enter:

1) Follow @travel_sisters on twitter.

2) Use the hashtag #TravelSistersGiveaway

3)  Copy this tweet:  Giveaway: $25 American Express Gift Card via @travel_sisters #TravelSistersGiveaway.

OR follow us and tweet us anything you like as long as you use the hashtag #TravelSistersGiveaway.

The entry period ends tomorrow, September 11, 2014 11:59 pm Central time.  The winner will be chosen by us randomly and announced on Friday, September 12, 2014.  Only one entry per person.  Sorry must have either a US or Canadian address to enter.

For those of you not on twitter we will be having more giveaways in the next few months with other methods of entry.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

How to Travel for (Almost) Free, Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking: Which Hotel Loyalty Programs Should I Sign Up for?

This is the third post in our How to Travel for (Almost) Free, Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking series.

Which Frequent Flyer Programs Should I Sign Up For?
Which Hotel Loyalty Programs Should I Sign Up For?
How to Earn Miles and Points by Shopping Online
Earn Miles and Points for Eating Out
Earn Miles and Points Through Online Survey Sites and Other Methods
Applying for Credit Cards In Order to Earn Large Sign Up Bonuses
How to Meet Minimum Spend Requirements on Credit Cards
Learning about Category Bonuses on your Credit Cards
Using Manufactured Spend
What is Churning and Using it to Earn More Miles
How to Minimize Annual Credit Card Fees

There are several ways to earn hotel points (such as credit cards, dining rewards programs, shopping portals, taking surveys and other partners) without actually staying at hotels.  This post addresses which hotel loyalty programs you might want to consider earning points with if you are looking to “travel hack” your way to free accommodation

How to Decide Which Hotel Loyalty Programs to Focus On?

This post compares various hotel loyalty programs and some positive and negative aspects of these programs, but the choice also depends on YOU (your travel goals, preferences, current travel habits, future travel habits and other factors).

Questions to Ask Yourself:

Following are some questions to ask yourself in order to help decide which hotel loyalty program(s) to focus on:

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Tokyo, Chengdu, Taipei and Shanghai: Introduction


American Airlines Flagship Lounge – Chicago
American Airlines – First Class – Chicago to Tokyo Narita
Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
Two Days in Tokyo
Asiana Business Class Lounge – Seoul, Korea
Asiana Airlines – Business Class – Seoul Incheon to Chengdu
Fraser Suites Chengdu
Chengdu, China: Pandas, Pandas and Pandas!
Air China (Star Alliance) First Class Lounge – Chengdu, China
Air China – Business Class – Chengdu to Taipei
Forte Orange Hotel Kaifong (Taipei)
Taipei: Highlights
Eva Air Lounge – Taipei Taoyuan
Eva Airlines – Business Class – Taipei Taoyuan to Shanghai Pudong
Marriott Executive Apartments, Shanghai, Tomorrow Square
Chinese New Year in Shanghai
Dragonair/Cathay Pacific Lounge – Shanghai Pudong
American Airlines – First Class – Shanghai Pudong to Chicago

Earlier this year we visited 4 cities in Asia as part of our annual “sister trip”.  Our itinerary was as follows:

Tokyo- 2 days
Chengdu- 2 days
Taipei-6 days
Shanghai-2 days

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How to Maximize Ultimate Rewards Points When Booking Hotels

If you have a credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards and are looking to book a paid hotel stay, a great option to maximize points earned is to book on using the Ultimate Rewards portal.

There are a few reasons why I often pay for hotels rather than redeeming hotel points.  Sometimes I don’t have enough points or I am saving my points for free airfare.  Other times the price of the hotel is not worth the number of points it would take for an award redemption.  In many cases, I visit destinations where there are few or no hotels from the major hotel chains or there are some chain hotels but none I want to stay in.

Since I am a big fan of Ultimate Rewards, I often end up booking hotels on, going through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal and paying with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  This way I can “double dip” and maximize the number of points I earn for a paid hotel stay.

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Another Good Credit Card Sign up Bonus: United MileagePlus Explorer 55,000 + $50 Statement Credit

Update: The offer with the $50 statement credit has expired but you might be able find the 50,000 sign up bonus from your United MileagePlus account.
The most recent credit card getting a lot of attention for its sign up bonus is the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card.  The official sign up bonus for the United MileagePlus Explorer is now 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months plus 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user.  You will also receive a $50 statement credit after the first purchase.


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