Earn Miles (Or Make Money) For Rent & Mortgage Payments


Plastiq is a good way to pay bills with a credit card that you otherwise couldn’t. This lets you earn miles and points while paying your rent, mortgage, insurance, electric bill, property taxes, or a variety of other bills for which the provider doesn’t accept credit cards.

I’ve been using the Plastiq service on and off for the past year or so and have had a really good experience overall. There are fees involved, of course, so you need to make a conscious decision as to whether to use Plastiq based on your own personal value of the miles and points you’ll be earning.

That said, Plastiq has an offer out now that could make the decision to pay your rent or mortgage a little easier depending on your situation.

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Why Marriott Loyalists Should Apply For The SPG Amex


Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Over the years we’ve seen quite a few increased sign-up bonuses on the SPG Amex, though the bonus doesn’t get bigger than what’s being offered through this promotion. Furthermore, this year is a bit different than in the past, given that Marriott and Starwood have merged. Combined, the programs are estimated to have roughly 90 million members.

So there are a few reasons I think this offer may interest more people than ever before — especially Marriott Rewards loyalists:

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Review: Emirates First Class A380 San Francisco To Dubai


While I’ve flown Emirates first class on the A380 a half-dozen times (oof that’s an obnoxious sentence, sorry), my husband hadn’t. He had flown Emirates first on the 777 a few years back, and even had the cabin to himself, so he had a general idea of what to expect, but we were still excited to fly together.

Ben has reviewed Emirates first class on the A380 at least a dozen times, and I’ve reviewed it myself as well, so check those out if you’re looking for a comparison in terms of the service and soft product, but I’m going to primarily focus on the updates and changes to the service.

In the year or so since I’ve flown them, Emirates has been engaging in cost-cutting measures, which while they haven’t been advertised as necessarily impacting long-haul premium cabin flights (other than birthday cakes), were noticeable in the catering.

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One Week Left: Up To 100K American Miles With 2 Credit Cards

Etihad-Apartment-First-Class - 5

Since early December, Citi has officially increased the sign-up bonuses on the American AAdvantage co-brand credit cards. I’m told that the increased offers will be pulled around March 1, so if you’re interested you’ll want to apply within the next week or so.

Between these two cards you can earn up to 100,000 AAdvantage bonus miles, which is pretty great. The details are as follows:

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Hilton Points & Money Awards Are Being Rolled Out March 1, 2017


At the beginning of the month we learned about the changes that Hilton is making to their loyalty program.

We’re seeing five major changes coming:

— The name of the program is being changed from Hilton HHonors to Hilton Honors
— The introduction of points pooling, where you can pool points with up to 10 Hilton Honors members at no cost
— The ability to redeem points for Amazon purchases; this isn’t something any of us will likely ever use, but I can see value in this for the “average” person

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Why You Shouldn’t Have To “Dress The Part” In First Class


I always enjoy writing about travel etiquette on the blog, as it generates some interesting discussions. In this post I wanted to briefly share my (perhaps controversial) thoughts on airplane dress etiquette. Perhaps this is partly a response to some of the comments that were left on my Garuda Indonesia first class trip report, about the fact that I wore green “sneakers” on the flight.

For example, here’s a comment left by Andrew:

“this shouldn’t bother me but it does….sneakers? for someone who complains frequently about level of service and attention to detail, you have a role to play too in not dressing like you are going to the gym, and i think you of all people should know to dress better for J/F class flying.”

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LifeMiles Quadruples Award Ticket Cancelation Fees In Some Markets


I’m a big fan of the LifeMiles program for the great premium cabin Star Alliance award opportunities they open up. However, there’s no denying that the program has some quirks. Fortunately with a bit of planning, it’s possible to avoid some of the downsides of the program.

One of LifeMiles’ unusual policies is that historically they’ve charge $50 to cancel an itinerary, but $150 to change an itinerary. That’s the opposite of most airlines — most programs charge at least as much to cancel an award itinerary as they do to change one. But LifeMiles has historically charged three times as much to change an itinerary as to refund it.

Well, that’s no longer the case, and it looks like LifeMiles has recently changed the costs to redeposit award tickets in some regions.

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Amazing Deal: $8.62 Off $50+ Purchase At Amazon Today


I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses Amazon to buy just about everything. So a discount on Amazon is about the same as free money to me.

Well, today only Amazon is offering a discount of $8.62 off an order of $50 or more when using promotion code BIGTHANKS at checkout. Apparently this promotion is intended to celebrate their 86.27 score in a reputation ranking poll, which is an 18 year high.

This is an opportunity to get a ~17% discount on a $50 purchase today, which I’d consider to be pretty darn good, given that you can buy just about anything on Amazon.

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U.S. Denies Entry To Canadian Man “Looking For Loads” On Hookup App


Daily Xtra has the crazy story of a Canadian man who was denied entry to the U.S. after the Customs & Border Protection Agency searched his phone before boarding a flight. He was selected for a secondary screening, and the officer demanded the password for his phone. The officer went through his phone, including the gay hookup app Scruff, and gay sex site BBRT.

They found messages of the man saying he was “looking for loads,” which the officer interpreted to mean that he was soliciting cash in exchange for sex. Here’s what went down:

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United Basic Economy Tickets Are Now On Sale (And Being Marketed Dishonestly)


Earlier today American began selling basic economy fares, and now United is selling them as well. This isn’t coming as a surprise, given that both American and United have already revealed the full details of these fares, and we knew they’d start selling them around now.

However, with American I get the sense that they’re sort of embarrassed about introducing them. They realize it’s not good for customers, but they’re going to do it anyway, because money. However, United actually seems to want to convince customers that basic economy fares are good for them. Ironically, United is also being the strictest of any carrier with these basic economy fares, as:

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Review: Pentahotel Hong Kong

The pentahotel bed

The MTR is an 8-10 minute walk from the Pentahotel in Kowloon, though taxis are better for shorter journeys since their starting price is so low.

The entrance is on the ground floor, while individual check-in is one floor up. The lowest floor is used to check in tourist groups. Every evening the entrance was packed with Chinese, Korean and Japanese tour groups waiting to be escorted to their rooms. There was also a pizza bar on the entrance level, which had some fascinating pizzas.

A quick escalator or elevator ride takes you up one level to the main lobby. This area is slightly more calm with spread out seating and a pool table.

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I’m Embarrassed By How Many Upgrades I Have Expiring Next Week…


As someone obsessed with loyalty programs, I do everything I can to maximize the benefits associated with the status I earn. After all, earning status comes at a cost (both in terms of time and money), so not maximizing benefits is like throwing away money.

No matter how hard I try, I’ll never do a perfect job maximizing these programs, though I’m especially embarrassed by how many upgrades I’m having go to “waste” next week.

Most loyalty program status is earned on a calendar year basis, though typically there’s some grace period before the status expires. In the case of American AAdvantage and Hyatt Gold Passport, earned status for this past program year is valid through the end of February. The same is true of the upgrade instruments earned with those programs.

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Hyatt’s New Globalist Status Requires Even More Nights Than We Thought


We’re only days away from the launch of the new World of Hyatt loyalty program. As we learned last fall, World of Hyatt will replace Hyatt Gold Passport starting on March 1. I’m in the midst of putting together my thoughts on the new program — spoiler alert, I’m not impressed.

There are a few things to theoretically like in the new program, particularly if you hold top tier status. Globalists, as Hyatt has decided to call them, will get unlimited complimentary upgrades to suites in addition to the four confirmed suite upgrades of the past. Perhaps I was prescient when I wrote “4 Free Upgrades Are Better Than Unlimited Suites, Really” a year ago…

Anyway, that’s about the extent of the good news. There are at least some positives to look forward to for those who can maintain top-tier status, but getting there is going to be a challenge. In fact, it’s arguably harder than most of us thought it was going to be.

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Review: Emirates Lounge San Francisco Airport


Our connecting flight arrived in San Francisco about three and a half hours before our flight to Dubai. As we had plenty of time, and my husband still didn’t feel great, we popped into the Delta SkyClub for some soup and downtime before heading over to the international terminal.

The Emirates check-in desk opens three hours before departure, and online check-in isn’t possible from San Francisco. Fortunately, there wasn’t a queue for First Class passengers, so we had our boarding passes in minutes.

Then began the most ridiculous “TSA” experience of my life.

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