2. New list of SPG Hot Escapes hotels is announced, valid for next 6 weeks. There are a quite a few discounted properties in US, including one in Orlando. Tomorrow is the last day to book, and you can get an extra 5% discount for being an SPG member. (h/t LoyaltyLobby)
4. Official links for Southwest cards have died, but zombie offers usually live on for a few weeks or months. Check this Flyertalk thread for the latest developments.
5. The sign-up bonus on US Airways World Premier MasterCard is increased to 50,000 miles. See my previous post for more. The card pays me commission, however, I included a link to non-affiliate offer as well. It’s your choice as to which offer to go with.
6. On Monday, I wrote about JAL mileage program and possible ways to leverage it for flights to Caribbean. I wanted to add that reportedly, miles can only be redeemed for immediate family members. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.
If you have a good access to airports served by United, you should look into ANA program. It’s very similar to JAL, only flights run 22,000 miles for itinerary that’s less than 4,000 miles (total segments combined).
ANA miles transfer form Membership Rewards, which are way easier to get than SPG points. This “sweet”spot will go away in April, so you should take advantage of it while you still can. I’ve linked to this excellent post on Miles4More, but if you haven’t seen it, you must check it out.
On my mind
No, this isn’t a last week’s rant! I’ve mentioned how busy families need to be selective as to how far they are willing to pursue this hobby. I have personally made many mistakes in this area, chased ridiculous promotions, all just to save a few bucks. It wasn’t worth it. In fact, as I wrote before, last year’s Small Business Saturday has turned sour and almost ruined a special getaway with my husband.
Well, I am happy to report that this year’s Amex promotion couldn’t have gone better. I took my family to a small mom-and-pop local Chinese buffet. I was a bit nervous because the people who own it speak poor English. If the place was crowded, it could potentially turn into a nightmare, with me trying to explain my scheme of charging the bill in $10 increments.
Thankfully (for me), the place was almost empty and the owner understood what was expected of him in exchange for my patronage that day. I had a total of 4 Amex cards, so had access to $120 in credits. The bill came to only $42, so I told him to do five $10 swipes, and it would take off the tip. No problem.
I had $70 in unused credits, so I asked him if they sold gift cards. He said he had gift checks. He brings out this envelope that probably wasn’t opened in years and got out $70 worth of colorful certificates. Then he proceeded to charge $70 in $10 increments. Afterwards, when the charges went through, he got out this special stamp, and stamped them as endorsement. This is serious stuff, y’all. That’s probably what it was like buying stocks in the olden days.
I apologized to the guy for all this nuisance, and he just smiled and said :”Not at all! Please, stay!” I’m sure he didn’t mean anything creepy by it. I think? Nobody was waiting in line and soft Chinese music was playing in the background. He would have been happy to keep swiping my cards all day long. I seriously wish I would have added extra authorized users. I would have made out like a bandit.
Sure, this whole thing was totally ridiculous, and I was probably the only one in my small town doing this promotion. But I got a load of free food and gift checks to use later. Not to mention, we probably made this guy’s day. When I got home, there were 12 confirmation emails from Amex, so everything went through without a hitch. Just beautiful.
A lot of stuff we pursue in this hobby is over-the-top and can be borderline absurd. But sometimes stars align just right and absurd can turn into absurdly lucrative. The trick is to know when to pursue and when to walk away.
Readers, what did you do on Small Business Saturday?
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.