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Miles and Points, Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

1) Don’t forget to activate 5% bonus on your Chase Freedom by December 14th. The extra cash back is retroactive for the entire quarter. If you need to make purchases on Amazon in 2015, you can always get a gift card  now, since it doesn’t expire.

2) Hyatt has announced award chart changes effective January 22nd. You can still book at old rates till that date. Some properties are moving down to category 1, which costs only 5,000 points per night. They transfer from Ultimate Rewards program 1:1.

Among some interesting ones are Hyatt Place Orlando Airport and Hyatt House Colorado Springs. If you stay at the last one, visit House of Miles (no relation to Miles, the infamous pet), run by Randy Petersen. Tell him I said hi.

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa (near Fort Myers, Fl.)  is going to be a category 4, which means it will be bookable with Chase Hyatt Visa annual renewal certificates. Seems like a family-friendly resort, fits 4 in one room, and winter rate hovers around $440 per night. (h/t Pizzainmotion)

3) A new list of reduced awards for Citi AAdvantage cardholders, valid through March. 

Just a reminder: The official sign-up bonus is currently 50,000 miles on both personal and  business Citi AAdvantage cards. Both pay me commission, see my list of bonuses for more info. (h/t Pointswithacrew)

4) FTU is coming to Dallas. The dates are April 17th-19th. The ticket for the main event is $149 per person. At least one of my readers lives near Dallas, so I thought this would be of interest.

If you are a single female looking for a nerdy boyfriend, this event is for you. Don’t waste your time on the best looking attendee. That’s Stefan, he is married. 🙂

5) I saw  comments on Million Mile Secrets that some have been shut down after applying for targeted offer on US Airways Premier World MasterCard. The agent said it was due to that person not being  a Preferred member. Apply at your own risk. This card no longer pays me commission, but is still my top bonus pick.

On my mind

I’ve mentioned before that my husband hates this hobby and has zero interest in the blog. The truth is, if it wasn’t for him, there would never be a blog in the first place. He actually was the one who encouraged me to start this whole crazy thing. I remember toying with the  idea and he told me to just do it. I said: “But what if I run out of things to say?” His response: “You? Never!”

Little did we both know as to just how much work and time this “baby” would take. Bad blogging is easy. Spam posts, random drivel and repeating someone else’s analysis is a cakewalk. Producing original content that has value takes time and lots of energy. The ironic thing is that  both look like they take the same amount of effort. Nothing could be further from the truth.

About 6 months into it, I seriously thought about hanging up my keyboard. The blog was (and still is) taking up a ridiculous amount of time. On quite a few occasions, I had to ask my husband to watch the kids while I worked on my posts, since they had to be published the next morning. Needless to say, he wasn’t too thrilled to do it after a long day of work.

I’ve made sooo many mistakes, it’s crazy. I gave a few individuals far more chances than they actually deserved. I made many definitive statements I later came to regret. I was  arrogant and saw things as black and white (they are not).

I will say this: If you crave frustration, drama and love being bullied, feel giddy at the prospect of making less than minimum wage after writing for 1.5 years, and don’t like to spend time with your spouse or friends, then you should absolutely look into becoming  a “miles and points” blogger. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Add to it the fact that I have to take care of  2 small kids and million other things, and well, it was all getting to be too much. I decided it was time to walk away. It was actually my husband who convinced me to stick with it and not worry about anything or anyone else. I wonder if he doesn’t want to spend time with me? Hmm…

Well, fast forward almost a year, and once again I was debating if I should go on with this whole thing. And, yet again, my husband told me to just keep writing. After all, he said, look at the amazing feedback you get from your  readers. So what if you don’t have thousands of them?

He said that my blog is like a mom-and-pop shop that makes unique kinds of cookies you can’t get anywhere else. It doesn’ t have  a lot of customers, but for those who come, it’s a special treat.  Side note: I hope I’m not baking “special” kinds of brownies!

Maybe he is right, as I would much rather run a little corner cafe than a huge chain restaurant. What worries me is that my few customers will get tired of the cookies at some point, go elsewhere and will never return.

So, that’s where the $35 Amazon gift card giveaway comes in. I need you to tell me what you like/don’t like about my blog. What topics would you like me to focus on more/less?Any suggestions for improvement are also welcome. Good, bad feedback,  I would love to hear it all. Last chance to comment and be eligible for the prize is next Tuesday at 9 PM Eastern.

Remember, what’s keeping this blog afloat is making  a real and positive contribution to this hobby. So, please, don’t hold back. Blogging is a two-way street. I don’t know how to benefit you unless you tell me.

If you liked my post, please, subscribe to receive free blog updates through email and recommend me to your family and friends. You can also follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook  and download my e-book  If you found my content helpful, consider doing your Amazon shopping through my site

Author: Leana

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.

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26 thoughts on “Miles and Points, Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

  1. The humor, irony and unique analyses (I really liked the recent one about AMTRAC and the middiel aged couple with two teenagers and the Chase SP, it hit very close to home) make it quite a unique blog. One of the few I subscribe to by email rather than rss, because I do not want miss a post. I hope you get to make a better second income from it.

    • Uri, thank you so much. You actually liked the post on Amtrak? Yay! I really appreciate the fact that you’ve stuck with my blog from the very beginning.
      As far as making a better income from it, I’m confident in saying that it’s never going to happen. But I knew that starting out. I’m a logical person, and logic told me I was too late to the party. And indeed, I was right. But it’s OK, because I needed to get the thoughts out of head. Glad you find my ramblings beneficial, that’s the goal.

  2. I read your blog because it it is sincere, one of the few most honest, and I would encourage you to continue as best as the family supports it. Stay direct, stay fair and open, and your thoughts about which credit cards are suited for families was terrifically helpful. Real world information is always paramount especially since most families and couples do not live the life of many globetrotting bloggers, who do that for a living.

    • @Domenick Thanks for your comment! I’m very glad you found my posts on credit cards helpful. It’s true that at the moment, there is an overload of this type of info in the industry. But the reality is, maximizing credit card rewards, whether through everyday spending or sign-up bonuses is the easiest way for a regular family to afford travel. It’s not “sexy,” but it’s what works. There is absolutely nothing wrong with globetrotting lifestyle, but that’s not how most American families do things.
      You are right that it’s important to be fair. I would hate to be thought of as a catty blogger who loves to tear others down. I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade, I simply express my views, which sometimes contradict the prevailing dogmas.
      I do plan to keep writing, at least for now. It can be a challenge sometimes. I don’t have a staff, just me and Julia (my alter ego) 🙂

  3. Definitely the humor! But I also like reading about real trips that you have taken or have planned on miles and points, because I feel like other blogs don’t discuss actual trips as much and if they do, it’s usually about first-class redemptions that I will never be able to swing with a large family.

    • @Nancy I SO appreciate your kind words and emails! You have no idea. I enjoy reading your blog as well. I have a few trip reports coming up over the next few months. Hope you enjoy them.
      My humor can be a turnoff for some. It is what it is. I don’t put on another persona in my posts, what you see is what you get.

  4. If like that your advise is very useful to the average traveler. I am a little bit like your husband, in that I will not do alot of the things other bloggers advocate to “earn” miles via manufactured spending. Enjoyed your Amtrack piece a lot, too. Thanks, hope you stick with it.

    • @Hilde I absolutely try to make my blog applicable to an Average Joe. A lot of the rewards in this hobby can be had with very minimal effort. In fact, I hope to simplify things a bit in the future. It’s getting hard juggling all these cards for someone as disorganized as myself.

  5. I enjoy reading your blog even though I also follow most of the other big Miles and Points bloggers as well. I love the way you make a list of several important issues going on in the miles and points world. Then I often enjoy reading below those lists to whatever thoughts/musings/stories/etc. that you post below the list. Although I maybe already read blog posts on most of the issues you list, I enjoy your posts as somewhat of a “reminder” post. Often I find myself saying, “Oh, YA! I forgot to sign up for that, or I really should join this program, or maybe I should get that card next.”

    So thank you for your blog. I would be sad to see you quit. I’ve never posted before, but I read nearly every post fully when you post. I follow you through Feedly.

    One thing to change maybe… When I went to post this comment, the site wanted to make me log in to WordPress because I once had an account many years ago I find the process of having to log in to make a comment extremely cumbersome. Good thing I had copied and saved my whole comment, because I lost the comment and had to start over because I couldn’t remember my old password.

    • @Melanie Thank you so much for commenting! I’m so glad you find my news items beneficial. Sometimes I wonder if I should even post them, since I know most of my readers follow the big blogs. But it’s good to have reminders, it’s helpful to me too, actually.

      I’m so sorry about WordPress comment situation. For the time being, I’ve decided to pay WordPress to host my site, since I’m very IT challenged. In the future, I may try to go with self-hosting, but I’ve paid a good chunk of money through July, so have to stick with it. I have no control over how they do comments section, but will look and see if I can change it. You can always email me if you have any questions. I would love to help.

  6. I enjoy your humor and honesty. And I do feel like you sincerely care about the reader and want them to get the best deal, which doesn’t always mean you make a commission. Glad to hear the hubby is supportive in his own way. 🙂 I wish my spouse would do this and I could just sit back and reap all the benefits of free travel. But I have to do all the work.

    • @Jennifer I appreciate your kind words. Well, my husband is somewhat supportive of this blog, but he still hates this hobby! He doesn’t want to hear about miles and points.
      I really do try to help readers. It’s hard to balance with making this blog a viable business, but I do my best.

  7. I enjoy reading your trip reports about the everyday hotels where you earn and spend points. I don’t comment a lot but I never miss a post.

    • @Denise Thanks for reading! I know how busy everyone is, I don’t comment very much on other blogs either. Good to know you find reviews on basic hotels beneficial. I’ve got a few of those in Draft section, and will publish them at some point.

  8. I’ll love to read more of your inputs of best credit card and travel deals for family. We love to travel but with limit budget, there are much options to enjoy. The creative writing and insights makes your blog one of my newest favorites. It is a pleasure reading here.

  9. This is the first time I have read your blog; Nancy just shared! I like hearing real tips and trip reports from a real mom/family. I plan to keep checking in and following along!

  10. I was very happy to find your blog after reading your interview with MMS. As I told you when I first wrote to you, I felt the connection learning you were travelling with a family, I also have a Young daughter and I also came to this country as part of an Exchange program and married a US citizen.

    I really, really appreciated your thorough responses to my e-mails consultations. I’ve asked questions to the big bloggers and they never bothered to answer, they are busy, I understand but I choose your links when I apply to cards because of that.

    Keep up with the good work, in spite of the days when you feel no one is reading, we’re here.

    • @Leticia Please, feel free to contact me anytime! I would love to help you even if I don’t get commission out of it. Speaking of, I just want to thank you again for using my link. That referral money made up 90 percent of my income for that month. Even a few apps make a huge difference to a small blogger.
      But what’s truly rewarding is that I’ve helped you in a small way.

  11. I love your blog. I’m a Mom to 4 and there aren’t many blogs out there geared towards family travel. My husband travels for work so much that he has no desire to travel for pleasure. I coordinate all the miles and points to make his life easier, so our big family can do a bit of traveling and your reports and tips help with that 🙂

    • @Stacy Wow! A mom of 4 with a husband who travels for work. And here I am complaining! 🙂 It is definitely a challenge for large families when it comes to miles and points hobby. We only have two kids, but we do usually travel with my in-laws and redeem points for 2 or 3 rooms at a time. Plus, on occasion we’ve gotten 7 award seats on one flight. Not easy! So I guess I can relate somewhat. Feel free to email me anytime or use Ask Me a Question section, in case you need a specific recommendation.

  12. I read your blog because I like your take enjoy how it is family oriented. I enjoy the real life examples and reviews. I just started this hobby in May and have a few trips already lined up. Keep up the good work!

    • @Rich Thanks! I’m glad you find my blog family oriented. That’s exactly how I want it to come across. It is a little wacky and silly at times, but at its core, its meant to appeal to normal Amercan families just like mine. So glad you already have trips lined up. Have fun!

  13. I like your honesty. Keep making posts for those of us who can only take 2-3 trips a year and tell us how to pay as little as possible. thanks.

    • @Harv Ahh, the honesty! It’s easy to be honest on the internet where you don’t have to deal with people face-to-face. It’s a delicate balance, which I haven’t mastered completely yet.
      Thanks for your kind words. I’m cheap and like to get good value out of points. I hope you keep benefiting from my rants.

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