Lots of blogs are talking about a hotel booking site called Travel Pony. You can get $35 credit towards your first stay simply by signing up with anyone’s referral link (you can find mine on this page), and you can save an additional $50 by applying code Kate50. Loyalty Traveller does a great job examining whether or not this is really a good deal (answer: usually yes, but not always).
1.34 cents value from your Freedom card points
Mommy Points reports an interesting reader finding. It turns out that the Chase Freedom card has a somewhat secret benefit in that you can redeem 25,000 points for round trip airfare up to $335. If you book a flight costing more than $335, you can simply pay the difference with your Chase credit card. This seems to me to be a great way to get 1.34 cents value from your Freedom points! That’s even a bit better than transferring points to the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card to buy flights at 1.25 cents per point. Of course, its often possible to get more than 1.34 cents value by transferring points to the Sapphire Preferred, Ink bold, or Ink Plus card and then to an airline, hotel, or train program. But, for those looking for other ways to cash out Ultimate Rewards points, this may be an excellent option. Read the Mommy Points post for details.
Note that Chase often also has sales on gift cards purchased with your Freedom points, so that can be another way to get more than 1 cent per point value. However, often there are other ways to get the same gift cards at a discount so its not always as good of a deal as it sounds.
Speaking of obscure Freedom card benefits…
Chase is now marketing the Freedom card’s “Cash Back Boost,” which appears to be a marketing term for Ultimate Rewards Mall increased bonus offers. The cool thing about this is that it gives us an easy way to find out which merchants in the Ultimate Rewards Mall have higher payouts when you log in with your Freedom card (I wrote about this phenomenon in this recent post: Shopping portal fun!). You can find the Cash Back Boost as a link within the Ultimate Rewards Mall, or go directly via this link.
On Monday I published how to use Evolve Money to pay bills online (see “Pay bills online with debit and prepaid cards“). Many people have since asked if you can use an American Express gift card to pay. The answer is NO. As a general rule, anytime anyone asks for a debit card number, American Express cards will not work. This includes Amex gift cards, prepaid cards, credit cards, etc. Even if your Amex card has a PIN (as with Bluebird cards), it will not work as a debit card.
Hang up and call again: success!
When a phone agent can’t help you or tells you a rule that you don’t like, it often makes sense to simply hang up and call again. You might get a better answer the second (or third, or fourth…) time. On Sunday, I explained how I messed up by momentarily forgetting this bit of advice. I had accepted a call agents word that Hyatt My Elite Rate reservations were not upgradable. On Monday I realized that the same agent had told me that my Huntington Beach reservation wasn’t upgradable, so I called again. Success! I’ve now successfully applied Suite Upgrade awards to all but one of the Hyatt stays that I’m using to complete the Diamond Trial. The one exception is a stay at a Hyatt Place in which an upgrade isn’t needed. For more on my Hyatt Diamond Trial experiences, see: