10% off Amazon & Lowes, how to get Citi Forward, more…

A number of interesting tidbits have been piling up lately, so rather than covering a single topic I’m simply going to give a rundown today of things on my mind…

Amex Financial Review

Gary, at View from the Wing, wrote up a terrific piece about Amex financial reviews (see “Preparing for the Dreaded American Express Financial Review“).  He argues that its something to get through rather than to fear.  This is a must read for anyone who manufactures spend.

10% off Amazon gift cards

This week OfficeMax is offering $5 off the purchase of two $25 Amazon gift cards.  Limit 1, but if you have a nice cashier they might let you split a purchase into multiple transactions.  Make sure to buy two $25 cards with each transaction.  Ideally, pay with a card that earns 5X at office supply stores (e.g. Ink Bold, Ink Plus, etc.).  Travel Summary has the scoop here.  I’ll run over to OfficeMax soon to see if I can buy these with OfficeMax gift cards.

10% off Lowes or $10 off $50 purchase

A number of coupons were posted to this SlickDeals thread.  Please go to that thread for details and questions.  Remember that you can also get a Movers coupon for 10% off by filling out an online form, and you can double or triple dip at Lowes for extra points.  Details here: Million Mile Madness: Banking on Lowe’s; and here: Maximizing Home Improvement Spend.

How to get the Citi Forward card

Last week I said that the Citi Forward card is great, but that you can’t get it unless you’re a college student (see “5X everywhere without gift cards, part 2: ThankYou Points“).  A number of people told me about a great workaround: Call Citi and ask to change your existing Citi card to a Forward card.  I can’t promise this will always work, but some people have reported success in blog comments and in this FlyerTalk thread.  5X restaurants, movie theaters, book stores (Amazon!), and more!

Hilton HHonors program only mostly dead

Indulge the Wanderlust reports that there are still deals to be had with the Hilton HHonors program despite recent huge devaluations.  I agree.  Details here.

Club Carlson whips the competition

LoyaltyLobby ran a series of posts analyzing the “earn and burn” rates of a number of hotel chains.  On the “earn” side, he estimated the number of points that would be earned at various properties with and without elite status and with and without a branded credit card.  He then looked at how many points were needed for free nights at various hotels (this is the “burn” side).  He then wrapped up the series by showing the amount of spend required within each chain to earn a free night.  Club Carlson beat the competition by a long shot.  Here’s an example graph showing the spend required for a free night based on someone with mid tier status:


It’s interesting that Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott all came out about the same.  Club Carlson required less than half the spend of its competitors.  SPG required much, much more. 

Please see LoyaltyLobby’s series for details (or to complain about those details)

Best rate guarantee success

Angelina, author of Just Another Points Traveler, reports on her success in getting much cheaper hotel nights through the use of Best Rate Guarantees.  I need to try this trick out more often (I’ve only done a Best Rate Guarantee once).  Details here.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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23 Comments on "10% off Amazon & Lowes, how to get Citi Forward, more…"

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with my Hilton Honors (not hilton honors surpass) do I still have till statement closing date to earn 5x on drugstore purchases? so if my statement closes on May 15th, can i still purchase VRS today and earn the 5x


i mean 6x


Hi FM, At K-mart through May 12th if you buy $50 prepaid Visa card…you get a $10 Kmart card.


Ack! You have to buy 2 $50 cards at K-mart! Sorry


Sil the answer is addressed here:
In a nutshell, you have until the May closing date for 6X. Lucky you, my closing date is midnight tonight (May 7).


It amazes me how almost all the blog discussion of hotels is about 5-star properties. I travel all the time, and it’s uncommon that I book this level. Five star hotels are really only useful in resort destinations where you plan to spend most of your time at the hotel. Who really needs a 5-star hotel in a city? I want a decent, well-located hotel at a good price, whether I’m paying with money or points.

The HHonors program is certainly worse than it was before, but there are still some great deals — some of which require fewer points than before. Given how easy it is to get mid-tier status at most of the chains, it amazes me that anyone would be loyal to one chain. It’s far better to have points in many brands, as redemption prices aren’t really rational or predictable, so you pick the hotel that has the best deal in the city you happen to be visiting. It’s a very simple and effective strategy.


Hilton program might still be good for low tier stays or airport stays. Definitely not for aspirational properties. I stay at low tier hotels all the time. I just need a place to stay most of the time. I just used Barclay points for some low tier hotels.


What is the best use of spg points if you want to get the most flights and/or hotel nights out of them? I’ve read cash and points, and I’ve read transferring to airlines. Which is it? I don’t care about high range hotels or first/business class I just want to stretch the points out to maximize usefulness (most nights most flights). The post linked to seems to imply spg points are horrible for hotel redemptions.

kathy K (will run for miles)

my question concerns the TY forward card. you mention that it might be available by asking Citi to convert your existing Citi card to a Forward card. What do you mean by an existing Citi Card? I don’t have any TY cards, but I do have the bronze Aadvantage card that I never use. I also have a Citi mastercard debit card.


Last year, I tried to convert my Citi AA Amex to the Forward and they couldn’t get it to convert. I was told that if I converted to a Thank You card that I could convert to the Forward after that conversion was complete. So I went ahead and converted last October. Today I called Citi to finally convert to the Forward. The first rep said there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she was able to convert the card to the Forward. She did have to put me on hold and get the system to allow it. My Forward card should be mailed out 30 days from today.

Thanks for the reminder.

Food Eater

iahphx: i agree. i realize that it feels like a real coup to book a 5-star hotel or a super fancy first class airline seat with points, but there is definitely a disproportionate amount of blog real estate devoted to such endeavors. personally, i’d rather be as frugal as possible in order to maximize the number of days i can spend traveling.


You don’t need to split into separate purchases at OfficeMax. My local clerk was nice and let me get as many Amazon cards as I wanted. I bought $200 in cards for $180, all in one transaction. As far as the check-out computer was concerned, this was legal.

RJ Brown

The next time we have trouble with that Vanilla reload we might find the reason behind it in this story……….



Loyalty Lobby finally highlighted how lousy SPG really is. For years we’ve heard from so-called “experts” how good the SPG card is, and if they only had one card, it would be the SPG. But any more than superficial look at SPG’s award program showed how poorly it fared against the competition, and it amazed me so many accepted such incompetent analysis for so long.

Reality is SPG is one of the worst cards to carry. Carlson is best for mid/low tier rooms since Hilton devalued (Carlson don’t have legitimate top tier hotels). Hyatt is King of top tier thanks to 5x xfer from Chase Ink (and Marriott also looks attractive for same reason for mid tier).


Does the double, triple dips for HI through UR portal still work?


Not sure how, but I already received my Forward card in the mail. I was told it would take 30 days for the conversion to happen. I also confirmed that it get’s 5X at restaurants, bookstores, etc.

Thanks again for the reminder!


I must have missed the terms that state the Forward requires you to be a student. I’m pretty sure anyone can get it. I signed up for it a few years ago, and I am long past college age or attendance. I was not asked for my college affiliation or anything.