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

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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:

loyalty-spend-results-mid-tier

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.

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