CARDPOOL/EBAY FOR RAISING MILES
In a previous article on "Raising miles at Walmart" I had shown how you could you potentially reduce the fee portion of Visa/MasterCard to even less than "zero". In that article the focus was on "Raise" as that was one of the gift card site where you could easily find the Walmart gift card at 2 to 2.5 % discount. Since then I have seen similar discounts offered by Cardpool as well as Ebay although I prefer Cardpool because of ease of use. The important thing to note is if the "gift card resale" site you are about to use provides any cash-back rebates through any rebates portal. Cardpool is also one of the Gift Card Resale site which provides cash-back through bunch of portals, one of which is TopCashBack. You could also check out other rebate portals and a good place to start your search for best rebate portal would be to search for the merchant at "Cashbackholic". Make sure you read through the terms of the cash-back portal as each one of them operate differently and have some limits of minimum amount of rebate you need to accrue before it becomes payable.
Walmart gift card at Cardpool:
Cardpool consistently provides the Walmart gift card at 2.5% discount in addition to 2% cash-back rebate going through TopCashBack ( Note: The rebate is only available until you reach $1k in purchases so make sure you read the terms through). You can combine upto 4 walmart gift card to make a purchase of Visa/MasterCard. A purchase of $200 in Walmart gift card would cost $195 and provide a rebate of $3.9 (2% of $195). Thus you get a $200 Walmart gift card at a cost $191.1 out of pocket cost thus having a discount of $8.9. Considering that a $200 Visa/MasterCard gift card costs $6.88 in fees you would still be ahead by $2.02 on this one. So by going through this route you would have purchased 195 points/miles and made a small profit of $2.02 as well on your credit card spend.
Walmart gift card at Ebay:
Another approach is to purchase the Walmart gift card from Ebay. Generally you would be able to find "Buy it now" deals for 2.5% discount and on top of it you would get 2% back from Ebay bucks. As you can see that you would save almost similar amount of money as you do from Cardpool but there are few problems you should be award of as mentioned below:
So, go ahead and accumulate those miles without any fees and enjoy your award travel.
(Note: If you open your TopCashBack account using above mentioned links, I would get a small referral bonus. I do appreciate your support. Thanks.)
IHG BIG WIN.. IS IT WORTH?
You would have seen the mention of "IHG BIG WIN PROMO" all around the web. IHG Club is basically re-branding of Priority Club which includes brands such Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites etc ( the full list of brands under IHG can be found here). The promo is open to all the members and is tailored to each individual member having a slightly different version of the promo. But if you are NOT a member of IHG club you can create a new account and then register for this promo you would see a standard 50k points offer as shown below.
As you can see "Only 4 separate stays or nights" could earn you potential 50k points assuming 2 out of those 4 stays are on Saturdays and 3 of them are at different IHG brand hotels.
Back to the question.. Is it Worth?
Well, the answer depends on how are you going to use the points. You can convert IHG points to the partner airlines at the ratio of "10k points = 2k miles" and the various airline partner list can be found here. Thus converting 50k points would give you 10k miles which depending on my valuation could be worth $100 to $150. If I had to spend an average of $60/night on each of the stay that would mean spend of $240 in total and assuming I am just staying for the sake of getting the points I personally would not do it. You could also buy 10k points for $70. The way this works is as long as you have 5k points in your account you could book any hotel that requires 15k points by using so called "points+cash" option which is essentially "5k points + $70 for remaining 10k points". Once you make the booking and later cancel it you do not get the "cash" portion refunded rather will have 10k points deposited to your account in lieu for it. So if you are doing it for the sake of points (also known as mattress run) do it only if your total cost would be less than $350 ($70x 5 for 50k points).
On the other hand you could redeem the points for the "PointBreaks" which has changing list of hotels each quarter that can be booked for only 5k points/night. This option would mean I could potentially get to stay for 10 nights and assuming the average cost of $60/night could be an awesome value proposition. The other option would be to redeem the points for high value properties such as Holiday Inn Maldives for 35k points/night which otherwise goes for ~$250 in peak season.
As you can see from above the only good reason to go for this promotion would be to use the points to make actual stays at Holiday Inn rather than converting to "miles". Hope this helps you to make the decision to go for this promotion or no.
FLEXIBLE? FLY ANYWHERE CHEAP..
Who does not like to vacation or travel? I believe very few if not none. But once you decide you want to vacation or travel, the primary questions is What's the cost involved and where to go? If your primary goal is to travel on cheap and you are flexible on dates and destination then read on..
As the world of internet as evolved there are great deals for travel available online all the time. Knowing where to look will help you getting started on that exciting journey. This post is primarily to list all the resources available for searching those cheap flights. If your goal is flexibility of dates but not on the destination then you might want to check my post on "How to find best flight deals", otherwise read on.
Flyertalk Mileage Run Forum - Although primarily used by folks who are chasing the Elite status, this is a great forum as the primary intent is to "travel anywhere" for cheap or at minimum cost as possible. Primarily targeted for US based flyers you will find great deal of information for "cheap tickets" to sort of places around the world. All you need to do is browse through it and see what works for you and you are on your way to your destination.
TheFlightDeal - This is a gem of a site which routinely publishes good deals for travel to various destinations around the world. Again it is targeted primarily with deals from the U.S. but for within the U.S. as well as around the world. Most of the fare published are 6.0 cents/mile or lower and a great deal if you are looking for a quick getaway.
AirFareWatchDog - This is a site where you can enter just the "Departure City" and it will do a search for all sort of destination where you could travel (with no particular priority or mention of how good the deal is). The best part is you can create alerts for the city pair you want to travel and it will alert you as per your selected criteria.
HolidayPirates - This is another website which regularly publishes good fares starting from Europe. Look often enough and you might end up on one of the error fares that happens once in a while.
Exbir - This is one of the other European websites which routinely publishes good deals to be had from Europe. Hop on to it and you will end up with great fare to your beloved destination from Europe and around.
Take help from above sites and visit that exciting destination you never knew about. Keep travelling. Enjoy!
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on below 3 aspects of travel:
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