May 25 2015

Gift Card Sale – Save on Chevron/Texaco, Hyatt Hotels, and More

Just a quick post to share a good deal for your summer road trips.

But first, happy Memorial Day! I hope you’re having a wonderful day, but don’t forget the significance of the holiday and take a moment to remember the sacrifice of those who fought for our freedom.

eBay has nice discounts on a selection of gift cards. Here’s the full list:

eBay GC Event

There’s a $100 Chevron/Texaco gift card for $90. Shipping is free and there is a limit of 3 per buyer.

There’s also a $200 Hyatt Hotels gift card for $175. Shipping is also free and the limit is 2 per buyer.

Other participating cards are Sears, Cold Stone Creamery, Cabela’s, TGI Fridays, and GILT. The iTunes cards appear sold out at the moment, but if interested I would check again later in case they restock.

The seller, SVM, is a reputable eBay seller so it’s not as if you are buying from a random person on eBay.

For additional savings, enroll in the eBay Bucks loyalty program to earn 2% back. And if you previously managed to acquire discounted eBay gift cards, pay with those for further savings.

Finally, since gift cards are just a form of payment, they’re almost always combinable with store promotions as well.

Enjoy the remaining holiday weekend.

May 23 2015

1,500 Free Spirit Miles, New PointBreaks Round About to Open, and More Deals

Happy Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start of summer!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend whether traveling or relaxing at home, but please don’t forget the significance of the holiday and take a moment to remember those who served.

 

Random deals

For fun, here are a few random deals:

  • Free smoothie at White Castle tomorrow.
  • Get a coupon code for $10 off an in-store purchase of $10 or more at JCPenney by texting “FB” to 527365. That signs you up for JCP text alerts, so if you don’t want the ongoing spam then text “STOP” after you’ve used the coupon.
  • Get a $20 rebate when you buy $300+ of Visa Gift Cards at Staples May 24-30. The gift cards have a purchase fee ($6.95 per $200 card) so the deal only nets $6.10 in profit (when buying two $200 cards). However, I pay with a Chase Ink card that earns 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, netting 2,069 points. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so the points are worth $35.

Staples VGC

 

1,500 Free Spirit miles

For loyalists of Spirit Airlines, here’s an easy way to earn up to 1,500 Free Spirit miles by taking three quizzes for 500 miles each.

Answers are very intuitive – just remember Spirit is a discount airline – but you do have to get them correct to earn the points. You can always re-take the quiz if necessary 🙂

(If you are not a Spirit loyalist, I wouldn’t bother since Spirit miles expire after three months of inactivity.)

 

New set of PointBreaks hotels bookable on Monday

Just a heads-up, booking for the next round of IHG PointBreaks hotels will go live on Tuesday, May 26 for stays through July 31, 2015.

I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs, with hotel rooms available at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night.

I value an IHG point at 0.7 cents, so it’s like paying $35 a night. If you’re unfamiliar, I’ve described the program at length in prior posts (such as this one).

IC Nha Trang
The InterContinental Nha Trang – on the new PointBreaks list – is a steal at 5,000 points per night

Every time a new round is released, the desirable properties go quickly – in a matter of hours, if not sooner.

The discounted rate usually loads sometime between 8 to 10 AM Eastern on the day booking opens. However, the official PointBreaks page usually doesn’t display the new properties until the afternoon – by which time many desirable properties are gone. (If you go to that page before the new round is loaded, you’ll just see properties from the prior round still there.)

So here’s my strategy in advance of each new round:

  • Check out the preview list now and identify properties I’m interested in.
  • On the Eastern Time morning of the day booking opens (Tuesday, May 26 for this round), go to the webpage of each desired property (accessible from the preview list) and navigate to the booking page.
  • Find the 5,000-points-per-night-rate and book it! Again, the exact time the PointBreaks rate loads is unknown, but it’s usually between 8-10 AM EST. I just periodically refresh the page until it appears (I don’t sit there and stare at the page the whole time; I work on other things in another window).

Happy hunting!

 

May 3 2015

Kroger Promotion on Gift Cards – Up to 30% Off

With Mother’s Day approaching, many retailers are offering nice promotions on gift cards.

For example, the Kroger grocery chain – which includes Ralphs, Fred Meyer, and Harris Teeter, among others – currently offers the following through May 10th:

  • $10 off two GAP, GAP Options, Banana Republic and/or Old Navy Gift Cards
  • $20 Dominos gift card for $16
  • $5 off two $25 or more Bath & Body Works gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $5 off two $25 or more Applebee’s gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $15 off two $25 or more Groupon gift cards ($50 for $35)
  • $5 off two $25 or more Michael’s gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $5 off Yankee Candle gift cards
  • $5 off one $25 or more Fandango gift card
  • $10 off two $25 or more Payless gift cards ($50 for $40)
  • $5 off two Aeropostale gift cards
  • $10 off two Carnival gift cards
  • $10 off two $25 or more Spafinder gift cards ($50 for $40)
  • $5 off one $25 or more Skype gift card ($25 for $20)
  • $10 off two Jiffy Lube gift cards totaling $50 or more ($100 for $90)

Aside from the Gap/Banana Republic offer (which can be combined with store promotions like Gap’s current 35% off + free shipping), the 30% discount on Groupon is particularly appealing.

Here’s how to maximize it on travel…

Buy Groupon gift cards at 30% off

This offer is only available in-store, and you must first load the digital coupon to your store loyalty account.

But none of that is out of my way as I need groceries anyway and it only takes a few seconds to load the coupon to my account (I do so through the Ralphs app).

Ralphs Groupon

The result is $50 worth of gift cards for $35.

Plus, Kroger is currently offering double fuel points on purchases made on weekends. (You earn 10 cents off per gallon of fuel for every $50 spent on gift cards.)

Your fuel savings depends on how much gas you buy, but for simplicity let’s value the fuel points at $1.

Use the gift cards to buy Groupon products

Groupon has thousands of items, from merchandise to spa treatments to restaurants to travel.

I’ve scored some great deals over the years (but it does take some “vetting” as not all offers are great).

Let’s analyze a hotel offer.

Since the Kroger offer is limited to $50 in gift cards (per loyalty account), buying a product right at the $50 price point maximizes our savings (percentage-wise).

Take this Hampton Inn & Suites in Center, Texas – it has standard king rooms from $50/night (click on the image to enlarge):

Groupon Hampton Inn
Click to enlarge

The price includes breakfast and a $5 Starbucks gift card. For simplicity let’s value the Starbucks card at par.

Groupon itself already sells discounted products, so we are just layering on more savings with the Kroger promo.

Ultimately, our net cost is $29/night ($35 gift card cost minus $1 fuel savings minus $5 Starbucks perk).

Not bad for a stay at a reputable hotel (Hampton Inn is part of the Hilton chain). Check out Groupon’s travel offerings and see if you fancy anything.

Caveats:

  • Most Groupon travel offers are non-refundable, so be sure of your plans before buying. Many (but not all) merchandise deals have free returns, however.
  • If you don’t need anything from Groupon immediately, just buy the gift cards now to lock in those savings. To spend them, wait until Groupon offers a percent-off discount. (They recently offered 20% off all beauty and spa deals, for example.)

Finally, if you don’t already have a Groupon account, do a friend a favor and sign up through his or her referral link. Unfortunately you don’t get anything for it, but the friend gets $10 if you make a purchase. Feel free to use mine. 🙂

Wishing you, as always, safe travels.

(Source: this Slickdeals thread.)

May 2 2015

1,000 Free Aadvantage Miles, Half Off Starbucks, Complimentary Wine Tasting, Free Museum Entrance, and JetBlue Signup Bonus

Happy weekend!

I’ve been cooped up all month thanks to work deadlines so I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Here are a few good travel (and non-travel) deals to consider…

 

1,000 free American Airlines Aadvantage miles

This one’s really easy:

  • Go here and type in your “dream destination”
  • Watch all six videos and answer a question after each video (you don’t have to get the correct answer)
  • Enter your account information at the end

I value AA miles at 1.6 cents each, so I view this as $16 for about two minutes of my time. (I didn’t count the time it takes to actually watch the videos since I just let them run in another window while doing other things, only coming back to answer the question after each video.)

Promotion ends June 12, 2015.

 

7,000-point JetBlue signup bonus

If you’re not already a member of JetBlue’s loyalty program, TrueBlue, the airline is offering a new-member promotion.

JetBlue signup bonus

To earn 7,000 bonus TrueBlue points, join and register here then book a trip and fly by June 18, 2015. (The flight can be one way or round trip.)

I value a TrueBlue point at 1.4 cents, so this equates to a $98 bonus. That’s a great deal, especially considering JetBlue flights start at $49. Playing your cards well, you can essentially extract 3 flights for the price of 1 with this promotion.

 

50% off Starbucks

Now through May 10, Starbucks is offering 50% off Frappuccino beverages from 3-5pm. (Members of the My Starbucks Rewards program get an extra hour – until 6pm.)

Sbux happy hour

To me 50% off starts to make Starbucks prices seem reasonable, but you can do even better by paying with a Starbucks gift card acquired at a discount. (There are currently no deals on that, to my knowledge, but past examples would be this and this.)

 

Complimentary wine tasting at Andaz West Hollywood

On May 13, Andaz West Hollywood is hosting a complimentary wine tasting from 6-8pm.

While not something I’d personally go out of my way for, I might stop by if it were right on my way.

 

Free museum admission this weekend

Finally, just a quick reminder that this weekend Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders are offered free admission to 150+ museums.

Enjoy the weekend!