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.

December 8 2014

New Deals Page

American Express usually ramps up its promotions during the holidays, and this year there is a boatload of Sync offers.

Going forward, rather than write periodic posts on the offers I will just add them to the newly-created Other Deals page for easy reference.

The page includes every Sync deal I am aware of, but let me highlight below the offers I consider most interesting.

(If you are unfamiliar with the Amex Sync campaign, my introductory post is here.)

Travel related offers:

The following offers are not travel-related per se, but still particularly appealing for reasons I explain below:

  • Best Buy – spend $250+ get $25 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014). Appealing because Best Buy sells cash equivalents in store (I can’t remember if they’re Visa or MasterCard gift cards, but either way it lets you basically buy money at a discount) and gift cards to other merchants. #AmexBestBuy
  • JCPenney – spend $50+ get $10 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014). Appealing because JCPenney sells gift cards to other merchants, including Amazon, in store. #AmexJCPenney
  • Newegg – spend $200+ get $25 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014), valid online only. Appealing because Newegg sells a wide selection of gift cards to other merchants (including airlines, cruise lines, restaurants, department stores, and movie theaters). #AmexNewegg
  • Office Depot OfficeMax – spend $50+ get $10 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014). Appealing because OfficeMax sells MC/Visa/Amex gift cards in store. (Office Depot also sells them but does not accept credit cards as payment.) #AmexOfficeDepot
  • Starbucks – spend $10+ get $5 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014), valid online only at but should work when reloading a Starbucks card. Appealing for obvious reasons. 🙂 #AmexStarbucks
  • Toys R Us – spend $25+ get $5 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014), valid in-store only. Appealing because Toys R Us carries gift cards to other merchants. #AmexToysRUs
  • Walmart – spend $15+ get $5 back (exp. Dec. 31, 2014). Appealing because getting 33% off your grocery bill is otherwise rare. #AmexWalmart

Finally, here’s a random non-Amex offer that might interest some:

Bonefish Grill

Free dinner (up to $10) at Bonefish Grill. Expires December 30, but I have a feeling they may pull the deal sooner if it becomes “too popular.”

I will try to update both the Travel Deals Page and Other Deals Page frequently so be sure to drop by once in a while!


May 2 2014

Hyatt Triple Miles Promotion – Details & Analysis

While Hilton and Starwood announced summer promotions a week or so ago, we haven’t seen one from Hyatt…unless it’s this “mini-promotion” they announced recently.

While underwhelming, if you need to stay at a Hyatt anyway then it’s always better to earn some points than no points.

Hyatt promo header

The promotion

  • Promotion period is May 1 to August 31, 2014.
  • Earn triple miles (instead of normal Hyatt points) with one of eight airline partners.
  • Must register with your preferred airline partner. Here are the registration links: Air France, All Nippon, American, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Lufthansa, and United.
  • Must designate the airline partner as your preferred way to earn awards in your Hyatt loyalty account.

The bonus doesn’t kick in until your second stay and is capped at 14,000 miles. Here’s an earnings chart:

Bonus chart

You can earn up to 21,500 miles in total (7,500 base + 14,000 bonus).


If you use this promotion, you’d earn miles instead of (not in addition to) points. If not, you’d earn the usual five Hyatt points per dollar spent. Unfortunately you’ll have to do some math to figure out which earning method works better for your travel plans.

Or, if you have better things to do than crunch numbers, these are my general suggestions:

  • If you’ll only have one stay during the promotion period and the stay is less than $106, choose the triple miles promotion. Otherwise, choose to earn the normal points.
  • If you’ll have two or more stays and the average stay is less than $319, choose triple miles. Otherwise, choose points.

This analysis assumes non-elite status and is based on my personal valuation of Hyatt points being worth 1.6 cents each and airline miles 1.7 cents each. (See this post if interested in how I value a hotel point; the explanation is halfway through the “Analysis” section.)

The key with this promotion is that bonus miles are awarded per stay, not per dollar. So with an inexpensive stay you come out ahead choosing the triple miles (because you earn a fixed number of miles regardless of amount spent). Conversely, an expensive stay is more rewarding if you choose to earn Hyatt points (because they’re awarded as a multiple of dollars spent).

And if you do participate, remember bonus miles don’t kick in until the second stay. Unless you’re quite sure you’ll have only one stay, I would register from the start so you can clear the non-bonused first stay hurdle right away.

For nerds like myself, the calculations behind my analysis are in the chart below. For normal folks, just ignore the chart and scroll down for double/triple dipping tips.

Breakeven chart(Blue numbers represent a breakeven point.)

Potential double or triple dips

Parting thoughts

I’m not sure if this is just a mini-promotion or Hyatt’s “real” summer promotion, but if you maximize it properly it’s not a bad promotion.

Nevertheless, like the Hilton and Starwood promotions, I’ll sign up and use it when optimal but it’s not enough to compel me to shift additional business to Hyatt.

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