July 3 2015

Free Drink, Two Amazon Offers, Triple Hilton HHonors Points, and Complimentary Museum Admission

Finally! Friday is here! Happy Independence Day weekend, everyone.

If you’re flying Southwest tomorrow, enjoy a free cocktail on board.

Southwest Free Drink

The airline extends this offer on various holidays but doesn’t advertise it much, so you’ll likely have to speak up and ask for your free drink.

But at least you can’t complain about the price. 🙂

Triple Hilton HHonors points

Hilton is offering triple HHonors points at participating properties in the Americas through January 30, 2016.

Be sure to read the terms. Also note you must book the triple points rate (see example below) and the stay must be at least two nights.

Hilton 3x Rate

$15 off $50+ on Amazon when paying with American Express Membership Rewards points

This is a nice offer, but it’s targeted and requires having an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points.

Receive $15 off a $50+ purchase when you use Membership Rewards points to pay.

Amazon MR promo

If targeted, you’ll see a banner at checkout. Click on the “learn more” button then find the box to link your Amex card. It looks like this:

Amazon MR instructions

After following the prompts to link your card, you’ll see the option to pay for your order by redeeming Membership Rewards points.

Here’s the catch: the redemption rate is 1.43 points to 1 cent. That’s a terrible conversion rate.

I value a Membership Rewards point at 1.7 cents, yet this offer only yields about 0.7 cents of value.

So the trick is to redeem just one point on your order (which is all it takes to qualify for the $15 off). The remaining balance is billed to your Amex card.

Payment screen redacted

Don’t forget to use promo code SWP07AXP15.

Note there are also offers for Chase and Discover cardholders. I wasn’t targeted for those, but if interested keep an eye out when logged in to your Amazon account.

Bonus Amazon tip

If you’re a Prime member but have yet to use the Subscribe & Save service, Amazon is offering $10 Subscribe & Save credit with promo code TRYSNS10.

Offer ends July 31, 2015.

Free museum admission

Finally, don’t forget this weekend Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission to over 150 museums, science centers, and botanical gardens.

Enjoy the long weekend.

January 1 2015

Free Cocktail on Southwest, $35 off Travelocity, and a Free Photo Book

I hope your 2015 is off to a great start!


Complimentary cocktail on Southwest today

If you are feeling any…um…“ill effects” of a New Year’s Eve celebration, maybe another cocktail isn’t the best idea.

Otherwise, if you’re flying Southwest today enjoy a free premium beverage on board.

Southwest Free Drink

The airline extends this offer on various holidays throughout the year but doesn’t advertise it much, so you will likely have to speak up and ask for your free drink.

(The next free-drink day is Valentine’s Day in case you plan ahead.)


Travelocity offers

Travelocity has several offers valid through 11:59pm PT on January 4, 2015:

Travelocity Promos

In my opinion the best one is $35 off $100 on a booking made through the app. Be sure to use promo code MOBILE2015.

The code works on single-night or multiple-night bookings although not every property participates. You can apply the promo code after selecting a property – that’s how you can tell if it participates.


Free photo book

What to do with all those photos from your travels?

Walgreens is offering a free brag book through January 3 with promo code BRAGBK.

Walgreens Free Brag Book

Do note the free offer excludes tax and shipping (standard shipping is $2.99).


October 30 2014

Free Drink on Southwest, Great Hotel Deals in Vancouver, and a Chipotle Offer

Happy (almost) Halloween!

Complimentary drink on Southwest

If you’re flying Southwest tomorrow, enjoy a free cocktail on board.


Southwest extends this offer on various holidays but doesn’t advertise it much, so it will likely be up to you to proactively ask for it.

And be a good neighbor – tell your fellow flyers and start an in-flight party. 🙂

Great hotel promotion in Vancouver

beVancouver is back with a great deal for off-season hotel stays in Vancouver.

Book a participating stay and receive an Amex Prepaid Gift Card of up to $125 at check in.

Gift card amounts vary depending on the hotel, but this can be a great deal. I checked a random date during the promotion period and found the following examples.

$11 per night (after deducting the gift card value) for the 3.5-star Executive Hotel Vintage Park:


$20/night for the 3-star Best Western Plus Downtown:


$61/night for the 4.5-star Sutton Place Hotel:


…many others.

Also, one in ten bookings is free so cross your fingers!

Details, per the offer website:

  • Make a booking at any of our hotels before November 16th 2014
  • Check-in must be before or on February 28th 2015
  • This Promotional rate is Pre-Paid, Non-Cancellable and Non-Transferable
  • The full amount of your booking will be charged by the hotel at the time the booking is made
  • If your booking is the 1 of 10 that is free, you will be alerted via email confirmation
  • Bookings can be made using VISA, MasterCard, or American Express
  • Guests will receive their AMEX Prepaid Gift Card per booking, not per night
  • Separate consecutive night bookings at the same hotel will not result in the guest receiving more than one AMEX gift card
  • A Maximum of 3 bookings per person is enforced – all subsequent bookings will be converted into normal Best Available Rate bookings (and will apply the corresponding Terms and Conditions) and the guest will not receive an AMEX Prepaid Gift Card
  • beVancouver Terms and Conditions Apply

Tips and notes:

  • These rates are prepaid and non-cancelable so be sure of your plans before booking.
  • If staying multiple nights, you’ll have to change hotels each night to maximize this deal.
  • Rates (and likely the gift card you’ll receive) are denominated in CAD not USD. Last year when they ran a very similar deal the gift card, although in CAD, could be spent at merchants in both Canada and the US. I’m guessing that’s also the case this time but you should confirm with beVancouver if concerned.
  • You’ll have to pay taxes on the full rate.

Chipotle Halloween Fundraiser

Finally, if you’re dressing up and will be near a Chipotle in the evening, drop in for a nice discount: get a burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos for $3. Chipotle will donate proceeds to The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.


Have a safe holiday!


July 4 2014

Happy Independence Day! Have a Free Drink on Southwest.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

Just a quick note for those flying Southwest today: enjoy a free cocktail on board (just your first one is free 🙂 ).

The airline extends this offer on a handful of holidays but doesn’t seem to advertise it much, so it will likely be up to you to proactively ask. For popularity points, tell your fellow flyers and start a little in-flight party.

Southwest free drink promo

However you may be celebrating, have a safe and wonderful one. I hope those of you on the East Coast are okay!

July 2 2014

15% off Gift Cards to Kohl’s, Gap, Southwest, Toys R Us, and More

The site TwoSmiles (part of Hewlett-Packard Company) is offering 15% off select gift cards.

TwoSmiles GC promo
Click to enlarge

Fourteen retailers are listed (you can see them in the picture above), but the most interesting to me are:

  • Southwest – because it’s for travel 🙂
  • Toys R Us – because I buy a lot of presents there, and I can also use the gift cards to indirectly buy Amazon gift cards at a discount (as explained here)

Use code FIREWORKS15 for the discount. The sale ends July 7, 2014.

Since these are gift cards, you can use them in combination with most other coupons, discounts, and promotions offered by the retailer as well.

I don’t like to stockpile gift cards because it means converting a liquid asset (cash) to a restricted one (a store-specific gift card), but at a discount it sometimes makes sense. I usually keep a few discounted Southwest gift cards on hand to facilitate double-dipping when their fare sales come around.

June 17 2014

Accor Hotels up to 40% Off, Several Airfare Deals Including LGB-ANC $99

Discount air carriers have been pumping out offers the last few weeks.

If you missed my post about free points for new Southwest Rapid Rewards signups, the offer is worth a look (especially if you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area).

JetBlue fares from $49 (link to JetBlue sale)

JBLU promo banner

JetBlue’s out with a sale ending tomorrow (June 18). Though the ad says “fares from $59” there are a few for less (go figure), like the one below:

JBLU $49 fare

Here are a few terms, but as always be sure the read the full T&Cs carefully:

  • Book June 17 – 18, 2014 (the earlier of 11:59 PM ET or local time).
  • Travel September 3 – October 29, 2014 (blackout date: October 13, 2014). Must fly Tuesday and Wednesday only.
  • Different or additional day of week restrictions, travel windows, and blackout dates may apply and vary by route. Click on a fare for details.

An interesting side note…While poking around this fare sale, I also checked fares to Anchorage for a trip I’m considering. My travel dates are outside this promotion period, but some fantastic fares turned up, like this $99 one from Long Beach (near Los Angeles):

JBLU LGB-ANC $99 border

I don’t know if this is a mistake fare or a random (unannounced?) sale, but fares on that route are typically more than double, sometimes triple, the price.

Virgin America fares from $59 (link to Virgin America promotion)

Virgin’s sale is decent (not great) so it’s worth a look if the markets they serve align with your travel plans.

VA sale banner

Must purchase by June 19 and a 21-day advance purchase is required. Travel dates vary by market (consult the T&Cs for specifics).

Frontier Airlines 11% off promo code

Frontier Airlines is offering an 11% discount with promo code SUMMERTIME (book by June 19, fly by September 2).

Frontier promo code

Accor Hotels up to 40% off (link to Accor Super Sale)

Moving on to hotels, Accor’s “Super Sale” started today.

Accor Sale banner

Here are some terms, but again you should always read the full T&Cs:

  • Non-members get 30% off. Members get 40% off and free breakfast for two. (But note certain brands do not offer free breakfast.) Since membership is free, you know what to do…
  • Book by June 27, stay July 11 through August 31 (or later in some markets).
  • Bookings “cannot be changed, cancelled, exchanged or reimbursed” – so be super sure of your plans before committing.
  • Note that not all brands are participating and no properties in the US are participating.

Tip: Check other booking sites to make sure you’re still getting the best deal with this promotion. By my sporadic and unscientific observations, the company’s “Super Sales” usually do yield significant savings. However, they also seem to jack up rates right before the sale, with the result being the net discount is not really 40%.

June 15 2014

Weekend Roundup: Free Southwest Points, $49 Frontier Flights, a New Low-Cost Airline, and More

Happy Father’s Day!

Southwest Rapid Rewards offers up to 2,500 points for new members

Two Southwest new-member offers to tell you about…

Residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area can earn 2,000 Rapid Rewards (Southwest’s loyalty program) points for signing up and another 500 for opting in to receive e-mail communications. Must enroll by June 20, 2014. (Link for 2,500-point Southwest offer.)

SWA Dallas promo

Unfortunately the offer for non-DFW residents is not so generous – only 500 points. But free is free. On the other hand, if you have no immediate need for a Southwest loyalty account you could hold out in case they offer something better in the future. (Link for 500-point Southwest offer.)

Speaking of discount air carriers… 

Frontier is back with another $49 fare sale, this one ending tomorrow, June 16. (Link.)

Frontier promo

And more discount air carriers…

PEOPLExpress, a new low-cost airline, is set to launch later this month. Flights are now bookable and I’m currently seeing introductory fares from $56.

If you’ve been flying a long time you might recognize the name PEOPLExpress. The new operator purchased its name from the now-defunct 1980s brand.

Routes are limited – service is available from the hub in Newport News/Williamsburg, Virginia to three other cities – but expanding over time.

PEOPLExpress route map

I’m always happy to see more travel choices, and the new airline’s routes are intended to serve markets not well covered by bigger carriers.

Enough about discount air carriers

Some other interesting stories from the world of travel:

Enjoy the remaining weekend and don’t forget to check our frequently-updated Travel Deals Page for more promotions.

June 3 2014

Fare Sales on Southwest and JetBlue – Flights From $39

JetBlue and Southwest are running sales with fares as low as $39 one way.

The Southwest Sale (link) 

SWA promo banner

Fares are advertised to start at $49 but I actually spotted some for $45:

SWA $45 fares

Here are some terms, but as always be sure to read the full T&Cs:

  • Purchase from June 3 through June 5, 2014, 11:59 p.m. for the respective time zone of the originating city.
  • Travel August 25 through December 17, 2014. Travel DAL – LAS and DAL – LAX available October 13 through December 17, 2014. Travel DAL – FLL, DAL – PHX, DAL – SNA, ATL – PUJ, MDW – CUN, MDW – MBJ, SAT – MEX, and SNA – MEX available November 3 through December 17, 2014.
  • Travel valid every day excluding Fridays and Sundays. Travel to Florida or Nevada is valid Sunday through Wednesday only. Additionally, travel from Florida or Nevada is valid Tuesday through Friday only. Travel between Nevada and Florida is valid on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only.
  • Blackout Dates Apply: September 1 and November 21 – December 2, 2014.

The JetBlue Sale (link)

Fares are as low as $39, including this one good for a quick getaway for Southern Californians:

JBLU $39 fares

Here are some terms, but again be sure to read the full T&Cs:

  • Book June 3 – 4, 2014 (the earlier of 11:59 PM ET or local time).
  • Travel July 8 – November 1, 2014 (blackout date: September 2, 2014). Must fly Tuesday and Wednesday only.
  • Different or additional day of week restrictions, travel windows, and blackout dates may apply and vary by route. Click on a fare for details.

Thoughts, tips & reminders

While these are good fares I don’t consider them blockbuster deals, especially with the many restrictions and blackout dates to watch out for.

But if the routes and dates fit your plans then this is definitely a good opportunity to book.

Finally, note that other carriers often match these sales. So if you’d prefer another carrier be sure to check their prices too. (But keep in mind that most legacy carriers charge for checked bags. On JetBlue the first checked bag is free and on Southwest the first two are free.)

For example, JetBlue’s Philadelphia to Boston fare of $54:


Is the same on US Airways:

US Air $54 PHL-BOS

Safe travels!