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.

July 1 2015

Lots of Free Travel Books

Happy alllllllmost Independence Day! Is it just me, or do these “short” work weeks seem to drag on forever?

As I normally do this time of year, I re-stocked on poolside reading material. Thought I’d share some travel-related finds.

At this writing, the Kindle version of the following books is free. (However, Amazon prices can change any time so double-check the price before ordering!)

Without a Kindle device, you can still read e-books with a free Kindle reading app.

Machu Picchu: Appreciating the Lost City of the Inca

Machu Picchu

Secret Europe: 50 Truly Unforgettable Experiences to Inspire Your Next Trip

Secret Europe

101 Tips to Reduce Luggage Weight


London, England Travel Guide Book – A Comprehensive 5-Day Travel Guide…


Cruising the Inside Passage Alaska

Inside Passage

Spanish Tapas Recipes: Authentic Tapas Recipes from the Tapas Bars of Spain

Spanish Tapas

Ireland: For Travelers!: The Tourist Guide To Make The Most Out Of Your Trip To Ireland – Discover Where To Go, Eat, Sleep & Party


USA’s Best Trips: 7 Amazing Road Trips

USA's Best Trips

A Naturalist Guide to the Galápagos Islands – 2nd Edition


Onboard French: Learn a language before you land

Onboard French

Rome: The Best Of Rome For Short Stay Travel


Getting High: The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal


Top 14 Places to Visit in Norway


Italian Travel Phrases for English Speakers: the most useful 1.000 phrases to get around when travelling in Italy


The Happy Camper: How I Quit My Corporate Job and Sold Everything to Travel Full-Time

Happy Camper

Ladakh in Pictures  


Havana Tips and Tricks: Interesting Facts and Tips On Havana And Cuba


January 24 2015

Hilton $50 Statement Credit, Amazon Prime for $72, Virgin America Double Points, Travelocity $30 off $100

Greetings from Birmingham (England, not Alabama) where it is nice and sunny (albeit not warm).

Here are a few deals for your weekend enjoyment…


Hilton $50 Amex statement credit

By now you probably know about American Express Sync offers. Just wanted to point out a new one specific to travel: receive a $50 statement credit when you spend $250 or more with Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Do note the terms specify this offer is valid only at Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties (not other Hilton brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, etc.).

However, there are older (but still valid) Amex offers for other brands – both Hilton and non-Hilton – such as Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Hyatt Place, and Waldorf Astoria. I try to maintain a current list of all Amex offers on the Other Deals page.

Since this is not a targeted offer, you can add it via Twitter with hashtag #AmexHilton if it is not available in your Amex account.

If you are unfamiliar with Amex Sync offers, my primer is here.


Amazon Prime for $72

Today (January 24) only, Amazon is offering Prime membership for $72. This is a rare offer for 27% off the normal $99 price.

Amazon Prime $72

Among other benefits, Prime members receive unlimited 2-day shipping with no minimum and instant streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video.

Do note the offer is good for new members only.

And don’t forget to check out the ongoing ShopRunner offer for free 2-day shipping to many other stores.


Travelocity mobile offers

Travelocity’s mobile offers for savings on hotels booked via the app are back.

Travelocity coupons

For $30 off $100+ use code MOBILEJAN30H. For $40 off $150+ use code MOBILEJAN40H.

Alternatively, you can save 15% off a hotel booking of $300+ with code JAN15NOW.

These expire at 11:59 PM Pacific tomorrow (January 25). They exclude “most national brand chain hotels,” but are nice discounts if you find a boutique property meeting your needs.


Double points on Virgin America flights

Through March 31, 2015, you can earn double points on Virgin America long-haul, medium-haul, or seasonal routes.

Virgin Am double points

Don’t forget to register first.

Enjoy the weekend!

December 19 2014

70% off Samsonite Luggage, Multiple Promos for Frontier Flights

Greetings! I will make this post quick so I can get out of here and break this cycle of eating three meals a day at Panera all week.


Samsonite sale

Amazon has select styles of Samsonite luggage for 70% off with free shipping and free returns (today only).

I am eyeing this two-piece hardside set that includes a 20″ spinner and a 24″ spinner for $120 (list price $400).


There are other sets that each include a 21″ piece (plus another piece) but I like the 20″ since it’s small enough to usually qualify as both an international and a domestic carry-on.


Frontier sale

Frontier Airlines currently takes 13% off when you book with promo code SNOWFLAKE.

In addition, they are offering $39 fares between select markets to celebrate several new routes.

You can search availability and participating cities here, but one example is Chicago to Atlanta for $39. With the SNOWFLAKE promo code, the price goes down to $36.



As always, wishing you safe travels.

August 9 2014

International Phone Calls and How to Save 30% on Skype

I find Skype a great tool in general, but it has been even more useful lately as I’m planning a lengthy international trip.

When at home I use it to call international phone numbers if using my cell phone would be cost ineffective, and when traveling I use it to stay in touch with home.

You can do a lot for free on Skype, but some services are not free. For those, here are a few money-saving options currently available.

For 30% off

Purchase Skype credit from TigerDirect while combining the following offers:

  • A $15 off $100 coupon from the merchant. To my knowledge there are two coupons currently available – one expires August 10 and can be generated here; the other expires September 30 and can be generated here.
  • The Amex Sync offer giving a $15 statement credit when you spend $50+ at TigerDirect. The offer, mentioned in this post, expires August 31. (I don’t believe this offer is on Twitter or Facebook so it would only be available to those who have it in the “Offers For You” tab on their Amex account.)

Your net cost should be $70 for $100 worth of Skype credit.

TigerDirect GC Order
Cost of $100 in Skype credit BEFORE Amex Sync rebate. (Click to enlarge.)

For 10% off

Another Amex Sync deal offers $25 off a $250+ purchase at Best Buy (discussed here) through September 2. Best Buy sells Skype gift cards.

$250 is a lot of Skype credit (more than I’d personally buy at one time) but you can always buy a lesser amount and make up the difference by purchasing other items at Best Buy (*cough* Amazon gift cards *cough*).

I don’t know of any at the moment, but if you find a discount offered by the retailer that works on Skype gift cards, it should combine as well.

Not Skype, but another option worth a look

I have not researched this product, but currently Amazon has a OneSimCard (with $10 of credit) for $40.52.

Click to enlarge

On the surface this is not a deal because you can get the same thing for $39.95 directly from OneSimCard.com ($29.95 for the card and $10.00 for the airtime credit).

To make it a deal, use the Amex Sync offer for a $10 statement credit when you spend $50+ at JCPenney (blog post), which sells Amazon gift cards in store. It’s a two-step process because you have to go to JCPenney and buy an Amazon gift card, then use the gift card to buy the SIM card. Personally I wouldn’t make a special trip to JCP, but I’d certainly drop in when the store is on my way anyway.

Remember that Amazon prices can change any time so be sure to double check your cart before paying.

Enjoy the remaining weekend. I know many of us bought the Europe/Asia mistake fare a few months ago and are now busy planning for those trips, so I hope this is useful.

Category: Amex, Deals, Tips | LEAVE A COMMENT
July 7 2014

Current Amex Sync Offers – Discounts at Costco, Hilton, and More

Thought I’d share an updated list of Sync offers from American Express.

Some interesting ones:

  • Costco – get a $25 statement credit for spending $25+ (for the math-challenged: $25 minus $25 = free). This offer is targeted so there is no Twitter hashtag; to qualify you must have the offer appear in the Offers For You tab when logged in to your American Express account.
  • Amazon – get a $20 statement credit for spending $20+. Another free one, but also targeted at this time.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts – get a $50 statement credit for spending $250+. Details below.
  • Exxon Mobil – get a $5 statement credit for spending $30+ at the pump. Details below.
  • American Express Travel – get a $50 statement credit for spending $250+. Details below.
  • Cathay Pacific – get a $200 statement credit for spending $2,000+. Details below.

At the end of this post is a list of all current offers I’m aware of, along with Twitter hashtags. Not all offers have hashtags as some are targeted and only available by logging into your American Express account. Other offers may be available via Facebook.

If you’re  unfamiliar with the Amex Sync campaign, see my primer on Amex Sync for instructions on how to get these offers.

Tips & reminders

  • These deals can usually be combined with store offers and coupons, so it pays to look for ways to double (and even triple) dip. For example, Hilton’s summer promotion awards double points or miles through July 31st. Another double dip: combine the Buca di Beppo offer with United’s dining promotion (which ends soon).
  • Many have limited enrollment (and popular ones fill up quickly), so register sooner rather than later for the deals you’re interested in.
  • Many offers are valid on gift card purchases. If you don’t need anything from the merchant during the promotion period, you can lock in the savings by purchasing a gift card for future use. Likewise, if it’s a restaurant and you don’t anticipate spending that much at one meal, purchase a gift card to use over multiple visits. (Some offers exclude gift cards, so be sure to check first.)

As always, carefully read the terms & conditions on every deal you participate in.


  • Amazon – varying offers [I’ve seen spend $20+ get $20 back, and spend $40+ get $20 back] (expires Aug. 31, 2014)
  • American Express Gift Cards – spend $200+ get $10 back (exp. July 30, 2014) #AmexGiftCard
  • American Express Travel – spend $250+ get $50 back (exp. Aug. 31, 2014)
  • Barbeques Galore – spend $250+ get $50 back (exp. July 28, 2014)
  • BFX Studio – spend $100+ get $50 back (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • Bonefish Grill – spend $25+ get $10 back (exp. Aug. 4, 2014)
  • Buca di Beppo – spend $50+ get $15 back (exp. Aug. 17, 2014) #AmexBucadiBeppo
  • Cathay Pacific – spend $2,000+ get $200 back (exp. July 31, 2014) #AmexCathay
  • Columbia.com – spend $50+ get $10 back (exp. Aug. 1, 2014) #AmexColumbia
  • Comoncy Café – spend $25+ get $5 back (exp. July 10, 2014)
  • Costco – spend $25+ get $25 back (exp. Aug. 15, 2014)
  • Delivery.com – spend $25+ get $5 back (exp. Aug. 3, 2014)
  • Dell.com – spend $599+ get $100 back (exp. July 21, 2014) #AmexDell
  • eBags.com – spend $100+ get $20 back (exp. July 20, 2014) #AmexeBags
  • EntirelyPets.com – save 15% with code PetLove15 (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • Exxon Mobil – spend $30+ get $5 back, only valid at the pump (exp. July 31, 2014) #AmexExxonMobil
  • GroundLink – spend $100+ get $20 back (exp. Aug. 1, 2014) #AmexGroundLink
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts – spend $250+ get $50 back (exp. Sep. 2, 2014) #AmexHilton
  • HP – spend $350+ get $75 back (exp. July 31, 2014) #AmexHP
  • HudsonJeans.com – spend $300+ get $60 back (exp. Aug. 1, 2014) #AmexHudsonJeans
  • Hulu Plus – spend $20+ get $10 back (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • Jetsetter.com – spend $150+ get $30 back (exp. Sep. 30, 2014)
  • Lawrys the Prime Rib – spend $100+ get $20 back (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • Modnique.com – spend $200+ get $40 back (exp. Sep. 7, 2014)
  • Murad.com – spend $100+ get $30 back (exp. July 18, 2014)
  • Newegg.com – spend $150+ get $15 back (exp. July 31, 2014) #AmexNewegg
  • Photos.com – spend $100+ get $20 back (exp. Aug. 16, 2014)
  • Sally Beauty – spend $20+ get $5 back (exp. Aug. 31, 2014)
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – spend $50+ get $10 back (exp. Aug. 11, 2014) #AmexSprouts
  • Swim N Sport – spend $100+ get $20 back (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • Teleflora – save 30% via teleflora.com/americanexpress (exp. July 20, 2014)
  • Texas de Brazil – spend $100+ get $20 back, certain locations excluded [see T&Cs] (exp. Aug. 31, 2014) #AmexTexasBrazil
  • Ticketmaster.com – spend $75+ get $25 back, note the terms exclude gift cards (exp. July 31, 2014)
  • TigerDirect.com – spend $50+ get $15 back (exp. Aug. 31, 2014)
  • Vivid Seats – $10 off a purchase of $50+, use promo code AMEX2014 (exp. Sep. 30, 2014)
April 9 2014

Deal Alert: Another (Indirect) 20% Off at Amazon & Many Other Retailers

Last week I wrote about one of my favorite credit card promotions, Amex Sync. Today there are some new deals, a good one being $20 off a $100+ purchase at Staples. (Another is $5 off $25+ at Carter’s.)

If you’re unfamiliar with the Amex Sync campaign, see my prior post for details and tips on how to get these deals.

With the Staples deal, you receive a $20 statement credit after spending $100 or more (in one transaction) in-store or online and paying with your synced Amex card.

The beauty of this deal is that Staples carries a nice assortment of gift cards to other retailers, meaning you can use this promotion to get up to 20% off at another retailer by buying its gift card from Staples. Off the top of my head, travel-related gift cards I’ve seen include Southwest Airlines and Shell Gas. My local store also carries an abundance of other cards including AmazonGrouponMacy’s, and Banana Republic to name a few.

Personally I am swimming in Amazon credits (all purchased at 20% to 33% off through various other promotions) so I will buy something else this time – probably a Visa or MasterCard gift card (basically a cash equivalent). These come with a fee but it’s more than offset by the Amex credit. Since the fee is $6 on a $100 card and $7 on a $200 card, I’ll get the $200 card so I incur a lower fee (percentage-wise) and ask the cashier to do a split payment so that I pay half on one Amex card and half on another Amex card (yes, I have several). That way I get the statement credit twice without paying the fee twice.

A few hints:

  • The Staples deal is likely to max out quickly (if it hasn’t already), so register ASAP if interested. [UPDATE: Twitter registrations have reached capacity for this offer. If you didn’t get in on time (you should’ve received a “Sorry, max # of Card Members have enrolled” notification from Amex), try logging into your Amex account and finding it in the Offers For You tab (not all accounts will have the offer). If you did get in on time, you still have until April 30 to use the offer.]
  • The terms exclude e-gift cards, so I buy gift cards in store.
  • To double dip, and use a Staples in-store coupon or online discount code (e.g. code 39858, valid through April 10, gives $50 off a regularly priced laptop of $499+).
  • For an alternative double dip, Staples is currently offering a $30 rebate on select Samsung tablets.

Staples Samsung rebate

Category: Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT
April 2 2014

UPDATED: Deals on Gas & Lodging…and How to Indirectly Get 20% Off at Amazon

UPDATE: added more hashtags and further tips on 4/2/14.

In the miles and points game, I’m a big fan of credit cards as a tool to maximize your earnings. One of my favorite ongoing promotions is the American Express Sync campaign where you register (“sync”) your Amex card for various merchant-specific offers and automatically receive a statement credit after making a purchase.

Presently there are a bunch of good offers. Some are travel related like hotels and gas stations, but others include ZapposLowe’s, and Regal Entertainment. To avoid cluttering the post, I’ve placed a list of current offers I’m aware of at the bottom of this page.

Let’s use the Lowe’s offer to illustrate how you might “work” one of these promotions to score a deal – even if you don’t need any home improvement items.

The offer states: “Get a one-time $10 statement credit by using your connected Card to spend a total of $50 or more on qualifying purchases at Lowe’s by 5/31/2014.”

After you sync a qualifying Amex card to the offer (see instructions below), you simply go to Lowe’s and make a purchase with that card. The statement credit automatically posts to your account. The terms say the credit appears within 90 days, but I usually get it within a week.

I like effortless deals and these are pretty painless!

Now, are you going to just waltz over to Lowe’s with your synced card and shop away? Of course not. You are going to double dip by first getting your hands on a coupon that you can stack on top of this deal! (Pssst…sign up for Lowe’s email alerts then watch your e-mail for a 10% coupon in a few days.) Remember, the charge to your synced card must be $50+ to trigger the rebate.

But what if you don’t need any home improvement items? Well, look at what else Lowe’s sells…

Lowes GC rack

See how you can work this deal to indirectly get up to 20% off at Amazon, Shell Gas, or anything else you might find on the gift card rack at Lowe’s? (Note that gift cards purchased online may not qualify, however.)

Say you find shoes or a handbag you want to buy on Amazon. Are you going to pay right away with the gift card you just bought at 20% off? Of course not. You’re going to try applying coupon code SPSHOE14 (expires 4/13/14) for 20% off a $100+ purchase of select shoes & handbags.

Getting the hang of it?

How to Sync Your Card


Simply log in to your Amex credit card account, click the “Offers For You” tab at the bottom, then add the offers you wish to register for. Once added, offers move over to the “My Offers” tab.

Offers For You


Many deals may not appear on your Offers For You tab because your account wasn’t targeted for those particular promotions. However, if there is a hashtag available, you can sync your card via Twitter here.

  • Log in to (or create) your Twitter account
  • Sync your card
  • Tweet the appropriate hashtag (#AmexLowes, in our example)
  • Confirm your tweet got through to Amex. Click on “Notifications” at the top and make sure they acknowledged it with something like “@[your handle] Thx for enrolling in #AmexLowes offer. Spend w/connected Card & receive credit…”

You can only sync one card per Twitter account, so if you have multiple Amex cards and want to take advantage of the same deal multiple times you can create a separate Twitter account for each card.

While you’re at it don’t forget to follow @MyWanderlux. 🙂


Connect your card here then add the available offers you’d like.

Other Hints

As always, note all terms & conditions. Some deals are valid only online while others only in store, and occasionally some specify that gift card purchases are excluded.

Some offers are limited to a certain number of registrations, so if you think you might use an offer I would add it sooner rather than later to avoid getting shut out.

Current offers that I’m aware of are below, with respective expiration dates and Twitter hashtags if available. If you use iTunes, note the free iTunes offer!

  • Bonobos – spend $150 get $50 (expires 5/30/14)
  • BP – spend $30 get $5 (exp. 5/31/14) #AmexBP
  • Brooklyn Industries – spend $75 get $15 (exp. 4/30/14)
  • City Sports – spend $100 get $20 (exp. 4/30/14)
  • Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – spend $20 get $5 (exp. 4/30/14) #AmexCoffeeBean
  • CoffeeBean.com – spend $50 get $10 (exp. 4/15/14)
  • Crate & Barrel – spend $50 get $10 (exp. 5/22/14) #AmexCrateBarrel
  • Delivery.com – spend $25 get $5 (exp. 4/6/14) #AmexDelivery
  • Elie Tahari – spend $300 get $75 (exp. 4/30/14) #AmexElieTahari
  • Fig & Olive – spend $100 get $20 (exp. 4/30/14)
  • Fresh Market – spend $50 get $10 (exp. 5/10/14) #AmexFreshMarket
  • Hamasaku – get 20% of your $100 purchase back (exp. 6/25/14)
  • Hampton Inn – spend $150 get $25 (exp. 5/31/14) #AmexHampton
  • Hulu Plus – spend $20 get $10 (exp. 7/31/14)
  • iTunes – spend $5 get $5 (exp. 4/30/14)
  • Jason Wu – spend $700 get $200 (exp. 4/30/14) #AmexJasonWu
  • Juan Juan Salon – spend $100 get $20 (exp. 5/21/14)
  • Joes Restaurant – spend $100 get $20 (exp. 4/23/14)
  • Lowe’s – spend $50 get $10 (exp. 5/31/14) #AmexLowes
  • Petco.com – spend $25 get $5 (exp. 6/16/14) #AmexPetco
  • Petsmart – spend $25 get $5 (exp. 4/30/14) #AmexPetSmart
  • Regal Entertainment Group – spend $25 get $5 (exp. 4/3/14)
  • Rue La La – spend $100 get $30 (exp. 4/17/14)
  • Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes – spend $25 get $5 (exp. 6/30/14) #AmexSoup
  • Sports Authority – spend $50 get $10 (exp. 4/30/14) #AmexSportsAuth
  • Total Wine – spend $100 get $20 (exp. 4/27/14)
  • Zappos – spend $150 get $30 (exp. 5/31/14) #AmexZappos
Category: Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT