July 20 2015

$68 Transcontinental Flights, Discounts on 76 Gas & Hyatt Gift Cards

Evening, everyone. Here are a few quick notes on some good deals.

eBay gift card sale

The eBay gift card sales are back!

Pick up a $100 76 gift card for $90:

76 GC

Or a $200 Hyatt gift card for $175:

Hyatt GC

Here are some other offers:

These are from reputable corporate sellers (not a random person selling on eBay) and the good ones tend to sell out quickly.

To double dip, pay with eBay gift cards acquired at a discount. For example, Kroger grocery stores currently have a digital coupon for $10 off when you purchase $50+ of eBay gift cards. (Download the store’s app to your phone, log in to load the coupon to your account, then go to the store and buy the gift card.)

To triple dip, earn 2% back by via eBay Bucks (enrollment is free).


Spirit airfare sale

Spirit Airlines is having a nice sale, with routes priced at $68 roundtrip including taxes.

Many routes are included; here are just a few examples:

From Los Angeles:

LAX Flights

From Boston:

Boston Flights

Book by 11:59pm on July 21, 2015 for travel on select dates from August to November.

Spirit is a low-cost carrier so do factor in extra costs (such as carry-on bag fees, although a personal item is still free) and set your expectations for a no-frills experience.

But $68 for a long-haul flight across the country is a bargain (albeit only a mediocre deal for the shorter routes)!

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.


  • 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.)

November 29 2014

10% off eBay Gift Cards

UPDATE – Deal gone.

[Original post:]

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and productive Black Friday.

First, a quick reminder that today is Small Business Saturday. Don’t forget to participate and get $30 in free money for every American Express card you have! Details in this post.

Discounted eBay gift cards

Currently there is an offer for 10% off eBay gift cards. They are sold in $50 denominations and you can buy up to 3 per account.


This is a good deal not only for the 10% off (if you regularly shop on eBay anyway, it’s a no-brainer), but also for the double-dip potential because you can use the gift cards to buy other gift cards afterwards.

For example, GiftCardMall, the large gift card seller whose racks you’ve probably seen in retail stores, has a storefront on eBay. Occasionally they offer discounts through that channel, such as this (now expired) offer of 15% off Toys R Us gift cards.

Another example is Skype, which occasionally sells Skype credit at a discount on eBay.

There are all kinds of travel offerings on eBay as well (but personally I have never purchased one so can’t recommend them one way or the other).

Tip: Enroll in the eBay Bucks loyalty program to earn 2% cash back on most purchases. (I am not sure if eBay gift card purchases qualify for cash back though).

Enjoy the remaining weekend!


Category: Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT
November 19 2014

$30 Free Money from Amex, 10% off Target Gift Cards, and One More

Greetings from Buenos Aires again. It rained here today but I can hardly complain considering the weather some are experiencing back home in the US. I hope everyone is keeping warm.

Thought I’d share a few random deals today. They are small deals, but they’re also quick and easy so the return on your (time) investment is not bad.


10% off Target gift cards on Black Friday

This one’s pretty simple: get 10% off Target gift cards on Black Friday. A no-brainer if you normally shop at Target anyway.


The nice thing about this deal is it’s available both in store (from 6 AM to noon local time) and online (from 6 AM to noon Central Time). I’m not one to brave Black Friday crowds but I will happily shop online that day.

Note that cards purchased during this promotion cannot be redeemed until the next day, so no double dipping with the Black Friday merchandise deals.

There is a limit of $300 in gift cards per household.


$30 in American Express statement credits on Small Business Saturday

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the Amex-created “holiday” Small Business Saturday. The objective is to encourage more customers to shop at small businesses, and this year Amex is offering $30 in statement credits to customers who do.


Things to keep in mind:

  • When you spend $10 or more in a single transaction at a participating business you get a $10 statement credit. Maximum of three statements credits per card.
  • Find participating small business in your area here.
  • Must register your Amex card(s) in advance. The easiest way to register is to log into your Amex account, click the “Offers for You” tab (pictured below), find the Small Business Saturday offer, and click “Save Offer.”
  • Alternatively, you can register at the Small Business Saturday website.
  • Registration is limited so I would register now in case it fills up later.



  • There are plenty of participating businesses (at least in my area), many of them good local restaurants. But I don’t usually want to eat there on the exact Saturday of this offer, so I purchase gift cards for future use.
  • If you have multiple Amex cards, register them all. $30 per card adds up to a decent sum of free money if you have multiple cards.
  • If you buy something costing over $20, do a split payment (pay half on one Amex card, half on another) to get two statement credits instead of one. I am not sure if split payments using the same exact credit card will work, but if you try it I would suggest varying the amounts so it’s not perceived as a duplicate transaction. (E.g. for a $25 purchase, do $12 on one swipe and $13 on the other instead of $12.50 on both.)


$10 prepaid reward Visa card for enrolling in Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout is the online payment system introduced by Visa last year to allow users to make online purchases without sharing credit card information with retailers.

Bank of America is currently offering a $10 prepaid Visa card for enrolling in Visa Checkout (enroll here).


The offer expires on December 4, 2014 and requires that you enroll with a Bank of America Visa credit or debit card.


Category: Amex, Deals | LEAVE A COMMENT