Category Archives: Shopping Portals

Pre – Travel Preparation – a little old school for us

Yes, we are at it again.  We leave in a couple of days to begin our trip to Prague and then the Danube followed by northern Italy.

As I have mentioned before, we tend to be a little “old school” in that we take paper copies of confirmations, tickets, maps with us.  We have a 3 ringed flexible travel notebook with divider tabs to help organize ourselves.  We just spent two nights going through our notebook and updating our Excel spreadsheet of our itinerary.  The spread sheet is basically a condensed version of what we are doing, confirmation numbers, activities, lodging information, transportation info arrival/departure times, etc.

We have also emailed ourselves scans of our passports and wrote down all the international phone numbers of our credit cards (disregarding our banks instructions of writing down the actual credit card numbers).  Additionally we have ordered three different foreign currencies so we will have some money when we arrive in each country; notified our credit cards companies that we will be traveling and making sure that I only bring the credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees; also notified our Schwab Bank, whose no-fee ATM card we will be carrying, that we will be traveling.  I have reconfirmed all of our confirmations that are made with individuals, confirming the date, time and location of where we will meet.  I have down loaded onto my cellphone the Rick Steves audio walking tours of the cities/area that we will be in.  Finally, I have stopped our mail and our newspaper delivery.

Traveling in the spring I wanted (wanted, not needed) a new safety purse in a lighter color.  I went to my favorite bag retailer – Ebags –  and found just what I wanted.  Going through my Chase shopping portal, I received 8 points per dollar for my purchase at Ebags.

Stone

What I really liked about this purse is that its heavy-duty water-resistant nylon bag features cut-proof Chain Link construction, it protects me from pickpockets with a lock where you main zippers are located so it can’t be easily opened, it has a cut proof chain link construction on the shoulder strap, it also has a RFID blocking card to prevent thieves from getting wirelessly our information from our chip enabled credit cards.  There is even a side mesh pocket for my water bottle.  If you are interested in this purse (and I do not get get a commission, just like to pass on what I like) you can go here.

While I was looking at my purse on E-bags I also decided to look at the packing cubes that  have heard so much about.  I really didn’t understand why everyone was raving about these cubes since I feel that I already packed very well.  I use ziplock bags, roll my tops to take up less room and feel that I “stuff” things in every nook and cranny that comes with having odd size items.  Nevertheless, I purchased a set of medium as well as small cubes.  Now that I have packed, I’m beginning to realize why travelers like them.  All my tops are in two medium size cubes, underwear in a small, accessories in another.  My pants are not in cubes. It is very easy to unpack as well as to pack again.  My suitcase looks a lot neater and Blogger Hubby thinks that I am bringing less because it looks so neat.  These are the cubes I purchased, again getting 8 points per dollar spent by going through my Chase shopping portal.

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I also purchased new shoes.  I ordered them Shoes.com (going through Chase also at 8 points per dollar) and as soon as I put them on my feet it felt like my feet were in feet heaven.  I kid you not!  The adjustable heel strap made sure that my narrow heel fit well in the shoe.  It also has a Velcro strap that goes over my foot which will come in handy with swollen feet (elastic straps do not work well for me).  Additionally it has a roomy toe box which is where I find shoes snug.  I put them on and felt like they were already broken in.  If you are interested in these shoe here is the link:

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To help me know what the weather will be like, and therefore what clothes to bring, I went to http://www.worldweatheronline.com  With their 10 day forecast I would plug in every city that we were visiting.  I also saw that I should bring an umbrella and raincoat!

Finally, with our daughter due to deliver her second child while we are traveling, I looked into finding and purchasing an unlocked phone (didn’t find one), and into the Verizon Global Plan to use on my phone.  All of our children have our itinerary with telephone of our hotels and the ship.

I think with all this, I am done and can relax.

Hope you enjoy this YouTube video about packing

 

 

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Expiring miles and how to extend them

As I mentioned before, one of my very good friends has about 500,000 UAL miles.  She was concerned this fall because she knew that her points were going to expire at the end of the year.  She had me over her house to try to book a trip for her so her miles wouldn’t expire.  She didn’t need to go to that extreme.

If you are close to having your miles expire, there are several easy ways to save your miles without having to take a trip.

To keep your airline miles from expiring you must have some type of activity within your account.  If you have a co-branded credit card and use it at least a few times a year, that is sufficient activity to keep your airline miles from expiring.

united airlines

You can also go through your airline shopping portal (AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus, Delta Skymiles Shopping)  purchase something like flowers for your mother, significant other and it is a win-win situation – you get points for sending flowers as well as extending your miles 🙂

aadvantageeshopping_logo

Another way is by dining.  You can also earn miles when you register your credit card on your airline’s dining  site (American, United, or Delta).  All you need to do is to pay with that credit card at a participating restaurant, and you’ll receive miles in your account.  You can register your card with all three and get miles with both United, American and Delta.  Again, a win-win-win situation.

dining

You can also transfer miles into your airline accounts from either Ultimate Reward points you have, AmEx Membership Rewards or even hotel points from  Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Priority Club, and Starwood Preferred Guest.  You do not need to transfer a lot into your account – remember you just need some activity in your account to keep it active.

You can fly on a partner airline and credit it to the airline of your choice that is in your alliance.  When we flew US Airways, I credited the miles to United – kept those miles current.  I did not have many miles on US Airways so I wasn’t losing anything on US Airways.

Hope this has helped you in keeping your miles current.

 

Chase Freedom 4th Quarter Bonus Categories

For those that have the Chase Freedom card (one of my top 3 cards) you can activate the 4th quarter bonus categories today.  From October 1st though December 31 you can earn 5 times points on purchases made with these merchants.  Go to your Chase site to activate your card.

They have some very attractive stores in their bonus category for the 4th quarter where you can earn 5 x points.  Some of the stores are Amazon, Macy’s, Nordstroms, Bloomingdale’s, Loehmans, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave and Off 5th, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Sears and more.  For the complete list click here.

As a reminder, if you go to the Ultimate Rewards mall, with some merchants you’ll get additional points plus the 5 times points from using your Freedom card.  This is how I bump up my points.

Freedom

August Shopping Portals

I love the first of every month to see what the shopping portals bring.  I’ve done some of the work for you and am presenting a few from each credit card so you can see how many extra points and miles you get for shopping online through these portals:

Chase Ink Business Card:     Ultimate Rewards Logo

123inkjets.com – 15 points

Anthropologie – 7 points

Art.Com – 6 points

Boden USA – 2 points

Columbia Sportswear – 5 points

DSW – 7 points

Groupon (yes, you can use it for Groupon Purchases) – 2 points

GAP – 3 points

J. Crew – 5 points

Snapfish – 15 points

TOMS – 5 points

USAirways Dividend Miles Storefront

Under Armour – 3 miles per dollar

Nike  – 6 miles

Sephora – 9 miles

Toshiba – 2 miles

Vera Bradley – 2 miles

Nordstrom – 2 miles

North Face – 3 miles

Delta Skymiles Shopping     

Home Depot – 2 miles

PETCO – 3 miles

FEDEX Office – 2 miles

Checks in the Mail – 5 miles

Discovery Store – 2 miles

Pottery Barn – 2 miles

AAdvantage Shopping          AAdvantage eShopping

Office Depot – 3 miles

Lowes – 3 miles

Living Social – 3 miles

Starbucks – 3 miles

Banana Republic – 3 miles

White House Black Market – 3 miles

There are many more shopping portals. Remember you can purchase gift certificates to be used later.  My recommendation is to get a physical gift certificate rather than an e certificate.  This will help you when you go into a physical store like Starbucks (3 miles per dollar at AAdvantage Shopping).  If you are going to be shopping why not get some extra points or miles.  Some of the stores let you choose to pickup your purchases at the store (Lowes, Staples) so you will not have to pay shipping.  any times you can also get free shipping by spending a certain dollar amount or finding a free shipping coupon.  I always look at http://www.retailmenot.com.

If you find any great deals, let us know!