Category Archives: Special Deals

Why I LOVE going to the grocery store – not what you think!

As most of you know by now, the majority of our travel is from earning and burning points and miles from our various credit cards. We don’t earn too many of them from travel but rather from strategically using our credit cards as well as credit card sign ups.

As I have mentioned in the past, one of my favorite combination of credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card with the Chase Freedom card. The Freedom card by itself is a money back card but if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or one of the Chase Inks (business cards) then the Freedom card will earn the Ultimate Reward points that can be transferred to airlines and hotels and formerly AMTRAK.Freedom

What is unique about the Freedom card is that they have different category spending per quarter. The second quarter of this year is 5 times points at grocery stores and big box stores like Sam’s Club, BJ’s Warehouse, Costco, etc.

I need to have a few windows replaced and had Lowe’s come over and give me an estimate for the window replacements – over $2,000.00. Hmm, my local grocery stores sells Lowe’s gift cards and if I purchase them this quarter, I’ll get 7,500 ultimate reward points rather than just the 2,000 points from paying Lowe’s directly.  Note:  you are limited to spending $1500 per quarter to get the bonus points.  Do I hear a Cha Ching!

That got me thinking.  What else do I ordinarily spend money on that I could purchase a gift card for during this quarter? I always need gas so a few BP gas cards went in my basket as well as a few restaurants gift cards and movie theatre gift cards and of course, those lovely and ever so versatile VISA $500 gift cards. Luckily, Blogger Hubby also has a Freedom that that we can use for all these extra points.

This should be a banner month for me with it all ending on June 30th. I hope you have the Freedom and and have taken advantage of this quarter’s bonus categories. If you don’t have it and are interested in one, please leave me a message in the comment section.

UPDATE:  Mommy Points has just written that Chase Freedom will continue to pay 5 x points when used at wholesale club stores through the end of the year.  You can read her post here.

Who Wants to Cruise With Us to South America?

Yes, I admit it…..I’m a planner.  I like to have a goal, or trip in mind so I can have fun researching, planning and of course saving for it.  Blogger Hubby and I have looked at our bucket list again, re-prioritized it and found what we want to be our next trip.  Since we are taking off next year from big travel (putting money into our house) I had to begin looking at 2018.  I know, I know – that’s a L O N G time off but because it is a long time off, I was able to get a really great deal.  The best deals for trips are really far out or last world


One cruise that we have wanted to do for about 5 years now is the cruise around South America and Antarctica.  Having Antartica as part of the trip  added on about a week and several thousand dollars more to the. Regretfully, I let go of that dream.

My next decision was when to go. Obviously, their summer was the best time or was it?  Summer is considered the rainy season, not like monsoons but more like here where the heat of the summer will cause afternoon thunderstorms.  I’ve also become sensitive to the heat and that needs to be taken into consideration.  Last year’s trip to Europe, where it was in the high 80’s and low 90’s almost every day was a major drain on my energy as well as how much time we spent out of doors and waiting in long lines.  I read that the early fall is a wonderful time to visit – think of New England in the fall.  From what I read, drier air will move up from Antarctica and will give us those azure blue skies that we see in the spring and fall.

map south america

I have been on Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America as well as two river cruise lines.  I fee like I have a taste of their personalities and know what to expect from the ships.  I chose Holland America (HAL) because of what it offers me.  I really enjoy their Culinary Arts Kitchen where they will give you small group cooking lessons, large group demonstrations, the rocking and rolling Piano Bar, easy access to loungers and tables around the pool, entertainment that we enjoy.  With all this information in hand, we chose to begin our cruise on March 5, 2018 on Holland America’s Zaandam.


We begin our cruise outside of Santiago, Chile and sail past beautiful, green and lush forests and lakes, through the Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, seeing many glaciers.  Did you know that there are more glaciers in Chile than in all of Scandinavia?  We will go to the southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina.  We will enter Glacier Alley and stand at the front of the ship with warm beverages in hand as we gaze at the glaciers that may be gone in our grandchildrens time.  Have you ever seen a glacier calving – that’s when a chunk breaks off and falls into the water and hear the noise they make?  We will see penguins in their natural habitat and so much more.  But it’s not all scenery.  We’ll spent a day in Montevideo, Uruguay and overnight in Buenos Aires.  I’m planning on having a custom made leather jacket made for me in Buenos Aires.  We’ll also stop in the Falkland Islands and be able to have a spot of tea, British style.

The beautiful glaciers
The beautiful glaciers
Glaciers galore
Glaciers galore
Ushuaia, Argentina - the southernmost city in the world
Ushuaia, Argentina – the southernmost city in the world

While in are in South America, this would be an opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, the Galapagos, or Iguazu Falls

My fantastic travel agent, Michelle, of McCabe World Travel outside of Washington DC, will be coordinating the group travel.  She has been able to lock in for our group the lowest prices for us.  In addition to the lowest prices, there will be amenities for our group.  I’ll try to arrange some excursions that are more personalized and smaller than what the ship offers though you are free to do what you want.  Remember, we are a group in name only so we can get the best prices.  Of course, we are all a friendly group and it will be run to see each other and share stories.  Don’t you want to be part of this great group?

Am I tempting you a little bit?



Used Redbird at Target Today

Today was a chilly day and Blogger Hubby and I decided to go to our local winery – Veritas Winery – for a tasting.  We are wine club members where we get three bottles of wine, at a discount, four times a year.  We don’t have a choice which wines we receive but it is a chance for us to try different wines that we would not ordinarily try. Another perk of being a wine club member is that you and a guest do not have to pay for the wine tasting.  We do try and take advantage of that special perk.


On the way to the winery is Target.  I needed to upload some photographs for our family wall and thought this would be a good time to do it since we would be passing within 1/4 of the Target.   We picked up our photographs next to the customer service center; in fact, the clerk was working both counters.  I though this would be a good time to ask her if this store, which doesn’t sell the Redbird, would reload them for me.  She wasn’t familiar with them and called her manager over.  He was familiar and instructed her how to reload them.  Seems that I need to load some money on them via my credit card as we went on a little shopping spree today.  Additionally, I need to replenish some of the miles that we have been using this past year and by loading money onto my Redbird from my credit card, we’ll be adding some more miles to our accounts.


We actually went through the register at Target three times and each time we paid with our Redbird  We saved 5% of the total bill.  We had ordered photographs to frame of our family.  Cha ching – saved 5%.  We bought some toys for our grandchildren to stay at our house so they would have something to play with – cha ching, saved another 5% off an already sale price.  Went to find other gifts for the grands and found what we were looking for however, it was mismarked.  Had a large sign over it with a lower price – about 20% less than it should have been.  The clerk walked us up to a registered at the front and she checked us out using the lower price and of course I whipped out my Redbird and saved another 5% off a mistaken price.  Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.

Winner of Target Prepaid Debit Card – Mike is the winner of the Target Prepaid Debit card.  He wrote “I’m definitely going to add this to my MS portfolio. Thanks!”  Congratulations to Mike.  I sent you and email asking for your asking to mail you the card.  You have 48 hours to respond otherwise I have choose another winner.

American Express Small Business Saturday – a Boom to your Wallet, Nov. 29th

Around Thanksgiving time, those of us shopping for holiday gifts know about the deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday (my personal favorite) and for the past four years the Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday.

black friday

cyber monday

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 by American Express to encourage us to remember our local merchants and their brick and mortar stores when shopping for holiday gifts.  Each year that they have sponsored it, those of us who have synched our credit cards to the American Express offer, have received a credit on our bill when we shopped these local merchants.

small business saturday

This year you will get a $10 statement credit  after spending  $10 or more in a single transaction (must be in store and not online) at any qualifying merchant on Small Business Saturday.

Not every small business takes part in Small Business Saturday.  American Express does charge the merchants the highest in fees.  To be sure that your merchant does participate, make sure you go here after you register your card:

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 12.11.28 PM

To use this, “erase” the New York when it comes up on the screen and add in your zip code.  You’ll see top recommendations but you can also choose dining, shopping, services, etc.  When I went to dining, I found 10 pages of restaurants that I could purchase gift cards for and then get a statement credit.  That’s my plan for Small Business Saturday.

Register your card on November 16th by going to this link.  I’d do it sooner than later as they limit the number of registrations.

You can link ALL of your American Express cards.  I’m told that even your Bluebird card could be linked though not your Target Redbird).  If you have an American Express Hilton card, you can link that.  The same with the SPG American Express card.

As I mentioned earlier, we plan on buying restaurant gift cards, get the credit and then eat out during 2015 – sounds like a winning plan to me.

What will you be purchasing on Small Business Saturday?

Chicago Seminar – American Airline miles and Cadillac

WOW — what a weekend I had.  I learned so much from the speakers and I was able to fine tuned other ideas that I never implemented because I wasn’t sure what was being taught to me.  Most importantly, I was really able to connect with others attending the conference and share ideas on travel, manufactured spend and booking travel.

I won’t go into everything at this time, you’ll find bits and pieces of what I learned coming out this next month but I will tell you a real deal that is going on now.

Do any of you collect American Airlines points?  If so, I have an amazing deal for you and it takes almost no time at all.  If you test drive a Cadillac, you’ll receive 7,500 points.  If you and your spouse both test drive, you’ll receive 15,000 as a couple.  This is an amazing offer.  You can either make an appointment to test drive the car at 844-469-2234 where you will speak to a concierge who will set up your appointment.  Be prepared for about a 30 minute wait time.  You might be able to set up the appointment with your local Cadillac dealer.  This is no end to this deal but it does say quantities limited.  Make sure you have an AAdvantage Loyalty number and to be safe, bring that number with you.  Some have reported telling the dealer when they arrive for the test drive that they are there for only the points and some dealers will give them the certificate and not make them do the test drive. For all the details about the offer, please click this link.   If do you this, pleases report back to me and I’ll list everyone’s experience.