GolfMiles

Introducing Golfmiles: Earn Thousands of Miles for Booking Rounds of Golf with Golfmiles

Being heavily invested in the travel hacking game, I thought I knew most of the ways one could earn miles. We all know we can earn miles from credit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts and even for filling out surveys, dining out, shopping online etc., but I just learned about a new method I’ve never heard about. You can earn thousands of miles for booking golf tee times with Golfmiles and I’ve partnered up with them to offer PointsCentric readers an exclusive 1,500 bonus miles on your first booking. Plus they are giving away 50,000 miles to celebrate their launch!

This offer is exclusively for PointsCentric readers

This offer is exclusively for PointsCentric readers!

Golfmiles is a new startup that is essentially an online booking site that aggregates all the available tee times at participating courses and rewards you with miles for every tee time through them. Golfmiles sounds quite similar to Rocketmiles or PointsHound but instead of hotel rooms, it is for rounds of golf instead. Golfmiles claims to have over 6,000 participating courses at this time.

Currently, Golfmiles awards miles in the following programs:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Etihad Guest
  • Frontier Airlines Early Returns
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • IcelandAir Saga Points
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin America Elevate Points
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

I’ve been playing around on the site which offers an easy, user friendly interface that seems to offer a wide range of options from the testing I’ve done. To test it, I searched for tee times for next weekend on Long Island and also searched for a tee time next Wednesday to see how the results compared.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a ton more availability on the weekday instead of the weekend. For next Wednesday, you can book almost 600 different tee times across 31 different courses. Depending on the course and tee time, you could earn anywhere from 100 miles to 1440 miles and that’s before the 1,500 bonus miles for your first booking. 

LongIslandWeekdayResults

Looking at the results for a tee time next weekend, there are less tee times available but interestingly the mileage payouts are a little bit higher. I was little surprised to see that but perhaps the course isn’t as nice (I’m not familiar enough with the courses to say). If you combined the first booking bonus of 1,500 miles to the below, that’s 3,420 miles for booking a single round of golf – not too shabby!

LongIslandWeekendResults

The big question about Golfmiles is whether their prices were competitive and in my limited testing, it certainly appears so. In almost every case I was able to match the rate Golfmiles produced to the rate on the course’s website though in come cases I couldn’t find the same tee times available on the course’s website. For instance, the Willow Creek Golf booking above was not available on the course’s site but the times surrounding indicate the rate from Golfmiles is actually cheaper.

WillowCreek

As mentioned earlier, I worked with Golfmiles to offer my readers an extra 1,500 bonus miles on your first booking if you signup via my link here. In the interest of full disclosure, I will receive a small amount of miles for every person who signs up for Golfmiles via my link and books a round of golf through them. To my knowledge, this is the best current offer for signing up for Golfmiles as I’ve been told this offer is only available through my referral link.

Additionally, to celebrate their launch Golfmiles is giving away 50,000 miles and non-golfers are eligible as well. You do not need to signup for Golfmiles to be eligible. Simply enter here via this link and fill out some basic information. 

It will be interesting to see if Golfmiles takes off but it is always nice to see another option for earning extra miles for activities you already do. If anyone has any questions about Golfmiles, please let me know and I’ll be happy to forward them on to my contact.

What are your thoughts on Golfmiles?

Changing an Award Ticket with No Easy Solution – What You Would Do in This Case?

I’ve been wanting to try out the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica for a while now and after convincing some of our friends to join us, I proceeded to book award flights and the hotel for 5 nights for a trip next month. I booked all of this several months ago and it was pretty straightforward. The hotel booking was easy – I found points + cash availability and redeemed a diamond suite upgrade for the first 4 nights. For the last night, I used my annual free night from the Hyatt credit card (this is probably one of the best uses for the annual free night since this hotel is a Category 4).

For the flights,  JetBlue and United offered the only non-stop flights from the NY area so I naturally looked there first. I decided to use 24,900 TrueBlue points per person for the roundtrip flight which is quite a deal when compared to other airlines such as United which charges 35,000 miles. Flights are generally expensive to Liberia since it is such a small airport so I was quite happy with this award redemption….until now.

Andaz Papgayo

Andaz Papgayo

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we need to come back Sunday instead of Monday and thus, I need to change my return flight. Unfortunately, we just found this out and with only a month to go to the trip, there are no great options for switching my flight without a hefty cost in miles and/or cash. I’m curious to what others would do in this scenario based on the options below so I’m turning the tables on my readers and asking what YOU would do in this scenario.

Here is what I think all my available options are – feel free to suggest others in the comments if I overlooked something!

1) Change JetBlue flight from Monday to Sunday – This would be the easiest option as I’d switch to my ideal flight home just a day earlier. Except JetBlue wants to charge me $150 per passenger to make this change + the incremental amount of points which is 14,300 points person. The total cost in this case is $300 + 28,600 TrueBlue points (really American Express Membership Rewards points as I don’t have enough TrueBlue points).

Interestingly an agent at JetBlue quoted me a price 27,200 points for the flight when I inquired about switching. She claimed the price below was web only pricing so I’ve factored the incremental points above based on this higher figure since I can’t make the change online. 

JetBlue option

2) Pay Cash – In short, this isn’t a realistic option. The cheapest one way flight home, while ideal due to being non-stop, is $431. For my wife and I that’s $862 on a pair of one-way flights. Ouch. While I could use Chase UR or Citi TY points to book this, I’d much prefer to save those points and redeem them by transferring to airline or hotel partners.

CashOptions

3) Delta Options – If I am going to say one positive thing about Delta’s program it’s that they will sell you almost any flight on miles for the right price. Here are my options which shows Delta has all the flights in economy at Level 5…that is if they actually had an award chart.

DeltaOptions

4) American Options – In a word, absurd and that’s being nice. Take a look at the screenshot below and guess which Sunday I need to return. Yup, 65k miles one way. For economy. No thank you.

AAOption

5) United and/or Copa Options – United unsurprisingly has no saver availability on their nonstop flight to Newark (or any flights operated solely by United) and since I don’t have the United Explorer credit card, I can’t even access standard awards in economy on any flight. I could use a standard award though for 70,000 miles one way for business class for that non-stop Newark flight. That at least beats the American option above since it is in business class right?

UnitedOption

An interesting option is with Copa & United though I really don’t want to land at 5:25am in the morning and have both of us head straight to work. Especially after a 9 hour layover (and I have no desire for a quick trip into Panama at this time). The upside here is I could spend less miles than in other options above and fly business class.

CopaOption

6) Try to get home from San Jose, Costa Rica – I also looked into award availability from the San Jose airport (SJO) which is a 4 hour drive from the Andaz. I really don’t want to do this drive or hire someone for it but if I found saver level availability from SJO, I would at least consider this option. Alas, I couldn’t find any saver availability and cash prices are roughly the same (except for some strange Spirit flight that leaves at 1am). 

Out of all those options, I think I’m leaning towards the JetBlue switching option as that seems to be the only semi-reasonable choice. While it undoubtedly sucks to pay more for this one-way flight home than I initially did for whole award and I also have to pony up for a change fee of $300, I don’t see a better way. If I really wanted the least cash outlay, I can look at the Delta or Copa options though at the expense of many more miles. For now, I think I’ll wait to see what (if anything) opens up as a saver level award on any airline is probably the ideal goal. 

What would you do in this case?

Quick Deal: Take $10 off $200 Visa Gift Cards at Staples.com 

Update: Deal dead – Out of stock. Told you it was gonna go quick!

Via Doctor of Credit, Staples is offering $10 off $200 Visa gift cards with a limit of 3 cards per person. Since each Visa card has a $6.95 purchase fee, you will net $3.05 per card but that’s not the main reason you want to do this. It’s all about the points!   

If you have a card that earns 5x at office supply stores, this is essentially a way to earn thousands of points while making a profit. 

Assuming you have a Chase Ink card and you max out this promotion you will buy $600 of Visa gift cards for $590.85. For that you will earn 2,954.25 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Assuming you value those points at 1.5 cents each (which is low), that’s an additional profit of ~$44 on this deal. 

When combining those earnings with the $9.15 pure profit on the cards, this deal is worth over $50. For about 2 minutes of your time, this can’t be beat. 
I do not expect to this deal to last all day so be quick! 

PSA: The Alaska Airlines 25,000 Miles + $100 Statement Credit Offer Never Actually Disappered

Last month, I posted how I found a way to generate the Alaska Airlines 25,000 miles + $100 statement credit offer when many had thought it was a goner. Then Maximizing Money one-upped me and found a direct link which made getting the offer easier and quicker. Since then a direct working link has come & gone several times and much ado is made when a working link returns. That’s nice and all but my PSA for today is that this offer is always available – working link or not. Let me remind you how. 

Last month, I stumbled across the offer while pretending to book a flight on AlaskaAir.com. Sometimes making a reservation, whether it be for a flight or hotel, can generate a better offer on the applicable credit card, as seen in the past with Hyatt and IHG. I tried to replicate this with Alaska Air and BAM, there was the offer on the payment page.

Emeril

I swear the offer appeared just like that…

For those that need more of a step by step instruction:

1. Go to AlaskaAir.com and start booking a flight. It doesn’t matter where but I’d chose somewhere fun.

2. Choose the flights and start filling out the passenger info.

3. You can skip the seat selection and all those add-ons. You just want to get to the payment page – its not like you will be flying this anyway.

4. Scroll down to where you would enter your credit card and look to the right. BAM!

Alaska100

5. Click “Apply Now” (duh) and you’ll be brought to a page that looks like below. Voilà!

AlaskaApplication

While it is a nice to have a working link to save you the 30 seconds of getting the offer in the way I outlined above, please remember you can use this approach to get this offer on demand. Bank of America will undoubtedly pull this this current working link at some point so the next time you apply for one or two of these cards don’t fret if you don’t find a working link. Bookmark this post as a reminder and let Bank of America pay you $25 to earn 25,000 miles.

Award Trip Breakdown: What To Do in Seattle for a Long Weekend

In the first installment of this two part series, I posted about how we were visiting a friend of ours who moved out to Seattle for only $11.20. While the purpose of this trip was to see our friend, we also wanted to explore Seattle as neither my wife nor I had ever been. I thought I would present what we did in a timeline of sorts which really shows how much you can do in a long weekend if you need to minimize vacation time (I only took Friday off from work) while maximizing sightseeing time.

Great view of Mount Rainier from Observation Deck of the Space Needle

Great view of Mount Rainier from Observation Deck of the Space Needle

Thursday:

4:00 pm EST- Left work in NYC and took LIRR/Airtrain to head to JFK Terminal 4 for flight.

~6:40 pm EST – Departed JFK on-way to Seattle. Watched several episodes of Sports Jeopardy and realized I’m better than 70% or so of the contestants I saw.

10:20 pm PST (1:20 am EST) – Landed in Seattle and after taxing to gate, taking train to central terminal and waiting, we grabbed a taxi to Hilton Seattle.

~10:45 pm PST (~1:45 am EST) – Arrive at Hilton Seattle, checkin and being too tried for a drink, head straight to bed. Lame, I know.

Friday:

9:00 am PST – After eating breakfast in the executive lounge at the Hilton, our friend Eileen picks us up for an hour drive to Wallace Falls State Park for a 5.5 mile hike.

Great views on our hike

Great views on our hike

2:00 pm PST – After the hike, get back to Seattle and enjoy lunch by Alki Beach. We were absolutely blessed with sunny, 70-80 degrees weather our whole weekend. I hear this is rare for May. 

5:00 pm PST – Head to a bar near Safeco field to watch my NY Rangers lost game 7 to Tampa Bay. I did get a free drink – it didn’t make me feel any better.

8:00 pm PST – Grab tickets off a scalper for the Mariners-Indians game for cheap as the game is already in the 3rd inning. Sneak down to the 100 field level seats. Apparently it was “90s Firework” night after the game so of course we stuck around to watch fireworks and listen to Nirvana. #SmellsLikeTeenSpirit

Seattle6

Saturday:

10:00 am PST – Skip breakfast at the Hilton and head to the new Starbucks Roastery & Tasting Room. What a beautiful space – includes displays with how Starbucks roasts coffee with some impressive looking machines. Also part Starbucks store with several unique food and drink offerings only at this location. Highly recommend a coffee or espresso flight if you are into coffee.

12:00 pm PST – After walking through downtown for a while,  we picked up our rental car from Hertz for the day (grand total of $1.75 in fees since I used Hertz points) and drive 30 minutes to visit Boeing for the Factory Tour.

1:00 pm PST – Boeing Factory Tour. If you are an #AVGeek, this is a must do when in Seattle. In the world’s largest building by volume (the tour guide stated you could fit Disneyland in the building AND still have 12 acres leftover), we were able to see 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners in various stages of production. Really informative and fun.

Boeing

Snagged a picture of the Dreamlifter

Snagged a picture of the Dreamlifter

4:00 pm PST – Get back into Seattle, drop off rental car, quick refresh at the hotel and head to the Space Needle. Protip – Buy your tickets in advance as it is a timed entry so you don’t waste too much time in line. Had a great view of the city and Mount Rainier as mentioned earlier. Didn’t spend a time of here but on a nice day, I think the views are worth it.

Touristy Photo at the Space Needle

Touristy Photo at the Space Needle – No I don’t know those other people who crashed our photo

6:00 pm PST – Eileen picks us up and we head out to Golden Gardens Park. Grab a nice spot on the beach and enjoy the sunset with some cold beers. Great vibe at the park – worth a stop by if you are near Ballard though parking can be a pain.

8:00 pm PST – Head back to Eileen’s house in Queen Anne and BBQ for dinner & drinks with friends.

Sunday:

8:00 am PST – Up early and head out to the Starbucks Roastery again as I wanted to try some of their different coffee drinks I couldn’t have elsewhere. If you order a coffee flight, you will learn a lot about the different coffee from your barista.

9:00 am PST – Head off to Pike Place Market to see the infamous “flying fish” along with everything else for sale. Maybe its me but I wasn’t impressed on the whole. Felt like a lot of touristy junk for sale mixed with fish and other food for sale. Saw the original Starbucks which actually isn’t the original Starbucks (the very original Starbucks was several blocks away and moved to that location). No desire to come back and see this – sorry Pike Place fans.

Obligatory Pike Place Sign Photo

Obligatory Pike Place Sign Photo

11:00 am PST – On a recommendation, we check out the Chihuly Garden & Glass Exhibit. Featuring the glass work of the renowned Dale Chihuly, this was one of the most stunning exhibits I’ve ever seen. I kept asking myself how the heck did we blow glass into that!?! We spent an hour here and left very impressed.

Yes, that's all glass.

Yes, that’s all glass.

2:00 pm PST – Took an Uber to CentruyLink Field to catch the Sounders vs. Red Bulls soccer match. Walked around the stadium pre-match and it was a great atmosphere. It was my first MLS game but I was hooked! Sounders fans are loud and kept it going the whole match. A great time even for my wife who never watched any soccer match before this.

Seattle1

4:00 pm PST – We did a mini bar crawl on the way back to the hotel to celebrate the Sounders victory. We checked out the Triangle Pub (yes, it’s really in the shape of a triangle) and some German Biergarten as we slowly made our way back to our hotel. We figured the best way to get through our red-eye flight home was to not remember it :P

7:30 pm PST – Finally stumble back to the hotel where we pick up our luggage we stored there for the day. Requested an Uber and was off to Sea-Tac for the flight home.

8:45 pm PST – Had some crappy dinner in the dinner. In the Delta S gates, there is nothing to eat. All awful choices with some meager food-court and a gross restaurant. Please eat before you get here, you’ll thank me later.

~9:50 pm PST – Depart Sea-Tac for the short 4.5 hour red-eye home to JFK.

Monday:

5:45 am EST – Land at JFK, quick Uber home so I can shower & change and then off to work. Successful long weekend in Seattle complete!

Who says you can’t fit a lot in a long weekend? I felt we did a wide range of activities and hit the big attractions in Seattle. This was a perfect long weekend for us and we’ll be doing this type of trip soon in Chicago next month.