250 Free Virgin America Elevate Points

The big news of the day was Virgin America being added as Starwood’s newest transfer partner a solid 1:1 ratio (unlike the American Express Membership Rewards transfer ratio which is 2:1). To celebrate the new partnership, Virgin America is having a contest, along with Starwood, to win a trip to Hawaii and you can earn 250 Virgin America Elevate points just for entering.


You can enter the promotion by filing out the form on MakeYourHawaiiscape.com by May 27, 2016. The prizes for the contest seem pretty solid as well including airfare and hotel for a trip to Oahu or Maui. Everyone who enters the contest gets 250 points. 

It took all of 30 seconds to enter (you don’t actually have to fill out a reason why you need a vacation, just select one from the list) and I’m not one to turn down free points. Even if you have no need for Virgin America points, I expect these points to turn into 250 or 500 Alaska miles down the road, depending on the final conversion of Virgin America points to Alaska MileagePlan miles.

P.S. I just got back from a nice 9 night vacation/babymoon to Hawaii which is why I haven’t posted at all in the past weeks. I’m still in the process of catching up so expect a more normal posting schedule to return next week.





Now Live: 1,000 Free Hilton HHonors Points for Changing Your Password

Last month, Hilton announced a promotion in which they would give members 1,000 Free Hilton HHonors points for creating a password instead of using a 4 digit pin number to log in. However due to technical difficulties, this promotion was not yet effective until NOW as the Hilton representative on Flyertalk confirmed the promotion is now active. Basically, if you changed your Hilton HHonors password before today, then you need to change it again to get the free 1,000 points. You must change your password by March 25th to get the 1,000 free points.


Here is how to change your Hilton HHonors password:

  • Click here to log in to your account with your current username/membership number and existing password/ PIN
  • On the left side under the My Profile section, click Personal Information.
  • Select Change Password and choose a new password

That’s it. A pretty easy 1,000 points while making your account more secure. That’s a win-win.

For those interested, here is the complete information from Flyertalk:



Quick Deal: Free Shutterfly Hard Cover 8×8 Photo Book & 250 JetBlue TrueBlue Points

If you are a member of JetBlue’s frequent flyer program, you may have gotten an email from JetBlue offering you a free 8×8 hard cover photo book, 50 free prints and 250 JetBlue TrueBlue points for signup for Shutterfly and purchasing the “free” photo book.  You must signup via the link below by February 1st and this is for new Shutterfly accounts only (hint: use a different email address if you already have an account).

Offer Landing Page

Offer Landing Page

Here is a direct link to the offer.

The “free” photobook will cost actually cost you $7.99 in shipping fees but considering the normal price of a Shutterfly 8×8 hard cover photo book at $29.99 (currently on sale for $22.49) this is actually quite a good deal. The 250 JetBlue points are icing on the cake to me but not worth doing solely for the points. This could be a nice way to print out some memories from your travels and earn some extra points on top of it.

Travel Hacking Year End Checklist: Here is What You Need to Do Before January 1st

Year end is here and as such, there are several calendar year opportunities that you want to make sure you’ve taken advantage of before Thursday. Additionally, there are some limited time opportunities that may not be around much longer, so I’ve included those items below as well.

The clock is ticking...

The clock is ticking…

Here is a list of items you want to make sure you’ve taken care of before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

1. Spend the $200 American Express Platinum Airline Credit – Each calendar year, Amex Platinum cardholders (both personal and business) get a $200 airline credit to spend toward fees on a specified airline. You must first select the airline here and if you made a selection last year, it is automatically carried forward for 2014 (you can change this selection once a year in January). Even though the official language regarding this credit is meant to cover baggage fees, lounge passes etc., I always buy gift cards to make sure I fulfill this $200 credit, since I wouldn’t complete it on fees alone. Buying $50 Delta e-gift cards or $100 American Airlines gift cards does the trick. 

2. Spend the $300 Ritz Carlton Credit Card Travel Credit – Similar to the Amex Platinum above, the Ritz Carlton credit card offers $300 annually in travel credit for baggage fees, lounge passes, seat upgrades and other fees, but with two key differences: 1) The $300 credit can cover multiple charges from different airlines and 2) You have to call in to request reimbursement. This second part makes it a little trickier to use this credit for gift cards since they aren’t technically eligible for reimbursement and by having a person manually review every charge (as compared to the Amex Platinum where the credit is automatically generated) it is harder to get reimbursed for gift cards. There are two good threads that have some reports on people getting reimbursed for gift cards here and here. It seems buying gift cards in denominations of stated fees, such as pet fees and checked baggage fees have been working if you are willing to fudge the truth on what the charge is actually for if the agent asks. This is a YMMV scenario.

3. Book Hyatt My Elite Rate & Book via Hyatt Mobile App- I’ve covered this before but Hyatt is ending the My Elite Rate in 2015. If you have any known paid stays upcoming in 2015, you might want to lock in the My Elite Rate now and if you see it go cheaper or your plans change, you could always cancel as most My Elite Rates are cancelable up until a few days before the stay. In addition, the ability to earn 1,000 bonus points if you book a stay via the Hyatt mobile app is ending on 12/31.

4. Maximize Chase Freedom 4th Quarter 5% Bonus – The Chase Freedom Q4 5% Bonus is Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select Department stores. In these categories you will earn 5% cash back up to $1,500 in spend in these categories.  I’m a big Amazon shopper so I will always stock up on Amazon gift cards when the 5% bonus is active on the Freedom card to make sure I hit the $1,500 in spend. You could take a similar approach for department stores or Zappos by buying gift cards for future purchases.

5. Apply for the US Airways MasterCard  – I’m technically cheating on this one since I believe this offer will be around after 12/31 but now is a great time to apply for the US Airways MasterCard. This card is going away at some point in early 2015 (maybe January 18th?) and this is the final call to earn a signup bonus on this card. The current offers are 50,000 miles after first purchase that is valid for everyone and an offer targeted for Preferred Members that offers the same 50,000 miles + 10,000 miles upon renewal. I’ve heard several reports that if you apply for the offer meant for Preferred members but you aren’t a Preferred member and you do not get automatically approved, Barclays will no longer approve you for this offer if you call the reconsideration line. In that case, I recommend going for the standard 50,000 offer and remember there is a refer a friend offer ongoing.

6. Earn 500 Free Points from Virgin America – This is a pretty easy 500 points for a minute of work but this offer expires on 12/31. Here is the link to the offer as well as my write-up on the offer.

7. Check Your American Express Offers – Many good deals expire on 12/31/14 including $10 off Uber, $15 off Toys R Us, and others. If you didn’t register for some of these offers earlier, they may not appear in your account now and others were more targeted. However, for the ones you do have, check to see if any expiring 12/31 offers are worth taking advantage of.

8. Try to Earn 1,000 Free Hilton HHonors Points – Hilton HHonors is running a targeted promotion that gives users 1,000 free HHonors points for updating your email address. I wasn’t targeted as I got a message indicating they had my email address on file. This offer expires on 12/31 so I think its worth a minute of your time to see if your account is eligible for a free 1,000 points.

9. Take 10% off Hyatt Stays with Hyatt Gift Cards – I’ve discussed this deal previously and while the expiration date for this promotion isn’t known, it is widely assumed to be 12/31/14.

I’m sure I missed something here. What else are you doing before year end? Thanks to PointChaser for inspiration of this post.

Point & Center: 1,000 Free Hyatt Points (Targeted), Double Points on Purchases at Small Businesses, Amex Small Business Saturday Credits Now Posting & Earn Miles for Parking

Here is a quick rundown of what you should know about in the points & miles blogosphere.

1) 1,000 Free Hyatt Points (Targeted) – Hyatt sent out emails to certain Hyatt members offering them 1,000 Free Hyatt points as a way to say thank you for being a member. If you got the email, all you had to do was click the link in the email by January 31st and you would receive the 1,000 points. It is widely speculated that the only members to receive the email from Hyatt were Chase Hyatt Visa credit card holders that were also Diamond members. I have the Hyatt Visa but I am not a current Diamond member (I was earlier this year) but I did not receive the email.

You can try to register for the free points at this link here but it wouldn’t work for any of the accounts I manage. Otherwise if you are a Chase Hyatt Visa holder and a Diamond member check your email folders, especially your spam folder as some people reported seeing their email in their junk folder.


2) Double Points on Purchases at Small Businesses for American Express Everyday Card Holders – If you have an American Express Everyday or Everyday Preferred credit card, you can register for a special promotion from American Express to earn 2x points on purchases made at small businesses. The link to register can be found here. This offer comes on the heels of Small Business Saturday (see next paragraph) so it is encouraging to see Amex entice customers to continue to shop small. 2x points won’t make you points-rich overnight but it’s better than nothing. Here is a map of small businesses that would qualify.


3) $10 Small Business Saturday Credits Now Posting – This past Saturday was Small Business Saturday and I mentioned earlier how for each American Express Card you have (including authorized users cards, prepaid cards like Bluebird & Serve and even store Amex card like the Macy’s American Express) you could earn a $10 statement each time you spent $10+ at a small business, up to 3x per card. So you could effectively make three$10 transactions per Amex card and receive $30 in statements credits thereby making your purchases free!

Andrea & I had a total of ten Amex cards between us and we scored $300 worth of free stuff! We bought $200 in gift cards at a small, local grocer (swiping $10 at a time) and then purchased a $100 gift card to our favorite Italian restaurant in the area (again swiping $10 at a time). While checking my statements online today, I noticed that all the $10 credits hit my account thereby confirming we received $300 free in gift cards! While Amex does say it can take 90 days to receive the credit, check your account to see if your credits have posted.


4) Earn Miles for Parking – I’m always interested in earning more miles, especially in cases where I am not currently earning any miles. There are several parking programs, Thanks Again & PreFlight Parking in which you can miles for parking, mostly related to airport parking. The earning ratio appears to be a mile per dollar spent on parking in most cases which isn’t a ton but if you frequently park at airports before your travels, you might as well earn some additional miles for it. Check out MileNerd’s post for more details on the different programs.