rewards programs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8237/all en-US 9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_beach_vacation_538041934.jpg" alt="Woman finding simple ways to save on hotels" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Booking the right accommodations can make or break your stay &mdash; and your travel budget. So once you've taken the time to carefully research your hotel for your next trip, make sure you secure a good room and rate during your booking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Hotel Booking Tips From Professional Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Use Rewards Programs</h2> <p>By now, you've probably realized that you should always be earning frequent flyer miles when you fly, but did you know this is also true for hotels? Many major hotel brands such as Hilton and Hyatt offer free loyalty rewards programs that let you accumulate points toward free nights just by staying at properties within their chain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Breakdown of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs</a>)</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t want to be tied down to one particular hotel chain, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-online-booking-sites?ref=internal" target="_blank">online booking sites</a> often have their own rewards programs that allow you to accumulate points and earn rewards by purchasing travel through them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-known-trick-to-getting-exclusive-travel-discounts-and-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Little Known Trick to Getting Exclusive Travel Discounts</a>)</p> <h2>2. Earn Elite Status</h2> <p>There's nothing complicated about earning elite status with a specific chain of hotels. To start, you'll want to focus on one chain of hotels that you like and book there consistently.</p> <p>However, you can speed up the process by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card that gives you elite status</a>. Some give you a status boost just for being a cardmember. With others, you&rsquo;ll need to spend a certain amount on the card before you get elite status.</p> <p>Having elite status can get you perks like free breakfast, upgrades, Wi-Fi, bonus points, and welcome gifts. Be sure to mention your status when you complete the booking and inquire about special accommodations or amenities that may be available to you.</p> <h2>3. Take Advantage of Status Match</h2> <p>If you have earned a certain status with one hotel brand, you may be able to leverage this with other chains as well. Call another brand and find out if they will match your status. To qualify for some status match programs, you will have to provide documentation proving your status with the first hotel chain.</p> <p>Keep in mind that if you've used credit card spending to reach an elite status, this may not qualify you for elite status with another hotel brand.</p> <h2>4. Book Directly &mdash; By Phone</h2> <p>It may sound simple, but many people are hesitant to contact the hotel directly, especially in the Internet age where most bookings are done online. People have become accustomed to doing everything from their computers, but sometimes to get the best deal you actually have to call the hotel to book your stay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Negotiate a Hotel Room Rate</a>)</p> <p>First, you'll need to do your homework to get an idea of the going rate online. Then call the hotel directly. Ask the reservationist to give you a better deal than what you found with a third-party booking site.</p> <p>Almost all hotels prefer you to book directly with them, since it saves them from paying a commission to an online booking website. Use this to your advantage and ask that they throw in an extra perk for booking directly, like a complimentary upgrade, a room with a view, or another incentive such as free early check-in or late check-out.</p> <h2>5. Communicate Early About Special Occasions</h2> <p>Always inform the hotel if you'll be celebrating any occasion during your stay. Hotels will usually try to accommodate with a free upgrade, and if you're visiting them during your honeymoon they may even throw in a welcome gift like champagne to show their appreciation for your business.</p> <p>Ideally, you should inform the hotel of your special occasion while you're making the booking, but it doesn't hurt to remind them while you're checking in.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How to Stay in a 5 Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a></p> <h2>6. Take Advantage of Last-Minute Deals</h2> <p>In general, it&rsquo;s best to reserve your room in advance. But if you have to book at the last minute, you can sometimes do so without having to pay top dollar. Websites like <a href="https://www.roomertravel.com" target="_blank">Roomer</a> and <a href="https://www.cancelon.com/" target="_blank">Cancelon</a> can help you secure a reduced rate from last-minute hotel cancellations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hotel-room-booking-tools-every-frugal-traveler-should-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Hotel Room Booking Tools Every Traveler Should Know</a>)</p> <h2>7. Use Coupons</h2> <p>Coupons can really reduce the cost of your booking, especially when you're booking a package or last-minute stay. Sites like <a href="https://www.groupon.com/" target="_blank">Groupon</a> are especially good for last-minute deals.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></p> <h2>8. Cash in Airline Miles to Buy Rooms</h2> <p>Have you been racking up thousands of airline miles that you&rsquo;re not sure how to use? You may be able to cash them in to pay for hotel rooms. Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> allow you to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-hotels?ref=internal" target="_blank">transfer points to hotel programs</a>, which you can then use to pay for your booking.</p> <h2>9. Write a Review for a Future Booking</h2> <p>Did you know you can earn a commission toward a future booking with <a href="https://www.yonderbound.com/" target="_blank">Yonderbound</a>? All you have to do is write a review on the Yonderbound website after your stay. Then, when someone books a stay at the property after reading your review, you can earn 70% of the website's commission, which works out to about 10% of the booking&rsquo;s list price.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20Hotel%20Stays.jpg&amp;description=9%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20Hotel%20Stays" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20Hotel%20Stays.jpg" alt="9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-costly-flight-booking-mistakes-you-make-all-the-time">8 Costly Flight Booking Mistakes You Make All the Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore">Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ultimate-money-saving-tips-for-travelers">6 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accommodations airline miles booking coupons elite status hotels rewards programs status match trips vacations Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871078 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000066208635.jpg" alt="Woman using best tools for tracking reward miles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most challenging aspects of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles">earning points and miles</a> is keeping track of all of your accounts. Every airline, hotel, car rental company, and credit card program has a separate account, each with its own user name, password, current balance, and possibly an expiration date. It's not that unusual for frequent travelers to have more than a dozen accounts to manage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with Travel Rewards</a>)</p> <p>Thankfully, there are a few tools that can help you collect all this information, view it all in one place, and even help you use it efficiently. You will never lose or forget about your hard earned rewards again!</p> <h2>AwardWallet</h2> <p><a href="https://awardwallet.com/#/">AwardWallet</a> is one of the oldest, and most popular websites for tracking points, miles, and other loyalty programs. It currently boasts over a third of a million users who use it to track nearly 70 <em>billion</em> points and miles. The basic version is free and will track the reward balances for an unlimited number of programs for you and your family members. It will also track your travel plans and notify you via email when your balances are about to expire. AwardWallet Plus is available for a donation (the amount at your discretion) and includes extra reward account properties, a historical account balance chart, and the ability to export the information to an Excel format.</p> <h2>Points.com Loyalty Wallet</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11373616-1368501104000">Points.com</a> is one of the leading companies that work with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles" target="_blank">loyalty programs of airlines</a>, hotels, and retailers. While much of its business is providing the technological backend to the companies that operate these programs, it also offers its Loyalty Wallet service to consumers, which can track and manage your accounts in over 110 different loyalty programs. While this may sound like a lot of companies, it's far from comprehensive. For example, there are notable absences such as British Airways, Wyndham, and Chase. However, Points.com is unique in that it offers users the ability to exchange points and miles between different programs, but at less than a 1:1 ratio. It also lets you redeem your points and miles for merchandise and gift cards. There is no charge to use this service.</p> <h2>Expert Flyer</h2> <p>Earning airline miles is one thing, but finding available award seats is a whole other task. <a href="http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=25056">ExpertFlyer</a> allows you to search for airlines award seats and upgrade availability quickly and easily. The basic subscription is $4.99 a month and it allows you to create seat alerts so you are notified when an award becomes available. The Premium version is $9.99 a month or $99 a year, and offers aircraft change alerts, saved queries, and a mobile edition. There is also a free version available with limited functionality.</p> <h2>Tripit Pro</h2> <p><a href="https://www.tripit.com/pro/features">Tripit Pro</a> is a travel organizing tool that produces detailed daily itineraries for every trip while providing real-time flight alerts and notifications. It also allows you to stay on top of all the points and miles that you earn from over 150 different travel rewards programs with its Point Tracker feature. And while other point tracking applications require you to manually enter your program details, Tripit Pro lets you forward your monthly and quarterly statements to their email address, and the program will automatically populate the information on your account. This program, which is accessible via both a web browser and a mobile app, will alert you when your points or miles are about to expire. Other features include a seat tracker, the ability to share itineraries, and notifications of when you are eligible for a flight refund. The cost to use Tripit Pro is $49 per year, but you can try it for free for 30 days.</p> <h2>Superfly</h2> <p><a href="https://www.superfly.com/#!/main/">Superfly</a> is an app that assists in many aspects of your travel planning including performing flight searches and viewing your travel history. In addition, it allows you to manage all of your reward points and miles in one place with its Rewards Dashboard. It will also estimate the value of your miles based on the cost of tickets and the benefits provided, and it supports adding accounts from friends and family members. Another novel feature is the Lounge section, which allows you to network with other frequent flyers who have the same status on a particular airline. Finally, making reservations through Superfly can enable you to receive 5%-10% cash back on hotel bookings.</p> <h2>Award Mapper</h2> <p><a href="http://awardmapper.com/">Award Mapper</a> is a simple website that offers a map based interface that allows you to search for hotels based on the loyalty program they are a member of. This is useful when you are looking to stay at a hotel and earn points in a particular program, or if you have points from one or more programs that you wish to use. There is no charge to use this app.</p> <p><em>What tools do you use for tracking reward miles? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying">How to Earn Tons of Frequent Flyer Miles Without Flying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline">How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">12 Travel Perks You Didn&#039;t Know Your Credit Card Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping Technology Travel frequent flyer loyalty programs miles rewards programs Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Jason Steele 1666767 at http://www.wisebread.com The 11 Craziest Elite Airline Perks http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-craziest-elite-airline-perks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-11-craziest-elite-airline-perks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich_woman_private_jet_000035477554.jpg" alt="Rich woman taking advantage of elite airline perks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Entrance to the cushy lounge, upgrades to business class, priority boarding &mdash; those are airline perks for chumps. The real elites &mdash; especially those who <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-creative-uses-for-airline-miles">fly a million miles</a> or more, or generate more revenue for airlines than any other passengers &mdash; are collecting perks that the proletariat only dream of.</p> <p>Here are some of the most mind-boggling perks enjoyed by the high flyers.</p> <h2>1. Go by Private Jet</h2> <p>Delta made news when it announced that select frequent flyers could pay a small fee ($300 to $800) to upgrade from a commercial flight to one of the <a href="http://news.delta.com/ultimate-upgrade-private-jet">company's executive jets</a>, which hold a few dozen passengers max. These lucky customers get an email from the airline when the option to upgrade is available.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Connection in a Porsche</h2> <p>Have a tight connection? Members of United's ultra-elite Global Services program can get transferred across the tarmac <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323665504579029302122205982">via Mercedes</a>, and members of Delta's invite-only Delta 360 program can get <a href="http://www.johnnyjet.com/2014/06/inside-delta-visit-airlines-atlanta-headquarters/">picked up in a Porsche</a>, right at their plane. These services are only available at certain airports.</p> <h2>3. Have a Car Waiting for You</h2> <p>Why should the airline only transport you from airport to airport? Emirates provides a <a href="http://www.ausbt.com.au/invitation-only-the-club-that-emirates-doesn-t-want-to-talk-about">chauffeured Range Rover</a> to pick up members of its Invitation Only elite club at home and drop them off at their final destination after the flight.</p> <h2>4. Have a Jumbo Jet Wait for You</h2> <p>British Airways may <a href="http://www.loungebuddy.com/secret-airline-loyalty-programs-ultimate-guide/">delay flights up to 30 minutes</a> to accommodate their high-value passengers, according to the website LoungeBuddy.</p> <h2>5. Get Downton-Abbey-Level Personal Attention</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be grand if you arrived at the airport to find <em>Downton Abbey</em> butler Carson waiting to take your bags, whisk you through security, and settle you in the lounge, where another staffer waits with your favorite cocktail? What if you need someone to run an errand for you?</p> <p>Members of invite-only programs get this kind of butlering from airline staff all the time. A staff member might meet you curbside with boarding pass in hand and take you right to the front of the TSA line. You might also get to check-in at a separate check-in area from the plebes. According to the Wall Street Journal, running out to the mall to replace a stained shirt is just one way that United Airlines staff have <a href="http://www.newser.com/story/173037/uniteds-secret-fliers-club-comes-with-crazy-perks.html">pampered their most elite flyers</a>.</p> <h2>6. Hang Out in a Secret Luxury Lounge</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ausbt.com.au/inside-the-secret-world-of-vip-travel-and-invitation-only-lounges">Qantas Chairman's Lounge members</a> aren't just people who fly a lot &mdash; they're influencers personally selected by the airline's chairman. Once you're in the club, you can stroll up to frosted glass doors usually marked &quot;PRIVATE&quot; and enjoy an all-day self-serve bar and gourmet food served up at any time. Chairman's Lounge members can also use those ordinary first class Qantas lounges anytime they want, event if they're not flying that day.</p> <h2>7. Get Guaranteed Seating &mdash; Event When the Flight Is Sold Out</h2> <p>This perk is more at the rumor level, but they say that if you are a super-elite flyer and your flight is canceled or delayed, the airline will boot a less-valued passenger off a fully-booked flight to make room for you. More widely confirmed is the fact that airlines have dedicated staff tracking elites' itineraries, and will automatically rebook them as soon as a delay or cancellation occurs.</p> <h2>8. Take a Shower</h2> <p>In normal life, most of us don't consider showering a privilege. But at 40,000 feet? Only people willing to pay thousands of dollars per flight or elites who snag upgrades get to suds up. On Emirates A380s, the first class <a href="http://www.emirates.com/us/english/flying/cabin_features/first_class/first_class.aspx">Shower Spa</a> is decked in walnut and marble, has heated floors, and, according to the blog <a href="http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/08/16/the-five-nicest-airplane-bathrooms/">One Mile at a Time</a>, is stocked with &quot;enough amenities to start a toiletry resale business.&quot; But for obvious reasons, even an elite flyer can't take a long shower in the air &mdash; first class passengers are limited to five minutes of water.</p> <p>After you've showered and shaved &mdash; using the complimentary Bulgari shower kit &mdash; you'll be ready to rub shoulders with other elites over a cocktail at the bar of the Emirates first and business class lounge.</p> <h2>9. Stretch Out</h2> <p>Airlines' luxury first class suites like the ones on Singapore Airlines, where your seat converts to a bed and you have total privacy, have gotten a lot of &quot;ooh&quot;s and &quot;ah&quot;s online. One Mile at a Time explains that you don't have to spend $23,000 to fly in one of these suites; they're actually <a href="http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/10/02/secret-flying-singapore-suites/">pretty attainable for frequent flyers</a> with points to spend.</p> <h2>10. Take Home a Luxury Amenity Bag</h2> <p>When my brother was in high school, he and his best friend were almost bumped off an American Airlines flight while on their way to visit me in Paris. Somehow my mother persuaded the airline to bump them to business class instead, and the boys were delighted not just by being served wine onboard, but by the little vinyl pouches containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, and combs.</p> <p>As nice as those pouches were, they're nothing compared to the <a href="http://www.afar.com/magazine/the-best-amenity-kits-in-first-class">Bulgari pouches and leather dopp kits</a> that Emirates gives business class travelers, stuffed with Bulgari-designed lotion and even a pair of PJs. First class female passengers also receive <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewstibbe/2013/08/03/the-worlds-7-best-first-class-airline-amenity-kits/">Bulgari perfume</a> in their kits. While these bags aren't reserved for elite frequent flyers, such flyers are a lot more likely to end up in the cabins that get them, because of their upgrade privileges.</p> <h2>11. Drink $1,000 Worth of Champagne</h2> <p>Frequent flyer &quot;macabus&quot; on the FlyerTalk community describes consuming <a href="http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1074418-8-bottles-dom-lax-bkk-sq-f.html">eight bottles of Dom Perignon</a> on a first class journey from Los Angeles to Bangkok, which he estimated was worth more than a grand. You don't have to be an elite flyer to down a lot of champagne in first class, but since the flight attendants know who the elites are, they're more likely to keep your glass full without you having to so much as look up. One Mile at a Time blogger Ben Schlappig even found a bottle of Dom on ice <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/ben-schlappig-airlines-fly-free-20150720?page=8">waiting for him in the shower</a> on one flight.</p> <p><em>Have you ever experienced first class service or perks while flying? What'd you get?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-11-craziest-elite-airline-perks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2011%20Craziest%20Elite%20Airline%20Perks.jpg&amp;description=The%2011%20Craziest%20Elite%20Airline%20Perks" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%2011%20Craziest%20Elite%20Airline%20Perks.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-craziest-elite-airline-perks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-cheapest-ways-to-fly-first-class">The 10 Cheapest Ways to Fly First Class</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline perks elite membership first class free flights rewards programs vip status Tue, 22 Sep 2015 17:00:23 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1561549 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Game the System and Save Big at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-game-the-system-and-save-big-at-cvs-walgreens-and-rite-aid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-game-the-system-and-save-big-at-cvs-walgreens-and-rite-aid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_credit_card_000019484812.jpg" alt="Woman gaming the system at major drug store chains" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When looking for savings, shopping at big name drugstores used to be a no-no.</p> <p>But <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-places-to-buy-inexpensive-natural-beauty-products">CVS</a>, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have useful rewards programs that, when used right, can help you get the most bang out of your buck. Here's a list of useful tricks to maximize savings at these three big name drugstores.</p> <h2>1. CVS</h2> <p>The receipts from CVS can be so long that they inspire <a href="http://imgur.com/APyaKWu">Halloween costumes</a>. However, when it comes to savings, those paper coupons are just the tip of the iceberg.</p> <p>The most important step is to sign up for the <a href="http://www.cvs.com/extracare/landing.jsp">ExtraCare Rewards</a> program online or in-store to receive 2% cash back on purchases made throughout a quarter.</p> <p>Follow these tips to maximize your ExtraCare Rewards savings:</p> <ul> <li>Opt-in to receive mailers and emails, because CVS sends out coupons ranging from $5 off a $20 purchase to 35% off the total purchase.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, download the CVS mobile app and connect your ExtraCare Rewards card to receive a <a href="http://www.cvs.com/mobile-cvs/apps">$3 coupon</a>. The app is also a great way to store most of your CVS coupons in digital form. CVS sometimes surprises app users with additional ExtraBucks Rewards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Enroll in the <a href="http://www.cvs.com/extracare-cvs/beauty-club/join">ExtraCare Beauty Club</a> and you'll receive a 10% coupon immediately. You'll also receive a $5 ExtraBucks Rewards for every $50 spent on qualifying beauty purchases and $3 ExtraBucks rewards on your birthday.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Individuals with diabetes can enroll in the <a href="http://www.cvs.com/extracare-cvs/ecad/join">ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes</a> program for double ExtraBucks Rewards on over 100 qualifying products.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Through <a href="https://www.veteransadvantage.com/vauser3/register?partner=cvs">Veterans Advantage</a>, active members of the U.S. armed forces, veterans, and their family members can receive 20% off coupons to use in-store, and 20% off and free shipping codes to use online.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The <a href="http://www.cvs.com/extracare-cvs/rxrewards">ExtraCare Pharmacy &amp; Health Rewards</a> program gets you a $5 Pharmacy and Health ExtraBucks Rewards by filling 10 prescriptions at CVS. Completing certain tasks, such as adding email or text alerts for refill notifications, also counts towards that goal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Print out <a href="http://www.cvs.com/deals/deals.jsp">special deals</a> at the CVS site, check for additional coupons at the in-store coupon centers, and bring manufacturer coupons that you clipped in other places.</li> </ul> <p>Now that's how you stack savings on top of savings!</p> <h2>2. Walgreens</h2> <p>Through the <a href="https://www.walgreens.com/balancerewards/balance-rewards.jsp">Balance Rewards Program</a>, you can accumulate points and redeem them for a discount on your purchases. Here is a table of redemption values:</p> <ul> <li>5,000 points = $5.00</li> <li>10,000 points = $10.00</li> <li>18,000 points = $20.00</li> <li>30,000 points = $35.00</li> <li>40,000 points = $50.00</li> </ul> <p>As you can see, it pays to wait a bit to redeem your points.</p> <p>To maximize your Balance Rewards points:</p> <ul> <li>Enroll your Balance Rewards card at the Walgreens site. That way you can activate the <a href="http://www.walgreens.com/topic/balancerewards/everyday-points.jsp">Everyday Points perk</a> and earn 10 points per $1 spent at Walgreens on almost everything.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Receive 100 points per 30-day prescription, including those covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and 300 points per 90-day prescription. You can also earn points through your children and pet prescription purchases.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get 100 points per immunization received at Walgreens.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Download the <a href="http://www.walgreens.com/topic/mobile/apps/learn_about_mobile_apps.jsp?ban=home_nav">Walgreens mobile app</a> (available for Apple, Android, and Windows Phone devices) to clip digital coupons and additional Balance Rewards offers.</li> </ul> <p>However, you can earn Balance Rewards points without spending any money at all.</p> <p>Walgreens truly lives up to its slogan &quot;At the corner of happy and healthy&quot; by rewarding you for healthy behaviors. Through 13 smartphone apps, such as Runkeeper and GenieMD, and 32 devices, such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BGO0Q9O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BGO0Q9O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UIJYM55UOREL27LU">FitBit Flex</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H43WOAK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00H43WOAK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FIY42OSAHROIAKSW">Withings Blood Pressure Monitor</a>, you can earn points by keeping logs of fitness and weight, and tracking your blood pressure, glucose level, sleep, or pulse. By making healthy choices, you can accumulate:</p> <ul> <li>Up to 1,000 points per month for walking, running or cycling sessions;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 600 points per month for other fitness activities;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 600 points per month for weigh-ins;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 600 points per month for blood pressure readings;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 1,200 points per month for blood glucose readings; and</li> <li>Up to 600 points per month for nicotine replacement therapies.</li> </ul> <p>Getting some extra cash can be a great motivation to stick to your health goals.</p> <h2>3. Rite Aid</h2> <p>You probably have heard the news online or on TV &mdash; Rite Aid is the only drugstore chain that participates in the <a href="http://www.plenti.com">Plenti membership rewards program</a>. By merging its <a href="https://www.riteaid.com/wellness-with-plenti/programs">wellness+ Programs</a> with Plenti, Rite Aid lets you earn points not only through your purchases in-store, but also through everyday purchases at Plenti partners, such as AT&amp;T, Macy's, Hulu, and Mobil.</p> <p>Here are the basics of the wellness+ Program with Plenti:</p> <ul> <li>You get one point per $1 spent on eligible products.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Boost your points with partner offers, such as earning 500 points when you sign up for AT&amp;T's paperless billing, and 10 times points on qualifying non-fuel purchase at a participating Exxon or Mobil-branded service station.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once you reach a 200 points balance, you can start using your points for savings at checkout at Ride Aid.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every 100 points gets you at least $1 in savings.</li> </ul> <p>If you're a frequent shopper at Rite Aid you can quickly rack up points.</p> <ul> <li>Spending $20 on a particular brand of baby food gets you 500 points.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Spending $50 on eligible purchases in a single online transaction at RiteAid.com gets you 1,000 points.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rite Aid is pushing its Plenti partnership by providing promo codes (e.g. promo code PLENTI got you $10 off and free shipping on online purchases of $50 or more until 6/27/15).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Follow <a href="http://www.facebook.com/riteaid">Rite Aid on Facebook</a> for additional coupons.</li> </ul> <p>Keeping true to its &quot;With us, it's personal&quot; motto, Rite Aid provides a series of personalized wellness+ programs.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.riteaid.com/wellness-with-plenti/programs/wellness65">wellness65+</a>: Created for seniors age 65 and over, this program provides a 20% discount on purchases every Wednesday, free pharmacist consultation, and series of monthly activities.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.riteaid.com/wellness-with-plenti/programs/diabetes">wellness+ for Diabetes</a>: Receive discounts on diabetes products and access to diabetes specialists online or over the phone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.riteaid.com/wellness-with-plenti/programs/allergy">wellness+ Allergy</a>: Earn 2,000 Plenti points every time you spend $75 on select OTC allergy products.</li> </ul> <p><em>What other tricks do you use to maximize savings at these big name drugstores?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-game-the-system-and-save-big-at-cvs-walgreens-and-rite-aid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-prescription-drug-coupons">Don&#039;t Use Your Prescription Drug Coupons Until You Read This</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline">How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping CVS drugstores rewards programs rite aid Walgreens Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1490873 at http://www.wisebread.com Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_groceries_000057402780.jpg" alt="Woman taking thrifty grocery shopping challenge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thrifty shopping may seem like a pain at first, but the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">savings can really add up.</a> If you're used to a liberal spending plan, you might be able to save hundreds per month, just by eating at home more and shopping thrifty at the grocery store. Below, you'll find some realistic estimates of just you much you can save, and easy ways to do it.</p> <h2>1. Keep a Budget</h2> <p>According to the USDA, the average family of four can expect to spend around <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodApr2015.pdf">$606.20 per month</a> with a thrifty spending plan, $786.50 with a low-cost plan, $977.80 with a moderate-cost plan, and $1,197.75 with a liberal plan. While $606.20 per month may seem low, the average low-cost plan budgets a more reasonable $786.50 per month. According to USA Today, the average family of four spends closer to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/grocery-costs-for-family/2104165/">$870 per month on groceries</a>.</p> <p>By just keeping a budget and maintaining a low-cost meal plan, your family can save up to $411.25 every month, compared to a family with a liberal spending plan. If you can stick to a budget of $786.50 per month for a family of four, then you're halfway to becoming a thrifty shopper.</p> <h2>2. Pack a Lunch</h2> <p>According to Forbes, when the average American eats out, they spend about <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/09/25/lunchtime-americans-spend-nearly-1k-annually-eating-out-for-lunch/">$10 on lunch</a>. However, Visa found that the average man spends about $21 per lunch and the average woman spends about $14 per lunch. Alternatively, packing a lunch costs about $3 per meal. This means that you can save at least $7 per lunch, Monday-Friday, or $140 per month. Imagine how much more you could save by eating breakfast and dinner at home, as well. Make eating out a special occasion and you'll see the savings pile up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas?ref=seealso">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Stop Throwing Out Food</h2> <p>Any food that you throw out becomes the most expensive food in your kitchen. Unfortunately, Americans throw out more than 25% of the food and beverages they purchase, according to the EPA. Based on a study conducted by the University of Arizona, it was determined that the average American family of four throws out approximately $590 worth of food every year, which comes out to about $49.16 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop?ref=seealso">You're Wasting ⅓ of the Food You Buy &mdash; Here's How to Stop</a>)</p> <p>Find interesting ways to use your leftovers (such as healthy soups and smoothies) and you're on your way to less food waste. You can also find ways to better freeze and preserve your food (such as canning and pickling) so that nothing goes to waste.</p> <h2>4. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Every credit card is different, so your rewards program will depend on which card you have. For instance, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review?ref=internal">American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card</a> offers 6% cash back on groceries. If your family is spending approximately $786.50 per month on groceries using a low-cost shopping plan, then you can earn $47.19 per month just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=internal">using your credit card to purchase groceries</a>.</p> <h2>5. Stop Dining Out</h2> <p>Keep reminding yourself that every time you dine out, you are wasting money. For the simplest example, consider a pizza. At Pizza Hut, a large supreme stuffed-crust pizza costs $18.00, while the exact same pizza from DiGiorno costs $8.87. By making this swap just once per week, you'll save $36.52 per month. By cooking at home, you also won't need to worry about driving to get food or dealing with the crowds. Imagine the savings if you also took your lunch to work (rather than eating out) and swapped your morning coffee run with a cup brewed at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Go Vegetarian Twice a Week</h2> <p>According to Eating Well, <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/budget_cooking/6_simple_changes_that_could_help_you_save_2997_a_year?page=2">one pound of sirloin</a> costs $5.99, while a 14-ounce block of tofu only costs $1.96. By swapping meat for tofu or veggies only twice weekly, you'll save $8.06 per week and at least $32.24 per month. You might also drop a few pounds and improve your health in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>7. Choose Cheaper Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Eating Well also found that one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts costs $4.99, while one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs costs $3.49. By making simple swaps like this just once a week, you'll save at least $6 per month. By replacing one pound of fresh tuna (at $7.99) with one pound of canned tuna (at $3.68) just once a week, you'll save another $17.24 per month.</p> <p>You will realize even greater savings by swapping out other expensive cuts of meat for more affordable alternatives. Get out the slow cooker and find other ways to transform affordable cuts of meat into extraordinary meals to really benefit from the savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secret-cheap-steak-cuts-you-should-be-asking-for?ref=seealso">7 Secret Cheap Steak Cuts You Should be Asking For</a>)</p> <h2>8. Prep Your Own Food</h2> <p>By just spending 10 extra minutes after returning from the store, you can prep your produce for the week and stack up the savings. For instance, on average, a pound of four apples costs $1.99, while sliced apples cost $4.99; a head of romaine or iceberg lettuce only costs $1.99, while one bag of lettuce costs $3.99 on average. By just prepping your own apples and one head of lettuce once per week, you'll save $5 per week, or $20 per month.</p> <h2>9. Take Advantage of Grocery Rewards</h2> <p>Every store offers their own unique rewards programs; some stores offer rewards points based on what you spend, some offer discounts at the pump, and others offer food discounts and unique perks. For instance, Save Mart, Lucky, S-Mart Foods, and FoodMaxx offer one point for every $1 spent and another 100 points just for enrolling. Then, you can use your points to earn rewards of your choice (like $1 off for every 100 points).</p> <p>By enrolling in this free program, you would earn 786 points per month based on your monthly spending of $786.50 per month. This would translate into $7.86 off your next transaction. More importantly, joining a reward program provides you with better deals at the store.</p> <p>There are other ways to earn points and find rewards that can save you even more in the end. For instance, stores like Giant Eagle and Safeway offer savings when you fill up at the pump, based on how much you spend in the store. Ask your local supermarket about what they offer and how you can join the program. While you're at it, find out if there is a rewards program at any restaurant or store that you frequent. You can save big money by joining the rewards programs for stores like Starbucks, Best Buy, and other large stores that you shop at frequently.</p> <h2>10. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>You can also save more money by cooking more items from scratch, choosing frozen and canned produce when possible, choosing generic over brand name, and planning your meals around sales and specials. Services like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">$5 Meal Plan</a> can help.</p> <p>To keep your spending in check, the USDA recommends using the smart shopping strategies found on <a href="http://www.choosemyplate.gov/">ChooseMyPlate.gov</a>, which can help you find ways to eat healthy on a budget. Remember, saving money every month can be fun. Challenge yourself to see if you can save more every month or find a way to treat your family when you stay within budget.</p> <p><em>How do you control grocery costs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-creative-ways-to-save-money-with-bulk-buying">6 Creative Ways to Save Money With Bulk Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping coupons Food groceries rewards programs saving money Fri, 10 Jul 2015 15:00:17 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1478520 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun, Creative Uses for Airline Miles http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-creative-uses-for-airline-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-creative-uses-for-airline-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_000041408032.jpg" alt="Woman happy with using airline miles in cool ways" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Airline miles. Most of us have a few ways of racking them up, either through credit cards, loyalty clubs, or frequent flyer programs. Depending on which way you earn your miles, they can be worth <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">several cents per mile</a>, with one cent per mile being the average.</p> <p>The question is, what do you do with all those miles once you've collected a bunch? After all, 100,000 miles is a cool $1000, and can be acquired quickly with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">double miles card</a> and some business and personal trips.</p> <h2>1. Do Something Thrilling</h2> <p>How do you fancy doing a tandem skydive? What about doing three laps in a stock car or Indy race? Maybe a hot air balloon ride, fighter pilot experience, or scuba diving is your thing. Airline miles can now be turned into memories you will never forget. Some of them run as little as 10,000-11,000 miles, and others, they're over 650,000 miles. It all depends on how much of your breath you want taken away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die?ref=seealso">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</a>)</p> <h2>2. Turn Them Into Magazines</h2> <p>If you really want to stretch your airline miles, why not turn a few thousand in for some subscriptions to big magazines and newspapers? The price is so cheap, it's almost free. Many annual magazine subscriptions are under 2,000 miles, or $20. When you consider the average price at the newsstand is $4-$5, that's a steal. Newspapers also take part, and you can use local papers. Simply enter your zip code, and you'll get airline mile quotes for your local papers, usually for 13 weeks and above.</p> <h2>3. Donate to Charity</h2> <p>If you're feeling philanthropic, airline rewards can easily be donated to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-charitable-donations-that-do-the-most-good">whole host of charities</a>. It's not limited to the big ones, but some of the smallest charities in your local area. Just enter your zip code, and the area of interest you'd like to help out with. The miles will be turned into cash donations, and of course, they are tax deductible.</p> <h2>4. Get the Latest Music, Movies, and TV Series</h2> <p>Airline miles are now so flexible, you can use them on digital media downloads. Whether it's the latest albums, songs, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, or TV series, you can easily exchange the miles you have accrued for hours and hours of great entertainment. Just check out the offers page of your airline miles website.</p> <h2>5. Bid in Auctions</h2> <p>Most of the airline miles reward sites have an auctions section now. For instance, United is currently accepting mileage bids on VIP experiences with sports stars, and tickets for opening night at Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Of course, if you don't win, you don't lose the miles, so you can bid again on something else. It's quite an invigorating way to use the miles.</p> <h2>6. Upgrade to Business or First Class</h2> <p>It can cost many thousands of dollars to buy a first class ticket to Europe. But when you use your miles, it's nowhere near as expensive. For instance, <a href="http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/09/19/many-miles-take/">take a quick look at this chart</a>. A typical upgrade to business class, from economy, is coming in at around 50,000 miles. You can take your long haul flight from a sardine can experience, to something much more pleasurable indeed. American Airlines <a href="http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/redeemMiles/mileage-upgrade-chart.jsp">charges just 25,000</a> miles to go from a full fare ticket to a business seat.</p> <h2>7. Get a Better Hotel Room</h2> <p>Airline miles aren't just for air travel. Most miles you accrue can be transferred to hotel loyalty programs, be it Starwood Preferred Guest, Hilton HHonors, or Marriott Rewards. So, next time you check in, see if you can use some of your miles to get a much better room. It can cost as little as 6,000 miles to go from a standard room to a very fancy suite.</p> <h2>8. Take a Cruise</h2> <p>Turn your award miles into another vacation, at very little cost to you. These days, you can redeem your airline miles for tickets to cruise lines including Norwegian, Royal, Celebrity, Carnival, and Princess. And the cost? How about four nights in the Bahamas for under 25,000 miles? In fact, the average cost of a night on board a cruise ship is between 9,000 and 10,000 points. That's cheaper than a mediocre hotel room in the mid-west.</p> <h2>9. Pay Off Your Credit Card</h2> <p>Some credit cards have programs that can give you cash credits to your statement or even cold hard cash. With the former, you make travel related purchases with your credit card, and then use your miles to put that money back on the card at a later date. It's basically like using your miles to go shopping without worrying about using points to redeem flights or stays..</p> <h2>10. Get Cool Merchandise</h2> <p>What kind of cool stuff? Well, what do you want? Airline miles can be turned into great purchases, with categories including apparel, accessories, automotive, tools, baby gear, electronics, gadgets, home and garden, sports, outdoors, toys, collectibles, and more. I recently used rewards to get a fantastic hybrid coffee maker that uses both pods and regular filters. It's also great fun to browse. Of course, make sure you're not paying over the MSRP for anything. Some items are marked up considerably. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-your-credit-card-rewards-on-one-of-these-stupid-things?ref=seealso">Are You Wasting Your Credit Card Rewards on One of These Stupid Things?</a>)</p> <p><em>Now, have you done something cool with your airline miles that isn't on this list? Let us know. </em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-fun-creative-uses-for-airline-miles&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%20Fun%2C%20Creative%20Uses%20for%20Airline%20Miles.jpg&amp;description=10%20Fun%2C%20Creative%20Uses%20for%20Airline%20Miles" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Fun%2C%20Creative%20Uses%20for%20Airline%20Miles.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-creative-uses-for-airline-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-airline-miles-secrets-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheapest-way-to-fly-to-europe">The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline miles flying frequent flyers loyalty clubs rewards programs Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1386037 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-pushing-grocery-cart-iStock_000019482426Small.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many families, relatively high gas prices account for a large percentage of the monthly budget. One way to cut your gas costs &mdash; at least a little &mdash; is to do your grocery shopping at a store with a loyalty program connected to gas rewards.</p> <p>You have to shop for groceries anyway; you might as well save money on gas while you&rsquo;re at it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <h3>Types of Grocery and Gas Programs</h3> <p>In most cases, a grocery and gas program works by offering you a discount on your gas when you buy groceries at a particular store. However, each program is different, so make sure you understand the terms and conditions.</p> <p><b>Discount-Based Programs</b></p> <p>There are two common types of discount-based programs.</p> <ol> <li><b>Flat Discount:</b> Some grocery stores just offer a flat discount, no matter how much you buy in groceries. However, you might still need to buy a minimal amount of groceries in order to qualify for the discount.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Tiered Program:</b> In other cases, there might be a tiered system. My local grocery store has a program associated with a local gas station. At $50 in groceries, I receive 10 cents off each gallon of gas. It steps up to different levels until I receive 35 cents off a gallon of gas for spending more than $200 in a single trip to the grocery store.</li> </ol> <p>With these types of programs, your discount is usually tied to your shopping trip. In the case of the grocery rewards program I have access to, the shopping trip is good for two weeks. Each shopping trip is good for one trip to the gas pump.</p> <p><b>Points-Based Programs</b></p> <p>Many gas rewards programs work on a points basis. You earn gas rewards points for your purchases. These might be flat programs or tiered programs, but the points add up over time, much like a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you">credit card rewards program</a>. You can use the points toward gas purchases as you want. However, most programs have relatively short expiration periods of 30 to 60 days. They won&rsquo;t carry over indefinitely.</p> <p><b>Club Store Discounts</b></p> <p>Another option is to get your gas at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-or-saving-money-with-a-warehouse-club-membership">club store</a> gas station. Costco, BJ&rsquo;s, and Sam&rsquo;s Club locations often have gas stations as well. You don&rsquo;t receive specific rewards for buying groceries, but being a club member means that you get access to gas that is between 5 cents and 15 cents per gallon cheaper than other places in town. If you shop at club stores anyway, and pay for the memberships, you might consider buying gas at those locations as well.</p> <h3>Stores That Offer Grocery and Gas Programs</h3> <p>There are a number of grocery and gas programs available. My grocery and gas rewards program is very local; it only works at the one store and with the one gas station. However, there are more widespread programs available.</p> <p><b>Sunoco</b></p> <p>This gas station chain works with different grocery store loyalty programs, including:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.sunoco.com/ways-to-save/grocery-rewards/shop-n-save-pump-perks/">Shop &lsquo;n Save</a>: Earn 10 cents off per gallon for each $50 you spend. It&rsquo;s possible to stack rewards with this program, until you use it to make a gas purchase. There is a maximum of 30 gallons per fill up for the reward, and rewards expire after 30 days.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.sunoco.com/ways-to-save/grocery-rewards/price-chopper-fuel-advantage/">Price Chopper</a>: Earn 10 cents (stackable) off per gallon each time you spend $100. The maximum per fill up is 20 gallons, and rewards expire after 60 days.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.sunoco.com/ways-to-save/grocery-rewards/redners-pump-perks/">Redner&rsquo;s Warehouse Markets</a>: This program works the same way as the Price Chopper program, but rewards ecpire after 30 days instead of 60.</li> </ul> <p>You can shop at participating stores, and then use your card at any participating Sunoco pump to enjoy your discount.</p> <p><b>Kroger</b></p> <p>You can <a href="http://www.kroger.com/fuel/Pages/E1.aspx">earn fuel points at Kroger stores</a>. These points can be redeemed at Kroger fuel stations or at participating Shell stations. You receive one fuel point for each dollar you spend in groceries, as well as 50 fuel points for each prescription filled at a Kroger pharmacy. When you buy eligible gift cards, you get double the fuel points ($25 gift card = 50 fuel points).</p> <p>Every 100 fuel points results in 10 cents off each gallon for a single fill up, with a limit of 35 gallons per vehicle, per purchase. It&rsquo;s worth noting that Kroger-owned grocery stores include City&nbsp;Market, Dillon&rsquo;s, FredMeyer, Fry&rsquo;s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs, and Smith&rsquo;s. You can join this rewards program at any of these stores, as well as the Kroger branded grocery locations.</p> <p><b>Giant</b></p> <p>This is another food store that works with Shell stations, in addition to using the <a href="http://www.giantfood.com/savings/shell_program.htm">Giant fuel</a> stations at the grocery property. It&rsquo;s a point system, and every 100 fuel points earns 10 cents off each gallon of gas during a fill up. Points expire after 30 days, and you can save up to $2.20 per gallon on a single fill up.</p> <p><b>Safeway</b></p> <p>Earn points for making purchases of groceries, prescriptions, and gift cards, earning one point for each dollar you spend. (As of this writing, <a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/RewardPoints">Safeway</a> is offering four times the points for each dollar spent on gift cards.)</p> <p><b>Weis</b></p> <p>You can earn points for shopping at <a href="http://www.weismarkets.com/savings/weis-shoppers-club-card/gas-rewards/">Weis</a> grocery stores, to the tune of 10 cents off each gallon for every $50 you spend on a single trip. You can redeem at Weis stations, as well as participating Sheetz and Manley&rsquo;s locations.</p> <p><b>Fuel Rewards Network</b></p> <p>Local stores and other chains make use of the <a href="https://www.fuelrewards.com/fuelrewards.html">Fuel Rewards Network</a>. (Shell is also a part of this network.) Stores like Winn Dixie (receive a 10 cent per gallon bonus for being a part of the Baby Club) and Bi-Lo are part of this network, and can provide you with gas savings attached to your grocery purchases.</p> <h3>Tips for Making the Most of Your Grocery Fuel Rewards Program</h3> <p>To make the most of your gas rewards program, plan ahead.</p> <p><b>Know the Expirations</b></p> <p>Be aware of when your gas points are expiring. Most programs automatically pull your older points first when you get gas, but you should still pay attention. Use the points before they expire.</p> <p><b>Watch Out for Redemption Periods</b></p> <p>In some programs, there is an accumulation period and a redemption period. Read the terms carefully, since this can mean that there is a period of time (usually during the redemption week for month-based programs) that you can&rsquo;t accumulate gas points. Try to plan your shopping during times you know you will accumulate points.</p> <p><b>Plan Your Trips to Hit the Minimum</b></p> <p>Don&rsquo;t make multiple small trips to the store throughout the week. Instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">make a list</a> and do your shopping at once. With programs that require a $50 minimum, make sure your bill comes to at least that. For tiered programs, plan your shopping so that you do more at once to take advantage of the higher rewards.</p> <p>Bonus? Fewer trips to the store means less gas burned getting there.</p> <p><b>Remember That Coupons Come Out After Rewards Are Figured</b></p> <p>Most programs don&rsquo;t deduct coupons until after fuel rewards are determined, so you can actually use coupons (particularly BOGO coupons) to help you reach the threshold.</p> <p><b>Watch for Opportunities to Earn More Points</b></p> <p>Look out for special opportunities to earn more points. You might get extra points for buying certain items or bonus points during special sales.</p> <p><b>Verify Your Rewards</b></p> <p>Most programs list your rewards right on the receipt. Keep track of your rewards, and verify that you are getting the discounts you deserve.</p> <p>Finally, remember to be reasonable about these gas rewards programs. Check prices at the grocery stores you use. It doesn&rsquo;t do you much good to save 10 cents on a gallon on gas if you are spending an extra 30 cents on a loaf of bread. Make sure that you truly are seeing net savings on your combined grocery and gas purchases.</p> <p>With a little planning you can save money on gas, just by making regular grocery purchases. I have enjoyed using the fuel rewards program offered by my local grocery store. My husband and I save between $70 and $100 a year on gas. It doesn&rsquo;t seem like a whole lot, but over time it really starts to add up.</p> <p>Consider your rewards opportunities, plan your shopping, and try to buy your gas when you have enough rewards to get a discount. After a few weeks, you&rsquo;ll settle into a rhythm, and your pocketbook will thank you.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Credit Cards Shopping cheaper gas grocery shopping rewards programs Wed, 16 Jan 2013 10:48:41 +0000 Miranda Marquit 955801 at http://www.wisebread.com Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review http://www.wisebread.com/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2828682635_19abba5a8e_o.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In my mail this week I received a &ldquo;Rewards Guide&rdquo; from two of my credit card companies. These guides are brightly colored, well-laid out catalogs explaining all of the rewards available to me. I&rsquo;ve never received such a fancy-looking piece of mail from a credit card company before. Maybe it&rsquo;s the fact that more people are turning to debit cards, or credit card companies are fighting over the limited amount of money people are spending these days, but whatever the reason, it was a pleasant surprise to get these catalogs with such helpful information.</p> <p>In looking through the catalogs, I realized that there was a lot I didn&rsquo;t know about my cards. I use three &mdash; an American Express card for travel and product purchases because of their various warranties and protections, a Capital One for travel abroad (no conversion fees) and extended warranties at stores that don&rsquo;t take American Express, and a Chase for everyday purchases like groceries and gas. (If you&rsquo;re wondering what types of rewards your card might offer check out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-credit-card-perks-checklist-benefits-you-don-t-know-about">Ultimate Guide to Credit Card Rewards</a>.)</p> <p>As part of annual financial planning, it seems that a good plan is to conduct an annual credit card rewards review:</p> <h3>1. Look at Reward-Program Information to Find New or Unnoticed Rewards</h3> <p>Here are some things I learned in browsing the catalogs I received and the actions I will take from learning them:</p> <ul> <li><strong>One of my cards gives an &ldquo;annual bonus&rdquo;</strong> in November, which essentially puts the rewards at 1.25%. My action: Check to see if I got this bonus and how much it is for.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>T</strong><strong>here are bonus offers up to 15%</strong>&nbsp;at various stores I frequently shop at for one of my cards. My action: See if these bonus cash-back purchases are only for online or for in-store too. Then make a mental note to use that card when shopping at that store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>One card only gives additional travel bonuses for the first $5,000</strong> spent on travel<strong>.</strong> My Action: Check to see if I went over this limit last year and start using a different card if that is the case.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>One card gives me extra bonuses for dining at restaurants</strong> for an additional $25/year.<strong> </strong>My Action: Check to see if last year I would have earned enough in extra bonuses to make this worthwhile. (To check this see #2 below.)</li> </ul> <h3>2. Review Annual Statements to See If You Are Using the Right Cards</h3> <p>Each year my credit card companies send annual statements of how much I spent in various categories. Look through yours to see if you are really spending money on the cards that will give the best benefits in those categories.</p> <h3>3. Consider What, If Anything, You Will Do Differently This Year</h3> <p>If you find that there is a reward with one card that you aren&rsquo;t taking advantage of, or that you are always using a certain card that isn&rsquo;t giving you many rewards, make a conscious mental note and do something differently this year. Maybe that means leaving a useless card at home, or changing your Amazon account to charge to a different card.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t advocate that you spend an entire day conducting an annual review of your credit card rewards, but the amount of both money and hassle you can save by using the right card and the right time can add up. So take an hour from your day, see how many rewards you are earning, and figure out if you can do anything differently this year.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Airline Companion Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards financial planning rewards credit cards rewards programs Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:00:54 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 470419 at http://www.wisebread.com Pitting Airline Against Hotel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/534095_45005227.jpg" alt="landing plane" title="landing plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever hesitated before redeeming your airline miles and wondered if you're getting a good deal, you're in good company. Redeeming reward flights is akin to transacting in a foreign currency where you have no idea what the exchange rate is, which is never an advantageous position. To give you a leg up, <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/">NerdWallet</a> has put together a comprehensive <a href="http://static.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/airline-rewards.jpg">airline rewards infographic</a> for valuing your miles so that you can comfortably decide whether to redeem them or simply use a cash rewards card instead.</p> <p>Extracting every last drop of value out of your airline miles can be hard work because so many variables are at play. As you're planning your trip, factors such as when you travel, how close you are to your travel date, your flexibility around dates of travel, whether you have elite status with your airline, and plain old random chance can all affect the value you're getting. After analyzing hundreds of flights, we found that mile values can vary anywhere from one-tenth of a cent (or less) to 2 cents per mile. In other words, if you had 100,000 miles lying around in your account, those miles could be worth anywhere from $100 to $2,000 towards your airfare, depending on when you use them.</p> <p>We also believe the future for miles is looking decidedly bleak. According to <a href="http://ideaworkscompany.com/press/2010/PressRelease-51-Reward-Seat-Availability.pdf">IdeaWorks</a>, reward seat availabilities currently range from 11% to 99%. However, even Southwest Airlines, the industry leader in reward seat availability, may not be able to keep its performance up as the overall number of seats decline. &quot;There are about 17% fewer seats now available than there were a year and a half ago,&quot; says <a href="http://www.budgettravel.com/">BudgetTravel.com</a> senior editor, Sean O'Neill.</p> <p>To top it all off, airlines are charging fees for everything from bags to blankets. These fees can make a substantial difference in the cost of your flight and are often overlooked by consumers when choosing airlines. Southwest and JetBlue are the last two major airlines that allow passengers at least one free bag. While most airlines will make you pay handsomely for that third, fourth, or tenth bag (to the tune of $100 or more per bag), <a href="http://www.virginamerica.com/va/press/2010/Feb/Virgin_America_Announces_Bag_Fee_Changes.html">Virgin America</a> has an unusual but potentially valuable offering with its $25 per bag for up to ten bags policy. If you are planning a cross-country move or simply have trouble traveling light, Virgin America might offer the best value for you.</p> <p>So should you write-off all those miles you've carefully earned over the years? We don't think so. While we believe travel rewards go-getters are better off spending future dollars towards earning points in a hotel rewards program such as <a href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">Starwood's Preferred Guest</a> program, savvy consumers can follow a few simple steps to get the most value out of miles already banked.</p> <p>First, identify the lowest price of the itinerary you're looking for, before taxes and fees, using a site like <a href="http://Kayak.com">Kayak</a>. Then check the site of your own rewards program to find out how many miles it costs to fly a similar itinerary on your airline, as well as on any partners in your airline's alliance. Lastly, compare the dollar cost on the other airline to the rewards cost on your airline to calculate the cost per mile, and see how that ratio stacks up against the numbers in our infographic. If you're getting a better-than-average deal on your own airline, cash in those rewards and book it. Otherwise, use your cash rewards card to book the cheaper flight.</p> <h3>Hotel Rewards: Where are you sleeping tonight?</h3> <p>We at NerdWallet also scoured redemption rates at eleven of the world's largest hotel networks and found that, on average, hotel points offer better value for money than airlines rewards, which we demonstrate in our <a href="http://static.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/hotel-rewards.jpg">hotel rewards infographic</a>. And unlike the sickly airline industry, we don't see an industry-wide decline in the near future for the number of hotel rooms available. On a cents-per-point basis, we found the most value in Starwood's Preferred Guest program, covering such household names as Sheraton, Westin, and the W. At 2.3 cents per point and no blackout dates or extra point charges on standard rooms, SPG tops our list among all hotel rewards programs.</p> <p>In addition to offering higher average point values compared to airline mileage programs, hotel rewards programs are also better at showing their appreciation for your loyalty. NerdWallet estimates that consumers can earn a free night with as few as ten nights at chains such as Carlson and Marriott. And Starwood often has &quot;Stay 2 Nights, Get 1 Free&quot; promotions. Plus, let's face it: When was the last time you associated &quot;service&quot; with the airline industry?</p> <p>As a caveat, bear in mind that while certain hotel networks may offer higher value per point, they may not necessarily suit your travel profile best. Also, hotel rewards programs tend to be very similar in features, so we believe the best practice is to pick one or two hotel networks that suit your travel habits best and stick with them. In other words, don't spread your wallet thin with too many hotel programs. Use our infographic to identify the program that suits you best, and let it reward you for your loyalty.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPitting%20Airline%20Against%20Hotel%20Rewards.jpg&amp;description=Pitting%20Airline%20Against%20Hotel%20Rewards" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Pitting%20Airline%20Against%20Hotel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="Pitting Airline Against Hotel Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Tim Chen of <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/">NerdWallet</a>. Tim was formerly a hedge fund analyst specializing in credit card networks and technology companies, before becoming a victim of the financial meltdown. NerdWallet is the Kayak for credit card search, and seeks to become the number one source for unbiased online credit card information.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-chen">Tim Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">The Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airlines hotels rewards programs travel rewards Wed, 08 Sep 2010 12:00:10 +0000 Tim Chen 231427 at http://www.wisebread.com Frequent Flyer Junkie? Manage your Miles Here http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/points dot com.JPG" alt="points programs" title="points programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It&#39;s a daunting world of rewards programs out there. From frequent flyer miles with every major airline, to hotel reward programs, to individual store loyalty plans, </span><span>not to mention <a href="/credit-card-rewards-programs" target="_blank">credit card rewards programs</a> and the like.</span><span> If you become a collector of them all, you need a huge wallet to house all your cards, and an even bigger chunk of time to track all your points plans. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Enter <a href="http://www.points.com" target="_blank">Points.com</a>. It is a free service designed to help you track all your rewards programs. In one easy place you can track miles accumulated for multiple plans, swap miles between programs, and earn extra miles by utilizing their online shopping program. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are bonuses for signing up, and you can process any of the redemption transactions you would with any of the individual plans, including redeeming for gift cards, giving miles as a gift, booking hotels, and oh yeah - flights too. The only requirement is that you must be a member of the rewards plans to begin with; you can&#39;t use Points.com to enrol in new programs. However once you are a member you can add new plans to your profile whenever you wish. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p> <span>So all you points junkies out there, rejoice! There is an easy way to figure out how quickly you can get on that plane to your next dream destination. </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-spare-a-square-5-quick-tips-on-toilet-paper-usage">&quot;Can you spare a square?&quot; 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping frequent flyer frequent flyer miles points programs points.com rewards programs Thu, 17 Jan 2008 08:40:51 +0000 Nora Dunn 1643 at http://www.wisebread.com Credit Card Rewards Programs http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-card-rewards-programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-cards-453232329-small.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A commenter on a recent article of mine on <a target="_blank" title="Guide to Using Credit Cards Wisely" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">credit card usage</a>, suggested a follow-up post with an eye to uncovering the mysteries of credit card rewards programs.</p> <p>And in my research, I discovered it&rsquo;s a murky world of points, rebates, fees, and interest rates out there! A lot of it comes down to personal choice, but here is some information to aid your plight for a suitable credit card rewards program:&nbsp;</p> <h2>Types of Rewards</h2> <p>There are typically three types of rewards programs: <strong>point-based, cash back, and frequent flyer miles</strong>. Some programs offer combinations of these rewards, with varying value for point redeemed.</p> <p><strong>Points-based programs</strong> involve accumulating points (based on the amount you spend), and then redeeming your points for merchandise from their catalogue. Points leave a little to be desired, since depending on what you redeem your points for you might not get a lot of value.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">Gift certificates tend to be the best value for your points when flipping through the catalogue, and it is generally recommended that you stay away from the merchandise, since it is over-priced and lacking in quality. The gift certificate option also carries an added value advantage, since credit companies strike deals with the retailers to give them a deal on the gift certificates, whereas a dollar is a dollar when it comes to cheques or merchandise.</span></p> <p><strong>Cash back</strong> is most common, and offers quick rewards for your buck. However they can also have limitations; Some will only start to honour the cash back policy once you have spent a minimum amount of money, and yet others will cap the total amount of cash they&rsquo;ll reward.</p> <p><strong>Frequent Flyer Miles</strong> for airline tickets will sometimes give you the best bang for their buck, but can be a pain to redeem. Many issuers have blackout times, while others only designate a certain number of seats per flight as airline rewardable seats. If you don&rsquo;t book your ticket early enough you can be out of luck, especially if you want a flight that&rsquo;s commonly flown and redeemed for.</p> <p>Saving for airline ticket rewards can also be tedious and take some time to accumulate for, and in this changing airline world, increasing fees and limitations could pose problems in the future. I have already noticed that one of the rewards programs I use have imposed a stipulation that if you do not use your points within seven years of the point being rewarded to your account, you lose it. So if you are saving up for a big reward (or on the flip side have accumulated tons of points over the years and haven&rsquo;t used them), you may lose your chance.</p> <p>Also, expect to pay out of pocket for the taxes, fuel surcharges, and other miscellaneous expenses (like a special booking charge if you redeem on the phone with an agent as opposed to online). But hey &ndash; a buck is a buck. To fly across the country (or around the world) for the cost of the taxes is rarely something to complain about.</p> <h2>Tips for the reward-hungry credit card user</h2> <p><strong>Pay off that balance!</strong></p> <p>As stressed in my <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">previous article and related comments</a>, using a rewards program is for responsible credit card users. If you rack up a balance with an eye to getting rewards, and then spend the next 6 months or more trying to pay off the balance (and paying interest all the while), then the value of your rewards decreases significantly. Pay off those darn cards every month and treat your credit card like a debit card or chequebook &ndash; if you don&rsquo;t have the money in your account, don&rsquo;t whip out the plastic.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t get sidetracked by the smaller rewards</strong></p> <p>Initially it can take time to build up a big enough balance to start redeeming for the rewards you really want. Don&rsquo;t lose patience and redeem your 800 points for an item of insignificant value when what you really got the card for was airline tickets, or special gift certificates. Most rewards programs have tiered systems that offer sweeter rewards (with better value) for those with more points. Your patience in saving up will be rewarded.</p> <p><strong>Get the card for the rewards you want</strong></p> <p>If what you want is an airline ticket to Hawaii, then search for the best card to get you there. I found a program (in Canada) where flights to Hawaii required fewer points than even some continental flights, and I chose that card with an eye to getting that ticket. It took time, but my boyfriend and I are now living (temporarily) in<a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/hobo-living-made-easy"> Hawaii</a>, and got return tickets for a total of $76 in taxes for both of us (whereas paying in cash would have been over $1,600 for both of us).</p> <p><strong>Look for bonus points</strong></p> <p>Lots of programs will offer bonus points depending on where you spend your money or what you buy. Check online for bonus offers regularly, and spend wisely. You can often get triple the miles with a little research and effort.</p> <p><strong>Look at points conversion programs</strong></p> <p>Some programs are in cahoots with each other, and you can transfer or convert miles from one program to another. Be wary of those that charge a fee to do so, and take a close look at the conversion ratio. Sometimes they&rsquo;re way out of whack such that is makes no sense to convert.</p> <p>Specific programs vary from country to country (and sometimes even within regions), so I won&rsquo;t go into many specifics with regards to individual program choices. It's up to you to decide which rewards will ultimately benefit you the most. Just remember to use it wisely or else the interest fees will end up costing you more than you're getting in rewards, and it's a safe bet that that is exactly what the credit card companies are counting on.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-groceries-into-gasoline">How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping cash back frequent flyer loyalty programs rewards programs Sat, 01 Dec 2007 00:22:00 +0000 Nora Dunn 1442 at http://www.wisebread.com