I often suggest putting every purchase on a credit card that earns you points or miles if you covet airline award tickets or free hotel nights. But you got to love ThePointsGuy.com writer who recently demonstrated how to leverage a night at the moves into maximum reward points
So Nick Ewen of ThePointsGuy.com said he and his wife could go to a movie and charge two tickets and some popcorn for $35, thereby earning 35 Amex Reward Points.
Or he could use his wife’s Chase Ink Bold card that currently gives you five times the number of usual points at office supply stores. The couple took advantage of that by buying a $50 Regal Theaters gift card through eBate from Staples, which was also offering a 5% rebate on purchases.
As members of Regal’s loyalty program, the couple paid $21 for their tickets, $14 for snacks. Total cost was still $35, but they accumulated 175 points or miles instead of 35, got $1.75 back from eBates, and added some points to their theater loyalty account good for free future snacks of tickets.
That sounds like a lot of effort, but once you begin thinking that way, your miles and points accounts will grow more rapidly.
You may know you can collect a lot more miles and points toward free airline tickets or hotel nights by applying for the right credit card than most of us can accumulate by flying or checking into hotels. Here are the most generous cards now.
Spend $3,000 in the first three months with a Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum card and collect 50,000 points. That’s good for a round-trip ticket to Europe, which helps make that $450 annual card fee easier to swallow. Plus, every year you spend $5,000, you get $1,000 toward the purchase or lease of a Mercedes.
If you don’t need a Mercedes or that annual fee scares you, consider the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express. Remember, anyone can run a business, even if it’s only your hobby. Spend $5,000 in the first three months, and you get 50,000 points, and the annual $175 fee is waived the first year.
The Citi Hilton HHonors VISA Signature gives you 40,000 points if you put $1,000 on it in the first four months.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card delivers 40K as well, if you put $3,000 on it in the three months after you receive it.
Cards vs. miles? If you don’t fly much, the choice is clear.
Remember four years ago when musician Dave Carroll flew United Airlines and found his guitar was broken by careless baggage handlers? When the airline didn’t respond meaningfully to his complaints, he posted a catchy song and video on YouTube called “United Breaks Guitars.”
It’s been viewed by more than 13 million people, but, believe me, United fell all over itself to make things right after the first few hundred thousand views.
Recently, news reports revealed visitors to Disney theme parks were getting to the heads of lines by pretending they were disabled. Worse, some disabled folks were charging able-body people hundreds of dollars to accompany them. Disneyland just changed the rules, effective in five days, so that disabled guests will now be issued tickets with a return time and shorter wait but no more cutting-in-line policy.
Another example of public pressure at work: Last month American Airlines withdrew a new rule that would have charged fuel surcharges to some award tickets after a public outcry.
Got a gripe? Use social media—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs—to make it known.
Going abroad? You never want to offend anyone in you host country, and here’s the coolest, easiest guide to international etiquette ever. Even if you’re not about to travel, this is a fun site to check out.
The web site was produced by the hotel chain Swissotel that has dozens of hotels worldwide. Swissotel has created an attractive, one-glance chart that considers 29 countries. Choose any, and up comes etiquette advice in four categories: dining, gestures, general do’s & don’ts, and the one I get asked about the most . . . tipping.
So click on Brazil, and you learn tipping is NOT customary, a lingering handshake or air kisses are common greetings, and using your fingers to give what in the US customarily means “OK” is an insult in Brazil. Also, never eat with your hands and keep your hands above the table at all times while dining. And touching while conversing is common.
In Thailand, never touch anyone’s head, don’t joke about or insult the royal family, sharing tables while dining is common, and tipping is appreciated but not expected.
Like tens of millions of other people, I wear glasses to read. But I don’t wear them in the shower. So why can’t the makers of those little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel make the type readable?
I don’t mean to sound like Andy Rooney, but I checked into a fairly nice Best Western in Sonoma recently, and someone had to design a new font to get type as small as that on the bathroom toiletries. The brand name, however, was in huge type.
I checked into a very, very nice place a day later—Cavallo Point, a lodge that occupies a beautiful piece of land near the Golden Gate Bridge. It used to be an Army post, and I want to recommend it to you for your next visit to San Francisco. But the room key has the name of the company that makes those plastic room cards in big type. But if you use reading glasses, you’ll need them to see the two little arrows that indicate which direction to insert the card to unlock your room’s door.
And don’t get me started on those codes on the bottom of plastic food and drink products that tell you whether they’re recycle-able or not. There’s lots of unused space on the bottom of bottles and yogurt cups. Use it!