Saturday, 29 December 2012

Unlock iPhone 5 via eBay for less than u$d10 - CRAZY!

I am the worlds biggest skeptic on services that claim to offer unlock codes for iPhones since Apple lock down the system pretty well.  Unlocking means you can pop any SIM card into your phone so you can use it with any mobile carrier you want.  When travelling this can save you $$$ in roaming charges.

It seemed to good to be true but since eBay offer the buyer a lot of protection and the cost was a fraction of what many other websites were offering, I decided to buy an unlock code for my wife's GSM iPhone 5 for u$d9 off of eBay from this seller.  I had used eBay to successfully find an unlock code for my own Samsung Galaxy 3 a few months earlier so I had at least a little optimism.  Sure enough 24 hours later I got an unlock code which iTunes confirmed unlocked the iPhone 5.

I believe this seller probably has a contact in AT&T to assist the process but I don't really care so long as it works and I confirmed by popping an Irish SIM card (3 Network) into the phone while visiting Dublin a few weeks back and it worked like a lucky Irish charm.  The price has now dropped to less than u$d6 which is less than the cost of a SIM card in many countries. Enjoy the savings brought to you by PADDY in BA. Also check out my previous posts on unlocking iPhones here and hereCheck out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.


Tags: ..Unlock iPhone 5 via eBay for less than u$d10..
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Thursday, 27 December 2012

United Airlines Business First Class

A lot of point junkies never seem to get around to using their hard or easy earned miles. I splurged a lot of miles to fly the missus and wee lad in first class on the eleven hour direct flight from Newark to Buenos Aires and it did not disappoint.

The seat reclines to a full horizontal bed so after a 4 course dinner and a little too much champagne and a movie we slept very well. The baby slept most of the trip too which I'm sure the other passengers were somewhat relieved at.

Now it just remains to adapt back to flying coach :-(






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Monday, 24 December 2012

Paddy is back in BA

I started this blog as a way to keep a journal of my sabbatical year in Buenos Aires back in 2007. Now I'm back (for 2 weeks) but you wouldn't think that looking at our check-in bags.
I will update my Cost of Living in Argentina post shortly. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Credit Card Churn

I wanted to add a few more cards and more importantly points before year end so I applied for and was approved for not one but two no annual fee Citi Hilton credit cards offering 50K bonus points each after $1500 spend within 6 months (see details on flyertalk here). This will bring my Hilton points balance up to 350K which is enough for at least 5 nights in high-ish end hotels or 10+ in normal Hilton brand hotels.

Last application for 2012 was the Club Carlson 85K bonus points after $2500 in spend in 90 days (see details on flyertalk here) There is a $75 annual fee not waived but there are so many perks with this card including 40K renewal bonus that it is definitely worth it. This will top up the Club Carlson bonuses of 300K I've picked up from here 

Happy 'free' Travels folks!
Tags: ..Credit Card Churn..
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Monday, 17 December 2012

New Policy from AMEX - No more than 4 AMEX issued credit cards

I haven't applied for any credit cards recently in fact I've been closing accounts where the annual fee became due. I decided to start a credit card churn last month so first application was for the no annual fee Amex Hilton for 40K points for $750 spend within 90 days + a limited (now expired bonus - sorry) of 25K points for an additional $3K spend within 6 months link.

When I clicked submit I got the message they would need more time to consider my application.  I got a call a few days later from an AMEX rep who said they received my request for the new card but due to a new policy of no more than 4 AMEX branded cards per person (business and personal) she could only approve my app if I closed 2 other accounts. (Note: AMEX cards issued by banks etc are not subject to this limit) 

This was actually ideal because I had recently just closed 2 gold cards (where I netted 175K bonus Membership Rewards points) but still had two Delta Gold cards (personal and business) where I netted a bonus of 80K Delta points, where the annual fee was now due so I asked her to close those and she went ahead and approved my Hilton card.  

Hilton points are not worth a lot e.g. 30K points will get you 1 night at a reasonable hotel with a standard nightly rate of ~$200 so this offer is worth approx $400 (not bad for 5 minutes work).

I recently converted the 75K bonus miles from the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card into 150K Hilton points (here's how) so I now have a nice little nest egg of $250K Hilton points.  I'd like to add to that so next up on the churn is the no annual fee Citi Hilton Visa. 

Note: I don't receive referral commissions for any credit cards
Tags: ..New Policy from AMEX - No more then 4 AMEX issued credit cards..
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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Baby on Board

Last week the missus and I and 3 month old junior headed to Dublin to introduce the wee man to his grand parents. This was our second flight with a baby and worked out very well.  I typically squirm when I see a baby on a flight as do most people.  The plane seat configuration in coach was 3 and 3 and I booked the aisle and window in the hopes it wouldn't be a full flight. That hope was fulfilled and we were able to put a car seat in the free seat which makes a huge difference to having an infant on your lap the whole time.  Flight time to Dublin is approx 7 hours and he slept (like a baby!) for the majority of the trip there and back. 


Tags: ..Flying with a baby, weekend in Dublin..
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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hike Diamond Head Crater, Oahu, Hawaii

To get there you can walk from Waikiki (40 mins) or get the public bus (15 mins) or drive to the base (10 mins).

Once you reach the base it's a fairly easy 2km hike to the top. The view is quite exceptional


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Monday, 26 November 2012

Hawaii airfare for $420 return

Aloha! For a direct flight on United from Newark to Honolulu $420 is cheaper than what I paid on my first visit to Hawaii back in 1999. Back then you had to change planes in Los Angeles.

This time it was eleven hours straight. With a three month old new born it was not staight forward but not so difficult either.

First visit back in 1999 we headed to the island of Maui. Second visit in 2002 we headed to the island of Kauai. This time we are more than happy to stay in Oahu in tourist central of Waikiki.

We are staying in the Sheraton Westin Moana Surfrider right on the beach using Starwood points. Life is good! Cheap luxury vacations are still possible!


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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Amex Spend $25 - Get $25 (small biz promo)

More easy money from Amex

1. Register your Amex card(s) here on November 18th - 24th (limited entries so hurry)
2. Get a $25 statement credit for spending $25 at one of the merchants listed in your area
3. T&C here
4. Repeat for each card / authorized user of card


I thought this was too good to be true last year but I used 8 cards and got $200 statement credits - but this year I only have 5 Amex cards left because I cancelled cards due to annual fee being due :-(

Still an easy $125 dollars for me at local restaurant = FREE! - let me know how it goes please!

UPDATE: the map on shopsmall.com was ridiculously hard to navigate especially on a phone and I was traveling while on small biz Saturday so didn't get to max out on this :-(

Tags: ..Amex Spend $25 - Get $25 (small biz promo)..
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Bonding with your Baby

We drink, we burp because we are men. My wee son and I share a six pack.....


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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Lessons Learned

Observations from Hurricane Sandy

The hurricane itself is not as bad as the chaos that follows e.g. flooding, and power cut.

The power cut itself is not as bad as the chaos that follows e.g. no public transport, no shops or restaurants or any business open and did I mention no cellphone service.

A smartphone without service is pretty dumb
                                                                  
No cellphone service, no tv, no internet makes you revert to those things with chapters and page numbers. Yes that's right - Readers Digest & Penthouse Magazine

No internet makes the phrase "google it" meaningless and leaves you with a ridiculous amount of time to do productive things and other stuff you would much prefer to avoid
                               
No hot water soon turns to no water and no flushing toilet. The rule - Only flush #2 was hard to enforce in this casa. That's women for ya!

3 days and nights (so far) without above "basics"  makes one appreciate the basics a little more.

Obama visited our hood today and didn't even drop off a six-pack?

Smell you laters...





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Monday, 29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy in NYC

Yesterday I lived on a street
Tonight I live on a river.


Tags: .Hurricane Sandy in NYC..
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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Easiest $25 You Ever Made with AMEX Serve

I have posted many Amex promos but this is the quickest freebie $25 you are likely to ever get. (valid thru Dec 31st 2012)

1. Click here and register (sorry - US residents only)
2. Link a Bank account, Debit or Credit card (recommend debit card for instant bonus)
3. Load $25
4. Get $25 dollars as a bonus (instantly with a dr/cr card)

Tags: .$25 Amex Serve promo..
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Monday, 1 October 2012

Ding Dong - The Deal is Dead!

The Topguest hack is pretty much done.  Almost everyone checking in on a regular basis is having their account suspended with no hope of re-activation.  Ah well, it was good while it lasted.  I netted about 100K points in total for my account and my missus.  How did you do?




Tags: ..Ding Dong - The Deal is Dead!..
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Unlock your iPhone 5 Permanently for $30

There are currently a few options to do this already which is most unusual so soon after a new iPhone release.  They typically get shut down pretty quickly so act fast to avail of the opportunity.  The way this works is someone adds your phones IMEI to Apples white list which registers your phone for use on any GSM network.  Right now it's only available for AT&T and a few more carriers in UK and Australia Head over here for details.  Also check out my previous posts on unlocking iPhones here and here

Tags: ..Unlock your iPhone 5 Permanently..
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Saturday, 8 September 2012

Unlock your iPhone 4S/4 for Free - Act Fast!

Unlocking means you can use your phone with another carrier (especially useful when you travel to save on expensive roaming charges) Not sure if this is just a glitch so probably won't last long so head over here to the AT&T unlock portal to unlock your iPhone even if it's still under contact. I recently unlocked my iPhone 4 because it was out of contract (I had it more than 2 years) but now it appears you can unlock your iPhone even if it's still under contract.


  
Tags: ..Unlock your iPhone 4S/4 for Free..
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Friday, 31 August 2012

Track Changes to your Credit Report for only $5

If you are maximizing your points by applying for credit cards (which I recommend for those with good credit) then you need to keep track of your credit reports by the 3 major credit bureaus. This helps you keep track of when someone has checked your credit report to determine your credit worthiness e.g. a bank will do this when you apply for a credit card.  If you have too many inquiries then you should hold off on applying until some time has passed. 

This is a schedule detailing the points I have earned (mostly via credit cards) - Use the scroll bars below or click here .


Many companies offer a service to notify you when your credit report has changed and will normally charge you between $13 to $30 per month for the service.

Citi offer a service here to monitor all 3 credit reports for $12.95 per month.

 but if you use this link it's only $4.95 per month (note: I don't receive anything for you using this link - it's a discount for those in the know and available to everyone - enjoy!

Tags: .Track changes to your credit report for $5..
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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Free Netflix Movies / TV

This is such a simple hack it's almost too good to be true.  Netflix offers 2 plans in the USA and mostly just 1 (streaming) overseas.

1.) DVD via post or.. 
2.) Unlimited Online streaming.

After sign-up - the online streaming requires you to login with an email address and password.
You can can login on multiple devices at the same time.  Here's the hack. If you or a friend has signed up for access, each of you can 'borrow' the login & pw and both of you can enjoy the service at the same time. Many streaming services limit you to just one device but good ol' Netflix has no such limit.  Try it and see.  Also check out my posts on other free Netflix alternatives here and here

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.

Tags: .Free Netflix Movies / TV..
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Monday, 20 August 2012

Paddy n' B-A-B-Y

I've been a wee bit tied up with a new arrival in our household.  This young man arrived earlier this week and is likely to keep me busy for a while. I can't complain however as he's a pleasure to deal with!

Tags: ..Paddy n' B-A-B-Y..
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Sunday, 12 August 2012

$10 per month Unlimited Data from AT&T

This hack has been around for some time and is still going strong.  Most carriers are no longer offering unlimited data but it is still possible to get in on the deal.  The USA has a very restrictive cell phone market.  If you want a smart phone (Blackberry, iPhone, Android etc) so you can browse the web and check email you typically get locked into a 2 year contract and have to pay ~$30 per month for a limited data plan. This amounts to $720 over 24 months and doesn’t even include the price of making phone calls or texting which is another $30 to $60 per month. Compared to other countries in Asia and Europe this is extortionate.

There is an option with AT&T to get a dumb phone data plan which is designed for phones with basic email/internet functionality. The data plan is unlimited however and called medianet and costs from only $10 - $15 per month depending on if you combine a texting (sms) plan. 

The hack works by first signing up for medianet with a dumb phone.  You may need to borrow a dumb phone if you don’t have one or buy a cheap phone on ebay for ~$20.  The second part of the hack requires you to swap the SIM card you used in step 1 to a phone which is not listed in the AT&T database as a smart phone . A list of these can be found in numerous forums e.g. XDA. The current smart phone of choice is the unlocked Google Nexus (purchased direct from Google) – Congrats! – you now have an unlimited data plan for $10 per month. – Enjoy the savings!
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Tags: ..$10 per month Unlimited Data from AT&T..
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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #28 - American Express Bonus for Mall Gift Cards

Go to one of these malls - buy a $50 mall gift card with your synced AMEX card - get a $10 statement credit. Repeat steps for each Amex card you own - e.g. stock up now on Xmas gift cards for your local mall - I love AMEX!



Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #28 - More AMEX Giveaways..
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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #27 - Unlocked Phones (part 1)

This hack is kind of a no-brainer for most people but having an unlocked GSM Quad band phone while traveling overseas saves you a small fortune in cell phone roaming charges. You arrive at your international destination and purchase a local pre-paid SIM card for ~$5 and top it with some credit and pop it into your phone and you’re calling local destinations at the local rate and friends and family can call you (via Skype etc) even when you are out of Wi-Fi range!


In the USA a lot of people are on the CDMA phone system (Verizon, Sprint) so those phones won’t work overseas. Your best bet is to go to eBay and search for an ‘Unlocked GSM Quad band phone’ which range from $20 used to $900+ for the newer latest models. Go with a $100- $200 model and you should be fine for email, web browsing and calls.  If you just want calls you can get away with a $50 phone.  I am with AT&T who like to tempt you with a 2 year contract with high tech smart phones (iPhone and Android etc) but restrict you by locking the phone so you can’t use it at home or overseas on another network without extortionate roaming fees.


As a long time Apple fan boy, I just upgraded from an AT&T iPhone 4 (which is difficult but not impossible to unlock – more on that in another post) to the new Samsung Galaxy S3 4G Android Phone and bought an unlock code from eBay for $25 which worked like a charm so now when I go overseas I can just pop any SIM card I want into the phone.  The phone is a state of the art high tech smart phone and it’s like carrying around a mini computer so I can surf the web, watch tv/movies, check email, and make/receive calls worldwide without roaming charges.


What’s your solution to international phone service while traveling? 

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.. .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #27 - Unlocked Phones (part 1)..
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Weekly Photo - NYC

This photo was from the top floor of one of the office buildings I work in. It has an outdoor balcony where the wind was gale force despite the blue sky.

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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #26 - Award Mileage Mistakes - Act FAST!

Update: Snooze ya lose - Deal is now Dead :-(


I previously mentioned price errors which you have to avail of ASAP that gave me $20 per day Hertz rentals in NYC for 9 months.  Today there is a bargain due to a computer glitch at United for a Business Class flight to/from USA - Hong Kong / China for just 4 miles + $30 tax - Get it while you can because it won't last long.  More details from Gary here.






Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here..
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #5 - Award Mileage Mistakes..
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Friday, 13 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #25 – Club Carlson - Country Inn - Success!

UPDATE:  Following up from here - Very happy to report that a phanthom 'no show' booking just posted (took 3 days and I was sweating) for Country Inns for 44K points +4K bonus for being a silver member = 48K Carlson for $90 in Florida location - YMMV - am sure there are cheaper options.


This little hack = ~1 night in Top Tier Europe  / Asia Carlson Hotel for up to $500+ per night aka BARGAIN!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #25 – Club Carlson - Country Inn - Success!..
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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #24 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 2 - sshhhH!

Following up from Part 1 – I was on the lookout for a better location that wouldn’t break the bank but would impress Mrs Paddy in BA and still score another 50K points.  The Radisson website was limited to a ‘petite room’ for $138 incl tax for their midtown Lexington Ave location with no options for a larger room or free perks like parking etc. 


The Radisson website also required a 2 night stay to secure a weekend e.g. Sat/Sunday.  A quick search on google showed this location specific website with a better deal at $156 incl tax for a standard room (although it was still small) including free parking (which we wanted since we were arriving by car and NY parking is $$$$).  Same day booking for same day stay on July 4th after the fireworks – spur of the moment romantic etc. 

Late checkout requested and granted until 1pm by simply asking and smiling and another 50K points have posted to my wifes account. (tip: always sign up a family member / your partner so you can double dip the bonus promos) – so far we now have 100K points from this promo and 100K points from the November 2011 promo = 4 nights at top tier $500+ per night hotels when we visit Europe later this year!  - WINNING!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here .  .

Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #24 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 2 - sshhhH!..
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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #23 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 1 - sshhhH!

I think I may have discovered a little loophole to allow anyone to get the bonus points without even checking in (assuming you register at the links here first).  The T&C say “no shows” don’t qualify but my recent experience says otherwise.
A few weeks ago, I availed of a 30% promo and booked a stay at the cheapest Radisson I could find near where I live.  I did this so I could collect 50K Carlson points which is enough to redeem 5 nights in their lower category hotels or 1 night at any of their top tier properties worldwide which go for $500+.  


The hotel I booked was this one in Carteret, New Jersey which despite the good reviews on TripAdvisor is in the middle of an industrial zone with plumes of smoke coming from nearby factories.  Long story short, having driven past the hotel earlier in the day I decided to cancel but I forgot to do so by the 6pm deadline. I called at 7pm and I explained my plans had changed due to flight issues and assumed that was that. 


This week a charge showed up on my credit card for $90 (bummer) but almost instantly 50K showed up in my Club Carlson account (hell yeah!)  I am not going to fight the charge because I was just going to stay there as a mattress run to get the promo 50K bonus so I’m more than happy to pay $90 for 50K points which can be redeemed for a $500 top tier hotel in Europe / Asia.  I don't know if calling to cancel gives you a better chance than a pure 'no show' - as always  YMMV - UPDATE: After more research I realized the original cancellation was honoured and no charge was issued: I had booked another reservation online and did not cancel so was charged for the 'no show' i.e. 'no show counted for the bonus points and no need to call to cancel!

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #23 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 1 - sshhhH! ..
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #22 - 3 More AMEX giveaways

1.) American Express are giving away more FREE money ($30) here for syncing your AMEX card(s) and making a total of $150 in purchases at 3 locations in Washington D.C. before 07/31 (for those not in DC - online purchases at some of these merchants on this list will count e.g. call to purchase a gift card at a restaurant for a future visit)






2.) Buy an Amex prepaid Gift card here and load $50 before 07/31 and they will give you a $10 gift card free


3.) See details on how to Sync your AMEX card(s) with Twitter here and get $5 credit on $25 purchase at Shell by 07/31


Long live the AMEX promos and enjoy your July 4th celebrations wherever you may be!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #22 - More AMEX giveaways..
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Friday, 29 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #21 - Free Premium TV including HBO / Showtime

When I lived in Hong Kong I was fortunate to live in a nice furnished apartment with a view of the spectacular harbour but unless I wanted to look out the window all the time my home entertainment options were limited because the TV selection was pretty awful.  I was completely dependent on the internet for catching up on the best shows.  I wrote about free TV a few years ago. Even though it’s improved since then and there are a few free options from the major US TV networks and plenty of subscription options like Hulu Plus and Netflix, they lack the selection of latest premium offerings from HBO and Showtime like Game of Thrones, True Blood and Dexter etc.


If you want free premium cable TV while you travel (or when at home...sshhh!) you can set it up in about 5 minutes by following these simple steps.


1. Install uTorrent (this does the grunt work of downloading media to your computer)
2. Install TED (this auto checks for your desired shows and adds them to your download queue)
3. Add EZTV.it to your browser bookmarks (this lists all the latest shows that are available so you can manually add shows to your download queue)
4. Signup for UKNova to get the latest TV from the UK / Ireland
5. Sit back and enjoy free premium TV shows on your computer or connect your pc to your TV so the whole family can watch

Got a tip or comment?


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.   .
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #21 - Free Premium TV including HBO / Showtime..
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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #20 – Free Airport Lounge Access


UPDATE: DEAL IS DEAD - Now requires a CHASE Ink Bold credit card

With traffic and security issues, I like to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare these days. This means I spend more time waiting for a flight than I would normally like so I prefer to wait in comfort. I don’t travel in business or first class as much as I used to, but I did get to use the airport lounges for free twice this year thanks to this simple hack and now so can you by following these simple steps.



1. Click here
2. Enter invite code ‘CHASEINK’
3. Complete and register any Visa or Mastercard credit card (Update: You need an Ink Card now)


Upon completion - You get 2 complimentary passes to an airport lounge and the option to pay $27 for additional passes. Simple – No Brainer – No Strings attached!


Note: They send you a card which is valid for a year with option to bring one guest on each visit so when it is due to expire just sign up your better half to get another year for free.
  
Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here. .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #20 – Free Airport Lounge Access..
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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #19 – AMEX Small Business Promo

As I mentioned before American Express love to give away money.  Their latest offering is a variation on the Small Business Saturday deal.  If you live in or near Boston, Philadelphia or Chicago or will be travelling there on or before July 04th you can get a $10 statement credit (i.e. $10 for free!) by doing the following:


1. Register your AMEX card(s) at the relevant links below


Boston
Philadelphia
Chicago


2. Spend $10 at a one of these small businesses (enter a zip code)


Repeat the above steps for each AMEX card / authorized user to maximize the bonus  




If you don’t live near these cities you can still get in on the deal by finding a small business merchant on this list that satisfies 2 criteria


a.) Accepts online or phone orders
b.) The online or phone orders post to your AMEX account from the relevant city above (i.e. for Chicago it should be something like ACME Ltd, Chicago, IL - they must NOT use a third party outside the cities above)


According to the forums you can buy stuff to be shipped or even gift cards at some locations and it will qualify.  You typically get an email from AMEX immediately after registering and immediately after your purchase.  Here is one for Boston and one for Chicago. Still need one for Philadelphia so if you know of a merchant that works for any for these cities please leave a comment with the details below

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #19 – AMEX $10 Statement Credit Small Business Promo..
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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #18 – NetSpend Prepaid Cards

Quite often a new product launch offers a generous sign-up bonus to generate hype/buzz.  This is one such case and is easy money.  Order a NetSpend Debit Prepaid Mastercard which you can use practically anywhere that accepts cards as payment and load $40 to the card and you get a $20 bonus.  Refer friends and family and both YOU and THEY get a $20 bonus.  It doesn't get much simpler than that! Feel free to leave your referral link in the comments.  


HT to FrequentMiler for yet another great tip!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.



Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #18 – NetSpend Prepaid Cards..
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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #17 – American Express Prepaid Cards

This isn't exactly breaking news but American Express seem to love giving away money e.g. here so it would be down right ungrateful not to accept - right? A few months ago they were giving away a $25 Amex pre-paid card (up to 3 per person) if you bought a $25 pre-paid card (that was $75 for free per person).  I got 2 for me and 2 for the missus. 


If you didn’t get in on the bonus back then don’t worry because it is now available again here   until June 30th but this time you need to load $200 on each card (which can be used like a credit card and is reloadable) to get the $25 bonus.  They do require your social security# on the application and you give your bank a/c details to load the card but there is no credit pull so it’s easy money with minimal red-tape.


If you already got the $25 bonus from the original offer you should be able to get it again by loading $200 on the card. 


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here. 
 .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #17 – American Express Prepaid Cards..
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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Earn Miles and Points with Auto Foursquare Check-ins - UPDATED

Update: 06/26 - Best Western will no longer participate as of June 30th

Update: 06/17 - The United Topguest link currently redirects to Topguest with no option to enter United#)


Foursquare mobile change location was not working for a few days but appears to back online


I also had a number of comments and emails about the Auto Foursquare Check-in hack so I've updated the original post to clarify a few things: 
e.g. 
 - United is a separate link outside of Topguest so slightly different rules apply.
 - Hilton check-ins are limited to Doubletree properties although some people say Garden Inn also works
 - Wyndham check-ins are limited to Wingate properties and must use a specific loyalty member #
 - You need to follow the exact steps in the post to get the points and avoid being flagged for abusing the T&C


Happy Hacking!
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Earn Miles and Points with Auto Foursquare Check-ins..
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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #16 – Shopping Portals

I have not been traveling much lately and have not even churned credit cards for a while so my point earning opportunities have been less than usual but I’ve earned a LOT of cash back and THOUSANDS of points with purchases e.g. the numerous American Express promotions that have been running.  Shopping portals offer the potential to double dip.  You get a discount and/or points for using the portal in addition to the points you get for using your credit card.  Sometimes it’s a toolbar and other times it’s a third part site that links to the merchant you want to purchase from.


When I have an idea about sharing tips / hacks on this blog, I like to research the facts.  Sometimes you come across a site that specializes in the topic you were going to write about e.g. Investment sign up bonuses or Free award flights.  Instead of trying to copy or re-hash the content of another site, I prefer to link / redirect readers directly to the subject matter experts.  FrequentMiler is without doubt the undisputed authority on this topic so please head over here for enlightenment. Trust me you won’t regret it.

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here..
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #16 – Shopping Portals..
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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sign of the Times

Just stumbled upon this sign a few blocks from where I live.  I guess it's OK for humans and cats?
Check out some more classic signs here

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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Weekly Photo - Panama Canal

This is from part of my Central America trip to Panama a few years ago.  There is a restaurant and bar at this site where you can get a splendid ceviche and a cold beer as you watch the ships pass thru the strategic canal.


Tags: ..Weekly Photo - Panama Canal..
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Monday, 28 May 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #15 – Investment Account Sign-up Bonus

UPDATE: 06/23 - Deal appears to be dead: Here is a fairly simple way to get 100,000 free miles / points by just opening a brokerage account. Fidelity are offering a 50,000 mile sign up bonus with either United or American airlines for new brokerage accounts if you deposit a mere $100,000 – ouch! You get another 50K Delta miles for being an existing Fidelity customer.



So if you don’t have that kind of cash lying around don’t worry because cumulative deposits count which means you 1.) deposit 2.) withdraw 3.) repeat step 1 & 2 until you have deposited $100K.  If you did this with $10K you would get the bonus after 10 iterations of step 1 & 2.  Fellow travel hacker The Travel Abstract explains it much better than I can so head over here for the details. 
 .
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #14 – Investment Account Sign-up Bonus..
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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #14 – Transfer / Exchange Points and Miles

There are numerous options for exchanging points and miles from one program into another e.g. Starwood and Ultimate Rewards points have numerous transfer options to airline and hotel points.  With these and other transfer options, sometimes the exchange rate is great and sometimes it’s not so good e.g. with points.com but when you need extra points to get that coveted award it’s important you know what your options are.


There is a very useful point conversion calculator at WebFlyer here. It shows how you can convert from one award partner to another.  It also lists options for how to top up a specific account.


You should also keep your eyes open for limited time deals and promotions e.g. American Express are currently offering (until May 31st) a 50% bonus on Amex Membership Reward Points transferred to British Airways Avios points.  As I mentioned here I have signed up for numerous credit card sign-up bonuses including the 180,000 MR points I earned from applying for 2 AMEX credit cards, so today I availed of the transfer bonus into 270,000 Avios points which posted instantly.  I had already got the bonus of 100,000 Avios points from signing up for a British Airways Visa credit card so now I have 370,000 Avios points for future trips by simply opening 3 credit cards. Not bad for a few minutes work.  Let me know of any good transfer promos you know of.

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #14 – Transfer / Exchange Points and Miles..
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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Step #13: Travel Hacking with FREE ONEWAY Award Flights

Did you know that when you book an award flight (i.e. with miles) on many of the big airlines you can get an extra free one-way flight? I had no idea until fellow travel hacker Scott Grimmer brought it to my attention.  The general idea is to be creative with the use of permitted stopovers and open-jaw bookings. 




Rather than me trying to explain the process it’s probably much easier if you head over to the Scots blog 'MileValue' where he has a topic with easy to follow instructions and even videos dedicated to  FREE ONEWAYS.


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here
  
Tags: .Travel Hacking with FREE ONEWAY Award Flights..
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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Weekly Photo - No Swimming

I took this photo in a parking lot in Florida with no water in sight...

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