Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Shopping = Done Thanks to American Express Gift Chain

Update: 12/1: The final 3 gifts I was waiting on came through to me this morning. From my JCrew purchase, I received a $15 statement credit towards my next purchase. Admittedly, I was a little ticked off about this because I didn't want to have to make another purchase, but I did manage to find a cute 2 piece bikini for $14.99 ($9.99 for the top, $4.99 for the bottom) so it seemed to work out OK. I guess I could book a beach trip now! Just kidding... or am I? :)

The other 2 gifts were four $10 American Express gift cards from Game Stop & a $20 Game Stop gift card from my other Game Stop gift card purchase. Not too shabby.

Seriously, I am having American Express post overload. Of course I get an email in my inbox today about this "American Express Gift Chain" that I simply could not ignore. In simple terms, American Express is giving "secret rewards" ranging from statement credits, AMEX gift cards, surprise gift cards, membership rewards, etc.

I'll hand it over to MommyPoints who pretty much sums up the entire promotion here in her post.

Not only do I like surprises (or specifically, a gambler's rush), but it didn't hurt to get all of my Christmas shopping done in one hit (well in this case, several $25 transactions, but still, wayyy better than those lines). In my eyes, the "gifts" were stocking stuffers to me. Win Win.

So how did I make out in my haul? Here's what I ordered to use as gifts, and what I got back from AMEX:

$25 Bed, Bath, & Beyond gift card - my gift was a 1 year membership to ShopRunner. Eh, kind of useless for now, but may come handy in the future.
$25 Bed, Bath, & Beyond gift card (this one is for myself to use at Harmon, which is a BBB store).  - my gift was a $15 statement credit.
$25 Game Stop gift card - my gift was (4) $10 American Express gift cards.
$25 Game Stop gift card - my gift was $20 Game Stop gift card.
$25 AMC Movies gift card purchased from - my gift was a $5 statement credit.
$25 Red Lobster gift card purchased from - my gift was a $5 statement credit.
$25 Starbucks gift card purchased from - my gift was a $5 statement credit.
$25 Outback gift card purchased from - my gift was a $5 statement credit.
$25 JCrew gift card - my gift was a $15 statement credit off of a future order.
$25 Walmart gift card - my gift was a $5 statement credit.

If you added correctly, you can see my "haul" cost me $250, but I did not have to spend any money on shipping or have to deal with lines in crowded stores. Literally everyone I could even think of is taken care of this holiday season. I apologize to my family & friends who read my posts, there is no surprise for you this year. Oops!

So how did I do in summary? A 1 year membership to ShopRunner, $40 in AMEX Statement credits, a free summer bikini from JCrew, $20 Game Stop gift card, and $40 in AMEX gift cards.

Intangibly, I got my gambling fix taken care of, saving me a trip to AC... you get the point.

-x0 Angelina

Earn 500 U.S. Airways Dividend Miles By Joining Dividend Miles Daily Deal

Wow there are just so many great point opportunities and deals today - I can barely keep track! This one is easy - click here to sign up for Dividend Miles Daily Deal (a new Groupon-like site rolled out by U.S. Airways) & receive 500 miles (I'll also receive 500 miles per referral).

Don't have a Dividend Miles Account? Log onto the U.S. Airways site and create your free account today. I didn't even have one until about a month ago when I joined to participate in their annual "Grand Slam" Promotion. I'll post about that soon once all of my "hits" are in and I have a final mileage count. So far I'm pushing a little over 15,000 miles without even flying with them. Not bad for just joining!

The best part? U.S. Airways is in the Star Alliance along with United and Continental, meaning you can redeem miles on Continental & United flights along with dozens of other airlines in the Star Alliance.

-x0 Angelina

A Sneaky Way to Score A Free Holiday Gift From American Express Via Vente-Privee

Wow it seems that I have a lot to say about American Express recently. I promise you'll think this one is fantastic. American Express just recently launched their own free flash/sample sale site called Vente-Privee which sells all things designer for up to 70% off.

If you're an AMEX card holder, you're in luck. American Express is offering a $20 statement credit on your first purchase using an American Express Card by December 31, 2011. You can spend as little as $1 and still get the $20 credit. I actually just purchased a cute designer coffee cup set (pictured below) that I will most likely gift to someone. The price was $15 (marked down from $48) and $5.95 for shipping. After the $20 statement credit is posted, it'll only end up costing me a grand 95 cents. Not a bad gig!

You can go ahead and sign up here (thanks for letting me refer you) and take a peak at today's sales.

How will you scratch someone off your holiday shopping list courtesy of American Express?

Hotel Status Matching

Yesterday I obtained Platinum Status with Accor Hotels (A|Club) for both Kevin and I. Accor has several partner hotels around the world (several which I am considering for stays in Singapore, Macau, & Hong Kong when we travel there at the end of March/early April). Sure, Platinum status is great with the A|Club, but what's even greater is that I will contact other hotel loyalty programs that I am a member of today (specifically Priority Club, Club Carlson, Omni, and Best Western because they are the top players in status matching), and request that they match status.

Having a higher status benefits a traveler in several ways. Some of the perks include instant room upgrades, free welcome drinks and gifts, and a higher point bonus with qualifying stays.

I'll go ahead and get started with the letters right now, and will keep you posted with the replies. :)

-x0 Angelina

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Stay At Radisson for 50,000 (pending) Club Carlson Points

Update: 11/29: As of now, you can still sign up for this free promotion; they have not reached their first 50,000 registrants yet. Once 50,000 people have registered, the program will automatically switch you over to the promotion whereby you earn 15,000 Club Carlson points instead. It's free to sign up and only takes a few minutes to create a Club Carlson account.

Also, remember that Club Carlson will gladly match status with another program you have status with.

One last thing, my father graciously called Club Carlson for me and they informed him that it takes up to 8 weeks for the 50k bonus points to credit. :)

Like many other points travelers, I set my alarm for midnight on November 10 to be one of the first 50,000 registrants for the Club Carlson bonus points simply by completing one stay at a Radisson hotel before December 31, 2011. I definitely did not want to miss this promotion - 50,000 points can be worth up to 5, category-1 free night stays at any Club Carlson partner hotels.

Upon registration, I came across a Radisson coupon code deeming 25% off any reservation (plus I booked through the Radisson link at earning me around $4 back). I figured since Kev and I were to be spending Thanksgiving in central NJ, it would be a perfect idea to book a room in a local Radisson in Freehold, NJ - not too far where I grew up. With the coupon, the room came out to be $89 with all taxes, and we made it a lovely evening complete with dinner at our favorite Italian hot spot in downtown Freehold and a bottle of wine to call it a night.

I must say, that if it weren't for this promotion, I probably would not have booked a Radisson and seen how lovely it was. For the longest time, I always thought Radisson hotels to be lower-end, borderline motels. I was genuinely impressed how clean, renovated, and modernly decorated the place was. Definitely felt like my room was worth far more than what I paid for.

Anyway, shortly after the stay, I logged into my Club Carlson account and saw that my stay was credited. However, the 50k bonus miles were not yet posted. I'll keep you updated as to when they are credited.

Date PostedTypeDescriptionPoints
Nov 27, 2011EarnRadisson Hotel Freehold - Nov 23, 2011 to Nov 24, 2011 - Radisson - Freehold , NJ US Points|Room Earning 20 Points per USD1,560
Nov 27, 2011EarnRadisson - Freehold , NJ US Points|Online Booking Member Bonus Points1,000
Nov 27, 2011EarnRadisson - Freehold , NJ US Points|Welcome Next Stay 2000 Bonus Points2,000

Saturday, November 26, 2011

American Express: Small Business Saturday

I'm proud of American Express; they've created a huge social movement to preserve and promote the small business community throughout the U.S. Using Facebook, American Express allowed all AMEX card holders to pledge to shop at a locally-owned small business to receive a $25 statement credit for completing a qualifying $25 minimum purchase today, Saturday, November 26, 2011.

I love promotions like this. Not only have I been a loyal AMEX user for years, but I also love free stuff more than you can imagine. I bet we have that in common. So how did I pledge? I bought a $25 gift card to my favorite local diner on the corner. Kevin & I enjoyed yummy slow-roasted beet & goat cheese salads for lunch today. Thanks AMEX - you've helped maintain a trim waist and wallet for us today! :)

Also, Kevin has an AMEX business card that I secretly registered too. My plan is to trick him into taking me on a dinner date later. Hey - it IS Saturday Night...



Hi! I'm Angelina. So here it is - just another points and miles travel blog by just another points traveler. I've actually been inspired to start blogging merely as a way to contain my uncontainable excitement about all things points and miles and to simply convey my "point stories" to important people such as Kevin (the mister in my life) and my family.

In that case, a blog works because let me tell you, it's hard enough to get a man to listen to a woman babble for more than 3 sentences. I've learned to be certain that the most important facts are presented in the first sentence and last sentence only because that's really all they comprehend anyway. Usually the last sentence is a repeat of the first sentence in some degree.

Anyway, I'm babbling... back to business here.

Since my wee-little years, I've always had a passion for travel, and as far back as I can remember, whenever a grown-up asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied "a world traveler".

But since I am just another points traveler, you can easily assume that I am just an average gal without access to a multi-million dollar hedge fund to allow me to travel abroad several times a year. Your assumptions are correct. I rely (heavily) upon opportunities that allow me to travel for sometimes close to nada. I look forward to sharing with you. Stay tuned!