Hooray for the weekend! We hope you have been enjoying yours. Here are some travel articles we’ve recently seen that we think you may like.
The hotel chains have spent a lot of money on marketing to try to get you to book a hotel room directly with them by using their website or app and have gone with the “carrot and stick” approach to achieve that goal. On one hand, they’ve gone out of their way to market special low “Member Exclusive Rates” that are only available to members of their loyalty program and “Best Rate Guarantees” that tell you if you find a cheaper rate after booking with them, they’ll match it and lower the rate even further. At the same time, the hotel chains penalize you for booking anywhere except directly with them. Some of these “sticks” are they don’t give you any recognition of your loyalty status or let you earn any points in their program when staying on externally booked stays. They’ll also only give perks like free Wi-Fi if you’ve booked directly with them.
When I say you need to book direct with the hotel, I mean you use the hotel’s website, the hotel chain’s website, the smartphone app for the hotel chain, or by calling the hotel to make a reservation.
When I mention using an “external” website, that is basically everything else. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Priceline, Hotels Tonight, Hotwire and Booking.com are just some of them. If you’re completing the booking anywhere but with the hotel, it’s an external website.
Hotel search engines like Trivago, Kayak and TripAdvisor show you prices directly from the hotel as well as from external sites, so it’s best to use something like that to see who has the cheapest price.
So, should you only book your hotel rooms directly with the hotel even if an external site is less expensive? Continue reading “Is It Worth The Extra Money To Book A Room Directly From The Hotel Website?”
Earning points and miles to reach your travel goals is hard work. It doesn’t matter if you earn them through signing up for credit cards, flying on airplanes, staying in hotels or even if you write out and send in 188 postcards. All of these actions take time and effort. The last thing you want to happen is have your account go inactive and your balances zeroed out.
Depending on the program, you’ll lose all your points if you do not have any qualifying activity within a certain time frame that can vary from three years to just THREE MONTHS!! Using a website, such as AwardWallet, helps keep things organized so you know when points will expire. There will be times when you won’t have a flight on a particular airline or a stay at a specific hotel chain planned before your points will disappear. All is not lost though, because there are many other ways to keep your accounts active. Here are two of my favorite ways to have some account activity and keep from losing my points. Continue reading “My Two Favorite Ways To Prevent Miles And Points From Expiring”
I write a lot about the credit card offers available to earn bonus miles. That’s because sign up bonuses from credit cards are the easiest way to rack up points and miles in a short amount of time. I realize that many people can’t get approved for credit cards or choose not to have them. While that means you’re missing out on some great opportunities, all is not lost. There are other ways to earn miles besides sign up bonuses.
Do you buy anything online???
I use shopping portals to get miles for things I’d be buying anyway. Portals are websites that you click through to get to other websites. When shopping through a portal, you can get different types of bonuses. There are cash back portals, like Ebates, which pay you a percentage of your purchase, whereas airlines and hotels run portals that pay you back in miles or points in their respective programs. Credit cards also have shopping portals, where you can earn points in the corresponding rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards.
There are dozens of these portals out there so I like to check several of them before making any purchase online. My current favorite site to check the current payout rates is Cashback Monitor. This website keeps up to date listings of the amount that each shopping portal will pay for a specific website.
Anyway, I wanted to purchase a deal I saw on Groupon. I know there are usually great deals for purchases with Groupon on varying shopping portals and was happy to see that Chase had a great payout…