Manufactured Spend / Nonrev (standby) travel

Goodbye to Nonrev Travel (A Sabbatical)

One of the Many Issues with Nonrev Travel

My daughter the pilot is going on leave until the end of the year.  During this time, our flight benefits will be suspended until she goes back to work.  I am trying to convince myself that this will simplify life and at the same time, urge me to be more focused in my travel.  I try to remember all the bad things about nonrev travel.

Airport Lounges / Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / etc.

Lounge Access Options with AMEX Platinum, Priority Pass and United Club Cards–Field Testing

Before our recent Med Cruise, I investigated all our options for lounge access, and picked out an arsenal of cards to carry with us. The cards we brought along for lounge access were my American Express Platinum card, my Star Alliance Club Card, and both Bruce’s and my Priority Pass Cards. Here is our experience using these cards. Atlanta Airport The first leg of our trip was Atlanta to Amsterdam.  We were leaving out of the international terminal, but I wanted to check out the new United lounge in the T-gates. When you exit the North Terminal security you are in

Credit and Debit Cards / Manufactured Spend / Prepaid Cards

The Parable of the Tortoise (Bluebird) and the Hare (Redbird)–Redux

Here is an excerpt from a blog post I did back in May, right after Redbird stopped allowing credit card loads.  I think it is apropos today, as it looks like Redbird is not allowing loads by debit card either. Viva La Bluebird! Both the Tortoise and the Hare had been using Bluebird for several years to help them meet their minimum spends on their credit cards.  As time went by, they got several Bluebirds (one for Mom, one for spouse, etc.) so that they could put more spend on their credit cards and earn even more miles and

Carnival / Cruising / Prepaid Cards

10% Off Carnival Gift Cards on

You can get discounted Carnival gift cards through the website.  You do not have to be a member of AARP, and the gift cards can be used just like a debit card to pay for cruises, excursions, and any other on-board credit.   If you know that you’ll be taking a Carnival cruise within the next year or so, why not use these to get a 10% discount?  The only downside is that the cards sell out right away, so you have to check the website frequently. Here’s how to get the cards: Go to and click

American Airlines / Award travel / Delta / etc.

The Year So Far in Miles, Points, and Trips

Here’s how we’ve used our miles and points so far this year: ♦ January—Crete–120K United miles in Economy for two round trip Atlanta to Heraklion.  Killer 5 legs on the outbound. Thankful for Star Alliance lounge access!  Used 20K IHG points for Holiday Inn in Vienna on layover back to Atlanta. ♦ January–25K American Airlines miles round trip in Economy for one plus a lap infant Montreal to Atlanta.  Flew my grandson and his mom for a visit to see us. ♦ February–Road trip Atlanta to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to carry grandson, his mom, and their dog, who had been

Credit and Debit Cards / Manufactured Spend / Prepaid Cards

Manufactured Spend on the United Club Card

I don’t usually go into details of how I manufacture miles and points.  There are other bloggers that specialize in this, and I also do not want to publicize fragile methods that I don’t want to disappear due to too much exposure.  I don’t mind talking about dead deals, or zombie deals that are on their last legs.  This post discusses a method that is on its last legs.  I’m posting it to explain this method to curious friends and family.  Yes, this is for you whose eyes glazed over as I was trying to explain what I do.

Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / etc.

I’m in the Process of Dropping the Ball on my Chase Free Night

I have a free night certificate with IHG hotels that I need to use by the end of next month.  The free night is a perk of the IHG MasterCard issued by Chase.  Several years ago when I was applying for every travel rewards credit card under the sun, I got this one for myself and  my husband. The bonus points are long gone (actually we got 80K bonus points), but I pay an annual fee of $49 to keep the card because I get a free night at any IHG property, even the swanky InterContinentals.  So it really

American Airlines / Award travel / Cruising / etc.

Case Study–Cruising for $39/night! Finding it and getting there

As I am looking on the Vacations To Go website for cheap cruises, this is the kind of pricing that attracts my attention! (See my post on how to search for cruises for price per night). I am going to use this $39/night cruise to show you some of the steps in how to make this cruise happen!  I did the research for this cruise back in February, so the example shows a cruise from April of this year. The process still works, however! Here are the particulars on this $39/night cruise on the VTG website. Yes, this looks

Credit and Debit Cards / Manufactured Spend / Prepaid Cards / etc.

AMEX Gift Cards Are Now Officially a Pain-In-the-Ass

I have come to the end of my rope with AMEX Gift Cards.  Once the mainstay of my miles and points collecting, they have now just gotten to be too much trouble to use. I have been buying them for years to offset the costs of earning miles on my credit cards.  I went through cash-back portals like Ebates and TopCashBack to earn from 1-3% cash back.  This money that I earned helped to offset the costs of buying the VISA gift cards that I used to get the money spent on the credit cards back into my hands.