Category Archives: Travel Tools

Cancellation Policy for Hotel Stays Booked by Points

 

Each major hotel brand allows you to book a hotel room using its loyalty program points.  The cancellation policy is different from brand to brand and could be different from paid with cash reservations. The cancellation policy can also depend on whether the property is a hotel or resort.

Below is a summary of cancellation policy for hotel rooms booked with points:

Best Western: 72 hours. Cancel before 04:00 PM hotel time 3 days prior to avoid a charge.

Marriott & SPG: 48 -72 hours in advance for All Standard Rate + Award Reservations In North/Latin America & The Caribbean.

Hilton: 48 hours. 48 Hours advance notice required for Awards Reservations to avoid cancellation penalties.

Haytt: 24 Hours. Cancel 24 hours prior to arrival to avoid first night penalty.

IHG: 24 Hours. Canceling your reservation before 6:00 PM a day before will result in no charge. Canceling your reservation after 6:00 PM (local hotel time) on a day before, or failing to show, will result in a charge of 1 night per room to your credit card. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation. Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately, and cancellations are refunded in points only.

Wyndham: 24 Hours. TO AVOID BEING BILLED CANCEL BY 06:00 PM a day before; PENALTY AMOUNT of first night PER ROOM PLUS TAXES

Club Carlson: 0 Hours. Cancel by 6:00 PM hotel time on the day of arrival to avoid penalty. Late cancellations will result in a penalty of first night’s Gold Points®. Failure to cancel this reservation will result in a penalty of all Gold Points® for the entire stay.

Please check the particular cancellation policy at the time of booking as it might have changed from the date of publication.

Last Updated 8/6/2017

 

Get 4 free magnets or 4 free 8×10 art prints at Shutterfly

shutterfly
Through November 6, Shutterfly.com is offering 4 free magnets or 4 free 8×10 art prints* Promo code: FREE4U. Note that you will need to pay shipping which appears to be around $5.99 for 1 magnet ad goes to $10 for 4.
We order a magnet for every vacation we take and the quality of Shutterfly magnets is good.

List of all current promotions can be found here: https://www.shutterfly.com/promotions_details/
4 free magnets or 4 free 8×10 art prints* Promo code: FREE4U
*Offer expires November 6, 2016 (11:59 P.M. PT). Choose four free magnets or four 8×10 art prints on signature cardstock through shutterfly.com, our mobile-friendly site or Shutterfly app. Offer is valid on all magnet sizes (only select sizes are available on the app), but limited to one magnet size per order. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on glass and stationery magnets, other art print sizes/finish/paper types and frames, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases and orders placed for in-store pick up. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with select offers or credits. Not valid for resale. We reserve the right to modify or replace any part of these terms and
Free economy shipping on orders of $39 or more. Promo code: SHIP39
*Offer expires November 16, 2016 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for free economy shipping on qualifying merchandise orders of $39 or more (after any other discounts and before taxes, shipping and handling) shipped within the U.S. only through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Taxes will apply. Orders with multiple recipients will receive one discount applied to the shipment with the highest shipping cost. Not valid on TripPix, FavePix, Make My Book services and fees, personalized postage stamps, cards sent using mailing services, orders shipped to non-U.S. destinations, gift certificates, prior purchases and orders made on the Shutterfly apps. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with select offers or credits. Not valid for resale. We reserve the right to modify or replace any part of these terms and conditions without notice.

Free upgrade to expedited shipping on merchandise orders of $39 or more.
Promo code: UPGRADE at checkout and select expedited shipping
*Offer expires November 16, 2016 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for one free expedited shipping upgrade (when you pay for the price of economy shipping) on qualifying merchandise orders of $39 or more (after any other discounts and before taxes, shipping and handling) shipped within the U.S. only through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Must select expedited shipping at checkout. Taxes will apply. Orders with multiple recipients will receive one discount applied to the shipment with the highest shipping cost. Not valid on TripPix, FavePix, Make My Book services and fees, personalized postage stamps, cards sent using mailing services, orders shipped to non-U.S. destinations, gift certificates, prior purchases and orders made on the Shutterfly apps. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with select offers or credits. Not valid for resale. We reserve the right to modify or replace any part of these terms and conditions without notice.

One free 3/4 fold, tri-fold, 6×8 flat, 5×7 flat, 5×5 flat, 4×8 flat, or 5×7 folded card on signature cardstock. Promo code: CARD4U
*Offer expires November 16, 2016 (11:59 P.M. PT). Choose one free square trim, signature cardstock card (6×8, 5×7, 5×5, 4×8 flat, 5×7 folded, 5×7 trifold or 3/4 folded card) through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Other trim, paper and envelope options will incur extra fees. Not valid on foil-stamped, photo paper cards, wedding suites, ornament cards, other sizes, mix and match cards, calling cards, other products, prepaid plans, cards sent using mailing services, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and orders made on the Shutterfly apps. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with select offers or credits. Not valid for resale. We reserve the right to modify or replace any part of these terms and conditions without notice.

Save 50%, 40%, or 30% on your entire order* Promo code: ALLNEW
*Offer expires November 6, 2016 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for 30% off qualifying regular priced merchandise orders of $1-$48.99; 40% off $49-$148.99 and 50% off $149 or more (after select discounts and before taxes, shipping and handling) through shutterfly.com, our mobile-friendly site or Shutterfly app. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. This promo will be applied to your order after any $-off promos. Limit one %-off promo per order. Not valid on Make My Book services and fees, personalized postage stamps, prepaid, annual savings and video plans, gift certificates, cards sent using mailing services, prior purchases, FavePix, TripPix, PrintFix, Groovebook and orders placed for in-store pick up. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with select offers or credits. Not valid for resale. We reserve the right to modify or replace any part of these terms and conditions without notice.

Tools of the Trade: Buy, Sell and Check balance of Store Gift Cards

One of the options to Manufacture Spending or get a discount is to buy/sell gift cards. One of the sites I have used in the past is Gift Card Granny: https://www.giftcardgranny.com/.

You also can use this it to find Store Locations, Phone Number or URL to Check Balance Online.

 

Citi ThankYou Points digest

ThankYou by Citi

Here is a digest about using Citi ThankYou points:

Combing ThankYou Points:

  1. Different ways of combing points between your ThankYou accounts: Should you avoid pooling ThankYou accounts? by FrequentMiler. This blog is about
    few advantages and disadvantages of pooling different ThankYou accounts and the best method of Pooling points: Sharing. More on Sharing  can be found at How to Share or Transfer Citi Thank You Points to Another Account blog post by Travel with Grant.
  2. How to Share Your Citi ThankYou Points with your Spouse by Million Miles Secrets
  3. How to Prevent Losing Citi ThankYou Points When Closing Your Card by Million Mile Secrets

Booking using ThankYou Points:

  1. How to Book American Airlines Flights with Citi Thank You Points (1.6 Cents Per Point Value) by Travel by Grant
  2. Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points For Travel On American by One Mile at a Time
  3. Citi ThankYou Points Can Be Redeemed for 1.6 Cents Each on 20 Airlines by MileValue
  4. How to Get 1.25 Cents per Point Towards Cruises, Hotels, & Car Rentals With Citi ThankYou Premier by Million Mile Secrets

Transferring ThankYou Points To Airlines:

  1. How to Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Airlines by Million Mile Secrets
  2. How to Maximize Domestic Award Redemptions: ThankYou Points by MileValue
  3. How To Redeem Citi ThankYou Points On Singapore Airlines by One Mile at a Time
  4. Series of posts by One Mile at a Time about how to maximize value when transferring your Citi ThankYou Points to airline partners:

Tools of the Trade: Go Hilton website

HiltonTeamMembersProgram

Recently Hilton anvil new website that provide special rates for Hilton Team Members family and friends. With the old system, You could not make the reservation online with this spatial rates, plus you relative needed to get a letter from his hotel and a voucher. It was to much hassle. Now with the new web site you can see the rates, make a reservation and all with out extra hassle.

The Hilton Team Members program got updated as well: The number of available rooms on this special rate is not fixed but based on hotel occupancy rate at the time of booking. Still not every hotel is participating in the program but the rates are half the price of the base published rates.

To get those rates your relative who is a Hilton employee needs to register your HHonors account information in the system. The rates have to be booked at www.hilton.com/go site only.

“Go Hilton is available to all employees at Hilton Worldwide corporate offices and its owned and managed properties. It is also available to hotel owners in the Owners Recognition Club and employees of franchisees who work on property at independently owned and operated franchised properties in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio.”

Tools of The Trade: Free FICO score provided by your Credit Card Banks

FICOThe FICO Score is calculated and maintained based on data provided by 3 Credit Bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Several Credit Card Banks will help you monitor your FICO score and provide you with the guidance on how to improve it. myFICO.com wants to charge you $29.95 a month to have access to your 3-bureau credit report and FICO® Scores, but you can get it for free if you use a combination of free FICO score reports provided by your Credit Card bank(s) and government sanctioned credit report site annualcreditreport.com.

A FICO® is a three-digit number that summarizes your credit risk based on your credit file at one of the  three major consumer bureaus at a particular point in time. FICO® Scores are used in 90% of lending decisions. FICO® Scores help lenders evaluate credit risk and can influence the credit that’s available and the terms, such as interest rate, that lenders offer.

Bank Of America

Bank of America FICO® Score 8 based on TransUnion data and updated monthly. Your 1 year history is available at your online account under: Tools & Investing/Spending & Cash Flow/View your FICO Score.

It also provides educational information about credit, FICO score and importance of maintaining your good credit standing: Learn about credit scores (online account is required).

American Express

American Express FICO Score 8 based on Experian data and updated  what looks like quarterly. You can view your current and previous score on your online account. After you log in under Home/Useful Links/View FICO Score.

Barclay Bank

Barclay Bank FICO Score is based on TransUnion data and updated every second month with one year history available. The score and its history can be found under Services/Your FICO Score.

Barclay provides more  information from FICO about FICO® Scores and credit in general on YouTube:

 

Understanding your Credit Report
What goes into FICO® Scores?
What is a FICO® Score?

Discover

Discover Card holders can see free  FICO® Credit Score based on there TransUnion credit report using the FICO® Score 8 along with 12 months history. It is available under Account/Features & Benefits/FICO Credit Score for free.

On May 20, 2016 Discover lunched Credit Scorecard that gives real FICO Score 8 report based on Experian report for everyone for free and you do not need a Discover card.

Citi Bank

Citi Bank credit card holders can see FICO® Score based on information from Equifax credit report as of the date it was calculated. Check back each month to stay on top of changes.

Capital One Bank

CreditWise from Capital One, formerly Credit Tracker, lets you see your credit score for free. If you are existing Capital One Bank customer you can login using your Capital One credentials.

The Credit Score is updated weekly. It tells you key factors that impact your credit and has a Credit Simulator that shows how your decisions could affect your score. CreditWise score is based on your credit information from TransUnion, but  calculated using the VantageScore 3.0 model. It includes 12 months history starting from the day you established CreditWise account.

Others

Credit monitoring sites like CreditKarma and Credit Sesame use FAKO (not FICO!) scores. Those are not real FICO scores but estimates of FICO scores using reverse engineered logic of FICO.

Conclution

Different credit cards offer free FICO scores from the 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) for its customers and some provide it for free to everyone.

All banks, along with free FICO Scores, provide explanation of  the factors affecting your FICO® Score as well as information about understanding your FICO score and frequently asked questions from FICO.

You can keep tabs on all 3 of your reports with annualcreditreport.com, the only government sanctioned credit report site. If there are mistakes there be sure to dispute them! If there are hard pulls that shouldn’t be there, if there are duplicate hard pulls, or if there are pulls older than 24 months old you should dispute those as well. Unfortunately that site only shows your report, it does not give you a credit score. For more information about free annual credit report see the https://milestopixels.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/free-annual-credit-report/ article.

Complimentary TripIt Pro subscription for Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ MasterCard® cardmembers.

Barclay offering Complimentary 1-year
subscription to TripIt Pro for Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ MasterCard® cardmembers for the last time.

In response to cardmember inquiries, Barclay Bank is offering a complimentary 1-year TripIt Pro subscription to new Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ MasterCard® cardmembers for a limited time.

You must enroll by December 16, 2015 to take advantage of this offer.

Check you email if you qualify.

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