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March 24, 2014


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A bunch of my bills don't accept credit cards. Maybe that changed, though. I need to call and check with them. We charge less than $10,000 on our card so it's not racking up much miles. What's your favorite card? I got turn down when I applied recently because I don't have a W2 now...

Retired Syd

RB40: I wouldn't really call any card my "favorite." It doesn't really matter to me. I've used United's, American Airlines' and Southwest's cards. Whichever one is offering me the most mileage for my buck!


I'm wondering what brokerage companies participated in offers - where you moved money. Maybe I'm not seeing offers in the online newsletters!

Retired Syd

retiredkathie: Fidelity had a deal for United Mileage--there may be others for different airlines. And you could keep doing it every 6 months (although I think they changed it to 9 months now.)


One nice thing about the SW Rapid Rewards is that the mileage is freely transferable. Thus, a few years back we got 7 individual cards for 7 family members and achieved 350,000 miles, which we used primarily to bring our kids back home from time to time. Round trips were about 20,000 miles each, so we got about 17 round trips. At that time the cards had no annual fee; now they are being offered at $99 per card (and you get the miles by charging $2k within three months).

Retired Syd

Rick: That sounds like something we would do--7 cards for 7 family members, excellent! Plus Southwest gives you free drink coupons when you book a rapid rewards trip.


Well, you know Syd, I was at first very skeptical of this. Not of you, but of the practice. So I did some reading up on racking up travel miles (from other blogs) and I have changed my mind. I suppose now that my own DH is retired and we do have more time, I may reconsider.
Live and learn.
I travel a lot back and forth to Florida but just book the least expensive flight and that's it. This time, I joined their frequent flier rewards program and found out by booking the flight myself, online, I got 6 times the points. That turned out to be a lot of points, which already made small discounts available (drinks, hotels etc.)
DH and I started talking about this and I asked him if he had anything on his Travel Bucket List. He does.
Then, as our luck has it, he got this offer in the mail that after I read the fine print (I'm the Doug of our family) within six months he'd earn over 50,000 points which could qualify him for a free airline ticket to any of the 48 continuous states. And that's only if we just charged our monthly bills to it.
OK. I stand corrected. I apologize. This IS a good deal. We're going to try it and it's something new for me to learn and be good at!
Thanks for sharing and explaining the travel system to your readers.
PS: if you ever want to stay at our Hudson Valley home, you are most welcome. Come and discover another part of NY. (only 1.5 hrs from NYC anyway @$22 RT by train)

Retired Syd

Cindi: Looks like maybe you've got some (free!) travel ahead--good for you! What's on his bucket list by the way?

And thanks for the sweet offer! We did take the train up that direction last year (to Poughkeepsie) and explored Saugerties, and Woodstock. What a beautiful area you live in!


Thanks. We love it here.
DH wants to go to Cotswold in England where they film 'Doc Martin' and to also visit more of the English countryside. We did the London thing already, plus visited Oxford and Windsor Castle (where we attended a brilliant game of cricket). Points will help with this goal.
For me, the only thing left I want to see from my Bucket List is the Grand Canyon. Other than that, travel between New York and Florida suits me just fine.
But I can do with another cup of British tea!

Linda Vaughn

I.Love.This.Blog!!! I just wish it were a book so I could thumb through it.

Retired Syd

Linda: I. Love. That. Encouragement!!!! Thanks!


I've done this a lot too. The only issue I've encountered is meeting the spend level on my primary CC (associated with the airline I fly most) so that I can maintain elite status.

That said, I recently started looking into services such as Evolve money that allow you to fund with prepaid debit cards and pay bills that don't directly accept credit cards. The only issue that that you generally pay a fee for the debit cards (around $4.95 each) but since I'm getting the miles for less than 1 cent each, it's worth it.


I tend to book the majority of my travel through Travelocity, and so got their Amex Rewards card. Be sure to check your statements to make sure you are getting the points you are supposed to get! I am supposed to get 3 points for every dollar I spend on Travelocity bookings, and yet two flights I purchased with the card only got 1-for-1 points. It took a series of e-mails and calls to get this straightened out!

Retired Syd

Savvy: I'm going to have to look into that Evolve prepaid debit card. That would be worth it for a big bill like property taxes! Also I'll have to make sure the county assessor doesn't charge for debit cards either.


Syd - You can buy any prepaid debit card then use that via the Evolve website to make payments. However, right now, Evolve seems to have a somewhat limited list of payers. For example, they have my local power company but do not have my mortgage company. Also, there is a limit (I think $1000) to how much you can pay at one time and per day. They are sending a check to the payer and getting the money from you via (prepaid) debit card so there is no fee involved.

Check out their website to see if your county is listed as a payer. It's www.evolvemoney.com


My husband and I play the same points game, but instead of travel, I have used my mileage points to make purchases: So far I've bought - a Kitchen-aid stand mixer, two flat screen televisions, two iPod Nanos, a Cuisinart food processor, two Galaxy S3 phones and A Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet! Might have to start doing more traveling with my points!

Retired Syd

Lynn: Thanks for sharing that. See it's worth it even for people that don't want to use it for travel!

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