Marriott Travel Packages Remain an Attractive Option

I prefer spending Marriott reward points in one of two ways:

  1. Book category one (7,500 points) or two (10,000 points) budget hotels in major cities across America. These rooms aren’t the greatest, but they are clean and offer a free, cheap breakfast. If you are just passing through, there aren’t many better options.
  2. Accumulate a ton of Marriott (and/or Ritz Carlton) rewards and transfer them all at once for a Marriott Vacation Package. Marriott and Ritz Carlton are owned by the same parent company, and the rewards are interchangeable.

Today I want to focus on point number two, and highlight a few of the most attractive options. (more…)

How to Obtain and Use the Southwest Companion Pass

I mentioned the Southwest Companion Pass on the recommended credit cards page. However, some readers wanted more detail on the subject, so I  thought I’d write a follow-up with more information.

Obtaining the companion pass allows you to designate a companion who can fly FREE on Southwest airlines for 2 entire calendar years. It doesn’t matter whether you book your ticket with cash or Southwest miles, the other person flies free (except government mandated airport taxes). (more…)

When is the Best Time to Cancel a Credit Card?

Many credit cards carry an annual fee which is waived for the first year. Once you meet the minimum spend requirements and receive the signup bonus, the question still remains – should you keep that card open or cancel it?

There isn’t any one right answer, and it largely depends on the card and your preferences. However, I do believe there are certain guidelines that should be followed when making the decision. I’ll try to lay those out clearly in this post. (more…)

How to Liquidate Visa Gift Cards – Updates at Walmart

If you’ve read my previous tutorial on buying Amex gift cards and liquidating them, you’ll know that Visa gift cards (VGCs) are often the end result of that process. This is because Amex gift cards don’t have a pin and must be used as credit, while the Visa varieties do have a pin and can be easily liquidated when used as debit.

If you don’t want to buy Amex gift cards online, you can easily buy Visa gift cards directly with your credit card at places like CVS, grocery stores, etc. Once you have them, there are many ways to liquidate VGCs, but I’d like to present the easiest and most cost effective methods available which don’t require another intermediate step. I’ll order my list with my favorite first, finishing with my least favorite method.


How to Use T-Mobile Prepaid and Reloadit Cards

Earlier this year, T-Mobile rolled out a new prepaid Visa card (It’s basically just a checking account with a Visa debit card). Anyone can get the card at a local T-Mobile store, and you don’t have to be a T-Mobile wireless customer to participate. The fees are online, but I’ll share a little more about them here:

  • Retail purchase fee: Listed as free for T-Mobile customers, with the fee refunded if purchased elsewhere. If not a T-Mobile customer, the fee is listed online at $4. However, this doesn’t appear to be true. We purchased our cards in store for free, and we are NOT T-Mobile customers.
  • Monthly account service fee: No fee for T-Mobile customers. $5/month for non-customers unless you load more than $500 in the proceeding month (There is no point in owning the T-Mobile prepaid if you aren’t going to load more than $500 in a month).
  • ATM withdrawal: $0 at in network ATMs and $2 for out of network ATMs


How to Reload Your Serve Account at Family Dollar

I recently wrote about the loss of Vanilla Visa functionality at Walmart. Vanilla Visa gift cards are sold at CVS stores nationwide for 1% in fees. This ease of access has made them a favorite method of manufactured spending for quite some time.

Even though Walmart has blocked a few liquidation pathways, new methods keep popping up. One of the most recent changes was the announcement that Family Dollar had partnered with American Express Serve to allow free reloads at stores nationwide. (more…)

Award Wallet Review and Tutorial

Before getting started with Award Wallet, you should first read my post on Creating Travel Loyalty Accounts.

In my last article I instructed you to create and manage 25 or more travel accounts across the major airlines and hotel programs. I also talked a lot about the importance of staying organized in travel hacking. Organization is absolutely crucial for long term success, and today I want to tell you about a service that helps you keep your travel rewards in one location. (more…)