Free bus travel on Megabus!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2012 by getgowing

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 9.46.25 AM

Megabus, which is growing in popularity around the US, has growing service all over the country.  Along with competitive fares, they also offer $1 fares on every bus.  I’ve only taken Megabus once, but I assume only a couple seats, if not only one, are allocated for $1.  Well they just started a promotion yesterday giving away 200,000 seats on most of their network in North America to try their service.  Some of their terms:

  • for travel between January 9, 2013 to February 28, 2013
  • must use promo code: TRYMEGABUS

For the full terms go to their 200,000 Free Seat webpage.

British Airways & SWISS first class for $700, & background on the cheap Myanmar first class fares

Posted in Deals, Travel Tips with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by getgowing

In the travel hacker world, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding one-way and round-trip tickets originating in RGN (Yangon, Myanmar).  For now a third time this year, there have been INCREDIBLE fares for travel from Myanmar to various Canadian destinations.  For example, I recently booked this one-way:

Yangon-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore in Malaysia Airlines business

Singapore-London Heathrow in British Airways First

London Heathrow-Zurich in British Airways business

Zurich-Montreal in SWISS First

Usually a one-way itinerary like this would cost in the range of $9,000-$12,000

I PAID $702

Now I cannot take any credit in discovering this “fare mistake.”  I originally read about the first version of this from a post by Matt at upgrd.com (late April/early May 2012), and the most recent version originally from a post by View from the Wing (Sept 27, 2012).  The current FlyerTalk discussion about the latest round can be found here.  The crux behind this is somewhat of a mistake fare by the airlines, but primarily due to the Myanmar government fluctuating their currency by ENORMOUS magnitudes.

Compared to the USD, the Myanmar Kyat (MMK) changed from 6.41:1 to 822:1.  That’s a factor of ~128x.  If you took $1,000 to purchase MMK, you would have 822,000 MMK.   After the valuation change, if you sold them at 6.41:1, you would then have ~$128,000!  What a payday that would be!

The red bars (which I added) are the approximate time periods for the airfare mistake sales.

The MMK fluctuations occurred primarily around 3 periods:  early April, early August, and early September.  And about 2.5 weeks after the initial fluctuation is when the feed frenzy of airfares happens.  So if you took a $12,800 fare, it would only be about $100, of course overly simplified.

I bet that Burmese government is enjoying the extra tourism revenue caused by this, at the expense of the airlines.  My guess is that this is not the last time we’ll see them play with their currency.  Keep an eye out for the next dip, I’m sure another sub-$1,000 premium class fare will pop up shortly thereafter.

Currency fluctuations are key ways to Travel above your means and within your budget.  I have a friend that used to buy round-the-world tickets in business class and first class, and only pay about $5,000 for it.  After you include the miles you earn which you then redeem later, it was a steal.  And again, he would buy a round-the-world ticket from a country which has a high exchange rate to the USD.

Gas money savings results, and free Delta ticket giveaway

Posted in Credit Cards, Deals with tags , , on September 8, 2012 by getgowing

In January I wrote about the possibility of saving up to 8% on gas for life. Here are the results from what I did:

  • I purchased $1,200 in BP gas cards.
  • Those gift cards in return got me 348.981 gallons.

Again, using those gas cards let me pay the cash price instead of the credit price. At every fill-up, the cash price was $0.10 less than the credit price. Had I filled up using a regular credit card paying credit prices, I would have spent $1,234.90. (I kept a spreadsheet of every fill up noting what the cash price, credit price, number of gallons, and total sale of fuel was.)

I saved $34.90 or 2.83%.

But at the time American Express was offering a 5% statement credit on all BP purchases, so I effectively only spent $1,140 (a 5% rebate of $1,200 is $60). That translates to a savings of $94.90.

I actually saved $94.90 or 7.68%.

These savings can be reproduced indefinitely if a few conditions are met:

  • You usually pay with a credit card (to earn miles/points of course) and there is a discount for paying cash
  • Using the company gas card is like paying with cash
  • Your credit card offers at least a 5% return for gas purchases

There are several cards that currently offer 5% cash back for gas purchases. Discover, Chase Freedom, and the PenFed Platinum. The Discover and Chase Freedom offer 5% only during the 1st and 3rd quarters of the year, and is capped at $1,500 for each of those quarters. $3,000 a year total for those two cards. The PenFed Platinum Gas cards have no limit, so if you purchase more than $3,000 a year in gas, you may want to consider that credit card.

On this particular deal, I did a little better than $94.90 in savings since I also earned 2,400 Membership Reward points.

Free Delta Ticket Giveaway

From my post yesterday, I have an unused companion certificate that is going to expire at the end of the month. Along with the free companion certificate, I am also including two “Have One on Us” certificates good for one alcoholic drink or non-perishable food item. For more information and how to claim this free companion ticket, read my post “Free airline ticket giveaway!

Free airline ticket giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2012 by getgowing

I have a buy one get one free companion certificate that is expiring soon which I am not using, so I am giving it away to a reader.  Here is the fine print:

  • It is good for certain economy OR FIRST CLASS tickets
  • The primary ticket earns mileage, the companion ticket does not
  • Both people must travel the same itineraries
  • Only good for travel in the lower 48 states
  • Must be on Delta Airlines
  • Not eligible for upgrades (if not purchasing a First Class ticket)
  • Travel must be completed by 9/30/2012
  • Ticket must be purchased on my credit card, so if I don’t know you personally, I need the money up front.

If this is something you, or somebody you know, can use, please contact me either email via getgowing at gmail dot com, or by leaving a comment on this post.  If leaving a comment, don’t forget to leave a reply email address.

I will even give away two “Have One on Us” alcoholic drink or non-perishable food vouchers to whoever takes advantage of this giveaway.

Free day of parking at Newark Airport (EWR)

Posted in Deals with tags , , , on August 31, 2012 by getgowing

Anybody that has to park long-term at EWR, the NY/NJ Port Authority has a coupon that gives you 1 free day after 3 paid days.  So essentially 25% off 4 days of parking (4 days for the price of 3).  Coupon expires 6/30/2013, and seems it can be used/printed multiple times.  Valid at the P1/P3 lots.

Parking lots P1 & P3 are considered daily lots and not long term, and cost $24/day if parking long-term.  Parking lot P6 (EWR’s long-term lot with 24 hr. shuttle service) is $18/day.  However, P6 is 3 miles away from the terminals.  With this deal, you can park at the closer lots with AirTrain service to the terminals.

LINK to 4 day free parking coupon.

Save as much as 8% on gas for life

Posted in American Express, Credit Cards, Deals, Promotion with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2012 by getgowing
 
Let me preface this post by saying,I LOVE AMERICAN EXPRESS!

My relationship with Amex has brought me tons of benefits, and this one is just more icing on the cake.  Through 1/31/2012, American Express is offering 5% reimbursement on all purchases from BP (and also assuming Arco, though I personally haven’t tested it).  Only 3 days left, get in on it soon; register your Amex card here.

Now to lock in this savings for as long as you can afford to, up front, go to a BP gas station and ask to buy prepaid gas cards.  If you try to buy the gift cards online, you may not get the 5% reimbursed as it seems BP’s gift card purchases online are handled by a third party, and your purchase may not show up on your statement as a BP purchase.  The great part about these BP gift cards is that if you live in an area where they charge a different gas price for cash purchases and credit card purchases, these gift cards allow you to pay the cash price.  If you always purchase gas with a credit card (as I do, gotta rack up them points & miles), then this is a way to save up to 8% on your gas purchases, AND get the points for them too.

Double MR points if you are buying them with the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card.  If you don’t have one and want to get one, leave a comment below with an email to contact you (or email me at getgowing@gmail.com and I can give you a referral link that is better than the current public offer.  It is first $175 annual fee waived, and 25k MR points after only $2,000 spend in 3 months.

If you’re in a full service state, make sure your attendant charges you the cash price before they start pumping.  So if you’re willing to invest and pay in advance your gas for the rest of the month, year, or many years, this is a way to keep your gas prices a little lower.

For the math proof continue reading.  Otherwise, feel free to tell your friends about this post and save them money too!

Last week, a local BP station was charging $3.15 for cash, $3.25 for credit.  If I buy $1000 in gift cards, I will get a statement credit of $50 reimbursed from Amex.

$1,000 in gas at $3.259/gallon = 307.692 gallons

$1,000 in gas at $3.159/gallon = 317.460 gallons

But since I effectively only paid $950 for the 317.460 gallons, I paid $2.992/gallon.

($950/317.460 gallons = $2.992/gallon)

Since I usually pay the credit price, I just saved 26.7¢ per gallon.

($3.259 – $2.992 = $0.0267)

Saving 26.7¢ is approximately saving 8.2% per gallon off of the regular price of $3.259 per gallon.  Of course gas prices fluctuate, so the savings will vary as well.  But its still a significant enough of a savings that I’m definitely going in as much as I can to maximize this deal.

Recap of benefits from Amex Platinum

Posted in American Express, Credit Cards with tags , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2012 by getgowing

In my first few posts of this blog I wrote about my first major credit card churn, the American Express Platinum Charge Card:

  1. American Express Platinum Charge Card
  2. American Express Platinum benefits 
  3. American Express Platinum benefits part 2
  4. American Express Platinum benefits update
  5. 300 Membership Reward points for Delta Skyclub visits
  6. 5,000 Membership rewards points for Extended Payment option signup
  7. 50,000 Membership rewards points for making a phone call

Again, this card carries a hefty annual fee.  $450 / year.  But even the average non-travel hacker cardholder should be able to reap more than $450 of value from its benefits.  Here’s what I got out of it in the first 10 months of having it:

  • 76,500 Delta Skymiles (cost =  51,000 Amex Membership Rewards points)
  • 25,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles (cost = 0.  Stacked a promo from the 51k MR points transfer)
  • 50,000 Delta Skymiles (from a promo to requalify for Platinum Medallion)
  • 50,000 MR points (signup bonus after $1000 spend in 3 months)
  • 5,000 MR points (for a free signup for Extended Payment option signup)
  • 10,000 MR points (for downloading American Express inSite browser toolbar, see ThePointsGuy post here)
  • 50,000 MR points (for 3 easy phone calls to ask for a bigger bonus match)
  • 8,100 MR points (for visiting Delta Skyclubs)

Thank You Gold promotion

MR Get Away & Get More Skymiles promotion

This brings me to a net grand total of:

  1. 126,500 Delta Skymiles

  2. 25,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles

  3. 73,100 Membership Rewards points

Now those points & miles alone are definitely worth the cost of the $450 annual fee, an inquiry on my credit report, and temporarily lowering my credit score a couple points.  Assuming there is another 50% transfer bonus from American Express and I make use of it, this card could possibly net me 236,000 Delta Skymiles!  That’s 4,000 miles away from TWO business class tickets to anywhere in Asia!  At a very minimum, those two tickets could be worth $8,000.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

One of the card’s benefits, the $200 airline fee reimbursement.  The Platinum card gives you up to $200 reimbursed in fees such as checked bags fees, change/cancellation fees, on-board purchases, etc.  But they can’t be used for the purchase of tickets.  While it’s not a published qualifying transaction, I have had success getting award ticket taxes/fees getting reimbursed.  AND as a Platinum Medallion, you don’t get charged a fee to return award tickets.  You guys are smart, I’m sure you can put two and two together…….

You need to select one airline, and you’re locked in to that airline for the calendar year.  The other good thing is that the $200 runs by calendar year, not anniversary year date.  SO, if I were to get rid of my card before my next annual fee is up in March (but I have no intention of doing so), I would have been able to harvest $400 in reimbursement, bringing down the card’s cost to $50!

The last major benefit I love is the free Global Entry.  This has definitely saved me loads of time instead of waiting in line at Immigrations and Customs.  Now I just bypass the lines and go from the plane to curbside in less than 10 minutes.  I only returned back into the US 3 times in 2011, so it hasn’t saved me that much time.  But for people who travel internationally at least once a month, this can be a real lifesaver.

I know that to replicate these results, certain planets need to be aligned at the right time, but for the most part, great value can be still be achieved for almost no cost.

Stay tuned to read about how to save upwards of 8% on gas, possibly forever!

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