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Starting this week Officemax will now offer loadable Visa Debit Gift Cards and Mastercard Debit Gift Cards with a $5.95 fee per card, however with initial tests the fee only registered for $3.95 each. With my tests it took 2 tries swiping the card for approval and then was successful purchasing a single $500 card and then 2 $ 500 cards in a single transaction with my Ink Plus and Ink Bold. Apple Pay was also successfully tested for those of you who have Simply Cash (confirmed) or possibly Ink loaded to your Apple Pay. (Edit: no Ink for now in Apple Pay I have been told). Clearly this is a game changer with a HT to Pointchaser ! – René

If you spent any time on BoardingArea blogs yesterday you learned Hyatt hates us. If you don’t understand this you did not read close enough. They hate anyone who does not live 2/12ths of the year at their hotels and spends a ton of cash. Even those who have HUGE Chase Hyatt card spend are hated next year and are now told to please go put that spend on a bank card that likes you (think AMEX or others with spend bonus offers). I get the message Hyatt. I have to tell you as someone who SPG matched Hyatt Diamond I have been WAY underwhelmed by Hyatt the few times this year I have stayed at their hotels. Sure they were “nice” but nothing like the build up that Hyatt Diamonds told me to expect. Hyatt, with their minuscule worldwide hotel footprint, has told me they don’t want me who…

Since it is a holiday weekend many of you may have missed out on a bunch of goings on. Here are the big ones across the blogosphere. Not really a mileage run (use Google flights link to play with dates) as you have to stay for a week but if you can take a vacation run to Amsterdam or Paris this winter there are some really cheap prices. Keep in mind, after 1JAN17, we will be earning MQMs for the 2018 Delta Medallion elite year. You may want status then as well or you may not. View from the Wing has even more on this (these) deal(s). And it’s back again with a HT to the Travel Sisters! I love this promotion and honestly have NEVER seen it go two weeks back to back. I just wish I did not have to drive a 3 hour loop to hit about…

Points, points, points. So many points. There has been so much going on that it is hard to keep up. The first massive news is both amazing and super disappointing. Let me put this simply that the 100,000 points (after spend) Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the if not the best travel card period. The problem is if you have applied for more than 5 credit cards (any, not just from Chase) you are likely to be flat out turned down. Anyone who has not got 5 cards over the past 2 years should seriously consider this card as it is a real blockbuster. If you look at BANK card links you will find all the   BANKS   that I have links for. I appreciate your support of the blog if you go for this card. If you have applied for and received more than 5 cards over…

Gosh the mass emails last Friday were hard to take. My wife got hers first and I thought I was going to be ok. Yeah, well, an hour later I got the nasty-gram as well. I will not lie to you, it hurt. It stung. This was such a simple way to dump VDGCs without any fear or any issues. The bird had been alive for so long it was hard to think of it as the one above – ever. Clearly BB immortality was not in the DNA. But when you think about it, this was not the first of the super simple ways to make frequent flyer points that has gone away. There have been other methods that were either nearly as simple or even better than BB. Like what? Let’s take a look. Years ago you could buy travelers checks with a credit card. Talk about one…

Wow, what a month. The launch / re-launch of René Points blog by the “artist formerly known as Delta Points” took place. The results? Well let’s just say readership of the blog is up 50% vs October last year and up 25% vs September this year so I guess the “new look” works for readers – THANK YOU! I will do my best to keep bringing you what you want to see “For Better Travel” be that on Delta or another airline or hotel and so on. October was busy, as it always is, with lots of new travel info. Like what? Let’s take a look: ➥ Delta CONFIRMS Sky Club change – ID no longer needed for entry. ➥ 100,000 POINT Crystal® Visa Infinite® Card offer from City National Bank! ➥ Welcome everyone to RenésPoints – For better travel! ➥ What was the “spark” that opened your eyes to…

Since I was the first to test and blog about the amazing news that OfficeMax is now selling loadable gift cards up to $500 each I thought I would post some updates about some changes. If you missed it the first time I, and a few other points enthusiasts, purchased them was this past Saturday while we were visiting the Chicago Seminars. It appears that day was the first one they were on the gift card racks at OfficeMax and only the Visa ones would ring up correctly. Since that time they seem to have fixed that issue with the Mastercards, but have also fixed the fee issue. Saturday with the Visa cards they were only charging us $3.95 each but this time they correctly billed at $5.95 each. I visited two stores in Michigan and picked up a total of 12 cards. The first store had no problem with…

What an amazing points weekend. If you have never been to the Chicago Seminars you are just missing out. It is truly a unique, all volunteer, charity driven, event. No one is paid a penny to attend or help run the event. All the speakers are only compensated a small stipend for travel and given a free hotel room at the host hotel during the weekend. This conference is held each year for the “love of points” and it showed this year like it does every year. I popped in and out of a number of the sessions when I was not speaking about Delta or on a panel or moderating some event. Let me tell you, if you have never listened to Rick speak, a.k.a. THE Frugal Travel Guy, you are missing out. I could listen to him talk for hour after hour. Not only is he informative, but…

This is my latest email inbox. Yes, I have been very busy feeding “Kate” a bunch of VDGCs that I got at OfficeMax with my Chase INK cards (Kate is the auto teller machine at Walmart for loading to BlueBird btw, and VDGCs are the $200 & $100 on sale with $20 off each $300 purchase or net $40 per transaction). As we all should know these pay out 5x points with INK cards at office supply stores. The net result is if you buy 3x$200 or 6x$100 (whatever they have in stock today still – they may have restocked btw) that you make money and get points free and UR points are useful and valuable unlike $kyRubles. I would run out to your local OM and see what they have left over and then visit Kate and feed her dinner 🙂 Next, if you have been getting a bunch…

Here is a neat little tip for those of us who like Starbucks. Did you know if you go buy, at face value (and if you buy it at say OfficeMax with a Chase INK card you earn 5x points), and then you sign up for the Starbucks loyalty program you can get a free drink? Yep! It really is that simple. You do need to have the gift card in hand when you sign-up to get the perk and you can use any Starbucks gift card even a cheap $10 one. You do have to opt in for their marketing e-mails but you can opt-out after you get the code. Then, in a day or so, you will get an email with a code you can print out for a free drink. That is not a bad deal at all. The only catch is you need to redeem the…

So many of us are looking forward to the amazing rewards Skymiles2015 will bring us in just a few days (what am I saying – other than a few who need medical attention – NO ONE is looking forward to what 1JAN2015 will bring to us)! Having depressed all but 2% of you who are smiling, there are a few reminders I hope you are well aware of at this point. If not, here is the “to do” list for you before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st next week. The first is RTW or Round The World Delta Skymiles award tickets that are soon to be “enhanced” away a.k.a. will be gone! The RTW desk has been an amazing asset to Delta flyers and seeing it go away, for more than just RTW tickets, is a devastating loss. You see, at events like the Chicago Seminars, I have…

This post is really needed now that we have, for the most part, very limited access to Vanilla reload cards and load them to Bluebird from home (as talked about in this rookie post). Now, one of the best ways to meet spend on any new travel card is via GCs that is buying Debit Gift Cards (I often will shortcode them as VDGCs in post, that is Visa Debit Gift Cards) that will allow a PIN to be set. Once you have that, and the right kind, you are good to go. Some of them you can set a PIN online while others you have to call the number on the back of the card to get this done. Now for the rest of this post I will hand it over to Lisa! What do you do if you, for some reason, end up with several hundred, if not…

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature. If you fly a little or a lot you need to have “stuff”. What stuff? Are you saying you cannot fly if you don’t have stuff? Yes! OK, I am kidding but stuff can make things so much better. I mean travel for most people is stressful. For me it is not. That is not entirely true but when flying I take the “Taco Bell” approach. What is that you ask? Say you get the wrong order at “The Bell”. As a comedian once said, “What does it matter; it’s all good. It may not be assembled…

This is just one of the reasons to have a Chase INK Plus or Bold card. They pay 5x points at office supply stores like OfficeMax. With a HT to reader George from Twitter you can buy each day all this week 3x$200 cards. Here is how the math breaks down: $580.85 cost with activation fee that yields you 2904 UR points worth $36.30 in travel rewards You also walk away with $19.15 profit on the cards since they are worth $600 You then call the number on the back to set a pin – these are Debit cards You then load the funds onto you BlueBird and do what you want (there is NO credit pull for BlueBird and anyone can/should get one)! You could use your Delta AMEX to help meet $25k MQD exempt spend but less lucrative deal. This is a great way to make a quick…

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature. The day that changed my life and if this is new to you it has just changed yours. I was sitting in college and the professor started talking about opportunity cost. I am a computer geek. I not only multitask, but I think multitask. It has helped me in life, but there is also something to be said for living in the moment too. Either way, there is always a cost to anything you do. How does this apply to the true value of points? Black Friday weekend OfficeMax had the stunning $20 off Visa debit gift…

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