Two Ride Sharing Safety Tips For the Next Time You Take Uber or Lyft

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
A woman rides in a car's rear passenger seat.

(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/ASphotowed)

A couple of quick and simple tips may keep you safer during your next Lyft or Uber ride. Continue reading

Watch Fireworks from Airplanes and Drones!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
Fireworks light up the night sky. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AygulSarvarova)

(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AygulSarvarova)

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! If you’re celebrating, I hope you’re having a great time! (And being responsible: please call Uber, Lyft — just make sure the trunk is closed! — a friend, or a family member if you need a lift home.)

If you’re stuck at work or somewhere you can’t see fireworks, don’t feel left out! We’ve got you covered.

Because most of us are AvGeeks and love views from above, here are some fun YouTube videos of fireworks seen from airplanes and drones!

This one isn’t as dramatic as it sounds — but there’s still some pretty cool footage:

Enjoy the rest of your holiday evening!

(And if you’re in the mood for some more YouTube binge-watching, check out Real Lives of Flight Attendants and Pilots: Our Favorite YouTube Vloggers!)

Meeting New Delta Amex Credit Card Minimum Spend: Summer 2019 Edition!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

A collage of Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve credit cards.

Still on the fence about taking advantage of some of the highest ever welcome bonuses we’ve seen for Delta American Express cards? Can’t think of how you’ll meet the minimum spend in just three months?

Don’t worry. We’re here to brainstorm! There are plenty of ways to meet your minimum spend requirements in the next three months.

Remember this very important rule: never buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase or go over your budget. Interest fees could easily negate the points you earn.

Also, keep in mind that your minimum spend period begins the day your card application is approved, not the day you receive or activate your card.

If your card application is instantly approved, Amex generally provides you a card number, expiration date, and CVV you can use to start shopping online right away. Make sure to take advantage of that!

All that said, here are ways you can meet your minimum spend within the next three months:

The Usual Suspects

Remember to use your new credit to pay everyday bills, such as:

Pay Quarterly Taxes

Paying taxes is a great way to knock out chunks of minimum spend requirements. (Keep in mind we at Rene’s Points are not tax advisors, nor are we giving any tax advice in this post.)

Paying taxes hurts less when you earn some travel rewards! (Photo: ©iStock.com/grejak)

Paying taxes hurts less when you earn some travel rewards! (Photo: ©iStock.com/grejak)

Unless you were approved and received your card a few weeks ago, you missed the boat on paying Q2’s estimated quarterly taxes. But September 15 (Q3’s estimated quarterly tax due date) is less than 90 days away.

School Expenses

Are you going to school or paying for someone’s education? I know we just started summer but the school year is only a few weeks away. Consider using your brand new credit card for:

  • Books
  • School supplies
  • Tuition (if applicable)
  • Room and board (if applicable)
  • Parking permits (if applicable)
School supplies are a nice way to help meet minimum credit card spend! (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

School supplies are a nice way to help meet minimum credit card spend! (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

Travel

Delta American Express cards are rarely worth using for travel (or much else), simply because their standard bonuses are limited to a whopping two points per dollar on Delta purchases. Everything else earns one point.

Except when it comes to earning welcome bonuses. That’s a lot different.

Consider the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more). The 75,000 bonus miles essentially make each dollar up to the $3000 minimum worth 26 SkyMiles each.

So use your Delta SkyMiles Amex card to purchase flights, hotel rooms, AirBNB, whatever.

Remember to use your Delta Amex onboard Delta flights: you receive a 20% statement credit when purchasing alcohol, premium snacks, and headphones. And it’s a great way to earn the Delta purchase statement credit!

 

Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Finlandia vodka, Coca-Cola, fruit and cheese platters, and assorted other snacks are seen onboard a Delta flight from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). ©RenesPoints.com

That day we earned a lot of 20% rebates using my Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more) for onboard snack and beverage purchases…

Event Tickets

Summer concert tours are underway! Many fall concert tours are already on sale.

Tickets to a show / event in a hand with a black background. Photo credit: @iStock.com/GlasserStudios

@iStock.com/GlasserStudios

Major League Baseball season is about half over. NFL and college football are two months away. Those are a couple of great opportunities for sports lovers to meet their minimum spend requirements.

Remember you can earn bonus SkyMiles for each Ticketmaster purchase — but using a cashback portal like TopCashBack or Rakuten (formerly Ebates) may be smarter.

Wedding Gifts

It’s wedding season. Pay for the happy couple’s gift with your new card!

A wrapped wedding gift. ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina

(Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

For what it’s worth, my wife and I usually buy couples customized Visa gift cards from GiftCards.com. (Remember to start your shopping session through TopCashBack!) Many couples have their own wedding website; download a picture from the site, upload to GiftCards.com and create a gift card they will love.

Word to the wise: don’t go crazy buying gift cards to meet the minimum spend. Credit card companies are getting hip to certain, creative practices.

Fourth of July and Labor Day

Going to a Fourth of July BBQ this week or weekend? Hosting people for America’s big day? Going to or throwing a shindig on Labor Day?

Fourth of July BBQ and get-together with friends and family. ©RenesPoints.com

Break out that card for food, beverages, snacks, party favors, sunscreen, water, and aloe vera (for when you forget to buy sunscreen!).

Medical Expenses

I sincerely hope you (and/or your insurance company) don’t spend a cent this way. But summer months are the busiest for emergency rooms and urgent cares.

I got a jump start (or, rather, a trip start) in May.

Author Chris Carley displays his wrist injury.

How I started my summer: tripping over a suitcase.

Just last week, my wife plunked down her new Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn more) at the ER. The MQM bonus took a little sting out of our visit.

Remember to purchase travel insurance (and pay for it with your new card).

Kiva

Kiva is a microlending organization — and they accept credit cards through PayPal! This is a great year-round option but always worth a special mention. Check out Rene’s Kiva quick tips!

Anything Else?

Any ideas I may have missed? How will you knock out minimum spend on your new Delta Amex cards? Tell us in the Comment section below!

My Favorite Delta Tips you may or may not know about that can save you money and points!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Love free points – you?

One of the main reasons I started blogging almost 8 years ago was to have a platform to share what is in my head and to teach. As a Delta flyer this is always needed because Delta is not focused on finding the best for you but on extracting the most from you (while couching this in the marketing spin of “choice”)! So today I thought I would share some of the bits rattling around my brain.

The first one is a simple one but one I bet most folks just don’t think about, that is, starting a stopwatch (use an app or this free online one when door opens) because if that watch hits 20+ minutes (and you don’t have your bags yet) it takes less than a minute to get 2500 free SkyMiles from Delta. My favorite part of this is what Delta tells us on the Delta bag claim automation page that says: “Requests should only be submitted after your flight.” Funny Delta! 🙂

Here is another one. While I am no fan of spending miles to upgrade i.e. allowing Delta to sway you to burn miles rather than to wait for a free upgrade – if you are going to do this why over pay? We all know Delta will publish what it costs but this price may or may not really be the price if you play around. For example, if you do a new ticket search you may come up with one price. Click on it and it may show another price. But here is a secret most do not know about, if you already have a coach ticket price booked and walk through the “change ticket” choice many times you will find an even lower price than any of the other options you just looked at! Neat right (and maybe a bit unethical, Delta)?

Broken stuff. When you fly Delta you expect all the stuff they advertise to work. I mean IFE, power, a working tray table etc. If you had known something would be busted would you not have moved to another seat or booked another flight (I would have)? So, keep in mind either the Delta flight attendants hand units can make points right away to try to make up for your issue. If they say no @Delta on twitter or a quick complaint on Delta.com can result in some number of points as an I am sorry.

Re-booking (or at least checking for re-booking). If you book a SkyMiles ticket and then forget about it until time to fly you just don’t get it. If you check the same flights, at least once a week, you will likely find a lower priced award ticket than when you booked. Even if you are not an elite with free changes (ie no change fee) there will likely be a schedule change to allow you to get a free change and save points. Learn this one – please!

Lyft. I tend to Uber most times because I get such a flood of free Uber credits via creative spending techniques. But, since FreeBrid does work with both Uber and Lyft, and you can earn Delta SkyMiles with Lyft rides, why not now and then! Since SkyMiles ticket prices “Keep Climbing” we need all we can and this is one way.

[really selective] SkyMiles shopping choices. 9.9 times out of ten I will take CASH via TopCashBack over the chance to earn bonus SkyMiles via their shopping portal. But there can be the few really carefully researched selective opportunities that will yield a better return than cash. I get the fact that I am really reaching on this one but it is worth a click or two to check before you simply go with your default (most times better) cash option.

There is one thing I will never ever do (unless Amex wakes up and changes things). I never ever pay for my Delta tickets with my Delta Amex cards. Earning 2x points is just a joke when I can earn so much more on cards like my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Amex needs to start offering, at least, 5x points for Delta ticket purchases (10x would be even better).

Also I have jumped out of SkyMiles dining as IMO the iDine cash option is a stronger proposition (stacked with all the ones that work as well) vs earning SkyMiles.

What do you think of all of the above? Are you practicing them all? Do you have other steps you take to earn more? Tell us in the comments below! – René