AMEX STARWOOD 30K: The bonus on the Starwood Amex is usually 25,000 points, but it’s currently 30,000 points since there’s a 5,000-point referral bonus in effect. You can have a friend refer you, or you can refer a friend. Failing that, you can use a referral link from you favorite blogger (your favorite other than me, that is, since I don’t have a referral link.)
MMMM… FREE DOUGHNUTS: Amex is offering $5 off $5 at Dunkin’ Donuts via either the “Deals For You” page in your online account or via Amex Sync (Tweet #AmexDunkinDonut). That and other Amex deals are listed here at Slickdeals.
$400 FROM CHASE: The Doctor of Credit tells you how to maximize your Chase account opening bonuses:
Chase bank regularly mails out coupons for their checking and savings account. They recently sent out a bunch of coupons that give you a sign up bonus of $200 for each account (maximum bonus of $400). If you didn’t receive one, don’t worry you can purchase them on eBay for anywhere between $5-$20. The new coupons will be valid for awhile and new ones often pop up so you have plenty of time.
So that’s $800 (minus expenses) if you’re married, and maybe more if you have other family members who like to open accounts. Speaking of which: I took part in a Sharebuilder promo a while back where you could open custodial accounts for children and get a bonus. Are there any other financial institutions which let you collect sign-up bonuses for kids’ accounts?
WALMART BLUEBIRD CHANGES: Walmart recently changed the point-of-sale software, and that’s making it more difficult to load Bluebirds at the register. Freequent Flyer is there to show the way:
Over the past few days I’ve visited many different Walmart store locations and processed all of the transactions popular among my readers. I’m pleased to say that there is no transaction that previously could be conducted with a prepaid Visa debit card that cannot, today, be conducted with a prepaid Visa debit card.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Upon each swipe of a prepaid debit card, you have exactly one chance to alert the point-of-sale system to process your transaction as debit, instead of credit. That chance comes immediately after swiping the debit card, while the customer-facing keypad appears to still be “thinking.”
On the keypads at my Walmart registers, you’ll first see a red button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Then, within less than a second, a yellow “Change Payment” button will appear in the bottom center of the screen. That, and only that, is your cue to push the yellow button on the right side of the keypad, embossed with a left-facing arrow.
If you miss that chance your transaction will be processed as credit, and fail.
If this is how you roll, please read his article for more details. Note that those of you loading Bluebirds with Money Center ATMs will be unaffected by all this. I loaded a few cards this past weekend with no issues, and others have reported the same.
CALLING ALL PARENTS: The Deal Mommy is putting on a travel seminar aimed at real live actual families, which in my humble opinion is an underserved segment of the points-n-miles scene. The details:
With your support, I’m so happy to announce that “Family Travel For Real Life” is live! FT4RL will be held August 23 at the Hyatt House Dulles Airport in the Washington DC suburbs. Registration will begin at 9AM and sessions will run from 10-4:00 (possibly 5:00) with a lunch and afternoon snack break included in admission.
As this is a labor of love, I’ve worked with the Hyatt House to keep costs as low as possible. I’m thrilled we can offer the first 25 tickets for only $49, with tickets after 25 going for $59. At the moment we are capped at 50 attendees, but I will consider renting a 2nd ballroom if demand is through the roof.
Hyatt House also offered me a group room rate of $85 (pre-tax), but I’d keep an eye on prices as weekends tend to go lower. I’ll have a booking link soon. If you’ve never stayed at a Hyatt House, you’re in for a treat! All rooms are full suites and breakfast is complimentary and includes fresh omelettes. I’ll definitely be there Friday night and will be happy to co-ordinate a dinner or happy hour for any staying over.
Click here for more, and best of luck to Dia!
, BOARDINGAREA.COM TO BE ACQUIRED BY INFAMOUS LBO FIRM: Internet Brands, the company that owns both Flyertalk and frugaltravelguy.com, has been purchased by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for $1.1 billion. KKR specializes in leveraged buyouts, also known as “the kind of buyout where you load up on debt to increase your rate of return and hope nothing goes wrong.”
KKR was a key player in the largest LBO in history: $45 billion for energy utility TXU in 2007. That deal has gone very badly. Hopefully this one turns out better.