NEW POINTBREAKS: Just a reminder that the new Priority Club Pointbreak list is out. If you’re not familiar with it, this can be one of the best values in hotel point redemptions. Every hotel on that list is only 5,000 points per night through June 30. The catch is that the good ones get snapped up very quickly, so if you see something you like, prepare to act quickly. People have been known to plan vacations around Pointbreak deals. If you don’t have enough points in your account, don’t worry: Milevalue explains the loophole that lets you buy 10,000 points for $70, meaning that you can get hotel nights for only $35!
Speaking of Priority Club, they’re changing their name to “IHG Rewards Club”. We don’t understand the reasoning behind the name change, but we’re guessing the internal memo justifying the decision contained terms like “synergy” and “brand equity.”
In any case, IHG is also making some changes to the program as well, including free internet for Gold and Platinum members (note that Platinum status comes with the Priority Club credit card). Hopefully this is a sign of better things to come rather than the devaluations we’ve seen recently? Outside of the Pointbreaks, IHG’s program doesn’t interest us too much, so we’re hoping that will change.
WHEN 12% BACK ON YOUR TRAVEL PURCHASES ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH: Yesterday we posted about how to get 12% back on your travel purchases with the Travelocity Amex, but writer Jason Steele contacted us and pointed out that it’s possible to do better. As he wrote on The Points Guy’s website in January:
Perhaps the highest earning strategy I can come up with would be to use a Travelocity American Express card to make purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal of a Sapphire Preferred card. You could receive 1.07-3.21 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent while earning 5 Travelocity Rewards points per dollar.
Travelocity gets you 2 points per dollar spent on the UR portal, plus there’s a 7% annual bonus, bringing the total to 2.14 points per dollar. And since those points can be converted to the United, British Airways, or Hyatt programs (as well as some others), they’re certainly more valuable than one cent each.
We’ve had no problem getting two cents of value per point from British Airways Avios, so those two extra UR points per dollar bring the total to 14%. Very nice! And thanks, Jason, for bringing this to our attention.
LEAST-VISITED COUNTRIES: Hope you find this as interesting as we did: it’s a list of the world’s 25 least-visited countries. #1 is Nauru, in case you were wondering. What better way to one-up your fellow travelers than by visiting a few of these?
ANOTHER 10% CREDIT CARD SPENDING BONUS: Thanks to Maximizing Money for bringing an obscure but interesting card to our attention. It’s the Ace Rewards Visa card, it’s issued by U.S. Bank, and it’s interesting because you can apparently get 10% back on quarterly promotions.
If you’re not a fan of hardware stores, you should know that the 10% back takes the form of credits at Ace Hardware stores. But then, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll know that it’s not too hard to spend whatever rewards you might accrue.
There isn’t much information available about this card. U.S. Bank does not tell you what the quarterly promotions are unless you are an Ace cardholder. However, this Fatwallet thread from last year mentions that the 2012 Q3 categories were office supply and clothing stores, and that the Q4 category was travel. 10% bonus rewards were capped at $150.
One final note: if you’d be interested in this but there aren’t any Ace Hardware stores around you, be aware that not all Ace Hardware stores are called that. We checked the Ace store locator and were pleasantly surprised to find that the independent hardware store near us is actually an Ace store.
THE EIGHT-DAY LEUKEMIA CURE: Folks are worried that health care will bankrupt our country, but we’re more optimistic than most, at least for the long-term. We’re finally starting to understand biology at the molecular level and there will be all sorts of previously unthinkable advances which will both improve our quality of life as well as cut costs dramatically. For starters, how about the ability to cure leukemia in eight days:
WITHIN just eight days of starting a novel gene therapy, David Aponte’s “incurable” leukaemia had vanished. For four other patients, the same happened within eight weeks, although one later died from a blood clot unrelated to the treatment, and another after relapsing.
The cured trio, who were all previously diagnosed with usually fatal relapses of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, have now been in remission for between 5 months and 2 years. Michel Sadelain of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, co-leader of the group that designed the trial, says that a second trial of 50 patients is being readied, and the team is looking into using the technique to treat other cancers.
Read the whole article here. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the future’s going to be pretty sweet.