Reader Mailbag and More!

Reader Mailbag (Sort of)

This past January, my sister-in-law was in need of a flight home from Africa. Due to several compounding circumstances, she decided to cut her Peace Corp stint short. Only surviving on a stipend and needing to save that up for when she got back, we offered to cover her flight with our well-padded American Airlines account! We're so thankful for this hobby due to how it allows us to travel, but even more so, allowing us to bless and help out family in this way! I'll let her tell you a bit in her own words.

Hello y’all! I was asked by my brother-in-law to write about my experience flying business class home from Tanzania. I had been living in East Africa for six months and was gifted a flight using my brother-in-law and sister’s airline points and I couldn’t have been more grateful. From the time I arrived at the airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania until my arrival in Charlotte, NC, I was what you would say “living the life”. A few of the highlights: I received superb assistance upon my arrival to the airport in Dar es Salaam. I was expecting to pay at least $300+ dollars in baggage fees because a) my bags were definitely overweight and b) I had a third bag. Well, with the lovely assistance of the airport staff and because of the business class ticket, I paid NOTHING for my bags *insert happy dance*. Also, I can’t say enough about how great it felt to be able to stretch out and sleep during the longest leg of my journey home. I had a fully reclining seat that converted into a sleeper and I can honestly say I slept at least a full 10 hours of uninterrupted sleeping bliss! How often can you really say that when flying economy? Yes, all the free food and drinks and personal TV screen were nice, but the comfort aspect of my flight really was the icing on the cake so to say; that and the fact that I just paid $73 dollars in taxes to fly business and you can too with the help of Josh! I just know he would love to talk to you about all the amazing ways you too can fly business or first class without spending an arm and a leg!
— Rebecca, E., Sis-In-Law

Awesome! Not everyone gets to experience a transatlantic flight on a lay-flat bed (and not everyone wants to), but now she can say that she has! Now let's get to the fun part and break down her costs:

Qatar/American Airlines

  • Our Costs: 75,000 AA Miles
  • Rebecca's Costs: $72.60 for taxes & fees
  • If Rebecca had paid cash for her ticket, it would've cost her at minimum $3,120.36!
  • If Rebecca had not been fying business class, her luggage would have cost her an additional $300+
  • Benefits: 3 free checked bags, pre-flight lounge access, and a fully lay-flat bed for 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep!
  • Downside: I'm out 75,000 AA Miles. HA!

OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS: $72.60

WOULD'VE COST: $3,120.36!

 

 

Credit Card Promos Ending

As I touched on in my App-O-Rama & reconsideration posts, I applied for the Citi Hilton Honors Visa for both Rachel and I. This again is the highest bonus that has ever been offered at 75,000 points! This is ending at the end of the month on 3/31/16. So, if you've new to miles and points and looking to build your HHonors points stash, or have previously held the card but haven't received the bonus in the past 18 months, you can apply for it here

I also applied for the American Express version of the Hilton Honors card for the both of us. If you're interested in that one, please email me at commonsensemoneyguy@gmail.com, and I will send you a referral link! Combine these 2 cards and you get a total of 158,000 HH points (75,000 + 80,000 + total $3K minimum spend), or potentially 2 x 158,000 HH points if you're married and did the same thing we did! No promo end date has been announced for this offer, yet.

Lastly, the Starwood Preferred Personal & Business credit cards currently have their highest offerings of 35,000 points each. These bonuses are set to expire at the end of the month as well. I no longer have the Business version, but hit me up at the same email above and I can shoot you a personal card referral!

 

Pay Your Taxes With Your MasterCard

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Plastiq is a bill payment service that allows you to pay bills using your credit card. It's usual fee is 2.5%, but there is a current promotion that brings that fee down to 1.75% when using a MasterCard. Too bad I had already paid my taxes through another payment service that charged 1.87%, otherwise I would have taken advantage of this!

The great thing is that you can pay both your Federal and State taxes using this service! If you have a 2% cash back card or need to meet a credit card minimum spend (i.e. - the 2 Hilton Honor AMEX & Visa cards you applied for), this offer could work great for you! This offer will be valid through April 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. PT.

 

That's all folks! Happy Easter! He is Risen!