National Car Rental’s Emerald Club has brought back their popular “One Two Free” promotion where you can one free rental day after every two qualifying rentals of two or more days on midsize cars or better from today, August 20, 2014 – January 31, 2015, at participating National Car Rental locations in the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia.  You will earn your standard Emerald Club reward benefits in addition to ONE TWO FREE points.

One Two Free

You do have to register for this promotion and you do not receive retroactive credit for rentals before you registered, so go ahead and register now just in case you have some National rentals in the next five months.  I would have loved some more free rental days to use on our recent Alaska trip as car rentals there were pricey.  Redeeming in NYC, during ski season at mountain locations, etc. could give you a very good return on your free days.

Outside of qualifying rentals, you can also earn points for bonus activities, some of which include downloading National’s mobile app, referring friends to the promotion, linking your Facebook page, and adding a GPS to the rental.  To earn points by referring friends (300 per friend, max 3000) they have to actually enroll in ONE TWO FREE and complete a qualifying rental by January 31, 2015, but that can be handy if you have some family members with rentals coming up.

You will receive 300 points per qualifying rental or 300 points every four consecutive rental days, whichever is greater. For example, a rental lasting two days = 300 points and a rental lasting eight days = 600 points.  Free rental days earned via the ONE TWO FREE promotion will expire at 11:59 p.m. on June 15, 2015 and you can redeem up to three free days at a time.

You can view the full terms and conditions here.  Are you a fan of the National One Two Free promo?

Posted by Mommy Points | One Comment

This offer has expired.  Congrats to those who got in on time!

There are lots of limited time increased credit card sign-up bonuses right now, and it looks like the time is winding down very, very quickly (as in today) for the temporarily increased offer of 70,000 Marriott Reward points after $2,000 on the card in the first three months.  This is clearly better than the common public offer we usually see of 50,000 points after hitting the spending requirement.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card:70,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months + free night at a Category 1-4 property after account approval

It is also better than the not-as-public offer with the lower spending threshold of just $1,000 for those who are repeat card members since the terms state that offer is only for those first-time Marriott Rewards Credit Card Cardmembers with new accounts.  You can find more about that offer here.  The terms for the public 70,000 point offer with the $2,000 spending requirement state that it is not open to previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.  That means it is open to cardmembers who received the sign-up bonus more than 24 months ago.

If you are newer to Marriott, the Marriott Rewards chart goes from 7,500 – 45,000 points per free night (with point savers available for a lower points price) and the fifth night is free on point redemptions.  If you want to use this for Ritz Carlton stays, be ready to spend 30,000 – 70,000 points per night.  I have a post dedicated to tips on stretching your Marriott Rewards points here.

The introductory annual fee for this offer is $0 the first year and $85 thereafter.  You also get one additional free night at a Category 1-5 location every year after your anniversary date.  The card earns 5x at Marriott charges, 2x on airline tickets booked directly with airlines, on rental cars, and restaurants, and 1x elsewhere.

If you care about elite status, it also gives you 15 credits toward your next elite membership level at account opening and each year following.  There are no foreign transaction fees and chip + signature technology – in other words, it is a travel-related credit card you can actually travel with.

As an example of what you can do with 70,000 points, it can get you two nights at 35,000 points each at Category 7 Marriott hotels such as:

Vienna Marriott Hotel
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
London Marriott Hotel Regents Park
Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park
Courtyard Anchorage Airport
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (on the Big Island)
Waikoloa Marriott
Of course you don’t have to use the 70,000 points for two nights at those hotels, you can use them however best suits your needs and travel plans.  Good luck if you decide to pull the trigger on this offer – and again, I recommend doing it in the next couple hours if you want in on the public 70,000 point limited time offer.

Posted by Mommy Points | 7 Comments

The sun is setting on summer 2014 as many kids are already back in school, with the rest to follow in the coming weeks.  As we squeeze the last days out of our final summer 2014 trip, my mind immediately jumps to planning out getaways for next summer.  For us, it makes it more tolerable to end our current vacation knowing more are on the horizon, but for a family it is also imperative to plan in advance in order to secure the award flights and award rooms that are scarce during peak travel times like summer break.

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The sun setting on summer 2014, means time to plan summer 2015 travel

Many airlines United, Delta, American, Alaska, and more have their schedules open through about mid-July 2015 right now, which means that your early summer award flights can potentially be booked immediately.  Many hotels have their schedules open at least through mid-August 2015, with some (like Starwood and Club Carlson) open even further out than that for award bookings.

I recommend doing some summer 2015 planning as soon as possible and locking something in if you find award flights that will work.  Remember that airlines don’t release all of their award seats exactly when the schedules open roughly 11 months out.  If their computers and calculations tell them later on that some seats are likely to go unsold on that particular route then they will release more award seats.  If the reverse happens and seats are selling better than expected on that flight then they may pull back some award seats that were previously available.  When an award seat disappears it doesn’t necessarily mean someone else booked it first.

Many of the hotel programs, including my most commonly used programs Starwood and Hyatt, allow you to book a standard room on points if it is available for sale with cash.  That means the sooner the better for securing hotel award rooms as standard rooms can sell out during popular times, or get swept up all at once by large events or companies selling packages that include stays at the particular hotel you are interested in.  With hotels you can usually cancel award nights without penalty until pretty close to the check-in date, so it doesn’t hurt to lock something in “just in case”.

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Book award nights at Grand Hyatt Kauai for summer 2015

Just as a brief example, let’s say my family wanted to come back to Kauai in summer 2015.  Availability right now on United isn’t fantastic out of Houston to Lihue (somewhat better to Honolulu then adding a flight to Lihue), but there is one day in July that is currently available at the saver level on miles via a one-stop flight to Kauai.  Assuming I have date flexibility and July 5th works for us, I could snag that award and not worry that every other day in July wasn’t available.  It doesn’t matter because I got what I wanted and can start planning another trip to paradise.

Summer 2015 Planning

On the other hand, if I don’t grab that one available date, it could easily disappear on us and we would be left waiting for something else to hopefully open up later on, or potentially not get here via United operated flights.  My parents are planning a trip to Alaska and award availability for June changed dramatically last week before they could lock something in so now they will likely be traveling out of a different city to get there.

Regardless of where you want to go next summer consider this your official reminder to get planning!

Have you already locked in some summer 2015 trips for your family?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Mommy Points | 8 Comments

To celebrate their 200th location, Hyatt Place is giving away “200 nights in 200 hours” via contest on social media.  I know, I know, I roll my eyes at some contests too, but I actually entered this one since it was quick and painless.  From August 18th – August 26th if you share a photo of or at a Hyatt Place via Twitter, Instagram, or Foursquare/Swarm then you can win… Read the Rest.

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The good news is that there are some Hyatt Gold Passport fall promotions out today, but the bad news is that they are targeted.  I don’t know for sure how many different versions of the promos are out there, but the ones I have read about thus far. Earn up to 50,000 bonus points for 20 eligible nights between September 1 through November 30, 2014.  Mlife stays do not count… Read the Rest.

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JetBlue is offering 25% off TrueBlue award redemptions when you book today or tomorrow (August 18th and 19th) for an award flight that takes places between September 2 – November 20, 2014.  This is not valid for award redemptions on Fridays and Sundays. This timing stacks perfectly with the current Membership Rewards transfer bonus to JetBlue that also offers a 25% bonus on top of the regular transfer rate.  The… Read the Rest.

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We travel for lots of different reasons. To see different places and different cultures, to try somewhere new, to getaway, to find ourselves, to lose ourselves, to just have fun. I believe the benefits of family travel are virtually infinite, but on our current trip I noticed a benefit that I hadn’t in a while.  Getting away from home and out of our routine allowed me to see how grown… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 8 Comments

This is a very popular time of the year for shopping thanks to back to school needs, as well as stocking up on summer clearance items for next year. Or at least that is what I like to buy in August… Anyway, if you have some online shopping to do then you might as well earn bonus miles for it.  I recently did a post that listed lots of different… Read the Rest.

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As those who visit here frequently likely already know, my parents are on a quest to visit an always growing “Bucket List” of destinations and experiences.  Most of their items are here in the US of A.  They love National Parks, outdoor beauty, good musicals, cheap flights, cold Coca Cola, Las Vegas, and darn near anything patriotic.  My dad in particular is Mr. Patriotic, and as such being in Washington… Read the Rest.

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Once upon a time there were only a handful of Hyatt Hotels in NYC.  Then in a flurry the last couple of years, we are up to eight Hyatt Hotels open in New York City (by my last count), with numbers nine and ten soon to open (woohoo Park Hyatt NYC)!  I had already stayed at the Grand Hyatt New York, Hyatt 48 Lex, and the Andaz Fifth Avenue, but… Read the Rest.

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Please note that www.mommypoints.com has financial relationships with American Express.  One of my very favorite features of the American Express Membership Rewards program is that they offer periodic transfer bonuses when you move points from the Membership Rewards program to their hotel or airline partners. The pattern of transfer bonuses in the last year or two hasn’t been quite as regular or frequent as in the few years before that,… Read the Rest.

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