Earn miles and points with Livingsocial

Living Social is now offering miles/points for online purchases. It looks like they experience the fierce competition between Groupon-Discover ad decided to join in the online portal game. The best deals seem to be Big Crumbs or Ultimate Rewards. What I like the most about livingsocial is that you can buy a deal, share with three friends and get your deal for free. Basically, 3 people pay for 4 deals.

For example: A Japan deal which goes for $1900 per person. If 4 of you get it, you will pay $1900*3 = $5700 and with 3.5% cash back, you end up paying $5,500. Still not a great deal for Japan but there is a way to save more money with Livingsocial.

I also feel like this crowd purchasing model is a fad and seem not to excite a lot of us much recently. I only buy restaurant and gift-card deals

Most of you probably know that you can get 15% cash back with Groupon via Shop Discover portal (the best earning so far for Groupon). Shop Discover Portal can be assessed when you have a Discover Credit Card. You can also earn points with Groupon purchase with other portals such as: Ultimate Reward, United, American and many more.

With Shop Discover, Groupon deal is a real deal. For example, I buy a $10 for $20 food at a local restaurant. I will earn $1.5 from Discover. My actual cost is $8.5 for $20 of food, good deal.

Greendot prepaid card – Print miles

As promised about a week ago, I claimed that there is a new method to print miles/points. And here it is

Reloadable Prepaid Greendot card

This card is a great way to meet minimum spending requirement for your credit card with very low fees. This card is a Visa/Master debit card which has many advantages over American Express card.

Basically, you use your point-earning credit card to buy the Prepaid Greendot card, then to buy the Reload cards, and use free ATM to withdraw cash or you can withdraw cash back a any grocery store. In the end, it costs you $5 for 500 points * x which depends on your credit card has a bonus at a grocery store or a gas station.

Since many of you know about Blue Bird and how to load it with Vanilla Reload. The limitation with Blue Bird is that you can’t load with a credit card at Walmart. With Greendot, you have many store options to use your credit card and it is always almost possible to do that. To use Blue Bird at the fullest extent, you need to be able to buy Vanilla Reload at an Office Depot with a Chase Ink or Bold which are not available for everyone. Many people reported that their Office Depot do not carry Vanilla Reload anymore. With Greendot, there is always enough supply of Reload packs.

In the next section, I will detail about which credit card would reward you the most when you buy Greendot Reload at a grocery store or gas station

1. Where can you get the card?

  • You can buy it at grocery store in your neighborhood such as HEB, Randalls (Safeway), CVS, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Walmart
  • Or online at this link (free online)
  • When you buy in store, you can load up to $500. You will get a temporary card in store. After you register the card, Greendot will send you a permanent card with your name on it. I bought it without any fee since there was a promotion at my grocery otherwise it is $2.99

2. How do you reload Greendot Prepaid Card?

  • Get either Greendot MoneyPak or Greendot Cash Reload
  • You can buy from $20-$500 for each MoneyPak or Greendot Cash Reload
  • These are available at Walmart, CVS, Kmart, 7-eleven, Walgreens and many grocery stores
  • A service fee of up to $4.95 will apply when you buy the above two reloads

3. Will I be charged a fee?

  • There is a monthly fee to maintain the card however they will waive the Monthly Charge for this Billing Cycle if you have at least 30 posted purchases* OR load at least $1,000.
  • I am sure I will load more than $1,000 in this card per month so I won’t be worried too much about this.

Here is a complete schedule of the Green Dot Card fees:

Fee Type Fee
Initial Purchase Varies by retailer, up to $4.95 ($6.95 or less for the NASCAR® Prepaid Visa Card)
Monthly Charge
  • $5.95.
  • Waived in any monthly billing cycle when you load at least $1,000 to your Card ORhave 30 posted purchase transactions(excludes all ATM declined withdrawals, ATM balance inquiries and teller cash advances).
ATM Withdrawal & Teller Cash Withdrawal
  • No charge at thousands of MoneyPass®ATMs*
  • All other ATM withdrawals: $2.50**
  • Teller cash withdrawal: $2.50
Balance Inquiry at Non-Network ATM $0.50
Lost/Stolen Card Replacement $4.95
Reload at Retail Location Varies by retailer, up to $4.95
Second Card $4.95 (Free for Prepaid Student Cards)
Optional services Available for purchase

4. Can you withdraw cash for free?

5. What is the daily load limit and maximum balance?

  • Yes. The daily per Card reload limit is $2,500.
  • The maximum balance is $2,500.
6. Is this a debit card?
  • Yes, it is a debit card therefore you have many benefits of it
  • More merchants accept debit card
  • You can get cash back from a grocery store (so be creative in terms of how you want to get your cash out of Greendot. Cash back transaction at a grocery store is recorded as normal transaction)

7. Other way to load your Greendot

  • Direct deposit
  • Bank debit card (up to $200)
  • Bank account ($1,000 limit in any 30 days period)

8. Online Bill Pay service

  • No fee for online bill pay
  • You can pay anyone in the United States that you would normally pay by check or automatic debit
  • You can also send paper checks to companies or individuals. This might include rent checks to your landlord, the payment to your paper deliverer, or a gift for grandma. Paper checks are sent via US mail so delivery timeframes vary, but are usually within 5 business days
  • There is no minimum amount that can be paid, but there is a $1,000 maximum limit on each individual bill payment

Warning

Be responsible.  Go slow.

Greendot similar to Amex is always on the lookout for suspicious behavior. If a person adds money to Greendot, and then withdraws it all (via ATM, bill pay and others), that would look suspicious. Greendot might not have a sophisticated system but  does not make money from these types of withdrawals. I recommend start slow, use the card to buy stuff, withdraw money sometime, send money to friends/families, get cash back at a grocery store.

Be creative and be careful

10% off hotel worldwide at Expedia.com

I normally don’t pay for hotels anymore because I use Club Carlson and Starwood points to redeem for free night

However, today I saw this 10% off hotel worldwide at Expedia.com.uk after you subscribe to their newsletter. I am sure it will be useful for some of you. I got the code 2 minutes after I signed up. I am not planning to use my code so if you are interested, comment here and I will share with you

Voucher Code Redemption Period: From 00:01 GMT, 17/09/2012 to 23:59 GMT 31/10/2012.

Travel Period: The travel dates must be between 17/09/2012 and 31/03/2013 (inclusive).

Even though it says: “the voucher code is an offer from Expedia.co.uk and may only be used legal residents of the UK aged 18 and over”, I don’t see how they could check that, with you credit card billing address?

How to use your voucher code

  • Once you have made a search for hotels on your desired dates of travel, within the travel period set out below, look for the “Expedia Special Rate” tag below the hotel rate to find out if it’s eligible for the discount.
  • During the booking process, on the payment page you will see the link “Enter a coupon or promotion code” where your voucher code needs to be entered;
  • Enter your voucher code in the relevant field, then click on the “apply coupon” button. The applicable discount will be subtracted from the price of the travel reservation before the application of any taxes, applicable fees or additional costs.

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Mint.com changes my life

I attended the Chicago Seminar over the weekend and met so many great awesome fellow bloggers and frequent mile collectors. I also learned multiple techniques to acquire miles  at a very cheap rate or free .

I also learned about a website that makes me addicted in the last few days. The website is Mint.com,  a great domain name indeed.

Mint.com lets you manage all of your checking, credit card, and loan accounts together at one stop. It is a game changer for me since I have two checking accounts and 10 credit cards which I can’t keep track of. The best feature of the site is that it tells you how much money you have, how much you owe and your Net Worth (asset-loan). They let you add cars, houses, stock investment and other types of asset you have. It is always great to see how much in total you have.

Mint.com also tells me when my credit card bills are due and send an email to remind me of those. Again, I have 10 credit cards and more so this is a life saver tool for me.

Another cool tool is to give you a budget of groceries, restaurant, gas, food, clothing per month and see whether you go over the budget or in the safe zone.

If you have loan and credit card debt, Mint.com can also create “goal” for you to achieve it. They can show you if you pay a little more per month, you can pay off your loan faster or save more for your dream trip

Different goals are

  • Pay off debt & loan
  • Buy a house or car
  • Save for college
  • Take a trip

This is a great tool and it is free

A new method to print miles/points

It seems that there are a lot of interests in this topic so I will share some detail and I am still working some out therefore will let you guys know later.

1. I went to my grocery store and bought a $500 Prepaid card today without any fee by using my credit card

2. I registered this card as a debit card meaning I can withdraw cash from their ATM without any fees

3. I bought $500 reloadable card for $4.95 fee  also with my credit card.

4. I will load the reloadable card into my prepaid card and wait for my personalised card to come

5. This card has no monthly fee if you load $1,000 per month

6. I will  withdraw cash from their ATMs and from grocery store with a pin number

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I don’t want to put our this teaser but I might have discovered a great prepaid card that might let me buy/reload/withdraw money for almost free.

Think about it, you can meet spending requirement and put a lot spending on your credit card which cost you nothing. This is called miles printing.

I am half-way through the experiment and will met you know if it works out perfectly.

Southwest 40% off round-trip flight

You have to book a round-trip to see the discount. If one of your flights falls out of the discount date, the other still gets the discount.

The promo code is: BIGDEAL40

The booking link for Southwest is here and remember to book by tomorrow. I saw some great fares from Austin to LA for $240 round-trip which is pretty awesome. and The sad thing is that they block out a bunch of dates to fly to or from Vegas.

If you need a fly with Airtran, they run the same promotion as well.

Airtran Sale Link
-Book by Oct. 11, 2012
-Travel between November 28 through December 18, 2012 and January 4, 2013 through March 1, 2013.

 

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1,000 free United and 500 free US Airways miles

Install a United tool-bar and make one search, no purchase required

Note: You must be logged in to MileagePlus Shopping using your MileagePlus user name and password in order to download the MileagePlus Shopping Assistant.

To qualify for the initial download 1,000 bonus miles offer, make at least one search or purchase using the Shopping Assistant. Bonus offer is only valid for the initial download and install of the Shopping Assistant. Not valid on subsequent downloads or installs. Offer ends 10/31/12.

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Similarly, US Airways Toolbar

Special Bonus: Receive 500 miles When You Download and make one search with The Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant

Terms and Conditions
*To qualify for the initial download 500 bonus miles offer, make at least one search or purchase using the Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant. Bonus offer is valid only for the initial download and install of the Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant. Not valid on subsequent downloads or installs. For a list of complete terms and conditions please click here.