Category Archives: Deals

Should you jump on any of these daily getaway deals?

The US Travel Association runs an annual promotion called Daily Getaways that is meant to encourage US tourism. This year, they need it more than ever.

Despite who the organizer is, not all deals have to be used in the US. In the past they’ve had sales on US-based hotels, theme parks and car rentals. But they’ve also sold things like loyalty program points and gift cards, which can be redeemed at any property worldwide.

I was looking at this year’s offerings and saw a few items that I’m really tempted to pull the trigger on. You can see the full calendar of deals here, but here are some that caught my eye.

May 2nd- 250,000 Hilton points for $1,200 (236 available)

This is an opportunity to pay 0.48 cents per Hilton point. I know it is possible to buy Hilton points at 0.5 cents each when they run a 100% bonus sale, but the problem is you’re limited to buying a maximum of 80,000 points (pre-bonus) per account per calendar year. So you’d max out at 160,000 points, bought at 0.5 cents each.

This lets you get 250,000 points into your account at 0.48 cents each. To put things in perspective, you need 80,000/95,000 points per night at dream destinations like the Conrad Koh Samui or the Conrad Maldives (although recently I’ve only ever seen 95K point availability). I haven’t fully understood the ins and outs of the new Hilton redemption scheme, but my understanding is when you use the pay with points and cash option you can really maximise your value.

So if you’ve got an upcoming luxury vacation planned, you might want to consider crunching the numbers and seeing if buying points lets you enjoy a nice hotel for much less than what you’d be paying.

Image result for conrad maldives
Conrad Maldives

There is a maximum purchase of 1 set of 250,000 points per customer. You can buy a total of 5 sets of points in this promotion- the other sets come in different denominations as seen below. I find these less attractive though, given that you could get this amount or more during one of the 100% points sales, but it might be a way of circumventing the annual points purchase limit.

  • $144 for 30,000 points (450 available, 0.48 cpp)- maximum 3 per customer
  • $480 for 100,000 points (275 available, 0.48 cpp)- maximum 1 per customer

There is a line in the fine print that says “Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia and must be a Hilton Honors member to participate.” , but I’m pretty sure that’s just in there for legal reasons. After all, this is a site meant to promote US tourism. What sense would it make if they didn’t let a non-resident claim a purchase?

Furthermore, other points buying offers (eg IHG, Hyatt) don’t have any such restriction. So I’m guessing this is a Hilton-side additional line of text, and I have doubts as to whether it really matters or not.

May 4th- $500 Marriott gift card for $400 (200 available)

Locking in a 20% discount on a future Marriott stay might also be an interesting idea. Marriott gift cards do not expire and can be used at any Marriott brand including the Ritz Carlton.

Ritz Carlton Tokyo

Marriott gift cards are not yet accepted at any of the Starwood brands, but it remains to be seen if that changes when the two companies are merged into one sometime around 2018.

It’s very hard to see how you can lose by buying some of these, if you’d be staying at a Marriott property sometime down the road anyway and seeing how the value doesn’t expire.

You can buy a maximum of 1 such gift card. Other denominations available include

  • $80 for a $100 Marriott gift card (1,070 available)- max purchase 3 per customer
  • $200 for a $250 Marriott gift card (252 available)- max purchase 2 per customer

May 5th- $1,000 Orbitz promo code for $650 (55 available)

This code is for use on hotels only, and can be used for stays any time before 31 Dec 2018.

I’m tempted to see this as a sort of omni discount code for any hotel you might fancy. It could be one of the better ways of getting a good deal at a place like the Conrad Koh Samui, or perhaps a Maldives overwater villa. Or it could help to offset hotel costs in expensive cities like London and Tokyo.

I think the concern is that if you buy this you’ll end up having to pay inflated OTA prices. But that doesn’t have to be the case- take the Conrad Koh Samui, where Orbitz is throwing up rates that are more or less similar to Hilton’s official site (US$663 vs US$647, the best rate I could find on Orbitz vs Hilton.com)

Orbitz site
Hilton site

There is a maximum purchase limit of 1 per customer.

May 10th- 72,000 Hyatt Points for $775 (25 available)

Buying 72,000 Hyatt points at $775 means paying 1.08 cents per point. Lucky over at OMAAT believes that Hyatt points are worth 1.5 cents each, so you’re actually getting a very good deal. It’s no wonder the Hyatt packages always sell out the first every time they appear on the Daily Getaways site.

Image result for park hyatt milan
Park Hyatt Milan

You could get a top tier property like the Park Hyatt Milan that costs 30,000 points a night, or US$324. Considering paid rates here start at US$650, you’d be getting substantial savings. Provided you’re the type of person who would have stayed at such a property in the first place, of course.

There are 3 other packages you can choose from

  • 24,000 Hyatt points for $260 (54 available, 1.10 cpp)
  • 30,000 Hyatt points for $330 (120 available, 1.08 cpp)
  • 40,000 Hyatt points for $415 (30 available, 1.04 cpp)

Conclusion

I think it’s well worth taking a look at the other deals on offer and deciding whether you can fit them into your travel plans.

I’m currently leaning towards the Orbitz travel voucher simply for its flexibility, but I’m guessing it will get snapped up rather quickly. I’ve set a calendar alert for when the deal goes on sale, and if you’re thinking of getting anything on offer I recommend you do the same.

PS- I know they’re selling IHG rewards points as well, but don’t take that deal. You can buy IHG rewards points cheaper when they go on sale.

Shopback’s March Bonus Cashback Travel Sale

There’s been an awful lot of bad news this week so let’s try and find something to be happy about. Shopback is running a travel sale from now till 5 March featuring upsized cashback on several merchants.

You can earn the following cashback during the sale

  • Hotels.com- 9% cashback (6% usually) from 2-5 March
  • Zuji special with OCBC from 1-5 March
    • Use the code FEBTASTIC to get 12% off hotels and 1% cashback via Shopback
    • Don’t use the code and get 8% cashback via Shopback
  • FWD Travel Insurance- $4 and $15 cashback for single trip and annual trip plans respectively from 1-5 March

And as a heads up, there will be further travel specials happening throughout the month of March

  •  15-16 Mar – Booking.com 9%
  • 21 Mar – Expedia 10.5% hotels
  • 27-31 Mar – Booking.com 9%

If you’re new to cashback sites, have a read of the primer here and here. Signing up via my referral link gets you a bonus $5 cashback in your account.

There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be using a cashback site when you shop online- otherwise you’re just leaving money on the table. Remember that your cashback will typically take a few days to a few weeks (depending on the merchant) to reflect in your account, after which you’ll be able to cashout via bank transfer or Paypal.

If you want to earn elite credit or points with hotels, you’ll need to book via their official website (i.e. not via OTAs). You can still use Shopback in this case, but your cashback will be smaller. Shopback currently partners

Shopback rebates are stackable with promo codes (your cashback is based on whatever your net spend is, after discounts). Shopback has a great list of promo codes for each site, which you can supplement with codes from this Flyertalk thread on hotel discounts.

One day only: $8.63 off a $50 Amazon order

Amazon just got rated #1 in some corporate reputation survey that I couldn’t care less about.

To celebrate, they’re offering $8.62 any purchase of $50 or more (86.27 being their score in the survey which, as said before, I couldn’t care less about). All you need to do is key in BIGTHANKS at checkout to get it.

I know what you’re thinking- not much of a deal for us in Singapore because of the shipping costs.

Well, there’s some truth in that, but you can use the code to buy digital gift cards. I took this opportunity to load up on AirBnB credit at an effective discount of 17%.

Amazon.com gift card design

(EDIT: Air BnB gift cards can only be applied to US-based accounts. I got around this restriction by (1) Changing my address to a US-based one and (2) adding a US payment method to my account. The UOB VirtualPay AMEX is a good idea as it has a US billing address)

There are also other useful gift cards you might want to consider, however, including

  • Hotels.com gift cards
  • Hyatt gift cards
  • Southwest/American Airlines gift cards (assuming your travels are taking you there soon)

Enter BIGTHANKS at checkout and you’re all set. It’s limited to one use per account but if you want to create a few accounts…I won’t judge you.

Offer expires 11.59pm Pacific Time on 22nd Feb. So act fast

T&C here-

Today only, get $8.62 off your purchase of $50 or more when you apply promo code BIGTHANKS at checkout. (Actually, we’ll round up from 8.627, so your discount will be $8.63.)

  • Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) 2/22/2017.
  • Offer only applies to products sold by Amazon.com.
  • Offer does not apply to digital content, video games, or Amazon Gift Cards.
  • Offer does not apply to orders placed through Alexa, Prime Now, Amazon Restaurants, or any mobile application other than the Amazon Shopping App.
  • Offer limited to one per customer and account.
  • Offer may not be combined with other offers.
  • Items must be purchased in a single order and shipped at the same speed to a single address.
  • Taxes, shipping and handling, and gift wrap charges do not apply when determining minimum purchase amount.
  • Shipping charges and taxes may apply to discounted promotional items.
  • Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
  • Offer discount will be allocated proportionally among all promotional items in your order.
  • If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies.
  • If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.
  • Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.