Author Archives: 2btravel

About 2btravel

I love traveling and go where I can when I can. I prefer to use points & miles as payment! This site will concentrate on trip reports and how I used points to accomplish it. Happy to help others 2B Traveling with points too!

Activate 2021 3rd Quarter Bonus Categories

It’s the 15th of the 3rd month of the quarter so it’s time to activate bonus categories for card that have quarterly bonuses for next quarter.  All of these cards offer bonus points or cash back on up to $2000 in purchases during the quarter.

US Bank Cash+

If you’re not already getting 5x Ultimate Rewards points by using a Chase Ink card (and even if you are!) you may want to switch the card you’re using for payment for TV/Internet/Streaming Services and Cell Phones.  You must register your card before September 25th to get the bonus cash-back in the categories you select.  As a reminder, you choose two 5% categories and one 2% category.  To register, click on the link in the email you received from US Bank or visit this link.  I’m choosing Home Utilities (as usual) and Gyms (as usual).

Discover Card

Discover has already given us the full calendar for 2021.  For Q3 the categories are:

This is one category I’ll likely max out as I eat at restaurants quite a bit.  To activate the bonus, simply log into your Discover account and click on the Activate Now button.

Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom’s Q3 categories are Grocery Stores and select Streaming Services.  Don’t forget that these stores often sell both merchant and cash-equivalent gift cards so buy gift cards at these places and spend them elsewhere and save.

The Grocery Store category excludes places like Walmart and Target Superstores that have a grocery section.

The selection of streaming services is rather small though it does include most of the bigger names: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube TV.

To register you can go to this link to look at the calendar, then click on the Activate Now button as seen above.

In the end

Always register for the bonus categories even if you don’t think you’re going to use them.  You’ll never know when they might come in handy!

Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Activate 2021 2nd Quarter Bonus Categories

It’s the 15th of the 3rd month of the quarter so it’s time to activate bonus categories for card that have quarterly bonuses for next quarter.  All of these cards offer bonus points or cash back on up to $2000 in purchases during the quarter.

US Bank Cash+

If you’re not already getting 5x Ultimate Rewards points by using a Chase Ink card (and even if you are!) you may want to switch the card you’re using for payment for TV/Internet/Streaming Services and Cell Phones.  You must register your card before March 25th to get the bonus cash-back in the categories you select.  As a reminder, you choose two 5% categories and one 2% category.  To register, click on the link in the email you received from US Bank or visit this link.  I’m choosing Home Utilities (as usual) and Gyms (as usual).

Discover Card

Discover has already given us the full calendar for 2021.  For Q2 the categories are:

Note that this category overlaps with the Chase Freedom/Unlimited category.  Still if your gas station has a nice collection of gift cards it might be do-able.  To activate the bonus, simply log into your Discover account and click on the Activate Now button.

Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom’s Q2 categories are Gas Stations and Home Improvement stores.  Don’t forget that these stores often sell both merchant and cash-equivalent gift cards so buy gift cards at these places and spend them elsewhere and save.

To register you can go to this link to look at the calendar, then click on the Activate Now button as seen above.

In the end

Always register for the bonus categories even if you don’t think you’re going to use them.  You’ll never know when they might come in handy!

Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2020: The Year In Travel

What a difference a year makes! In 2019 I had 30 flight segments and nearly 50,000 miles flown. In 2020, just 7 flight segments and 4,155 miles in the air.

Of course we all know why. I’m not positive I’d ever heard the word “pandemic” before March of this year and now it’s part of our everyday vocabulary.

Map created by JetLovers.com

I did get two ski trips in before the US shut down(-ish) and had related lodging reviews:

Then there was the small fire in my home that caused me to live at the Homewood Suites Southwind/Hacks Cross here in Memphis for four months.

I was able to get back to Nashville in the late summer and stayed at the new Home2Suites by Hilton Nashville Bellevue on the southwest side of the city and stayed there again at Christmas. Over Thanksgiving I was at nearby Hampton Inn that I reviewed late last year. Amex Offers provided discounts to both places which was an unexpected bonus.

I’ve got a ski trip planned for early February and am hoping it doesn’t get canceled. At the time of this writing some Colorado counties are not allowing folks who don’t live together to share vacation lodging. Hopefully that won’t be the case in Eagle County during the week I’m planning to be there.

This past October we were scheduled to go to Hawaii and attend a Hilton timeshare presentation in return for several free nights on the Big Island. Obviously that got canceled but I was still on the hook to attend a presentation. So we’ve moved it to Myrtle Beach, SC in May and will hope to take a few days on either side to explore the Carolinas.

We don’t have plans for our usual big trip in the fall; it will all depend on how things go with vaccines, etc. Hopefully in a few months we’ll be able to get the ball rolling on that – even if we stay domestic instead of going abroad in 2021.

How did your 2020 travel plans change and what do you have on tap for 2021?

Categories: Year in Review | Tags: | Leave a comment

Activate 2021 1st Quarter Bonus Categories

It’s the 15th of the 3rd month of the quarter so it’s time to activate bonus categories for card that have quarterly bonuses for next quarter.  All of these cards offer bonus points or cash back on up to $2000 in purchases during the quarter.

US Bank Cash+

If you’re not already getting 5x Ultimate Rewards points by using a Chase Ink card (and even if you are!) you may want to switch the card you’re using for payment for TV/Internet/Streaming Services and Cell Phones.  You must register your card before March 25th to get the bonus cash-back in the categories you select.  As a reminder, you choose two 5% categories and one 2% category.  To register, click on the link in the email you received from US Bank or visit this link.  I’m choosing Home Utilities (as usual) and Gyms (as usual).

Discover Card

Discover has already given us the full calendar for 2021.  For Q1 the categories are:

Until this weekend I’d have said this was an easy category to fulfill.  But with Wal-Mart attempting to shut down manufactured spending opportunities, it may not be as easy as buying 3 x $500 gift cards.  However, if you still have a Bluebird or Serve card and are allowed to load with a gift card, this might not be too difficult.

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom’s Q4 categories are Wholesale Clubs, Internet/Cable/Phone services, Select Streaming Services.  As mentioned above, if you’re not already getting 5x on Internet/Cable/Phone via your Chase Ink card, this is a good opportunity to earn more for a few months.

To register you can go to this link to look at the calendar, then click on the Activate Now button as seen above.

In the end

Always register for the bonus categories even if you don’t think you’re going to use them.  You’ll never know when they might come in handy!

Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Discover Adds to Q4 Retailers

Effective today (25 November) Discover added a new retailer to their 4th quarter bonus categories.  You can now earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 in purchases at Best Buy as well as the previously announced retailers Amazon, Walmart.com and Target.com.

 

Make sure you register before using your Discover card.

HT: Frequent Miler

Categories: Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Discover | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Discover Announces 2021 Bonus Categories

Beginning last year Discover decided to release its bonus categories a year in advance. I find this very helpful as it helps me plan which card I’ll use each quarter.

Today Discover released its 2021 calendar:

If you have a Discover card you can go ahead and activate the bonus categories for Q1 now.  I try to activate these as soon as possible so I don’t forget about it later on.

Categories: Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Discover | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A New Credit Card Links Page

I’ve added a new page containing referral links in case you want to sign up for credit cards. These are not commissioned links given by the credit card companies to some bloggers but are the normal referral links any card member has. That may mean that these links do not have the best available signup offers. Therefore before using any of these links I suggest you check Frequent Miler’s page of best available signup bonuses. Greg and his team do a great job of providing the best available link regardless of whether or not it earns them a commission, something I appreciate very much. A direct link to his page is available on our Credit Cards page. You’ll find a link to that in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Unfortunately Citibank, US Bank and Barclays don’t offer refer-a-friend bonuses so I don’t have any links for those products.

Categories: American Express, Chase, Credit Cards, Discover | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Home2Suites by Hilton Nashville Bellevue

Home2Suites Nashville Bellevue

After spending four months in a hotel this year already, staying in another one was not necessarily at the top of my list. After all, I needed to get my house back together after the fire. But I have mostly accomplished that and after having to cancel my fall vacation to Hawaii I really wanted to go somewhere. I normally would have been to Nashville in May and June for Mothers Day and Fathers Day but was told by my parents not to visit then. But now, as things are starting to get better in our part of the country, we all felt it was fine for me to come up for a long weekend. I decided to stay long enough to visit my ski club friends at the monthly membership meeting on Tuesday night. (Side note: the Nashville Ski Club generally meets the first Tuesday of each month. Check out the website if you’re interested!) Continue reading

Categories: Hilton, Home2Suites, Hotel, Lodging Review | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Activate 2020 4th Quarter Bonus Categories

It’s the 15th of the 3rd month of the quarter so it’s time to activate bonus categories for card that have quarterly bonuses for next quarter.  All of these cards offer bonus points or cash back on up to $2000 in purchases during the quarter.

US Bank Cash+

If you’re not already getting 5x Ultimate Rewards points by using a Chase Ink card (and even if you are!) you may want to switch the card you’re using for payment for TV/Internet/Streaming Services and Cell Phones.  You must register your card before December 25th to get the bonus cash-back in the categories you select.  As a reminder, you choose two 5% categories and one 2% category.  To register, click on the link in the email you received from US Bank or visit this link.  I’m choosing Home Utilities (as usual) and Gyms (as usual).

Discover Card

Discover has already given us the full calendar for 2020.  For Q4 the categories are:

Pretty good categories for your holiday shopping.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom’s Q4 categories are Walmart and PayPal.  I expect this to be very popular for holiday shopping.

To register you can go to this link to look at the calendar, then click on the Activate Now button as seen above.

In the end

Always register for the bonus categories even if you don’t think you’re going to use them.  You’ll never know when they might come in handy!

Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrades to the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (CFU) is already a pretty great card. It has no annual fee and offers 1.5 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on each purchase. Those URs can be exchanged for 1 cent per point (cpp) on your credit card statement or, if you have one of Chase’s premium UR-earning cards, the Sapphire Preferred (CSP) or the Sapphire Reserve (CSR), the UR points can be transferred to one of Chase’s hotel or airline partners or redeemed for travel purchases through the Chase portal at the rate of 1.25 cpp (CSP) or 1.5 cpp (CSR).

Starting Sunday, September 13th the earning rate gets even better.

When you purchase travel products through the Chase portal and pay with your CFU card you’ll now receive 5x UR points! This is a fantastic rate though you’ll need to be aware of two things. First, the CFU *does* impose foreign transaction fees of 3% so you’d only want to use this card for purchases on US-based airlines. Second, your purchase will be made through Expedia, on online travel agency, so that’s another layer between you and the airline should your travel plans change. Hopefully that will never be an issue but I always want to point that out.

Next, the CFU will now earn 3x UR points for Dining, which includes not only restaurants but take out delivery services. In addition, you’ll get complimentary 3 months of DashPass which is DoorDash’s subscription service that offers $0 delivery fee on orders over $12. After your 3 months are up you’re automatically enrolled in DashPass for the remaining 9 months at 50% off.

The third upgraded category is drugstores where you’ll now earn 3x UR points per purchase.

Additionally if you use your CFU for Lyft you’ll earn 5x UR points on Lyft rides through March 2022.

If you don’t have the Freedom Unlimited the current signup offer is an easy one to meet. Once you’re approved and spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months after approval you’ll earn 20,000 UR points (equivalent to $200 cash back). If you are approved via this link I will also earn a small commission.

More to Come?

The Dining category on this free card is now better than the $95-per-year Sapphire Preferred and equivalent to the $550-per-year Sapphire Reserve so the general consensus is that there will be upgrades coming to those cards soon.  Personally I use the Discover Card and the Chase Freedom card during quarters they offer 5%/5x points and the American Express Gold Card which offers 4x points on Dining but as a fall back I’ve used the CSR.  It would be great to see upgrades to the points categories for the CSP and CSR soon.

Categories: Chase, Credit Cards, Freedom Unlimiited | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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