April Travel-Money Tidbits

I’ll just do the quickest possible rundown for what I did in the month of April to further my new mile-mongering hobby and pre-existing since 6th grade travel addiction.

New Credit Card: US Airways from Barclay’s

USAirwaysCCThis card has zero fee the first year and you get 35,000 US Airways miles after first use. I bought a pizza for $8.50. Ensuing years will be about $89/yr for the fee but that gets you a 10,000 mile renewal bonus. 10,000 miles is worth $150-200 to me, so it’s worth it. However, the main reason I got this card is the merger with American Airlines – the program will disappear with the airline, and the miles are expected to become AAdvantage miles. What will happen to the card remains to be seen, but I got my 35,000!

Buy Low Sell High isn’t just for stocks

To boost my miles balance so I’ll never starve, I started applying my trusty “coupon ninja math” skills to buying bargains that earn me a lot of points, and sell them through Fulfillment by Amazon. So far so good! In the month of April, I sold 5 small kitchen appliances for a profit of $94 and 5000 airmiles. I don’t really expect that profit to stick – sooner or later someone is going to return one as ‘broken’ even though it’s fine, and I won’t be able to sell it as New. My frugal loins are girded for this eventuality.

Screwing up with Starbucks

StarbucksFrappyI bought some Starbucks cards at a bigger discount than usual with the intent of reselling them through a second-hand gift card site. So far, all transactions have gone off perfectly, no funny business. However, I didn’t answer the due diligence questions from the gift card reseller when they surprised me with a phone call one morning, and now I’m working my way through an abominable amount of coffee credit (but not by drinking it!). Alternative resellers offer a lower % of the value and that puts me at a slight loss. Four friends have stepped up so far to get their hands on some discount mochas at break-even, which is awesome all around (yay Athena & Erika!). Oh, why did I get into this, you ask? To meet minimum spend requirements for the new credit cards. This isn’t something I’ll be doing again. The goal was to make miles and not lose money, and I’m probably going to drop $50-$100 on this mistake. Hissss.

Day-Oh! Montevi-Dayyyyy-Ohhh!

MontevideoI’m a total dork. I kept singing the capital of Uruguay to the tune of the banana boat song the whole time I was on the unexpectedly quiet streets of Uruguay’s capital the second week of April. I snagged an awesome fare on American Airlines that I had completely covered by gift cards from my customers (totally unrelated to the above fiasco). I proceeded to earn 1380 miles for 7 nights in a nice, cheap 3-star hotel and 11,000 airmiles on the actual airfare… plus a 1500 mile apology deposit from AA because their entire computer system crashed the day I returned. I came home to have a friend-of-a-friend for a houseguest, and we hit Brother Jimmy’s BBQ during 1/2 price appetizer happy hour and earned me a 1000 mile bonus as part of the American Airlines dining program.

As for the trip…meh. I’m still figuring out this whole depression thing and should stick with either an activity-based vacation or an organized tour for the time being. It didn’t help that I caught a cold and pretty much slept for the last 3 days of the trip.