Articles by Jason Steele

Which Are The Best Hotel Credit Cards For Free Nights?

July 30, 2014

Today, TPG Contributor Jason Steele analyzes current credit card offers to see which ones can get you free hotel nights fastest among the top brands. Hotel awards can can be underrated. Unlike most airline frequent flier programs, many hotel loyalty programs offer awards with no blackout dates or capacity controls. Furthermore, most hotel award nights are truly free, with no taxes […]

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Amazon Payments – Send and Receive Money with a Credit Card

July 28, 2014

Today TPG Contributor Jason Steele offers insights into using Amazon Payments, a program for sending and receiving payments online with the option of using a credit card. Perhaps you’ve heard of Amazon Payments from Amazon.com, the retailing giant’s web-based payments platform. Amazon recently issued a high profile announcement that it would offer a smartphone integrated with Amazon Payments to allow […]

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Maximizing Marriott Rewards for Family Travel

July 25, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in the most prevalent hotel brands with a look at Marriott Rewards. Previously, we looked at several of the major hotel loyalty programs to evaluate how family friendly they are, including Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport, and Hilton HHonors. Today I want to look at the Marriott Rewards program, which […]

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Honeymoon Travel with Points and Miles

July 23, 2014

Today, TPG Contributor Jason Steele offers his insights on how to use points and miles to make the most of your honeymoon. Planning vacations with your travel rewards is what this hobby is all about, so how is planning a honeymoon any different than a normal vacation? As you’ll see below, I make the case that […]

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Best Transfer Partners For Flights To Hawaii

July 21, 2014

Today TPG Contributor Jason Steele looks at the best points and miles transfer options from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest for travel to Hawaii. When it comes to redeeming miles for vacation, for many people, Hawaii is the dream destination. Perhaps that’s why Hawaii is also one of the hardest award tickets to […]

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Rental Cars For Family Travel

July 18, 2014

Today, TPG Contributor Jason Steele looks at strategies for renting cars that can fit the whole family without breaking the budget. When I travel by myself, I have a simple formula for choosing which size rental car to reserve: I pick the smallest and least expensive car available. Rental car agencies rarely stock sub-compact cars, […]

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How Card Applications Affect Your Credit Score

July 16, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele reviews how new credit card applications impact your FICO score, and reminds us to consider the big financial picture when playing the points and miles game. There’s no way around the fact that credit card sign-up bonuses are among the quickest and easiest ways to earn points and miles. Even if you […]

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Strategies for Minimizing the TSA Fee Hike

July 14, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele looks at ways to mitigate the increased TSA security fees set to begin next week. As TPG reported recently, the TSA will soon be raising its fees, making airfare more expensive. The current fee is $2.50 per leg, with a cap of $5 per one-way trip or $10 per round trip. Beginning […]

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Maximizing Hilton HHonors For Family Travel

July 11, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in the most prevalent hotel brands with a look at Hilton HHonors. Previously, we looked at the family friendly aspects of two popular hotel loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport. Today, I want to examine Hilton HHonors and see how it stacks up in accommodating family travelers. How HHonors […]

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Using Air Travel Passes to Maximize International Travel

July 9, 2014

Today, TPG Contributor Jason Steele introduces us to the Air Travel Pass, a great way to get around for travelers with multiple regional destinations in mind. The most efficient way to use your points and miles is to see as much as you can with one major international award flight, rather than travel back and forth between home […]

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Best Mileage Transfer Partners For Awards To Japan

July 7, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele writes today about how to maximize your award redemptions to get to one of our favorite Asian countries- Japan.  Japan is a popular tourist destination, and award travel there can be a great use of frequent flier miles. Flights to Japan from North America travel much farther than most flights to Europe, […]

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Making Family Travel Easier with Car Seats & Strollers

July 4, 2014

For those of you whose adventures come with infants and toddlers in tow, today TPG Contributor Jason Steele advises on how to minimize the hassle of traveling with a car seat or stroller. My wife and I find that the rewards of family travel exceed the challenges, but there really is little upside to towing child car seats and […]

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Maximizing Hyatt Gold Passport for Family Travel

July 2, 2014

TPG Contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in major hotel loyalty programs. Up this week: Hyatt Gold Passport. Previously, we looked at family friendly hotel options within the Starwood brands, and readers commented that they wanted to compare that perspective to other brands. For starters, we’ll look at the Hyatt Gold Passport program […]

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Best Chase and Amex Transfer Partners for Travel to Israel

June 30, 2014

Recently, we took an exhaustive look at the best Starwood Ultimate Rewards airline mileage transfer partners for award trips to Israel. Today I want to look at the best options for using American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. American Express Membership Rewards This program offers a number of airline transfer partners […]

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How to Get the Best Value for Starwood Hotel Redemptions

June 27, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele returns this Friday to talk maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest promotions, just in time before the limited time 30,000 point offer on the personal and business Amex cards ends on June 30, 2104.  According to TPG’s most recent monthly valuations, Starwood points continue to be the single most valuable point or mile […]

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Vanilla Cards and Bluebird At WalMart – Lessons Learned

June 25, 2014

Over the last month, manufactured spending participants realized that they could no longer load their Bluebird cards at WalMart stores using Vanilla brand gift cards and debit cards. At first there was a clever workaround, but now the method appears to be truly dead for the foreseeable future. One reader wrote in to say that he […]

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Best Starwood Transfer Partners for Flights to Israel

June 23, 2014

Israel is a popular destination for American tourists as well as VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travelers. It’s also a fairly complicated award trip to book, as the award charts of different airlines place Israel in different regions. Since the most valuable points are those earned in flexible transfer programs, we thought it would be […]

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How to Maximize Family Friendly Hotel Rooms With SPG

June 20, 2014

One of the challenges of family travel is finding accommodations for everyone. After our first daughter was born, finding a hotel that could supply a crib or a cot was fairly easy, but now that we have two children, the task has grown much harder. Starwood properties, which include Westin, Sheraton, and several other brands, […]

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Travel Tips for Parents Leaving The Kids at Home for the First Time

June 18, 2014

TPG Contributor Jason Steele has learned the ropes of family travel, but one challenge he never expected was that of finally leaving the kids behind for the first time. For those of you who are busy raising the next generation of explorers, I asked him to offer his insights. My wife and I love the challenges and rewards of traveling with […]

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Getting The Most Rewards For Your Minimum Spend

June 16, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele comes back this week to analyze minimum spend. Perhaps we are living in the golden age of credit card rewards, where banks are eager to offer us so many valuable points and miles just for giving them a chance to earn our business. Nevertheless, most of these offers require a significant […]

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A New Parents Guide To Traveling With Children

June 13, 2014

Traveling with young children can be both a blessing and, well, a less happy blessing. Family vacations call for more planning, stricter budgeting, and better organization than the average couple’s holiday. Despite the challenges, my wife and I have taken our two daughters on several lengthy international vacations, and countless domestic ones. Not only did we survive these trips, […]

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Standby Rules and Strategies for International Flights

June 11, 2014

What can you do if you need to take an earlier flight to get to your destination on time? Can you switch from an international connecting flight to a non-stop to your destination? Standby rules are pretty clear for domestic flights, but can get murky when traveling internationally. Read on to learn more about the policies of major […]

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Maximizing Starwood’s Unique Mileage Transfer Options: Part 2

June 9, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele takes us through some of the unique transfer partners of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The sign-up bonus on both the personal and business American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards is currently 30,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months, with the $65 annual fee waived the first year.  Of the […]

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Maximizing Starwood’s Unique Airline Transfer Options: Part 1

June 6, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele returns today to talk about maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest points when transferring to airline partners. American Express is currently offering their Starwood Preferred Guest card with a 30,000 points sign-up bonus for a limited time on both personal and business cards. While these points can be quite valuable for award nights […]

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