January 31, 2017

$200 Checking Bonus With Fifth Third Bank

If you are new to earning Checking & Savings bonuses from Banks, please make sure to read The Complete Guide To Banks Checking And Savings Bonuses first. On our blog, we are all about money savings for travel and pick up some extra cash to help with any expenses.

Maximum Bonus: $200
Applicable States: FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, NC, OH, PA, TN, WV - or live within 50 miles radius of a branch.
Expiration Date: March 31, 2017.
Credit Inquiry: Soft

$200 Checking Bonus With Fifth Third Bank
Requirements:
Open the Fifth Third Essential Checking by March 31, 2017.
Within 90 days of opening your account:
Establish 1 qualifying direct deposit AND
Complete 3 online bill payments.
Notes:
Offer not available to existing checking or Express Banking customers or to those with a Fifth Third Checking or Express Banking account that has been closed within the last 12 months.
The Essential Checking account has an $11 monthly service charge. This charge is reduced to $8 per month with a monthly direct deposit totaling $500 or more. There are a few ways to waive that fee, so make sure to review those ways to ensure you are not being charged monthly fee.
Always read the fine print yourself before applying.

This offer has been added to the Bank Cash Bonuses page.

Link to offer

Never missed an offer again! 

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The Complete Guide To Banks Checking And Savings Bonuses

Introduction
Banks want to lure consumers to go deposit their money. That's why from time to time, banks are offering incentive cash bonuses that range from $50, $100 to $300-$400 just to open a checking or savings account with them. You can look at this bonus as a way to earn bank interests for parking your money at the bank for a certain period of time. If you have free time on hands, this is a great way to pick up some extra cash.

Taxable Income
Banks treat these signup checking and savings bonuses as interests, and therefore they are taxable income. At the end of each year, they will send you 1099-INT form to report on your tax. This is one of the reasons why you want to sign up for the deal only when the bonus is good and the amount is worthwhile after you pay tax on it. Personally, I like to go for the deal that offers at least $150 to make my time worthwhile to open a new bank account and complete the requirements in order to get the bonus. I sometime go for $100 bonus if the requirement is easy enough.

Direct Deposit & Requirements
The requirements to complete certain tasks in order to get the bonus varies from one bank to the other. The obvious one typically requires that you establish a Direct Deposit that cannot be a money transfer (ACH push) from another bank that you are associated with. Although that's the case, several reports out there have proven otherwise for some banks. That's being said, some bank code ACH push transaction as "Direct Deposit" so you don't have to go change direct deposit with your employer every time you want to sign up for a bank bonus that has direct deposit's requirement. If you can change direct deposit online with your employer on your own, that'd be super convenient. In that case, I recommend that you always want to establish a real direct deposit as much as you can to guarantee that you don't fail to satisfy that requirement during the qualification time. There are also other requirements that you will just need to read through the fine print to try to understand and complete each task. Some banks even require a huge amount of money to be deposited. That means you have to park a large amount of money there and lose earning high interest somewhere else. Again, each requirement varies from one bank to the other.

Opening and Closing Account
I have to admit, this "game" isn't for everyone. The sole reason to go through all these is to get the cash bonus offer when you sign up for either a checking or savings account with a local bank that you have never had desire for in the first place, and not to mention some banks that you have never heard of across the country. It's definitely not a hassle-free process. This is why you want to make sure the bonus is worth your time that you spend on opening a new account and completing the requirements. Some banks are generous enough that they allow consumers to open the account, complete the tasks, receive the bonus, then close the account within allowed closure time by the banks. After certain period of the time, consumers can repeat the process once they are qualified for the offer again.

Bank Fees
As I mentioned above, it is very important that you are aware of each bank's rules on closing the account. Some banks are generous about this, but most banks require that you keep your money in their bank after getting the bonus for a certain period of time before closing, or you'll get a penalized fee for early closure. In addition, there's another fee that you want to look out for is the monthly service charge. Fortunately, there are ways to waive that fee and those ways are defined by the bank itself. Once again, know these fees before sign up so you are not losing your bonus money to these bank fees. There might be some other fees as well that are imposed by the bank, so just take your time to learn about those fees then determine if it's worth it to sign up with that particular bank or not.

Credit Pull
When you open a checking or savings account with the banks, you do have to provide your social security number. But let me tell you this, banks or credit unions 99.9% use the ChexSystems to determine your eligibility to open a checking/savings account with them. That system basically tells the bank about you and your use of deposit accounts in the past. This doe not affect your credit at all. Moreover, the pull on your credit is typically done "softly." In other words, that kind of pull will NOT affect your credit as well. However, there are a few certain banks and mostly credit unions out there that would do a "hard" pull on your credit in addition to the ChexSystems. I try to stay away from those financial institutions because I don't want to waste my credit pull on opening a bank account if the bonus is not worth the pull. If you get bank bonus deals from my blog, each time I try to add a new one, there's a section that I indicate whether that bank/credit union does soft/hard pull on credit when applying.

Final Thoughts
I strongly recommend that you really take time to read the fine print of each offer carefully before signing up for the offer. Look through to see if the requirements are something that you can commit to completing for the bonus, and then see if you are qualified for the offer. Some offers have offer code that you MUST enter during application process. Leaving that out may result in your account opening without the offer, and that certainly defeats the purpose of opening a new account to get the bonus in the first place. Do pay attention also to what type of account you will be opening and see if there's any monthly fee along with the methods to get that fee waived. Understand the bank or credit union, make sure it's legit and your funds are well insured. Finally, what are their terms on closing the account early, etc.

It seems a lot if this is your first time consider doing this type of deal, but believe me, it'll get easier each time. If you have some free time, this is a great way to pick up some extra cash.

After reading this, if you think you are ready to give this a try, check out the list of Bank Cash Bonuses page.


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January 30, 2017

Quick Travel Deals: Two Targeted Amex Offers And Orbitz New 15% OFF Code

American Express Offers:
If you are new to American Express Offer, check out the Complete Guide To American Express Offers.

The following are targeted offers and therefore there's no public twitter hastag offers. Make sure to check each of your American Express cards to see if you are being targeted.

Hotels.com Gift Card
Get a one-time $10 statement credit by using your enrolled Amex Card to spend a minimum of $50+ in one or more transactions online at www.hotels.com/giftcards by 2/28/2017.

Marriott
Get 3,000 additional Membership Rewards points each time you use your enrolled Card to spend a total of $200+ on room rate and room charges with a participating Marriott property by 2/28/17. Limit 6,000 Membership Rewards points.

Orbitz
There's a new 15% OFF code for hotel bookings on Orbitz. TAKEMEAWAY. No minimum stay required. Book by 02/26/2017 and travel by 09/30/2017. Participating hotels only.

These quick travel deals have been added to our Current Travel Promotions page.


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Cheap 6 Steps From Miami International Airport to Miami South Beach On Airport Express Bus

Getting to Miami Beach/South Beach from Miami International Airport with the most economical public bus transportation for $2.25 is easier than you think.

Here are the 6 steps to do that:

Step 1: After deplaning and picking up your bags if you have any, look for the Ground Transportation pink color board that has "MIA Mover To... Rental Car Center, etc." text on it. Then just follow the direction that the arrow sign points to.

Look For This Pink Board And Follow The Arrow Sign
Step 2: Take the "mover" transportation inside Miami airport and take the "Rental Car Center" stop. Although the stop name says Rental Car Center, the public Metrobus transportation is also there.

Step 3: Exit the mover and follow the sign to the public Metrobus.

Step 4: Ignore the ticket vending machine along with the turnstile entrance altogether. What you want  to do is to go downstair where the public bus stations are.

Step 5: Look for bus station for bus #150 Miami Beach Airport Express, and wait there until the bus arrives.

Bus #150 Miami Beach Airport Express
Step 6: Pay directly to the bus driver. The current bus fare one way is $2.25 - cash only and no changes will be given. Link to fare and schedule information.

Editor's Note: I found Metrobus in Miami is not sophisticated. There's no stop notification so it makes it hard to know where to stop at. If you have GPS on your phone, I recommend you use that. If not, when all fails just ask the driver where you want to go and he'll stop at the nearest bus station for you.

Check out more articles on Miami Florida


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January 28, 2017

How To Get Better American Express Credit Cards Signup Bonuses

From time to time, American Express website implements what they call "Dynamic Link" to display certain signup bonuses of their credit cards to consumers. With the offers being "dynamic" there's no magical way to know for sure when and what kind of offers you will be getting. However, you can be certain that the signup bonus offers are typically better than the public offers. The offers also do not stay forever on your computer's screen. In other words, the offers might be gone if you browse away and come back. American Express agents cannot help you either as they are not able to generate the offer code that you missed.

Get Increased Signup Bonuses Of American Express Credit Cards

Incognito Or Private Browsers
It is known that if you launch your Internet browsers in Incognito or Private mode, then navigate to the following URL: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/view-all-personal-cards/?inav=menu_cards_pc_viewallcards - you may receive increased signup bonuses for their credit cards. For example, the typical public Amex Everyday Credit Card's offer is only 10,000 bonus points, but when I did the above trick, sometimes I got the sign up bonus of the same card for 15,000 bonus points. Others have seen an even better offer of 25,000 bonus points like the screenshot above.

Browse As You Normally Do
If the above trick does not work for you, don't be disappointed! Just browse to Amex credit cards website as you normally do. From my personal experience, the Incognito or Private browsers trick above usually did not work out good for me. Instead, I just went to American Express website and clicked on Personal Cards. At the time, I was offered three good signup bonuses cards (screenshot above). One of which is the 25,000 bonus points of the Amex Everyday Credit Card with no annual fee. I was hesitant to apply and sure enough the offer disappeared after I browsed away on my personal computer to compare some cards and their benefits. I could not get the offer back! Later I did the exact same steps using my work computer in a different ISP network and was able to see that 25k bonus points offer again without doing any Incognito or Private browsers trick.

Final Thought
One of my 2017's resolutions is to get the American Express Everyday Credit Card. One of the perks of this card is the ability to earn American Express Membership Rewards Points and transfer them to airline and hotel loyalty programs with NO ANNUAL FEE. I'm so glad that I was able to take advantage of the 25,000 bonus points and not the public 10,000 bonus points offer by doing one of the methods above.

There you have it! Let me know which method works better out for you to get increased signup bonuses of American Express credit cards. Good luck!

This article has been added to the Travel Resources page.


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January 27, 2017

Up To $125 OFF Your Hotel Stay And $50 OFF Extra Night In Vancouver Canada

If you plan on visiting Vancouver Canada from now until April 30, 2017, here's one great deal for you.

beVancounver.com is currently offering UP TO $125 in Amex Gift Card when you book 1 night stay hotel in Vancouver through their site. Then additional $50 Amex Gift Card for every subsequent night.


The Offer: Depending on the hotel, you can receive $50, $75, $100, or $125 Amex Gift Card for the 1st night, then $50 Amex Gift Card for every subsequent night.
Terms & Conditions:
  • Check-in must be before or on April 30, 2017.
  • Bookings can be made using VISA, MasterCard, or American Express.
  • Bookings are pre-paid, non-cancellable and non-transferable. 
  • All bookings will be made in CAD and any other currency displayed is a representative value.
  • Separate consecutive night bookings at the same hotel will not result in the guest receiving more than one $50, $75, $100 or $125 AMEX Prepaid Gift Card.
  • A Maximum of 3 bookings per person is enforced - all subsequent bookings will be converted into normal Best Available Rate bookings (and will apply the corresponding Terms and Conditions) and the guest will not receive an AMEX Prepaid Gift Card.
  • Book through beVancouver.com - link below. beVancouver will display the amount of Amex gift card you'll be receiving above the nightly rate of each hotel. 
Editor's Note: This is considered booking through a third party, and therefore, you will NOT earn any rewards program or points through any chain hotels such as IHG, Marriott, Hilton, etc. Moreover, booking needs to be pre-paid and non-cancellation. So be sure you know 100% that you'll be going to Vancouver prior to making the booking.

This offer has been added to Current Travel Promotions page. 

Link to offer

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7-8 Days Suggested Itinerary: Banff, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Jasper, Edmonton, Calgary

Please note that the following itinerary is suggestion only. Each person's traveling style, budget, and priorities are different. You are welcome to add/subtract days and attractions that you see fit. Having a car is very important in order to take advantages of all the stops that are mentioned in this article.

Day 1: Try to fly into Calgary International Airport during day time if you can. It is about 1 and half hour drive from there to Banff town. If you arrive late at night, you may want to stay near the airport for one night then head out to Banff next morning. Pick up a rental car at the airport and off you go!

Day 2: Explore Banff Town. This town is full of restaurants and shops. Take your time to explore Banff town. This town isn't just a town, but also a scenic town as well. While there, check out the Surprise Corner and Hoodoos via the Tunnel Mountain road. Drive the scenic loop of Lake Minnewanka. Don't forget to get on the Banff Gondola for a wonderful panoramic view. Stay 1 night in Banff town.

The Hoodoos
Beautiful Banff Town
Day 3: After breakfast, hit the road to Johnston Canyon. If you are not so much of a hiker, at least walk on the friendly bridge all the way to the Lower Falls. There's a small cave there that you can get up close to the Falls. After that, continue on to Lake Louise. Get on the Chair Lift at the Lake Louise Gondola for another beautiful mountain ranges view including the beautiful color view of the Lake Louise from afar. Chair Lift is better than Gondola as you can see things better, but dress appropriately for the weather. Later on, head over to the famous Moraine Lake. There's a rock pile there that you can climb on to get the spectacular view of the lake and the Valley of Ten Peaks mountain. Relax and take in the view as much as you can. This is one of my favorite places in Banff. If time permits, drive to Yoho Valley in Yoho National Park and look at the Spiral Tunnel View. Hopefully there's a train that goes through that tunnel while you are there. Continue on to see the Natural Bridge over the Kicking Horse River - yet another beautiful color water. There's also an Emerald Lake that you can check out. Stay 1 night in Lake Louise town.

Johnston Canyon
View of Lake Louise from the Lake Louise Gondola/Chair Lift
Moraine Lake & Valley of Ten Peaks
Day 4: Rise early and go see the famous and beautiful Lake Louise. Take your time to walk around and enjoy the view of the lake from every possible corners before moving on to Jasper National Park. On the way to Jasper town, make sure to stop at the Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, and Bow Summit that provides yet another beautiful color of Peyto Lake. I highly recommend this stop. Afterwards, continue on the famous Columbia Icefields Parkway and stop by the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre to do the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure on the Athabasca Glacier and Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk. Here's my review of the adventure tour. Stay 1 night in Jasper town. If time permits, you can explore Jasper downtown area for dinner and shops. 

Breathtaking Lake Louise
Beautiful Color of Peyto Lake
Ice Explorer Adventure On Athabasca Glacier
Day 5: In Jasper, drive to Maligned Canyon and do some hiking. Continue on to the Medicine Lake and make sure to walk down to the water. After that, keep on driving to the Maligned Lake. On the way there, there may be some wildlife for you to see such as bears, calibou, etc.. There are some water activities at the Medicine Lake if you are inclined to do. There's also a lake front cafeteria there for a quick bite or lunch. Drive back and pay attention again to see if there are wildlife for viewing. In the afternoon, you can drive to see the Athabasca Falls. If you still have time, drive up to Mount Edith Cavell. It's the closest to an iced mountain you could get.

Medicine Lake
Maligned Lake
Keep An Eye On For Black Bears and Cubs!

This is the end of Banff and Jasper trip. Two things to consider afterwards:
  1. You can stay in Jasper another night or drive back on Columbia Icefields Parkway back to Banff direction to see things that you didn't get a chance to see. After all, that Icefields Parkway is one of the top ten scenic drives in North America. Return your rental car at Calgary airport or explore Calgary if you have time. OR
  2. You can drive from Jasper to Hinton, stay for the night to re-charge and Day 6: Drive in the morning to check out the biggest mall in North America - West Edmonton Mall. It takes almost 3 hours to get there from Hinton. For those that love to check off places to go, this may be a good opportunity to do so. Stay 1 night near the mall and Day 7: Drive from Edmonton to Calgary. That's another 3 hours driving. If you have time, explore Calgary - go for skyline view on Salisbury Street, check out Calgary Stampede, go up to Calgary Tower, or stroll along the Stephen Avenue. Return your rental car and fly back home.
Experience Attractions In West Edmonton!
Take In Calgary Skyline!

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January 26, 2017

7 Steps To Get To Martha's Vineyard From Cape Cod Via Ferry

Martha's Vineyard is a very nice island to go check out. Getting there is very easy yet can be confusing if planning wasn't done ahead of time. In this article, I'll lay out 7 steps to walk you through how to get to Martha's Vineyard from Cape Cod.

Step 1: You need a car.

Step 2: Determine how far from your town in Cape Cod to Falmouth, MA using Google Map so that you can allow enough time for traveling, getting on the shuttle, and catching the ferry to Martha's Vineyard.

Step 3: Check the ferry schedule to see when the ferry leaves. There are two ship terminals in Martha's Vineyard: Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. I prefer Oak Bluffs.
Ferry Schedule & Fare links can be found below this post.

Step 4: The ferry is operated by the Steamship Authority. The ferry leaves from the Woods Hole Terminal, but do NOT drive straight to there as there are no parking available. Steamship Authority has a few parking lots available in Falmouth, MA. When driving on the free way, you might see the flashing sign telling you to take an exit to one of the parking lots, but don't follow it. Instead, drive to the Palmer Avenue lot. It's the closest to the Woods Hole Terminal. Put this parking lot's address in the GPS: 286 Palmer Avenue Falmouth, MA

Step 5: Upon arrival at the parking lot and park your car, note the lot number or sign so that you remember where you park your car as it's a huge parking lot. Walk over to the bus stop or walk towards the complimentary Island Ferry Shuttle provided by Steamship Authority to take visitors to the Woods Hole Terminal.

There's No Parking At The Woods Hole Terminal!
Free Island Ferry Shuttle From Parking Lot To Woods Hole Terminal!

Step 6: When the shuttle drops you off at the terminal, s/he should let you know where to wait for the shuttle when you return to Cape Cod to go back to your parking lot. If not, once you step out of the shuttle, you should see the bus lane numbers indicating which lane number goes to which parking lot. Lane number 1 is for the Palmer Avenue parking lot.

Step 7: Purchase your ferry ticket and enjoy your day on Martha's Vineyard island.

Ferry Schedule Link
Ferry Fare Information Link

Check out more articles on Martha's Vineyard & Cape Cod

Martha's Vineyard

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January 25, 2017

Better Alaska Airlines Credit Card Offer: 30,000 Bonus Miles Plus $100 Statement Credit

I have been holding Alaska Airlines credit card for a few years now. One of the perks that I love about this card is the Annual Companion Fare ticket. Living in the west coast allows me to take advantage of many trips with my companion every year to Hawaii, New York, Florida, New Orleans, Charleston, etc. on Alaska operated flights. The companion fare itself is enough to cover the $75 annual fee that comes with this card.

The typical sign up bonus miles for Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card from Bank of America is 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. The earning rate on this card is 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. However, there's a better exclusive offer out there of this credit card that not only give you the typical 30,000 sign up bonus miles, but also additional $100 statement credit.

In order to receive this exclusive offer, follow the steps below:
  1. Make a dummy booking on Alaska Airlines website. 
  2. Go all the way to the check out page where you are asked to provide your credit card information to purchase the ticket. 
  3. On the right hand side, the exclusive offer should appear as shown in the screenshot below. 
Better Exclusive Alaska Airlines Credit Card Offer Through Booking Online

Check out more Airlines Credit Cards

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5 Overrated European Landmarks

#5 The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark
While I enjoyed very much walking down the waterfront to the area where the Little Mermaid statue is at, I am not so impressed by the statue itself. I can't quite understand what is the hype about this statue to attract so many visitors there. People were taking pictures and posing with the statue like it's a "must see" in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid Statue In Copenhagen Denmark!

#4 Manneken Pis Statue in Brussels, Belgium
This is yet another statue of a little naked boy urinating into the a fountain's basin. I still cannot wrap my head around the idea of this being a landmark. The sculptured boy even get dressed some time and attracts many visitors to go get pictures taken with it. I even bought a magnet souvenir that has that boy on it. What can I say? I thought it was funny yet silly! It'd make a good story telling about Brussels.

One Magnet A Visit of Brussels!
Manneken Pis Statue in Brussels Belgium

#3 The Strike of Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic
So I think the Astronomical Clock is really nice with the detailed design and all, and it's something anyone that visits Prague should go see it. What I don't quite get is that, tourists surround that area waiting for the clock to strike that comes with only a few minutes show. But the area is so crowded that it was very difficult to walk because people are not moving and just waiting for the "strike show" that lasts only for a few minutes, but they want to block the pedestrian street for more than a few minutes.

Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic

#2 Casa (Houses) By Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain
Admittedly, I am a fan of Antoni Gaudi's work as well. His masterpieces are all over Barcelona. When I was researching on things to do in Barcelona, I saw Casa this Casa that and how beautiful they are, etc. I agree that they are beautiful, but isn't that really necessary to go all over Barcelona to see each Casa/house? Not to mention, each house has admission fees to go in or join a tour. Wow!

Casa Batllo In Barcelona Spain

#1 Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France
I save the best for last! There's no deny that this palace is so beautiful but it's little bit overrated. Although this place is easily reached by train from Paris, the process of getting tickets on site and entering the palace is a nightmare. It's not the fault of the palace, but rather there are way too many people and thus the line is super long. When you get into the palace, you would think you have enough space to look at things inside. Nope! The crowds are so huge that the possibility of you stepping on another person's toes is pretty high. There's even a warning about being careful of pickpockets because everyone is standing so close to each other. I did not enjoy the the tour of the palace. Wth all the effort and time that I put in just to see this palace, it's not that worthwhile to spend my day in France.

Lines Outside of Versailles Palace In France


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January 24, 2017

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts $100 Hotel Credit Per Night Promotion

Waldorf Atoria Hotels & Resorts is offering $100 per night in Hotel Credit when you make booking and request the "Waldorf Astoria Suite Life" package or request Plan Code PBBWL1.

Receive $100 Hotel Credit Per Night At Waldorf Atoria Hotels & Resorts

The Promotion:
  • Book your next stay in one of our suites at any participating hotel and resort around the world, and receive a $100 hotel reward for each night with us. Begin your own unforgettable story today.
Although the promotion states "suite" but you can take advantage of this promotion with the "room" as well. Just make sure it's a participating hotel and that special rate is available for the date that you check in.

Terms & Conditions:
  • Offer is subject to availability at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. 
  • Advance reservations are required. Non cancellation and non refundable. 
  • Must book at least three (3) days in advance of arrival.
Link to offer


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3 Historic Fun Places To Go Outside The French Quarter

New Orleans is a party town on earth! The French Quarter is the heart of all the actions that range from the party Bourbon Street to historic Jackson Square. If you are looking for something that's outside of the French Quarter, here are my 3 picks:

1. Frenchmen Street
The Frenchmen Street is outside of French Quarter. For those that are not fond of walking, it takes about 50 minutes or so to reach there on foot from the French Quarter. Go there in the evening when the music is alive. It's a great place to enjoy the jazz music and good Southern food! 

Jazz Music Isn't Just In French Quarter. Frenchmen Street Too!

2. Garden District 
The Garden District is reachable via the public streetcar. You can check out several historic mansions that were built in the Southern United States. A few of those are owned by famous people such as John Goodman, Sandra Bullock, to name a few. Simply walk around this neighborhood and look at beautiful different style of those mansions. Historic enthusiasts will appreciate this Garden District. 

Historic Southern Mansion At Garden District
Beautiful Mansion At Garden District!

3. Mardi Gras World
If Mardi Gras is too much for you because of all the crowds and crazy parties, then head over to the Mardi Gras World. You'll join the tour where you learn about the history of Mardi Gras and how the masks and floats that are used for the event are made. It's a good way to enjoy the spirit of Mardi Gras while visiting New Orleans during the time that is not Mardi Gras. For those that want to be picked up to get there, the Mardi Gras World provides complimentary shuttle as well. 


Mardi Gras World Entrance!
Behind The Scene of Mardi Gras Festival!
Amazing Detailed Mardi Gras Floats

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January 23, 2017

$150 Checking Bonus With Bank of the West

Maximum Bonus: $150
Applicable States: AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY
Expiration Date: March 03, 2017
Credit Inquiry: Soft
Requirements:
Open a new Easy checking account at the branch or online by March 03, 2017.
Receive $100 Bonus when you set up a qualify direct deposit of at least $250 and posted to the account by May 31, 2017.
Receive $50 Bonus when you use debit card for at least 10 POS purchases of $3.00 or more in each of the two full calendar months immediately following the month in which the opening deposit posts to the account. All transactions must be posted by May 31, 2017.

Notes:
$150 Bonus will be credited by June 30, 2107.
Offer not available to existing checking account customers as of January 20, 2017 or to employees of Bank of the West and its affiliates.
Easy Checking has $8 monthly fee if you enroll in online statements, $10 for paper statements. There are ways to waive that fee. I suggest that you review the fine print and how to avoid the monthly fees carefully before applying.
Must keep account open for at least 90 days before closing. $25 for early closure fee.

Link to offer

Bank of the West also has another offer that has a high $50k deposit requirement and you can receive $300 Bonus after the requirement is fulfilled. $300 Checking Bonus With Bank of the West.

This offer has been added to Bank Cash Bonuses page.

$150 Checking Bonus With Bank of the West

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$300 Checking Bonus With Bank of the West

Maximum Bonus: $300
Applicable States: AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY
Expiration Date: March 03, 2017
Credit Inquiry: Soft
Requirements:
Open a new Premier checking account at the branch or online by March 03, 2017.
Maintain a $50,000 combined average monthly balance for each of the first two full calendar months in which the opening deposit posts to the account. Both must be posted to the account no later than March 10, 2017.
Account must be in open status and have a positive balance as of May 31, 2107 to be eligible.

Notes:
$300 Bonus will be credited by June 30, 2107.
Offer not available to existing checking account customers as of January 20, 2017 or to employees of Bank of the West and its affiliates.
Premier Checking has a $30 monthly fee. One way to waive this fee is to maintain $50,000 balance.
Must keep account open for at least 90 days before closing. $25 for early closure fee.

Link to offer

$50,000 deposit is a huge amount. You may want to consider the $150 Checking Bonus offer with Bank of the West instead.

This offer has been added to Bank Cash Bonuses page.



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3 Most Beautiful Places At Banff National Park

#1 Moraine Lake
This iconic Banff's most photographed place is truly amazing to see in person to believe how beautiful it is. The lake is crystal blue and the view of the Ten Peaks is breathtaking. Valley of the Ten Peaks is too beautiful that at one point, it is featured on the Canadian twenty dollar bill. 

Moraine Lake

#2 Lake Louise
Another popular lake with beautiful color is the Lake Louise. Everyone that's been to Banff can't miss seeing this lake. The walking path is so well maintained that every visitors enjoy walking around the lake and take in its beauty from every possible corners. 

Lake Louise

#3 Athabasca Glacier
Columbia Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in North America. While visitors all enjoy the scenic drive on this Canadian highway, the Athabasca Glacier is not to be missed. The face view of the Athabasca Glacier can be seen from the highway. There's also a pull out that you can park and take photos of it. If you want to get more up close, consider doing the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure. Here's the article on this adventure tour

Athabasca Glacier

Check out more articles on Banff Canada



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January 22, 2017

$400 Bonus With KeyBank Checking Account

** This is a targeted offer. You must have a reservation number to apply that comes from KeyBank's direct mailer. See note below from my personal conversation with the bank.

Maximum Bonus: $400
Applicable States: AK, CO, CT, ID, IN, KY, ME, MI, NY, OH, OR, UT, VT, WA
Expiration Date: February 24, 2017
Credit Inquiry: Soft
Requirements:
Open a qualifying checking account with offer code RETK0117 and Reservation Number.
Within 60 days after account opening, make 1 direct deposit of $500 or more.

Notes:
Targeted offer:
"Charlene:This particular offer requires reservation code in which the offer was sent by direct mailer to clients. It was not publicly advertised, if you did not get the letter you wouldn't be eligible for this offer."
Offer not available to individuals who have had a KeyBank checking account or any First Niagara accounts in the last 12 months.
Whichever checking account you sign up for, make sure to review any monthly fees.
Must keep account open for at least $180 days before closing. $25 for early closure fee.

Link to offer


This offer has been added to Bank Cash Bonuses page.




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January 21, 2017

The Complete Guide To American Express Offers

If you are an American Express credit card holder, you can take advantage of occasionally offers that American Express gives to card members either being targeted or through @AmexOffers Twitter.

First, a few things to note down:
  • You can add as many offers as you want to your American Express card. 
  • Similarly, you can have as many cards as you want to have the offers added to as long as the offers are available for the card that is being targeted. 
  • Each offer has terms and condition as well as expiration date. 
  • Once you complete a specific offer, American Express notifies you. 
  • The credit is posted to the account fast after you complete the offer. 
American Express Offers

Below are the steps to Add Offers to your American Express card:

Online
  • Sign into your American Express account. 
  • Scroll down to the bottom and check out the offers under "Amex Offers and Benefits."
  • If an offer interests you, simply click "Add to Card." 
  • Use the card that has the offer added. Make sure your purchase meets the offer terms.
Mobile App
  • Sign into your American Express account on your mobile via Amex mobile app.
  • Click on the tab that says "Offers."
  • Click on the offer. If it interests you, simply click "Add to Card."
  • Use the card that has the offer added. Make sure your purchase meets the offer terms.
I prefer this method because I can pull up the app and take a look at the offers on the go. The cool thing about the mobile app too is you can View Nearby offers that your location is close to.

Twitter
  • Sync your American Express account with Twitter. Here is the Link - Follow the instruction.
  • Please note that in order to take advantage of the offer, you need to make sure the offer is publicly available through Twitter. I'll try to get the latest ones, travel-related, as soon as possible through my Twitter account. Make sure you follow me on Twitter @OneMagnetAVisit. Another alternative is to check the Current Travel Promotions section. 
  • Tweet the offer specific #hastags. For example, simply tweet #AmexHamptonHCI and you are set. The card that you use to sync with Twitter now has that specific offer added.
  • You can add as many offers as you like to your card as long as the offer #hastag is publicly available. 
#AmexHamptonHGI
  • Although you can add many offers to American Express card, but you can only sync one card with one Twitter account at a time. Therefore, if you want to add the same offer to multiple American Express cards, you will have to sync each card with each different Twitter's account. It is very simple to sign up for a Twitter account with just an email address. Then just keep track of which card syncs with which Twitter account. 

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Flight Review: Lufthansa LH490 Business Class 747 Frankfurt to Seattle

Which Seat To Choose?
There are two decks on the Lufthansa flight LH490 for business class - the lower/main and upper decks. At the time, I flew solo. The seats configurations are 2-2, except for one single seat number 4D at the lower/main deck that is by itself (see image below). From my research at the time, this is a standard seat and I got mixed reviews from other flyers that they prefer upper deck as it has better privacy, smaller cabin, and more quiet. Decision, decision...
Lufthansa LH490 - Single Seat 4D

I went with my gut and picked the seat 4D. I was traveling by myself and did not feel like sitting next to other passengers. It can't be that bad as it's a business class seat. Let me tell you this, I did not regret at all with that seat and I am so pleased that I chose to sit in that throne.

The Only Single Seat On Lufthansa LH490 Business Class

Best Seat In The House
After boarding, I was directed by the flight attendant to my seat. Other passengers were looking at me like, oh that seat is taken by him! One of the stewards came up to greet me and said to me: "Best seat in the house!" I smiled in return. She added "No one climbs up on you both sides!" I replied "I know!" So that was a very good start! There were empty seats at the main deck. I could have changed to the 2 seats ones, but I had no desire too because I was in love with my "single seat in the house!"

Turns out, several passengers preferred upper deck. So the main deck had fewer passengers, which was great. I felt that the upper deck might be too cramped because everyone wanted upper deck!

The Low/Main Deck On Lufthansa LH490 Business Class

Before the flight took off, I was offered something to drink. I had Smirnoff vodka and coke. Then they handed out the menu.

Seat & Amenities
After the flight took off, I had the opportunity to check out my seat little bit more. This is a hard business class product with comfortable pillow, seat controls, blanket amenity, Bose headphone and of course decent size entertainment screen with spacious compartment underneath it. The seat lies flat which makes it very comfortable to lay down/sleep for the long flight. Here are some photos.

Best Seat In The House!




Lie Flat Seat
Service & Menu
The service of the steward was excellent! She appears to be an American because she had no accent at all. She was funny, yet professional and attentive to my needs. From the menu, I selected Marinated Beef Strips With Carrots and Almonds for appetizer. For my main course, I picked the Fresh Asparagus and Tenderloin of Veal. It's white asparagus and the Hollandaise sauce were the highlights of this dish. Here's the picture of the menu as I don't want to bore you with what sounded appetizing to me at the time but it does not sound good to you.

Menu
Appetizer
Main Course
Conclusion
The Lufthansa LH490 Business Class is one of my top favorite flights. If I were to fly solo again, I'd definitely still choose the seat 4D - the only single seat in Business Class on that flight LH490. I had so much fun in that lie flat seat and the amenities that come with Lufthansa's business class are really nice. The steward's service was super and the food was delicious.


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