Friday, August 24, 2012

Free Money Friday: American Express edition

American Express Prepaid Card

There is still one more week to get in on the $25 gift card for loading $200 or more to Amex’s prepaid card. You must load the card from a checking or savings account at the time of order for the bonus. However, it can be spent anywhere American Express is accepted. There are no fees or credit checks involved. You can have up to three cards per account, so there is the potential for up to $75 in free money. I previously did the $10 gift card for loading $50 promo last month. I haven’t received my gift card yet as the offer terms say to allow for six weeks to receive the gift card.

Sync for Deals

Sync any American Express credit card to your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare accounts for special deals and statement credits.

For example, I synced my new SPG card to Facebook and then signed up for the "one-time $10 statement credit when you buy $50 or more in Simon Giftcards at a participating Simon Mall." I purchased a gift card at the mall last weekend (just in time to use to pick up a couple of items during tax-free weekend in Texas!) and AMEX emailed me minutes later that I would get a statement credit in three to five days. Unfortunately, the mall gift card had a $2.95 fee, so this is really like $7 in free money, not $10.

This offer is available until Sept. 3 and not just at Simon Malls, but also Premium Outlets, PREIT Malls and Macerich Shopping Centers. If you are fortunate enough to have all four of these mall brands within a reasonable distance, you can sign up for each one and get up to $40 back.

Some of the other current offers include:
  • Best Buy—Spend $200, get $20 statement credit
  • Travelocity (hotel booking)—Spend $250, get $50
  • Foot Locker—Spend $100, get $20
  • Ticketmaster—Spend $75, get $25
  • Macaroni Grill—Spend $50, get $15
  • Tommy Hilfiger—Spend $100, get $25

Of course, I’d only recommend taking advantage of these if you were already planning on making a purchase from one of these retailers. Don’t let the prospect of getting $10 or $20 back make you spend $40 or $80 that you weren’t already planning to spend.

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Freebie Roundup: Mooyah burger, 9 months of Shoprunner 2-day shipping, greeting card, Unreal candy and more

Free Mooyah Burger

"Like" Mooyah’s Facebook page, submit name and email, wait for coupon to appear in window and print. Coupon expires five days from “like.” Mooyah has locations in AR, CA, CT, KS, MT, TN, TX and VA.

Get 9 months (6 months+90 days) of free 2-day shipping from ShopRunner

You can get free 2-day shipping from these merchants through ShopRunner
ShopRunner provides free 2-day shipping from a number of online merchants. One of the merchants is, which I find myself using frequently to purchase free after rebate items to help meet minimum spends on new credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and my new Amex SPG card.

This is the direct link for six months of free membership. This promotion is for new members only. Deal is available until Aug. 31 or while supplies last. However, I signed up for a Cozi account here first since they are sponsoring the deal.

Add 90 days to your membership via ShopRunner Central

Go to your order history to find the free 90-day offer

You can get an extra 90 days for free by signing up for ShopRunner Central. After logging in, click “My Account” underneath your name at the top right corner. Then click “Track All Shipments and Orders” and you should see the offer for 90 extra days. Signing up for this extended my expiration date from February to May 2013.

What is ShopRunner Central and why should I sign up?
ShopRunner Central is a free benefit to ShopRunner members that simplifies your shopping and organizes all your receipts in one place.

You will need an email account from Yahoo or Gmail in order to use ShopRunner Central. This apparently gives ShopRunner access to all of your emails so you may want to set up a “junk” email account for this or you can utilize the information from a post on that describes how to revoke ShopRunner’s access to your email after extending your expiration date.

*The extra 90 days promo is for good for existing members as well as new members.

Cardstore: Free Personalized Greeting Card + Free Shipping has yet another free personalized greeting card offer with free shipping. Use coupon code CCK2248. Offer is available until Aug. 26.

Free sandwich from RaceTrac gas station

Join RaceTrac Insider for monthly coupons. This month’s coupon is for a free sandwich.

Free Unreal candy bar from CVS

"Like" the CVS Facebook page, enter your ExtraCare card number and email address, coupon will be sent to your email.

Possible $5 off coupon from

I logged into my account on and found a coupon for $5 in extra savings, redeemable in-store only and expires Aug. 26. I had the options to print or send to card, so I sent it to my card. So check your account for this coupon as well.
I didn’t see any minimum purchase requirements, just the usual fine print associated with all CVS coupons.
*Some restrictions apply. ExtraCare card must be presented to get these savings. Savings applied to total purchase with specified product. Excludes prescriptions, alcohol, gift cards, lottery, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards and tobacco products. No cash back. Tax charged on pre-coupon price where required.

Free sample of Vi-Jon's Simply U Shampoo & Conditioner

Get a free sample of Simply U Shampoo and Conditioner from There is also a coupon available for printing for $1 off 2 bottles. You can also go directly to the sample form here.

Free sample of Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight also has a free sample of  Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight. Or you can go directly to the sample form here.

Free 5x7 back to school print at Walmart

No coupon required, but you may want to print the pdf in case your associate isn’t familiar with the promo.
Good on instant or one-hour photo prints in Walmart Supercenters with 1-Hour Photo Centers.
Limit one per child.
Valid through the end of September.

Free (after rebate) printer/copy paper at Staples

Use this coupon to get two free reams of Hammermill CopyPlus Paper from Staples. You will pay $4.99 each plus tax in-store. Then go online and submit your information for an Easy Rebate. Your check will be mailed in 4-6 weeks. Make sure your cashier scans the coupon twice or print two coupons. Coupon valid until Aug. 25.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coupons and freebies in my mailbox

As I usually say, checking the mailbox is more fun when you're anticipating what freebies will arrive next. Here are some of my most recent arrivals.

Free Samples

  • Bausch + Lomb Biotrue Multi-Purpose Contact Lens Solution sample (nice 4 oz. bottle)
  • Two free samples of Eucerin moisturizers with sunscreen, one for body and one for the face + $1 off 1 and $3 off 2 coupons
  • U by Kotex (3 different feminine products and a small clutch) + $1 off coupon


  • More than $13 worth of coupons from Target--I think I got on their mailing list through signing up for free samples, but I'm not completely sure of that).
  • More than $10 worth of coupons from Kroger, including coupons for two free items--I have a Kroger shopping card and I receive coupons in the mail every few months, usually for things I have purchased in the past, sometimes for random items they want me to try.

And for those who think coupons are only good for processed junk food, you will see I received coupons for fresh meat, vegetables and lunch meat.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Point/mile opportunities: British Airways, Club Carlson

Yesterday, I posted how to get 500 free US Airways Dividend Miles.

Well, here’s a few more point/mile opportunities. The first two hit my email yesterday, while the third is credited to Slickdeals.

Club Carlson: Stay 2 nights at a Country Inn and Suites, get 25,000 points

In recognition of Country Inn and Suites' 25th anniversary, Club Carlson has launched a “25 for 25” promo. To participate, register here (you must be a Club Carlson member), then complete a two-night stay booking the 25 for 25 Promotion Rate at any Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotel worldwide between Aug. 15 and Oct. 14.

Keep in mind that the “25 for 25” rate is higher than if you prepay in advance. I priced a room in the Dallas area for next weekend and the “Book Early and Save” rate is $69.70/night while the “25 for 25” rate is $82, which is the same as the “General Rate.”

After you complete your stay, your 25,000 bonus Gold Points will be deposited in your Club Carlson account within 4-6 weeks (my bonus points posted within a few days when I participated in a previous promotion).

I registered, but it’s highly unlikely that I’ll stay at a Country Inn before October 14. Still seems to be a cheap way to get some points—IF—the Country Inns in your area are inexpensive.

If you’re not already a Club Carlson member, sign up here to earn an extra 2,000 bonus points when you stay at a participating Carlson hotel in the next 90 days.

A second Club Carlson promotion: Sweepstakes entries+100 points per day

With Club Carlson’s Global Giveaway (that’s strangely only valid in the U.S. and Canada—excluding Quebec) you can enter to win one of six giveaways that include five nights at a Carlson Rezidor hotel, roundtrip business-class airfare for two and USD $5,000 in spending money. Carlson hotels include Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Country Inn and Suites, and Park Inn.

First, register here for one sweepstakes entry. If you book an eligible stay (any stay eligible to earn Gold Points) online at a Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group brand website and then complete that stay at any of the group’s hotels worldwide by Sept. 24th, you’ll receive 10 entries for each night stayed. For an additional entry, view the week’s entire Vacation Look Book. A new Vacation Look Book will be unveiled each week of the sweepstakes.

The real meat of this promo is through the 100 points a day you can earn by viewing the Vacation Look Book. That’s 4,000 points. It does look like you have to view the same book over and over for a few days because it apparently only changes once a week.

If you have multiple family members with Club Carlson accounts, encourage them to participate and you can then combine the points into one account for easy redemption. Award nights start at 9,000 for Category 1 properties and go all the way up to 50,000 points for Category 6 hotels. Points+Cash awards start at 5,000 points.

You may recall this is the chain I scored 150,000 points from for just three hotel stays and a little over $200 this summer. This promo is more easy points and free at that.

Again, if you’re not already a Club Carlson member, sign up here to earn an extra 2,000 bonus points when you stay at a participating Carlson hotel in the next 90 days.

1,000 British Airways Avios points/miles

  • Join the Loyalty program of British Midland International (BMI) here.
  • Use Voucher code 1JA1KD when joining to get 1,000 free points.
  • Go to your British Airways (BA) account and combine the BMI account to your BA account to transfer the 1,000 points over.

For additional points, up to seven accounts can be linked together. So if you have additional family members in your household, create accounts for them with BMI (use the code 1JA1KD) and with BA. Then transfer the points from BMI to their BA account using the steps described above. Then create a Household Account on BA and add all the members to your household account. This will combine everyone’s BA points into one account for a total of 7,000 Avios. To keep things on the up and up, I’d recommending only using actual people who live in your household for these extra accounts.

Avios flight awards are distance-based (the fewer miles you fly the fewer points you need), and one-way awards start at just 4,500 Avios. And since American Airlines is an alliance partner of BA, you can book AA flights within the U.S. using BA Avios thus saving yourself BA's high fuel surcharges and taxes on European award flights.

Click here to check out my ongoing list of free and easy frequent flier mile offers from all airlines.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

500 free US Airways miles

Receive 500 miles when you download and shop with the Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant.
To qualify for the initial download 500 bonus miles offer, make at least one search or purchase using the Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant. Bonus offer is valid only for the initial download and install of the Dividend Miles StoreFront Assistant. Not valid on subsequent downloads or installs.
When the toolbar is active you'll earn 1 mile for every 3 valid searches you perform. Up to 100 Dividend Mile award miles per month can be earned by performing 300 valid searches made through the StoreFront Assistant toolbar. You only earn Dividend Miles award miles on searches made from the search box within the StoreFront Assistant. You must be logged into the StoreFront Assistant to receive credit for your searches.
You can earn additional miles by shopping in-store and paying for your purchases with a registered credit or debit card at participating store locations. When making purchases online, click through to the retailer from the Dividend Miles StoreFront for additional miles.
Click here to check out my ongoing list of free and easy frequent flier mile offers from all airlines.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Freebie Roundup: Toys R Us, Movie Tavern tickets, CVS sunscreen

$5 off any purchase at Toys R Us or Babies R Us


Valid until Thursday, 8/16/12

Ways to access the coupon

  •  Print it from the Toys R Us website
  • Print the $5/$5 coupon from your email (if you're signed up for their emails)
  • Text 5ONUS to 78697
  • Check in with Foursquare to download the coupon when you get to the store
  • Check under Toys R Us on the Shopkick app for the coupon


Free Movie Tickets

Movie Tavern is giving away two free tickets to anyone that joins their mailing list. Click here to register
  • One Free Movie Ticket just for becoming a member.*
  • One Free Movie Ticket for your birthday.**
  • Invites to special events, screenings, surprise gifts, comps and so much more.
*Some restrictions may apply. Limited time introductory offer. Member tickets are sent out within one week from your sign-up date.
**Purchase a ticket within the year and recieve a free ticket for your birthday. Birthday tickets are sent out the 1st of every month.
Click here to see if there is a Movie Tavern location near you.

Free Minibon cinnamon roll from Cinnabon

Visit Facebook to join Club Cinnabon and get a coupon good for one FREE MINIBON cinnamon roll at participating bakeries. They will email you a coupon within 24 hours. You apparently don’t have to log in to Facebook or “like” the page to fill out the form.

Free travel size sunscreen from CVS

Like the Minute Clinic page on Facebook, fill out the form and you will receive a coupon in your email.
Registration for this offer will be open until 11:59 PM ET (today!) 8/14/12 or while supplies last. Offer valid in store only. Coupon expires 8/26/12. Not available in New York.

Free Shampoo and Conditioner Sample

Free Music

Free Workout Mix from Shape magazine features five songs that can be downloaded to iTunes or zip file.

Free Perfume Sample

Get a free sample of Taylor Swift’s new fragrance, Wonderstruck Enchanted on Facebook.

Free Deodorant Sample

Tom's of Maine

Free Haircuts


JC Penney

JC Penney will give any kid (K-6th) a free haircut during August at every JC Penney salon across the USA. Appointments are available while they last. Call or visit your local JCP salon to schedule an appointment.


Remington College

Children under 17 can get a complimentary haircut at Remington College during the 2 weeks prior to the start of school.

Free Air Freshener (in-store with coupon)


Walgreens (next week)

Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist Starter Kit--sale price from 8/19 to 8/25 $2.99

Buy 1, Get $1.00 Register Reward
Use $3.00 off manufacturer coupon from
Price: Free/$1.00 moneymaker! (you can use the Register Reward on your next/future Walgreens purchase)



Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist Starter Kit--price $2.98

Use $3.00 off manufacturer coupon from
Price: Free/$.02 moneymaker!

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The dreaded ‘pending review’ screen

If you read my post the other day, you’ll know I was excited about applying for the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express card since the signup bonus was just bumped from 25,000 to 30,000 points for a limited time.

Well, after I filled out the application and submitted it, I got the dreaded “your application is pending further review” message. In these days of instant online approval, pending review seems like one step away from a denial. I’m still pretty new to the “game,” so I have yet to be denied, but it is definitely a fear.

But there was no need to despair or even wait 14 days for a letter in the mail as instructed. On the advice of The Points Guy, I waited about 15 minutes and then checked my application status online.

And, just like that, I was approved! The six-month clock (20,000 additional points for $5,000 spend in six months) starts ticking from the date of approval, so I’m ready to get my card and start using it. Unfortunately, it takes 7-10 days to receive it in the mail.

If I my application status had still said “pending,” my next move would have been to call the Amex reconsideration line at 1-800-582-6471 to see if there was anything they or I could do to speed my application approval along, but thankfully that was unnecessary. But keep that advice in your back pocket if you need it.

To think, before I started “churning,” I never even knew credit card reconsideration lines existed.

I forgot to mention in my post the other day that Amex allows existing cardmembers to refer new cardmembers to the SPG card for a 5,000-point bonus. So if you have currently have a card, be sure to refer your friends and family. You’ll get an extra 5,000 Starpoints. And if you are looking to get a card, ask your friends or family if they want to refer you so they can get 5,000 points.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Starwood American Express Card promotion

The Interwebz (well, at least the travel blogs and forums) are abuzz with the new Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express Card promotion. That’s because the sign-up bonus has been temporarily increased from 25,000 to 30,000 points through September 4. Depending on how you use the points, a 30,000 bonus is worth anywhere from $600 to more than $1,000.

Here is public link to sign up for the Personal Card.
The public link for the Business Card is still showing a 25,000-point bonus, but there are referral links available through various bloggers for 30,000 points.

Starwood hotels include:
  • Westin
  • Sheraton
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • W
  • Le Meridian
  • The Luxury Collection
  • St. Regis
  • Aloft
  • Element 

Under the terms of this promotion, you can receive 10,000 bonus Starpoints after your first purchase and and additional 20,000 points after spending $5,000 in six months. The annual fee is waived for the first year and $65 thereafter.
Here's a few reasons why the Starwood card is considered one of the best travel cards to have in your wallet:

SPG award chart--free nights start at 2,000 points

  • No blackout dates on free night awards. That means if a standard room is available, it’s yours.
  • Low redemption rates. Weekend nights at Category 1 properties start at 2,000 points (3,000 for weekdays). That's much lower than lowest the award nights at other chains, such as the Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott.
  • The Cash & Points option provides flexibility to redeem for award nights at most hotels and resorts worldwide using a combination of cash and Starpoints, starting at just 1,200 Starpoints and $25.
  • 5th Night Free. Redeem four nights at Category 3-7 hotels and your 5th consecutive night is free.
  • Airline transfers. Starpoints can be transfer on a 1:1 ratio to lots of different airlines. And for every 20,000 points transferred within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add another 5,000 points.

I don’t post about all of the new credit card offers, but I am posting this because I plan to apply for it. I did previously say I was done with new credit cards for this year, but I forgot about the temporary bonus increase of the SPG that I read would happen this summer.

Spending $5,000 in six months is steep for me, but I know I can come up with some creative ways to make it happen. It averages out to just over $833 a month, so I will be transferring all of my regular expenses to this card. I'm nervous, but hopeful about getting approved for this card. I have a fairly high credit score, but relatively low income and I've opened a few other cards this year.

You can apparently open a personal and business card at the same time for 60,000 points, but that means you will need to spend $10,000 in six months. I'll be sticking with only the personal card for now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Watch movies on-the-go for 99 cents

Nothing passes the time on a long flight better than a good movie.

Amazon Instant Video offers an everchanging list of $0.99 movies that you can download to your Kindle or iPad to watch when you are without a Wi-Fi connection, such as on an airplane.

If you rent, you'll have 30 days from when you rent to start watching, and once you start watching, most movies have a 24-hour window to finish watching. Once the rental is over, the movie will automatically disappear from Your Video Library.

Movies can be streamed as well, using a computer, tablet compatible HDTVs, Blu-ray players, or set-top boxes, but of course you need an Internet connection for that.

Here are some of the current most popular rentals that are available for $0.99 until tomorrow, August 5.


*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Friday, August 3, 2012

Free Money Friday follow-up

So did you participate in any of the promotions in my Free Money Friday post?
I said I’d report back with my experience so here goes.

Nationwide Visa Buxx—load $25, get $50 bonus

  • Loaded $25 using my Chase Freedom Visa card on July 11
  • Used my info for both parent and teen, input promo code 02010059 on teen page
  • During sign up there was no mention or confirmation of the bonus
  • Haven’t been charged a load fee
  • Posted as a purchase to my Chase Freedom (though other cards may consider it a cash advance)
  • Took a little over a week to receive card in the mail
  • Called to activate card on a Thursday or Friday (yes, I’ve already forgotten), $50 bonus posted the following Monday, July 23
  • I can either withdraw the cash for free from an Allpoint ATM or just use it to pay bills and transfer the money I'd normally use for those bills from my checking to savings.
  • No idea when this offer ends, but promo code still works according to posts from Slickdeals.

AMEX Serve—load and spend $25, get $25 bonus

  • Loaded $25 using my Chase Freedom Visa card on July 11
  • Posted as a purchase to my Chase Freedom (though other cards may consider it a cash advance)
  • Took a little over a week to receive card in the mail
  • Activated card online.
  • I used my initial $25 load to pay part of my electric bill.
  • Received a $25 bonus the next day
  • Will transfer the $25 bonus back to my bank account.
  • Offer expires August 31, so you still have time to get in on it.

AMEX Prepaid Card— load at least $50, get $10 bonus gift card

  • Signed up to load $50 using checking account on July 15 (took a few days because I had to verify my checking account)
  • Took almost two weeks to receive card in the mail
  • Expect to receive bonus $10 gift card in 6-8 weeks
  • Didn’t realize at the time, but I could have done this three times (one user can have three cards) for a $30 bonus
  • American Express began a new promo on August 1, but this time it’s a $25 gift card for loading $200. If you only signed up for one card last month, you can open up to two more under your same account/social security number.

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Freebie Roundup: Corner Bakery, Nescafe Coffee, Haircut

New freebies this week

Corner Bakery Cafe - FREE Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal w/ Online Reservation

Here's the most recent post from their Facebook page: Let us treat you to a FREE taste of Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal, a summertime favorite made fresh with low-fat yogurt and fruit, and topped with toasted almonds and seasonal berries. Click below to reserve your tasting, but do it quickly! There’re only a few spots left

Corner Bakery has locations in: California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Free Coffee Sample

Sample pack includes two (2) NESCAFÉ® MEMENTO™ stick packs and a coupon to Save $1.00 on your next purchase of any NESCAFÉ® MEMENTO™ product.

$10 of coupons from Febreze

Free Haircut

JC Penney

JC Penney will give any kid (K-6th) a free haircut during August at every JC Penney salon across the USA. Appointments are available while they last. Call or visit your local JCP salon to schedule an appointment.

Remington College

Children under 17 can get a complimentary haircut at Remington College during the 2 weeks prior to the start of school.

Free Card with Free Shipping 

FREE Cards + FREE Shipping at Use code: FRIEND12, Valid thru 8/5. Shipping only valid in the U.S. Coupon cannot be combined with any other offer

Free Paint

Free quart of Clark+Kensington paint at participating Ace Hardware stores on Saturday, August 4

Free Deodorant Sample

Tom's of Maine