Amazing Deal: 61% Off Amazon With 60% Off Groceries

There is an amazing combination of promotions going on right now that can achieve 45% off groceries. I just found out about these deals by a visit to my local Albertsons and from a friend who just took advantage of a portion of it.

First, Albertsons is promoting gift cards. Currently, when purchasing $125 or more in gift cards to a variety of places, including Amazon, we’ll receive a coupon for $15 off the next purchase of $25 or more within the next 7 days. $15 off of $25 is a 60% return.


Buy an Amazon gift card for atleast $125, $150 if you have friends or family who will let you use their Amazon Prime Now accounts or let you create one for them. Limit one coupon per transaction, so make sure to separate transactions into totals of $125. This promotion ends 12/1/15, but can be taken advantage multiple times.


Next, when purchasing the gift card(s), use a credit card with a high earning rate such as Wells Fargo’s Cash Back card which earns 5% back at grocery stores. That starts you out with 5% cash back on the gift cards, so 5% at Amazon in this strategy.

Wells Fargo Cash Back

Another option is to use a loyalty card such as the SPG, Starwood Preferred Guest card by American Express. It only gets one point per dollar, but with the flexibility of SPG points, they’re worth a lot more than a penny each.

SPG cards

Next, Amazon is currently promoting their Amazon Prime Now app and delivery system. They now deliver within an hour to metro areas around the country. With the promo codes 20PRIMENOW or GETITNOW (from the PrimeNOW app,) shoppers will receive $20 off their first purchase of $50 or more.


Also, since the purchase will be above $35, in Chicago, Orlando, Northern New Jersey, and some zip codes in New York City and Philadelphia, along with other metro area’s, shoppers will receive free shipping. That’s another savings of $8.

So take your Amazon gift card to If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account already, sign up for one. Use the free trial if you haven’t already to access the next part of the deal for free. The best return is if you have at least 3 accounts that have not used PrimeNOW and use the coupons for each account.

This promotion, including the free shipping savings and 5% cash back credit card, brings a return of 61% when making a purchase of exactly $50. If you have friends or family who don’t live in a metro area who can take advantage of this promo, use their accounts to get this return multiple times.

In total, $92.50 will be spent to receive $199 on Amazon and at Albertsons. $90 will be spent on Amazon for $174 in goods and shipping. $7.50 will be received from cash back bringing the amount spent down to $82.50. $10 will be spent at Albertsons for $25 in groceries.

To receive this, download the Amazon Prime Now app, put in your zip code and start shopping. Add your items to your cart and put in the code 20PRIMENOW or GETITNOW. Check out.

Finally, wait for your discounted goods to arrive. Enjoy.

Watch out for my upcoming interview on the popular blog Million Miles Secrets @ The Boarding Area.

Also, Check out my Latest blog post – an interview with a couple who survived the Paris Terrorist attacks earlier this month.

Like The Travel Economist on Facebook and Follow on Twitter, make sure to subscribe to The Travel Economist to get updates about posts and newsletters!
-The Travel Economist

How I made $1300 Grocery Shopping Last Month

update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.

Ever felt like you needed a bit of extra cash? Ever been unemployed and unsure of where your income will come from?

Travel Hacking is not only good for earning points and miles toward travel. It can be used to create a decent source of income, enough to mimic a $20,000 job after taxes at least.

I’m currently living in Las Vegas for a few months before my upcoming trip to Europe in February. I’m sharing a house with a resident teacher while I explore a new relationship.

My plan before coming was to become a substitute teacher as soon as I got here, but it took longer than expected, leaving me unemployed. However, thanks to Travel Hacking, that doesn’t mean I’ve been without income.

Wells Fargo Rewards

I created over $1,300 in September from Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards by shopping at grocery stores. Of that, only $300 was expenses, leaving a profit of $1000, non-taxable income.

How do I do this? I recently wrote about a Manufacturing Money Spent (MMS) strategy that I use to make it look I’m spending up to $35,000/month. I actually only take a max of about $400 out of the profits. I do this at grocery stores such as Smith’s, Albertson’s, and Wynn Dixie.

With the Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards Card new card holders earn unlimited 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores the first 6 months. When applied to the MMS strategy, the only limit to how much can be earned is how many like you.

Things to consider:

  • Currently, there is no sign up bonus, although if you are a WF account holder, there may be a offer of up to $100 cash back.


  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 12.15% – 25.99% variable APR. It’s always best to pay off credit cards in full each month, but it’s nice knowing that for the first 15 months, it’s not necessary, just remember to pay the minimum.


  • No annual fee. This makes this card great for the first 6 months and then forget about while it slowly boosts your credit score.
Wells Fargo Cash Back
Ask not what you can do for it, but what it can do for you!

I have run into some issues with Wells Fargo that has caused me to lose out on quite a bit of cash back, but I have solved the problems so you don’t have to.

First, when going to buy gift cards or make a large purchase, call WF and have them put a pre-authorization on the account. After a while, WF will notice the pattern and large purchases can be made without pre-authorizations.

Second, when paying off the card, instead of sending money from BlueBird straight to the card account like normal, withdraw the money to a checking account using BB’s settings page (preferably a WF checking so payments will apply instantly,) and then pay the credit card.

This is a bit more of a hassle, but since BB isn’t a checking account, WF says they can’t verify that the money is there. They will hold payments for up to 15 days before allowing it to effect available credit.

A bank account can only be added to 2 BB accounts, so I send the money from my other accounts to the 2 that are linked to make the withdraw. BB states that accounts are limited to sending up to $2,500 per month and receiving up to $10,000, including the $5,000 load limit.

This means that $20,000 can be withdrawn to one checking account each month. If you plan to MMS more than that, then have a second bank account ready or plan to send some money straight to the card and be prepared for a possible hold on the credit limit.

I recently wrote about how to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card account.

Like The Travel Economist on Facebook and Follow on Twitter, make sure to subscribe to The Travel Economist to get updates about posts and newsletters!
-The Travel Economist


How to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card

Update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.
Update: As of 10/9, Discover announced that Gift Cards would not be eligible for the additional 10% bonus. According to a representative at Apple, Apple Pay does not provide any additional information about transactions than Discover  normally receives. It is unknown if Discover will be able to enforce this exclusion.

Discover recently announced that they will now be available to use with Apple Pay. With this, they announced that when a card holder uses their Discover It, Discover It Miles, or Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card, they will receive an additional 10% bonus on the first $10,000 spent on in store purchases on top of the current cash back.

The offer is available on September 16th and runs until the end of the year. It is only available on the Apple Watch or IPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.

Discover Card

This promotion takes Cash Back up to 11% on all purchases and 15% in revolving categories for the Discover It card and 11.5 % for the Discover It Miles and Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card’s.

The INCREDIBLE thing is for cardholders who signed up for the Double Points or Miles promotion this year, then ALL of the points or miles earned this year are doubled. This includes the points and miles earned during this promotional period.

This means that the 11% and 15% earned with the Discover It card and the 11.5% are doubled to 22%, 30%, and 23% on all in store purchases! When the full $10,000 is spent, card holders can earn $2,200, $3,000, and $2,300.

If a holder, like myself, doesn’t plan to spend $10,000 on in store purchases before the end of they year on any or all of their Discover cards, they can refer to my post on Manufacturing Money Spent.

With MMS, card holders can spend $119 on 20 $500 gift cards to hit the $10,000 limit. This would leave profits of $2,081, $2,881, and $2,181.

If you don’t have a version of the IPhone 6 or Apple Watch, you could buy one and use the profits to repay yourself. Apple sell’s theirs for $545 + tax. You could also find them cheaper used or with cell phone contracts. You could get the AT&T Access Card which gives a $650 credit toward a phone to cover the cost. You could borrow a friend’s or you could buy one and take advantage of the return policy.

Iphone 6

If you don’t have a Discover Card, it may be worth it to apply for one to take advantage of this bonus, even without the double points and miles bonus. Without the bonus, there is still $1,000 of profit to be made from each card.

I’m going to be buying and returning at least one IPhone 6 to take advantage of this promotion. I have the Discover It and It Miles cards, both with double cash back promos activated. I’m then going to be using my mother’s and sister’s Discover It’s without the double points activated.

I will be using these four cards to earn about $6,000 this month, $4,000 now, $2,000 at the end of the year when the Double Bonus is completed.

Like The Travel Economist on Facebook and Follow on Twitter, make sure to subscribe to The Travel Economist to get updates about posts and newsletters!

-The Travel Economist

Favorite Transfer Ending Soon?

Update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.

I love Amtrak. I have only ridden once, but it was from Atlanta to Dana Point, CA in a roomette and it was 100x better than flying. I transferred 20,000 points from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account with points I had manufactured for $139. the trip would have cost about $800, so I got a pretty good value. If you haven’t tried Amtrak before and have some UR points stacked up and have some extra time, I highly recommend it. Compared to traveling by car, bus, or plane, there just is not much competition to the luxury of the train. I got a roomette for my points, which is the same price for 1 or 2 passengers, so try to bring someone along for even more value. It was incredible, having a bed and private room to sleep in for three nights, that’s incredibly expensive on a plane. On top of that, meals are included. I had great meals, cooked fresh in the kitchen, again, incomparable to plane food outside of first or business class. Eggs, bacon or sausage, juices, cereal, grits, toast, a real breakfast, later a delicious burger and salad then dessert. For dinner, salad, steak, and dessert. The value of the meals alone for one person came out to over $200. Along with the sleeper car and food, when you’re at the stations, there are lounges just for sleeper car or business class passengers, usually stocked with snacks and drinks, comfortable chairs and TV, magazines, and newspapers. While the rooms, lounges, and meals all offer great and luxurious value to this, another reason why Amtrak is my favorite way to travel is because you actually get to see places you wouldn’t otherwise. During my trip, I saw cities contrasted later by small towns that look like they came straight out of an old western movie, I saw forests, swamps, deserts, rolling hills and mountains. I also got to meet a lot of great people, but when I wanted private time to read or anything, I had my seclusion of my room to retire to.

20150607_082343  20150607_083226

Now the sad part. Amtrak and Chase are cutting ties. Starting September 30, 2015, Chase will no longer have a Amtrak branded credit card, instead they will be issuing Chase Freedom cards to each Amtrak card holder as a replacement, and Bank of America will be picking up the Amtrak brand. With this news, it can be expected that eventually, Amtrak will no longer be a Chase transfer partner. To me, Amtrak has become one of Chase’s most valuable transfer partners. I’m sending my parents to Boston from Florida in October in a roomette for only 15,000 points each way, $104 for both after manufacturing the points, so they can catch their flight to Paris, which I helped them snag a couple of months ago for only $300 each round trip during a sale on WOW Airlines, the same airline I took back in April to get to Iceland for a week and then onto London. The loss of Amtrak will be a huge devaluation to Chase’s Ultimate Reward points program.

I felt like I was in the Wild Wild West

If you’d like to try out Amtrak using UR Points, now is the time to transfer those points and stock them up in your Amtrak account for later use. Also, note that Amtrak is changing their redemption chart starting January 24. They’re moving from a three zone based award chart to a “revenue based” award chart and while it looks like there may be cheaper redemption’s in some spots, revenue based charts are never a good thing for those looking for spots where prices are high but the redemption is cheap. There will also be fees of 10% of the points for refunds and modifications, the guidelines vary but can be found here. This is all mainly bad news, but rewards will start at only 800 points instead of 3,000, so it will be possible to come out even better than with the zones, so it will just take some playing to figure out if you should book now or wait. The point estimator can be used to compare redemption rates. I’m about to go to Las Vegas in a sleeper from Atlanta, the cash value is about $2000, I’m getting it for 20,000 points, great redemption, but under the new program, that redemption would cost me a whopping 69,000 points! Not such a nice redemption anymore, still, 2.89 cents per point is generally a good redemption rate, even if it’s not 10 cents.

Like The Travel Economist on Facebook and follow on Twitter, make sure to subscribe to The Travel Economist to get updates about posts and newsletters!
-The Travel Economist

How to Get IHG Points for .292 Cents – Stay in Hotels for $15!

While the offer is limited, IHG – Intercontinental Hotel Group, is still offering the purchase of 100,000 Rewards Club Points for only $565 through Daily Getaways, a purchase value of .565 cents, a better value than the normal points and cash purchase value of .7 cents – 10,000 for $70, it seems most people have not realized that this is actually a much better deal than it appears.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.41.18 PM

When purchasing getaways from the site, the purchases are coded as travel, so we are able to buy the points using the Barclay’s Arrival Plus card and earn 2 miles per dollar and then 10% back when redeeming for travel – essentially 2.2 miles per dollar spent; okay, great, we’ll get 1243 miles back – $12.43, not adding up.


The great thing here is that we can buy Visa and Mastercard gift cards, $500 for $5.95 (at my local grocery store,) and upload them to BlueBird by American Express and Walmart and then use that money to pay Barclays. But, wait, there’s still the $1,000/day $5,000/month limit, and we need 55,257 miles to redeem for the purchase (minus the miles earned on the purchase,) and we only have 120 days to earn them.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.40.30 PM

Here’s something I haven’t read about in any blogs; open Bluebird accounts for friends and families – it’s a prepaid debit card, no attachment to credit, I have done it with my four family members, best friend, and grandma and hope to open others in more family and friends names. This allows for a lot more miles to be earned, much more quickly, now the limit is how many friends and family members will let you open an account in their name instead of the set limitations.


Now, during the 120 days, we can buy 55 gift cards (round to the next highest, without factoring the 10% point rebate) for $327.25 and upload each to our Bluebird accounts. Redeem 56,500 miles for the paid value of $565 and voila! Our price has dropped to $327.25, factor in the rebate and you have another 5650 miles left which you didn’t have to buy another 6 gift cards for $35.70 to get, so take that from the price and we’re at $291.55, or .29155 per point.
Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.39.25 PM


Now, redeem these points for 20 nights at the IHG Pointbreak Hotels for 5,000 points per night, and you’re looking at 20 nights at a hotel for $14.58 – cheaper than a lot of shared dorms in hostels. While most of the hotels are budget ones like Holiday Inn, there are some incredible places on the list – like the beautiful InterContinental Lhasa Paradise in Lhasa, XZ, China, where rooms start at $180 when I looked, a savings of $165.42  or 91.9% every night, and a point redemption value of 3.6 cents. Another top place currently is the Hotel Indigo in San Jose, Costa Rica where the rooms start at $123.  Hurry, because these deals are almost gone.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.57.00 PM

Like The Travel Economist on Facebook and Follow on Twitter, make sure to subscribe to The Travel Economist to get updates about posts and newsletters!
-The Travel Economist


Introduction to Travel Hacking

After last years six month trip through the Carribean and Central America, I returned home to work and continue school for the next six months. While I was home, I came upon a book and a few new sources of information that I soon found to be invaluable. Over the next six months, and i continue to today, I studied this new information, used it, toyed with it, varied, improved, and created my own techniques to go with this information allowing me to use it in ways that no one else (that I have found) has. I used this information and my own techniques to earn, in six months, a combined total of more than 600,000 miles and points through about seven different loyalty programs. These points, on average, are worth around $10,000-$15,000, depending on how I use them, with the possibilty of being worth even more. Most people would read this and think, okay, most loyalty programs give one point per dollar spent, he must be rich and spent around sixty million dollars to earn all of those points! Those people are wrong, I actually only spent around $500 to earn all of these miles and points!


The information I am referring to is known throughout the community as “Travel Hacking.” Much like what is known as “Life Hacking,” techniques to make life easier, travel hacking is used to “hack” the travel industry, to make earning free travel rewards easier. There are people in the community who do not like the term “hacking” to refer to these techniques, it is a word that brings a negative feel it makes it seem that we are doing something morally wrong, or illegal. Rest assured, there is a fairly large community of “Travel-hackers,” numerous blogs and books that teach it, and even conferences about it held by credit card companies and other huge companies and organizations. It is known what we do, we are simply intelligent consumers who have learned how to use the system to our advantage, and there is nothing wrong with it. Now, to put it simply, the term “Travel Hacking” refers to leveraging the loyalty programs of airlines, hotels, booking sites, credit card companies, and anything else that rewards consumers for their loyalty.

Learn to "fill up" your loyalty accounts! Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

Most of us already know about loyalty programs; earn some miles for each flight, some for renting a car or staying in a hotel, points for our purchases on credit cards, but it all takes so long to earn enough points for a single flight, let alone enough to have the great problematic question of “where to next?” instead of “how much is it going to cost?”, so, what’s the secret? How does a person become a “Travel Hacker?” How can I “fill up” my loyalty accounts and earn hundreds of thousand of miles and points to be able to travel anywhere in the world for next to nothing? These are just a few popular questions that I will answer in my blog and upcoming posts.

Make sure to subscribe to my blogs email list so that you get notified of all of my posts and do not miss out on any of this information!
-The Travel Economist

Barclays US Airways Credit Card to AAviator Promotion!

Hey guys, I just received a email that select current cardholders of Barclays US Airways credit card holders have received or will receive. The E-mail informs us that card holders will be receiving the new American Airlines AAviator Red card to replace the US Airways card due to the merger between the two airlines, and with this, they are offering a promotion; 50% more miles on qualifying purchases, so now instead of the usual one mile earned on everything outside of flights, you’ll get 1.5 and 3 miles on flights up to 10,000 additional miles! This offer is good begininning April 1st and ends June 30th 2015.


This is very exciting because the qualifying purchases includes groceries. Don’t know why that is exciting? Subscribe to my blog for my future posts; Introduction to Travel Hacking and How to Manufacture Money Spent. The technique I will outline is my favorite way of earning miles and points outside of credit card sign up bonuses and how, whenever I buy a flight or take a cruise, I consider my price to be half of the listed price! Using these techniques along with this promotion, it will be possible to get over 30,000 AAdvantage miles for a mere $238. The 30,000 miles are easily worth atleast $540 in airfare, althought I used 20,000 of these miles to get a $2,000 flight from Eberdeen Scotland back to Florida for only $380 in taxes and fees; at this value, the miles are worth $2430; that’s a $2192 profit! So watch out for the e-mail and make sure to register for it by June 30th to receive the promotion. All accounts must be open, active, and in good standing during the promotional period (mine is sitting in a drawer at home, which apparently is active enough!)

Make sure to subscribe to my blog to get notifications of all of my future travel stories and tip!
-The Travel Economist