Google Wallet: Dead Already!

RIP, Google Wallet

google-wallet-4

Well that was a fun week! I first wrote about Google Wallet a week ago and how it was going to be a huge points machine for a limited time.

Well that limited time has come to an end.

At some point today, Google made it clear that only the first $250 you send to someone will be fee-free. After that amount, they will levy Paypal-like fees of 2.9% and 30 cents if you use your credit card.

Sending money funded by your bank account will still be free, but that’s not what we’re in this game for! We’re in it for credit card miles and points!

Takeaways

What we can learn from this is that you have to be quick to punch, strike while the iron’s hot, all those inspirational sayings.

When a points-earning method like this comes about, let the pros test it out. That’s what we’re here for, to take the guesswork out of things like this.

In the meantime, get your ducks in a row. For this, you should have:

  1. Signed up for Google Wallet (I was giving out pennies to get you into the program)
  2. Verified your identity – DOB, SSN, etc.
  3. Verified your bank account (so cash could be withdrawn)
  4. Decide which points or miles-earning credit card to use

Once we give the go-ahead, don’t waste time! Do what you have to do to earn your points before things get shut down.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted. I earned several thousand points so I can’t complain. Hopefully, I’ll write again soon about the next great points-earning scheme!

On to the next one…

Google Wallet

The Internet is abuzz about the debut of the newest feature of Google Wallet, Google’s online payment processing system. Using Google Wallet’s latest enhancement, you can now send money to anyone similar to Paypal, Amazon Payments, etc.

google-wallet-3

You can either fund the payments with your checking/savings account or a credit/debit card. Obviously, the value proposition here is sending money with a points-earning credit card.

Also, this is a limited time value proposition because, normally, Google would levy a 2.9% fee with each payment. However, they are currently waiving that fee! I have no idea when they will stop waiving the fee, but I’m not going to wait around to find out. I’m going to get my points while the getting’s good!

Timeline of a Google Wallet Hustle

  • May 20: Sent $4K+ to Joann.
  • May 20: Joann received email to claim money. She clicked the link in the email to claim money.
  • May 23: Payment cleared/released to Joann. Google emailed me to notify me as well.
  • May 23: “You’ve claimed money and it’s now waiting for you in your Google Wallet.” It was not actually available in Joann’s Wallet balance; it was still pending.
    google-wallet-1
  • May 26: Money posts in Wallet balance and withdrawal to bank account initiated.
    google-wallet-2
  • May 28: Money posts to bank account (one day after national holiday)

That’s it! We will now pay the credit card bill that we used to send the money and voila… over 4,000 airline miles (or hotel points… or whatever you want!)

Observations

Large payments like the one I detailed above will probably take longer than usual to clear. My bank’s fraud department actually called me; I told them that this was a legitimate purchase to push it through. I’m not sure if that held up the process at all.

I’ve also sent smaller amounts like $100 and that went through instantly, similar to Amazon Payments. We were able to receive the money and immediately initiate a withdrawal to our bank account.

If you have an American Express Business Gold card, you may be in luck. People are reporting 2x points on the “Business Services” category that Google Wallet is posting in.

Frequently Asked Questions

I won’t reinvent the wheel here. Head on over to Frequent Miler’s wonderful post where he answers just about every question imaginable about this new (albeit temporary) point machine.

Pay close attention to the section where he discusses limits and how NOT to get banned from this program.

Also, Dan’s Deals had the Director of Product Development for Google Wallet answer questions about it. Pretty awesome!

Invitations to Google Wallet

In order to be a part of this hustle, you need to have someone send you any amount of money. People are sending other people 1 cent and that will get them into this program.

If you’d like me to send you a penny to get you started, please leave a comment below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter! I’d be happy to help out fellow hustlers.

RTW to Bali: Conclusion

TRIP INDEX

Conclusion

This trip will be unforgettable for Joann and me. It was a bunch of firsts. First long-haul international First Class flights. First time to Asia together. First time circumnavigating the globe. Hopefully it’s the first of many!

Bali is an amazing destination and, if time permits, it’s somewhere where we would visit again without a doubt. We highly suggest you put it on your radar for your next destination.

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You Can Do It, Too!

This kind of trip can be possible for anyone! It just took some organization, a few credit card signups, and a bit of planning.

I explained it in detail in the Let’s Plan post, but here are the major points to consider.

How we flew on Cathay Pacific First & Business Class to Bali

Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class

We used our British Airways Avios points for this, but before their current state. Nowadays, the best way to get on Cathay First or Business is with American Airlines miles.

A one-way First Class flight on Cathay Pacific from North America to what AA considers Asia 2* would be 67,500 miles 

*(Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saipan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam)

Here is the AA award chart.

How we flew on multiple Star Alliance members’ First & Business Class from Bali

Swiss First Class

Swiss First Class

Thai Airways First Class

Thai Airways First Class

 

There are many ways to accumulate miles to redeem on Star Alliance partners. You just have to earn miles on any Star Alliance partner – United, US Airways, Air Canada, ANA, Singapore.

If you want to use United miles, the credit cards to work with should earn Chase Ultimate Rewards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, Ink Plus).

Using United miles, a one-way trip from Bali (South Asia region) to the US is 70,000 miles in First and 60,000 miles in Business.

Here is the United award chart.

If you want to use US Airways miles, use the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express because it effectively earns 1.25 airline miles per dollar.

US Airways does not do one-way award for half of a round trip so if you want to travel from the US to the South & Central Asia region round trip, it will cost you 160k miles in First and 120k miles in Business.

Here is the US Airways award chart.

With American Express Membership Rewards points, you can transfer to Air Canada, ANA, or Singapore in the Star Alliance. This is my least preferred method because all three airlines will levy a high amount of fuel surcharges on their award tickets.

How we stayed at the Bali Hyatt on points alone

Bali Hyatt

Bali Hyatt

For this stay, this is obviously doable with Hyatt Gold Passport points. The easiest way to accumulate these points is [again] Chase Ultimate Rewards!

Here is the Hyatt award chart.

Wrap Up

That’s about it! I really hope you enjoyed the trip report.

If there’s one thing I want everyone to take away from this, it’s that you can really do this too!

Remember… #hustle hard. Travel easy!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail/message/tweet me!

American Express Small Business Saturday: Free $25 Credits

What’s the deal???

American Express Small Business Saturday is a promotion that AmEx runs to promote small business. In order to help promote this, American Express is offering a $25 credit when you spend $25 or more at a qualifying small business on Saturday, November 24, 2012.

The kicker is that you can register every single American Express card that you have. I’m pretty excited since between Joann and me, we have 15! That’s $375 worth of credit that AmEx will be sending us… and it’s never a bad thing to give some love to small businesses!

american express small business saturday 2012

Is it a good deal?

Is a free $25 credit for every single AmEx card you have a good deal? No.. it’s a GREAT deal!

How do I get in on this deal?

  1. Enroll each AmEx card you have here.
  2. Use their tool to find small businesses.
  3. On November 24, 2012, spend at least $25 in one purchase.
  4. You should receive an email very shortly after your purchase confirming the credit!

american express small business saturday 2012

Notes

An easy way to rack up the $25 credits is to buy a gift card at small businesses that sell them. That way, you can get your $25 credit and spend the $25 when you really need to.

There are plenty of non-name brand gas stations that are small businesses. I’ll be sure to leave room in my gas tanks to get $25 worth of free gas!

Wrap-Up

Easy enough right? This is one of the best promotion that American Express runs every year and it’s a win win for both consumers and small business owners. So register all your AmEx cards and get ready to spend next Saturday!

Terms & Conditions

1. Limit one (1) $25 statement credit per American Express Card.  To be eligible, Cardmembers must
enroll an eligible American Express Card in this offer at ShopSmall.com.  Prepaid and Corporate
Cards are not eligible.  
2. The number of enrollments is limited.    Enrollment opens at 12:00AM MST (“Mountain Standard
Time”) on November 18, 2012, and will continue until 11:59PM MST on November 24, 2012 unless
the enrollment limit is reached sooner.    
3. To receive the $25 statement credit, the Cardmember must use his or her enrolled Card to spend
$25 or more in a single, in‐store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday,
November 24, 2012.  To receive the credit, the transaction must equal $25 or more (for example, if
your transaction is only for $15, you will not receive a credit).  Multiple transactions of less than $25
will not qualify even if the combined total of those transactions is over $25.    You may purchase
multiple items that together equal $25 or more, but you must purchase them in a single transaction
to receive the statement credit.
4. Qualifying small business locations are those identified on the Shop Small® Map, available
at ShopSmall.com.    In addition, small business locations that accept American Express through
Square also qualify and can be found on the Square Directory
at https://squareup.com/directory/?cmpId=amex.   Small business locations that do not appear on
the Shop Small® Map or that do not accept American Express through Square will not qualify for the
$25 statement credit offer.  Please note that business location information provided on the Shop
Small® Map and Square Directory may contain inaccuracies or errors, including as a result of
information provided by third parties. Transactions with political campaigns or political action
committees are not eligible, regardless of whether they appear on the Shop Small® Map or in the
Square Directory.
5. If American Express does not receive information that identifies a transaction as having occurred in‐
store at a qualifying small business location, the transaction will not qualify for the statement
credit.  For example, the following transactions will not be eligible for the credit:  transactions made
using an electronic wallet or any other transaction made through a third party; and transactions not
made directly with the merchant.
6. Statement credit will appear on your billing statement within 8 weeks after American Express
receives information from the merchant about your qualifying purchase. Note that American
Express may not receive information about your qualifying purchase from the merchant until all of
the items from your qualifying purchase have been provided or shipped by the merchant.     
7. Statement credit may be reversed if qualifying purchase is returned or cancelled.
8. The Card Registration Terms and Conditions will also apply at enrollment.

Southwest: How to Book a Companion Pass Ticket

So you’ve got a Southwest Companion Pass… now what?

Now you can take a companion with you on any Southwest flight you book – with cash and even with points! No restrictions!

As long as there’s a seat for sale on the flight, you can book your companion with you for the price of… FREE! Technically, they’ll pay taxes, a maximum of $10.

Here’s how you book a Southwest Companion Pass

  1. Book a flight for yourself. This should be easy enough to handle 😉
  2. Go into My Travel and click on Add a Companion.
  3. Verify that the flight details are correct and Checkout from this screen.
  4. You now have a new confirmation number for your companion. Note the total is only the taxes we paid for this trip since it was booked with points.
  5. Go back into My Travel and notice your updated trip. It now has a Confirmation and Companion Confirmation.

And you’re done!

Enjoy your upcoming trip that’s effectively a Buy One Get One Free deal!

 

Related links:

Chase Southwest Credit Cards – 50K x 2 & Companion Pass
Update on Chase Southwest Credit Cards – 50,000 x 2 & Companion Pass
Success! We have Southwest Companion Pass!