Can you predict transfer bonuses? Is bill pay a good idea? Do resort fees earn points? These answers and more


Welcome to the Frequent Miler Week in Review around the web, where we highlight some great reads from around the net. This week, we bring you a round-the-world premium cabin trip for 129K points, how to use those Free Friday certs, and answers to the title questions. Read on for the details.

Is There A Pattern To American Express Transfer Bonuses?

We often report transfer bonuses when you can earn some extra mileage with your Amex Membership Rewards or Citi Thank You points. Have you ever wondered if there is a method to the madness? Doctor of Credit points to a few observations already found in looking through historical bonuses. Greg also recently noted an intent to begin gathering this data for the purpose of being able to discover the trends when announcing enhancements to our transfer partner pages. I’m glad to see that the good Doctor has already found a few. Here’s hoping for that September Virgin America transfer bonus to appear…


I’ve really been enjoying Gilbert Ott’s take on things over at God Save the Points. In this post, he highlights connecting the dots with sweet spots to get yourself all the way around the world without using up all of your points. Round-the-world trips aren’t for everyone, but this post is a good reminder that anyone can make it happen without being a mile millionaire.

Another Way Mandatory Resort Fees are Deceptive

No topic in travel perturbs me like mandatory resort fees. What a load of crap — I wonder when there will be a mandatory air conditioning fee or a mandatory front desk staff fee or an electricity surcharge. If you go to a bar that has an outdoor patio with a view, do they charge you a mandatory ambiance fee? No, they include the cost of that amenity in the price of your drink. I still can’t believe hotels continue to get away with this practice of adding a fee for the amenities they advertise at their hotel – especially if they do not intend to allow you to opt out of those amenities and associated fee. Brian Cohen at The Gate highlights the way at least one loyalty program rewards you for paying those fees. Spoiler alert: it’s none too generously. Mike L in the comments had the million dollar solution to this epidemic.

Should You Use Walmart Bill Pay for Manufactured Spending?

Last weekend, Ariana Arghandewal of Point Chaser hosted some webinars on Manufactured Spending and I attended one of them to hear the questions on readers’ minds and because the biggest thing I’ve learned with regard to manufactured spending is that there is always something new to learn (and that things vary from one region to the next). In this post, Ariana addresses something that many people ask about: using Walmart Bill Pay. If you’re interested in MS, you’ll likely become curious about this service sooner or later — and you should check out this post before curiosity gets the better of you.

The Trick To Using Club Carlson “Free Fridays” Rewards

I have not taken advantage of the Club Calrson Free Fridays promotion as Club Carlson just hasn’t fit into my travel plans as of late and I don’t have my eye on any Friday night stays during the promotional window. However, Travis at One Mile at a Time has — and in this post, he highlights the simple trick to using those free certs that you have earned. According to the comments, it seems that the instructions may have been emailed to certificate recipients — but if you skim your email as quickly as I do sometimes, I think this one could have been very easy to miss.


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“If you go to a bar that has an outdoor patio with a view, do they charge you a mandatory ambiance fee?”
I was once at a restaurant that had a lovely view of the Colosseum. When the bill came, I noticed that they had charged me for the ‘view’. I said hell, no! And made the waitress take that off my tab, which she did begrudgingly and tried to make me feel like I was the ‘ugly American’. I didn’t fall for the guilt trip.