Middle Age Miles

Middle Age Miles News & Notes 9/11/19 – Staples out of in-store offers; Pei reduced earnings; LifeMiles; good MGM & Caesars sales; and a Caesars reward

Tons to cover in today’s Middle Age Miles “News & Notes”:

1. Staples No Longer on In-Store Portals/Apps

As we first reported yesterday evening in our “MS DP Series – Follow-Up Part 1” article, Staples is no longer on a number of in-store portals and apps:

  • Staples disappeared from Dosh several weeks ago
  • Yesterday, we discovered that Staples was not showing up in Rakuten (f/k/a Ebates) in-store offers any longer
  • Staples is also not showing up as an in-store offer in the Alaska Mileage Plan shopping portal or the United MileagePlus portal (until very recently, you could earn 1.5x miles per dollar on Staples purchases using these in-store offers)

Obviously this is a major blow to those who purchase gift cards (GCs), or anything else for that matter, at Staples.

The good news is that all of our Staples in-store GC purchases for the past few weeks are correctly showing up in our Rakuten account. This includes a Staples purchase of GCs as recently as 9/5/19. We’ll have to wait a couple more months, though, to see if they actually pay out.

2. Pei Max Earnings Reduced to $1/Week at 7-11, CVS and Walgreens

In yet another blow to those using portals and apps for in-store purchases in connection with GC purchases, Pei has reduced its “Weekly Limit” to $1 for 7-Eleven, CVS and Walgreens. Note that Pei’s weekly limit is computed on a rolling basis; that is, if you make a purchase at 2:00 pm today (Wed 9/11), your weekly limit will reset after 2:00 pm next Wednesday (9/18).

Previously, the weekly limit at each of these merchants was $5.

With the new $1 weekly limit, obviously the usefulness of Pei is greatly reduced. Beyond that, Pei requires a minimum of $15 in order to cash out, which may take forever given the new limits.

Hat Tip to Doctor of Credit for breaking this bad news. We especially appreciate Doc’s timely update because we were potentially heading to CVS to make a GC purchase yesterday afternoon or today.

3. LifeMiles Targeted Purchase Bonuses as High as 145%

Yesterday in News & Notes, we reported that we had received an apparently-targeted promotional offer from LifeMiles to purchase miles with a bonus of up to 130%. Well, apparently we’re chumps to LifeMiles, because Lucky at One Mile at a Time received a purchase bonus of up to 145%. (In fairness, Lucky probably uses the LifeMiles program a lot more than we do!) With the 145% bonus in Lucky’s offer, LifeMiles would cost 1.35 cents per mile.

In any event, check your own targeted offer to see if you’re targeted for a higher bonus. And remember that LifeMiles has some specific Star Alliance routes & classes on sale for travel from now through 10/18/19, including these flights to & from North America (all prices one-way):

  • Hong Kong HKG to Los Angeles LAX – 32,500 economy (7% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Hong Kong HKG to San Francisco SFO – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Seoul ICN to Los Angeles LAX – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • New York JFK to Beijing PEK – 81,000 first class (10% discount)
  • Chicago ORD to Taipei TPE – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Beijing PEK to New York JFK – 81,000 first class (10% discount)
  • Beijing PEK to Washington Dulles IAD – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Beijing PEK to Vancouver YVR – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Shanghai PVG to Los Angeles LAX – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Shanghai PVG to Toronto YYZ – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Seattle SEA to Taipei TPE – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • San Francisco SFO to Hong Kong HKG – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • San Francisco SFO to Taipei TPE – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to Los Angeles LAX – 33,000 economy (1% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to Chicago ORD – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to Seattle SEA – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to San Francisco SFO – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to Houston IAH – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Taipei TPE to Vancouver YVR – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Houston IAH to Taipei TPE – 64,000 business (15% discount)
  • Washington Dulles IAD to Beijing PEK – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Vancouver YVR to Beijing PEK – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Vancouver YVR to Taipei TPE – 31,500 economy (10% discount) – 67,500 business (10% discount)
  • Toronto YYZ to Shanghai PVG – 67,500 business (10% discount)

As always, we remind you that there are issues with Avianca’s and LifeMiles’ current financial stability, and some people have reported significant issues dealing with the LifeMiles program.

4. MGM/MLife Vegas Sale for Stays 9/29 to 10/31/19 with F&B Credit

MGM/MLife has a new sale for Vegas properties that’s very interesting – 20% off room rates plus up to $100 food & beverage credit for stays from September 29 through October 31, 2019. You must book no later than 9/30/19, and a two-night minimum stay is required. Note that this is the “good” MGM food & beverage credit that works at more than 300 MGM F&B outlets across its Vegas portfolio.

The offer code for this deal is ZSPAH19. You can access the landing page for this sale and then check rates and benefits for the different MGM/MLife properties here:

This is very similar to the deal that we used back in June to score some food & beverage credits, an actual hotel night we needed, and some Hyatt elite night credits. We wrote about that experience here:

These rates will also stack with Hyatt’s new “Bonus Journeys” promotion to earn double World of Hyatt points.

5. Caesars “Hot Rates” 20% Off Hotel Sale + 5x Tier Credits

Speaking of Vegas hotel sales, the Caesars properties also have a “Hot Rates” sale in progress from now through September 30. The sale is valid for stays all the way through July 31, 2020.

In addition, you’ll earn 5x Caesars Rewards tier credits for every $1 spend on hotel room rates and resort fees when you book directly with Caesars.

To book this deal, go to the Caesars Booking Calendar and then Update your search to enter the Hot Rates promo code, which is HOT19. When we logged in to our Caesars Rewards account (with Diamond status), we were shown even lower rates than before we logged in.

And remember, Caesars waives resort fees for Diamond members, which can make staying at their hotels and even sweeter deal. For instructions on how you can match many hotel statuses (including Marriott Gold and Hilton Gold) to Caesars Diamond status, see our popular article:

6. Caesars Rewards – One Free Night for Every 5,000 Tier Credits Earned

Sticking with Caesars for the moment, we received a nice surprise in our email yesterday, after our Labor Day weekend trip to Vegas. We didn’t stay at Caesars in Vegas, but we did have some meals and entertainment there. We provided our Caesars Rewards card when we paid, and in the process earned some Caesars Rewards tier credits. This put us over 5,000 tier credits for 2019.

Our email from Caesars Rewards says that for every 5,000 tier credits we earn in 2019, we receive one free hotel night in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. The email contains a code and asks us to call 1-800-CAESARS to book our stay and redeem our benefit.

We weren’t aware of this Caesars Rewards benefit. We suppose there’s some chance it’s targeted, but the email and the code look pretty generic and non-specific.

Digging into this benefit a little more, we found the offer in our Caesars Rewards online account:

There, we see a specific Offer Code (which I removed from the screenshot), an expiration date of 1/31/2020, a list of properties where the benefit may apply, and a link to View Offer Calendar. Unfortunately, when I checked the calendar for some dates at Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood, I couldn’t find dates that actually worked to apply the benefit. At this point, we’re not sure whether it’s a glitch in the online calendar (many dates showed “Offer” on them but didn’t work when we clicked through), or whether the benefit is unusable as a practical matter. We’ll report more if we learn anything. In the meantime, please let us know in the Comments if you have experience with this benefit!

7. Middle Age Miles Is Heading to Notre Dame for Football Weekend!

Middle Age Miles at Notre Dame Stadium

We’re looking forward to a return to Notre Dame this weekend for what we’re calling the “Philly Classic” – the Fighting Irish of her beloved alma mater versus the New Mexico Lobos of her original home-state. We’ve persuaded our good friends Ed & Marilyn from Canada’s Edventure blog to join us for the weekend, and we’re all set to meet up with our tailgating buddy Tom from West Virginia. Philly and I are also registered for a rematch with the roads of South Bend in the “Kelly Cares” Game Day Chase 5k run on Saturday morning. It should be a great weekend – but don’t be surprised when Middle Age Miles posts are a little slow for the next couple of days. Go Irish!

There’s even more to report, but it’ll have to wait until later! We hope you’re continuing to enjoy “News & Notes” on Middle Age Miles!

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