Changes coming to the Starbucks Rewards program?

Posted by: Jason

I am a newly minted Gold member of the Starbucks Rewards program as I chronicled in this post. I earned Gold status by earning 30 stars. A star is earned for each transaction regardless of the dollar amount which makes it a pretty easy way to amass stars.

This morning I received an email from Starbucks asking if I would like to participate in a survey regarding the Starbucks Rewards program. Right away they inferred that they’re testing ideas on changing the Starbucks Rewards program.

Changes coming to the Starbucks Rewards program?

Changes coming to the Starbucks Rewards program?

It’s apparent from the wording on some of the questions that they’re testing the idea of changing the way you earn stars from how much you spend rather than the number of purchases. This question was asked numerous times in different ways.

Changing of the Stars?

Changing of the Stars?

They then gave different scenarios involving which earning style would be most beneficial.

Pick your poison

Pick your poison

It was also interesting that there were quite a few questions asking if there should be no membership levels so that it would be equitable to all. That seems to defeat the purpose of a loyalty program, to have higher status and therefore bragging rights?


In my survey I chose all of the options that included stars based on purchases rather than dollar amount but it seems almost inevitable that Starbucks will eventually change their Reward program to be less lucrative.

The silver lining in taking the survey was that I was given a $5 egift card for finishing it so if you received the survey in your emails, make sure and take it.

Free $5 - score!

Free $5 – score!

7,500 American Airlines miles for two Radisson stays

Posted by: Jason

Club Carlson is running a promotion where you can earn 7,500 American Airlines miles for two Radisson hotel stays. You must register by October 15th and complete two Eligible Stays by December 15, 2004.


From the terms and conditions: “An “Eligible Stay” for purposes of this Offer is a stay of one or more consecutive nights at a Participating Property, at a rate eligible for Gold Points®.”

thanks to reader Sice for the tip.

I’ve earned Starbucks Gold level and I’m not sure why

Posted by: Jason

I’m not a coffee drinker and therefore have never really paid any attention to Starbucks. At airports there is always a pretty lengthy line at Starbucks in the morning so I can appreciate people that do enjoy coffee and especially Starbucks coffee.

I knew that Starbucks had a loyalty program but had no real reason to ever join it until Gary posted some free Starbucks codes that he had seen on Dans Deals. I figured that it can never hurt to sign up for a lot of loyalty programs especially when these programs will reward you with something free in your birthday month.

Gary then posted a deal to get ten more free stars (five of which worked for me) and so I was now up to 20 stars without actually purchasing anything.

Incredibly, there were opportunities to pick up two more free stars and now being at 22 stars, Gold level was within reach though logically it makes no sense but at this point I was obsessed with hitting Gold level.

At Gold level, you receive:

* Free Drink or Food Reward Ever 12 Stars
* Personalized Gold Card
* Exclusive Offers Just for You
* A free drink or treat reward and 15% off for your birthday
* Free Refills on Brewed or Iced Coffee and Tea

There’s something about hitting a new loyalty level regardless of the program. Similar to the time when I hit Staples Premier level by buying Free After Rebate items. I received a shiny new card in the mail.

Back to Starbucks – Groupon had a $10 gift card for $5 deal which I purchased and now had $10 to try and earn some stars so I purchased a hot chocolate one day and then some baked goods another day and was slowly inching up towards Gold status.

I then stumbled upon a perpetual Star creating machine that someone shared with me that is simple and brilliant. I won’t share it in this post so as not to kill it, but I will private message you via Twitter if you want to know – @questformiles

Therefore I earned the last 6 stars and just earned Gold status!

Starbucks Gold Status

Starbucks Gold Status

I’m very proud of adding Starbucks Gold status to my arsenal of various loyalty programs though as I’ve mentioned not sure why I even bothered!

A Stormtrooper fan’s passport photo

Posted by: Jason

The Star Wars movies are the fifth highest grossing movie series of all time. The franchise has created two different trilogies with filming of the seventh movie happening now.

Scores of fans both young and old find different ways to show their love for the movie. Some fans have set up the 501st Legion which consist of people who wear armor of Imperial Stormtroopers, bounty hunters, Clone Troopers, Sith Lords amongst others. There are over 6,500 people that belong to this Legion with new people being added daily.

Stormtroopers teaming up with Jared from Subway. Photo courtest of

Stormtroopers teaming up with Jared from Subway. Photo courtesy of

With the ALS ice bucket challenge going on, a Legion member would of course do it in full Stromtrooper gear. You can see the video below and others at his Youtube channel.

So it should come as no surprise then when it’s time to get your passport photo done, you would do it in Stormtrooper gear in perhaps the most awesome passport photo ever.

Photo used by permission of passport holder

Photo used by permission of passport holder

This Stormtrooper fan’s life has been influenced so much by Star Wars that he now works in the film industry. May the force be with you in your travels – always!

San Antonio SeaWorld all you can eat plus admission $45

Posted by: Jason

SeaWorld San Antonio is offering a single admission ticket plus all you can eat food at the park for $45.00. To redeem this deal, go the United San Antonio Credit Union page, and click on “order online” for SeaWorld tickets.


You will then have the option to buy Adult park tickets plus all you can eat for $45, and children tickets plus all you can eat for $35. The All Day Dining voucher will be redeemed for a wristband that will allow you to get one entree, one side item or dessert, and one soda each time through the line.

The tickets must be redeemed by January 3, 2015.

Thanks to reader John for the tip.

The ISIS mobile wallet has a branding problem

Posted by: Jason

The ISIS mobile wallet created in conjunction with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile in 2010 has a serious branding problem. It coincidentally has the same name as the radical Islamic militant group that is threatening to blow up a US city and recently filmed the beheading of a US journalist (link does not show the video).

The ISIS mobile wallet has been trying to gain traction in the crowded mobile payment sector by offering promotions such as free $50 for signing up for Serve via the ISIS mobile app or receiving a free small Jamba Juice smoothie every time you pay with ISIS to name a few.

Despite all of their work to establish the ISIS mobile wallet brand, a simple google search currently shows the ISIS name results associated with the radical group rather than the mobile wallet.

ISIS Google Search results

ISIS Google Search results

Therefore ISIS mobile wallet really has no choice but to disassociate and rebrand itself which they indeed announced last month. As of today, however, they have still not announced a new name for the platform.

The Le Meridien resolution

Posted by: Jason

Alas, there was no over the water bungalow awaiting me at check in, even as a Delta Platinum member. But I am known as Mr Emergency Air France according to the TV and the room is lovely.


As a consolation prize, this was our comped lunch at the restaurant.


Will Delta Platinum status equate to an over the water bungalow?

Posted by: Jason

I posted how my flight back from Tahiti has been delayed due to a fuel issue. After waiting for two hours, they announced that our flight had been cancelled and instructed us to go see a representative in order to get
overnight accommodations.

There were a lot of people in front of me and they were all being told that they would be put up at the Radisson.

My initial thought was that we were all going to be put up in a local hotel so the Radisson seemed like a fine choice.

as I handed the representative my boarding pass, she mentioned “platinum” to her co worker along with some words in French and pulled out a separate sheet.

“Mr. Milesquest, you will be staying at Le Meridien”

I nodded my head in agreement, hiding my joy and headed to the luggage carousel to pick up my bags.

I’m sitting on the bus right now waiting for all passengers to get on. Each person getting on this bus has huge grins on their faces.

So the question is – when we arrive to Le Meridien, will Platinum status get me an over the water bungalow???

Trapped in Tahiti?

Posted by: Jason

I was supposed to be flying back from Tahiti on Air France this morning. Everyone had boarded the plane and we were awaiting our takeoff when the pilot announced over the intercom that we needed to get off the plane due to a fuel problem. They asked us to take all of our belongings with us.

Underneath the plane is a large pool of fuel. There are also fire trucks on the runway.

The interesting thing is – what happens now? Is it something that can be easily fixed? Do they risk flying us over the Pacific with a possible fuel issue? It’s not like they have a spare plane anywhere nearby either.

Perhaps I’ll be trapped in Tahiti for a couple of additional days which possibly could be the most awesome delay ever.

25,000 Skymiles retention offer

Posted by: Jason

I applied for the Delta Skymiles Business Card last year due to the 25,000 Skymiles with 5,000 counting as MQMs after the first purchase as well as an additional 30,000 Skymiles with 15,000 counting as MQMs after $5,000 in purchases in 3 months. The annual fee was not waived.

The year mark is up and I received a statement with the now $195 annual fee charge. I called American Express to cancel the card and was offered 25,000 Skymiles to keep the card. I had intended to just cancel the card and was caught off guard with such a large offer.

I gladly took it as I’m stockpiling miles to take my family to Australia and figure I can get $195 worth of value this year by taking advantage of the Complimentary Companion Ticket along with the numerous American Express special offers (for example $15 off $75 at Home Depot).

I’m providing this information as a data point as you juggle the value of continually paying an annual fee and picking up some extra Skymiles as a retention offer.

Review of Moscow Marriott Tverskaya

Posted by: Jason

The Moscow Marriott Tverskaya is in the mid range of expensive hotels in Moscow averaging about $300 a night. The location of this hotel is the biggest plus with it being on the main Tverskaya boulevard close to the Belarusskaya subway station for easy transport to Red Square and other sites. Also, the Aeroexpress airport train runs from Sheremetyevo airport and is a 40 minute journey costing only 400 rubles (around $11) and most importantly bookable online in advance to avoid the awkwardness of trying to by a ticket at the window by gesticulating. It’s quite the improvement from the last time I visited Moscow where your only option was a $50 cab ride.

Aeroexpress, a time and cost saver

Aeroexpress, a time and cost saver

I booked a standard room and was very pleased with the comfortable, roomy accommodations. The bed was soft and comfortable and as I mentioned earlier, a very quiet stay.










The workout room is open early in the morning and I was the only one there the entire time. I do always find it difficult to exercise while traveling as I’m battling jet lag and an inert desire to be lazy. I did try to exercise on this trip.










There is a good mix of treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, and weight lifting machines. There were plenty of TVs there as well though the feed was solely Russian television shows.

Breakfast was on the expensive side at $30 per person but had a nice variety of things to choose from.
It failed my orange juice test where they served some off brand concentrate mixture rather than fresh squeezed. For a buffet at this cost, it really is a must.


There were lots of choices for ingredients for freshly made omelets.





This was the sitting area outside the rooms. There was complete quiet the entire time I stayed which was a bonus.



Other benefits of this location are the numerous amount of eateries within walking distance.

We're lovin' it

We’re lovin’ it

I would recommend Goodman’s steakhouse which is a very delicious steakhouse with a lot of variety within a 5 minute walk of the hotel down Tverskaya street.

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