A Financial Education Event

Blockbuster Deals on Blockbuster Movie Tickets!


Blockbuster savings

One of the biggest traditions in the Kay family is watching movies. Well, more specifically, watching movies AND quoting movie lines at every opportune moment. For example, if I were to mention that tradition in front of one my boys, they’d likely pipe in with something like, “Really boot? Why don’t you give me 100 right now?” (Bonus points if you know the reference–scroll to the end of the blog for the answer.)

Like many families, our movie watching time increases in the summer. Kids are out of school, air-conditioned indoors suddenly become more appealing and Hollywood starts cranking out its big-time money-makers. But one of the most important reasons is the fact movie theaters start offering some of their best deals and reward programs of the year.

Here are some of the blockbuster deals from some of the biggest companies in the United States:

  1. Cinemark – These guys are probably the best when it comes to the sheer number of discounts and savings they offer. The Values page on their website is full of printable discounts and coupons such as free popcorn and discounted tickets. These coupons can be used in conjunction with their refillable soda and popcorn cups and tubs. They also offer discounts for seniors, groups, the military and students! If you go on the right day (like a Tuesday), you’d like be able to pull off a movie for two with concessions for less than $20, depending on what part of the country you live in. Best of all, Cinemark has a large number of dollar or discounted theaters, where you can get tickets for less than two bucks.
  2. AMC Theatres – If you go to the movies frequently, AMC has one of the best reward programs out there. Their AMC Stubs program not only gives you discounts and rewards, the online portal lets you track every cent you spend on concessions and tickets. Another perk is that the program waives all fees for purchasing tickets online. At $12 per year, the card pays for itself after only a few visits.
  3. Regal Entertainment Group – The best part about the Regal Crown Club? It’s absolutely free. In addition to offering rewards and discounts, members also have the opportunity to enter sweepstakes for vacations and movie-related prizes.
  4. Carmike Cinemas – TBG? TAG? Those are some of the promotion names at Carmike, which offers exclusive discounts on its social network pages. Of course, you’ll only know about them when you like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their Family Pack, for example, offers amazing savings for families.
  5. Daily deals – Sites like Groupon may not be as popular as they were before, but that’s good for deal hunters, as they need to offer better deals to attract new customers. One popular deal is a movie ticket and drink for half price, meaning you only have to pay for popcorn (or simply enjoy a soda and a movie).

Whether you’re a student, senior or simply love movies, you can save big on movies this summer. Save what, you may ask? “Presidential flashcards.” Ok, that’s another movie line from the movie quoted at the top of this blog. Did you guess it? “That Thing You Do!”

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Wedding Budgets – Step 4

Wedding Budgets: Step Four


If you’ve been keeping up with my posts the past couple weeks, you should have a good idea about financially planning for your wedding. I’ve covered approaching family members for contributions, prioritizing your budget and planning for a lifetime (not just a day). But weddings aren’t just about the ceremony, right? There’s the honeymoon! It’s important to plan how you can get the most out of your marriage’s first vacation.

After all, if you’re paying too much, the honeymoon can be over before it even begins. The first step is to do your research, so here are some tips and a few of my favorite sites for some of the biggest financial commitments associated with the honeymoon:


This used to be the biggest honeymoon expense, by far. But rates have been going down recently thanks to an upswing in the economy, more efficient seating in planes and lower costs in fuel. You’ll want to check multiple sites to ensure you find the best deal. Here are some of the best airfare resources:

After you find the best rate, be sure to go to the specific airline’s website to see if they’re offering a better rate. Or, you can always call the airline and talk your way into some extra savings.


You don’t have to fit yourself and your new spouse into a room the size of a closet during your honeymoon. Hotels can be super-affordable if you put in the work (especially when packaged with your airfare). Sign up for e-mail alerts, compare different sites and use reward points if possible. Here are some good starting points:

Like airfare, follow up after you find the best rate. It’s easier to save this way with hotels, as they want to fill up empty rooms, so try it out!


Companies usually like to package entertainment or restaurant add-ons with hotel or airfare reservations. While convenient, the prices are usually inflated and it’s better to book them separately. Use their suggestions as a starting point, but go to the entertainment company or restaurant’s site to see if there are any specials. Or, use sites like these:

Entertainment and restaurants can also be super-cheap or free. Some great things to do during your honeymoon can include games, sports, exercise, a visit to the library or a museum and even camping. And wherever you go, if you shop at a local grocery store, you can find unique items to enjoy at the hotel or on a picnic.

After 25 years of marriage, I can honestly say that planning for more than a day in planning for a lifetime really works!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)


When to Buy AIrline Tickets


In my line of work, as well as visiting my babies all over the country (and other countries), I fly quite often. Just last week, I flew with my husband to Virginia to see my second oldest son graduate from Marine TBS, and then headed directly to Des Moines for a business trip as my husband and son flew back to the West Coast. I am constantly traveling, and constantly buying tickets (both international and domestic), and I am always looking for the best deals. Airlines make money from anticipating our buying habits, and here are a few tips I use to anticipate the airlines:


  • Know the best time in advance to book tickets: Though it is wise to start looking early, it is possible that you could be shopping too early. According to studies cited by The New York Times, international flights have been the cheapest 3-5 months in advance, but there is variation among different regions. Domestic flights are a bit trickier to pin-point, but it’s a good idea to start searching 3-4 months in advance and see if they get any cheaper week after week. There have been studies indicating a 5-6-weeks-in-advance sweet spot for domestic flight booking. Bing Travel has a helpful flight-prediction tool that suggests whether prices are expected to go up, down or remain the same, based on historical data.
  • When to buy: According to farecompare.com, the cheapest day to buy tickets is Tuesday afternoon, 3 pm EST. Certain airlines, like Southwest, AirTran and JetBlue roll out their best deals Monday night, so Tuesday’s are, by rule of thumb, the best days to shop. Wednesday’s are generally the second best day to buy tickets.
  • When to fly: Flexibility is always the key to the best-priced ticket. We know there are days when you have to be out (usually for vacations like spring break or summer vacation), but keep in mind that you will have to pay for it. Rule of thumb is that Sundays are the most expensive days to fly, whereas the cheapest day to fly is Wednesday. Tuesday and Saturday are also good days, so you might want to think about shifting around your departure or return.
  • Sign up for fare alerts: If you don’t have that 5-6 week window and need to book a flight last minute, watch for flight sale alerts through online travel agencies (OTAs), airline websites, or the bible of airfare price alerts, Airfare Watchdog. If your schedule is flexible, subscribe to airfare alerts to jump on airfare sales when they happen. Airfare Watchdog has them, as well as Travelzoo, Cheapoair, Hotwire, and Expedia.  Flash-sale sites like Jetsetter, Vacationist and SniqueAway can also alert you of savings that aren’t published far and wide.
  • Don’t forget the discount airlines: Southwest is one of my favorite no-frills airlines, and I usually spend the extra cost to get the early check-in. “Potentially lower ticket prices” is important here — because low cost airlines don’t always have the cheapest ticket prices nor the best schedules — their legacy airline brethren aggressively match on competitive routes, so do you homework and check both. Also be sure and check airline bag fees to make sure you are actually spending less.
  • Exceptions to every rule: With all that said, holiday travel is usually the exception to every rule. If you know you are traveling or flying out your children for the holidays, buy that as soon as possible. Keep checking price alerts and buy when the price is just below average.
  • But wait, there’s more: After you purchase your ticket, don’t unsubscribe from those email alerts! Continue watching those prices just in case they drop significantly below what you paid. If that happens, use Yapta to help you get a refund from your airline.

Next up, a trip to go see the youngest baby boy get accepted for “A Day” at West Point, followed by a dovetailed business trip to NYC.

What are your favorites ways to save on travel?

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Woo the One You Love!

Woo the one you love—Have fun:

Some of the best dates I’ve had with Bob have been the simplest ones—when we take time out of a hectic schedule, turn off the radio, television and computer, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Bob and I have discovered that we don’t need a trip to Rio, an expensive meal at a posh restaurant, or a big day at the them park to have genuine, guilt-free fun. You can #savemoney and have fun at the same time! Take it from me and my mounds of correspondence from debt riddled readers who are paying big credit card bills for family fun—accumulating debt isn’t relaxing.

Since summer is coming to a close, I thought I would share a few secrets to enjoy the weather and woo the one you love.

  • Beach time: When playing in the waves, take time to snuggle your mate in the water. Walk to a ice cream shop on the strand and talk about your worst sunburns.
  • Balcony Dates: Try to select a room with a view and while the kids are asleep or watching a movie, have coffee on the veranda under the stars.
  • Flowers anyone?: Surprise your mate with a bouquet from a street vendor or local field (but not your neighbors yard).
  • Sunsets: Check out the time of sunset at Weather Channel and then schedule dinner at a local restaurant, asking for a table with a view.
  • Gifts: Before your vacation, wrap a few inexpensive, yet meaningful gifts for your mate. Place one on his/her pillow each night. Or if not on vacation, do it for fun one night.
  • Touch: Meaningful touch can often get lost in the rapid pace of life. Grab your spouse’s hand and give him a kiss under the moonlight.
  • Carriage Ride: Take advantage of the romantic element in family activities. Let your kids rid in the front of a carriage ride while you snuggle in the back.
  • Reflection Time: Schedule a date at the end of each day to share what you felt was your most romantic moment and why—you may be surprised at what you learn about your mate in the process!
  • Go to an Outdoor Concert or Movie Screening: Check the local listings in your town or nearby area to see the summer showings and events. Pack a picnic lunch and bring a couple of lawn chairs if it’s appropriate. Or, bring a blanket and cuddle as you watch the free entertainment.
  • Learn Together: Take a dance, art, woodworking, or pottery class together – sites like Groupon and Living Social often have deals for these types of events
  • Become a tourist: You will not believe the number of New Yorkers who have never been the Statue of Liberty, or how many Chicagoans haven’t seen The Bean. Embrace being a tourist for a day and meander around the famous sites in your town or local area. Make a fake budget and “buy” a few souvenirs or wish list items and compare. Oh, and take pictures!
  • Have a Bookstore Scavenger Hunt: Go to the local bookstore and find books that describe you, like finding a book about your favorite cuisine, a place you want to visit, or a hobby you would like to take up. End at the coffee shop and compare notes.
  • Tour a local brewery or winery: Most breweries and wineries offer free tours which usually include free tastings at the end!
  • Movie Night: Rent a Redbox, search Netflix, or pop in a family favorite and stay in for the night. Make some popcorn on the stove and throw pillows on the floor with blankets for a cuddle-friendly seat.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

De-Stress for Less (part 2)

In order to fully embrace the value of free time, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of recreation and relaxation in our overall quality of life and productivity. Our families, marriages, and friendships all need time to regenerate and celebrate so we can be refreshed and ready to face the next round of daily demands of modern living. Unfortunately, if we are not mindful, those rewarding activities can become costly and negatively impact our budgets—which puts us right back into stress mode!

If entertainment and eating out is scheduled into your spending plan, then there’s no stress of going off budget. But what if you could go out twice as often and still stay on budget? Here are some ways to have twice the fun at the same price:

Sharing and Saving on Hotels

Spring break is here, and summer will be upon us before we know it. If you want to get away from the day-to-day, it can be difficult to work it into your budget. Since the recession, the idea of a “Staycation” has become popular, where a family camps out in the backyard, or does something special to make their time at home feel more like time away. While these are great ideas to save money for people on a budget, I believe there are other ways to get away from home and have an affordable vacation away. Here are some ways to get away for less:

Volunteer Your Way to a Cheaper Vacation: Steve and Debby Trigg first discovered their favorite family vacation spot when they had an ample budget for family fun. They went to a Christian campground in Colorado and fell in love with the staff, landscape, and activities. They also caught the vision of how combining ministry with vacation can help teach their kids the concept of servant missions.

When Steve had his hours cut back at work, they found their vacation budget reduced during those belt-tightening years. They opted to go back to the campground as staff for a week. While their workload was increased, they still had plenty of family time with a ministry emphasis. Steve said, “We decided to volunteer to teach our children the benefits of servant missions and NOT for the benefit of a low-cost vacation—that is a serendipitous blessing.”

Instead of paying $1000 for the week (which is still a bargain for those who are paid guests) they had a working vacation for free. Not all campgrounds offer this kind of a trade-off, but if your family enjoys this kind of environment, it would be worth your time to contact a local retreat center or campground. Go to Acacamps.org for the American Camping Association or try www.google.com and enter your state and “Christian Campground” to find a location near you.

Not all vacation packages are faith-based; some are education-based as well. At Family Hostel, HostelWorld.com, there are trips offered that match families with learning vacations around the world. There are even Elder Hostels, which offer those 55 and older up to 10,000 options starting at as little as $556 for a six day photography workshop in Massachusetts.

WildernessVolunteers.org is a nonprofit organization created in 1997, which offers people of any age a chance to help and maintain national parks, forests, and wilderness areas across the United States. Everything from trail maintenance to vegetation projects may be on the agenda. Participants provide their own camping gear and share campsite chores. Most Wilderness Volunteer trips last about a week and cost around $219.

Great Deals on Hotels: If you have a certain destination in mind, sometimes all you need is a hotel. Check out these sites that can help your vacation be just that much sweeter:

TravelZoo: If you are thinking of visiting a certain place, look under the Hotels tab on TravelZoo.com and pick your destination. It will show you the current deals. It will also give you the option to search prices on several sites. Just make sure you have your check in and out dates.

priceline.com: I love this site. I have used it to get amazing deals at unimaginable prices. The “Name Your Price” tool is a wonder. Start off low and work your way up! This also has International options.

hotels.com: Another great site for finding hotel deals and steals. A unique feature for hotels.com is their rewards program that can help you build up stays and earn a free night. It is never too late to save big with their “Last Minute Deals” tab for all the quick getaway trips.

kayak.com: This is another great site for hotels, as well as flights. It will search hundreds of travel sites to find you the best deals on the web. Through Kayak, you are able to save at least 25%, sometimes even more. You can even scan the popular cities on the home page in order to see what hotels are going for in the area.

No matter what your vacation budget is, it’s important to take time off from the real world to create and develop a meaningful time to foster friendship, marriage and family. In years to come, you may not recall the price of the condominium or quality of the room service, but you will remember those forever memories with the people you love—because they are priceless.

The Homestretch – Hearts Apart Stay Connected

I became a Veteran at sending a husband away for stretches of time while keeping the home fires burning. It wasn’t fun when the five youngest kids all had the stomach bug at the same time and Bob was stuck in Hawaii with a broken jet for two weeks. But we made it work.

These days, my military sons and I are apart as they serve at home an abroad. My Marine is overseas and some days, I just miss him something fierce (as they say in Texas). Here are some ways to stay connected whether you are a spouse, a sibling or a parent.

Special Connections – My Army son, Joshua and I will take
a screen shot of our phones when all the numbers are the same, then we send it to each other. We don’t have to add words because that is a unique connection that means “I’m thinking of you and I love you.” I have another friend who bought a watch for her son and her husband that has an audible timer. She set the watches for the same time in her part of the United States and her husband’s location overseas. Every day when the alarm went off, the father/son knew that the other was thinking of them and they felt connected every time.

Your Local Base, Post or Unit – Be sure you stay in touch with a military support group that is sponsored by your local unit. Family support groups will be in the know about the status of your military member’s communication capabilities. Often, you can sign up for free services that are offered to the bases such as pillow cases with a photo of your military member for each of the kids or a Stand Up Daddy project. They will also let you know when the unit allows email or other contact and where to mail packages. We are members of a Marine parents group that keeps us informed and reminds us of OPSEC (Operation Security.)

Skype – Schedule regular and free communication with www.oovoo.com or www.skype.com. Be sure your military member is allowed this kind of access and that it’s not against any regulations. We have a date with our Marine at the same time every week and we prioritize it. Keep the dialog positive while they are deployed and share the negative stuff with a trusted friend or chaplain. Deployed members need us to keep it light, but when they come home, they’ll get diaper duty. 

Apps and More – Viber is a free app that allows for free texting and calls. Text 4 free is also a free app that allows you to text when your phone is connected via Wi-Fi (in case they don’t have cell phone access). Facetime is a great app for users of iPhones, iPads, Macs, or iPods. Words With Friends is also free and lets you play games with free texting through the game.

It’s also important when they get back home to try and spend time together as well. But you don’t want to go off budget either. It’s important to not give into the temptation for “splurge spending” just because they are back home again.

Staying Connected When You’re Together:

  • RetailMeNot – This isn’t just a great app to look up discount codes inside every store you visit in person or online. It’s also a resource for coupons. I had a Mimi’s “Buy one entrée, get one free” in my email inbox but forgot to bring it to the restaurant. Happily, I found it on the RetailMeNot app and used it from my phone!
  • Google Search and Social Media – Find your favorite restaurant’s web site and check out their values or like them on their Facebook or Twitter to get special deals. Many sites will offer printable coupons as well as weekly specials. Or download Coupon Sherpa or Yowza apps to find deals.
  • Two for One/One for Two! – If your fave place doesn’t offer a “buy one/get one free” special, then why not share a meal? This savvy approach is especially smart at a restaurant that’s notorious for serving larger portions. You may have to pay a small surcharge for an extra plate, but your wallet (and waistlines) will thank you.
  • Entertainment Books – These coupon books cost around $35 (and sometimes run on sale for $10). Go to entertainment.com to find offers near you. Not only do they feature restaurant coupons, but they also offer great values on a variety of local and national services. But be forewarned: they’re not cost effective if you leave them at home!
  • Restaurant.com – At this site, you can get $25 restaurant gift certificates for only $10 and be sure to sign up for their sale notifications when you can get that $25 gift certificate for only $2!

Valentines Day



Even after 29 years of marriage, Valentines Day is still consider a “high holy day” in the Kay house! If Bob ever lived in a world where he thought he could skip over the day in an effort to “save money” he would end up spending Valentines with Buddy, our mini schnauzer in his dog house! But you don’t have to spend a lot for your gift to mean a lot, here are some ideas that may help.

Is it OK to Scrimp on Valentine’s Day?

For Valentine’s Day, you might feel the need to pull out all the stops, but it’s not necessary. Sure, some people want to celebrate the holiday in a lavish way, but others prefer to go the low-key route. Whether you fit into these descriptions or fall somewhere in the middle, there are a romantic date ideas for Valentine’s Day or the weekend before that suit every budget.

The Least Expensive Way to Spend Feb 14th

After a home-cooked meal, snuggle up with your honey and enjoy a movie night on the cheap. Look for specials at Redbox and get a romantic dramedy plus an action movie to keep both of you happy. Or get both action and romance by renting a flick like “Knight and Day” with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise. If you are an amazon prime member then you have access through your computer or TV to free movies that are not available for free to non-members. You may not even be aware of the freebies offered, so be sure to check them out.

Flower Power

When it comes to flowers, you usually get what you pay for and one way to cut costs is to hand deliver, this can save anywhere from $8 to $20. You could look at grouponLocal Living, Living Social or SeizeTheDeal for offers such as $20 for $40 worth of flowers with FTD.

One kind of fun option reminds me of one of my favorite romantic comedies, “Kate and Leopold” and that is to give flowers with specific meanings. Go to TheFlowerExpert.com to find out the meaning of different flowers. For example, red roses mean romantic love while a bouquet of mixed roses means “I don’t know my feelings about you yet, but I’m sending you roses anyway.” Carnations are a less expensive option and a red carnation conveys love pride, beauty and admiration. Daisys are also inexpensive and convey “loyal love.” A sunflower symbolizes pure thoughts. So you can select a cheaper flower if, and only if, you write a note explaining the meaning of the flower and why you chose it for your true love.

Dinner and a Show

Going out for dinner seems to be a Valentine’s Day mainstay and dinner for two can range anywhere from $20 to $200 or more. How to you have a nice meal without sending a signal to your mate that you want to spend as little as possible? After all, aren’t they worth a splurge on Valentine’s Day?

There are quite a few ways to save a lot in this area and still have a nice time together. Lunch or brunch can be half the price of dinner and you could go on the Sunday before the big day. In fact, some restaurants are offering prix fix menus for the weekend or entire Valentine week. Go to your favorite restaurant’s twitter or facebook page and see what specials they are offering to get the best value. Some of these values are only offered to social media friends.

You can also go to restaurant.com where gift certificates have gone on sale this week. You can get a $25 gift certificate for your favorite restaurant for as little as $6 by entering the coupon code found at RetailMeNot. Check community billboards at your local chamber of commerce website. For example, in our area, a local Greek center is offering a romantic, candlelight dinner for two with champagne, flowers, dinner and dancing for $50 a person. While this may not seem like a bargain at first, when you add up the cost of the individual items like the food, flowers, bottle of bubbly and a cover charge you would have to pay to dance, it’s an all inclusive deal that is sure to please. Plus, you can learn how to dance the Kalamatianos, a traditional Greek dance. Can you say, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding!”?

Great Dates that Double As A Great Gift

Right now, there are some great deals to be had at Travelzoo such as a quick, 2 night getaway on a $299 cruise, with an oceanview room. Bob and I took a cruise this way and really loved it. This week, there are also really nice hotels from Orlando to Seattle that range from $49 to $99 a night. Or, if you want to get up, up and away, there’s a $125 two hour helicopter ride featured.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

What I Luv About Southwest Airlines – Favorite Hacks Part 1


If you’ve never flown Southwest Airlines before, then you may not be aware that they board by groups and by number. When you get on the airplane, it’s open seating—first come, first served. I was boarding with an A-18 number which lined up adjacent to the higher numbers. An outgoing Millennial lady came up to another a Boomer woman standing on my left and asked, “what number are you?” Because she wanted to line up in order.

The well dressed and friendly Boomer answered, “I’m 50.”

I leaned over and whispered, “You don’t look a day over 35.”

At first she was surprised, but then smiled, “Actually, I’m 55 years old.” She whispered, “And I like 55.”

Cool. Gotta Luv a woman comfortable in her own skin!

This is not a sponsored post for this airline. I’m writing about this simply because it’s a big part of my life and a lot of my followers use this discount airline. I fly Southwest in order to save our Heroes at Home organization money on travel when we provide free financial education for our military members.

Here are my favorite hacks to fly high with less stress and more money in your pocket:

Shop the Sales

If you know you are traveling in a few months, then don’t buy right away. Keep an eye on the sales in order to get the “Wanna Get Away” fares, which are the cheapest. Subscribe to Click N Save in order to get an alert when fares go on sale. Keep in mind that you can look for fares in either dollars or points and when fares go on sale in dollars, they also go on sale in points.

Shortcut to Savings

If you have any latitude in when you fly, then you may want to check out the Low Fare Calendar

This resource gives the lowest fare on the calendar date for the month. It will only list the lowest fare for the day, so you’ll have to pick and choose the schedule you want and it may not be the lowest of the day. Sometimes, I just use the calendar to avoid buyer’s remorse in realizing there wasn’t a cheaper fare on a different day.

Rapid Rewards

Sign up for the frequent flyer card at the Rapid Rewards center on Southwest.com. This isn’t the credit card, it’s a number you get when you enroll that you will also enter when you book travel. These points don’t expire as long as you show some kind of points generating activity once every 24 months with either flights or partners. See below for partner opportunities as well as part two in next week’s blog.

Southwest Credit Card

Be sure you check out the Chase Southwest Chase credit card if you really want to generate points to earn more flights. Right now, brand new cardholders can earn 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. I recommend that you pay off your card each month to avoid paying interest. The annual fee is $69 and if you have a friend who already has this card, then let them sign you up on a referral. That way, you can earn the same benefit of 40,000 points, but your friend can earn 10,000 points as well. These benefits change regularly, so be sure you know the current terms before you sign up. You earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases, then you earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. If you have a business, then you can rack up even more points by using it early and often. Just make sure you pay attention to utilization and if you charge more than 30% of the available credit, then pay off the balance before the billing cycle ends. This will help you keep a good credit score.

Partner Points

If you book a rental car on the Southwest.com portal, then you can earn 2 points per $1 or more, depending on the provider. You can also book hotels for points and can earn as much as 10,000 per night (I’ve never found a provider that actually gives me that many for one night because they are for hotels in other cities that I’m not visiting.) They disclose how many Rapid Rewards points they will give you when you are booking.

Rapid Rewards Dining

celebrating our sweet points!

If you sign up for rapid rewards dining, then you can earn points in partner restaurants by registering every card you may use in a restaurant (not just your Chase SWA card). I’ve registered all of my own cards and my husband’s debit and credit cards, too. I keep it simple by just going to the restaurants we want to eat at and if I end up getting a bonus, it’s icing on the cake. If you want to be more proactive, you can look at the list of partner restaurants and visit one of those for more points. Be sure you read the rules associated with the dining points, so you know what to expect.

These hacks are too good for just one post, so join us next week to see how you can earn even more points by shopping in order to earn tier benefits and whether you should invest in Early Bird or not.

What’s your favorite @SouthwestAir city to visit?

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