Unpacking “illegal” Kinder Surprise Airbus Eggs. 

Kinder Eggs are slightly illegal to bring into the USA which would be OK I guess 

Kinder Surprise eggs, an Italian brand of egg-shaped chocolate candies containing a toy “surprise” inside have been banned in the USA since long before they were first manufactured in the early ’70s.

That’s because the US has had a ban on candies with toys inside since 1938.

Inside the egg is a large plastic pod that contains to airplane parts. 

Inside you find the parts and you can easily assemble your own Airbus. This one is an A330 in Lufthansa livery.

As you can see you end up with a cool airplane model. The eggs are tough to find. After failing to find them at LHR in past months my wife managed to find an Airbus collection at CDG and was sweet enough to buy them for me during our layover on the way to Israel this week.

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Is Microsoft Rewards the worst earn per $1?

So I gather Microsoft reward points by clicking on news links and doing a little searching on Bing. I prefer Google but I use Bing a little to gather some rewards. This started out a couple years ago as a good way to get a few airline miles or hotel points, I forget. I think at that time you could get like 100 miles for 5,000 points and you could earn those points in a month or so of searching at my pace.

Today I was clicking to see how far away I “still” am from getting a $5 Amazon card. It seems this is the only decent reward left. So I notice this offer to earn 1 points for each $1 spend at the Microsoft store. 1 point per $1, really.  Keep in mind it takes 5,250 to earn a $5 Amazon card. So if I spend $5,250 at that site I’ll “earn” a $5 card. I guess it’s not bad but it just seems like a lot compared to just shopping there through a portal like American Airlines, etc.

AA will give me 3 miles per $ so that would be  15,750 miles or enough for a short haul airline ticket for the same spending. Heck just trying MS Edge will earn me 3,000 points.

Sorry I’m ranting here but it just seems that Microsoft and Bing have ruined this little search engine reward program. I’d also be better off using a search toolbar I guess. Bing is good but it’s not that good.

fireshot-capture-3-trump-clinton-bing_-http___www-bing-com_search

Hacking Citibank EMV chip card in France videos

So I’m online today confirming my new Citi Costco card and decided that I have no life and clicked on the EMV chip card videos.  The first one on train travel in France cracked me up. I was expecting (or maybe not expecting) them to show me some work around for the train kiosks since Citi fails to let you use Chip & Pin. Check it out. Pay close attention to how they give you the Hack to be able to buy train tickets, it’s awesome.

Citi Credit Card with EMV Chip Technology Citi.com

There are also 3 other videos that will teach you some other good travel hacks using your Citi card in France.

How to shop in France and confuse the shop keeper

Have a man show you how it’s done

How to impress two women with your “French” skills

Oh and my review of the new Costco Citi card that kicks in on 6-20-16. It’s awesome except it charges foreign service fees of 3% 😦

Of course the smart folks in the videos won’t fall for the Dynamic Currency Conversion I’m sure….

 

 

 

Free (sorta) movies from VUDU and Walmart

If you have bought any dvds or blurays that have a ultraviolet or related code you may be interested in VUDU or you may already have a VUDU account. I know when I signed up they had a deal where they would give you some free movies. Check out the internet to see if those deals still are around. Not the point of my post today.

VUDU and Walmart have teamed up to sell the VUDU Spark

VUDU Spark

Not a big deal in itself since it seems everyone from Amazon (Fire Stick) to Google (Chromecast) are selling hdmi devices to turn your tv into a smart tv dongles or whatever. But right now they are offering a $5 a month VUDU credit for up to 5 months = $25 in movie credit if you buy a Spark. So what you ask. Well the Spark is $24.96 at Walmart so you come out 4 cents ahead if you can avoid taxes and shipping. I assume you can buy it in the store but online they will get you for shipping unless you can add some other random products to bring it up to $35 for free shipping.

VUDU Spark2

Still a good deal. For more details go to walmart.com or try VUDU

And no I don’t get any money for this. Just FYI. Heck go check your dvds you’ve bought over the last couple years you may have a ton of free codes laying around. If they tell you they are out of date just email the movie studio for a new one. You may also need to link your ultraviolet or other type account to VUDU to get them all in one place. Oh and make sure to go through a shopping portal to earn some cash back, airline miles, etc. Cash back monitor is the best search site for this at http://www.cashbackmonitor.com/

My quickie airline miles earnings so far today

I typically read Boardingarea blogs everyday for tips on earning airline miles and to learn more about being a smart traveler. Well OK to feed my addiction.

So I’m busy today and had a couple minutes so I clicked over to Boardingarea and saw one of my favorite bloggers Mommypoints who had a post about an American AA shopping portal bonus where you can earn up to 2,250 bonus miles through shopping.

Special Promotion   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

Not typically that great but if you have stuff you need to buy anyway it can be good. So what did I buy today in less than 5 minutes:

How about dog food. I have several dogs that eat Blue Buffalo Senior food (which is very good and better than most of the RX types even). So it cost be about $33 to $35 a bag plus a 12+ mile each way drive to get it. I clicked on Petco as they had the best price:

Search   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

So for 4x per $ I bought about $135 worth or 4 bags. I had to pay sales tax but got free shipping. I figured I saved time and gas money. I’ve ordered dog food online many times so it’s just easy.  So $135 x 4 miles x 1 mile for credit card = 275 AA miles plus 250 mile bonus = 525 miles approx.

I was getting ready to log off when I remembered that I needed to still do my taxes (I’m way behind this year). So I click on H&R block software that I use each year and really like.

All Online Offers   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

So for 12x per $1 I bought the $45 version I use so figure $45 x 12 x 1 for card = 585 AA miles plus I’m on my way to the next promo level of $300 so that will eventually add another 750 miles to the 250 I got already.

5 minutes = 1,110 miles added to my AA account. Next trip……

Enter to win 5 nights at Marriott

Click Here to enter to win a Marriott bed or 5 night vacation at Marriott.

marriott contest

Not a bad contest by Shop Marriott which is a company associated with Marriott Hotels that offers various products like the Marriott bedding.

Win a 5 Night Hotel Stay  a Marriott Bed and Bedding Set  Marriott Pillows  and Other Marriott Hotel Prizes in the ShopMarriott Sweepstakes

Good luck.

United Mileage Plus X – Earning miles on local shopping with United Chase card

I don’t get a kickback from United or Chase on this. Just news.

So United has a new mile earning scheme where you download the phone app to your smart phone. Once you install it you log in with your mileage plus account and then it will find nearby retailers that participate. When shopping you type in the total spent at the register into the phone app and have the merchant scan the bar code on your phone to award the miles at 0.5, 1x,2x, 3x or 4x depending on the merchant.

If you have a United Mileage Plus credit card and it will link your United MileagePlus X app you are suppose to earn an extra 25%.  Click this photo below to link over the site for me info. See my thoughts below…

United Hub   MileagePlus X

This seems like a good idea and promo video shows it working so smoothly. So here are my main concerns:

  1. Poor Wifi or cell signal at the point of purchase may slow the app or make it useless. I’ve experienced that with Shopkick.
  2. Merchants or checkers may not know how to process or scan the phone.
  3. The pain to use the app for small purchases doesn’t seem worth it (well worth it for large items though).

I hope it works well.

I can see myself using it for large purchases at Lowe’s however they only award 1/2 mile per $ where as it I buy it through the United shopping site online and do in-store pick up (Even while standing in the store) I earn 2 miles per $. Not to mention that American pays 3 miles per $.  They need to fix this issue and make the miles match the online shopping portal offers. I know they may not be run by the same company behind the scenes but they need to match. Lowe’s is the lowest by the way and I didn’t see Home Depot on the list.

They have a bunch of restaurants like Cheesecake factory, Texas Roadhouse, etc. that have good 3 or 4 mile per $ earning but how does that work. You have to give your phone to the waiter so they can scan it? Seems like trouble but maybe I have trust issues.

I could see this being really good in a couple areas:

  1. Manufactured spend folks (you know who you are). I assume gift cards will fly out the door at some of these places since you enter the data on your phone manually.
  2. Amazon is on the list for 1x through online spending through your phone (at least the Android app shows it). Some how this will let you buy gift cards or something. Not sure how it works yet.
  3. Restaurants for 3x or 4x plus your credit card miles at 1x or 2x plus your dining program miles in a few cases.

Anyway it’s a new part of the miles and points game. Should be interesting.  Below is a screen shot of the merchants but this is a list of all of them. Basically the app finds them based on your location so that should help if it works any better than Shopkick which I like (Where it has reception).

2015-01-22 20.54.16