Get Amazon Prime (USA) tonight for $73USD!

Even if you currently have Amazon Prime in the States for whatever reason, you can get it for $73 a year!

If you have never had it, you have the least amount of work on your hands.  Click here to get the deal.

If you currently have Amazon Prime in the States, you can chat with them and ask them to please consider giving you the deal as you live in Canada and do not use the 2 day shipping option except on the rare occasion when you’re going there to the States to visit.  That was what I said.  They actually refunded me for my current Prime membership (after cancelling it) and then somehow made me eligible–and gave me the link through the chat system.  Choose “Amazon Video” and “Prime Video” as your issue to open up the option of the chatline.  That’s what I used.

Why get it?  If you are interested in getting an Amazon Echo device (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s computer system whereby you speak to it and it speaks back to you about a number of topics, including jokes, games, recipes, grocery lists, millions of songs from Prime music, etc.), it’s totally cool and you’ll need Prime to get the Echo to work.  They’re always adding new features to it!  You’ll also need to sign up for a service such as Unblock-US.com for $50CDN a year (or $4.99CDN a month–more expensive by the month) to allow the Echo and Prime music and Prime Video to work for you on your computer, some mobile devices, and your SMART TV.

You’ll want it if you go and vacation in the States or have a friend in the States to pick up items from–to ship packages there–and choose no-rush shipping for things that vary depending on what Amazon chooses to offer–$5.99 off Amazon grocery shipping (Prime Pantry) or $0.99 off videos for each order shipped (ship each one separately–they’ll put them together and give you credit for each order).

ACT FAST!  It ends at midnight!

Fighting For A Deal

My trip last year to NYC with my wife on our 10th anniversary was memorable–the horse and carriage ride in Central Park, the swim on the 42nd floor of Le Parker Meridien were two highlights.  We’d never been in a fancy hotel (well it used to be fancy at one time–it’s in dire need of a reno but is still pretty cool) and we enjoyed it, but to me, the deal that I fought for was the best part.

It started with a hotel deal I found online and put on SD (Steve’s Deals) for $60 for a one night stay on limited dates thru Booking.com for Le Parker Meridien in NYC, including a breakfast.

Booking.com ended up cancelling it on me 9 days after I booked it, after I’d already made airline reservations using my points.  Cancellation fees on Avios tickets, which is next to nothing within the US, is more costly if the flight originates in Canada (YYZ-LGA return ticket cancellation was around $130CDN each).

I got on the phone with Booking.com.  Got me no where at first–then I had to wait for a call back for a supervisor within a couple of days.  I explained how unfair this was–a $60 deal cancelled on me, and how the email they sent me was adding salt to the wound–they would be so kind as to cancel and give a full refund for my reservation due to the accidental low price at no cost to me.  Wow.  Thanks for nothing.  I also explained I had bought the tickets to the flight and that I would have to pay for the cancelled tickets.  They got back to me eventually with an offer to cover the costs of other hotels in the area–but those hotels were not even close in amenities to Le Parker Meridien (LPM).  They also offered to cover the cost of my airline cancellation charges if I wasn’t satisfied.

I decided to play the hotel side of the story after some good advice from my friend, Brad.  Then I got in touch with the hotel.  I spoke to the revenue manager there, mentioned how it was our 10th anniversary getaway and she offered me the same suite at a “friends and family” discount price.  It did not include breakfast though.  I went back to Booking.com with the offer and they accepted not only paying for the room (other than $60 plus taxes and extras), but including a breakfast at a restaurant outside the hotel as the hotel’s breakfast was not kosher.  At first they only offered $10 per person, but when I explained to them how much a breakfast cost at LPM that would have been covered by the original deal, they agreed to pay up to $27USD each for a breakfast.  That became a late brunch for us that we enjoyed.

The hotel room’s shower area was built on a stall system that used gravity with a decline towards the drain to catch water–it didn’t work.  After I noticed my wife’s shower causing a total flood in the washroom, I called room service which took too long, and by then, I’d cleaned it up using a towel, acting as a mop, squeezing it out every time it got soppy wet.   I called off the room service but they came anyways eventually.  I told them it was dealt with (as I was afraid to leave it ’til they showed as it may have caused damage if it had found its way down to the level below us and we may have been held responsible).

When checking out, I mentioned the problem and they had not been made aware of it.  In compensation for the incident, I received 3K Starwood points and an email that followed that gave me an upgrade to a Jr. suite on my next stay with them.

So, at the end, I got:

  • A Jr. suite at the original deal price of $60 (+taxes and extras)
  • A free breakfast for 2 at a kosher restaurant of our choice
  • 3K SPG points for the incident
  • I paid for the ticket on a credit card that it helped me to achieve meeting a spending threshold to receive welcome bonus points
  • An upgrade the next time we come to NYC to a Jr. Suite
  • Credit for the airline cancellation was never needed as the flight got cancelled and I asked for a refund instead of a different flight.
  • A date of my choice (any weekend in the summer) instead of the original date that would have meant a day of work’s pay lost

Fight, fight, fight!!!  Use kind words mixed with some understandable frustration and try to get them to empathize.  Much success to you!  Please email me when you have a story to share!

 

How To Save $ On Debt OR Make Money!

If you are in debt, or considering going into debt over something worthy, READ THIS POST!!

For years, I’ve been rotating debt by churning (reapplying for) the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard and using its 0% for 12 months balance transfer option.

Back before TD bought it, you could actually negotiate with them on your rate and transfer fee.  One time, I got 18 months at 0%, paying only a 0.5% balance transfer charge, but those days are loooong gone…

Now, when you apply, you’ll pay 1% to transfer your funds.  Great Canadian Rebates is offering $60 cash for applying through their website.  Use my link here to go to their website so that I can get a referral please if you’ve never signed up to their website.  After signing up, go to the left hand column where under “Categories” you’ll see “Credit cards and Finance.”  When you click on there, the MBNA Platinum Plus with the 12 month 0% financing option will show up at the top, offering you $60 cashback when applying through their link.  That way, you win and I win!  $60 would be the equivalent of borrowing $6K cash from them (as they charge 1% for whatever you transfer over).

You can transfer the cash into your line of credit, a regular bank account, or to pay off another credit card.  If you are carrying debt,.   this is a terrific option, and remember, it’s not just for 12 months!  Make a note on your calendar when the MBNA monthly statement will print that will mark the official end of your 0% deal, and pay it off the cheapest way you can.  I pay it off with my line of credit.  Then, I reapply for another Platinum Plus card.  I may have to call them, as they may not approve me instantly.  The system may show you already have a card with them, so you simply call them, and ask them to approve you for as much as possible ($500 is the minimum) and then transfer the old credit limit that you paid off to the new card and perhaps close the old card.  That way, you get the promotion and you also get a minimum guaranteed credit limit that you held before.

Example, you get approved for $15K your first time you apply.  You have them transfer the $15K to your line of credit, where you’re paying, perhaps as little as 4.7% interest.  You’ll pay $150 for the transfer, but with the $60 you will eventually get from GCR, you’ll only pay $90 to borrow the money!  You also will have to pay a minimum back of 1%, which in this example, would come out to $150/month.  If you are have a significant other, s/he could also sign up, get the $60 and borrow MORE money!

Perhaps you’re not in debt?  You could invest the money and MAKE money on the bank’s money!  Careful of course, investing in an unguaranteed investment such as mutual funds could be obviously risky, in that you may lose money at the end.  Also, it may not be worth it to put it in a high yielding bank account (Tangerine gives 2.1% for the first 6 months with one of their accounts, and then 1.05% after that, so you won’t make much and it may not be worth the credit hit to do this.

Your credit WILL take a hit as your credit to debt amortization will be high (owing $15K with a $15K credit limit for example).  I’d also advise that you try to pay it off (if you’re in debt) MUCH faster than paying the minimum.  If you pay $150 per month and keep renewing this offer with a new MBNA card every year, it will take you 100 months or 8 1/3 years to pay off at a cost of $702 in borrowing costs.  Paying $312.50/month would mean paying it off in less than half the time, exactly 4 years, at a borrowing cost of $374.50-$240 for using the GCR link that assuming it stays at $60 cashback)=$134.50!!  Compare that to, assuming your paying it down over 4.44 years (54 payments) in your line of credit at 4.7% (assuming it doesn’t go up–good luck with that “hope”), that would cost you $1630.46, meaning doing this will save you $1495.96 over 4 (or so) years!

Other cards offer 0% but not usually for 12 months, and their payback minimum is more than 1%, so this would be a great option to pay off debt!

Be sure to set up preauthorized payment out of your bank account to pay off the monthly payments so that you don’t end up going past due–that would automatically lead to you forfeiting your 0% rate and jumping up to around 19.9%.  You DON’T want to go there!

And NO, you won’t get any points for doing this–but you’ll save enough to get a nice vacation perhaps if that’s where you choose to allocate your savings–or perhaps just put the savings into the debt to pay it off faster!

How to Save $ On Vacations-Without Getting “grouponed” or “socialed”

When you go out of town on vacation, you may be out of your element when it comes to where to go and what to do while there.

Of course, you should go on to TripAdvisor.com to find the Top 10, 20, 50 places to visit when in any particular destination.

Then, hope ,and pray you can find a deal to those places.

To begin, go to Groupon.com through Ebates if your vacation is somewhere in North America.  Not signed up to Ebates yet? You can find my link to Ebates.com (so I can get a referral–thanks!)–more info on Ebates can be found here.  ALWAYS go through Ebates to another website to get to ANY of these coupon websites such as Living Social, Groupon, and RetailMeNot. THAT way you will not only get the Groupon (etc,) discount but a discount on the money you spent ON the coupon with Ebates!  Many times it is 6-15% in cash back!

Choose the city you will be visiting in the location parameters box beside the search box.  Then, compare the offers to TripAdvisor to see if the places mentioned are worth seeing according to them.  Some places, such as an art night, probably would not be listed, but other places will be!

Not just places to go, but places to EAT!

Warning!  With these coupons, you not only have to look in the fine print to be sure the coupon will not expire before you leave, but also any other restrictions–only dinners, only lunches, one coupon per couple, per table, 20% tip added to order, taxes on the coupon not included, etc., etc.

Slightly changing the topic, be very careful when using these coupon companies when it comes to services around the house.  We had to cancel 3 different vent cleaners, as they did not include in the details VERY important information including how much extra they would charge for things that were apparently necessary to do a proper vent cleaning, for example.  This is more an issue when it comes to services around the house.  I ended up turning down the last company that ended up coming, for the “necessary” air conditioning cleaning that I called in another company for half the price that I felt did a VERY professional job, as opposed to the one that started the job, and would regularly not show up and not call, until they finally came, over 2 hours late, and only called soon before arriving.  HomeStars.com is a good way to find out about which companies are reputable and in turn, which ones to stay away from–you really do get what you pay for!

HOT!! Wonderland 2016 Season Passes For $7.99 + Tax on $67.99!!?-DEAD

Canada’s Wonderland has begun selling its season passes for $67.99 ($2 cheaper than last year).  They start selling them when the EX opens. For those of you with children, season’s passes add up to expensive entertainment–unless you subsidize your ticket with discipline.  This is what I mean…

Again, Wonderland is offering the season pass at the lowest price of the year (it goes up as opening day and beyond approaches for next season)–but if you purchase it before this year ends, you will get one of two presents from Wonderland (along with other Cedar Fair parks, including Cedar Point but at different prices, but the same deal apparently):

(A) A single day admission ticket (if you don’t currently have a season’s pass for 2015), worth between $42 (if you purchased it 3 days in advance online) or less if you went to Costco when they had them $10 off ($30 instead of $40) or got some other deal of the number of deals out there, to $48 buying them online from Wonderland (less than 3 days in advance), to up to $62 at the front gate.  Unfortunately, that ticket they give you as a gift is not transferable, so you must use it still within the 2015 season.  If you’re purchasing a season’s pass for 2016 for a child turning 3 (at age 3 they need to have their own pass), the single day admission ticket is sadly useless.  I’ve spoken to management about it, but as with any big company, it’s like trying to move a mountain.  If you buy one for the first time this year, hopefully, you’ll save a LOT of money next year if they offer the same deal that I detail below…

(B) BUT THIS is the SWEEET deal: with each renewed Season’s Pass, Wonderland will give you a Fast Lane PLUS pass, which gets “you” access to a by-pass line for 19 of the more popular rides PLUS Leviathan and Behemoth (the biggest roller coasters).  It must be used this season and it’s worth $79.10 (including taxes).  Yes, Wonderland charges $79.10 to make a one day experience more enjoyable ON TOP of the single day admission ticket.

It is also TOTALLY TRANSFERABLE, though the central info number of Wonderland will tell you otherwise.  So go and sell it!  Resist the urge to use it!  It’s easy to resist for your little ones, who cannot even enjoy the bigger rides that the Fast Lane PLUS is directed at, but YOU will need to show more discipline!  Want to go when the lines are shorter?  Go Sunday at 9am (early opening for Season’s Pass holders) or on a weekday, especially Tuesday to Thursday at 10am sharp, or on a weekend in September or October, when they also have a Halloween Peanuts show for the kids and seasonal decorations all  over the park—AND SHORTER LINES!

Want to save money on camp and have a caregiver at home with the kids?  Get a Wonderland season’s pass, and just go for a couple of hours in the morning, before the lines get nasty (though for the little ones, the lines are only REALLY nasty on the weekends and Fridays).  They’re somewhat tolerable in the afternoons.  We just go in the mornings and early afternoons, then pack it up.

Last year, I got into the Wonderland line and joined several others who were selling other tickets that they couldn’t use to Wonderland.  Me and my girls were the only ones selling the Fast Lane PLUS receipt (to exchange for the wristband) and within 10 minutes, I’d sold all 3 for $50 each in the Wonderland ticket line!

This year, according to the 2015 version of the receipt that gets you the Fast Lane PLUS, you need to present the receipt to the “Locker Room” store (located at the beginning of International Street, on the right when you enter) “along with the Season Pass” to exchange it for the wristband, so you’ll have to take everyone with the receipt with you, as the “person must be present to get wristband” and to top it off, the free pass ticket bar code must match the season pass holder’s ID.

Not true, practically speaking.  I spoke to an employee who really seemed to be in the know, an employee at the “Locker Room,” and they don’t even ask for your season’s pass (which they did not to those I sold mine to), to confirm that you aren’t transferring it.  So this time, I found people who were happy to pay less, considering I offered to wait around to be sure they got their wristband, and THEN they paid me.  You will have to have initiative to do this of course.  You could try to sell it on a website like Kijiji, but at Wonderland, it will obviously sell much faster.  I picked people near the end of the line so as to not be so obvious as to what I was doing.  I felt a bit guilty but really there’s nothing explicit on the receipt that Wonderland gives you to exchange for the Fast Pass PLUS that states that it’s not transferable; in fact, when I bought the season’s pass, the person at checkout said that I could do whatever I wanted with it, and that it WAS transferable.

I sold them for $60 each, which is still a savings of $19.10 per Fast Lane PLUS if someone in line bought it without a deal online.  That’s like 5 Season’s Passes for the price of ONE!  If people in line purchased a Fast Lane PLUS along with a ticket online, then they aren’t going to buy your passes.  Those that haven’t AND carry cash, let them know that it will cost them $79.10 for the PLUS version including tax and $67.80 for 4 or more and that you’re only selling them for whatever you feel you can get.  At $60 each, they’re saving between $7.80 and $19.10 each.  You can then direct them to the left side of the counter at the Locker Room, as the pass they’re buying from you is considered prepaid, so they just have to take it and slap the Fast Pass Plus wristband on the purchaser.  An employee may take them to a kiosk near the store to exchange the receipt for the wristband. Some may already have a day pass purchased online or a season’s pass and they want an extra Fast Lane PLUS or one of many admission combinations, but either way, $67.99-$60 is $7.99 + tax on a $67.99 season’s pass, or $16.83 per season’s pass!  Enough detail?????

Let me know how successful you are!  Please share my website with your friends.  I’m on Facebook (StevesDeals) and Twitter (StevesDealsCA)

How To Get A Free Parking Pass and Free Adult CNE Season Pass To The CNE

Apparently, if you go to the CNE Casino and register at the counter for a VIP Pass, hang around “gambling” for 3 hours and then go back, you will earn a VIP Pass which includes a CNE Season Pass and a free parking pass.  Only thing is, they will expect you to gamble.  I have not tried this, but apparently, they don’t monitor you so if you leave and come back after three hours to go on a “smoke break,” you are totally eligible for this promotion–and even better, they’ll mail you in July next year to let you know that your CNE Season Pass and parking pass is available to be picked up for next year to be picked up by a certain date.  Best of all, you won’t need to wait around for 3 hours next year.  Is it a lifetime deal?  The verdict is still out.  Others have been doing this for years while others are “reevaluated,” meaning you have to go back and spend 3 hours there again.   What do you do while you wait the three hours?  Well, you could go into the EX but then you’ll pay.  You could certainly gamble.  That’s what they expect you to do. I will have to try this and update the website with my personal experience.