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Whether you’re planning a very special trip next year or just travel a lot, there’s currently a limited-time offer you really ought to think seriously about. The Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year card is effectively offering double miles for the first year after new cardholders (but not existing ones) open their accounts.

Here’s how it works: After the first consecutive 12 billing periods that your new account is open, Discover will double all the miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the next billing cycle. Cardholders earn 1.5x miles per dollar spent on purchases, then double all the miles you’ve earned at the end of the first year.

A good travel rewards card
This would be of less interest were the Discover it Miles not a pretty good travel rewards card already. But it is, because:

  1. You can fly any airline at any time — with no blackout dates.

  2. You can redeem any number of miles you want, from one up, at any time.

  3. You can redeem miles against travel purchases made on the card within the previous 180 days. These travel purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation.

  4. You can also redeem miles for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account.

  5. It has no annual fee.

  6. There are no foreign transaction fees.

  7. Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees (up to $30 a year) with an automatic statement credit.

  8. There’s no cap on the miles you can earn.

  9. Rewards never expire, although Discover will credit your account with your rewards balance if your account is closed or has not been used in 18 months.

  10. You get a 0 percent APR introductory rate on purchases for 12 months (then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99-22.99 percent, based on creditworthiness).

  11. There’s no fee for your first late payment, and paying late won’t increase your APR.

All this, and Discover has just introduced the Freeze ItSM on/off switch, which lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.

Getting the most out of this offer
If you’re planning a big trip and want your rewards to cover part of the cost, you’re probably going to want to use your card for most or all your travel and non-travel purchases prior to departure. The tricky bit is timing when you buy your tickets and pay for other upfront travel-related expenses.

Remember, you can only use rewards to pay or partially pay for travel items purchased within the previous 180 days. Discover doubles all the miles you’ve earned in your first year during your 13th billing cycle, so depending on the timing of your plans and the purchases you make on the card, there may be a bit of a gap when it comes to redeeming all of your miles.

One possible solution is to buy tickets and so on less than six months before you travel, taking advantage of the Discover it Miles card’s zero percent introductory APR. That way, you can avoid interest and maximize the contribution your points make to the final cost — although you are going to have to make at least minimum payments during the months between buying the tickets and redeeming the rewards. Ideally you probably want to clear the balance during that 13th billing cycle, which is not only when your bonus rewards become available, but also when the variable APR kicks in.

By all means use your card while you’re on your trip to build up more rewards, and provide triggers (hotel bills, car rental, rail tickets …) for other rewards redemptions. After all, it doesn’t charge the foreign transaction fees — typically 3 percent — that many cards do.

However, you should note one possible drawback. This concerns Discover’s acceptance by merchants in certain countries. You need to check the map on the company’s website before you travel to make sure your card’s going to work at your destination. Oh, and don’t forget to call Discover with your itinerary details before you set off or there’s a good chance your international activity will set off fraud alarms and see your plastic temporarily frozen.

Not looking for a travel card?
There’s no doubt the Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year is currently exceptional, but not everyone’s on the hunt for a travel rewards card.

Indeed, you may find cash back more desirable than miles, in which case you probably should explore Discover’s other offerings. Discover is currently offering to double all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year automatically (again, only for new cardmembers) on cards including:

  • Discover it®-Double Cash Back your first year

  • Discover it® card-Double Cash Back your first year

  • Discover it® chrome for Students-Double Cash Back your first year

As always with credit cards, the trick is to match the plastic available to your personal requirements, desires and spending patterns.

Visit CardRatings.com to learn about these limited time Discover credit card offers and to read a full review of Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which ConsumerismCommentary.com receives compensation. Compensation may impact which cards we review and write about and how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We recognize that our site does not feature every card company or card available on the market.


While I’ve already offered my suggestions for this year’s best holiday toys, not everyone on your Christmas or gift-giving list is a child. You may have a special adult someone on your list who would appreciate something more useful. Although it’s early in the holiday shopping season, at least for me, some of the best deals are already starting to materialize, well before Black Friday.

If you’re looking for a great Christmas gift for one of your favorite people, consider one of these Christmas gift ideas under $100. Of course, these apply as well to Hanukkah or any other gift-giving activities you might partake in before the end of the year.

Have any good suggestions? Please leave them in the comments and I’ll add the ones I like to my list.

Gift ideas under $100: Around the house

1. Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Kit (Home Depot, $99.00). “The Dremel Multi-Max 2.3 Amp MM20 Oscillating Tool Kit incorporates a powerful, efficient motor that provides cool, smooth operation under load. This versatile tool features a compact design that makes it easy to handle in tight spaces..” For anyone who likes or wants to do work around the house.

2. Black & Decker B&D Convection Toaster Oven (Sears, $95.63). This convection toaster oven also comes with a rotisserie capability. I need to replace my toaster oven, and this is a capable option.

3. Task Force 204-Piece Standard/Metric Mechanics Tool Set with Case (Lowe’s, $89.98). With 204 pieces, this tool set is complete for any would-be handyman or handywoman, yet it is still portable.

4. Pure Beech Jersey Knit Sheet Set, 100% Modal (Bed, Bath and Beyond, $29.00 – $79.00). “The softness of these extremely soft and light silk-like sheets is reminiscent of your favorite T-shirt, offering incomparable comfort.” I’ve been a fan of jersey cotton sheets for several years. I find jersey cotton to be much more comfortable than sateen or other bed sheets.

5. Framed art (Amazon, up to $99.99). Adding art to the walls adds color and excitement to any room in the house. If you don’t know an artist willing to create work for you, shop for framed art.

6. Merkur Shaving Gift Set (Amazon, $106.50). “The set includes a chrome stand that holds a Merkur Classic Safety Razor and a fabulous badger Shaving Brush with a Chrome Handle. Also included in the set is an elegant Chrome Bowl that holds a Colonel Conk Shaving Soap.” Since April, I’ve been shaving the old-fashioned way, with a badger-hair brush, shaving soap, and a safety razor. My face has never felt healthier and I get a smooth shave. Add some inexpensive Feather blades and have smooth skin all day.

7. Helen Of Troy Hotspa Professional Ultimate Foot Bath (Amazon, $95.93). “Ozone (active oxygen) helps to control, reduce and eliminate bacteria Motorized Pedicenter rotates with the press of a foot.” These devices are quite relaxing, whether you’ve been on your feet all day teaching, hiking, or giving presentations to the board of directors.

8. Sterling Silver 1/8 Carat t.w. Diamond Heart Bracelet (Kay, $99.99). “Heart-shaped sterling silver links accented with round diamonds create playful style in this bracelet for her. One-eighth carat total diamond weight. 7″ in length. With lobster clasp.” For any women who like jewelery.

Gift ideas under $100: Electronics

9. Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray Disc Player (Amazon, $98.00). “Enjoy Blu-ray Disc movies in brilliant high-definition resolution or upscale the quality of your DVDs to near HD. Instantly stream a wide variety of movies, TV shows, live sports, videos, and music from Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and many more.” If you have a high-definition television, you must adopt Blu-Ray and replace your DVD player. There is simple no comparison between (even up-converted) standard definition and high bit-rate Blu-Ray video and audio.

10. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530 14.1 MP Digital Still Camera (Amazon, $99.99). “Shoot more life with the Sony DSC-W530. Capture landscapes with one touch using Sweep Panorama, get that perfect portrait with Smile Shutter, snap wider scenes with the 26mm wide angle lens, get high quality photos with 14.1 megapixels, and automatically get clear shots with SteadyShot image stabilization and iAuto; all in a sleek little design.” This camera features a Carl Zeiss lens, offering a great quality picture sure to beat the camera built into your phone.

11. Roku 2 (Roku, $59.99 to $99.99). “With Roku, get instant access to tons of entertainment — with more choices added all the time.” This device allows you to watch any media content on your (most likely high-definition) television, accessing the internet wirelessly from anywhere in your house. It seamlessly links to your Netflix and Hulu content as well as many other services.

12. Garmin nüvi 1300 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator (Amazon, $98.94). “The thin nüvi 1300 has a widescreen display, yet it’s slim and light enough to take along on all your travels. This affordable GPS comes with regional mapping, announces streets by name, offers pedestrian navigation options and calculates a more fuel-efficient route with ecoRoute.” I’m looking for a new GPS navigator for my car, as I’ve been using my phone since my last device was stolen.

13. Kindle Touch Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display (Amazon, $99.00). I have been using my iPad for reading books purchased via Kindle, but if you have no need for an iPad and just want the ability to access your library from anywhere, choose the Kindle. Now members of Amazon Prime can read books without paying for each.

14. Coby DVD938 5.1-Channel DVD Home Theater System (Amazon, $90.01). “Dynamic sound meets sleek design in Coby’s DVD938 home theater system, which includes a progressive scan DVD player plus a 5.1-channel home theater speaker system (subwoofer and five satellite speakers).” This is a bargain if you don’t need HDMI and you’re looking for compatibility with USB players, SD cards, or karaoke.

Gift ideas under $100: Fun stuff

15. Tauntaun Sleeping Bag (ThinkGeek, $99.99). “In the sub-zero wasteland of the planet Hoth, only the strong survive… and of course those lucky Jedi protected by the thick skin of a Tauntaun.” Any Star Wars fan, adult or child, would appreciate the comfort of avoiding the cold by sleeping inside a tauntaun. ThinkGeek offers lots of gifts for science fiction and fantasy geeks and tech nerds.

16. Bicycle Premium Mega Masters Poker Chip Set (Amazon, $99.95). “The Bicycle Mega Masters Poker Set is a premium poker set for the poker enthusiast. It includes a handmade, high-lacquered wooden case with 500 11.5-gram Bicycle clay filled poker chips in a four-color assortment of red, blue, black, and green… [and] two decks of Premium Bicycle brand playing cards.” Invite your friends over and lose more money to them than the cost of buying this set.

17. Halex Premium Vivace 113mm Bocce Set (BocceBallSets.com, $94.98). With this set, you can entertain your friends with both backyard games: bocce and croquet. Best to buy these sets during the off-season for the best prices. This set normally costs $140.

18. Bob Ross Deluxe Oil Painting Set In Wood Box (Amazon, $85.00). “Bob Ross Art Sets enable the beginner artist to create a beautiful oil painting through Bob’s easy and informative instruction methods and top-quality materials. This Deluxe Art Set contains everything needed to get started in the Bob Ross ‘Wet on Wet’ technique.” Thankfully, this set comes with an instructional DVD. You recipient will be on his or her way to creating masterpieces.

Gift ideas under $100: Financial stuff

This is a personal finance blog, after all.

19. $100 Treasury Bond (TreasuryDirect, $100). TreasuryDirect offers gift functionality, so as long as you have an account and have the Social Security Number of your recipient, you can give the gift of a savings bond, a low risk investment that will earn interest over time.

20. Stock (ShareBuilder, $100). If you would like to give someone a financial gift, particularly a young individual who has an interest in the stock market but is a beginner, consider a ShareBuilder gift card to get them started. This is a good time to introduce young investors to the concept of transaction fees, as well.

21. 2011 United States Mint Silver Proof Set (United States Mint, $67.95). “The 2010 United States Mint Silver Proof Set contains all 14 circulating coins in stunning proof condition displayed in three protective lenses, each bearing the S mint mark of the United States Mint at San Francisco.” Great for collectors or non-collectors, and it can inspire and create young numismatists.

22. Kids’ Savings Account (ING Direct, $25 and up). Opening a new ING Direct Kids Savings Account is a great way to teach a child or teenager good saving habits and concepts like compound interest.

Here are some more ideas:


Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is George Hobica, president and founder of the travel comparison website Airfarewatchdog. George discusses Airfarewatchdog, how the site works in finding low air fares, several great deals many people don’t know about and offers many airline travel tips.

Consumerism Commentary Podcast #110
George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog: S05E06 / 134


Table of contents

[00:00] Introduction from Tom Dziubek
[00:36] Interview with George Hobica
[00:48] Airfarewatchdog
[01:52] How it differs from other fare comparison websites
[03:27] Frequency of air fare changes
[04:14] How Airfarewatchdog interacts with other websites
[07:39] Frequent Flyer programs
[08:24] Their functionality with changes to flights
[08:51] The impact of the price of gas on travel
[09:27] Fares to Europe
[11:16] Surprisingly cheap travel destinations
[13:46] The impact of mergers
[15:04] Getting refunds in the case of a price drop
[16:59] Using a travel agent
[20:06] Avoiding fees
[23:08] Wi-fi charges
[24:07] Summer travel advice
[27:02] End

We always welcome feedback from listeners. If you have any comments for this episode or for any other, or if you have suggestions for future episodes, please leave us comments here or email us at podcast at this domain name.

Theme music by Mindcube.


All this month, I’m celebrating Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Each weekday brings a new prize to be given to Consumerism Commentary readers. Each day I’ve been offering at least $50 per day, and I have invited a number of partners to participate in this series of giveaways to help sweeten the pot. For the second time this month, I’m excited to have an Apple iPad 2 to offer to a lucky winner today, thanks in part to today’s partner, Money Crashers.

Money Crashers is a great personal finance site that focuses on providing its readers with the financial tools and knowledge necessary to achieve a high level of financial fitness. To follow their articles on an eclectic selection of personal finance topics, subscribe to the Money Crashers RSS feed to get daily updates.

Like the last iPad giveaway, this is the Wi-Fi version.

In order to qualify, you must complete these steps by 11:59 PM Pacific Time tonight. That gives readers three more hours to qualify for the prize. Keep in mind that if you are selected, you also need to meet all the qualifications for accepting the prize listed in the Giveaway May introduction.

Here is what you need to do in order to be included in the pool of names from which the winner will be selected. Get started now:

  1. Become a fan — or “like” — Consumerism Commentary on Facebook. If you are already a fan, don’t fret. You will qualify, too. If you’re not, you can use this button to make this process of “liking” Consumerism Commentary easy:
  1. Become a fan — or “like” — Money Crashers on Facebook. If you are already a fan, don’t fret. You will qualify, too. If you’re not, you can use this button to make this process of “liking” Money Crashers easy:
  1. “Like” this article on Facebook to share with your friends by clicking on the button below.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of this article or click here to view the form where you can leave a comment.
  2. Connect to your Facebook account by clicking the “Connect to Facebook” button. None of your Facebook information is stored here.
  3. Leave a comment to let me know that you are a fan of Consumerism Commentary and Money Crashers on Facebook.

Don’t forget to “like” the two websites, “like” this article, and comment by connecting to Facebook before the deadline of 11:59 PM Pacific Time on May 25, 2011. Those who comment after that time will not qualify for the giveaway. Keep in mind the above steps are mandatory. Some people were disqualified from the prior iPad 2 giveaway because they did not follow the instructions. The winner will be contacted within the next few weeks. Once eligibility is confirmed, the iPad will be ordered and delivered directly to the winner.

Optional: Sign up for the Money Crashers newsletter:

Thanks and good luck!

Win a Free Kindle: May 20 Only!

by Luke Landes

It wouldn’t be a weekday in May without another giveaway. This month is Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Each day, I’ll have some to reward readers valued $50 or more. Today’s a good day for the winner; thanks to a partnership with personal finance blog Beating Broke, I am able to offer Amazon.com’s reading device, ... Continue reading this article…

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Win a Free iPad Today

by Luke Landes

I am excited to have PT Money as a partner for today’s giveaway, because together, Phil Taylor and I are offering an Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi to the winner. This giveaway is the latest in the Giveaway May series, wherein Consumerism Commentary is offering giveaways every weekday this month. PT Money is a blog whose ... Continue reading this article…

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May 10: Win a Free Kindle With Wi-Fi

by Luke Landes

All this month is Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Every day, I’ll be choosing one winner randomly for a prize. Each day there is a small challenge in order to qualify for the giveaway, and today is no exception. Today I have a Kindle With Wi-Fi from Amazon.com to give away. This is the version ... Continue reading this article…

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Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

This coming month is going to be “Giveaway May” at Consumerism Commentary. Every weekday, I will feature a new giveaway for readers. It will be simple to enter, usually just requiring a comment and one other action (such as subscribing to the RSS feed, following me on Twitter, or liking Consumerism Commentary on Facebook). Each ... Continue reading this article…

37 comments Read the full article →