Jordon Cox - Britain's Original Coupon Kid

Since age 15, I’ve worked to help people around the country save money through coupons, deals and money saving. Now aged 21, it’s my goal to help as many people as possible make their money go further.

Jordon Cox - Britains Coupon Kid - Money Saving Tips Vouchers Coupons Bargains Public Speaker

What’s coming soon – Websites/Apps

Making money online or on your phone has never been easier. Some…

What’s coming soon – Supermarket deals

No matter what you’re looking for in supermarket savings, there will be…

What’s coming soon – Side Hustles

It’s a good idea to have more than one stream of income,…

What’s coming soon – Retailers

High street stores and online retailers. They can all add up. Whether…

What’s coming soon – Restaurant deals

Restaurants can be very expensive, but you don’t have to eat out…
Jordon Cox - The Coupon Kid - My 21st Birthday in Hospital

21st Birthday in Hospital

It’s my 21st Birthday today – and I’m spending it… in Basildon Hospital…? Cheers Crohn’s disease!

Yes, for the past 6 weeks, I’ve been in hospital due to my Crohn’s Disease. My entire 2018 so far has been spent in here breathing the same air (bar a few days).

I’ve been without food for the near whole six weeks… a liquid diet for the first week, and completely ‘nil by mouth’ (not even water) for nearly the whole other 5 weeks. I’m still nil by mouth today, meaning no cake… no candles… just 100% pure ‘TPN’ feeding directly into my veins for 18 hours a day. What it’s like to go without eating or drinking for so long, is difficult to put into words.

And after all this time spent here, I’m still not done…

I’m currently waiting for a transfer to a specialist hospital in order to have a procedure called an ‘ileostomy’ to remove the diseased part of my bowels – and hopefully give me my life back!

Am I scared? Not really. Am I fed up with being in hospital? A little. The only thing that I really care about right now, is not having to suffer anymore. At my worst, Crohn’s Disease meant any tiny bite of food would give me horrific pain. I’m hopeful those days will soon be behind me.

It IS my 21st Birthday however, so I do have some things to celebrate – despite not being able to eat any cake…!

– I’m still here, and I’m still fighting ✅

– My needle phobia is practically gone ✅

– I got my ‘Key to the door’ – A radar key that gets me into every disabled loo in the country! (Super handy for me!) ✅

– Hopefully in the next few weeks, I’ll be having my surgery, and starting the process to gain my life back ✅

Whether you are fighting an invisible illness, know someone who is, or are just reading this blog out of interest, know this: No one ever fights alone. There are so many people fighting the same battles, despite how lonely it feels.

Your illness does not define you. You define your illness. Despite being in hospital for 6 weeks, I’ve kept so busy taking up hobbies I’ve never had time to, working my butt off to finally get a Couponing book written (which is very near completion!), and raising awareness for this horrible disease, despite the advice being to rest.

What’s would be the greatest gift for me this year? Awareness! Invisible illnesses such as Crohn’s & Colitis devastate 100,000s of lives – hence this blog. Let’s not stop shouting until a cure is found. Let’s continue fighting together.

I’ll keep you updated with my progress, and hopefully once I’ve had my surgery… i’ll be catching up on the copious amounts of free food i’ve missed!

If you’re new here, see my original Crohn’s blog for MoneySavingExpert – and for more information, see the Crohn’s & Colitis UK website.

Jordon Cox - The Coupon Kid - Reselling guide – Vancouver City Review

Vancouver City Review

I recently visited Vancouver, British Columbia on a trip across the pond. It is one of most scenic places I’ve visited, with flowing mountains and snowy vistas in view from downtown. There were lots of things I loved about Vancouver and some things I wasn’t a fan of. Read all about it in this Vancouver city review.

Price

Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but like every city, there are cheap or free things to do everywhere. to bring the costs down while you are there.

When I visited Vancouver with my mother, we ended up spending around £1,500 for the two of us for a week all-told including flights, hotel and food & activities – and we also banked 37,000 Virgin Miles through RocketMiles too. It was part of an epic voyage which took us to Vancouver and Dallas, Texas in one trip.

For a trip to the west coast of North America, I didn’t think this was too bad, considering we spent quite a bit on tourist attractions such as trolley buses while we were there to make the most of the amazing landscape. 

First impressions

The first thing you notice about Vancouver is obviously the scenery and the great outdoors. The second thing you may notice is the homelessness (especially in the downtown area). I’m not sure if where we stayed in Vancouver was a hotspot for it, but there seemed to be a lot of people living on the streets, I’m told due to the high rent and costs of living in Vancouver.

If you are exploring the parks and the nature of Vancouver, then you shouldn’t come across it too much, but when exploring downtown, don’t be surprised to have people begging. Its not an excuse not to visit – but just something that was apparent to me when exploring.

Free Attractions

There are plenty of free things to do in Vancouver if you are on a budget. As Vancouver is surrounded by nature, you can easily plan your trip around the free attractions. Here are some of the freebie attractions we got to see:

Stanley Park

One of Vancouver’s top attractions. Stanley Park is over 1,000 acres of parkland to explore and easily get lost in, featuring trails, public gardens and even beaches (though I wouldn’t recommend that in winter!)

There is a handy walking trail along the seawall that takes you around the whole outside of the park and coastline of English Bay, meaning you can get some very cool pictures.

You may need strong legs and some stamina to get up there, however Prospect Point (the highest lookout point in the park) is a must do! It has a breathtaking view overlooking the stunning mountains, flowing rivers and Lions Gate Bridge linking North Vancouver to downtown.

Prospect Point Vancouver
The view of North Vancouver from Prospect Point
Prospect Point Ice Cream
There is also a little restaurant and cafe up there in which we got ice cream – which isn’t free but totally worth it!
Granville Island

The hotel concierge told us “If you haven’t seen Granville Island, then you haven’t seen Vancouver” – so our hopes were high. It’s basically an entourage of industrial warehouses containing public markets, restaurants shops and theatre.

The public market is a very cool place to go – even if you don’t want to buy anything. It is filled with venders and stalls selling freshly made bagels, pies, sweet treats and more – and quite a few of them give away free samples. We scored some free cheese, chocolate and smore popcorn samples just by walking around.

Granville Island Pies
Just looking at these freshly made pies were enough to make my mouth water!
Granville Island Cakes
And just look at the cakes!

Paid for Attractions

Vancouver’s top attractions have a hefty price tag to them, but if you want to truly experience Vancouver, they are a must do. We went to several of the highly recommended experience during our week stay there. Here’s what we thought:

Capilano Suspension Bridge

One of the biggest attractions in the Vancouver area is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It spans the length of the Capilano river, and offers several trails around the tree tops of the forest.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
You’ll need a head for heights to make it over to the other side. Mum’s legs turned to jelly when we first stepped foot on the bridge!

Typically, the day we chose to visit happened to be the wettest day on record, but the rain did not dampen our spirits, or the views below from the middle of the bridge.

There is more than just the main bridge with several trails for you to take. You’ll need a strong set of leg muscles however, as there is a lot of walking… and a lot of bouncing when walking over the suspension bridge!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Selfie
Here’s a picture for scale – the bridge was huge! Would take you a while to walk that distance normally… let alone dangling 200ft in the air!

There is a free coach that will take you to the main entrance of the Capilano Suspension Bridge that leaves from Canada Place every 15 mins. Unfortunately, entry is incredibly expensive costing $42.95 per adult and $14.95 per child (age 6-12). It is an experience worth doing, but unfortunately might leave a hole in your wallet.

Fly-Over Canada

If the weather while you’re there isn’t that great, you can get an indoor virtual view of Canada with Fly-Over Canada. If you have ever seen the Epcot ride ‘Soarin’, it is exactly like that, where you sit on a paraglider while watching a very large screen – so it looks like you are flying over the whole of Canada’s scenery and landscapes.

It’s a pretty cool experience, and something to do of an evening when not much is open, however prices for the ride are quite steep at $22.95 for adults and $14.45 for children (up to age 12) if you book online. Buying tickets at the door will set you back more. 

When we went, they had a whole Halloween theme to the ride, which in my opinion made it quite confusing and sort of killed it. The actual ride itself is a nice way to see a bit more of Canada (albeit virtually). It is located at Canada Place (on the riverfront of the downtown area).

Canada Place
Canada Place – the building where FlyOver Canada is located inside. It also happens to be the worlds 4th largest cruise terminal!

Accessibility

Vancouver is easy enough to navigate due to its grid street system (much like New York), and has a decent amount of public transport. It offers a metro service, local buses and even some free buses up to the mountain attractions such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and shopping malls from Canada Place.

The metro can’t take you many places within the downtown area, if that’s how you were looking to get around, with only a few stops on its two lines at the major destinations, so if your hotel is downtown, you may need to do a bit of walking. Luckily, nothing is ever a million miles away in downtown Vancouver, so everything should be within a 30 minute walk.

One of the things that Vancouver was lacking for me was use of Uber. This is one of the main ways I tend to get around in a foreign city (as its generally cheaper than a cab, and gets you where you need to go!) The Canadian government however had ruled against the licence of Uber operating – which meant using expensive yellow cabs that were tricky to get a hold of.

Uber and other ride sharing services have been announced for Vancouver and other cities around Canada, but there are still no dates planned – so be sure to plan ahead.

Food

We had some great food while we were in Vancouver (when we avoided the fast food chains for convenience). Here are some of my recommendations:

Old Spaghetti Factory

Despite being a semi chain restaurant in Canada and the US, the Old Spaghetti Factory had some amazing food and a relaxed atmosphere. You are served freshly baked warm sourdough bread once you arrive at your table with regular and garlic butter – which I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing!

Old Spaghetti Factory Bread
Now THAT is some good freshly made bread!

We couldn’t go to a place called the ‘Spaghetti Factory’ and not have its namesake, so opted for the spaghetti in meat sauce – which was incredible. Despite being a massive plate full, I had the whole thing (including mopping up all remaining juices from the leftover bread). 

Old Spaghetti Factory Food
The juicy meat sauce was full of flavour, with the spaghetti the perfectly cooked. I did eat the whole plate… and felt very full afterwards!

The price for lunch here was only $14.95 for a starter, main course, unlimited tea and bread – which was very reasonable. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you were in the area.

Mahony & Sons Irish Pub

Seriously… put Mahony & Sons Irish Pub on your list. Now I know what you’re thinking “why would you go to Canada to go to an Irish Pub?”, but this one is seriously worth it! It is located right on the riverfront near Canada Place to give you great views of the mountainous scenery while eating some great food.

There was a lot on the menu that we could’ve easily devoured, but me and mum decided to share both plates of food, with me opting for a Turkey Dip sandwich and mum for bangers & mash. The turkey sandwich was one of the best I’ve had, with the meat being so tender, and a yummy gravy sauce to dip in. I don’t think I’ve tasted creamier mash before than the mash I tried here either, with juicy sausages to soak up even more flavour.

Mahoony & Sons Food
That whopping great sandwich was enough to feed three of us!
Tim Hortons

Now I can’t go through a Canadian city review without mentioning Tim Hortons… which I may be slightly obsessed with. Their doughnuts are a must have, with my favourite being the chocolate dip. It’s a chain cafe (much like Starbucks) but famous for its doughnut selection, and iconically their ‘Timbits’, which are round doughnut balls.

Hotel

We stayed for a week at the Best Western Chateau Granville for the week, the hotel cost us £800 – which was one of the cheapest options for downtown Vancouver for the time we were looking.

The hotel itself was very nice (although a bit outdated in some areas) with all guest quarters having a living area as well as a bedroom and balcony. I especially liked this as it meant I didn’t have to watch TV from my bed, and could watch it from the sofa in the living room space.

The location of the hotel was something I wasn’t a fan of. It is located on Granville Street (which is one of the hotspots for shopping and restaurants)… but it is further down from the main attractions than we first thought. The main attractions were located from around 100-700 Granville, and we were on 1,100 Granville, which meant a 10 minute walk each way to the main centre.

There seemed to be an elevated number of homeless people camped out around the hotel, as it is out of the way of the hustle and bustle. The hotel is located opposite Vancouver’s oldest sex shop (which may be your thing… just thought I’d mention it!)

Booking through Rocketmiles – 37,000 frequent flyer miles

We could’ve booked through Hotels.com or a similar website and earned a free nights reward, but instead we used a website called Rocketmiles, and because of which, earned 37,000 frequent flyer miles.

Rocketmiles is owned by hotel website Priceline and offers you anywhere from 500-10,000 airline miles per night on over 40 airlines by booking hotel rooms. You can credit miles to schemes including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, or you can select other rewards such as Amazon Gift Card or Uber credit.

It’s a great option for those looking to boost the points balance of their frequent flyer schemes. If you wanted to give RocketMiles a go, you can use my referral link to get a bonus 1,000 miles on your first booking.

When booking through Rocketmiles, it’s worth checking that the prices are competitive with other hotel websites, as sometimes the prices are inflated. You can use hotel comparison websites such as Trivago to check whether you’re getting the best price. When we looked however, the prices of the hotel we were looking at matched other sites.

For the money that we paid (and the 37,000 free miles), I don’t think it was a bad option, as some hotels were quoting £2,000+ for a week! If the hotel was just in a different place, perhaps nearer to the action, it would’ve been far better.

Vancouver Overview

Vancouver is a great city to visit. If you’re an outdoorsy person, there is plenty to do and its an easy city to get lost in with the many parks and outside spaces. If you prefer more inside activities, then it may not be for you – as the draw of the city is seeing the nature.

I personally feel that its a one-visit city… where there wouldn’t be much you haven’t done if you go back for a second time. I don’t think there is much we missed when in Vancouver, so won’t be rushing to return, however we had a very nice time while we were there.

Have you ever visited Vancouver? Do you want to visit now from reading this? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter @Jordon_Cox or on Facebook. See my other travel blogs.

Jordon Cox - The Coupon Kid - I earned a ‘free’ first class flight from one holiday booking

I earned a ‘free’ first class flight from one holiday booking

I’m an avid traveller, and until recently couldn’t get my head around using or collecting airline miles. But now, I realise the power that they hold, as after a little research and planning, I have enough frequent flyer miles for a free first class flight – all from one trip abroad.

My next flight will be in style, because in one holiday that I took with my mum last October, I earned a combined total of 97,000 frequent flyer miles… despite only making a journey of a few thousand. The total value of these? If used to get money off flights, probably around £900+… or if used to purchase a first class ticket (and avoid the £1,000s airlines normally charge), it’s probably around £2,000 in upgrades!

The way I did it was pretty simple. I didn’t take advantage of any special offers either, just knew the right places to book through and what credit card to spend on to max it… so you can do the same too with some forward planning!

Now before we go any further, this isn’t going to be a sure-fire way to get rich quick and jet off around the world in first class. The method I used required a lot of spending, and the reward flights that I’ve earned will require taxes to be paid on them. So bare that in mind. 

So here’s how I did it:

My mother and I were booking a mega trip abroad to both the USA and Canada for two weeks. This would require two different hotels, three flights and a lot of spending. By booking in the right places and using the right reward card, we managed to rack up 95,000 miles.

American Express Rewards Gold Card

Just before we made any purchases or booked anything, I applied for an AMEX preferred rewards gold card (see MSE’s eligibility checker to see if you’ll be accepted). When signing up to the card, you can claim 20,000 bonus reward points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months of membership. There is usually a £140 annual fee but it is waved for the first year (and you can cancel after that).

We knew we were going to spend that much between the two of us for the whole trip, so put every penny of spending on that card… and obviously paid it off IN FULL. Just by putting our spending on that card, we got 1 point for every pound spent, and got the 20,000 point bonus, meaning 22,000 AMEX membership reward points. This can be transferred to a number of different frequent flyer programs, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

The card has a few nice perks too, including membership to the Lounge Club, which gets you free airport lounge access the first time you use it, and a reduced rate for every other visit – which was handy on our travels!

Disclaimer: Please be careful when using credit cards not to overspend or get into debt. If you know that your spending may increase, then it may be worth thinking twice before applying.

How to earn bonus points

If you’re referred by a friend who is a cardholder when applying for the card, you can get a 2,000 point bonus (claiming 22,000 AMEX points when you reach the £2,000 spend). If you’d like a referral to claim the bonus, email me and i’ll send you a referral link!

You can also apply for the card through TopCashback, who offer you £10 Cashback after being accepted for the card. The cool thing is, you can convert this Cashback from TopCashback for frequent flyer miles too (either British Airways Avios or Virgin Frequent Flyer miles) with a 5% bonus. So you can either pocket £10 cash or collect 1,050 points.

When I signed up for the card, I was referred by a friend, which got me 24,000 points after completing the £2,000 spend.

Total so far: 24,000 points

Rocketmiles hotel bookings

We were visiting both Vancouver, British Columbia (see my city review) and Dallas, Texas for a week each, so needed two hotel bookings for the trip. We could’ve booked through Hotels.com or a similar website and earned a free nights reward, but instead we used a website called Rocketmiles, and because of which, earned 53,000 frequent flyer miles.

Rocketmiles is owned by hotel website Priceline and offers you anywhere from 500-10,000 airline miles per night on over 40 airlines by booking hotel rooms. You can credit miles to schemes including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, or you can select other rewards such as Amazon Gift Card or Uber credit.

After a quick search and choosing the best deal, our hotel in Vancouver cost us £800 for a week’s stay, and as a result we got 37,000 miles from the booking. Similarly in Dallas, our hotel cost us £800 for the week and we claimed a bonus 16,000 miles for that one. So just from booking two hotel rooms, we amassed an extra 53,000 miles, which you can assign to any frequent flyer program! That amount of miles, is enough to claim first class flights one way on a number of airlines (including Emirates First Class Suites) in itself!

It’s a great option for those looking to boost the points balance of their frequent flyer schemes. If you wanted to give RocketMiles a go, you can use my referral link to get a bonus 1,000 miles on your first booking.

When booking through Rocketmiles, it’s worth checking that the prices are competitive with other hotel websites, as sometimes the prices are inflated. You can use a hotel comparison website such as Trivago to check whether it is the best value. When we looked however, the prices of the hotel we were looking at matched other sites.

Total so far: 77,000 miles

Claiming miles on flight bookings

We needed to book three flights from London to Vancouver, Vancouver to Dallas, then Dallas to London. For the two flights in and out of London, we booked with the cheapest airline that we could get tickets for, which was British Airways. By signing up to the British Airways frequent flyer scheme beforehand, that gave us instant miles for flying with them. 

Then on the flight from Vancouver to Dallas, we booked with what’s known as a ‘One World Alliance partner’. Basically, British Airways and a lots of other airlines are partnered, meaning you can earn and redeem miles with the airlines they are partnered with. One of them is American Airlines, which we booked with for the internal flight.

In total, when the trip was over, we earned 10,000 miles EACH for flying with BA and its partner scheme (as you can input a frequent flyer number for each passenger). With the BA mileage scheme, you can transfer miles between accounts too, which meant we got 20,000 miles total all in one frequent flyer account. 

Total miles earned across the trip: 97,000

So after the whole trip, the total miles that we earned from spending on the right card and taking advantage of bonus point offers, was 97,000 miles. While you can choose which frequent flyer program you assign these miles to, we decided to go for Virgin Atlantic for the main 77,000 miles and the 20,000 extra British Airways Avios points from flying with them that trip.

What does 97,000 miles get you?

The 77,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles that we accrued is enough for return Economy flights for both me and my mum anywhere in the world (all we’d pay is the taxes). We could also get return premium economy flights for both of us for just the tax to certain destinations… or the big one… a ‘free’ first class flight to and from either India or the UAE, for just the tax.

Upon review, if I wanted to book a return first class flight to Dubai, it’d set me back £2,600+. But by accruing these miles on this one trip, the flight would only cost the tax, which is £514 (around the cost of a normal economy flight).

free first class flight with frequent flyer miles

Let’s not forget, I also have 20,000 British Airways miles to use too, which is enough for a return flight to most of mainland Europe, with just tax to pay. I’m not saving any money, as I would never dream of paying for first class flights normally, but the value of the miles means I’m getting over £2,000 in upgrades – and the chance to get waited on hand and foot, and even sleep on an airplane, which is something in my eyes, money can’t buy.

I thought it was a free first class flight?

You certainly can find free first class flights with that amount of points – with different frequent flyer schemes. Since redeeming the miles to my Virgin Atlantic account, I realise that those 97,000 miles could hold a potential to unlock a lot more value if I credited them to a different airline. Unfortunately if flying out of London, you pay an awful lot of tax in Air Passenger Duty, but there are ways to get your free first class flight (or pay less in taxes). 

In one of my next blogs, i’ll tell you all of the ways to max these miles by crediting them to different milage schemes. Some of the rewards can include:

  • Flying 18+ hours of business class on Japan Airlines for 25,000 miles and £20 in fees
  • Return First Class suites on Emirates for just 90,000 miles and £200
  • A multi business Class American adventure traveling to 3 different US cities for just 115,000 plus £50 in fees. 

Just goes to show the power of miles if you use them and rack them up when you are spending high and staying at different hotels.

If I do decide on a trip across to Dubai in first class, the process will be repeated, getting miles for the hotel booking on Rocketmiles and spending all costs on the AMEX card to convert into miles. Just a quick check tells me, I’ll earn around 25,000 miles on Rocketmiles for a cheap 4* hotel for a week’s stay. That itself is enough miles for yet another reward flight… so you can see how this can keep rolling if you are an avid traveller!

I can’t wait for my ‘free’ first class flight! Will you be trying this out? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @Jordon_Cox or on Facebook.

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Jordon Cox - Coupon Kid - Money Saving Tips Vouchers Coupons Bargains Public Speaker
About me

Hi there! I’m Jordon Cox, Britain’s Coupon Kid. On my blog you’ll find bargains, travel, my battle with Crohn’s disease and much more. Want to work with me, or say hi?

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