Frontier Airlines Unveils $399 All-You-Can-Fly Summer Pass

Frontier Airlines just unveiled a new summer pass that gets you unlimited flights from May to September for only $399.

It’s called the GoWild! Summer Pass. But if you want one, you’ll need to act quickly.

There are a limited number of passes available at the $399 introductory rate, and they’re available only for a limited time, Frontier says. The airline’s website indicates the regular retail price for the pass will be $999.

With the pass, you can fly as often as you like from May 2 to Sept. 30 (other than about a dozen blackout dates that are listed online). Given that five-month time span, students and teachers and vacationing families might be especially interested in the deal.

Of course, you also have to be willing to fly Frontier, which is an ultra-low-cost carrier. Frontier draws its share of complaints about service, and it charges extra fees for everything from beverages to carry-on bags and assigned seats.

Not only that, but Frontier recently got rid of its customer service call line and switched to a messaging-based system, annoying some passengers. So have fun with that.

Still, 400 bucks for unlimited flights, even if it’s on a budget carrier — that’s a deal, especially if you’re looking to fly a lot.

No other U.S. airline currently has an all-you-can-fly deal. JetBlue used to have an “All You Can Jet” pass that lasted a month, but the airline no longer offers that except as a prize in promotional contests.

Pro Tip

When is the best time to snag the best deals on airfare? One study says it’s 76 days before your departure date.

What Does ‘Available for a Limited Time’ Mean?

So what does Frontier mean when it says $399 is an “introductory rate,” available only for a limited time?

We have an example of what that means.

In November, Frontier announced an all-you-can-fly pass for 2023. Called the GoWild! Pass, the annual pass launched at a price of $599. Within just a few weeks, the price went up to $799. Now the price is $1,299 for a one-year flying pass, with a year of unlimited flights starting on May 2.

‘A Truly Epic Summer’

The GoWild! Summer Pass can’t be transferred to another person. Also, this is important — unless you cancel after the summer, it will automatically renew for next summer, probably for the regular retail rate of $999.

Each flight costs 1 cent, plus any taxes and extra fees, like for checked bags, carry-on bags or specific seats on the plane.

“For people with flexible schedules, this is a terrific opportunity to have a truly epic summer and then some, soaking up rays on the beach, exploring national parks and visiting new cities,” said Daniel Shurz, a senior VP for Frontier.

Based in Denver, Frontier is a budget carrier that flies to more than 100 cities. This summer, it’ll add new nonstop routes from five mainland U.S. cities to Puerto Rico.

Remember, the $399 summer passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you’re interested in this deal, it’s best not to dawdle.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Its a Good Time to Walk Dogs for Money Thanks to Pandemic Pups

Break out the leashes and the poop bags! There’s never been a better time to be a dog walker.

Who says so? Well, The New York Times says so. It just ran an article about professional dog walkers in Manhattan who are making more than $100,000 a year.

And, sure, most of us don’t live in Manhattan, and most dog walkers don’t really earn six-figure salaries. But this is still a lucrative time to walk dogs for a living, either full time or as a side gig. And it’s all because of the pandemic puppies.

Pandemic pups? Yup. During the quarantine conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we as a collective nation were all stuck at home, more than 23 million American households acquired a dog or a cat, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

That’s nearly 1 in 5 households! That’s tens of millions of new pets that need tending to, every single day. “With many Americans back in the office, somebody has to walk all those pandemic puppies,” the Times pointed out.

You spend a lot of money on your pets. Maybe it’s time they return the favor. PetSmart is seeking a dog or cat to be its “chief toy tester.” The gig pays $10,000.

How to Get Started as a Dog Walker

Sounds great, right? Lots of fresh air and exercise and dogs, what could be better? But how can you set yourself up for success?

You could get started the old-fashioned way: Tell all your friends and neighbors, then put up some handmade leaflets in strategic spots around your town. Post it on Craigslist and announce it on all your social media profiles, too.

These days, though, most beginning dog walkers are finding work on apps.

The rise in dog walking as a job or side gig can be partly attributed to the rise of dog-walking and pet-sitting apps that have hit the market in recent years, modernizing this whole process. The most popular ones are Rover and Wag, which were founded in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Here’s our article comparing the two, plus a few similar apps.

These apps are sort of like Uber for dog walking in that you take requests in your area. Depending on where you live, you can accept dog walks that are ASAP, meaning you need to arrive for the walk within a certain period of time, or you can accept a walk that’s scheduled for a later time.

You also post your availability for dog walking gigs in your area. Dog owners near you can look at your profile, your prices and your availability, then book a walk with you through the app. So you’ll want to make sure your profile looks inviting and features photos of you interacting with pets.

If you hit it off with a pup and its owner, you can schedule ongoing walks with the same client.

You have to be 18. Both apps do a basic criminal background check.

And if you’re finding dog walking appointments hard to come by, you might branch out into pet sitting or even pet boarding. Both apps offer that.

These are the 29 best side hustles to help you make more money. (And, yes, pet sitting made our list.)

How Much Does a Dog Walker Make?

There’s not a simple answer to this question. Pay rates are all over the map, and your total earnings will depend on how aggressive you are about seeking out work and what kind of services you offer.

According to Rover, here are the average prices for each service:

  • Dog walking: $20 a walk
  • Drop-in visits: $20 a day
  • Doggy day care: $35 a visit
  • Overnight boarding or sitting: $40 a night

A search on Rover in our city found dog walkers charging $15 to $25 per walk.

“Many sitters on Rover use the platform as a traditional side gig, taking care of pets for extra income,” Rover trends expert Kate Jaffe told The Penny Hoarder. “We make it easy to manage their business, whether they work full time and want to dog sit on the side, or they’re a student looking for flexible work, or a retiree who wants to stay active and avoid dipping into their retirement savings.”

Not sure how much to charge? Look at what other people in your area are charging. If you’re just starting out, set your rates on the low end while you work to build up your clientele.

For example, Wag allows you to set rates for 20-, 30- and 60-minute walks, and it shows you a range of what the average walker in your area is charging.

Once you set your rates, your clients pay your rate plus a 20% fee to Rover or a 40% fee to Wag.

Pet sitting and pet boarding gigs typically pay more than dog walking because they require more than a brief commitment of your time.

“Given the duration of most overnight care (boarding and sitting) requests, these tend to be the most lucrative,” said Kaitie Edel, senior marketing manager for Wag. “Becoming a pet parent’s preferred caregiver or accepting a recurring request can also be very lucrative, given the long-term relationship it creates.”

In short, you’re probably not going to earn more than $100,000 a year like a professional Manhattan dog walker who caters exclusively to the rich elite.

But all those pandemic puppies need to be walked, and someone has to walk them.

If you’re looking for extra cash, it could be you.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

With Pharmacies Cutting Hours, Should You Fill Meds Online?

Picking up your prescriptions might get a little trickier soon because the nation’s biggest pharmacy chains are cutting back their hours.

CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid have each announced plans to scale back their pharmacies’ operating hours because there’s an ongoing shortage of pharmacists.

Depending on where you live and how much flexibility you have to pick up your meds, this might become a problem for you. If it does, just know that you have other options.

Online pharmacies are becoming increasingly popular, and they’ll ship your medications right to you — although this option isn’t for everyone. Here’s an article looking at the pros and cons of online pharmacies and comparing six of the most popular ones. We’ll summarize its findings a little lower.

What’s Going On With Pharmacies?

The big brick-and-mortar drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens are having a tough time keeping their pharmacies open as long as they’d like to. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening.

  • CVS, America’s largest drugstore chain by revenue, plans to cut hours at two-thirds of its 9,000 locations by March. The new hours of operation at those pharmacies will vary.
  • Walgreens, which includes the chain Duane Reade, announced in December it was cutting hours due to labor shortages. (So did Rite Aid.)
  • Walmart plans to change pharmacy closing hours from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m. at most of its 4,600 stores in March.

These three chains operate nearly 24,000 pharmacies across the country, so it’s a big deal when they make a change like this.

This is happening due to a shortage of pharmacists. There’s a self-perpetuating cycle where a shortage of pharmacists leads to stressful job environments for pharmacists, which contributes to burnout and more pharmacists quitting their jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts about 13,600 job openings for pharmacists per year over the next decade, to replace pharmacists who are either retiring or leaving the field to pursue different careers.

It’s not just the big chains that are affected. Three out of four independent pharmacies are struggling to fill open positions, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association.

The Pros and Cons of Online Pharmacies

So what does this mean for you? It means it might get a little trickier to pick up your meds when you need them.

If you’re thinking about switching to an online pharmacy instead of a brick-and-mortar location, here’s what you need to know. Here’s a deep dive into the subject, and here it is summarized:

Pros of Online Pharmacies

Pricing and home delivery are the main benefits.

Shopping around: It’s easy to find the best deal. With options from companies like Walgreens, Amazon and Express Scripts, you can quickly check the prices and availability of your prescribed medications.

Saving money: Online pharmacies are sometimes cheaper than in-person pharmacies, too.

Delivery: Your prescriptions are shipped directly to your home. Many online pharmacies even have free shipping and free auto-refills with a script from your doctor.

With Amazon’s new service RxPass, Prime members can pay $5 a month for as many eligible generic meds as they need and have them delivered for free.

Cons of Online Pharmacies

As great as online pharmacies can be, there are some drawbacks.

Consultations: You may not be able to consult with a pharmacist about your medication in real time. Some online pharmacies offer live chats or the ability to call in to a trained pharmacy professional, but some don’t.

Generics: They may swap your brand-name medication for a generic one without you knowing. In-store pharmacies do this, too, but it’s easier to correct them if you want to.

Insurance: Some online pharmacies require you to have specific insurance coverage that partners with them.

Here’s that comparison of six popular online pharmacies.

Before you go digital with your prescriptions, there’s some food for thought. At least you wouldn’t have to worry about whether the pharmacy will be open.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Here’s How to Avoid the Mail Delivery Scam I Fell for

Don’t be like me. Don’t be dumb.

I feel like a fool. After years of occasionally writing articles about scams and fraud, I fell for a simple phishing scam on my cell phone. I gave up my debit card information to a scammer — possibly one based in the tiny European nation of Montenegro.

It happened like this: Two days after I mailed a package, I got a text message saying the package was undeliverable. A link took me to an official-looking Postal Service website where I was prompted to enter a card number to “re-mail” the package.

I typed in my personal financial information, even though in retrospect I obviously should have known better.

This experience left me with two burning questions:

  1. How did these scammers know I had sent a package in the mail?
  2. Is this something that other people should be worried about? How should they handle it?

So I spoke with a bunch of online security experts. They disagreed about whether the scammers actually knew I had mailed a package.

But they all agreed on one thing: This kind of phone texting scam is becoming increasingly common. People need to watch out, the experts say, because the problem is only likely to get worse.

Unfortunately, phishing scams aren’t the only scams out there. Mystery shopper scams are a thing, too. Here’s how to avoid them.

How the Scam Worked

This was a classic phishing attack.

“Phishing” is when someone poses as a reputable company or organization to get your personal information. They might pretend to be from your bank, or the government or a business you’ve dealt with before. They might ask you for your bank account number, Social Security number, passwords and other information that legitimate companies never ask for.

Here’s how the attack on me unfolded:

I recently mailed a package via the U.S. Postal Service. The important thing to know here is that I almost never do this. I rarely mail packages to people, but this was a special occasion.

Only two days later I got the following text: “[.USPS.] Your package is undeliverable, the address on file did not match the zip code, please update the address.”

Well! I stupidly clicked on the link provided, which brought me to a website that absolutely looked like an official U.S. Postal Service website. To “re-mail” my package, I typed in my debit card number, expiration date and three-digit verification number.

In my defense, I was a little tired and preoccupied at the time, so clearly I didn’t think this through. And I had been a little worried about the package I mailed, because it was important.

That’s why I missed a number of totally obvious red flags — such as the fact that this supposed “U.S. Postal Service” website I visited had an IP address ending in “.me,” which is the internet domain for Montenegro. It’s a smallish European country that’s next to Serbia and Kosovo, north of Greece.

Once I realized my mistake, I immediately called my bank and canceled my debit card before some scammer in the Balkans could use my information to drain my bank account.

Right now I have no debit card, which is inconvenient. But here’s what’s really bothering me: How did the scammers know I had mailed a package? I decided to ask some online security experts, including engineers, bank executives and attorneys who specialize in this kind of thing.

Rental scams are on the rise, too. Here’s how to spot a scam and keep yourself safe.

What the Experts Are Saying

“Mail delivery scams start with a seemingly official email or text about a package you’ve sent or a package being ‘sent’ to you,” said Washington, D.C., attorney Allan M. Siegel. “These texts or emails often urge you to click on a link to update personal information or payment methods.”

Siegel suspects a scammer got my phone number from “bots” located across millions of websites, and cross-referenced it with shipping data.

Martin Gasparian, an attorney in central California, agreed:

“Your data was likely taken by bots that prowl millions of sites on the internet,” he said. “In this case, your email or phone number was likely used on an official shipping website but was taken and used by scammers.”

How?

“There are several ways for someone to get access to your USPS package information,” said network security engineer Andreas Grant, founder of security company Networks Hardware. “The most common one would be to get their hands on your package tracking information. A package travels a long way before reaching the destination, so a lot of people can be a suspect here.”

However, other security experts suspect that the scam text I got was probably a lucky guess by the scammer, not the product of inside information.

“It’s likely they had no way of knowing you were expecting a package. Instead, they will have sent exactly the same message to possibly millions of people,” said Colin Palfrey, chief marketing officer of the personal finance management company Crediful.

Chris Drake, a telecom security expert who’s the chief technology officer for a communications company called iconectiv, agreed:

“It is much more likely that they do not really know you are waiting for a package and instead they sent out a million of these and waited for responses.”

Here’s one thing all these experts agree on: These types of scams are becoming more and more common.

“People managing online shipping accounts need to be vigilant, as these scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect,” warned Ben Michael, an attorney with Michael & Associates in Austin, Texas.

Tips for How to Protect Yourself

Again, don’t be like me. Pay close attention to every word in a text before you respond to it.

Here are tips from our experts and the Federal Trade Commission about how to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited messages, as they may lead to phishing websites.
  • Be aware of red flags, such as poor grammar and spelling, and unfamiliar internet domains.
  • “Anytime you receive a text or email that asks you to reconfirm or reenter your credit card information, check the message carefully,” said Grant, the network security engineer. “Watch out for spelling errors in the URL, as scammers often use a slightly misspelled version of the original domain name.”
  • Keep in mind that scammers want you to act now. That’s a dead giveaway. What’s the rush? It’s because they’re trying to con you into sending money before you find out who’s really on the other end. Resist the pressure to act immediately.

What to Do if You Sent Money to a Scammer

Here’s The Penny Hoarder’s step-by-step guide for what to do if you’ve been scammed. And here’s the gist:

  • Lock down your bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus.
  • Change your passwords.
  • Report the crime to your local police department, state regulators and the FBI.

Again, don’t be like me. Pay close attention. Don’t get fooled.

The scammers are more active than ever, and they’re not going anywhere. Use your head, keep your eyes open, and watch your back.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Get Your Pet a $10,000 Job as PetSmart’s ‘Chief Toy Tester’

Does your dog love to play tug of war? Is he really into chasing a ball? Does he always go after the squeakers in his chew toys?

If you have a dog or cat that loves toys, we’ve found a lucrative job opportunity for your pet.

PetSmart is looking for one dog and one cat to take on the job of “chief toy tester” for its 1,660-store chain of pet supply shops. Each pet — and its human parents — will get paid $10,000 for a year of testing out toys and treats.

(It’s about time Fido and Simba started carrying their weight financially, don’t you think?)

Specifically, PetSmart is looking for a photogenic, friendly, sociable dog and cat to serve as brand ambassadors on social media.

During their year on the job, the canine and feline chief toy testers will be expected to participate in product unboxing videos for pet toys and treats — once per quarter, for a total of four videos. They’ll also appear at a variety of PetSmart events as a celebrity VIP (Very Important Pet).

They’ll also get quarterly salon treatments, or “spaw days,” at their local PetSmart.

Meanwhile, the pet’s human parents will be expected to capture compelling video footage of all this for social media. They’ll also need to commit to a yearlong contract on behalf of Rover or Fluffy.

We love our pets, but taking care of them can be expensive. Here are three money moves every pet owner should make (without redoing your budget).

How to Apply

To apply on behalf of your pet, go to AnythingForPets.com to fill out an application by Feb. 17. You’ll be required to submit a 10- to 30-second video of your dog or cat, showcasing your furry friend’s winning personality.

“Pet parents are encouraged to think creatively with their submission — whether it’s their cat strutting the catwalk in the latest fashion, pups having a ball with their new toys, or pets showing off their skills when the zoomies hit,” PetSmart says.

You’re required to have public Instagram and TikTok accounts, and you’re encouraged to have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

You’ll also upload a photo of your pet, and you’ll write a review of your pet’s favorite toy in 200 words or fewer. Because with this gig, it’s all about the pet toys.

“We are recruiting two playful and eager team members to bring into our PetSmart pack as the first-ever chief toy testers,” said Will Smith, the company’s chief marketing officer. “These C-suite pets will let pet parents know they are getting the best tried-and-true products for their beloved furry family members.”

You spend a lot on Sparky and Muffin. Let’s see if they can earn you some money for a change!

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.