Posts Tagged With: Credit Card

Planning Vacation for Busy Professionals using miles and points

I have several folks who have subscribed to my Travel Coaching Service  and a lot of them are busy professionals such as Software Engineers, Scientists, Business Owners and more. Lets get it straight you could be a professional make a  good income but don’t you feel strapped with both budget and time  when it comes to taking vacation? I tell people for a quality vacation lets fix the money part first and time surprisingly always shows up. And weekend getaway does not have to be  a budget motel and eating food at a buffet restaurant.

JAL Check in

We are able to fly business class for almost pennies. This is before our JAL flight from Dallas-Tokyo for which I paid $100 per ticket and 55000 AA miles.

What Credits cards should busy professional sign-up for?

That’s a broad question and a lot depends on your personal travel goals. I’ve helped  doctors via my travel coaching program plan some fabulous getaways and listening to them made me realize they  work long-hours and  get time off typically when everything is expensive around Christmas, Spring breaks and summer vacations. I make them aware of different credit cards and how the bonuses work as most card require you to complete certain amount in minimum spend to attain the sign-up bonus.  Keep an eye for  limited time higher sign-up bonuses on credit cards and this is when you should jump on the offer as with several banks  especially American Express you can now earn the sign-up bonus once in lifetime.  However, other banks such as Citi and Chase allow you to earn sign-up bonuses on the same product more than once. Personally I signed up for the Chase British Airways Avios card in 2013 ago when they were offering a bonus offer of 100,000 British Airways Avios. I cancelled my British Airways card after 12 months and reapplied for it this year in January when similar offer of 100,000 (still active) popped up. Remember, I had to wait 18 months from the time of receiving bonus (and not cancellation) to qualify for  the bonus second time.

Its OK to have enough miles banked and use them at your disposal but remember award tickets are not always available at a short notice so best is to start early.

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We stayed five nights at an all-inclusive hotel In Jamaica and total cost out of pocket was under $300.

Here is a rundown of some of my favorite credit cards for this month and the bonuses and benefits attached to them.

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – 50,000 Bonus points after spending $4000 in three months. If you redeem these points via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal they are valued at $625 but I see best value in transferring them to United and fly one way Business Class to Europe. You now increased the value of the same 50,000 points to almost $2000. This card has no annual fees first year and the second year is $95. The UR points can be transferred to several airlines such as United, Southwest, British Airways so you will always find some availability to your choice of destination. Th e points can also be transferred to hotel programs such as Hyatt and IHG.
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I transferred my UR points to fly Business Class from Phi-Madrid

2. American Express SPG personal and Business Card – Both these card have an increases sign-up bonus of 35,000 points for a limited time and its the perfect time to get it as the bonus is at the highest its ever been. SPG points are really cool because you can use them to either stay at some fancy properties in Europe as what we did b staying at the Le Meridien Barcelona right in the heart of Las Ramblas. For a three night stay my out of  pocket expense was just a $100 which otherwise would have easily costed me $1000.

 

SPG points can also be transferred to other airlines and for every 20,000 SPG points you transfer you will earn 25,000 airline miles which is an amazing value.

3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – This is a very unique card. You will earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3000 in three months. Now the 40,000 miles are neither airlines miles or hotel points but they are what I call “flexible currency” or simply cash that can be redeemed for any sort of travel expense such as hotels, airline fees, baggage charges and many more. This is really awesome because even when you use miles and points to purchase airline tickets you still have to pay taxes but if the taxes are charged to this card you can redeem it as a travel expense. Also this card is great especially for last minute travel when you are unable to find miles and points redemption available. This card earn you 2X on all purchases everywhere plus you get 120 days to redeem a travel charge which is a a nice feature.

Capital one has the Venture Rewards card very similar to Barclay Arrival World Elite Mastercard so if a couple applies for both  the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and the Capital one Venture card they will earn almost $2000 in anyways travel money which is huge. Neither cards charge an annual fees the first year. I highly recommend this card for spontaneous vacation or to negate taxes and fees.

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At Ferrari World Abu Dabhi

Next Steps?

Well if you are busy then you should definitely consider enrolling in my Travel Coaching program for a small fees to learn insights of the reward programs. We will discuss a game-plan to get you to your next destination for almost pennies. This way you would not have to spend countless hours figuring out everything yourself and remember things change so fast in the world of miles and points and getting the right information is the key to save thousands of dollars.

Categories: Credit cards, Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How I booked Three Business Class tickets to Japan & India for just $150

Introduction

Lets get to the bottom-line. I booked three one-way business class tickets to Japan and on wards to India for a total of $150 (snapshot below of my wife’s CC bill shows three tickets purchased for $48.20 each) while using 70,000 American Airlines miles each way .

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$48.20 for each Business class ticket from USA to Japan and onward to India

The tickets usually sell retail at $4000 + each (snapshot below) so this was a great way to redeem miles and simply fly business class on an Amazing Japan Airlines product for just $50 a pop. Guess what at that price my 20 month old son had his own seat!!

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JAL Check in

Getting Spoiled at a young age

We thoroughly enjoyed the business class experience from the complimentary lounge access to the amazing food and staff of JAL airlines.

How can anyone do it?

That’s right anyone can do this kind of luxurious travel while paying pennies. I signed up for the AA executive credit card last year when the bonus was 100K AA miles. Citi at that time allowed multiple approval in span of 60 days for the same product and I quickly amassed a huge stash of AA miles (half a million to be precise). I offer free credit card consultation to anyone who is interested in traveling around the world for pennies like we’ve been now doing it for a long time. Feel Free to contact me over the website or by leaving a message below.

Fun In Japan

We stayed at the Hilton Narita Airport Hotel which has a free shuttle pick-up from the Airport every 30 minutes and transfer was very smooth. I used a total of 16000 Hilton points and ~9000 JPY (~$80 USD) total for a two night stay. You can sign-up for the Citi Hilton credit card to earn 60K Hilton points and a free silver status, although I recommend waiting to apply when the sign-up bonus is 80K.

Hilton stay

Zane loving hot dinner at the Hilton Narita after a long flight

We had free breakfast at Hilton due to Diamond Status with Hilton saving us several hundred dollars in meal expenses especially in a city like Tokyo were things can get expensive.

Hilton Bfast

My Hilton Diamond Status gets me free breakfast at Hilton’s worldwide

I booked a 6 hour  private Tokyo city tour  for USD $250 using the website toursbylocals.com and our tour guide Izumi was excellent and very friendly. I charged the $250 on my Capital one venture Credit card and was able to claim all of it as a Travel Credit. Capital One venture card comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Reward points which is good towards $400 in Travel related expenses and you earn 2X points on all purchases.

 

I am in absolute love with Japanese food and culture. Tokyo s very well connected via the subway system  and its very easy to around. The people are so friendly and humble. We visited the Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple and a bunch of shopping district for one-day we were there. Street food is inexpensive and extremely delicious.

 Conclusion

We had an amazing family trip to Japan flying Business class in Japan Airlines and staying at a nice hotel while paying pennies. I’d love to get you started on your travel journey and travel around the world as several of my friends, family and clients have been able to do it. Shoot me an email to get you started for an absolutely free consultation.

 

Categories: American Airlines, cheap travel, free travel, JAL AIrlines, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

City National Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card 100,000 Bonus Points – Best Credit card offer of the year?

The Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card from City National Bank will give you 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days, plus the $400 annual fee is waived for the first year.

The 100,000 bonus points can be used at a ratio of 1 cent per 1 point to book airline tickets, hotel stays, and more, so that’s the equivalent of a $1,000 bonus.

City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card

Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card Application Process

In order to apply for this credit card, you must fill out the downloaded Application Form and email it to Michael Thomas – Senior Relationship Banker (Michael.Thomas@cnb.com), including the completed application as well as your income verification, such as your W2 or tax return.

This is a bit more of a hassle than simply completing an online application, and the requirements may be a little more strict than your average credit card application, since they are being reviewed personally.

This application is for use until November 23, 2015, and after November 23, 2015, you must use the Personal Credit Card Application form, but it will probably be too late to qualify for the bonus points.

That’s because you must allow at least 7 days for processing your application request.

If additional information is needed, the processing of your application may take longer and delay the opening of your account.

If your account is opened after November 30, 2015, your account will not qualify for the 100,000 bonus points offer.

If you are approved for the Crystal Visa Infinite Card, to qualify and receive the 100,000 bonus points, your account must be opened between October 1, 2015, and November 30, 2015, and you must make net new purchases totaling $5,000 or more, which are posted to your account during the first 90 days following the date of account opening.

After qualifying, you must allow 4 to 6 weeks for the bonus points to be credited to your City National Rewards account.

The Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card is offered in City National Bank offices in the states of California, Georgia, Nevada, New York, and Tennessee, but it looks like this offer may be available nationally to anybody in the U.S. who submits an application as described above.

You can learn more about the card on this Credit Card Page and more about the rewards program on this Rewards Program Page for additional details.

I already applied for the card this afternoon and here is the reply from Michael –

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Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card Benefits

Airport Lounge Access

Through the Priority Pass Select program, up to 2 of the Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders and their accompanying guests have access to over 700 airport VIP lounges in more than 120 countries and 400 airports worldwide.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Use your Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card to travel the world and you won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees by us on your purchases.

Triple City National Rewards Points

Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on gasoline, airline, hotel, taxi, rental car, train, bus, restaurant, fast food, and takeout food dining purchases.

Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

There’s no annual cap on Points and Points do not expire as long as your account is open and the Rewards program has not ended.

Use City National Rewards Points to purchase airline tickets on most national and international carriers anytime, with no blackout dates.

Airline Incidental Fees Statement Credit

Receive a statement credit of up to $250 per card per calendar year for Qualifying Airline Purchases.

Global Entry Application Fee Statement Credit

Apply for Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program, using your Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card to pay your application fee and receive a $100 statement credit.

CLEAR Membership

Speed through select airport security lines at participating airports during designated hours when you enroll in CLEAR with a Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card.

Crystal Card Concierge

A 24/7 concierge at your fingertips. Receive customized assistance with airline, hotel and restaurant reservations and virtually any personal or business requests. To learn more about Crystal Card Concierge services, Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders may contact us at 800-595-8950 (U.S. and Canada) or 00-800-2797-825-1 (outside the U.S. and Canada).

The Broadway League

Purchase House Seats or Premium Seats available through The Broadway League for theatre shows on “Broadway” in New York City and shows on tour across North America. In addition to purchasing tickets, extra benefits may include backstage tours and “meet and greets” with performers for ticket holders. All ticket purchases and additional benefits are subject to availability.

Crystal Experiences

Crystal Experiences offer exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences not usually available to the general public. Receive special invites from City National Bank to theatre, music, sports and more. A limited quantity of tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection

A selection of superior properties – including brands like Peninsula, Park Hyatt, and Shangri-La – comprise the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection. From boutique gems to world famous resorts, each hotel is evaluated annually to help ensure it continues to meet the highest standards. The Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection delivers a premium collection of benefits, including a best available rate guarantee, complimentary continental breakfast daily, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and VIP amenities when available, VIP Guest status, and much more.

Visa Infinite Hotel Privileges

Enjoy special benefits from leading hotels, like a VIP welcome and complimentary breakfast at select properties with Relais & Chȃteaux, a prestigious association of approximately 500 luxury properties worldwide.

Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit

Save $100 on air travel when you use your Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card to book a qualifying U.S. domestic round-trip coach airline itinerary for 2 to 5 travelers through the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit website.

Visa Infinite Car Rental Privileges

Enjoy privileges, such as special discounts and upgrades, when you use your Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card to book with Avis, National and Silvercar.

Personal Identity Theft Protection15

Reimburses you for certain costs incurred in restoring your identity as a result of the theft or unauthorized or illegal use of your name or other personal identity information.

Card Alerts

Keep your Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card safer with City National Card Alerts. Receive timely updates on your credit card activity through text messages to your mobile device or by email.

Chip Technology

Also called EMV technology, this chip adds an extra level of security to your in-person transactions made at chip-enabled terminals by using dynamic encryption technology, making it more difficult for your card information to be duplicated or copied.

Family Card Functionality

Establish and manage individual spending limits and monitor transaction activity for each authorized user issued under your account.

$400 Annual Fee – Waived First Year

The Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card has a $400 annual fee.

However, there is no annual fee for the first year, as the annual fee is waived for the first year for new card members.

HT : Deltapoints

Categories: Credit cards | Tags: , | 5 Comments

CHASE INK PLUS OFFERING 60,000 BONUS POINTS and INK CASH $300 Bonus Cash back

As you may have seen, the Chase Ink cards have increased their sign-up offers today for a limited time.  Both of these cards have one of my very favorite bonus payouts for routine purchases at 5x points per dollar at office supply stores, on cellular phone charges, landline, internet and cable TV services (annual $25,000 5x max on the Cash version of the card, annual $50,000 5x max on the Plus version of the card).

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Ink-Cash-bonus

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card: Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Ink Plus Business Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5000 in the first 3 months, $95 annual fee

In my view, the main difference between the two cards (other than the sign-up bonus) is that the Ink Cash has no annual fee whereas the Ink Plus has a $95 annual fee.  Additionally, the points earned from the Ink Cash are transferable to Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline partners only if you also have the Ink Plus or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  If you do have one of those cards you can choose to use the $300 bonus cash back Ink Cash sign-up bonus as 30,000 points that you transfer to United, Hyatt, or your Ultimate Rewards partner of choice.

The most common sign-up bonus for the Ink Cash is 20,000 points while the most common sign-up bonus for the Ink Plus is 50,000 points, so this is a great time to pull the trigger on either if you want to get as many points for your sign-up bonus as possible.

Do keep in mind these are small business cards and that reports coming from those who have recently applied for Chase cards are that things are a bit tighter than they used to be.  That said, good luck if you choose to go for one of these cards – I know we love them both for their 5x bonus categories as well as of course for the increased sign-up bonuses!

Categories: Chase, Chase Ink, Credit cards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Five Minute Phone call saved me $89 in Annual Fees + Earned AA Bonus Miles

Introduction

Signing up for credit cards to earn huge miles and points is exciting as you earn lot of Free Travel but one big drawback with  is that they come with an annual fees. Most credit cards do not have annual fees the first year just like honeymoon where everything is rosey and fine!! It’s the second year you have to pull up your socks and call the bank to either cancel the card or negotiate the annual fees. You should not cancel too many credit cards after earning the bonus in the first year because bank does not consider you a lucrative customer and it may reduce your chances of getting approved for credit cards later, consider converting it to a no annual fee card. This may help you keep a healthy credit score by not lowering your average age of credit. If you have to absolutely cancel the card then make sure you transfer the credit card limit to another card from the same bank. This will help you keep a healthy credit.

cc fees

Carefully evaluate the benefits associated with the card and then make the decision. But hey the second year may not be necessarily that bad if you follow a few tips I’m about to share to negotiate credit card annual fees. Here is a transcript from my phone call this morning to Barclays to waive annual fees of the recently converted US Airways credit card to the AA Red Aviator Mastercard

My Call :

She – Hello, I am XYZ How can I help you?

Me – I just saw that my credit card was charged for the $89 annual fees. I am not too certain if I should keep the credit card and was hoping you could assist me in keeping this card by adjusting the annual fees.

She – Certainly, let me see what I can do. Can you please hold?

Me – Sure

After a minute silence

She – Sir, I will transfer you to a relationship manager who will assist you further

Me – OK, Thanks

Manager – Good Afternoon, Mr Desai How can I help you?

Me – The lady I was speaking with transferred me to you and she said you could help me waive off the annual fees on my credit card

Read carefully – I am putting words in his mouth. I pretended as if the lady who was helping me first had already agreed to waive off the annual fees and now the manager thinks I am speaking with him to seal the deal.

Manager – Sure Sir, I can waive off the annual fees for you. You should see  the refund on your annual fees in next 3-5 business days. Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Me – Great, Thanks (with a BIG HAPPY GRIN). Could you check if there are any bonus spending offer on my credit cards?

Manager – Let me check.

After a brief pause

Manager – Sir, I can offer you 15000 Bonus miles if you spend $500 each month for the next three months. Will you like to accept this offer

Me – With a much bigger smile – absolutely. Are there any other offers?

Manager- Yes, there is an additional offer where you can earn 2X miles up-to 1000 miles each month for the next three months when you shop for groceries, gas and utilities using your Aviator card. Will you like to accept this offer as well?

Me – The smile is getting even bigger – ABSOLUTELY.

Manager – Read some T&C

Me – Thanks appreciate your help and I hung up

Just after a 5 minute phone call not only I was able to keep the credit card open but have my annual fees of $89 waived and earned 15000 bonus AA miles after completing a simple spending offer.

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Bottomline :

By simply calling the bank I was able to get the $89 annual fees waived on the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard and was offered additional offers to earn 15,000 AA miles. My Indian genes probably played a big role in helping me waive off the annual fees. This may not work all the time but you should always call and check what banks can offer. Remember, it costs banks a lot more money to find new customers so you definitely have an upper-hand especially if you spent quite a bit on the credit card. But remember you need to call either before your annual fees is charged or the within a few days, dont procrastinate.

Here’s the rundown on the time banks will let you waive off the annual fees:

  • American Express – Can be waived for up to 1 billing period after the fee is assessed, and prorated on an 11 month basis after.
  • Bank of America – No set policy, though generally if you pay your balance off and close an account a fee waiver could be considered
  • Barclaycard – 60 days after the fee hits.
  • Chase – Many cards give you 60 days after the annual fee hits your account, which is often on the 1st of the month. There are some exceptions. United co-branded cards for example have a generous 180 days during which you can get the fee waived if you change products or cancel.
  • Citibank – 30 days after the statement with the fee is generated. After that it can be prorated based on what month you make your decision.
  • US Bank – 30 days after the charge is assessed.

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below — I’ll reply shortly — no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice

Categories: Credit cards, Miscellaneous | Tags: , | 3 Comments

British Airways 100,000 Avios Offer is back!!

British Airways 100K Offer

For a limited time you can really earn some big miles and use them for a lot of free travel. Chase has raised the offer to 100,000 Avios on the British Airways Visa Credit Card

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To receive the full 100,000 Avios bonus, there are three tiers of spending requirements to meet. You will receive 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 in 3 months, an additional 25,000 Avios if you spend $10,000 in 12 months, AND an additional 25,000 Avios if you spend $20,000 in 12 months. The annual fee is $95.

While I wish you could receive the full 100,000 with one simple minimum spend, it’s nice that you have 12 months to meet the 2nd and 3rd tiers. Even if you just committed to spending $10,000 in 12 months, you would receive 75,000 Avios. That’s a lot of Avios.

Can you apply? 

The terms on the application say that you’re eligible to apply and receive the bonus if you don’t currently hold the BA card, and it’s been 24 months from the last time you received a bonus on the card.

Note: If you don’t have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you may want to apply for it first, since it’s a harder card to get approved for now.

Other Benefits

You will earn 3x Avios per $1 on British Airways purchases and 1x on all other spending. There are no foreign transaction fees and it’s equipped with smart chip technology, so it’s good for international use. The British Airways card is also a Visa Signature card, which comes some sweet additional benefits likefree wine tastings.

If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on your British Airways Visa, you will receive the Travel Together Ticket. This ticket lets you bring a passenger on an award ticket for the Avios price of one, but you will still have to pay the fuel surcharges and fees.

Here are the full marketing details on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend $10,000 on purchases for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
  • Plus earn another 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend a total of $20,000 on purchases within your first year for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home.

Why I love Avios

It’s true that British Airways has recently devalued their award chart for premium cabin flights. That being said, I usually only burn my Avios for short haul flights. BA has a distance =-based chart, so short flights are a darn good deal.

I can fly Richmond to New York for only 4,500 Avios and $5. Or, I can fly to Chicago for 7,500 Avios. I’ve also used my Avios for cheap flights to Mexico from Miami for only 7,500 Avios and $25 one-way. So basically you could earn 20 one-way tickets from Richmond to NYC from just one credit card sign-up.

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Celebrating Babymoon in Cancun at Secrets Vine Resort. Thank you Avios Photo Courtesy : MonicaLopez Photography, Cancun

Avios are great for getting to Hawaii on Alaska or American airlines from the east coast. You book LAX to Maui for only 12,500 Avios and $25 one-way.

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Get to Hawaii for just 12,500 miles one-way from West coast

You can also get cheap flights to the Caribbean from the west coast with Avios. Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico is only 7,500 Avios and $5.

And don’t forget the popular Boston to Dublin route on Aer Lingus that’s only 25k Avios round-trip in economy.

If you do now worry about the heft Fuel surcharge that British Airways charges on Award tickets you can consider using you Avios and the companion ticket to fly First Class From North American to Europe. The fuel surcharge will run approximately $1000 per award ticket and you would also pay the same on the free companion ticket. So basically two tickets in Firts Class will cost you 120,000 Avios and $2000. If you are an expert manufacture spender you know the tricks to drop the cost of $2000 to almost half. You can fly hapily in the BA First class and enjoy loungs access and other goodies as my friend Steve and his family did on a recent trip to Italy

Bottomline

Chase has raised the offer to up to 100,000 Avios on the British Airways Visa card for a limited time. If you’re eligible for the card, it’s one that deserves consideration since Avios can be very valuable. They aren’t my favorite award points, but they are up there because of how practical they are. If this offer is right for you, the link to apply and view all the details is below. Remember, only apply for credit cards if your credit score is in good condition, and you’re comfortable with the minimum spending requirements.

Categories: British Airways, British Airways Avios, Chase, Credit cards | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Get 5 Hotel Nights + 50,000 Miles from Two Credit Cards

There is less than one week left for the temporarily increased 30,000 point sign-up bonuses for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex, and so to encourage those on the edge or planning a vacation I wanted to share what I think is potentially the very best use of those points in case it may help get your wheels turning on what you could do for your family.  Since we are firmly back in the “little kid” stage for many years to come, we are now focused on  easily attainable family-friendly options.

If you are in a similar position, or even in a totally different phase of life, the Starwood Nights and Flights program is something that might be the perfect way to cover a big chunk of hotel and airfare costs for your next vacation.

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SPG Award Nights and Airline Miles via Nights and Flights:

I think that SPG “Nights and Flights” is the most under-discussed gem of all SPG point redemption options.  Nights and Flights allow you to redeem SPG points for a combination of frequent flyer miles and hotel nights.  It’s kind of like a vacation package of sorts using points.  With Nights and Flights, you can redeem 60,000 SPG points for 50,000 airline miles plus five award nights at a Category 3 hotel or resort.  With Nights and Flights II, you can redeem 70,000 SPG points for 50,000 airline miles and five free nights at a Category 4 hotel or resort.  There are Category 4 hotels located in lots of great cities like: Scottsdale, Avon/Vail Valley, San Diego, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Asheville, Vancouver, Los Cabos, Kailua-Kona, Orlando (on Disney property), Sydney, and Hong Kong.

Let me put this deal another way…you can use the 70,000 points to not only get five free nights at a Category 4 hotel or resort (normally 10,000 points per night), but you also get 50,000 airline miles.  If the hotel you want is in the contiguous US or Canada, that means that you and your partner can use the 50,000 miles to each fly for free on saver award tickets on an airline like American Airlines, and then have five free hotel nights at your destination.  That is incredibly valuable from roughly just two credit card sign-ups!  I think this truly is the “hidden gem” of all SPG redemption options.

Get Over $2,200 in Hotels and Flights From Two Credit Cards:

As an example, if you have been looking to take your family to Disney World you can use SPG points to stay at the Walt Disney Swan or Walt Disney Dolphin Resorts that are located on Disney property and within walking or boat distance of both Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios.

dolphin-swan-hotels

Walt Disney Swan Dolphin

Via Nights and Flights you can stay at either of those resorts for five nights and then have 50,000 airline miles deposited into your airline account of choice with a program such as Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and more.  You can use the 50,000 airline miles for the same trip as your hotel redemption, or save them for whatever you want to use them on in the future.

I priced out a five night stay in a standard room at the Walt Disney World Swan (a Westin) from May 9 – May 14 2016, and the lowest price on the SPG website was a non-refundable stay that rang in at $1,740.  If you wanted a refundable reservation that would cost you $1,795.  Those are huge numbers!

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Airfare for those same dates on American Airlines from Houston to Orlando currently starts at $275 round trip each, so $550 for two people.  However, there is saver award availability for 25,000 miles each on American Airlines flights.

In this very random example, using 70,000 SPG points via Nights and Flights would save you over $2,100 in hotel and airfare costs for a Disney vacation!

How to Quickly Get 66,000 SPG Points:

To get these SPG points quickly, if you and your partner both get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex while the sign-up bonus is at 30,000 points (through 9/14/15), you would each have at least 33,000 SPG points after meeting the minimum spending requirement.  Since SPG allows you to combine points for free with anyone who shares your household address, you and your partner could easily have at least 66,000 SPG points just from each getting one credit card.  Earn just 4,000 more points between the two of you and you would have enough for five nights of hotel and 50,000 airline miles as described above thanks to Nights and Flights!

Note that Nights and Flights are only available for Category 3 and 4 hotels, they must be requested at least 14-30 days in advance (depending on the airline of choice), and the selected airline must have a 1:1 points transfer option from SPG.

Categories: American Express, Citi Credit Cards, SPG | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Amex Plantium 100k Signup Bonus Offer

The public offer for American Express Platinum card is 40,000 but using the below link in incognito mode on several browsers you should see the 100K offer after sending 3K in three months. This is a fantastic offer for the Platinum card with some awesome benefits and for a very low spending requirement. You can read all the benefits here.

Here is the link to the offer to apply for credit card – LINK

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You would have to refresh the window several times if you do not see the 100k Offer. I was able to see the offer on the first go every time in incognito mode. In the past offer has gone up as high as 150 K but I doubt it is ever coming back.

The Fine Print and benefits overview

  • Must spend $3,000 within 3 months
  • $450 annual fee, not waived the first year
  • $200 Airline credit every calendar year
  • $100 Global Fee Entry credit
  • Centurion Lounge access (They have awesome food and are one of the best lounges in the country although very limited locations)
  • Free Priority club Lounge access
  • Enjoy complimentary access to unlimited WiFi at more than a million hotspots worldwide via Boingo preferred plan
  • Automatic Starwood preferred guest Gold status – Welcome gift, Early check-in Late checkout and more….
  • There are several more benefits and you can read them all here 

My wife got approved for the card right away!!!! There is a lot you can do with 100 K Amex points and travel around in some business and first class using the points for almost free!!

Categories: American Express, Credit cards | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Why you could consider this no annual fee 0% APR credit card?

Introduction

You may not be looking to collect miles and points all the time but are often looking to make a big purchase while paying the lowest APR. Or are you already paying interest on credit card balances that you can’t pay off right away? I may have a solution for you to save lot of $$$ without worrying even about the annual fees. You can find this card and more here.

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The Scoop

While there are many other cards with 0% intro APRs, none can beat the length of Simplicity’s 21-month 0% intro APR nor can any other card match its no-fee policy.  Although I don’t recommend spending more than you can afford, Citi Simplicity can help with the purchases you need to make now but may not be able to pay for right away, allowing you to avoid any interest fees for 21 months. You can also transfer balances from other high interest rate cards onto Simplicity to eliminate interest you’re already paying for 21 months.

City SImplicity card is one of the best for saving money

In short, this is a great 0% intro APR card that could save you some serious money in interest and fees as well as give you the time to pay down your purchases and balance transfers. More strong features include the no late fees and no penalty rates. That means if you happen to be late on a monthly payment or two Citi Simplicity won’t charge you a late fee, and they won’t penalize you with a higher interest rate (of course, you’ll be paying 0% interest for the first 21 months, but after that time period you won’t be penalized with an increased interest rate). Plus there is no annual fee to worry about. Both these perks together, along with the 21-month 0% APR make this a standout card.

Although Citi Simplicity’s 21-month 0% intro APR is outstanding, if you are planning to transfer a balance from another card there is a 3% balance transfer fee to consider. This fee can add up, but for most people it’s worth it and they will still save money over the course of an interest-free 21 months (to see for sure check out this Balance Transfer Calculator)

Bottomline

Everything considered, Citi Simplicity is a terrific card to have in your wallet. This is particularly true if you are planning to make some large or small purchases and want the cushion of a 21-month 0% intro APR to help pay them off without paying any interest. It’s also a good choice if you’re carrying balances on high-interest credit cards and are looking for a solution to pay them down interest-free. Plus, Citi Simplicity has no annual fee as well as no late fees and no penalty rates. You can apply for this card by following the link here.

save money

Categories: Citi Simplicity, Credit cards, Save Money | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Easiest $600 I ever made and why everyone with a EXCELLENT credit should get this credit card

In my recent post I discussed my latest round of credit card applicationIt was my first ever credit card application with Capital one (would you believe it?) and I was instantaneously approved for their Capital one Spark Cash Business Credit card with a $15,000 limit that I believe is an absolute gem of a card to earn cash back. The current offer on this card is $500 cash back after you finish spending $4500 in three months. Here are some benefits of this card

  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Cash rewards don’t expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don’t expire

raining-moneyAs soon as I received my card in the mail I headed to Simon mall to purchase necessary gift cards and finish the minimum spending requirement and Hallelujah my bonus of $592.92 posted within 48 hours which is cool as I do not have to wait for my statement to close to receive the cash back bonus. The extra $92.92 on top of the $500 is from the 2% cash back on purchases I’ve made so far on this card. There is no limit to the cash back you can earn using this card.

The redemption process is also nice. Below is a snapshot of what it looks like –

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The big bonus from Capital one

cap one redepmtion

The redemption option are plentiful from gift cards to statement credit and more

cap gift card redempt

A lot of gift cards to choose from if that is your preferred choice.

I will be requesting a statement credit for the bonus I have earned so far (no particular reason) just to keep it simple and I have no need for gift cards.

I highly recommend if you have a business or even if you are planning to start a business you could easily qualify for this card (pending EXCELLENT CREDIT i.e typically credit score of 720 or higher). You also do not need an Employee Identification number (EIN) while applying (although it’s better if you have one) and can enter SSN instead of EIN while completing the application. I know some readers got approved for this card by using their SSN. But applying for EIN is free and can be done at the IRS website here. – LINK.

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Establishing a good credit score is the key to earn travel and cash rewards

If you have a score below 720 I do not recommend applying for this card but always use your best judgement. Here are some other credit cards that are offering bonus cash back

  •  Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card – $100 cash back after you spend $500 in three months
  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card – $100 cash back after you spend $500 in three months
  • MLB® BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ MasterCard® Credit Card – $100 cash back after you spend $500 in three months
  • Upromise World MasterCard® – $50 cash back after you spend $500 in three month. Also, earn up to 10% cash back on eligible purchases at participating online shopping and travel partners through Upromise.com
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – $150 cash back after you spend $1000 in three monhs. Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – $150 cash back after you spend $1000 in three months
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card  – $100 cash back after you spend $500 in three months.

    Also, 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined net purchases each quarter on two categories you choose,2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category (like gas or groceries) and 1% cash back on everything else

  • NFL Extra Points Credit Card  – Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, enough to redeem for a $100 cash back statement credit
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening – redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards
  • Chase Freedom® – Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months
  • Ink Cash® Business Credit Card – Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card details – Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening – redeemable for $500 in gift cards, $625 for airfare
  • Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business – $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business details – 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more
  • Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business details – 500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months (The one I applied for). Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day
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Categories: Capital one, Cashback, Credit cards | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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