Alaska AirlinesAmerican AirlinesCLEAR

Traveling During COVID-19

Traveling during the pandemic, and whether or not you should consider it, has become a polarizing issue. On one end of the argument, are the scientists attempting to curb the spread; on the other end are the professionals whose livelihoods depend on people traveling. This dichotomy is strikingly pervasive throughout most industries in the country these days. Unfortunately, after over four months under the same roof, my wife needed to return to Nashville from the Bay Area in July. This provided us with a glimpse into the current conditions of air travel and ground transportation; all photo credits to her. Purchasing Tickets The earliest sign of change that we experienced was the lack of nonstop tickets. In fact, there were zero nonstop flights between the Bay Area (SFO, OAK, SJC)...

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Alaska AirlinesBoA Alaska Air Visa

Alaska Airlines Introduces Promotional Perks

If you fly Alaska, this post is for you. Alaska has already extended elite status for existing customers through 2021. But if you're looking to earn elite status, or improve your current tier, you now have options! For those of you traveling, Alaska is offering a 50% bonus on elite qualifying miles through the end of 2020. That means rather than needing to fly 20,000 miles to earn MVP status, you now only need to fly 13,334. In addition, one of the most disappointing credit cards on the market, the Alaska Airlines Visa from Bank of America, now offers some valuable perks; albeit temporarily. From now until September 30, 2020, you will earn 2,500 elite qualifying miles for every $5,000 you spend on the card (limit 10,000 miles). That means if you spend $20,000 on your card (yes,...

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AMEX Green CardAMEX Hilton AspireAMEX PlatinumCash BackCredit CardsDiningPerksRideshare Apps

COVID-19: AMEX is Adapting

AMEX card holders like to travel. While there are exceptions to everything, the cards offered by American Express, especially their top-tier cards, offer incentives and perks to those who travel often. You know what people are not doing during COVID-19? Traveling often. In response, American Express has been the front runner in adaptation. The shared goal here is to provide value where it may not otherwise exist without travel. If you can make use of the credits below, you'll stand to earn over $1,000 in statement credits this quarter. Platinum Card AMEX has introduced a pair of statement credits beginning May 1 and lasting through December 2020. First, a $20 monthly statement credit on streaming services (think Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) as well as an additional $20 month...

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AMEX PlatinumChase Sapphire Reserve

An Uncertain Future

I write to you today from my home office where, like many of you, I have spent nearly all of my time for the better part of two months. COVID-19 has presented us with an unprecedented situation flanked with uncertainty, conflict and somehow, even political ramifications. I find myself trapped in a new reality, somewhere between a prison sentence and a busy day at work that hasn't quite ended. Having previously flown on a plane once every five days, and with a lifestyle that ensures I don't spend my weekends in my home, the transition to spending nearly all of a day's hours in my apartment has been noticeable. While we have taken to virtual game nights, dinners on the balcony and socially distant exercise circuits, the travel industry has worked to modify their normal operations as ...

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Credit CardsPerks

The Importance of Being Debt Free

In 2017, after four aggressive years of payments and intentional lifestyle choices, my wife and I became debt free. Student loans, car payments, credit card bills, paid. It was the happiest day of our lives since the wedding. It was a long four years between realizing our mutual objective, to be financially free from the burden of debt, and hitting that milestone. We became very creative grocery shoppers; we developed a weekly date night that didn't involve spending any money; we even found this whole credit card points hobby of ours. Getting out from under the "normal" way of life, to live with debt, was a triumphant moment for us, and was the culmination of life lessons that we'll keep with us for the rest of our lives. I find that this is an important reflection to make as I cont...

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Credit Cards

Getting Started: Your First Card

Make Me a Promise Congratulations on deciding to establish your first credit card account and improve your credit score with that account diversification! Before you get started, make me a promise: You will pay off that card 100% in full every month without fail. The world of credit card rewards is fruitful, but only for those that never carry a balance. One reason banks can afford to offer such lucrative rewards is because of the folks who rack up big balances that they cannot pay. Don't start using a credit card today if you can't pay it off tomorrow; do not spend money you do not have. Set It and Forget It Whether you charge $1.00/month and pay it in full, or $10,000/month and pay it in full, you will be just as successful in the eyes of the credit bureaus when it comes to on-...

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AMEX PlatinumChase Sapphire ReserveCredit CardsDiningPerksPriority PassRental CarsRideshare AppsTravel

Chase Sapphire Reserve Announces Changes

In January, Chase announced the first-ever changes to its Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card since it premiered a few years ago. The CSR is the most competitive alternative to American Express' premium cards offering similar benefits for travelers who seek a mix between luxury travel and dining perks. The Original Benefits The Chase Sapphire Reserve card generally offers: $300 in travel reimbursement (airlines, hotels, etc.)6% back on dining and travelPriority Pass Membership (airport lounges)Primary Rental Car Insurance (the only card that offers this) This, in exchange for a $450 annual fee. I've told you before that the only reason we carry this card is for the rental car insurance which (at a rate of $12.50/month after credits), is a policy I'm happy to pay for. The Added Bene...

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AirlinesAMEX Gold CardAMEX Green CardAMEX Hilton AspireAMEX PlatinumBarclay Uber VisaBoA Alaska Air VisaChase Hyatt VisaChase Sapphire ReserveCredit Cards

2019 Rewards in Review

Another Year Gone Now completing our third full year of credit card reward management, the hobby continues to be a lucrative one for us. As always, the tricks to success are as follows: Always pay your balance in full each month and never carry debt on your cards month to monthUse cards that provide the highest rewards on spending you do alreadyTake advantage of sign up bonuses and promotions throughout the year 7X Return on Investment By budgeting $206/month for travel, and using it to pay for the annual fees on our credit cards in 2019, our monthly vacation budget became worth seven-times that: $1,459/month. From an annual standpoint, we redeemed rewards valued at over $17,511 in 2019! AMEX Membership Rewards (above) are earned by the AMEX Platinum, Gold and Green car...

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AirlinesAlaska AirlinesAMEX PlatinumUnited Airlines

Dumped by Alaska

It's been a while since my last ugly breakup, and I'm sorry to say the clock reset on August 29th. Yes, my partner of a year, who would often treat me to sweet surprises and gifts, who carried me between destinations, and who always responded to my tweets, dumped me; in an email no less! Don't worry, my wife and I are as happy as ever. Alaska Airlines discontinued their service between SFO and BNA effective November 1, 2019. As you may be aware, I fly around 40 of these segments annually so the news was horrific. Since this route represented a majority of my air travel, losing the route was devastating to both my elite status and upcoming itineraries. The Route Was Doomed Having flown 28 segments in or out of Nashville in the last year, I have been cognizant of the shortcoming...

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AMEX Gold CardAMEX Green CardAMEX PlatinumCLEARCredit CardsLoungesPerksRental CarsTravel

The Revamped AMEX Green Card

On October 24, American Express finally announced their release of a revamped Green card. Easily among the most iconic cards in American Express’ history, the new card carries a refreshed look, new benefits, and is made from recycled plastic; a play on the “green” component of the card itself. This card complements the benefits offered by the Gold and Platinum cards, and offers an overlap benefit with the Gold card when it comes to dining for those that don’t need the groceries reward. The Green Card carries an annual fee of $150, but issues $200 in annual credits, $100 in additional annual credits in the first year, and a reward bonus between 30,000-45,000 membership reward points (worth $600-900 when considering the $0.02/point valuation) making it a no-brainer to try out for the ...

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