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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 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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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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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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JSX Review: The Private Jet Experience

You only live once, and sometimes you have to cross an item off of your bucket list. That's why last month, I flew on a private jet to Las Vegas for the weekend. JSX is a revolutionary product in the air-travel market offering a "private jet" experience for 30 customers at a time. With service between a dozen cities including Seattle, Oakland, Las Vegas and Phoenix, you can take your next flight without setting foot in a major airport. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=58&v=fAwxRsZbJas JSX's Promotional Advertisement The Perks The benefits of a private jet experience over a major carrier may seem obvious, but here's how JSX will summarize them: Comfortable leather seatsBusiness class legroomPower outlets at every rowFull flight attendant serviceComplimentary ...

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London + Paris on Points!

Earlier this year, my wife asked me to keep an eye out for any opportunities for us to visit Europe in May 2020 to celebrate her milestone birthday. Accordingly, I tracked trends, and continued to save our points while I waited for a deal. Our primary cards are the American Express Platinum, Gold and Blue Business Plus which means when we earn 4-10% back on our purchases, we earn those rewards in the form of American Express points (valued by TPG at $0.02/each). One of the things I like about these points, is the Point Transfer travel partners that allow you to convert your American Express points into various brands such as hotel points with Hilton or Marriott; or to airline miles with over a dozen airlines including Delta, Flying Blue (Air France, KLM), Hawaiian, Emirates and more. ...

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Shopping with Points

Earning and collecting points with your credit cards can be a fruitful activity when done well. It may require a spreadsheet or two, but by being diligent and intentional with your method of payment, the money you are spending each year could earn you thousands of dollars worth of rewards! But when it comes to redeeming your points, you must be careful. All points cards offer a myriad of options for redemption, but just because you have options, doesn't mean you should use them. Take for instance the American Express Shopping portal. Your hard-earned points can be used to buy things on Amazon, purchase gift cards, pay your bill and more. But the only option that will help you earn the full potential of your points, is to transfer them to a travel partner. Just because you have op...

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Benefits of MVP Gold

As you know, I visit my wife who is pursuing her career in Nashville twice a month. So when I myself chased a career opportunity out of state, I was faced with an overwhelming amount of useless pre-booked flights. Luckily, I was able to take advantage of my MVP Gold status with Alaska Airlines to solve that problem. Logistics Regardless of your Elite status, Alaska allows you to cancel and change flights online without speaking to a representative. However, some of my itineraries were complicated in nature (I had used companion fares and needed partial rather than full changes), so I opted to call the MVP Gold line for assistance. The team was great to work with, and in no time, my 16 flights were cancelled or changed accordingly with the refunds deposited as a credit to my Alaska ...

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The AMEX Power Couple

If you're like me, you have a credit card for each facet of your annual budget because the value is just too good to pass up. That said, for many of my accounts, the physical cards themselves have been locked in the safe for years since they are simply on record with my merchant of choice. That's because when it comes to what cards you carry with you in your wallet each day, it is important to keep it simple. So today, I'm here to tell you why two, yes two, premium credit cards may be the perfect arsenal for your daily spending: The AMEX Power Couple - Gold and Platinum cards. Costs Incurred Let's get this out of the way because it is the hardest to stomach. The annual fee on the Gold card is $250; the Platinum is $550. Yes, that's $800 in annual fees. But keep reading: There are th...

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Why Have the Alaska Card?

If you have taken a flight with Alaska Airlines recently, you have heard about the Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card from Bank of America. Flight attendants, who receive a commission if you apply on-board, will tell you about the exclusive and remarkable benefits available to cardholders, and their inflight entertainment systems even now include commercials advertising the card too. What is the Card? The card itself is one of the most basic on the market. The annual fee is $75.00/year, it earns 3x Alaska Miles on money spent with Alaska and one mile for everything else. Notably however, the card offers a Companion Fare benefit that permits you to add a second ticket to your Alaska reservation for just $121 (taxes and fees) once a year. Should I Use It Everywhere? No!! It ca...

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