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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AirlinesAMEX PlatinumJSXLas VegasTravel

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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AirlinesAMEX Gold CardAMEX PlatinumBritish AirwaysCredit CardsHiltonHotelsLondonMarriottParisPerksTravel

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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Apple Credit CardCash BackCredit CardsPerksRideshare Apps

Apple’s New Credit Card

After teasing it earlier this year, Apple officially entered the credit card market in August by partnering with Goldman Sachs to release the new Apple Credit Card. What makes this card unique is that it is primarily a digital card, designed to live in your iPhone's Wallet rather than the one in your pocket or purse. The card has no card number, and instead initiates a different encrypted transaction code with each purchase. This is the first card on the market that's number cannot be stolen from you. The application process for this card is unique and innovative in many ways: First, you apply through your phone's Wallet App rather than on the bank's website. The application itself is one of the most visually pleasing applications out there, and only requires the last four of your ...

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