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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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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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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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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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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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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AirlinesAlaska AirlinesAMEX Gold CardAMEX PlatinumBarclay Uber VisaCredit CardsDiningPerks

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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