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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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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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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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2018 Rewards in Review

Another Year Gone 2018 was a wild year for us with big changes including the relocation of my wife who is now working in Nashville completing a postdoctoral appointment while I have remained in Seattle. As a result of our anticipated increase in travel, we increased our monthly spending for annual fees this year to an average monthly budget of $187. With that, we not only supported a bicoastal living arrangement but even fit in some personal vacations as well, all thanks to our reward points. As in previous years, I meticulously tracked every dollar in and out with regard to credit card annual fees and reward redemptions in 2018 and I'm pleased to say we more than quintupled our budget by using the appropriate mix of cards and redemptions over the last twelve months. 5X Return on Investme

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Why You’ll Love the New AMEX Gold Card

It's Goldddd! You may remember the recent history of luxury travel cards: A longtime American Express employee left the bank to work for Chase where they worked to develop a luxury travel card that millennials (not American Express' core customer group) could enjoy. Get 'em while they're young, and keep them forever! They developed the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and (until now) have been the go-to card for dining and travel rewards. It took a couple years, but American Express is finally throwing its own punch with the reinvention of its Gold card (currently available in Rose Gold for a limited time only). What's Good About Gold? The Gold card pairs perfectly with the AMEX Platinum card which already offers 5X points on airfare and travel booked directly with AMEXTravel.com. The Gold card

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Finding Your Next Card

Commitment While I'm no loyalist, I do value commitment in all phases of my life including credit cards. That's because a percentage of your credit score is the average length of your accounts. If you have two cards, one you've had for ten years and the other brand new, your average length of your accounts is five years. If you cancel the card you've had for ten years, you now have a nonexistent average. On the flip side, if you retain the card(s) you've had longest (assuming they have no annual fees or you're still claiming the value from the fees), your score can afford to adopt some new plastic or metal friends into your wallet. Know Yourself and Spot the Fakes Where do you spend your money? For me, it's dining and travel. Nearly 100% of my discretionary income goes to one of those two

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Platinum or CSR? Why You May Choose Both.

Choices The American Express Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve: These two cards are the power couple of the premium credit card world. Deciding which one is right for you can be tricky; so why not choose both? I'm Not Crazy While applying for not one, but two premium metal credit cards with a combined $1,000 annual fee may seem absurd to you, I'm here to provide you with the alternate narrative and tell you why we've decided to hold both cards in our wallet in 2018. Read on, and I will explain how $25/month will unlock a plethora of travel benefits for you and your loved ones this year. Sign Up Bonuses With the sign up bonuses offered by both cards, the rewards more than compensate you for the annual fees you incur in that first year. At the laziest redemption level, using points to...

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Dining with Uber

Negative changes took place for the Uber card on November 1, 2019 including the removal of the subscription credit and changes to the cell phone insurance. Learn more here. You knew Uber could take you to dinner, or bring it to you, but did you know it could also earn you 4% back when you dined out anywhere? Since acquiring the Uber credit card on its release date, it has become my exclusive card for dining out, and with that representing our largest monthly expense, we've quickly noticed the benefits! The Uber card is great for anyone who uses Uber for ride-share or food delivery; but it also serves as a cash-back card for those who don't. Regardless of your relationship with the company, if you dine out frequently, you need this card. In addition to receiving 4% on dining, this card a

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2017 Rewards in Review

Annual Fees In 2017, we spent almost $800 on annual fees for five credit cards. That number may seem staggering, but we used the rewards associated with those cards to redeem nearly $6,000 in travel! Often times, cards that carry an annual fee also carry several benefits that, when used appropriately, can make for quite the lucrative hobby. By budgeting $66.50/month for travel (used entirely on annual fees), our monthly vacation budget became worth $497.48/month thanks to the reward redemption and associated benefits.   Return on Investment We tracked every dollar spent and earned through this process using Mint, and as you will see from the charts, we netted $5,171.78 in 2017. The largest return was from our AMEX Platinum Card which originated a whopping 36 redemption this year; but th...

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