A Morgan Stanley hack, maximization gone wrong, how to use Fuel Everywhere Visas and more


In this Frequent Miler Week in Review Around the Web, we have a great hack for getting 2 Platinum cards for the price of 1, a reminder as to why free night certificates aren’t as valuable as they seem, a great way to maximize a cheaper Visa Gift Card option and more. Read on for this weekend’s recap.

It worked! (For now.) I have a Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum! (For now.)

The Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum is the best option of the Amex Platinum cards if you need the Platinum for 2 users since you get a free authorized user, who gets access to the many awesome Amex Platinum perks (elite statuses, FHR access, Priority Pass, Centurion lounge access, etc). The catch? You need a Morgan Stanley brokerage account to qualify, which ordinarily requires a significant investment. If you don’t intend to qualify that way, you may want to check out this brilliant hack from Windbag miles, which just might get your foot in the door for a much lower cost of admission.

Update On The Starwood SPG American Express Card Changes & Retention Offers For Renewal Customers

130K phone call

If you’re disappointed in the major devaluation on the horizon for the SPG credit cards, you are not alone. Thankfully, it seems that many people have been getting decent retention offers to keep the card (including quite a few members of our Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group). This post from Loyalty Lobby outlines some of the common offers people are receiving. It’s always helpful to know what others are being offered so you can evaluate your offer. If you have an anniversary date coming up and you are considering cancelling, it might be worth calling to see what kind of offer you can get to keep it.

Oops: I Tried Too Hard To Maximize My Hyatt Free Night Certificate

My suite at the Park Hyatt New York last year, which was awesome.

Speaking of the SPG cards, one of the new benefits they will carry upon anniversary after August 1st is an annual free night certificate valid at a hotel that costs up to 35,000 points. At the recent Marriott new-program launch event, David Flueck presented the argument that the SPG card isn’t really undergoing a devaluation as you’re kind-of-sort-of still getting 3x on the first $35,000 in spend since you will earn 2x with the card and also get a free night certificate worth up to 35K. Of course, that’s a poor argument — and this post from Lucky at One Mile at a Time is a perfect illustration as to why free night certificates are worth so much less than their point value. They expire. And they pressure us to maximize them. Funny enough, I ended up with an opposite situation with a Hyatt Category 1-7 certificate last year: I spent it at the Andaz 5th Ave (normally 25K points) and then ended up with a unexpected stays at both the Park Hyatt Chicago and Park Hyatt New York, where I ended up using 30K points each. At the time, I kicked myself a bit for spending the certificate too soon — though Lucky’s misfortune reminds me that I should be happy I used it for decent value.

Beware Booking on Third Party Sites Like JustFly.com

When airfare sales come around, you can often count on the small travel agencies listed at airfare metasearch site Momondo to have slightly better prices than what you’ll find elsewhere. I’m not positive whether or not I’ve seen JustFly.com on Momondo, but it sounds familiar. At any rate, this cautionary tale from Heels First Travel is a good reminder to watch the details carefully when you’re dealing with a lesser-known entity.

Experimenting With Fuel Everywhere Visa Gift Cards

If there is a promotion on and you’re looking for a different kind of card to buy, Mark Ostermann at Miles to Memories has a few good ideas for how to maximize the Fuel Everywhere Visa cards. I typically avoid the Everywhere Visas (like the Dining Everywhere shown above) due to liquidation limitations in my area, but Mark’s illustrates that there are some potentially solid options you might not have considered.

That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.

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Data point for Starwood Amex business retention offer – My annual fee hit on 4/23 – I called the direct retention number on 4/26 and asked about offers and said I was thinking of canceling card due to the devaluation of points with the merger. The lady was very nice but spent a good amount of time trying to explain the new benefits to me (although I probably understood them better than her). Finally offered a $25 statement credit or 5000 points now + 5000 points with $2k spend in the next 30 days (which I obviously took). Card is 2 years old $30k+ spend in 2017 with $8k so far in 2018.

Mark Ostermann

Thanks for the link Nick!