Greg’s credit card cuts, stitching awards together, Marriott elite plans and more

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Which of Greg’s credit cards should get the boot in order to make room for the one keeper card he doesn’t have? Find out if you agree with my answer, hear about how to mitigate risk when stitching together a value-priced award, and hear us out on our 2020 Marriott plans on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air. We also talk about the latest method to bypass 5/24 and a credit card that got a little hotter this week thanks to a benefit we didn’t realize it had. All that below for your viewing or listening pleasure.

FM on the Air Podcast

For those who would rather listen during the morning commute or while you’re working, the audio of our weekly broadcast is also available for download as a podcast on all of your favorite services:

You’ll also find us on Spotify and hopefully your other favorite platforms. If you’re not finding the podcast via your favorite source of good podcasts, send us a message and let us know what you’d like us to add.

On to our weekend recap of the week’s top stories:

In burning points:

Assembling a cheap award to paradise

Greg recently took the lemons that he was given when searching for award space and made sweet lemonade that he sipped on the sandy beaches of Grand Cayman for a few days. Find out how and why he stitched together multiple award tickets to get the same end result for less so that you can enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade of your own some time.


Pluses and hidden devaluations in AA’s dynamic pricing for domestic awards

American Airlines Planes

I’m not generally a fan of dynamic award pricing. That said, Delta just yesterday showed how dynamic pricing can draw a great deal of customer interest and I had optimistically hoped that AA’s move to a dynamic system might present more options for the average person to get a decent value for their points. While that has happened by some measure, it’s not without a couple of sneaky and disappointing devaluations.


Hawaii tip: Cat 4 Hyatt in Maui now bookable

View from O’heo Gulch, Maui

Hyatt has been expanding its footprint with acquisitions and partnerships over the past couple of years and lately I’ve been surprised more than once or twice by places where I’ve found good Hyatt options thanks to many of these properties that have joined the fold over the past year or two. Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a newly-bookable property with free parking, no resort fee, and full kitchens in each room that only costs 15,000 points per night in Maui. Whether you’re looking to utilize free night certificates or just keep more points in your pocket, it’s great to have an option to do it in Maui.


In building a bigger points balance:

Buy points for less: When does it make sense to jump on a deal?

Have you ever wondered which points it makes sense to buy and when? If yes, this is a good post to bookmark and use as a reference point in the future. I think the key here is that it is usually not a good idea to buy points speculatively. And even in situations where it might be OK to consider a slightly speculative purchase, it probably isn’t a good idea to buy points speculatively if you already have enough points in a particular program to book the type of award that fits your usual travel patterns. But in the right situations, buying points can lead to great value, a higher-end travel experience, or both.


Bypass 5/24 With Targeted Offer In United App

if you’re over 5/24 but looking for a path toward one of the must-have Chase credit cards, a new route has opened up: United is advertising a pre-qualified offer for the Mileage Plus Explorer card to some members. The truly pre-qualified version, with a set-APR instead of a range, has bypassed 5/24 for many (which it’s worth noting does not mean that everyone gets approved — only that it is possible to be approved when over 5/24). As I said in FM on the Air this week, I’m rooting to see this type of offer from Hyatt. We’ll have to keep our eyes on these with other Chase co-brands


In maximizing value:

2 Claims Using Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee: 2 Successes

Best Rate Guarantee programs often get a bad rap. I’ve always assumed that the agent reviewing my claim has incentive not to approve it, so I’d better have crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s when submitting such a claim. However, I’ve written about several successes with such claims before and in this post Stephen Pepper writes about not one but two successful claims he has made recently. Stephen made a great choice in taking the points and this post shows how just a little time investment in searching and submitting a claim can make for a standout deal even with the smallest of price differences.


That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for our week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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rxgeek

I booked the Hyatt Maui for five nights at that fantastic price. Combined with two nights at a nearby Wyndham for the same deal after buying points at 40% off. Many thanks! See you in July.

Captain Greg

If you book a backup southwest flight and end up needing to use it because you missed the earlier flight, is there a way to get your money back for the missed flight or are you just SOL and stuck paying for two flights?

Greg The Frequent Miler

Most likely you’re SOL.

CaveDweller

Set it up so u don’t miss it I never missed one in 30 years but almost 3 as in running . Greg that’s just terrible an educated man using SOL ( Shit Out of Luck ) . I hope ur family or friends don’t read this blog as in Uncivilized .
CHEERs

Captain Greg

Okay, so booking a backup is just about getting it cheaper weeks in advance. Thanks!

Greg The Frequent Miler

Well, also because the alternate flights may get sold out

Parts Unknown

You guys didn’t mention it so just putting it out there. When you’re over the 5ish Amex credit card limit you can always apply for another Amex credit card, & yes you will get denied, but you can recon the denial & cancel the excess cards as part of the recon to get approved. For example, if Greg had jumped on the $0 AF Aspire & applied, yup he would’ve been denied. But then Amex usually calls you, or you can take it upon yourself to call in and recon the denial. Why is this useful? Because the original terms for the application are what’s enforced (i.e. $0 AF) and you have at least 30d to complete the recon. He could take a few days/weeks to think about what cards to dump, then lock in the Aspire. Also useful if you’re at 2/90 but are towards the end and the 90d will run out before the recon window closes, same situation.
When AFs are about to go up, a card is about to be discontinued, a unicorn link appears, etc it’s always better to apply and figure out the rest of it later.

Aloha808

Amen, Parts Unknown hit it right on the money.

To Nick and Greg: could an analysis be done on the opportunity cost of not getting new credit card SUBs due to holding onto old credit cards occupying an Amex 5 card slot (such as in Greg’s case with the DL cards)?

AlexL

Agree with Nick’s suggestion. But maybe Greg just needs to cancel one since you have 7 right now.

Sophia

Question for next podcast or suggestion on topic:
What are the last 3 credit cards you each applied for (For yourself) and why?

Captain Greg

Thanks for reading my feedback AND answering one of my questions I posted elsewhere! Looks like there were actually only 2 Gregs this week ;).

For my 2 cents, I think Greg should cancel both Marriott cards, the Everyday and possibly the old blue cash as well. To me it comes down to if you get more value out of MSing on the old blue cash card or if you’d get more value out of referrals to another amex card. The Everyday card is cut no matter what because there are other amex cards that are much more appealing for referrals. If you thought the referrals were more worthwhile, I’d consider the current 150k Surpass deal and then you can downgrade to the no AF Hilton card. I would think one of those Hilton cards would get more referrals than the Everyday card.

I’m still curious about my other question: is there any advantage to applying for a personal card (united) and a business card (another cip) from chase at the same time? From what I can scour from the internet, I thought the advantage is only there if you apply for two chase personal cards at the same time (potentially only one hard pull). Any other advantages? I just find it curious that Greg seems to always mention applying for multiple cards at the same time, even across different banks.

Thanks again for a great podcast!

James

I thought its Steve Carell interviewing Robert Whittaker on podcast. LOL. great staff. Happy holidays Nick

Greg The Frequent Miler

Hahaha. Thanks. I bet Whittaker and Carell get asked all the time: are you one of those Frequent Miler guys?