Planning now for future travel, grabbing easy money, great pandemic credit card enhancements and more

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Should you plan now for future travel? See where Greg and I land differently depending on whether we’re discussing earning points or burning points and what type of points they are in this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air episode. We also discuss the temporary Chase benefit enhancements, whether or not you should mattress run that Radisson promotion, and a double feature of Citi craziness. Watch, listen, or read for our Frequent Miler week in review.

FM on the Air Podcast

For those who would rather listen than watch, the audio of our weekly broadcast is available on all popular podcast platforms, including:

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This week at Frequent Miler:

In easy money:

Money moves: $3K in bonuses so far this year (low-hanging fruit, 2020 edition)

Even if right now is not the ideal time for you to go after new credit cards, it can be a great time to pick up easy bank bonuses. While some bonuses require tying up a substantial deposit for a while, many others have low thresholds and/or simply require direct deposits (which can sometimes be very easy to satisfy). Later the same day I published this post, my wife and I each received our first payments on our HSBC accounts, which will add up to $1400 between us by the end of 2020 for that one account each. With new bonuses out over the past few days, I think we’ll likely shoot for $4K in new bank account bonuses this year — which is not bad for a few clicks and a little organization.

In credit cards:

Manufacturing free nights (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott)

Say it louder for the people in the back: Hilton offers great value for those manufacturing free nights. No, they don’t necessarily beat the combination of Hyatt and 5x at office supply stores on an Ink Cash card, but as Greg points out in the section about problems with the methodology, Hilton can be even better than they look on paper if you go from Chase/Amex to cash to Hilton (see the post for more detail). I won’t cut Hyatt out of the playbook any time soon, but nor will I feel ashamed to continue enjoying Hilton.

My ever changing pandemic wallet

Recent temporary bonuses have had Greg’s wallet up in the air. Mine has been all over the map as well, though for almost a month I had misplaced my physical wallet and had instead been relying on my Samsung Gear S3 for in-person purchases anyway. Because of the watch, my version of this post would cheat a bit as I carry a bunch of cards virtually (which can of course also be done on the phone for many of us, but the watch ensures greater acceptance thanks to the technology used by that specific watch — it’s still fun every time someone starts to tell me that they don’t take mobile payments just before the register beeps to say that the charge went through!). The related post I want to see: What’s in Greg’s wife’s wallet? My better half is very good at knowing what card to use for bonused spend, but every time I see an unbonused purchase post on her Amex Gold card, I feel the burn of having paid 2.5c per point (since we could have had 2.5% cash back on her Alliant card instead).

Traveling with six & credit cards for four: a Card Talk intervention

We’re debuting a new regular bi-weekly series that kicked off this week: Card Talk. Some of you may remember a pilot episode we ran of this series a while back. We’re now getting it set on our schedules: each week, we are alternating between an Ask Us Anything on Tuesday at noon (this coming Tuesday July 7th, we’ll be live on Youtube at 12pm Eastern) and a Card Talk (we’ll record the next one the week of July 14th). Whereas Ask Us Anything is broadcast live, our Card Talk episodes will be recorded and as such may or may not be published as Youtube videos / posts on Frequent Miler. Check out this week’s episode, where we helped Jen slash some annual fees she doesn’t need to be paying and plot out a strategy for a family of six to open the right cards to meet her travel goals.

Chase summertime bonuses on Sapphire Reserve and Preferred

Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred

As we discussed on Frequent Miler on the Air, Chase has added some nice summertime bonuses on the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred, including 5x on Instacart and at gas stations on the Reserve (subject to caps). Additionally, we reported yesterday that many people have suddenly started getting 5x at restaurants on the Sapphire Reserve; it’s unclear whether this is an unadvertised bonus or some sort of glitch in the system, but it’s great to see Chase continue to add value to their premium travel cards in the current environment.

COVID Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate Guide [Updated w/ Chase Sapphire 5X Gas & Instacart]]

If you’re looking for help in organizing your wallet thanks to the many COVID-related credit card enhancements, see this post for up-to-date information about cards offering temporary benefits.

Pay taxes via credit card 2020 edition

It’s time for the procrastinators among us to finally file 2019 taxes and along with that hurdle comes the burden of paying them. Let some credit card rewards lighten that load by getting you something in return. This post has all the details you need about ways to pay with a credit card and which ones to use to beat the fees.

In award booking

How To Use IHG Free Night Certificates

For those new to the process, Stephen goes over the mechanics of booking a free room with your Chase IHG free night certificates. Keep in mind that sometimes Chase certificates show availability even when rooms aren’t available on points, so it’s worth logging in to check if you need a specific date and place to be certain of availability.

2 credit card guide: A European vacation with two welcome bonuses

Crete, Greece

Continuing a series demonstrating how to get a trip to a far-off place with just 2 new credit card welcome bonuses, this post shows a plethora of options for getting to Europe and staying for a few nights — even for two passengers — using the welcome bonuses from just two credit cards.


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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PeterSFO

Appreciate you guys trying something new with the Card Talk and I hope you’ll stick with it for a while even if the initial interest hasn’t been up to your expectations.

I think it’s unique in the points and miles blogs out there in that you get to focus on people’s situation rather than just generic card talk. I think there’s only so much you can say about specific cards – Sapphire Preferred is a good card, MR is a valuable point system, those would probably prove true to 99% of the situations out there. It’s more entertaining to hear about how a retired couple that spends a lot on cruises or a family of 6 approaches the hobby or vs. a consultant that travels for work, etc.

One other suggestion to keep things fresh is that you consider a future episode adding cards instead of cutting them. That would give you and Nick more flexibility to showcase your knowledge. For example, maybe a guest has a goal of a 10 day vacation to the Maldives in 2022. They are 3/24 and are not eligible for some SUB. How would you come up with a credit card application/spend plan that they could follow so that they can make that trip happen for free. (Definitely appreciate that guests probably wouldn’t want to share their finances with the world so maybe a rough plan.)

It’d also be great if your guests would share more about their own line of thinking. Like what got them to the point where they had a dozen CCs and need an intervention in the first place? How did they rationalize getting those cards and what benefits kept them paying their annual fees. Your last guest had 2 Delta cards (I think) and was also going for SW Companion Pass. What was her thoughts on flying SW more and Delta less?

Scott Schorn

Greg and Nick,
I love the podcast. I look forward to it each Saturday. Lots of great content and banter.
In this week’s podcast, Greg said he was surprised there weren’t more comments on the Card Talk episode. I am still having trouble navigating the new FM site in order to find some of the content. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that FM on the Air episodes are accessible from your front page, but Card Talk and Ask Us Anything are more difficult to find. FWIW, I did listen to and enjoy this weeks Card Talk — My only constructive criticism is that you spent a bit too much time on each card. I’m perfectly fine with 1+ hr for the weekly FM On The Air, but maybe Card Talk would fit better in a 40 min format.
Also, I was pretty excited about the new Chase instacart deal until I investigated a single data point — family size oreos are $3.29 at my local grocery store and instacart shows the same oreos at the same store for $4.20. I’m going to pass on instacart this time.

Greg The Frequent Miler

ALL blog posts, including those referencing Card Talk, FM on the Air, and Ask Us Anything show up equally on our home page under “Latest Blog Posts”. Posts are sorted from most recent to older. Make sure to scroll past the video section to see beyond the most recent 3 posts.

If you’re looking for our videos, the video section (which is on the home page after the 3 most recent posts), lists all of the most recent videos on our channel regardless of what type they are. We maybe should change how we title them, though. With the Card Talk episode you can only see the first part of the title and may not know it is Card Talk: “More teen credit, $1400 less in fees,”

Scott Schorn

Thanks for the info — sorry for my confusion. Note that the original CardTalk post was titled “Traveling with six & credit cards for four: a Card Talk intervention” but then was retitled “More Teen Credit, $1400 in fees…”
Also, I’m finding it difficult to figure out how to access more than the last 5 videos from the video section. Is there a sub-site that has all of the video links for easy access?

AlexL

I do not think there is such sub-site, but you should be able to find all of them at the youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/c/Thefrequentmiler

To Greg: The link to youtube on the right side of front page is not working.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Thanks AlexL! We’ll fix that Youtube link ASAP

Greg The Frequent Miler

We’re working on updating our home page to make it easier to find these playlists. Stay tuned. We’re also considering renaming the individual shows to make it easier to identify which series they go with. e.g. “Card Talk: Traveling with 6…”

Bob

Related question: What is your assessment that Marriott will further extend their free night certificates that already extended to (only) 1/31/2021? It seems like too early a date, especially given what other hotel chains have done to extend free night certificates.

Bob

Thanks for the quick response, Nick. However, my question was more about whether the general COVID-19 extensions would be further extended. All the other major chains extended their certs well into 2021, if not into 2022. Do you think Marriott might issue such a second blanket extension, given the lengthening of COVID-19 travel extensions? More specifically, what are the odds you would put on that?

Nun

Marriott’s extension is supposed to apply to all free nights, yet they didn’t extend 60k certificates.

I heard in a podcast that you have a Marriott rep. Can you ask about this some day? Marriott’s announcement says all FNA get the Jan. date, and nothing was excluded. To rub salt in a wound, I got another email about it last week. I legitimately planned to use mine in April, and I don’t think I’m asking a lot for MR to comply with their own announcement. Compared to Hilton, MR is not playing nice. Thanks.