Our February 2024 Ask Us Anything session happened a little earlier than it normally would. So early in fact that it occurred on January 31!
Tim wasn’t able to make it unfortunately – his lame excuse being that seeing U2 at the Sphere in Las Vegas that night was more important than spending an hour of quality time with Greg, Nick, Carrie and me 😉
As always though, we had far more questions than we had time to answer. That’s where this post comes in; it’s an opportunity for me to try to answer even more of them in a (somewhat) quick-fire format.
Here’s the video of that latest Ask Us Anything session…
…and here are answers to just some of the additional questions we received.
1) Will Chase not approve my Southwest Performance Business card if I didn’t put any post-welcome offer spend on my Southwest Premier Business card I got a few months ago?
I’ve not heard of that being an issue with Chase before. If it’s a concern for you though, you could always put a couple of purchases on your existing card.
2) What’s your second favorite Chase transfer partner?
Does Chase have transfer partners other than Hyatt?! I think I’d have to go with Aeroplan, but I’d sooner transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Aeroplan and keep Ultimate Rewards for Hyatt.
3) How do I keep my Delta Platinum status or get to diamond this year?
Greg posted this great guide a few months back that might be helpful in determining how to earn status with Delta.
4) Consensus is to book flights directly with airline. But it’s painful to miss out on the sweet 5x Capital One or Chase points by using their portals. How often is using a portal really a problem?
It’s not a problem until it is. And when you have a problem with flights when you’re actually traveling, having the additional hassle of trying to resolve things via an OTA (Online Travel Agency) can make things significantly more stressful.
Calculate how many points you’d be forgoing by purchasing flights directly from the airline and putting the spend on a different card (remembering that some cards – like the personal Amex Platinum – earn 5x on flights booked directly with airlines). Now imagine you’re at an airport and the flight to your dream destination has been cancelled and you’re having a stressful time trying to get things resolved because the phone agent at the Capital One travel portal doesn’t know what to do. Is that stress worth the (relative) handful of additional points you earned when paying for the flight?
5) I have the Ritz-Carlton card… do I still need the Chase Sapphire Reserve (I don’t book through the portal, just transfer to partners). I would get the Ink Preferred to maintain that ability.
Seeing as many of the benefits on the Ritz-Carlton card overlap with the Sapphire Reserve, there doesn’t seem much reason to keep both unless you’ll also get good value from other features of the CSR like its bonused spending categories.
6) How do you keep track of anniversary dates (not your marriage ‘cus you would be in pop up jail) but with your many cards?
My system isn’t particularly sophisticated. I have a spreadsheet where I record every card we’ve ever applied for, whether we’ve been approved or not. I then have a monthly Google Calendar reminder set up to email me to check the spreadsheet to see if any cards are due to renew and make a decision whether to cancel them or not.
That said, I think services like Travel Freely might do that for you so that might be a better option; I’ve just never gotten around to setting it up.
7) Are Choice hotel points underrated?
They certainly can be underrated and it is possible to get great value from them (such as the latest set of Sweet Spot Rewards).
The problem is that award pricing can be all over the place – they sometimes charge 20,000 points for a room costing $100, while other times they’ll charge 8,000 points for a room costing $125. Choice properties tend to have only a couple of award pricing levels which means there are additional sweet spots available, particularly when cash prices are high, but you have to go searching for them.
In terms of maximizing opportunities, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points on a 1:2 basis if you have a Premier or Prestige card, plus you can buy their points relatively cheaply any time via their Cash & Points rate – see Nick’s post for more details, although I don’t know if anything has changed since he wrote that.
8) Any good but cheap points redemptions for Hilton or Marriott hotels in the islands of Thailand?
Both Hilton and Marriott use dynamic pricing, so cheap points redemptions could be greatly affected by the dates you’d be traveling there. The good thing is that both sites let you search by country, so do a search for Thailand and it’ll show everything for your dates. If your travel dates are flexible, both sites have flexible dates search functionality so that you can look at pricing a month at a time.
9) Nick, you mentioned that we can use Hilton Free Night Certificate to book for a friend. However I tried and the agent informed me that the certificate cannot be used for someone else. Is this no longer possible?
Hilton’s terms and conditions still state you can do that (see more here), so this appears to be a misinformed agent. Definitely a case of HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again).
10) When your P2 gets a new card, do you add yourself as an authorized user (AU) immediately or wait for potential offers?
Authorized user offers with most banks aren’t particularly generous, so I personally never bother with waiting to add my wife as my AU or vice versa. That said, we don’t add each other as AUs on many of our cards – only if we have a large spending requirement we need to reach (e.g. $15,000 in three months on an Amex Business Platinum) where it’s more convenient to have both of us with that card in our wallets.
11) Favorite Hyatt hotel lounge? Any worth traveling to?
I’m not aware of any that are worth traveling to in and of themselves. I loved the outdoor club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Bali, while the Grand Hyatt Macau’s lounge was very good too.
This would be a good question to ask in the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group as I imagine people in there would have some great recommendations of lounges around the world.