3 Steps Towards Traveling for Free...
Want to use miles to fly First Class around the world? Yes, it can be done! Sure, it sounds like one of those ‘too good to be true’ things, but it really works. We at Frequent Miler have been traveling in First Class for free (less taxes and fees) for years using the tricks explained in this blog. The catch (and yes, there’s always a catch) is that it takes knowledge and organization to pull it off. That’s where this blog can help!
Ironically, traveling is not the best way to earn miles & points (but it doesn’t hurt!). Credit card signup bonuses are the biggest and best opportunity for earning free points and miles. For many, it’s easy to earn hundreds of thousands of points each year through signup bonuses! Here’s how:
1. Sign Up for the Best Offers
Credit card issuers want your business and they’re willing to pay you for it in the form of huge credit card signup bonuses.
As you’ll see on our best credit card offers page, there are dozens of great bonuses out there. A common practice is to regularly sign up for new cards, primarily for the signup bonuses. And, couples can double points earnings by each signing up for the same cards.
There are so many great credit card offers available that it can be tough to know which are best for you. One solution is to check out Greg’s Top Picks where I list my favorite card offers along with info about who I think would benefit from the card.
A year after signing up for a card, consider avoiding the annual fee by downgrading to a no-fee card, or by cancelling altogether.
TIP: If you’re new to this, consider using Travel Freely to guide you through the process step by step. The Travel Freely service is absolutely free.
2. Meet Spend Requirements
Most credit card signup bonuses have minimum spend requirements. For example, a 50,000 mile signup bonus will typically require $3,000 in spend within 3 months of signing up.
Techniques for meeting spend requirements include using the new credit card for all purchases; using the credit card to pay monthly bills wherever credit cards are accepted; using the credit card to pay your rent, mortgage or other loans (often for a fee). Our daily blog posts can help you learn those basics as well as additional ways to increase credit card spend without going broke.
See more here: Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works?
3. Travel for Free!
Once you’ve earned points and miles, you’ll want to use them for free travel. With some loyalty programs, that’s easy. With hotels for example, it’s usually the case that any time there’s a standard room available for sale it’s also available to book with points, or with a free night certificate. Airline miles are both more complicated and potentially more rewarding. Many airlines drastically limit availability of their cheapest ‘saver’ awards. If you want to plan the ultimate international getaway and you haven’t yet learned the ins and outs of booking award flights, consider using an award search tool or an award booking service. You’ll have to pay for these services, but in many cases it can be well worth the price..
There’s a reason that credit card companies are willing to give away points & miles. They make a lot of money from interest and fees. Interest and fee payments can quickly wipe out the benefits gained from signup bonuses. The only way to come out ahead is to pay your credit card bills in full, every month. If you can’t do that, then I highly recommend against signing up for new credit cards.
More Points and Miles
Signing up for new credit cards isn’t the only way to earn points & miles without flying. A few options include:
- Maximizing credit card category bonuses: Many credit cards offer extra points for certain categories of purchases (e.g. restaurants, travel, groceries, etc.). It is often possible to shift spend towards those categories in order to earn far more points than you would otherwise.
- Online shopping via portals: Online portals offer extra rewards for shopping that you would have done anyway.
- Marketing promotions: Businesses often offer free bonus points or miles in order to attract your business. Occasionally these offers are incredibly lucrative!
There are many other ways to earn points and miles without flying. Please see this post: Top things to do for MORE miles.
- Sign up for Travel Freely (it’s free!) to keep track of your credit cards and to walk you through the process.
- Sign up for Award Wallet (it’s free!) to keep track of your points & miles balances.
- Find the best credit card offers on our Best Credit Card Offers page or go with Greg’s favorites in our Greg’s Top Picks page. If you get an offer in the mail, though, compare it to our Best Offers page. Sometimes targeted offers are better than anything else publicly available.
- Read more:
- The games we play (a big picture overview of the points & miles ‘game’)
- The tools we use (a list of useful tools for earning and using points & miles)
Nick, do you still have the contact info for that Capital One spokesperson who claimed in 2020 that Spark business cards would no longer be reported to credit reporting agencies? That claim turns out to be not true.
Chase rules about biz cards question. . P2 is 3/25. Has biz ink unlimited opened 2/23 and biz ink cash opened 3/23. Can he apply for biz ink preferred now that is 2 months after last ink card?
I’m looking for to do a multi city flight:
Dates are somewhat flexible +/- 2 days
Have more than enough amex MR (700k). Any guidance on the most cost efficient way to book my flights?
What is the easiest and cheapest way to get Delta status as someone in their 20’s with an American Express Gold Card? Thank you
The easiest way is to sign up for the Delta Reserve card. It gives you something like Delta silver status automatically plus it gives you access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta. It’s not cheap ($550 per year), but I don’t know of any cheaper option. The nice thing is that you can get a big welcome bonus to help make up for the big annual fee in the first year and then when the second year annual fee comes due you can decide whether to keep or cancel the card.
Here’s more info:
I am trying to book a flight for a relative. as it turns out, he is going to fly to from CDG to LAX to visit us, go with us on vacation to SGN, then we will part way there and he goes back to CDG. Did not cross my mind until I sit down and start searching that he is doing around the world tour lol. Do you guys have any pointer in booking around-the-world itinerary like this? I tried to search but could not come up with anything.
If you have Amex points you can transfer to ANA and book an ANA Round the World award for your relative. Details here: https://frequentmiler.com/tips-for-booking-anas-round-the-world-award/
Where can we post our referral link for the AMEX Gold 90k points +$200 statement credit?
In the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/frequentmiler/posts/1250993745500905/
Help! Southwest rapid rewards is telling me that the points earned by getting the two business cards 80,000 and 60,000 for the Perfomance business and Premier business cards WONT a count towards the 135,000 points to achieve the Companion pass
It’s unfortunately very common for customer service agents to misunderstand their own programs. I’d bet that they give incorrect answers more often than not. I’m confident that those points WILL count towards you earning a Companion Pass.
Do you know if Purchasing avios points thru British airways triggers the 5x points on the Amex Platinum?
Probably not. I’m not sure about that exact example, but usually when buying points from airlines the purchase goes through points.com and so it does not look like an airfare purchase to the credit card company.
I can’t seem to find this answer anywhere. Lets say I use a partner airline to book a domestic economy United flight with miles, if I have also a United subscription for Economy Plus, would I be able to use that? Or would I only be able to sit in regular economy? I havent done this before, but it sounds as if once book the flight through the partner airline, my itinerary is viewable on the United site, which makes me wonder if I can then chose an Economy Plus seat.
I think you should be able to do that. I expect that you’ll have to make sure that your United number is attached to the reservation first. Once it is, I think you’ll be able to pick an economy+ seat. Note that this is just my educated guess!
What is the cancellation policy for award flights if one books via another airline? For example, it is relatively painless to cancel Korean air flight with a 3000 miles penalty if we book directly with Korean, but if one was to book Korean air flight via Delta, does anyone know what cancellation policy would be?
The cancellation policy goes with the airline who’s miles you use. So if you book with Delta miles, you can cancel for free as long as the flight originates in North America. Otherwise, Delta will impose cancellation fees.
Saw something online about a workaround for combining Membership Rewards points by adding a spouse / family member to a business Amex card as an employee, and would love to hear your thoughts about this
You can’t combine Membership Rewards points that way, but you can do that to enable moving player 2’s Membership Rewards points to your frequent flyer accounts. For example, if you want to move a bunch of your spouse’s points to your Aeroplan account, you can do so as long as you’ve been an authorized user or employee on one of her Amex cards for at least 90 days.
Thanks Greg, and, any downside to doing this in both directions for my spouse and I?
No downside at all, especially with business cards. With personal cards, the AU accounts will show on your respective credit reports which could make getting auto approved for credit cards harder.
Wait, this works with business accounts? I thought only personal accounts. Do you as the business owner have to allow this every time they request the points? How do you otherwise prevent a shady actor/angry employee from draining the MRs from an account without authorization? I don’t have either of those on my accounts but want to know if you know about the controls in place to prevent that issue.
Employees don’t have the ability to transfer points themselves. Instead, you would be able to log into the master account and transfer points to your employee’s loyalty programs.
I tried to use the link to sign up for Amex platinum program and Preferred Hotels, but it didn’t work. I called both AMEX and Preferred who are not aware of this benefit. Can you confirm this AMEX benefit and elite status in preferred hotels program?
You’re right. That benefit seems to be dead. I’ll remove it from our charts. Sorry about that.
Can a Delta member with life time silver medallion status get his medallion miles MQM rolled over to next year simply on the basis of lifetime status without requalifying for silver medallion status?
Sent from my iPhone
I don’t think so, but I’m not sure
I mean MQM
Can a Delta member with life time silver medallion status get his medallion miles rolled over to next year simply on the basis of lifetime status without requalifying for silver medallion status?
Sent from my iPhone
I just got Delta Gold, which comes with Skyteam Elite Plus status. Does anyone know how to utilize this benefit? Will Delta send me a Skyteam Elite Plus card so I can show to the other airlines in the alliance?
No, you won’t get a Skyteam card. If you use your Delta Skymiles number with your flight bookings (even when booking with SkyTeam airlines other than Delta), you should automatically get the benefits. Otherwise, show your Delta Gold status when using the benefits.
Been subscribing over a year, look forward to your emails everyday & appreciate your great insight & info. Have a question & don’t know if you ever address this problem, which has happened 2x in the last few months & if we have any course of action. We have reserved, from 2 different, national rental companies, week rentals for small cargo vans, and both times they contacted us last minute to cancel, leaving us scrambling to find a solution, which as it turns out, we couldn’t therefore throwing everything we had in place out the window, because a car won’t do if you have to move items, all we get is sorry and we will do our best effort to find you one in our fleet and they never call you back, at either the local rental site or national level, would it make a difference if the reservation was paid for in advance? I can’t believe the companies can just get away with this, one of the companies actually charged
me for a no show on a reservation they couldn’t fill & I had to go through hoops to get my money back. Any help?
I haven’t encountered that issue, but in general its true that car rental companies don’t guarantee availability of cars you rent. It’s crazy and super annoying. I’d guess (but don’t have any proof) that you’d have better luck with a company designed to rent out moving trucks and vans, like U-Haul
I agree with Greg that you’ll have better luck with companies designed to rent out this sort of vehicle, but as someone with some experience renting U-haul trucks and vans (to move large purchases when I did more reselling), I think it’s worth adding that vehicle availability isn’t guaranteed there, either. I agree with Greg that you probably have a much better shot of getting what you’re looking for, but just like car rental companies they do overbook (knowing that some people just won’t show up or will cancel at the last minute) and they allow customers already renting to extend their rentals, so they never know 100% for sure when a vehicle is coming back.
I’ve almost always had a cargo van available when I arrived at Uhaul (in part because those vehicles can’t be rented one-way, so unless the previous customer failed to return on time the vans are usually there), but I’ve had situations where I’ve needed to take a larger truck or trailer than anticipated because whatever I reserved wasn’t actually available. The website isn’t necessarily a real-time indication of what any individual Uhaul place has on hand (Uhaul is still surprisingly reliant on manual recordkeeping or at least still was as of a few years ago).
None of that is to talk you away from Uhaul, Budget truck rental, Ryder, etc, just setting expectations that it is possible to run into something similar with them (but, again, less likely I think since you’re naturally competing with a smaller group of customers).
Thanks for your response, yes nothing is guaranteed and understand the overbooking to maximize coverage for no shows, but it doesn’t sting any less as a consumer, because of the type of vehicle it is & just not a lot of options for substitutions, because of it being a cargo van & last minute anything always costs more! Right now any type of moving vans are so expensive but when you need to find anything last minute, the prices are insane, I just wanted to know if there was any obligation on part of the rental company & you & Greg pretty much answered it no obligation. Thanks
Thanks for your feedback
Are you aware of any No transaction fee card that has earning of more than 1% or 1 pt?
Yes, there are many. Check out the cards near the top of the list here: https://frequentmiler.com/best-everywhere-else-rewards-cards/
At the moment, the ones at the top with no foreign transaction fees include: X1, Discover It Miles, all Capital One cards, Bank of America Premium Rewards, etc.
Thanks for the quick response, Greg!!!
I accepted a job oversea and won’t be in the States for a couple of years beginning next summer, and I’ve looked at some of those cards. The X1 looks mighty interesting from your post, but not a big fan of one from a new startup, as when s*** hits the fan, not sure if I can rely on them. Discover is not widely accepted elsewhere (far from it actually). Cap One and their false fraud alerts. I love Chase and Amex in that sense, since they are by far the most reliable, but they don’t have anything that fits the bill. I will look into BoA, hopefully, the fraud detection mechanism isn’t too overzealous.
Love your detailed explanations. Thanks to you we have two business class tickets jfk to ber June 2023 on Delta via award on virgin atlantic. Returning from Hel to sea we have one coach via my wife’s AA account on Finair and one business class on my aa account. Although Finair seems to release business class one at a time, I expect that sometime between now and June of next year they will release another award on business class for this same flight.
How best to proceed then? Do I reserve that business class in her name on my account and then cancel her aa account couch ticket before completing her business class purchase? Or should I cancel her coach , wait one day and then try to book business class for her on my account? My concern is that they not see her name for two tickets one in coach and one in business overlapping on the same day! Worst case one of us will need to fly coach. How much risk is there and what do you recommend?
You should be safe booking the business class ticket and then immediately cancelling the coach ticket. Alternatively, call AA and tell them what you’re trying to do. They should be able to help you.
Hi! Big fan of you guys! and LOVED the 3continents/3cards IG posts and stories!
I have been all over your site here, and I’m trying to find a review of Business Class on Air France. I’m flying from LAX to CDG on AF in business with a UR points transfer (which included a 30% bonus!)…and I just wanted to get a feel for what to expect.
Hi Sandie, I don’t think we’ve published such a review as a blog post, but you might get a kick out of this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l49_WRFfFLk&t=2s
Air France has a very solid business class product and service. I think you’ll have a great flight.
thanks for the tip on the video! hilarious! i appreciate your reply
Would you guys be able to create a write-up on how to obtain SkyTeam status with signup/spending? I am based here in the States, but as things turn out, will move to Vietnam next year, business & family reasons. Not that big of a fan of the airlines in SkyTeam (except for Delta), but it looks like I will need to work myself in that direction considering Vietnam airlines and a few others in that region…
That’s a good idea. Virgin Atlantic just joined SkyTeam so the easiest option is probably to get the Virgin card and spend $5k per month.
Ah. Is this the one? https://frequentmiler.com/virgin-atlantic-world-elite-mastercard-deep-dive-maximize-earnings-and-status/
Do we know what virgin silver correspond to in skymile land?
$5k/month is doable, would have been better if there was no cap per month.
Yes, that’s the one. No, I don’t think the info about how elite status maps has been published yet.
How can I share my referral, I have a 90k gold referral.
I know the consensus advice is downgrade, don’t cancel — and that the reasons banks give for rejecting applications may not be genuine. But having recently gotten applications rejected by Citi for “too much unused credit” and Capital One for “too many revolving accounts,” am I wrong to consider closing some cards I never use though they are no-fee (e.g., Chase Gateway, Citi Custom Cash, etc.)?
You’re not wrong. There’s a chance that doing that will help. If you do, make sure to close newer accounts rather than older ones since cancelling newer ones will have less of a negative effect on your credit score when they roll off your credit report in (I think) 7 years.
Last month at my company xmas party, I got 2 AA Business round trip tickets to anywhere in continental US, Canada and Mexico. My wife and I usually don’t travel without the Kids ( 2 kids – 9 and 11). I was given the option to get 4 economy class tickets instead. what would you guys do?
You can all go – just get your kids economy seats on the same flight and sell it to them like it’s a mission for them to be seated by themselves.
Wish we had same sort of opportunities in Turkey as well. Eventhough Turkish Airlines is a well known company, we don’t fly much here.
Still, I will check your tips. And try to make it work.
Thanks for all.
Good evening, Greg/Nick!
Some ideas for valuable posts given the announcement of AA’s “Loyalty Points” scheme:
1. Can you confirm an example (a formula would be even better!) for how to calculate Loyalty Points for partner flights starting 1/1/22? I’ve seen 2 differing suggestions in BoardingArea posts and, knowing the detailed analysis you do, I think BoardingArea readers would appreciate a definitive answer to this question.
2. Will there be any impact on earning/burning 500-mile upgrade certificates in AA wallets come 3/1/22?
Love the Huge CAUTION Sign !!!! Could be a rough span with interest rates going UP !!!!
The Frequent Miler himself at a grocery store in Ann Arbor. White car vs. red. 🙂
LOL, yep, I was at Whole Foods in my white SUV. Were you the guy in the Tesla?
I made a SW Airlines purchase on June 11th with my SW Performance Business card during their one day 50x promotion. When I received my statement I realized the purchase posted on the 12th and I only received 3x. I contacted Chase and provided the screen shot from the SW website to show the purchase was made on the 11th. They responded by saying they “were unable to add those additional points”. I’m curious whether anyone else received 3x for their SW purchases on the 11th.
I made purchases and receive 50x with both business and personal cards. What did you buy? What date does the transaction show on your statement?
I purchased points from the Rapid Rewards Point Center. I know purchasing points is generally not a great idea, but my son’s points were on the verge of expiring so I thought this would be an inexpensive way to keep them active. The statement reflects a purchase date of June 12th. I’m on the West Coast and purchased them mid morning so it was well within the 50x time period. Other than sending the screenshot from SW which shows the June 11 purchase date, I unfortunately can’t “prove” the purchase date/time.
Amex is saying one of my (large) transactions doesn’t qualify as spend for the sign up bonus on the Platinum card. It was paid to a LTD company in the UK through PayPal. The PayPal receipt lists it as such, and lists the company’s website. The Amex rep said there is nothing they can do and that they must abide by how the transaction codes. Asked to speak to a supervisor, and she said she is a supervisor. Any thoughts on how I can dispute this? Thanks.
I don’t know of any good options for you other than to keep calling and ask to speak with supervisors. I don’t think it’s very likely to get you anywhere unfortunately.
I have 129 mqm from Delta as if 12/31. I spent 230k last year. Although I Platinum this year, What does it take to maintain Platinum for next year ? Should I cancel my reserve card ( I have the Platinum card) and save the $550 fee?
Do you have 129 MQMs or 129,000 MQMs?
129,000MQMs..sorry for the typo
In that case, you should definitely make sure to spend $25K this calendar year on your Reserve card (and might as well spend $30K to get the Status Boost) so that you’ll get a MQM waiver and keep Platinum status.
If you do that before the annual fee hits, then when the fee hits you can still cancel the card if you want to (or downgrade to the no-fee card to keep the account alive — you could always upgrade back in the future).
I can buy a $95 ticket across the country one way or use 8.5K miles. Which is the better deal? Airline charges $35 per 1K miles when purchasing miles. Trip is west coast to east coast so, 3K miles.
Hi Liza. At that price, pay for the ticket. Plus you’ll earn miles. So you’d really be paying 11.5k miles (includes the 3k you’re foregoing). Not worth it.
Greg, I am wondering about booking for someone else using my points/miles.
I know hotels generally don’t allow this unless I am staying there too – I have had no trouble in the past booking two rooms, one for myself and the other for someone else at the same time.
Question: which hotel chains allow me to book for someone else entirely (though it would likely be one of my children)?
And which airlines allow this if I am not flying as well? I think all do allow it, but not sure.
This is all assuming I am paying with my points/miles, including taxes+fees.
Could you comment please?
Good question! Unfortunately I don’t know the complete answer off the top of my head. With hotels, I think that most do allow it, but some make it hard to do online, at least when booking with points. I do remember that Radisson explicitly lets you put in any name for the guest online. For some others, you may have to call to change the guest name.
I think that all airlines allow it. With some airlines (like ANA), you are limited to booking family members only.
Hello guys, do tours and excursions purchases from tour companies qualify as “travel” for Capital One Venture Rewards card?
American just announced a bonus deal for purchasing miles. If you buy 150,000 miles, you get a 150,000 mile bonus, and used your AA Mastercard to get miles on the purchase price. It would be $4,795 to purchase 304,795 miles. Seems like a pretty good deal. Whatchathink?
That amounts to 1.57 cents per mile. Yes, that’s a good deal. That said, there’s no way I’d recommend buying miles right now unless you have an immediate need for them.
I believe that it depends on how the tours and excursions are coded by the payment network. In most cases, I think the answer is yes. That said, I’ve heard that Capital One is very lenient about fixing it for you if something doesn’t code as travel when it should have. So you may have to contact them to resolve it if it doesn’t work right off.
Greg and FM Team, I was thinking about writing this in comments section of the podcast post this week but thought I’d try it here too. I thought it would be nice since you guys completed 40K to far away to revisit some of the sweet spots you found for travel between different areas not to/from US. For instance, what’s the best mileage program to fly between Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia? I have extensively tried researched this and it’s not widely covered and searching for options in business I’ve jumped down a lot of rabbit holes researching programs from Thai to EVA and more. I’ve started diving pretty deep into this and honestly can’t really come up with anyone covering this except for maybe Spencer.
By the way, great job with the Podcast. It’s one of the most valuable things in the travel rewards blogosphere at the moment. You guys cover such a range of topics and the occasional debates and constant insight goes beyond what’s possible to write about and keep someone’s attention in a post. So kudos
Hi, I just received my first travel card and I am trying to find a company online that would allow me to use my card to pay bills and have the transaction post as a charge to receive travel points.
That’s exactly what Plastiq does. Details here: https://frequentmiler.com/complete-guide-to-plastiq-credit-card-payments/
Thank you for this great write up. This will help a lot of travelers!
It’s a shame that you can’t use your site without tracking cookies … and a little deceptive that when you try to disable them they stay on anyway.
Do you know anyone who has used the travel credits on the CNB card for gift cards recently? Do you know what works if anything?
Someone reported recently having success with AA gift cards. I’m not sure about other airline’s gift cards. I get the credits through airline award fees.
You can use the credits for the taxes and fees for award tickets? I had no idea. Thanks!
Hello, I will not reach my 50 stays required to retain platinum status with Bonvoy. I see on several sites including this one that I can retain my status with $75K in spending for the year on my SPG Luxury Amex. When I called to confirm with Marriott I was told on three occasions that that was not the case. The only way to retain status is with 50 stays. Not getting much help from Marriott customer service.
It depends which Bonvoy credit card you have as to whether or not that will work. See this guide: https://frequentmiler.com/marriott-bonvoy-complete-guide/
You should especially check out the “Credit Cards” section, and the “Shortcuts to elite status” section.
I have the SPG Luxury Card. I have been told by customer service that the only way to get platinum is to spend 50 nights. Your link clearly says that with $75k spend I can keep platinum. Is there a definitive Bonvoy document that shows this to be true.
Thank you for all the help!
This is a credit card benefit rather than a Marriott Bonvoy benefit, so I’m unfortunately not surprised that a Marriott customer service representative isn’t familiar with how the credit card benefit works. If you go to American Express and pull up the application page for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (the new name for what was the SPG Luxury card), you’ll see listed right in the key features:
“COMPLIMENTARY GOLD ELITE STATUS
Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status with your Card.‡ Earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.‡”
You can find a link to the application page (which has that above quote) on our page dedicated to that card:
That’s definitely a card benefit on that particular card. Again, I wouldn’t expect a general Marriott Bonvoy customer service rep to be super familiar with it since it is a benefit on select credit cards offered by Chase and American Express. If you called the number on the back of your credit card to talk to Amex or chatted with an Amex chat rep, I’m sure they would be able to confirm with you that $75K in purchases gets you Platinum status.
Thank you Greg and Nick! I really appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.
Hey, @Steve Vallenari – in the interest of saving your potential burden I wanted to point out that AMEX is odd about Simon reporting for points. If MS on AMEX is your plan to get to the threshold, tread carefully and look for other options.
I’m not sure if that applies to meeting spend thresholds 100% but I would assume it does.
Hi Greg, I love the Saturday video you and Nick do a great jobI have two trips to Hawaii planned for next year. Seven nights at the Ritz ( cat 7 ) on Waikiki and seven nights in Residence Inn Wailea ( cat 6 ). So I need to earn a bunch of Marriott points. I have the Marriott Brilliance card and also got one for My Mother, so I will combine those points and the annual night certificate. Going forward I’m using my Gold Amex for grocery and dinning (4x)and my Business Blue (2x) for non bonuses spend. Is this a good plan? What would you do different? What’s your favorite Marriott in Hawaii? Thanks Jim
Hi Jim. I haven’t yet stayed in any Marriotts in Hawaii so I don’t yet have a favorite. Have you been to Hawaii before? Personally I wouldn’t spend time in Waikiki, but maybe that’s just me. Your plan for earning lots of Membership Rewards points with the Gold and Blue Business Plus cards is good, but you can get more value from those points when transferring them to select airlines for high value awards. If your plans are flexible, I’d recommend trying to earn as many Hyatt points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points as possible (Chase points can be transferred to Hyatt). People (including Nick Reyes) rave about the Grand Hyatt Kauai that costs 25K points per night. There are also some very nice Hyatts in Maui.
How do I post a question?
Posting questions here is fine.
How do I go about booking a companion ticket ?
With which airline?
Can you compile some guidelines about how often one can open a new account and get those bonus miles? I’ve run into some problems and would love to know all the ways to master this art! Thanks so much.
This might help: https://frequentmiler.com/take-the-stress-out-of-credit-card-bonus-hunting-travel-freely/
The 2nd quarter 2019 5X categories for Chase Freedom are groceries and home improvement stores. While grocery stores seem to have a VISA Supplier Code as “Grocery Stores/Supermarkets/Bakerys” there does not seem to be a VISA Supplier Code for “Home Improvement Store”. How are we supposed to know if a merchant meets the “Home Improvement” category if there is no such category in the VISA Supplier Locator short of going and making test purchases at various stores?
One way is to look for the Visa supplier code for well known home improvement stores. For example, I see that Home Depot and Lowe’s show up as LUMBER & BUILDING SUPPLIES – 5200 and Ace Hardware shows up as HARDWARE/ PAINT/ GLASS – 5251. I think it’s a good bet that if the store codes as 5200 or 5251 it will work.
Thanks Greg. The store I actually was wondering about has a 5713 code – Floor Covering Stores.. I had an exchange on Twitter with @ChaseSupport and they suggested pretty much the same thing when I asked how to determine a home improvement category store given there is no such category on the VISA Supplier Locator. I guess I still don’t know. I’ll just have to go make a small test purchase to confirm definitively.
I did go back to a previous Chase credit card statement where I had made purchases at this particular store and a Lowe’s also. They both say “Home” in the category on the statement. Do you think that is an indication that it is in the “Home Improvement” category?
Yes, I think that “Home” is a very good sign that it will count as home improvement
Hi Greg, I have a big project challenge for you that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Similar to how you post “Best Category Credit Card”, could you list “Best way to purchase air ticket”? OK, my request is more complex than it sounds. Here is my argument:
Why it is important: Airfare are often the most expensive part of a travel. The saving on this part could be huge to your readers.
Why it is complex: Simply put, because it IS:
1. Customer has the options to pay with cash or redeem airline miles.
===IF you use cash=========
2. They need to decide using credit card(obviously you have the answer for that), Chase UR/Citi TYP, or Airline GC (many of them stock quite a few due to the credit card annual airline credit. AA GC for me).
3. Many airline has companion tickets
4. Some special here and there: e.g. Chase Ritz-Carlton has $100 domestic discount. This is just one example. There are tons of “special savings” as you know well better than me.
====If you use miles=========
5. Domestic short distance: AA, UA, AV(no fuel fee), BA, blabla.
6. Domestic long distance:
7. Continental to Hawaii:
The above discussion need to consider the ticket is a coach or a business ticket, separately.
(No stopover, open jaw discussion please. Let it belong those travel zealot who think they are the smartest and luckiest ones. Let them keep thinking that way. Don’t correct them.)
12. It is peak season or off-peak (has children at school or flexible on the dates).
13. What’s your nearby hub
14. Are you single, couple, or a family with kids.
15. Small/cheap airline options
If the decision is hard to hand calculate, maybe you can develop an algorithm or use AI to solve the issue (this sounds like a business opportunity!).
My ultimate goal is we have a xx-step SIMPLE way to find the best way to purchase ticket. Getting those steps may be complex, but the results has to be user-friendly.
Now you see why I say it is complex :). Greg, will you do it?!
LOL, you didn’t have to explain why it’s complex — I know it is! Will I do it? I don’t know. I’ll think about it. Probably the best option is to build towards it piece by piece until we have enough to put it all together.
Haha, glad it called your attention. Just think about it but don’t take it too serious. This question may not have an optimal answer at all as the boundary conditions are dynamic （price is changing, route is changing). Also people criteria are different (I care total duration time, some care the cost, some care if it is a direct flight, some must keep it “free” by using miles). I think everyone will have their own answer. Probably the simple answer to my question is to just list two separate checklist including top 10 most common items for those using cash and those using miles, respectively. Understandably it would not be the best answer but should be a good enough one.
Back to my dreaming: if someone really takes on this job, I think the best candidate is Google Flight search team, who can reach out multiple airlines to do the search simultaneously and do multi-dimensional analysis. But they never play mile games. They shall hire you to be the consultant :).
One more thinking: assume there is an ideal way, if you expose it and catch everyone’s attention, it may not survive then. It is kind of likely MS. You can kill it by giving it out. If too many people do the same thing, for cash, it will bump up the airfare; for miles, you will see no availability. So Greg, I actually confuse myself and don’t know if there is an answer or even if it should be published. Maybe ITA Matrix+be flexible on dates is the best answer? For miles, it should be goal-driven: where do you want to go and which airline serve that route, then whether you have miles that can redeem that route. I answered myself but as if I didn’t say anything…
The MS link in step 2 does not display properly…
Thank you. It’s fixed now.
I remember a post that Greg wrote a few years ago indicating that it was great that Amazon sold so much stuff because he could buy Amazon gc elsewhere, load them to Amazon, and then buy stuff with the credit in his Amazon account. I’m not a reseller, and I don’t have lots of need to buy from Amazon, but I do have a large credit on my account there. Am I overlooking something I can buy from them that I can easily turn into cash-like stuff? I see they have $200 VGC, but the price seems high vs. Staples brick & mortar for $500 VGC. Suggestions appreciated. Thx.
Staples doesn’t sell $500 VGCs. You’re not really missing anything. Amazon sells just about every type of daily need imaginable, so I’d think you could buy food, household supplies, etc. You could also buy 3rd party GCs. There isn’t a better way to turn them into cash than VGCs or reselling products. While the fee on VGCs is higher than in some other places, if you really have no need to buy anything from Amazon, the fee is lower than your next best alternative (to leave the credit in your Amazon account collecting dust). That said, I haven’t tried buying VGCs w/ Amazon GCs.
We don’t understand what’s going on with the Southwest website. We travel from GSP, which has Southwest service to Atlanta. But when we try to price flights from GSP to other cities (say, Manchester NH (MHT)), for the great majority of dates we get a message that there are no such flights. That is nonsense, of course, as there are convenient one-connection flights GSP-ATL-MHT. Southwest won’t price such a ticket for most dates, and on the very few dates for which it will price such a ticket, the prices are ridiculous (say, $800 r/t compared to $250 for Delta and American). Please let us know what we are doing wrong!
I wish I could help. I don’t know why that’s happening
Very poor information-Could not get answers of this site–Called and they could not help–talked to 4 different people
What site are you referring to?
Both you and Nick Reyes wrote extensively about Marriott/SPG travel packages. I wonder if you or Nick could help me because I am still confused about how to proceed. I bought a Category 6 seven night package on 08/15 and am not sure about what I should do regarding asking for the 30k bonus refund or booking a stay. Example: I am interested in the Westin Cayman resort which right now is listed as a Category 6 hotel on the Marriott site. Will my package certificate change in designation and no longer be a “6”? If so, should I book now while the Westin and my certificate match? And if I ask for the 30k refund now, will that cause something which will prevent me form booking the Westin? I would like this to end with my receiving the 30k points refund and a booking at the Cayman resort. Thank you for any help you may offer.
Your best option is to try to get them to book the Cayman resort with your stay certificate. You may have to do this through SPG rather than through Marriott. I’m not sure. If that works, be very happy that you got an old Cat 6 to work with a new Cat 6 property (it technically shouldn’t work) and don’t worry about the 30K. If that doesn’t work (after a number of tries), then call Marriott Rewards and ask for the 30K refund (but I wouldn’t do this part until you absolutely need the 30K)
Greg, today I attached an OLD category 1-5 certificate to a hotel that is a new category 5 but used to be a category 7 or 8. (I can’t remember which) Interesting!!!! I’m confirmed!!! The hotel is Renaissance Republique Paris. YMMV. If anything changes I’ll let u know. I just did it. Afternoon of September 4. I did notice that in the section for my awards on the Marriott site it still says my certificate is a category 1-5. Ie it hasn’t been updated to 1-4.
That’s very exciting, thanks for sharing! I’m going to give that a try too and then I’ll move the conversation over to the FM Insiders Facebook group
Direct MS Question
Just got approved for SPG Luxury Card from AMEX. My question is this, with the minimum spend requirement of $5K I’m either going to have to get creative or MS to hit the min spend. Slightly worried about shutdown or clawbacks with MS on AMEX specifically with the purpose of hitting minimum spend.
What percentage if any of the $5K min on MS threshold with earning min spend on SPG cards? I should probably add AMEX is used to seeing the “usual suspects” on my other SPGs since I MSed pretty hard on them for the last couple years and really hit it hard in the lead up to Aug when the everyday spend return dropped
As long as you avoid Simon Mall and online gift card purchases from giftcards.com and giftcardmall.com, you’ll probably be fine. Consider though using one of the Amex safe techniques listed here: https://frequentmiler.com/manufactured-spending-complete-guide/
I need some advice. I’ve been in the miles/pts game for a little bit. See so I have the Chase Trifecta( Reserve, Freedom Unl, Freedom) and Amex Platinum and several others. I’ve found the Chase UR pts to be the best and easiest to use, so I’d like to get another Chase card, but I’ve been unsuccessful getting approved for the Chase business cards(prior to app, Chase rep said I was not in violation of 5/24 Chase rule, but denial letter said I had opened too many cards within last 24mos). Any suggestions on how to get approved for another UR Chase card? Or next best reward cards to apply for? I have good amount of spend coming up now and over course of year and I want to capitalize on as many bonus promos as I can. Would greatly appreciate some actionable advice. Thanks all!
It sounds like you are over 5/24 and were given wrong info by Chase. A number of people have had success getting approved for Chase Ink business cards by meeting with a Chase Business Relationship banker (BRM) and having them submit the application. It takes a different path that way and can avoid 5/24, but it doesn’t ensure success.
Greg, Thanks for the advice. I may try this. Instead, I opened a Citi Premier card.
I actually spoke with Chase today about the denials and was informed by the lending department that I “have opened too many cards in the last 24mos, not only Chase cards.” I asked specifically how many is too many and I was told that they cannot give me that information. I asked repeatedly. No direct answer was given. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.
Chase weirdly doesn’t like to admit that the 5/24 rule exists, so they’re cagey about questions like that.
Greg, not sure where to post this….so I hope you see this.
In all this marriott TP chitter chatter, one thing keeps nagging me: Why Why WHY are they still selling these?
They arbitrarily shut down the Ritz card in the dead of night. (Maybe it was Chase, but still….these things CAN be done.)
Why not just shut the TP program down as well? In the middle of the night. Then they can make their announcement as to what they are doing in preparationg for D-Day, August 18. It would lead to a smoother transition.
But they aren’t doing that. They are still selling them.
I can think of only two reasons:
1) They still haven’t figured out what to do. But even then, they could still just shut everything down and figure it out in the next week or so.
2) Or they WANT us to use points, so they get as many points off their books as possible. Points are of course a kind of liability on the balance sheet. They’ll take a charge for the Wall Street analysts for the merger anyway, and then they move on.
This way their balance sheet looks as clean as possible.
My guess is that they will do something generous, but whatever it is, I think they want those points off their books and as such, I doubt they’ll just redeposit the points. Who knows?
The point again tho is: why the heck are they still selling these things?
Sam, those are great points. I agree that the logical thing to do would be to cut off buying packages. I fully expected that to happen and was surprised when it didn’t. I have no idea why they didn’t do this.
My wife received her first Chase personal card recently and after setting up online access for her, the first thing I did was go the Chase Credit Journey to check her report. I was shocked to see it says she has 5 opened accounts in the last 2 years, which I knew wasn’t true. I then went to Credit Karma and checked both her TransUnion report and her Equifax report, and then I went to Experian and checked her report there. All 3 showed the same information – that she has 3 opened accounts in the last 2 years with 2 of those being authorized user accounts. Even counting her Chase Ink Cash card and her new, unreported as of yet, Freedom card she would only be at 5 with the authorized user accounts.
Why would Chase Credit Journey show 5 accounts when TransUnion, where they get their information from, shows 3 accounts? I am hoping she can get the CSP in a couple of months and realize Chase bases their account decisions on Experian’s report, so is this anything to be concerned about?
I don’t know why Credit Journey would be so far off. That seems like a bug in the software. I’m sure that Chase doesn’t use Credit Journey, though, to determine 5/24, so you should be fine. Worst case, she’ll have to call to explain that some of the cards are AU cards rather than primary
Hi Greg – I recently applied for a Chase Business Card. Even though I am over the 5/24 limit, I thought that since it was a business card, I might get approved. I was denieged the card, but their reason for the denial was a little funny. They said, “Too many credit cards opened in the last two years associated with you”. I agree I have had to many cards under their 5/24 rule, but they implied they made the decision based on my Trans Union credit bureau information – an account that is locked and can not be accessed by creditors.
Thanks for your comment,
Most Chase business cards ARE subject to 5/24. The only exception that comes to mind is the Marriott Premier business card. I think your may have been confused by the fact that Chase business cards do not ADD to your 5/24 count when you’re approved.
Thanks Greg – what do you think about their reason for not approving my application -I agree I have had to many cards under their 5/24 rule, but they implied they made the decision based on my Trans Union credit bureau information – an account that is locked and can not be accessed by creditors. Can the credit card company access my credit bureau for information even if it is “locked”?
I’d bet that they used a different credit bureau, but they have a standard denial letter or format that they use and it says TransUnion. You could always call and ask. No, they shouldn’t be able to use your TransUnion info if it’s locked.
Give me some points pleeeease!
I know that it has been asked and answered a dozen times , but I am still confused:
“ will fifty combined nights in calendar year 2018, at starwood as well as Marriott hotels result in qualifying for platinum in 2018, with platinum status lasting until approximately March 1 2020? “
If you can answer this for me I would appreciate it. The mid year transition has confused me.
I have tons of miles(millions) in most US based airline programs( aa, united, sw, aeroplan, alaska) , and in spg, and MR.
Also have a ton of 7 night marriott certs that i got through marriott air+hotel packages.
I travel a lot on international premium class using points (and domestically using companion pass, Avios (when it is not down) and MR 35% off for last minute travel – alas the MR 50% days just went away).
What do you recommend i do with my spg points? Am skeptical of buying marriott air+hotel packages, but dont see any other option that is safe (remember that i continue to earn spg points in the meantime, which i will SWITCH to Chase spend after aug 1)
Am worried about Aug 1. I have read most blogs and realize what possible changes can happen.
Should i buy some MORE alaska/united packages? They offer the best charts/value currently of all air+hotel packages.
AA – i did many air+hotel packages when they had their huge transfer bonuses, so have enough AA miles.
In my estimate the transfer bonus AA, Aeroplan, United have offered in the past, easily outweigh the depreciation that miles would suffer, hence i went to town when those bonuses were announced, hence have plenty of those 3 airline points.
It sounds like you are just as informed as I am about the options, and you obviously know more than me about how you would use the points or miles. But my 2 cents is this: keep the points. By keeping the points as Starpoints (and soon to become 3X rewards points), you preserve the ability to transfer to many different airline programs. So, when there’s an especially great deal that requires a particular airline miles, or when an airline keeps the best award space for itself, you’ll be able to take advantage of it. Plus, you’ll have plenty of points to take maximum advantage of the low rates that will be available on top tier SPG and Ritz properties between August and early 2019.
They are a rip off . Said I can redeem by end of month and am locked out
I will try to make this very quick as I know you have tons of emails. If I have an option to get AA platinum (50k) or delta silver (25k) before the end of 2019, which would you choose. The caveat is that I will be living in Atlanta starting in 2019. I don’t really care about having to have one connection to most places considering Atlanta isn’t an AA hub. What would you chose? One other thing, I can get AA platinum in the next 20 days via a status challenge.
Thanks so much for your opinion!
Keep in mind that this is just one biased answer: I’ve had terrible luck flying AA. A huge percentage of my flights were severely delayed or outright cancelled. So, for me the answer would be easy: Go with Delta.
I would love to win!
Please help/guide to find the easiest way to check the availability of the turkish airlines award flights that we can book thru aeroplan later.
Use Aeroplan’s award search tool
I think you mentioned that you were going to use your SPG Amex card a lot prior to August 1st when the Marriott deal kicks in.and you’ll only get 2 MR points for 1 SPG point. I saw that SPG is again offering the 35% discount on point purchases through May 31st. Is this more worthwhile than usual to purchase?
I think so. I doubt we’ll ever be able to buy MR points for as low as around 0.75 cents per point again. Of course I don’t recommend it unless you have a good use for the points planned. Here’s more info about the point sale: https://frequentmiler.com/2018/04/19/35-off-spg-points-through-5-31/
Hey guys. Your site is outta site. Question: I’m fairly new to the hotel CC thang. I’m evaluating whether it will be worth it to keep my and my wife’s SPG cards. Between personal and business, we have four SPG cards. Does that mean that upon anniversary, (under the new guidelines to be rolled out this fall…) we’d collectively have four Marriot annual stay certificates? WOuld we be able then theoretically be able to stay four nights at the same hotel (assuming availability) for free? I also have the Marriot Bness card. Might that get me a fifth night at the same hotel? I do understand that the category of hotel will be restrictive, but that said, would this work?
Yes, you can absolutely do that. Don’t think of it as free though. You’ll have to pay the annual fees on each of the cards so its really a nice discount on each night assuming that you stay at a place that would otherwise cost significantly more than the annual fee.
How do I sign up to get emails for when my check is deposited on the blue bird card
I don’t know if you can. My Bluebird account was frozen long ago, so I can’t check for you
Hey Guys, does Gift of College gift cards incur the wrath of an AMEX signup bonus clawback?
I haven’t heard of that happening, but it could since Amex specifically disallows gift card purchases as counting towards min spend requirements
I was trying to post on article and got invalid Capta ocde foive times. Anything up?
Thanks for alerting us to this! Trying to fix it now.
We’ve removed the Captcha requirement. It should work now.
Keep in mind that your Auto and HO insurer may put you in a less favorable underwriting category and increase your premium when you apply for and are given a new credit card as happened to me several years ago with Hartford (or 21st Century–I don’t remember).
I’m curious what Greg did with the BOA cards he applied for last year. I grabbed 6 myself after reading Greg’s post. Did you close all of them? What’s your BOA strategy going forward? After BOA’s 2/3/4 rule, I’m eligible for one card in March. Debating Virgin Atlantic, Alaska or the Premium Reward.
I closed the cards with annual fees. Going forward I’ll stick mostly with BOA business cards and throw in an occasional personal card when I’m under 2/3/4. As to which card you should get of those three, it all depends on your plans. If you’d like to use Virgin Atlantic points to fly ANA first class, or Delta nonstop, then that may work for you. If you have good uses for Alaska miles and/or the companion ticket, then go for that. I like the Premium Reward card if you’re unsure of your plans or you prefer to book travel directly.
Hello, I got a CSP over two years ago. In November 2017, I product changed it to a Freedom. I was actually getting ready to apply for the CSR. Now that I am below 5/24, I’m having second thoughts about the CSR. I love my Prestige too much for the 4th night benefit, and I’m not sure if I want two $450 cards. Do you see any issues associated with getting approved for the CSP again and getting the bonus a second time?
The important date with Chase is when you received the signup bonus. It must have been at least 24 months since you last received a signup bonus on the CSP to get a signup bonus again. For example, let’s say you opened the card in December 2015 and you completed the spend on January 31st 2016 and your next statement cut on February 21st 2016. The signup bonus points would have posted on February 21st, 2016 with that statement. In that example, you would have gotten the CSP over two years ago, but earned the signup bonus LESS than 24 months ago and you would therefore not be eligible to receive the signup bonus again.
Moral of the story is that you need to check when you got the signup bonus. If you received the signup bonus more than 24 months ago, you’re good to go on getting approved for it again.
This four-month old post rear its head in my daily inbox today, as if to prove yet again that every coin has a tail and a head both. I landed in Medellin yesterday with two free checked bags on a multi-city United award redemption, fees and taxes paid by United card. One of my two checked bags is still missing, or I think it is since I’ve not received the promise email/telephone contact from Copa. So yes, I paid no baggage fees for two 50-lb. suitcases but no, I don’t have the 12 hour missing luggage insurance that was available to me by using CSP. Copa’s luggage service site indicates it’s initially willing to pay $25 in daily reimbursement for not more than three consecutive days. I hope not to find out more, except whether showers fall softly as predicted for late tonight and whether the weather will feel chilly as the temp falls from 81F to 64F. Good sleeping weather, as they say.
Question… I don’t yet have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card that says you can use your Ultimate Rewards points for travel purchases thru them valued at 1.5 cents per.
If I get that card, will the 500k UR points I have already accumulated thru my Ink Plus card be valued and usable at the higher 1.5 rate or at the current 1.25 rate?
It would be a $1250 swing. Thanks in advance.
Keep up the good work, you guys are great.
Good news. You’ll be able to transfer your points to the CSR which will give you 1.5 for all of your points Once your CSR is available through Chase on mine, it’s pretty simple to combine your points.
Love the blog Greg and appreciated meeting up at the Chicago Seminars a few months ago.
A quick suggestion — I would put out a warning about The Plastic Merchant. I learned about them at the Chicago Seminars and they’ve been having issues with checks that bounce. The points chaser posted something (http://pointchaser.com/plastic-merchant-payment-issues/) and I’m hoping word gets around before people get burned big time.
I am trying to book an award flight using United miles to Europe this summer. While at the FTU Expo someone mentioned to not only check United’s website for availability, but partners as well. I tried to search using SwissAir and Singapore Airlines, but don’t have an account there. Is there a way to get around that. Any advice is appreciated.
Good options for checking Star Alliance award space include: United, ANA, and Aeroplan. I can’t remember off-hand if it’s necessary to be a member to search, but it doesn’t cost anything to enroll in their programs.
“CHOOSE ME” – would love to win the points to finally see Italy … Thank you for this chance …
Would LOVE to win
Bring it 2018. Let’s go!
Happy New Year
Thank you for this really informative blog! This year, I’ve stepped up my game from a casual pursuit of this “hobby” (which in the past allowed me to send loves ones on fabulous vacation trips) to an earnest quest to earn substantial points/miles to fund family visits to, and hotel stays for, a loved one who now must travel a huge amount to get cancer treatments. God willing, the points/miles I’m amassing – in no small part from reading this and similar blogs – will also fund a “remission victory trip” for our extended family, post-treatments. Meanwhile, treating loved ones and friends to gifts, meals, and smell-the-roses experiences has allowed us all to continue creating fond memories as well as earned additional points/miles.
(And please pick me – my family could use a nice vacation)
Happy holidays. Please pick the most worthy person and thank you for all the advice you give. Without taking advantage of points, perks and discounts, I would not be able to see and experience so much.
Please pick me! LOVE SPG! Enjoyed your e-mails and looking forward to another year of interesting writing from you.
Happy Holidays! Great tips.
Happy holidays to all!!
Merry Christmas, This girl loves a vacation!
Really could use those!
Thanks for the content, all the best.
If you pick me, I will write a terrific blog post for you about the trip around the World I am just completing using many many travel hacks.
Thanks for your invaluable help in experiencing travel I would have missed without points
Help me have a very merry year!
Make my year good!
thank you for all your tips they have really helped
If you pick me, I’ll be your best friend!
Great Xmas idea! Merry Xmas everyone! And yes, i do hope to be picked
Love your blog! By the way, Dec. 26 is my b’day & the SPG points would be a phenomenal b’day gift!! Happy holidays!
Happy New Year! I could use a vacation.
Love the daily emails! Thanks for the info. Would love to be picked 🙂
What a gift to receive timely and practical tips from your blog. Happy 2018!
Love reading your blog, enjoy your holidays
I need the SPG points for my vacation 🙂
Pick me please!!!!!!
Love your blogs. Happy holidays !
Appreciate all the work you put into the blog and updates. Always topical.
Happy Holidays. Thanks for a great year of blogging
Please pick me!!!
Pick me please!
Happy Holidays! Thanks for all the valuable information
Peace on Earth! Pick me!
I read about the accounts being dropped on e-rewards. I’ve not had that problem however I have enough points to get quite a few thousand emiles points. Every time I try it says the emiles are out of stock. This has been at least 6 months.
If I apply for 2 different credit cards from separate companies such as Am Ex & Chase, does that count as 2 separate credit inquiry?
Or, if these 2 companies pull my credit from the same credit bureau, would it only count as one?
Does that matter at all?
Yes it would count as 2 separate inquiries. Does it matter? A bit, but usually not enough to be overly concerned unless you sign up for many, many cards. Each inquiry can have a small negative impact on your credit score, but that impact goes away after a few months (and the inquiry drops from your report altogether after 2 years)
Hello Frequent Miler.
A quick question; for some reason Award Wallet didn’t notify me my United miles were expiring, which they did in June. I had about 279,000 miles. United will let me buy most of them back for $600. Good deal or no? I rarely fly United anymore, but was hoarding these for a vacation.
Ugh — that’s a bummer. Award Wallet can’t automatically track your United balance — you have to forward your statements to them….I’m not sure if that’s why it didn’t track your expiration.
As to whether or not it’s a good deal to buy back your miles — it depends on how you will use them. Personally, I’d probably pay $600 to get back 279K. That’ll get you round trip in business class to anywhere in the world with miles to spare or 2-4 people round trip in economy class just about anywhere (10+ if you can find domestic saver space), and you have access to tons of airlines in the Star Alliance (you only have to fly United if you’re flying domestically). I think that’s worth the trade.
But domestic saver availability is tough to come by — if you’re planning a vacation for exact date A to exact date B to popular destination X during peak travel period Y, it might not work out to be worthwhile. I guess you have to look at where you’re thinking of going…..and I’d Google it to see whether or not that price is negotiable (I don’t know whether or not it is).
That’s helpful. Many thanks, Nick.
Let me add: I’d definitely buy them back at that price. It stinks that the miles expired, but now your choice is between $600 or 279,000 miles. Even at standard award prices (United’s more expensive award rate), you can get a huge amount of value (far, far more than $600) from 279,000 miles.
Thanks, Greg. There’s some good news. When I went to the United site, they offered me the miles back at a 20% discount, so I only paid $480. A good deal and a good deal more! Now all I need to do is make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Thanks to you and Nick for your help. I’m a big fan of your work.
Hi Greg! Been reading for a long time and consider myself quite knowledgeable thanks mostly to all your great posts. Here’s something I’m curious about though:
I’m currently full up on Amex cards. I recently got approved for my last available spot with an Amex EveryDay Preferred Card (going to be spending in supermarkets a lot and wanted to max out the 3x->4.5x value–also because I got the Amex Biz Platinum and still get 50% rebate until next May. So want to stock up on Amex points to take advantage of that before getting kicked back to 35%).
Here’s my question. I have an Amex EveryDay card that has been open for 18 years. I don’t want that now since I have the EveryDay Preferred. But… I’m afraid if I close that account, it will negatively affect my “average credit card age”, since that is currently roughly 6 years, and the Amex EveryDAy is my oldest card.
I’ve considered waiting a year and then closing the Amex EveryDay Preferred card (which would have been open for 1 year), and then upgrading my Amex EveryDay into an EveryDay Preferred. But I don’t want to wait that long. I want to apply for more Amex cards! Lol. Like the hilton one.
What’s the best way to get rid of cards I don’t want, while not losing their credit history so my “average age of credit” remains high and in good standing?
That’s a good question! I agree that it makes sense to keep your old card open, and that you shouldn’t close your new card until it is a year old.
But you have 5 slots for Amex credit cards, so there must be 3 other credit cards you can consider cancelling right? Keep in mind that charge cards aren’t part of the 5 max (so your Biz Plat doesn’t count, for example). Can you cancel one of the others and then wait until your Everyday Preferred card is a year old to cancel that one and re-apply for the one you cancelled (assuming you still want it)? You can’t get the bonus again, but you can get approved.
Hi Greg! Avid reader, first time commenter. Wanted to reach out with a question:
I’m about to spend a lot of money on furniture (~25-30k). What’s the best way to take advantage of this to generate rewards? Are there any good cards you know of with 2x or more for furniture stores? (Most purchases will be in-store, though probably several thousand in online shopping). Or should I go for a high spend bonus on a single card? Or sign up for several new cards and try to hit minimum spend in exchange for sign-up bonuses? I haven’t gotten into Amex rewards at all, would this be a good opportunity to establish myself there?
Here are the cards currently in my wallet:
– Chase Sapphire Reserve
– Chase Ink Biz Preferred
– Chase Freedom
– Chase Mileage Plus Explorer
– Chase Amazon
Thanks for help!
Oh! Forgot to mention these purchase will almost all be made out of the country, so need cards with free international transactions…
Yes this would be a great time to sign up for new cards. I can’t think of any cards that would earn much of a bonus at a furniture store, so look for big signup bonuses instead.
It looks like you may be under 5/24, so you could do a couple of Chase cards. If you fly Southwest with a partner, consider going for two Southwest cards, especially if you can delay the spend until after the December statement closes on the Southwest cards. That way the points will all be earned in 2018 and with 110,000 points you’ll earn a companion pass that is good for unlimited flights the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. Alternatively, consider the Ink Cash and maybe even another Ink Business Plus if you have a second business.
If you’re not worried about going over 5/24, some great current signup offers include:
* Capital One Spark Cash: Spend $10K, Get $1,000
* Citi Premier 50K
* Virgin Atlantic card 75K
* Hilton 125K
Or, just go here to see a sorted list: https://frequentmiler.com/top-10-credit-card-offers/
Thank you, Greg!
Greg and Nick,
I stumbled upon this link and was wondering if any Visa Signature card holders could take advantage of this offer for LoungeKey? and also wondering if its safe to give your card number to them for verification?
Many Thanks in Advance
Are there FFD Codes available for Plastiq that are not referral?
Not that I’m aware of
Are you guys hiring additional bloggers for your site?
Not right now
Petco: Spend $25, get 500 Membership Rewards
why can’t I add this coupon to my card. there was a blue box to click on for both of these items
Petco: Spend $25, get $5 back
Why it’s a good deal: You know you’re not going to stop your SO from buying toys/treats/laser pointers. This offer came in both Membership Rewards and cash back flavors on different cards.
Try again? I’ve had a few offers lately that gave me an error the first time I clicked “add to card”. I just clicked “add to card” again (without leaving the page or refreshing or anything) and it worked.
how to use “AA” miles which are near expiration?
If you do anything to either use some miles or earn some miles then your miles won’t expire. A simple option if you have a month or so for the miles to post is to click through the AA portal to buy something small (such as a song from iTunes). Even if you earn just 1 dollar, that would be enough. Or, you can donate 1000 miles to charity, or buy a magazine subscription for (I think) 700 miles.
What is the best way to capture the airline credit of the CNB Crystal VISA? I just got one of those with 3 AUs (a total of 4 cards) after a lot of planning (I live in Florida and CNB does not have offices here). Now I have 4x $250 to capture until the end of the year, but my favorite spending target, the UA Gift Registry, has taken an extended leave of absence (and may be dead for good). What is a good way of using the CNB airline credit in your experience? Thank you in advance for the advice!
I’ve been booking Delta awards with fees around $60 (such as DTW to YYZ) in order to earn the CNB credits. I found that fees over about $70 didn’t work. I don’t know what else works, but I’d suggest going through the list of things that work for Platinum card airline fee reimbursements to see if you can try those. There’s no guarantee that they’ll work, but they might. Here’s the list: https://frequentmiler.com/2016/12/14/amex-airline-fee-reimbursements/
Given the recent changes Chase made to its Sapphire family products, i.e., limiting total card number to 1 and expanding the 1 bonus per 24 month the entire family, do you think that sometime later this year Chase will do the same to the Southwest family to take away the companion pass options for 2018/2019? I have the choice of getting 2x60k bonus to qualify for companion pass for this year and next year, but if I could just wait for 60k bonus to show up early next year I could have companion pass for 2018/2019. What’s your thought on Chase’s direction?
Just my best guess, but I’d say no that Chase won’t do that anytime soon. I think that they would have to get Southwest to agree to that change whereas with the Sapphire they could act without input from partners.
Just in case it wasn’t known- I bot 500 dollar gift card at Ritz Carlton Westchester and received the 100 dollar credit on my Amex- great blog – yours and DOC my two favorite- will support you when I can for sure
Awesome. Thanks for letting us know!
What is the best method to convert/transfer into Southwest Rapid Rewards – to maximize miles? I have over 1 million SPG (Platinum) and also 200K+ of Chase Sapphire Reserve. Thx.
The best option is to buy Marriott Travel Packages.
1. Convert 90K SPG into 270K Marriott
2. Call Marriott Rewards to book a package that gives you 120,000 Southwest points and a one week category 1-5 stay certificate.
3. If you later don’t want to use the certificate, return it for 45,000 Marriott points (= 15,000 SPG)
Car Rental Primary Insurance– If I rent the car, she is not a signed driver, and we use her Chase Reserve Card, where I am not an authorized user, we will be covered in full for primary insurance?
I have Hertz Gold status and wanted to get the perks and points.
I don’t believe the rental company will allow you to pay with a credit card in someone else’s name. I believe they all require that the card presented for payment match the name of the driver.
So If I have Chase Ink, Chase Freedom, and Chase UAL which is the best to use? My guess is Chase UAL.
The promotion that you listed to be 20% off by email on yesterday from staples for the Panera bread $50 gift cards and the GAP $25 Gift card is not working…please advise me what is going on
Hi Angela. As noted in that post, those deals often sell out early. It looks like the denominations that were on sale have sold out unfortunately. I’d check back throughout the week (and check comments on that post) as they sometimes get restocked.
According to Staples they were not on sale
See the screenshots in the post. It was online only. You can also see the post from Doctor of Credit that I linked to. Based on comments there, it sounds like these denominations sold out last night. Again, these sometimes come back in stock. You can see in the screenshot of the GAP card that I posted yesterday that the deal is scheduled to end this weekend (I cut off the date on the screen shot of the Panera offer, but DoC has a shot with the date) so it may come back in stock. They were definitely on sale, it’s just a matter of whether or not they come back.
If you’re interested in deals like this, I recommend clicking “Subscribe” at the top of this page and subscribing to instant email updates as many limited-time offers like this don’t last. You’ll want to jump on this type of deal as soon as it’s posted.
I’m a big fan of your blog, especially your coverage of Virgin Atlantic, Necker Island, etc!
Do you happen to know whether it’s still possible to be approved for a second BofA Virgin Atlantic Black card? Reports on the Alaska Visa Signature card seem to indicate it’s getting much harder to have two personal cards at the same time, but I couldn’t find any data points for the Virgin Atlantic card. Ideally, I’d like to get a second card to earn additional tier points beyond the current limit of 50 per month. As a rule of thumb, how long would you wait in between applying for the same BofA card?
Many, many thanks!
I don’t know for sure. I think that if you stay under 4 or 5 BOA cards and you space out your Virgin Atlantic card app by at least a month, it should work. It’s been a while now since I’ve done the same, though. So I can’t promise anything.
I recently took your advice in purchasing the VISIO from Dell through the portal. Have not yet seen the price match refund nor the 90 day discount certificate. What has to happen to realize both of these benefits?
I’m not sure which deal you bought or when, but here are my attempts to answer:
When you say “price match refund”, do you mean that you filed a credit card price protection claim? You would do that with Discover Price Protection or Citi Price Rewind or Chase Price Protection. You can call or possibly submit online depending on which card you used. Once you have submitted the claim, it depends on the issuer. In my experiences with Citi and Discover, I think my claims were approved within a week or two (Discover lets you check the status online and typically has the fastest turnaround in my experience). Have you submitted your claim for that yet?
As for the Dell Promotional gift card, that should be emailed to you 10-20 days after you order. Keep an eye on your email. If it has been between 10-20 days, search your email for “Dell Promotional” to be sure that it didn’t slip by you. If you don’t have it and it has been less than 20 days since your order, just be patient and keep an eye out for it. If it’s been more than 20 days and you can’t find the email, try contacting Dell support. In my experience, they’ve been pretty good and I usually get the email within the timeframe specified. It is then valid for 90 days from the day that they email it.
Let me know if you need additional help.
Thanks for all the great info you provide here!
For years I have been using an American Express Plum Card for business purposes. I take advantage of the early pay discount (since I tent to pay bills as soon as they come in anyhow) which gets me 2% cash back each month. Not too bad since our company bill tends to run about 30K a month on average. In addition I have enough going on a business and personal SWA Visa to get a companion pass, which we get plenty of use out of.
Since reading Frequent Miler we now have our telcom expense and such going to an Ink Business Plus for 5X, and I have the AmEx Platinum for business travel benefits. (The 50% point rebate for first class has been awesome! Thank you!)
My question is this. I never hear you mention the Amex Plum. Since I have the lions share of cc charges going to this card for the company, and I missing a downside to it?
There’s nothing wrong with the card. I don’t talk about it because they advertise 1.5% cash back when paying early. Since Capital One offers a business card (Spark) with 2% cash back and no limits or requirements to pay early, that seems like a better bet for most businesses that prefer cash back over miles.
What is the quickest way to earn Silver status on Virgin Atlantic? I need that in order to book Necker Island. Thank You!
If you have status with another program, you may be able to status match. Otherwise, the quickest option is to fly Virgin Atlantic or one of their partners (such as Delta) a few times. You can also earn status through credit card spend (but it requires a lot of spend).
(Apologies if this has already been answered – I can’t find it addressed:)
To get my new Amex card bonus, I need to spend $20k on “qualifying purchases… excluding gift cards.”
Question: what if I buy gift cards from secondary sellers on eBay, Raise.com etc…?
Will Amex disqualify those purchases?
Thanks so much!
Amex doesn’t usually enforce the “excluding gift cards” rule. So, just about any gift card purchases should work. In the rare event that they decide to enforce that rule for you, would it be safer to buy gift cards from secondary sellers? Maybe. With eBay in particular they probably can’t see exactly what you bought. Unfortunately there are no good data points showing what is safe and what’s not in the rare cases where Amex enforces this.
You recommend AwardWallet.
Is there anyplace that compares the different points tracking websites so someone can find the one that best suits their accounts?
I’ve avoided these websites because of security. Am I being overly cautious?
I haven’t seen such a comparison. I’ve tried a few and like AwardWallet best, but admittedly I haven’t shopped around for quite a while.
Are you being overcautious? I don’t know. Fo