The best credit cards, #bonvoyed! (or not), and more


This week at Frequent Miler, Greg examined the question, “What is the best credit card?” through a couple of lenses, I shared a nice find during my recent trip to Japan, you can read about why you should consider Qantas for AA redemptions, and more. Read on for the weekend recap

Best Fee-Free Travel Credit Card

Obviously, the best fee-free travel credit card is the Costco card. Wait, what? Is Greg off his rocker? Did Costco buy a stake in Frequent Miler when I wasn’t looking? Or is he….right? The truth is I was totally out of commission on Friday and spent most of the day in a constant state of waiting for the next delay to be announced / expecting not to make the next connection, at one point taxiing to a runway only to find we needed more fuel — which was followed by a tow back towards the gate until the tow bar pulling the plane broke (and that’s pretty indicative of the way my day went overall). That’s a long way of saying that I haven’t really wrapped my mind around this yet, so even I will have to read this again and determine how in the world the Costco Visa won this welterweight title.

Strengths of Qantas for AA redemptions

American Airlines Planes

If you’ve been sleeping on Qantas points for AA redemptions, you probably shouldn’t be. They can be a great option for short multi-segment itineraries booked at the last minute. If only they offered instant transfers. Still, there are some reasons to like Qantas over AA/BA/IB for American Airlines bookings.M See this post for a list.

Using National Car Rental free days for one-way car rentals [Sweet-spot spotlight]

Short story: National Rental Car free days can be really valuable for one-way rentals. See this post for a short explanation of the two main types of National free days and how to earn and use them to good value.

On my mind (#Bonvoyed! edition)

I emailed Greg late Thursday night. The topic? How I almost got #Bonvoyed by Budget Rental Car. I kid you not, they tried to charge me ten bucks more for adding my Budget loyalty number to the reservation. Unfortunately (I think) for Marriott, my first reaction to Budget’s really customer-unfriendly move in this case was #Bonvoyed!”. Or is Marriott happy with that? Are they digging themselves a hole, or is there no such thing as bad publicity. I’ll say this: I’m typing this post from a Fairfield Inn across the street from a Hyatt Place, which makes it kind of feel like #SleepingWithTheEnemy. What can I say? Between tricks to pick up elite status and a huge footprint, Marriott has enough to keep me around even if this whole Bonvoy thing hasn’t been what they must have been hoping for.

Not #Bonvoyed: Courtyard Hakuba, maybe the nicest Cat 4 Marriott in the world

Further illustrating the power of the negative branding image, the fact that I found not being Bonvoyed important enough to lead the title of a post about a hotel that I actually liked should say something about how people feel about Bonvoy right about now. That said, I did love the Courtyard Hakuba. Finding it was pretty random, but oh what a find in my opinion. See this post for why I thought I’d be #bonvoyed and how my stay turned that expectation on its head.

What is the best credit card?


Best offers for low spendersCapital One gets credit here: a year ago, the Venture card probably wouldn’t have even been part of the conversation. I’m impressed that they’ve revamped it well enough to go from a non-contender to near the top of this list as I think it’s not that easy to make such a jump. The US Bank altitude reserve excites me, but more and more I’m realizing that I just don’t spend that much money in-person these days — and now that the Prestige card offers 5x on dining, I’d have even less need for mobile payments. All that said,I think the answer for the average person is without a doubt the Chase combo noted here. Don’t get me wrong, the CNB card is awesome and BoA makes a lot of sense if you can deposit $100K. But for the masses, the Chase chase combo is easy to understand, easy to maximize, and has a low barrier to entry. The Chase combo mentioned herein would be my #1 contender for sure.

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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