MY CALL TO PRIORITY PASS

Between my wife and I, we have a least 7 Priority Pass Memberships. I think we actually have more, but some we throw away as they aren’t value added. With several premium travel cards, you can get a complimentary membership that includes yourself and 2-3 guests, some are only for yourself, and some are for yourself but at a fee still. Sometimes you hear stories of people using the wrong priority pass and they get into a lounge and then they get a bill on their credit card its enrolled through a few weeks later. AMEX and Citi card memberships seem to have 11 digit numbers and Chase card memberships seem to have 16 digit numbers. I have multiple chase and AMEX memberships so it can be hard to figure out the difference. I have written on some cards where it comes from, but sometimes I forget….

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I keep the pass I receive from my Citi prestige card in my travel wallet so I use that often and know it gets my family of 4 in to Priority Pass Lounges. We have a trip with some extended family coming up so I needed to figure out how to get them in as well.

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Pricing from Priority Pass website. I don’t know who would pay $399 and not have any guest privileges. AMEX Platinum, Citi Prestige, Chase Ritz Carlton, and some of the premium Chase cards (which I don’t have because of 5/24) all include guest privileges.

So I called the number on the back of the cards (1 469 241 6807). After about and 8 minute wait, I got a live person. She asked me the name, number, exp date, and address of each card and was able to tell my what bank it was issued from as well as what membership level it was and what benefits were included. So this time I wrote them down and threw some away as well. Interesting though that I receive a membership from the Chase Ritz Carlton Card via JP Morgan, and they could not inform me what membership level it was.

BUYING OUR CAR ON CREDIT CARD(S)

We knew that our 2008 GMC Yukon was going to replaced sooner rather than later. We planned on driving it into the ground though, and that’s pretty much what we did. After spending a few thousand dollars earlier in 2017, we decided to use our Yukon to drive from OKC to Gulf Shores Alabama to meet some family where 8 of us rented a condo on the beach.

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Kids getting together and crab hunting in Gulf Shores.

Well, on the way home in traffic on I-10 in Mobile Alabama our car starts losing power. Then as we are heading into the tunnel in Mobile, it completely dies and we coast as far as we can into the tunnel where we sit there for 20 minutes causing a huge traffic jam. Eventually our car starts and we are able to move it out of the tunnel to the shoulder where we get towed.

 

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Bye Bye Yukon. We will never see you again.

Well when that happens, your wife pretty much gets to buy whatever car she wants….After doing all the research and test drives, we get down to pricing and start making serious offers which are written. We agree on the price and I make it very clear in writing that I plan on paying for the car with a credit card. I know they probably wouldn’t agree, but they didn’t really say anything to it and we started the paperwork. Well an hour later when we start going over the payment details they say I can only pay up to $3k on a credit card. I am ready to walk away, but we need a car and we are getting a good deal. I weighed the alternatives, looked at my glaring wife and knew that we would end up getting the car no matter what. However I made a big fuss and asked to talk to the finance manager. Eventually I talked to someone who explained some interesting details to me.

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He told me payments under $3k just get run by their local office so no one pays attention to them. Over $3k goes to corporate who wont approve them unless they add a 2.5% fee on it.  I had originally planned on paying something around $50k of it on my AMEX Business Platinum card. This would yield me 75k points as this AMEX pays 1.5 points on transactions over $5k. (plus I was targeted for a bonus for a mid year spend bonus at that time, which I would meet no matter what). While $1,250 for 75k AMEX points isn’t bad, I wasn’t willing to pay that at this time.

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I am balking but I am getting ready to leave and eventually the finance manager says I can use what credits cards I have in my wallet and they will run separate transactions at $3k each.  Usually I don’t carry my normal wallet but I had it today and I had 6 cards in there. He did a head slap but proceeded and it all worked out. I still getting over 18k points over 6 different cards. As I mentioned in this post, we have 21 current credit cards. I wish that I had all of them on me at that time. Next car I will!

AMEX HILTON OFFERS AND 2 CENTS PER HILTON POINT or 4 CENTS PER AMEX POINT AT WALDORF PARK CITY

I got the mailer below today for $70 back for staying at a Waldorf Astoria or a Conrad between now and Feb 28th 2018.  After missing our ski vacation last week, I thought maybe I could plan a quick 2-3 night getaway to somewhere nice in Park City.

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I thought this was a special offer just for me, and then logged into my AMEX account and realized this was already an AMEX offer. Also in there was the buy a $50 gift card, get $10 back, which is available up to 4 times. So between these 2 offers you could save up to $110 at a nice Waldorf or Conrad.

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I know that WA’s are expensive but was thinking it could be nice to stay a night there one night but use 2 full days of the benefits there while staying at a cheaper place the other nights. Well even with $110 off, its still outside of my price range from now until the promotion ends Feb 28th. I didn’t find any dates below $900 a night, and most dates are over $1k a night.

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This would be a great redemption on points though at over 1 cent per point. As TPG reported , AMEX has increased the transfer ratio to 1-2 so these rooms could be had for 40k AMEX points as well. Throwing in the Honors 5th night free on points, this is a great redemption for 5 nights at over 2 cents per Hilton point or 4 cents per AMEX point!!!  (320k Hilton points or 160k AMEX points) Now that Gold and Diamond members get free breakfast, you can use those gift cards for tips you put on your room, or for any drinks from the bar as well.

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Anyone planning on taking advantage of these offers?

2017 CREDIT CARDS IN REVIEW, WHATS IN MY WALLET NOW, AND WHAT WILL 2018 BRING?

Just some quick stats on 2017 credit cards for Mr. and Mrs. Trup

Currently this is what we have and why.

Mr. Trup

Capital One Visa Platinum– no annual fee card I have had since 2013 when I downgraded after the initial Venture 100k offer from back then. I keep this just because its no annual fee and is an older card.

Marriott Chase Premier- Annual fee card with free night. Will have to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due

AMEX Business Platinum- I use this card quite a bit and just paid the annual fee as I get benefits from it as I explained here. This is probably the card I use the most

AMEX Delta Gold- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Merrill Lynch Visa- No annual fee card so might just keep open for a while.

AMEX SPG Personal Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due based on the good transfer partners.

AMEX SPG Business Card– Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due based on the good transfer partners.

Chase British Airways Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Chase IHG Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due as you get a free night for a low annual fee.

Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Citi Prestige– have some points in there and I like the 4th night free benefit. I have renewed this card once and will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

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Used Citi Prestige card for 4th night free at Atlantis in Dubai for a suite with concierge lounge access which included breakfast in your room.

Mrs. Trup’s cards.

Chase Ink Plus Business Card- Low annual fee with good points back on office suppliers (gift cards). Have had this card for a few years and will probably keep open. This is our only ultimate rewards card so Mrs. Trup uses this a lot.

AMEX Personal Platinum Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due and what we need to do with our AMEX points.

AMEX Delta Personal Platinum Card– Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Merrill Lynch Visa– No annual fee card so might just keep open for a while.

AMEX SPG Personal Card– Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due based on the good transfer partners.

AMEX SPG Business Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due based on the good transfer partners.

AMEX Hilton Surpass- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Chase IHG Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due as you get a free night for a low annual fee.

Capital One Venture card– applied for and pending at end of 2017. Will wait to call re-consideration line.

Chase British Airways Card– was initially denied in 2017- need to call back to move account limits around.

Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red Card- Will need to re-evaluate when annual fee comes due.

Citi Business Platinum Select American Airlines Card- Just approved at end of 2017.

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Who doesn’t love using AA miles for redemption in Etihad’s First Class?!?!

 

What cards did we say goodbye to in 2017?

Mr. Trup

Chase Hyatt Card-

Citi AA Business Platinum card-

AMEX Delta Platinum Personal card

Chase Marriott Business Card

Chase Ritz Carlton

Mrs. Trup

Chase Hyatt Card-

Citi Prestige

AMEX Delta Gold Personal

Chase Ritz Carlton

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Using our Chase Ritz cards for free nights at the Ritz Carlton in Osaka Japan.

 

What cards I am looking forward to in 2018?

There are not too many cards that we haven’t had. We are looking forward to the new AMEX Hilton cards coming out to see if we will be eligible or not. As well as plan on Mrs. Trup applying for the regular Citi AA Card, as well as the Delta AMEX Business Platinum and Business Gold cards when they have better sign up bonuses. Mr. Trup is also eligible for the AMEX Delta Business Platinum Card as well as the Regular AMEX Platinum card. (holding out for a 75k-100k bonus.) Also waiting for both on the AMEX Mercedes Benz Platinum card to get a higher bonus on. And finally will probably apply for the  the Hawaiian Airlines Barclays card after we have had our Barclays AA cards for 6 months.

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Will we see a better offer on this card in 2018?

 

What about you- do you have your cards picked out yet?

AMEX BUSINESS PLATINUM RETENTION OFFER

I applied and was approved for a 100k AMEX Platinum Business card last November. Well the annual fee appeared on my statement so I thought today would be a good day to see what they could do to entice me to keep it.

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I have always liked AMEX cards. I got my first Blue card when they were introduced 17 years ago and I was a college student drawn in by like 0% APR for 6 months. I still have that card today.

I called the number on the back of my AMEX Business Platinum Card, and after a automated questions, I was to the prompts for cancelling my card. I knew I wanted to talked to a customer service rep though. The automatic prompts asked me to confirm the last 5 digits of my card, and then it says to please confirm cancellation of my Delta AMEX card. I didn’t even realize my last 5 digits of both cards are the same. So I responded no and I get to a live CSR. It was about 3 minutes until I was to a live person. This CSR informs me he cant cancel a card and transfers me to another department. this took another 5 minutes.

The new CSR asks me why I want to cancel and I tell him because I don’t get enough value from the high annual fee. He reads off all the benefits that I am already aware of to try to get me to stay. I say to please cancel and then he offers a $100 statement credit or 10k points because I am such a valued customer… I ask him to get both, and he says no so I  respond to cancel just to see what his next step is. He reads off some disclosure stuff and asks me to confirm that I want to close the account. I then tell him that I will take the 10k points.

This has been a great card to me for the past year so that is why I decided to keep it. Besides the large signup bonus, I used the Centurion lounges and Delta lounges quite often. (Priority pass is nice as well, but I get that on other cards too.) Also, I had 3 large purchases over $5k last year and this gives you 1.5 points on those transaction. (this is also great for large monetary donations.) I have another one coming in in January as well. I also used several AMEX offers for either cash back or for some type of bonus points.

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Plus I was targeted last year for a 50k bonus after spending $10k dollars.

If 2018 is as good as 2017 for this card, then I would probably keep it again going into 2019. If there are not as many bonus offers or good AMEX offers, I probably won’t keep it another year.

REVIEW- AMEX CENTURION LOUNGE SEATTLE

After getting denied access at the Alaska Airlines lounge, I headed on over the the Centurion Lounge in the B terminal at about 11am.  I was able to gain access with my Platinum Business Card.

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Surprisingly it was not too busy yet.  There was still several areas of seating to select, a least for a lone business traveler.  Now they did recently expand this lounge and added the bar section, but its still not a very large lounge.

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The food was still appealing as well and did not look like it had been ravaged yet by a mob of hungry travelers.

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I just decided to hang out around the bar area. This is where the centurion lounge sets itself apart. So often I feel like a cheapskate at most lounges as I have to make sure I ask if my requested drink is included/free or if my drink is an additional cost. Not here, whatever they make taken care of when you get in the door.

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The bar wasn’t very crowded being 11am, and the young bartender was willing to make me whatever I asked for.  They had a menu of suggested cocktails as well, and I started off with the Housemade IP Yay.

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After that, I just told the bartender to make me some interesting Vodka drinks. I have no idea what she was making me, but they were all tasty.

Overall this is a very solid lounge. I could see it easily getting crowded though. The best part was that my gate was in the C terminal, and the Lounge is in the B terminal, but it was only a 5 minute walk.

Are you signed up? 10k Hilton Points

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Don’t forget to sign up for a AMEX offer for 10k Hilton bonus points when completing a 2 night stay at a Hilton hotel. We recently stayed at Hilton Squaw Peak for 3 nights and these posted about 3 days later. I forgot I signed up so it was a nice surprise! You must have a Hilton AMEX card and be enrolled for complimentary gold status through AMEX. I had Diamond status so i never enrolled before but went ahead and linked my accounts in order to get this bonus.

Sign up here.

This is always a nice bonus that can help you get you to your next award night. Picture of Hilton Schipol Airport in Amsterdam that i have stayed at several times. Thank goodness its new as the previous one was falling apart.