Weekly Update (December 14th, 2015)

Sorry about the radio silence, folks.  I’ve been doing a lot with value tactics but just haven’t taken the time to write about it.  It’s been three weeks since my last update, so here’s a summary of what using value tactics can do for you in less than a month:

  • Used a Hilton free night certificate at the Embassy Suites in St. Paul
  • Booked flights to Hawaii for my Nicoleen and I for $22.40
  • Booked $2,610.11 worth of hotel stays in Hawaii for $0.00, using more free night certificates
  • Saved $17.07 in gas by using free gas tactics

United Club passes up for grabs!
I have 2 free passes to use at any United Club airport lounge that are expiring on December 1st.  I’m giving these away to anyone who can use them in exchange for taking a few pictures and reporting back on your impressions of the lounge.  Read this facebook post for more info, and to check if they have been spoken for.

New Blog Posts
American Airlines 777-300ER First Class JFK – LHR is a review of our first class transatlantic flight on our anniversary trip this summer.  Read the post to see what a $9,821 one-way flight looks (and tastes) like!

Credit Card News
Personal Card News:
I recently cancelled my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card.  Ever since Hilton’s massive points devaluation of 2013 it’s my opinion that Hilton HHonors points are not even worth pursuing.  If you happen to collect them here or there, fine.  But paying the $95 annual fee to keep the points-earning card isn’t worth it to me.  (I paid the up-front $95 annual fee for the first year when I got the card – the two free nights I redeemed from the sign-up bonus were worth over $500, so my experience with this card was valuable as a whole.)

I also cancelled my Wells Fargo Propel to avoid paying the $175 annual fee.  This was the easiest call to cancel a card I have ever made!  The customer service rep agreed the annual fee was way too high, proactively notified me that the fee would be removed within a few days, told me how much interest was daily accruing on my remaining balance, and never once try to convince me to keep the card.  The whole call took about 3 minutes.

We have hit the bonus spending requirements on all three hotel cards we recently acquired.  For the last one I bought a couple hundred dollars of gift cards to our usual grocery store and local gas station.  This wasn’t to sneak in the spend before the required deadline, but rather to get my two free nights ASAP, since they were the last two pieces in the puzzle for our upcoming Hawaii trip.

General Card News:
There is no earth shattering news on the credit card front.  My current recommendation for most people just starting out or who want a single, versatile card is still the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  The bonus for this card recently jumped from 40,000 Ultimate Rewards to 50,000.  This could have been in response to the waning draw of this card due to Chase’s new account approval process and the rise of competitors like the Citi Thank-You Premier.  Look for an upcoming post outlining why beginning with Chase cards is now key to any points and miles strategy.

Travel News
embassy suitesLast weekend Nicoleen and I took our two oldest kids to the Embassy Suites in St. Paul.  The impetus for this this micro-vacation was to use an expiring free night certificate at a Hilton property.  The hotel comes with a few nice perks like a nightly manager’s reception and complimentary full breakfast buffet.  It was a nice little get-away and the price was right!

Hawaii here we come!  It’s official: we used a combination of Hyatt free night certificates, Hilton free weekend night certificates, and Delta Skymiles to book a nearly free trip to Hawaii for next September.  Neither of us have been there and it’s been on my bucket list since I was a kid.  We are excited 🙂

Now you’re updated. Go employ some Value Tactics!

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