Semi-Monthly Update (November 23, 2017)

I’ve been a busy boy, and unfortunately that means I didn’t get a lot of writing got done in the past few weeks.  One thing keeping me occupied has been a handful of short work trips.  Last week I stayed at a questionable hotel in southern MN.  I should probably write a semi-satirical review like the one I did for BUILDING 7-73.  Here’s a preview:

To give you an idea of how swamped I’ve been with non-VT stuff, this post was originally dated November 11th and the date has changed about 5 times.  When it takes several tries and almost 2 weeks to write an update post, you know I’m hurting for time!  And it’s not like there aren’t things to write about. . .

In this update I’ll report on our October points and miles activity, talk about some general and personal credit card news, share some happy reports from readers, and give a travel update.  We’ll top it all off with the latest free travel photo.

Household Points and Miles Activity for October

  • earned 87 hotel points
  • earned 5,710 Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • earned 35 Citi Thank-You points
  • earned 55,433 “other” points

I managed to complete the $3000 bonus spend on my new Bank of America Premier Rewards card in the first month (in fact I met the spend with a single purchase), yielding the 50k bonus “other” points.

Credit Card News

General News:

Lately I’ve been infatuated with the idea of free annual nights as a credit card benefit.  This is how I booked one of the two $700+ nights at the Z Ocean Hotel (pictured below in the free travel photo) this spring.  For a mere $49 annual fee, the Chase IHG card gives you a free night at any IHG property worldwide.  Our tropical weekend get-away to Costa Rica in February was also partially booked with free anniversary nights from our Chase Hyatt cards ($75 AF).

One of the few cards offering this type of benefit is about to be replaced with a new version with different benefits.  The present (and last ever) sign-up bonus on the current version of the card is at an all time high of 125,000 points!  I’m talking about the Hilton Surpass from American ExpressCheck out my previous post for a full run-down of the situation with this card.

Personal News:

October 27th, the day before our Florida trip, I applied for the Synchrony Cathay Pacific card during its highest-ever bonus of 50,000 Asia Miles.  I got the “pending” message many applicants have reported.  I received no e-mail communication since I applied but I finally got a letter on November 9th:

cathay pacific letter

And then on the 10th, the card arrived!

(If the FB post isn’t showing up, click here.)

ValueTactics Reader Success

ValueTactics reader Jamie recently told me about an upcoming vacation where she got a sweet deal on airfare to Ft. Myers.  She booked 4 round trip flights for only $44 and 68,000 miles!  That’s an awesome value; great job using the points and miles tactic, Jamie!

Travel News


We’ve been back from our Florida vacation for 3 weeks now.  The trip was so awesome!  I have to admit it was less relaxing than I anticipated, but at the same time it was more fun than I expected.  Disney really does do things above and beyond all of their competition.  After being there it’s easy to see that all other theme parks are trying to imitate what Disney has created.

the club

Besides two theme parks and the Kennedy Space Center we also experienced a free hotel stay and two free airport lounges.  (Well, “two lounges” is a stretch since one of them was a quick grab and go affair.)  This trip should generate a few different blog posts, one of which is mostly finished: a complete outline of how we planned this trip for so little money.

Of course getting back from a vacation also generates the dreaded vacation hangover, and regular readers will know how I like to cure that. . .   🙂

Free Travel Photo

After our family vacation to Disney, Nicoleen and I are ready for

After our family vacation to Disney, Nicoleen and I are ready for a break. . . like maybe a vacation with just the two of us?  Our last adults-only trip was her birthday surprise trip to Miami Beach in April.  I love this photo because I managed to fit everything into one shot from our private rooftop terrace: the moon shining on the ocean, the night lights of lively Ocean Drive, the unique pool at the Z Ocean Hotel, and our complimentary bottle of champagne.  What an awesome free trip that was!

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

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