Category Archives: Chase

Semi-Monthly Update (November 7th, 2016)

In this update: a 60,000 point card bonus is expiring soon, Nicoleen’s failed retention effort for a usually generous credit card, a trip report preview, and our monthly points and miles activity for October.


Chase Ink Business ReserveThe Chase Ink Plus business credit card will be discontinued by the end of 2016.  Your last chance to get the card and it’s 60,000 Ultimate Reward bonus will end shortly.  A new card called the Chase Ink Business Reserve will be taking its place but since they are different products, you can get the bonus on both!  (The purported bonus on the new card is 80,000 UR points).  If you have been on the fence about this card, don’t delay any longer!
(News source and more details about the new card offer at Milevalue)

Click here to read my review of the Ink Plus, and to see how a year with the card could easily earn you over 75,000 UR points.  Or, if you’re ready to apply now, please click through my referral bonus link to help support the site.

Household October Points and Miles Activity

In addition to saving $5.27 in gas between two fill-ups, here’s Nicoleen’s and my activity for October:

  • earned 217 airline miles
  • earned 13,330 Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • earned 2,261 hotel points

Travel News

The new Park Hyatt on Mallorca, two nights free for our Derek and Danie.

The new Park Hyatt on Mallorca, two nights free for our Derek and Danie.

VT readers Derek and Danie have returned from their value-packed trip to Mallorca, Spain.  Their round trip flights and 6 nights of hotel stays were paid for with points and miles, making the airfare and lodging virtually free!  Stay tuned for a trip overview, along with details on how they got these luxury accommodations with a few credit card bonuses.

Personal Credit Card News

When U.S. Airways merged with American Airlines in 2014, the U.S. Airways credit card from Barclay was transmuted into the American Airlines Aviator card. Until now, this card had always been a pushover when it came to retention offers. When calling to cancel the card because of the annual fee, Nicoleen and I were routinely greeted by a cheerful rep who was willing to waive the $89 annual fee and usually throw in some additional points. Not so this time around. Nicoleen called three times to try for an annual fee waiver, but was thrice shot down. In the end she decided to cancel the card and have the AF refunded. To see a history of Barclay’s generous track record with retention offers for this card, and the recent drop-off of those offers, see the Flyertalk wiki here.

New ValueTactics Blog Posts

Small Business Saturday 2016 . . . Another Year, Another Disappointment is my report on the second year in a row without a good deal for Amex’s Small Business Saturday. There is some strategy in this post about how to capture value before it’s gone!
ValueTactics 100th Blog Post was our milestone hundredth post! It’s a big THANK YOU to my readers, and links to some highlights from the last two years.
Geographically Specific Deals and Offers talks about what you can do if certain value tactics are not available in your country, region or state.

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

Bi-Weekly Update (August 15, 2016)

In this update: new blog posts, some heavy hitting credit card news, our July points activity report, and a bit of travel news. . .

In the last update I mentioned having almost a million points and miles stored up.  In July I offloaded a nice chunk of those.  Here’s our monthly activity for July:

  • earned 2,439 airline miles
  • earned 2,088 “other” points
  • earned 274 Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • redeemed 60,175 “other” points (Capital One cash back) for $601.75 cash

July free gas report: $21.49 in free gas, with an 18% discount running average for the year!

New ValueTactics Blog Posts
Don’t Hoard Points discusses why it’s a liability to carry huge points and miles balances.
SuperAmerica Stops Double Coupon Tuesdays analyzes the news that Double Coupon Tuesdays are being discontinued at the end of the month. This development is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t hoard points!
Card Review: Chase Ink Plus takes a look at one of the heavy hitting cards from Chase.  It’s a business card, but you may still be eligible for it.  Read the review to find out more!  The current 60,000 point bonus is well worth your consideration.

small card offer pageWebsite News
I added a pretty new page featuring current credit card offers.  I also updated a few posts to reflect the current state of bonus promotions for credit cards.  Looks like the free gas tactics page will also need some tweaking after this recent news hit.

Credit Card News
All the buzz right now is about a rumored new card from Chase, the Sapphire Reserve.  The card will supposedly come with a hefty $450 annual fee but if the rumors are even mostly true, the benefits will be well worth the fee.  Several bloggers have done posts on this card, but the most recently updated one is from Milevalue.  Click here to read that post.

Travel News
Nicoleen and I are getting more and more excited for our upcoming trip to Maui!  We got the car rental squared away and we’re crossing our fingers that Delta doesn’t totally melt down again and ruin our trip!  We’ve also started preliminary plans for another warm weather trip for October 2017.  More on that later. . .

ValueTactics reader Derek recently booked a trip with points and miles for him and his wife to stay at the Park Hyatt on Mallorca for a week in October.
Park Hyatt MallorcaIt should be a pretty exciting trip, especially considering it’s almost free! We’ll get the full report from Derek after the vacation, including how he flew and stayed for free using value tactics!

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

Card Review: Chase Ink Plus

UPDATE: This card has been replaced with the Ink Business Preferred.

chase ink
The Ink Plus is Chase’s Ultimate Rewards earning business credit card. With a new standard sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points, this card is a heavy hitter in terms of value potential. And the value of the Ink Plus doesn’t all lie in the sign-up bonus either; it has generous 5x and 2x category bonuses as well, making this card one you may want to keep in your wallet for the long haul.

Basic Stats
– Issuer: Chase
– Logo: Visa Signature
– Points earned: Ultimate Rewards
– 1 pt per dollar on all purchases
– 2 pts per dollar on gas and lodging
– 5 pts per dollar on phone/internet/cable, and at office supply stores
– No foreign transaction fee
– Annual fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

Current sign-up bonus
60,000 bonus points after $5000 spend in 3 months

In 2014 I flew to Europe and back for 60,000 United miles, transferred from Ultimate Rewards. The bonus alone on the Ink Plus could get you the same flights!

A planted giant sequoia at Insel Mainau gardens in Konstanz, Germany

A giant sequoia at Insel Mainau gardens in Konstanz, Germany

Click here to apply for the Ink Plus business card from Chase

This card has been replaced with the Ink Business Preferred.

Can I get a business card?

This question probably scares away a lot of potential card holders of this and many other business cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses. Lucky for most of you reading this, we live in the USA, where having a “business” can mean many different things. Basically any side income that you earn that doesn’t show up on a W-2 can count as a business for the purpose of applying for a business credit card.

I have heard of many examples of businesses used to apply for these cards, some more legitimate than others. I have done ceramic tile and stone installation for over 10 years and even though it’s now an form of infrequent weekend income, it definitely qualifies. I have expenses and I earn income; that’s basically all that’s required. Others I have heard of include: bicycle racing expenses and winnings, online sales (amazon and ebay), running a website, and even inconsistent odd jobs. All of these could qualify you for a business card.

When applying, my advice is to embellish where needed, but never outright lie. If you are just starting a business or online sales effort you can use projected or expected income on your application. Be optimistic about your income figures and don’t skimp when you’re asked how much you expect to put on the card. When it comes down to it, unless you have a thriving business with employees, the bank will probably base most of its decision on your personal income and credit score (if you don’t have a federal tax ID, you will use your personal SSN for the application.)

Sign-up and category bonuses

The 60,000 Ultimate Reward bonus is incredible! Even considering you pay the first year’s annual fee up front, this card’s sign-up bonus is more valuable than its non-business counterpart, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. After the initial spend of $5k, you’ll have at least 65,000 UR points. That’s enough for:

. . . And that’s just the minimum points you’ll have after meeting the $5k spend. If you have $250 in monthly cell phone and landline/cable/internet bills on this card, you’ll earn 1250 UR points a month, or 15,000 a year. That doesn’t even consider other spending you may put on the card, including the 2x point earning on gas station purchases and lodging.

My experience with the Ink Plus

When I got the card it had an elevated sign-up bonus of 70,000 points. This deal has been seen before (and even higher, but with higher minimum spends) but the 60,000 UR bonus is one of the best around, so I wouldn’t wait for an elevated bonus. I just had lucky timing.

I have had my Ink Plus for over a year. I calculated the 5x category bonus on our cellphone and internet bills just about paid for the annual fee. So additional value I get from having the card is basically free. I also use this card on business expenses (tile supplies purchased for clients) and some fuel purchases. For me the category bonuses might make this card more of a keeper than the Sapphire Preferred. I will have to make that decision soon, as my Sapphire Preferred annual fee is due soon. (Always remember to transfer your UR points to another UR account in your household before you cancel an UR-earning card!)

Should you get this card?

Yes! The total value from getting this card is easily over $2000 and can be much higher if you redeem your transferred miles tactically. If you have absolutely no travel plans in your future, the card is still worth at least $650 in the cash-out value of your points, all for a $95 annual fee. That’s $555 profit just for getting one card and making sure you meet the minimum spend. (Don’t redeem for cash though . . . the UR points are worth much more when transferred to a partner program!)

Here are some things to consider when working the Ink Plus into your overall card strategy:

  • IMPORTANT: You have to prioritize applications for Chase cards because of the 5/24 rule.
  • Ultimate Rewards points are very versatile so having a stock of them early in your value tactics career would be helpful.
  • The 60,000 UR sign up bonus is worth more than the 50,000 point bonus on the Sapphire Preferred personal card, even when accounting for the up-front $95 fee.
  • The $5000 spending requirement may be a challenge for you to meet, especially if you have other bonus spends cooking at the same time. (REMEMBER, the $95 annual fee does not count toward your bonus spend.)

The Chase Ink Plus is an amazing card for it’s category bonuses, fringe benefits, and extremely valuable sign-up bonus. If you can make the case that you have a business (not very difficult – see above), I would highly recommend that you get this card early in your points career!

Click here to apply for the Ink Plus business card from Chase

This card has been replaced with the Ink Business Preferred.

My Last Chase Card Application Ever?

A few nights ago I had an AOR (app-o-rama) and applied for 3 cards, including the Marriott Rewards Premier from Chase.  Unless something changes in Chase’s 5/24 policy, this may be my final Chase application for the rest of my credit card career.  As I discussed in this post, the policy says that if you have 5 or more new card applications (from any card issuer – not just with Chase) in the past 24 months, you will be summarily denied on any Chase application.

I have opened 9 new credit cards in the past 24 months, so I’m well beyond the 5/24 limit.  But the rule goes into effect for Chase co-branded cards some time this month (April), and I applied for the Marriott card on March 31st.  I didn’t particularly want this card but I figured it was my last chance to get any Chase card for the foreseeable future, so I picked the best current promotion that I was eligible for and gave it a shot.

My philosophy is to never apply for just one card so I shopped around for the best current promotions at other banks that I was eligible for, and here’s what I came up with:

  • The Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card: 80,000 Marriott Rewards points (+7,500 for adding an authorized user) after spending $3k in 3 months.  $85 annual fee not waived the first year.
  • The Spark Cash for Business from Capital One (gasp!): $400 cash back (+$90 for meeting the spend) after spending $4.5k in three months.  Annual fee waived the first year.
  • The Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express: An unprecedented 35,000 point bonus after $3k in 3 months spend.  MASSIVE FAIL (read about it here), so instead…
  • The Hilton HHonors card from American Express: 75,000 Hilton points after spending $1k in 3 months.  No annual fee.

And here’s how the applications went:
Two out of three instant approvals at this stage in my card career isn’t bad!  If I end up getting denied for the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier it will be very interesting to see what the reason is.  Will the 5/24 rule be applied when the application is reviewed even though the application occurred in March?  When exactly in April will the rule go into effect?  Well, for my sake I hope these remain a mystery because I want to be approved 🙂

No matter what the result of the Chase application I have some serious spending requirements to meet in the next three months.  If I have to get creative it will probably be a good time to write an article or two on how to meet minimum spends.  As always, I’ll keep you posted…

Links to the card offers mentioned here:
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier
Capital One Spark Cash for Business
American Express Hilton HHonors card (offer expires 05/04/16)

Chase’s 5/24 Rule – A Game Changer

Chase is making the credit card game much more difficult. Starting some time in April, Chase will apply it’s 5/24 rule to new applications for all their co-branded and Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards (all their good cards). The 5/24 rule stands for 5 cards in 24 months, and means that if you have opened 5+ new credit card accounts at any bank in the past 24 months, you’ll be automatically denied for whichever Chase card you are applying for. Being added as an authorized user to someone else’s account also counts against your 5. All reports seem to indicate this is a hard and fast rule.

Such an ugly word...

Such an ugly word…

The 5/24 rule is not exactly news. Reports of the new policy started appearing on Flyertalk’s Chase application forum last May. At the time it seemed like the rule only applied to Ultimate Rewards earning personal cards. This month the rule also kicked in for the Ink Plus, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards business card. Next month all relevant Chase cards will be affected.

I’m not going to waste my time and yours trying to paraphrase others’ description of the 5/24 rule. Instead, read this excellent and up-to-date wiki post at Flyertalk for the rule details.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ValueTactics reader Nidakeed reports having been denied a Chase Sapphire Preferred due to a nuance of the 5/24 rule I hadn’t previously seen reported. Apparently Chase counts the entire month of your card approvals in their month tallying. For example, if the card approval that puts you over the limit occurred on February 15th two years ago, you have to wait until March 1st to apply for the Chase card. If you apply on February 25th, Chase will see that your 5th card was approved in February and still deny your application for violating the 5/24 rule because the approval happened in the same calendar month as your current application.

How bad is the 5/24 rule?

This move by Chase is definitely a game changer, but how much it affects you depends on where you are in your credit card career. For those just starting out, there’s still time to adjust your strategy (more on that below) to minimize the impact.

For those who are playing the game full steam ahead and managing to get 10+ new cards per year, there’s a hard choice to make: either slow down your card applications to under 5 every 24 months, or completely eliminate Chase cards from your suite of regular applications. The former option drastically reduces your annual bonus point accumulation. The latter option disqualifies you from some of the best cards out there (many are from Chase) and severely reduces your accumulation potential for Chase Ultimate Rewards points, widely viewed as the most valuable and versatile points out there.

For those just starting out, you still have the opportunity to get in one or two good rounds that include cards from Chase before you hit the limit.  Refer to my article on deciding on which cards to get and keep this new rule in mind.  Specifically, I would recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred (good for 59k+ Ultimate Rewards points just for making the minimum spend) and/or the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (30k mile bonus as of this writing but wait until it get jacked up to 50k, which it does routinely).  If you own a business or make side income that could be presented as a business, I recommend the Chase United Business card (as of this writing, a 50k mile bonus), and/or the Chase Ink Plus (60,000 Ultimate Reward points bonus).  After you hit the 5 card limit in your first two years, you’ll have to decide how to proceed (see the next paragraph).

For those who are somewhere in the middle it’s time to reassess your current strategy. If you’ve been at it a while but at a slower pace, you have a decision to make. Do you want to slow way down on your card application rate to keep Chase cards available to you, OR do you want to have the freedom to apply for any card whenever the good promotions appear, but risk losing Chase as an option? Of course if you have already gotten the bonuses for the best Chase cards (see those listed in the preceding paragraph), this decision might be a bit easier considering you’re already probably waiting for the 2 year Chase bonus timer on getting each card’s bonus again.

image from

5 card limit in 2 years — 5 cards on the Chase credit card homepage. Coincidence? ……yes.

Tactics to consider

Regardless of your situation, there are a few tactical considerations you need to incorporate into your overall card strategy:

  • If you’re currently under the 5 cards in 24 months limit the #1 smart thing to do is to front load Chase cards in your plan. Get the best 2-3 Chase cards in your first 2 rounds of apps to ensure you can get these bonuses before you hit the 5/24 limit.
  • Some cards offer bonus points for adding an authorized user (such as the Chase Hyatt and Chase Sapphire Preferred, each offering 5,000 points for adding an authorized user and making one purchase on that card.) All reports indicate that Chase counts being added as an authorized user against your 5 cards. If you are adding an authorized user just for the bonus, consider getting the card for a minor child or another trustworthy relative, as opposed to a spouse who may want to incorporate Chase into their own strategy. Make sure you get permission from the person. Also, make sure the authorized user is a real person or you risk having your account closed. There are many stories of people getting cards for their dog or cat and never having a problem, but I personally wouldn’t risk it.


The Chase 5/24 rule is going into effect for all their worthwhile cards starting in April.  It isn’t the end of the world but it’s nothing to ignore either.  Those of you just starting out, who currently have fewer than 5 new card approvals in the past 24 months, are best situated to avoid the ramifications of this new rule.  Moving any Chase cards you may be considering to the front of your card application schedule is the primary tactic to mitigate the new rule’s restrictions.  For those of you who are currently exceeding the 5 cards in 24 months rule, it’s time to take a close look at your strategy.

Bonus Redemption Plans for our New Cards

In the previous post I explained our recent round of credit card apps and why we chose those particular cards.  The main purpose of our choice was to end up with 4 free nights at any Hyatt property and 2 free weekend nights at any Hilton property.

The Possibilities

Finding Hilton and Hyatt luxury resorts nearby one another is pretty easy.  But with 6 free nights between the two, I want to get a good bang for the buck (or absence of bucks, as it were).  Two of the locations that show up in every list of where to use these certificates are Hawaii and the Maldives.  Both Hyatt and Hilton have amazing properties on both island chains.  The Maldives is home to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, both of which are ridiculously awesome.

Park Hyatt Hadahaa in The Maldives

Park Hyatt Hadahaa in The Maldives

A land room with pool at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa

A land room with pool at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Ithaa underwater restaurant at Hilton's Conrad Maldives - Rangali Island

Ithaa underwater restaurant at Hilton’s Conrad Maldives – Rangali Island

Deluxe water villa with private deck and whirlpool at the Conrad Maldives - Rangali Island

Deluxe water villa with private deck and pool at the Conrad Maldives – Rangali Island

However, although stays at ridiculously awesome resorts can be free, they come with another kind of price: travel time.  The Maldives is almost as far from Minnesota as you can get on this planet.  The average travel time to Male is 32 hours, plus the required seaplane flight to the resorts themselves.  The jet lag from that kind of flight time would severely reduce the enjoyment of the trip, so a night or two at a stop-over city like Hong Kong would be necessary.  With five kids, a dog, and two full time jobs it’s hard to get away for any amount of time, so this trip will probably have to stay on the ValueTactics bucket list for a while.

The Plan

So we’re not willing to make the Maldives work just yet.  What does that leave us with?  A whole lot.  Remember, these free night certificates are good for any Hilton and Hyatt properties so we have a few thousand to choose from.  Well, not really thousands since we’re not going to waste the certificates on the local Hampton Inn!

There’s another redemption opportunity including two resorts, one Hyatt and one Hilton, which are close to each other and which are both highly regarded properties in their respective luxury brands.  I’m talking about Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea and Hyatt’s Andaz at Wailea.  The rate for a standard room during peak season at the Grand Wailea runs $654/night + a $30 per day resort fee.  The Andaz runs $589/night + a $40 per day resort fee during peak season.  Resort fees are included when redeeming free night certificates so if we booked our 6 night vacation for late March we’d be getting a $3884 value for FREE!  (Or, for $95 if you want to count the Hilton Reserve’s $95 up-front annual fee.)

The Grotto Bar at the Grand Wailea

The Grotto Bar at the Grand Wailea

The three cascading infinity pools at the Hyatt Andaz on Maui

The three cascading infinity pools at the Hyatt Andaz on Maui

It’s hard to fathom that resorts like these are within our reach simply for signing up for a couple credit cards.  But that’s the beauty of being informed, and acting tactically!  You too can benefit from these and other credit card sign-up bonuses by staying informed: like ValueTactics on facebook and follow us on twitter. We’ll see you in Hawaii next year! 🙂

Our Fall 2015 Credit Card Applications

In the past few months we’ve added more new babies to our household than credit cards.  While babies are cute and cuddly, they tend to increase household costs.  Credit cards, on the other hand, are hard and plastic, but they can be worth hundreds of dollars in value.  A few days ago we got 4 new arrivals at the house and none of them was cuddly…but they were all valuable.  Here’s a breakdown of our latest round of card apps:

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

  • $95 annual fee due up-front
  • Two free weekend night certificates for any Hilton property worldwide after spending $2.5k in the first 4 months
  • 10x points earned on Hilton properties purchases, 5x on travel, 3x on all other purchases
  • HHonors gold status when card account is active

Citi Thank-You Premier

  • $95 annual fee waived the first year
  • 50,000 Thank-You points after spending $3k in the first 3 months (worth a minimum of $500)
  • 3x points earned on travel and gas, 2x on dining and entertainment, 1x on all other purchases

And we each got:
Chase Hyatt Visa

  • $75 annual fee waived the first year
  • Two free night certificates for any Hyatt property worldwide after spending $1k in the first 3 months
  • 5,000 Gold Passport points for adding an authorized user
  • 3x points earned on Hyatt properties purchases, 2x on dining, airfare and car rental, 1x on all other purchases
  • Anniversary free night certificate good at any Hyatt property, category 1-4.

The Rationale:

The Chase Hyatt card was the driving force behind our choice of cards for this round of apps.  The Hyatt card has been on my radar for a while because of the incredible value potential in the two free night certificates per card.  A pair of these cards could potentially be worth almost $4,000 in lodging.  Two nights at a fancy hotel hardly constitutes vacation though, so the obvious tactic to maximize this card is for both of us each get our own card; then we’d have 4 free nights.

We have always planned on both getting the Chase Hyatt card at the same time, but it’s still a stretch to call 4 free nights a vacation.  The other major card offering free nights is the Citi Hilton Reserve, with its two free weekend night initial spend bonus.  If we could find a vacation-worthy Hyatt property in close proximity to a vacation-worthy Hilton property, we could get a 6 night vacation split between two luxury properties, for the $95 annual fee paid one credit card!  I earned the bonus on the Citi Hilton Reserve last year so I was ineligible for the bonus again.  (Furthermore, the most I would have been able to add to the proposed vacation would be one free Hilton night, since the certificates are only good for Fri/Sat/Sun nights.)

I always try to apply for only one card per issuing bank per app-o-rama.  We both had the Chase slot filled with the Hyatt card.  Nicoleen filled the Citi slot with the Hilton Reserve.  But I still needed a second application, and Citi had some good card options.  I settled on the Thank-You Premier with it’s 50,000 point bonus.

It seems like a pretty good plan.  We have a specific redemption idea in mind for the hotel free nights, all three hotel cards compliment each other, and the Citi Thank-You will add some points to the general pool for when it comes time to find airfare.  So this was a hybrid of both basic strategies I wrote about in this post.

Application set-up and results

Chase has been getting stingy and seemingly capricious about approving credit card applications lately.  This is concretely seen in their Ultimate Rewards earning cards, which they will now outright deny to anyone who has had 5+ new accounts with any issuer in the past 24 months.  But there have also been an increasing number of denial reports with co-branded Chase cards.  i didn’t want to take any chances because the Hyatt free night certificates are only good for a year, so it was crucial that Nicoleen and I have as much time overlap in certificates as possible.

To prepare for the Chase application I requested credit line decreases in two of my Chase cards: my Sapphire Preferred from $11.1k to $5k; and my IHG card from $9k to $4k.  I made both requests via Secure Message a few days apart, and both credit lines were lowered within a day of the request.  I had closed my United Mileage Plus Explorer account with a $9k credit limit back in April, so I figured between the 3 credit line decreases I would have plenty of overhead left with Chase.  The thought was to remove “maxed out credit limit” as a possible reason for denial.  It worked!
hyatt approved 3

Nicoleen had also recently cancelled her United card and she has fewer Chase accounts than I, so we didn’t do anything in particular before her application.  Our luck continued as she was instantly approved too!

In my experience applying for Citi cards is much more of a push-over.  The only time I was not instantly approved for a Citi card was when I got “pending” with a business card.  The call to the reconsideration line for that card was quick and painless.

So with nothing more than fingers crossed we applied for our respective Citi cards and experienced the always welcome instant approval notices!
citi hilton reserve approved
citi thank you premier approved

Within a week we had all 4 cards in our possession:
november card round

Minimum Spend and Redemption Plans

With a specific goal to use 3 cards’ worth of hotel certificates on a single trip, some tactics need to be employed to maximize the probability of everything lining up correctly.  Number one is to get all the hotel certificates ASAP.  This means getting the spends on the Hyatt cards and Hilton card taken care of.

The Chase Hyatt cards’ spends are easy, with only $1000 per card to get the certificates issued.  AND they are issued as soon as the minimum spend has been met; not after the statement closes like with the Hilton certificates.  Furthermore, getting these done before the Hilton is tactically important because with 4 contiguous free nights we could still cobble together a vacation.  But if we got the Hilton certificates and booked a room, only to have the nearby Hyatt property become booked while we were still working on the Hyatt card spends, we would have to regroup and make different plans.  So . . . Hyatt cards first.

Since there are many airlines that fly to our destination (Maui) but only one Hilton property we have in mind, Nicoleen’s Hilton Reserve gets the next highest priority for our card usage.  While the 50,000 bonus Thank-You points would be a nice help to our plans, they aren’t as critical as the Hilton free night certificates, so the Citi Thank-You Premier will be the last bonus spend we complete.

In my next post it’s on to the fun part: sign-up bonus bonus redemption plans!

Weekly Update (October 13, 2015)

I should really call these posts “Random Interval Updates” instead of Weekly Updates.  This one covers almost two weeks and it gives and update on Nicoleen’s and my credit card situation, links to a couple new VT posts, and let’s you in on some pretty exciting credit card news for those who love free travel.

In the past random interval, I’ve pumped $10.15 in free gas.  In this updates I only include gas pumped for commuting to and from work for myself.  Personal miles for either of us and Nicoleen’s commute miles are not included in this figure.

New Posts this Week
Free Menards Stuff – The Verdict
is the long awaited analysis from my 2-year experiment for which I bought my limit of every free-after-rebate item in every sale ad at Menards.  Check out the post to see if it was all worth it in the end, and how much money one could make with this tactic.
Card Review – Wells Fargo Propel
takes a look at the currently promoted premium points-earning credit card from Wells Fargo, the Propel World.  You can easily get $650 value out of this card in the first year, with $450 of that being cold, hard cash!  Read the review for the details and my assessment of the card.

Credit Card News
First some personal news:
Nicoleen recently had three cards due for their first annual fee.  She cancelled her Chase United Mileage Explorer after no retention deals were offered.  She cancelled her Wells Fargo Propel World after no retention deals were offered, BUT she could have waited a few days and charged a $100 airline gift card, which would have been reimbursed by Wells Fargo, before cancelling.  This was 100% my fault, as I neglected to think it all through properly before instructing her to cancel it.

Her third upcoming annual fee was for her Barclay American Airlines Aviator Red.  As I mentioned in the previous weekly update, Barclay seems to be working hard on customer loyalty with this card in the form of bonus offers and retention deals.  Nicoleen was already 2 months into the “spend $500/month for three months and get 15,000 miles” bonus offer.  Not only did they let her keep this offer going, they added the 3x miles offer I recently signed up for on my card, AND they waived her annual fee.  After the short conversation the rep also apologized for it taking so long (which it didn’t at all, according to Nicoleen).  Now that’s service!

Now some exciting general card news:
Southwest and Chase have bumped up the bonuses on the Rapid Rewards personal and business cards to 50,000 points each.  This set-up enables one of the most coveted free travel bucket list items: getting a Southwest companion pass good for almost 2 years, and 110,000 points to use with it.  The companion pass allows one guest to fly free with you on any flight you book, with cash or rapid rewards.  Since Southwest is a discount airline, this means you could theoretically get 10 or more domestic round trip tickets with just two card sign-ups.

For an excellent and thorough explanation of how it all works, and why now is literally the perfect timing for this deal to come around, check out Milevalue’s post on the subject.

That’s all for now.  It’s Tuesday, double coupon day at Super America.  Time to go get $26.50 in free gas!

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