Random thought of the evening.

I’m going through my cards and want to dump:

And replace them with:

The hitch is that you have to wait ~8 days between applications with Citi, so I’m not sure which of their cards to get first. But I’m warming up to the idea of Category 1 and 2 Hilton hotels – there’s a ton of value to be had there.

Anyway.

Citi Prestige + Hyatt Diamond Challenge

Via The Points Guy, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge (something that’s always tempted me). You’ll have 60 days to complete it when you sign up (so until September 30th).

And via View From the Wing, the Citi Prestige card’s 4th night free benefit is “too good” to last. (I agree.)

Hyatt hotels are easily bookable with the Citi Prestige travel program. (Here’s the link to Carlson Wagonlit to search.)

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

If you book a 4-night stay for $100 a night, you’d pay $300 (after the Citi Prestige statement credit).

Do this 3 times in 60 days, pay $900, get Hyatt Diamond status. Any many hotels are available for under $100.

If you have Hyatt stays coming up anyway, this might be something to mix-and-match with cash + points stays.

And hotels booked with the Citi Prestige card do earn elite credit.

What’s Hyatt Diamond status worth?

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see: 

Activated charcoal FTW

Activated charcoal FTW

After reading an article by fellow Brooklynite Jenny on Healthy Crush about activated charcoal, I had to try it.

Activated charcoal is made by burning something carbon-based, like wood or coconut shells to remove all of the oxygen. What’s left is a highly absorbent material filled with millions of tiny pores that trap and bind gas and toxins and can carry thousands of times its weight.

That’s really cool.

It comes in capsules and looks like this:

Activated charcoal capsules

Activated charcoal capsules

Uses for activated charcoal

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see: 

Spoiler alert. On this list, I find the FIA Fidelity AMEX to be the most valuable. I just love that card so much.

List of AMEX Cards NOT Issued by American Express

Thank you for being a friend – and for NOT being issued by American Express

And this post is gonna be focused on Serve.

Note: It is possible to send money between Serve and REDbird, or Serve and Bluebird.

So if you’re managing multiple cards, you can get a Serve card, load it up for $1,000 each month, and send it to Bluebird or REDbird to pay bills that normally don’t accept credit cards. Like student loans, utilities, mortgage payments, or anyone else.

List of AMEX Cards NOT Issued by American Express: 

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see:

Correct me if I’m being thick because I definitely have my “forest for the trees” moments.

Meaning of value... are you in there? Oh, there you are.

Meaning of value… are you in there? Oh, there you are.

I read an article on Point Me to the Plane about a flight that got 2.5 cents per Delta mile.

Then the comments read: if you wouldn’t pay cash for the flights, that’s not how much the points/miles are worth.

But… I use points and miles for flights and hotels specifically because I won’t pay cash for them.

In fact, I’ve planned entire trips (like Hawaii, Paris, RTW/Australia, and Eurotrip 2014 in Lufthansa First Class) that I would’ve never paid for if it weren’t for points and miles.

I did NOT pay $7,243 for this flight… but I did pay 40,000 Avios + $453 in fuel surcharges. So what are the points worth?

I thought… that was the “point” of points and miles? 

Targeting aspiration AKA value

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see: 

The Points Guy posted about a couple of offers that came up on Cardmatch today:

  • 100K points for AMEX Platinum personal/biz
  • 50K points for AMEX PRG personal / Gold biz

And the commenters mentioned a couple of other offers.

What’s my offer?

So I headed to Cardmatch on CreditCards.com to see what came up… cuz I would’ve totally gone for the 100K Platinum biz offer.

was targeted for the 100K Platinum personal offer, but I already have that card.

Then I scrolled down and noticed:

30K Points for the AMEX EveryDay Preferred

30K Points for the AMEX EveryDay Preferred

That’s a good deal!

I’ve written about the AMEX EveryDay Preferred card before.

I got the card with a 15K bonus over a year ago. Just paid the $95 annual fee on it and can say this one’s definitely a keeper (unlike the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature, Chase British Airways Visa Signature, and Barclaycard Arrival Plus).

I use the card as intended, mostly at grocery stores and Costco (for now), with a couple of other purchases here and there. (I use Amazon Allowance to help me meet 30 transactions per month to trigger 1.5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent.)

I also wrote about my experience getting the card. It’s the only card I’ve ever been straight-up denied for. Until I called AMEX and asked WTF? and then they approved me anyway.

Bottom line

Along with the stellar offers for 100K points for AMEX Platinum and 50K points for AMEX PRG, add this one to the pool.

It’s double the usual sign-up bonus and is a very worthwhile card to have.

Check Cardmatch on CreditCards.com to see if you were targeted (under “Free Interactive Tools” on the right).

I’ve had the card for a year now and really recommend it. It has 0% interest for 15 months to start out, and you can always downgrade it to the no annual fee version after 11 months if you don’t like it.

Were you targeted for anything good on Cardmatch? Was your offer different? 

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Did you hear about the new travel jacket that’s blowing Kickstarter out of the water?

They only wanted to raise $20,000, but as of today, they’ve blown past the $1M mark.

…And I think I want one.

They start at $109 and go up from there.

The Baubax Travel Jacket is loaded with features

The Baubax Travel Jacket is loaded with features

It comes in 4 styles (and multiple colors) for men and women:

I'm partial to the blue hoodie myself ;)

I’m partial to the blue hoodie myself ;)

All of the styles look functional and comfortable. And the company is based in Chicago. Holla!

I think it’s interesting how they’ve chosen multiple types of fabric and recommend a style based on the temperature where it’s worn.

Different fabrics for each style

Different fabrics for each style

And each one is best worn at a certain temp

And each one is best worn at a certain temp

Of all the features, I think my favorites are the neck pillow and built-in gloves.

And with all the pockets, I could definitely bring along my coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. :)

Thought this was cool and wanted to share.

A little over $100… not a bad price, considering all the features.

But it seems like time’s running out if you wanna get one. And I can’t make up my mind!

On the fence.

Have you guys seen this jacket? Did you (or will you) get one? 

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see: 

Out and Out is starting a partnership with AirHelp.

AirHelp is an app for filing claims when you're involuntarily bumped from a flight

AirHelp is an app for filing claims when you’re involuntarily bumped from a flight

I’ll be doing a few posts for their blog where I’ll talk about travel tips and experiences beyond the usual points and miles stuff.

Check out my first post!: Travel Insiders: Travel on the Cheap with “Out and Out”

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see: 

I was excited to explore this dark alleyway of the internet, because there are so few rewards debit cards left.

No bueno

No bueno

This one, through SmarterBucks and Radius Bank seemed like it was gonna be a doozy. But, unfortunately, it’s pretty worthless, for me at least. I’m gonna have to DTMFA.

I’ll explain.

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

The Cambria Hotel & Suites in Manhattan celebrated its grand opening on July 14, 2015.

Cambria is part of Choice Hotels, and the Chelsea location is the first in New York!

Out and Out was excited to attend the grand opening celebration, and to talk with key members of the Choice Hotel senior management team about the hotel and Choice Privileges, the hotel chain’s loyalty program.

Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see:

If you’re interested in upgrading your Barclays Red Aviator card (not open to new applicants), it might be possible to do so directly in online banking.

View from the Wing reported that Barclays was slowly rolling out the upgrades, and listed some reasons why you may NOT want to upgrade the card.

To Upgrade or to Not Upgrade, That Is the Question

Me, I’m not gonna do it.

Because I have 10,000 American miles coming my way when I pay the annual fee again.

Here’s how you can tell:

Click "View Rewards"

Click “View Rewards”

And then…

Click "How my rewards work"

Click “How my rewards work”

There, you’ll see something to this effect:

I only get one round of 10K. But others get 10K EVERY cardmember year. They should NOT upgrade to Aviator Silver

I only get one round of 10K. But others get 10K EVERY cardmember year. They should NOT upgrade to Aviator Silver

I’ll get the 10,000 AA miles once and then consider upgrading to Aviator Silver.

But if you don’t see such language, you might consider making the upgrade now.

Check your account

In my account, the offer was on the right side, under Barclaycard extras:

Click to start, then 2 more clicks to upgrade to Aviator Silver!

Click to start, then 2 more clicks to upgrade to Aviator Silver!

It just says, “Upgrade your Account Benefits.”

When I clicked through, I was invited to upgrade to Aviator Silver.

Click "Tell me more" to proceed

Click “Tell me more” to proceed

After I clicked, I got a long list of details. Including that the upgrade would happen on August 7, 2015.

Page 1 of details

Page 1 of details

Page 2 of details

Page 2 of details

If I’d clicked “Yes, I accept,” the card would’ve been upgraded and the annual fee charged on November 30, 2015.

Should you do it?

I’m holding off to get my 10,000 AA anniversary miles. But if I didn’t have that coming, I’d definitely be tempted by this offer.

When you upgrade, you get:

  • 3X AA miles on AA flights
  • 2X AA miles on hotels and car rentals
  • 1X AA mile everywhere else
  • 5,000 EQMs when you spend $20,000 annually (can get up to 10,000 EQMs)
  • $99 companion certificate when you spend $30,000 annually
  • Free Global Entry (as a statement credit)

So this card is really only worth it if you have a lot of paid flights on American Airlines. Or if you want the opportunity to “buy” EQMs instead of fly to attain/retain status each year. Hey, 10,000 EQMs is 2 round-trip transcons! 

$195 is pretty hefty for an annual fee. But no other card earns 3X AA miles, which are extremely valuable (for now). If you can met the various spending thresholds, EQMs are very valuable, too. And the $99 companion cert if a nice bonus – if you can actually use it.

So it’s a personal decision for a niche crowd. Also consider this card is not available to new applicants. So if you can get it now, go for it.

Bottom line

Barclays is finally loosening the requirements to upgrade from Aviator Red to Silver. I was able to do it in 2 clicks directly in my online banking.

This is great news for a select set of people to whom this card caters.

But if you can wring the benefits out of it, like the EQMs, 3X AA miles, and $99 companion certificate, it would be well worth the $195 annual fee.

Do you have the option to upgrade? If you do… will you?

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Also see:

I looked through the Hilton Category 2 hotel list to see what gems I could unearth from that piece of barren internet.

I was surprised to find lots of hotels (131, to be exact) all over the US and Europe (and globally). I pulled out my Top 5 picks.

In particular, I’d like to maximize the 5th night free benefit that Hilton gives to all of its elite members.

Here are 5 Hilton Category 2 hotels where I could see myself spending 5 days.

Note: Prices are based on travel in September 2015 and are after taxes as shown on the checkout screen. Read More

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! Thank you for using my link when considering a new credit card on creditcards.com

Enter your Email:

Support Out and Out

Twits

Insty

    Random Travel Quotes

    The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - Saint Augustine