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My Free Anniversary Night in Downtown Austin – Thanks to the Chase Hyatt Card!

Say what you will about Chase, but their hotel cards that come with a free anniversary night are worth every penny.

And fortunately, some of them are still accessible even if you’re over 5/24, including:

I wrote how I got $500 in value from the Chase IHG card earlier this year. And I’ve used my Chase Hyatt free night certificate at the Hyatt Centric in New Orleans and the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. I also wrote about 5 worthwhile Category 4 hotels where you can get lot of bang for your Hyatt free night cert.

hyatt anniversary night

A view of Texas hill country – paid for with my Hyatt free night certificate

And this past weekend, I got a stay worth ~$284 at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown (full review soon!) in exchange for my $75 annual fee.

With values like this, a card with a valuable free night each cardmember year is a no-brainer to keep year after year. Especially when you can get outsized value in popular areas like downtown Austin.

A cute lil weekend trip

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5 Ways to Earn Points for Airbnb Stays (10% Back at Least!)

My friend Meghan asked if I knew of any ways to save on an Airbnb booking. I gave the obvious one – get $40 off a $75+ stay with a new account.

save on airbnb

New to Airbnb? Save $40 off your first $75+ stay

Most everyone already has an Airbnb account by now. But if you don’t, here’s my link if you’d like to sign up (and I’ll get a $20 travel credit as well).

That’s honestly the biggest savings. Still, there are other ways to get a return on your Airbnb stay: earn points or miles for it. Depending how you like to redeem them, you can get big value by stacking a few of the methods I’ll tell you about.

Lezz begin, shall ve?

5 ways to earn points and miles for Airbnb stays

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I Had to Use (My Chase Visa’s) Primary Rental Car Insurance – and Saved $692!

It finally happened – I had to file a claim to use my card’s collision damage waiver benefit. I knew the day would arrive sooner or later.

After I hiked down from Granite Park Chalet, I found my rental car had a little *DING* on the front passenger side door. The parking lot was packed, and it was obvious someone parked too close and opened their door too hard into my rental car. It was nearly imperceptible to the point where I thought about not saying anything about it.

Primary Rental Car Insurance

See that little dent? Yeah, I nearly didn’t either… *grumble*

But, I was responsible and filed a proper report when I returned the car. I wasn’t expecting to ever hear anything about it again. Until one day, I got a random call saying they filed a claim against me. In a near-panic, I filed my own claim online through Chase in just a few minutes.

THANK GODS I waived the CDW and put the charge on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Taking those small steps saved me nearly $700 – for a little ding on a car door.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Primary Rental Car Insurance

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Is the Chase British Airways Card Worth It for 50,000 Points? Maybe.

Also see:

The tiered sign-up bonus for the Chase British Airways card ends on October 5th, 2017 – in one week! Until then, you can earn:

  • 50,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • An additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening
  • A further 25,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios

Committing to spend $20,000 on a single card is a lot to ask. And it’s certainly not for most peeps.

chase british airways card

Fly to Amsterdam with British Airways Avios points and ride a bike

But it can be worth it to see this as a 50,000 point sign-up offer to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months – that’s much more reasonable. And forget about the other tiers.

50,000 points for that amount of spending it a respectable sign-up bonus. Especially because this card is NOT subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.

And a thank you to Ben for helping to unravel the numbers of this deal even more!

Pick up 50,000 British Airways Avios points

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Should You Dump Your Car If You Have Premium Card Travel Credits?

It occurred to me I only drive for a handful of reasons:

  • To go to the gym
  • To drop the dog off before I travel
  • Costco runs every ~6 weeks
  • To visit nearby places, like Fort Worth

Most of the time I walk or use Uber/Lyft. Because if I intend to drink, I don’t want to deal with parking (and possibly having to pay for it) or of course driving back unsafely. And I live so close to many of the places I frequent that I can walk.

I realized, surprisingly, there are lots of peeps in Dallas who don’t have cars. And I I was shocked by how extremely walkable certain parts of the city really are.

dump car uber lyft

Lookit all my Lyft credits

I’ve also been using the $325 travel credit from my US Bank Altitude Reserve card for Lyft rides lately (I prefer Lyft for many reasons). Then it hit me that I could subsidize $825 in Uber and Lyft rides thanks to travel credits of 3 of my premium cards. It got me thinking – are those credits enough to consider getting rid of my car?

$825 in Uber and Lyft rides from 3 cards

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Get 6X British Airways Avios Points Everywhere on $20K in Spend – Why I Caved

You might’ve heard a version of the infamous British Airways 100,000 points deal is back.

It’s a beast of a deal – there’s no doubt about that. And I mean that in a good way AND a bad way.

chase british airways 100,000

Maybe I’ll use my British Airways Avios to visit these ragtag streets in Barcelona again

There are many cons to accept with this deal: the minimum spending, the materiality of the points themselves, and a gigantic black hole of opportunity cost. But let’s call a spade a spade here: at this point I’m taking what I can get.

I hated this card. Now I’m crawling back on hands and knees. My, how the winds have shifted

And 100,000 of any kind of points is nothing to sniff at. So I got the Chase British Airways card again – even after I brutally dumped it a little over 2 years ago.

A hard look at this 100K offer, OK

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Some Plastiq Mortgage Payments With Visa Cards Working Again!

Update: Some readers let me know not all mortgage payments are working, but many are!

Here’s an example from my account:

A mortgage payment you can still pay with Plastiq

As long as the “Submit Payment” button isn’t grayed out, you should be good to go! Let me know if it works for you!


More data points slash adventures with Plastiq.

So I just got a new Bank of America Alaska Airlines card – I get a new one every 45 days for a quick injection of 30,000 Alaska miles. Those are, of course, Visa cards, which Plastiq said would no longer work.

Well today, I paid the rent for one of my Airbnbs with this card on Plastiq.

plastiq visa payments

This Plastiq payment is clearly marked as rent

And it went through without a hitch:

Boom

Considering the minimum spending on this card is only $1,000, I was able to knock most of it out with a single rent payment. Then I sent $50 to my utility company to trigger the sign-up bonus. Minimum spending done in under a minute. AWESOME!

This isn’t a fluke. My friend Angie used her Chase Fairmont card to pay her mortgage via Plastiq recently, too – that’s also a Visa card. And I’ve heard others have had success, too.

Plastiq Visa payments

While I think 3X with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is long gone, using Plastiq to meet minimum spending on Visa cards is extremely easy. Even with the 2.5% fee considered, having it done in seconds sure beats having to monitor it for a few months. Especially if you need to spend a few thousand.

I also just confirmed 3X still works with the Citi AT&T Access More card. And wrote about why you’d even consider using the new Blue Business Plus Amex for Plastiq payments, too.

But given that I can still get 3X, the gravy train is still on – at least for now.

And moreover, it seems you can use your Visa cards again. So if you have a Visa and want to make some Plastiq payments for rent, mortgage, or HOA, they should go through just fine. 🙂

Have you had recent success using a Visa card for a rent payment through Plastiq? 

Taking Stock: The 29 Credit Cards I Currently Have – and Why

Time for a credit card inventory. Over the years, my collection of credit cards has grown. I now have 29 credit cards to my name.

(I did have 30, but closed my Citi ThankYou Premier last week. Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve is better for the same 3X categories. And Citi is changing the Prestige and AT&T Access More cards next month – which is causing me to significantly rethink my relationship with them.)

Ah, but a small sample of the 29 cards I currently hold

And, I’m paying annual fees on many of my cards. So I thought I’d put the complete list together to take stock of what I have – and what I’m getting in return. I’ll write a little snippet for each card, but will try to keep it brief. 29 cards is a lot!

Let’s jump right in.

Amex

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Don’t Miss Out: Free Museums, One Month for 5X, Hilton Surpass 100K

Happy Wednesday!

Here are some deals still on the go – snag ’em while you can!

Through May 31st (today!)

Hilton Surpass Amex 100K offer

Last call to earn 100,000 Hilton points with the Amex Hilton Surpass. Here’s why I took the bait with this truly best-ever offer. Not into Hilton points? Think again. I estimate this bonus is worth at least $1,000 if you plan carefully.

June 3rd and 4th

Free museums

Free museums if you have a Bank of America debit or credit card. Only good for the cardholder and doesn’t include special exhibits. That said, there’s a participating museum in nearly every state, so check it out if you want some free culture this weekend.

limited time deals

Check out the Denver Zoo this weekend for F-R-E-E

Through June 30th

Get your 5X!

If you have Chase Freedom, get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points and drugstores and supermarkets on up to $1,500 in spend. Can activate retroactively and still get bonus points. Easy categories here.

Activate your 5X – you have a month to max it out

With Discover It, get 5% back at home improvement stores and wholesale clubs on up to $1,500 in spend. Must activate BEFORE you shop. New cardmembers get their cashback matched after the 12th billing cycle, so it’s like getting 10% back. Discover is not accepted at Costco, but you can purchase cash cards online and use them in-store for a nice discount. Boom.

The Boxed deal is back

The Boxed deal might be in your Amex account

I wrote about how to save 50% on merchandise at Boxed with an Amex Offer. Instead of $15 back on $50+, it’s now $25 back on $65+. Still a dang good deal. Even better, you can tweet #AmexBoxed to add it to your synced card even if you weren’t targeted.

2X SPG points

Doctor of Credit has the details. You get 10,000 bonus SPG points for spending $10,000 on your Starwood business Amex through the end of June. So, 20,000 SPG points on $10,000 in spend = 2 SPG points per $1 spent. Great deal if you’re targeted – worth checking.

Bottom line

Get ’em while they’re around. Any other good ones to share? Let me know and I’ll add ’em!

Plastiq Rent Payments With US Bank Altitude Code as Travel but Do NOT Earn 3X

On May 1st, I got the US Bank Altitude Reserve card – the first day it was available.

I wrote how payments with Plastiq coded as travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (lots of peeps on Reddit confirm this, too). So I was hoping that would be the case with the US Bank Altitude Reserve. Especially because the minimum spending requirement is $4,500 – that would’ve been a nice points haul at 3X.

us bank altitude

The merchant code gave me hope for 3X

And the charges did code as travel. But my statement just closed and I only got 1X point per $1.

This US Bank card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are both Visa cards. So while it doesn’t work for the former, I’m hoping it will still earn 3X with the latter for a while longer.

Here’s what I found.

A charge that codes as travel but didn’t earn 3X

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Cool! Some Plastiq Payments Coding as 3X for Travel With Chase Sapphire Reserve

It looks like some payments with Plastiq are triggering 3X points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Apparently, rent or mortgage payments are coding as “lodging/travel” and appear as “travel” – which is a 3X category.

I made a $30 payment toward one of my Airbnbs and didn’t change the category in Plastiq – I left it marked as a rent payment.

chase sapphire reserve plastiq 3X

I sent the payment as “rent, mortgage, and real estate”

And when I checked today, it had cleared and earned 90 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (3X).

SWEET

SWEET – 3X

If you have rent or mortgage payments, it would be worth it to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, even considering Plastiq’s 2.5% fee.

By the numbers

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

Also see: 

There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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