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Just Booked: 2 Nights at Hyatt at The Bellevue for $150 (Worth Over $900!)

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I’ve written about the incredible value you can get with the annual free night from the Chase Hyatt card at Hyatt Category 4 hotels.

A hotel I listed as an “honorable mention” is the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.

For my last weekend as a New Yorker, I’ll actually be in Philly, at this Hyatt. Jay and I both recently got our free night certs and I’ve been itching to burn them.

We got a super deal on a weekend getaway.

Hyatt at the Bellevue

Hyatt at the Bellevue

This is an awesome example of how easy it is to get value from the Chase Hyatt card. The annual free night makes it well worth keeping!

By the numbers

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MileagePlus X App: Earn Bonus United Miles at Amazon, eBay, & More

So I just got the Mileage Plus X app and am kicking myself, because it’s been available for points-earning potential since 2014.

But better late than never. And I’m discovering all these cool uses for it.

mileageplus x app

MileagePlus X – oldie but goodie

If you have the Citi AT&T Access More card, you can use it as a payment method on the app to earn a total of 5X miles on Amazon and eBay.

And, a step beyond, you can use it as a defacto shopping portal to get a better payout either in-person OR online.

I got some ‘splainin’ to do!

What’s MileagePlus X?

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Update: Denied for Chase Freedom Unlimited – DIAF!

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Well, I got the letter today that I was straight-up denied for the new Chase Freedom Unlimited card (which is now open for online applications).

It was to be my last Chase card.

I kept trying to call the automated line for info (888-338-2586), but even now it still says to look for a letter in the mail. I presume this one:

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So ugly

The reason?

“Too many credit cards opened in the last 2 years.”

Wowwww. It’s interesting that’s listed as the only reason.

It seems this rule will now cover ALL Chase cards, including small business and co-branded cards.

DIAF – Die in a fire

Definition: To be in a fire, and die within it.

 Usage: I hate you, DIAF.

Why I applied for Chase Freedom Unlimited

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Imagining a New Premium Chase Card

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There were rumors on Reddit that Chase is putting together a new premium credit card with a high annual fee a la AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige.

Moreover, on that same link, there’s another rumor that Chase is planning an overhaul to its Ultimate Rewards program to make it less lucrative.

While I don’t believe Chase would mess with Ultimate Rewards any time soon (because they need to compete with AMEX and Citi’s transferable points programs), I do think Chase is ripe for a new ultra-premium credit card offering.

I thought it’d be fun to imagine what that card might look like. And what features it would need to have for Chase to remain a viable competitor in the premium credit card space.

A new Chase card?

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My Last Chase Card: Just Applied for Chase Freedom Unlimited

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UPDATE 3/31: I was denied. 🙁

Chase will soon (in April 2016) extend their restrictive 5/24 rule to all their card offerings, including co-branded and small business credit cards. And presumably to the new Chase Freedom Unlimited card when it launches online.

The 5/24 rule means if you’ve opened 5+ cards within the previous 24 months, you’ll be instantly denied for a new Chase card. I’m suddenly no longer their target market.

It’s the last week of March, which means this is my last crack at opening up that Chase Marriott Premier card or a Chase Ink Cash, for example.

Instead, I went with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which will be available for online applications on April 7th, 2016.

However, you can apply in-branch or over the phone right now. (Or at the bottom of this page.)

So today, I strolled over to the Chase bank 2 blocks away on my lunch break (I still haven’t grocery shopped since getting back from Vipassana) and applied in-person for the new Chase Freedom Unlimited.

I love how the acronym for this card is, endearingly, FU.

Why I applied for the Chase Freedom Unlimited (FU)

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United Miles Versus Singapore Miles: Which Star Alliance Partner Awards Are Cheaper With Each Program

I’m getting more into Citi’s ThankYou program recently (because Citi ThankYou points are so easy to earn).

And while I can’t totally abandon Ultimate Rewards (for access to United Airlines, British Airways, and Hyatt), I’ve been thinking of award flights where collecting Citi ThankYou points instead of Ultimate Rewards might actually make more sense.

Why Singapore Airlines miles?

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What’s with all the crap promotions lately?

As I look out onto the barren fields where credit card crops once grew, I mourn the loss of Chase (with the 5/24 rule). Of Citi (when they shut down so many peeps’ accounts). And definitely of AMEX (1 bonus per lifetime? Um, OK). Barclays and Bank of America are both one-card wonders (Arrival for sign-up bonus and Alaska Visa, respectively).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve received a lot of terrible offers lately. Here are the best of the worst.

AMEX

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Loving Citi More Than Ever – Time to Cancel Other Cards?

The credit card landscape is shifting fast:

  • Chase will apply the 5/24 to all its cards starting in April 2016, including co-branded and business cards
  • Citi has been shutting peeps down for usage they don’t like (multiples of any 1 card, money order payments, etc.)
  • Barclays had a good product with the Arrival Plus card, then butchered it. That was pretty much the only good card they had
  • US Bank is useless
  • Bank of America is only good for the Alaska Visa
  • Wells Fargo is a cantankerous little beast
  • There are a few other niche cards, like the Fidelity Visa and BBVA NBA card, worth looking into, but not many

Card offers come and go. Benefits change. Mergers happen and shake things up. Revenue-based elite status throws a wrench into points-earning calculations.

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Could ThankYou become the go-to?

Lately, I’ve been using my Citi cards for most of big purchases. And my trusty Chase Sapphire Preferred for dining.

Non-bonused spend goes on the Fidelity AMEX (I still have the AMEX version). And that’s pretty much it. All the other cards I have are for niche benefits or very specific spending (Chase Hyatt Visa, for example).

Recently, I went ahead and canceled the Chase British Airways Visa.

RIP

Bye, you useless thing

And downgraded my US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature to the no annual fee version just to keep the credit line and history intact (here’s my recent offer to increase my credit line in exchange for 250 Club Carlson Gold points).

Poor AMEX

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16 Points & Miles Predictions for 2016

Happy New Year! I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon with the predictions. So here’s my effort.

"Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?"

“Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

2015 was a crazy year

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

Out and Out’s Points and Miles Predictions for 2016

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3 Days Left to Save Money on Christmas Gifts With Amazon Prime!

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There’s a lot going on with Amazon right now in terms of deals:

  • 10X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (10% cashback with Chase Freedom, if you activated the offer in time)
  • 10% cashback with Discover It (5% back now and 5% back after 12th billing cycle for new cardmembers)
  • Amazon’s own deals – which are fantastic

The chance to get 10X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which turn into 10X United Airlines miles, 10X Hyatt points, 10X Southwest points, etc. when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus) is too good to pass up. It’s a big reason why the AMEX Jet.com offer is on hold for me.

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3 days left for Prime 2-day shipping

If you’ve put off last-minute gifts, this is a *perfect* weekend before Xmas to knock out last-minute shopping with Amazon Prime membership (you could even buy it today and start using it right away if you really wanted to!).

Tons of good deals

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Taking Another Look at Hilton, Hyatt, and Diamond Elite Status

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To begin, I must say I’m disappointed I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to receive Hyatt Diamond status. Although I did luck out with Hilton Diamond status.

I realize I’ll likely sound like a spoiled brat whining about something I didn’t get for free. Especially when others have spent much more time and money to actually earn the status. That said, the way Hyatt handled the Diamond status match – from free-for-all to the later restriction to only match SPG Platinum members, and all the missteps in between- was very mishandled.

Booooo

Booooo

Hyatt had an opportunity to capitalize on the SPG/Marriott merger and they blew it – unless you got the match, then you win. I likely would’ve gone out of my way to stay with Hyatt more in 2016 and beyond. This whole thing has left such a bad taste behind that it makes me want to actively avoid Hyatt, and only use them for free award night stays.

Although I think what Hilton is doing is genius, at least from a marketing perspective. And, let’s face it: Hilton has a much larger footprint than Hyatt (4,100+ hotels compared to ~600). And Hilton is in every place there’s a Hyatt with few exceptions.

For example, there are NO Hyatt hotels in Barcelona (where I’ll be in a few weeks). But there were 4 Hilton options:

Furthermore, the next time Hyatt has a Diamond status challenge to stay 12 nights, I won’t even consider doing it (even though you can complete it with only 9 nights if you have Citi Prestige). Why would I spend $1,000 on something so many others got for free?

Anyway, that’s my preamble – just wanted to clear the air here. Again, I completely understand I don’t “deserve” the status in way. It just sucks to see so many get it for free, even though my credentials where enough – at one point – to get me in, too. A case of “early bird gets the worm” if there ever was one.

But now, I’m taking another look at Hilton, as I expect to have more paid stays there, at least for now. And, it’s not as bad as you’d think.

Hilton Diamond Vs Hyatt Diamond

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Limited Time: Get $5 When You Sign Up for Ibotta Shopping App and Redeem 1 Rebate

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Just a quick tip.

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Free $5 for signup up to Ibotta

For a limited time, you’ll get $5 added to your account when you sign up for Ibotta and redeem 1 rebate. (Full disclosure: when you use my link, I’ll get $5 too, so thank you for clicking through with it!)

This is an easy way to get a few bucks, but know you can’t transfer the cash out of your Ibotta account until you reach the $10 mark. You can transfer to your PayPal or Venmo accounts once you do. And it’s relatively easy to earn money with the app.

What’s Ibotta?

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