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Chase OR Costco + Autoslash: Get the Best Price on Car Rentals

I rented a car this past weekend in Albuquerque.

And I’m renting another one this upcoming weekend for a work trip to Austin.

I’ve rented enough cars by this point to rely solely on 2 places to look: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco Travel. One or the other of them has the best deal almost always.

car rental best price

Laaaa! Behold Costco Travel’s car rental search

For good measure, I usually run a search through Kayak, too – just to be sure.

Last week, I booked through Costco. And this week, I booked through Chase. One of them simply always works out for the best.

A quick comparison

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Just Booked a Trip for Next Weekend in 10 Minutes (Instant Transfers Save the Day!)

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I’ll never forget the thrill and uncertainty of booking my first award ticket. I thought I’d show up to the airport and be turned away for not paying (or something like that). Can a flight really cost ~$11 when you book with… points?

That was a few years ago. But there’s still something so novel about booking award trips. Some of them are planned in advance, like my upcoming trip to Hawaii. And some are aspirational or in the future, like the Brussels Airlines flights I booked with Etihad miles.

Mmm, love the high desert

Love the high desert!

Long story short, I needed to spend a couple of days in New Mexico to get some work done there. Looking at my upcoming weekends:

  • Next one was open
  • After that, Austin for work
  • Labor Day weekend – nothing available with points
  • Hawaii

4 weekends = a month of plans. I started poking around and realized, holy crap, I’m gonna book this trip for next weekend!

Finding flights

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The Top Card for Beginners? Yeah, the Chase Sapphire Preferred

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I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point. A friend asks, “How do you do it?” Take all these trips to places like Hawaii, Tokyo and Osaka, Dublin, Barcelona, and more. How do you get free hotel rooms that cost hundreds of dollars a night?

“I want to travel like you do,” they say. “Where do I start?”

Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can stay at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

You can stay at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

And you have that moment where you’re thinking inside, “Well for starters, using that debit card for everything you buy isn’t helping anything.” *cough* Kierstin *cough*

You ask about their spending habits. “Do you shop online?” Definitely use a shopping portalget free miles for clicking a link.

And sign up for dining rewards while you’re at it because you never know when you’ll get some extra miles in your account – especially if you live in a mid-sized to large city.

As far as cards go… where to begin?

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Should You Use a 0% APR Card to Pay Off Debt?

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NOTE: The card APRs in this post are current at the time of writing (July 28th, 2016). Be sure to check the offers for more details.

So here’s an idea I’ve been tossing around.

It absolutely burns me up that I’m still dealing with student loan debt. And it should. Mr. Money Mustache said it best:

YOUR DEBT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU “WORK ON”. IT IS A HUGE, FLAMING EMERGENCY!!!

I’ve put off paying down this debt because there have been other opportunities to earn more: I bought a house, maxed out my IRA, started Airbnbs, and now I’m looking at buying a duplex in the DFW area.

All of these things either appreciate or earn more than the interest I pay on my student loans.

But I’ll be damned if carrying that balance doesn’t give me a red rump.

The idea

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Best Cards to Use for Amazon Prime Day

It’s here – Amazon Prime Day. I was excited to see what Amazon would do today (July 12th, 2016) after the disappointing selection last year.

Prime Day

Prime Day is here, and it’s worth it this year

It looks good – there are many worthwhile deals for items like TVs, tablets, portable readers, clothes, even cleaning supplies.

Discounts are around 25%, with some items even more reduced. So it might be worth it to stock up – or at least see if something catches your eye today.

What’s Prime Day?

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App-O-Rama: 4 New Cards and ~200,000 Points

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Oh man, looking back on my first AOR 3 years ago is such a stroll down memory lane.

Still the best high I've found

Still the best high I’ve found

I was still newish to points and miles, new to blogging, still finding my voice and figuring out my travel goals.

I mentioned them at the time:

My travel goals for this round of apps are Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Dublin, Seattle, Alaska, and eventually, Australia. I’d also LOVE to fit in Vienna/Prague sometime this summer.

I made it to all of those places with the exception of Prague (which I mentioned recently as a possibility with Hilton points, so it’s still on my radar):

It goes to show the power of setting a goal.

But I should take a little wisdom “Three Years Ago Harlan” because my recent round of applications were rather scattershot. After I get settled in Dallas, I’m gonna need to plan a lot of trips with all the points and miles I’ll earn from this newest AOR.

4 new cards!

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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:

asd

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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