status

Tag Archives for status.

How (and Why!) to Use Mint.com to Track Your Credit Card Spending

With over 30 credit cards in my sock drawer wallet now, I have a lot to keep track of. Especially minimum spending requirements and limited-time promotions. I’ve long advocated everyone use Mint.com to track transactions on all their accounts.

Especially because you can see your transactions at a glance – that’s helpful to monitor any unwanted activity if you have several accounts.

mint card spending

Mint.com is the (free!) ace in your hole

But there’s another extremely helpful use: you can track your spending on a particular account based on date or timeframe. Which helps you know how close you are to meeting a spending threshold. Here’s how.

Mint.com – an easy way to track your spending

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Delta Beats American If You Credit Premium Flights to Alaska Mileage Plan

Or, “Why I’m Flying Delta Again”

In my quest to credit partner flights to earn elite status on Alaska Airlines, I’ve been focused on flying coach with American. That’s because ALL AA economy flights get 100% credit with Mileage Plan.

Welcome indeed

Welcome indeed

If economy is your preference, American is by far better than Delta – if your end goal is to earn status or redeemable miles with Alaska.

But, if you fly Business or First, Delta wins hands-down. And, it might even be worth it to fly Delta anyway.

Let’s take a look.

Why Delta as a means to Alaska Airlines status?

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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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It’s Back! 75,000 Hilton Points for Citi Hilton Visa With No Annual Fee

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If you want to boost your Hilton points balance, you can earn 75,000 Hilton points when you get the Citi Hilton Visa. The minimum spend is $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of account opening.

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75,000 Hilton points for a no annual fee card is a pretty good deal

If I didn’t already have this card, I’d sign up for it. I caved after being seriously tempted the last time this offer popped up because:

  • 75,000 Hilton points is nearly enough for 2 five-night award stays at Hilton Category 2 properties
  • The card comes with automatic Hilton Silver elite status
  • You’ll get the 5th night free on all award stays
  • The card has no annual fee
  • It helps to build a positive relationship with Citi, who you’ll note is NOT AMEX or Chase
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Drugstores, eh?

You’ll earn 6X points on your Hilton stays, which is awesome. (Just don’t use it outside the US, because there’s a foreign transaction fee!)

But this is one of the few cards that still earns bonus points at drugstores.

You’ll earn 3X points at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations. And 2X points everywhere else.

Is a Hilton card better than a 2% cash back card at drugstores?

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Yup, FoundersCard Still Offers Caesars Total Rewards Diamond Status Through 2017

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The title says it all.

I’ve written about FoundersCard a lot over the years. Some peeps think it’s phooey, others love it. I’m in the latter camp.

The selection of ancillary benefits reads like a round-up of the best of the best from co-branded cards (free TripIt Pro, Hilton Gold elite status, Cathay Pacific Silver elite status, 10% off British Airways flights).

The one benefit I’m consistently asked about is Total Rewards Diamond elite status.

It still works

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Just Booked: Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in April for Cherry Blossoms

Thanks to Frequent Miler for posting this “Quick Deal!”

It certainly did go quick.

I saw Business Class award availability shrink away from me with the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes when the house fell on top of her.

But First Class seats were still there – at least 2 of them – and I thought, you know, whatever. And just did it. DFW-NRT First Class on American Airlines. And ITM-NRT-DFW coming back.

At least I got in on this one during its prime time unlike the ~$747 AA Business Class ticket to Barcelona (which still ended up being a very good deal).

This trip cost 62,500 American Airlines miles each way, but I got back 10,000 miles for having the Citi AA credit card.

In total, I paid 120,000 American Airlines miles round-trip.

I wish it were on JAL, or Cathay Pacific, instead of AA, but oh well. It’s in the middle of cherry blossom season. I hope these dates are lucky so I’ll be able to see cherry blossoms during Japan’s spring.

By the numbers

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Complete the Hyatt Diamond Challenge in 9 Nights With the Citi Prestige Card

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?

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My Top 5 Hilton Category 2 Hotels for Award Stays

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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

Chase IHG MasterCard Sign-Up Bonus Counts Toward Spire Elite Status!

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Update 7/13/15: Some peeps are reporting their sign-up bonus is NOT counting toward Spire elite status. I got my Chase IHG MasterCard in February of 2015. If you got the card this year, it’s worth checking to see if the sign-up bonus counts toward Spire status. Also, for some at least, ALL of the spend on the Chase IHG MasterCard counts toward Spire status!

I was all hot-n-heavy for IHG for a second there. I was targeted to receive 80,000 IHG points on the Chase IHG MasterCard and I thought you know what, OK. So I got it, met the minimum spend and then… never used it again.

I logged in today to see how many IHG points I had, and noticed I’d been upgraded? To Spire?

I mean, yeah, that's cool

I mean, yeah, that’s cool, but… how?

Then I dug a little and realized…

The sign-up bonus counts toward Spire

I haven’t stayed at an IHG hotel since the fantastic InterContinental in Sydney.

All I did was get the Chase IHG MasterCard, register for the “Set Your Sights” promo, and meet the minimum spend.

But apparently the 80,000 points I earned from the Chase IHG Visa overqualified me toward Spire, which requires 75 nights at IHG hotels or 75,000 elite qualifying points.

All points earned from the Chase IHG Visa, including the sign-up bonus, counts toward Spire status

All points earned from the Chase IHG Visa, including the sign-up bonus, counts toward Spire status

Here’s literally all of the activity in my IHG this year:

All

All the Chase IHG MasterCard Activity adds up to all the IHG EQPs I’ve earned this year

And as you can see, after upgrading to Spire, I was given the choice to add 25,000 IHG points to my account -or- gift IHG Platinum status to a friend.

I took the 25,000 IHG points and ran! 

Yay-isss!

Yay-isss!

So when you think about it, I actually got over 100,000 IHG points for opening the Chase IHG MasterCard. Because the bonus alone was enough to earn Spire, and then IHG gave me 25,000 more points.

And, I’ll have the status until the end of 2016. IHG says:

Once you have earned the newest membership status in any calendar year, you will maintain such status until the end of the following calendar year.

So that’s kinda… awesome!

Bottom line

The upgrade to Spire makes me want to plan more IHG stays so I can earn 100% bonus points… and see how good the upgrade situation really is and assess elite treatment.

I might go out of my way to stay at more IHG properties this year, if only for the sake of using IHG points. To be continued…

Was anyone else auto-upgraded to Spire? 

Thank you for using my links to get a travel rewards card! Right now, the bonus on the IHG card is 60,000 IHG points after meeting the minimum spending requirement of spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Should I go to a different state for my IHG Set Your Sights Promo?

A new (to me) program

A new (to me) program

AKA how crazy should I be to get some points? 

IHG is rather new to me, so I’m really open to pretty much anything with regard to the Rewards Club program.

I know the Set Your Sights promo is personalized, and, given that I have no paid stays for the past couple of years, or status, or anything, mine is pretty dismal:

My IHG Set Your Sights promo offer

My IHG Set Your Sights promo offer

But I gotta start somewhere. I am hoping that the next one will be a little more… favorable, but when I break this down, I can complete 3 out of 4 in one fell swoop… it just involves going to Connecticut.

Running the numbers on the promo

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FoundersCard offering free AA Platinum Status Challenge for members

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New AA perk this quarter from FoundersCard

I’ve written about FoundersCard extensively in the past. They are one of my favorite auxiliary programs for travel, business, and lifestyle benefits.

Many of the travel benefits they offer are the same ones given as perks for holding co-branded premium credit cards (free TripIt Pro [Barclaycard Arrival], Hertz #1 Club Gold membership [American Express Platinum Card], Hilton HHonors Gold status [Hilton credit cards], 10% off British Airways fares [Chase British Airways Visa Signature], free Shoprunner membership [American Express cards] – just to name a few).

And, they’re always switching things up each quarter. The one I watch like a freaking hawk is the American Airlines perk. And this quarter, they’ve really stepped it up.

Free AA Platinum Status Challenge

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State of the Game: What I’m Looking Forward To (MS, Points/Miles, & Status)

No doubt that the landscape of “the game” has greatly changed recently. Alas, there is no more Bluebird, Vanilla reloads are long gone, and even our trusty Serve is taking a knocking from cash advance fees. Oh, and Amazon Payments finally closed down its cash cow. Yet it trundles on. Here are a few things I’m looking forward to and can’t wait to write about in the upcoming months:

REDbird

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