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Booking Hawaii: Part 1 – Flights for 4 to Honolulu

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Next month, I’m headed to Honolulu with my Mom, stepdad, and little brother. I’d been throwing around the idea of a family vacation for a while.

I haven’t been back to Hawaii since 2013.

I enjoyed my time at the Hilton Hawaiian Village so much, I swore I’d go back someday. And now that I’m all Hilton-y and have Diamond elite status, I thought my Mom would absolutely love staying here with me. So I wanted to treat her to a trip.

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

But first, to get there.

Sussing out flights to Honolulu

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NYC-BRU J Award Seats on Brussels Open May & June 2017 – Book With Citi ThankYou Points!

I just so happened to be casually looking for JFK-BRU Business Class award space on Brussels Airlines because that’s what Saturday mornings are for, right?

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

Space is open nearly every day in May and June 2017 in Business Class to AND from Brussels

I was able to find a Business Class award seat on the JFK or EWR to BRU route nearly every day in May and June 2017 (with a few dates in March and April, too).

The reason I’ve had my eye on this award is because Citi ThankYou points transfer 1:1 to Etihad Guest miles. And Etihad has a very generous award chart on this particular route.

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37K round-trip in Business Class? Yes, plz!

A round-trip ticket in Business Class costs just 36,620 Etihad Guest miles. Of course, you have to transfer in increments of 1,000, so realistically this will cost 37,000 Citi ThankYou points. Which is a steal. 

Look

Look for SAVER award space

United would charge 70K miles each way, or 140,000 miles, round-trip. So you’ll save a huge number of points by booking through Etihad instead.

How to find the space

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New Changes to Citi Prestige, Complete With Typo of Points Worth 2 Cents Each for AA Flights

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Update: The old 50K offer is still available! I’d apply sooner rather than later if you want it. It also says you’ll get AA lounge access still.

Update: Peeps on Reddit are reporting the 2 cent valuation, too. Who knows if Citi will honor this – it does seem like a careless typo after all, which is honestly inexcusable for a bank of their size.

Welp, the dreaded changes to Citi Prestige are in:

  • 40,000 Citi ThankYou points as a sign-up bonus
  • Minimum spending increased to $4,000 in 3 months
  • Dropping American Airlines Admirals Club access (but here’s an easy way to get in anyway)
  • No changes to 2X dining category (or any other bonus categories)

I’m guessing they had to axe the AA lounge access because of upcoming arrangements between Citi and Barclays with AA cards. That is fine. They could’ve been much worse.

Citi being Citi?

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Citi AT&T Access More Card Earns 3X for Student Loan Payments on Plastiq

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I made a test payment to my student loan company through Plastiq and earned 3X Citi ThankYou points with the Citi AT&T Access More card.

I’ve written how easy it is to boost your ThankYou points balance by paying rent and mortgages via Plastiq with that card.

Literally the devil

Literally the devil

And now, there’s another way to earn Citi ThankYou points if you need to make student loan payments.

About Plastiq + Citi AT&T Access More

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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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Is Citi Planning Changes to the Prestige Card?

I got an email from Citi asking me to take a survey put together by ISG Research (Insight Strategy Group).

Citi's

Citi’s rather vague email

The subject was, “We want your feedback on the best credit card rewards programs.”

But once I got into it, I realized they were asking about the Citi Prestige card.

The email even said, “Cardmember since 2015,” which was the year I got my Citi Prestige card.

In the survey, they ask the respondent to consider several mash-ups of card features and select the best option.

They throw around current Citi Prestige features like the 4th night free, annual fee, transfer partners, and ancillary benefits like the 3 free rounds of golf.

What is Citi considering?

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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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Earn Points for Rent and Mortgage Payments With Plastiq (2% Fee With MasterCards)

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I’ve long enjoyed using RadPad despite its 2% fee because I’ve been earning 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on rent with my Citi AT&T Access More card, which far outweighs it, especially when paired with Citi Prestige.

But on June 1st, 2016, RadPad is increasing its rent bill payment fee to 3.49%, which makes the service much less appealing.

Byeee

Byeee

But, Plastiq easily takes its place – and charges a 2% fee on MasterCard payments. Even better, you can earn 3X Citi ThankYou points with the Citi AT&T Access More card. And, it works on mortgage payments, too.

Plastiq is the new sheriff in town

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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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My Experience Getting the $650 Phone Credit With Citi AT&T Access More Card

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Here’s my experience to add to the mix.

Getting the Card and Buying an iPhone

I applied for the Citi AT&T Access More card in late January, and received the card on February 2nd, 2016. That same day, I bought an iPhone.

Here’s the link Citi gives you to shop for a new phone – it won’t work unless you click through from your Citi account because it tracks your purchase, much like a shopping portal. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to turn off your ad blockers so the purchase is tracked correctly.

Pick a phone, any phone

Pick a phone, any phone

The selection of phones is the exact same as if you navigate to AT&T’s cell phone shop.

I sprang for an iPhone 6S with 128 GB of memory. The taxes for New York were ~$75. After the phone credit, that’s like paying ~$275 for a brand new phone with a lot of memory to burn through.

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Net $200 + taxes for a new 128 GB iPhone

I had an iPhone 5 with 16 GB and was tired of deleting apps/pictures/the entire phone every time it needed an update.

I sold it on eBay for ~$134.

Boo ya

Boo ya

There’s a FedEx ship center 2 blocks away. So I popped in and sent it. It took maybe 10 minutes to list and 10 minutes to ship.

Plus, the sale brought my out-of-pocket cost for the new iPhone down to ~$141 after taxes, which is a screaming good deal.

Do you HAVE TO HAVE AT&T service?

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Bye to RadPad, Hello to Plastiq for 2% Bill Payment Fees With MasterCard (Including Mortgages and Utilities)

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RadPad has been a sweet deal these past few months thanks to their 1.99% fee for paying with a MasterCard.

You could earn 3X Citi ThankYou points by paying with the Citi AT&T Access More card (and still can until June 1st, 2016). Because I have 3 Airbnbs, it’s been a points-generating machine for me.

Even better, when you pair it with Citi Prestige, the 3X points are worth nearly 5% back when you redeem for American Airlines flights. Even with the fee considered, you still come out ahead.

Another one bites the dust-ah

Another one bites the dust-ah

RadPad increases to 3.49%

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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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