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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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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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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:


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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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.


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.



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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