prestige

Tag Archives for prestige.

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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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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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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Hotel Review: Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku

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To start, I wanna say, I loved this hotel! The location, ambiance, and staff were all wonderful. Getting out at the Shinjuku station and walking to the Hilton Tokyo with the lit-up neon lights is an experience I’ll never forget.

Hilton Tokyo review

Entrance of the Hilton Tokyo

But first things first.

Landing at NRT

I’ll do a review of the flight over soon.

I was nervous about flying into NRT because it’s a solid 90 minutes from Tokyo no matter which method you choose to get to the city: train, bus, or taxi.

We landed around 5pm, so I figured the train was best to avoid rush hour traffic. The airport is incredibly well-signed. But once you get to the trains, you’re bombarded with a zillion options and routes. I looked at the JR lines, the Tokyo metro, and rapid transit to another station.

To sort through it all, we entered the options into the individual machines until we found the best routing and price. All told, it took 15 minutes to price out 3 or 4 train tickets. We paid a little more to get there a little faster. From NRT, the faster you go, the more it’ll cost. But even the most expensive ticket was only ~$40.

Arrival and check-in

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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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Review: Sala VIP Miro Lounge @ BCN Terminal 1

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“Yo, dude, Harlan. Haven’t you been back from Barcelona for like, 2 months? When you gonna wrap up the Barcelona posts?”

“I knowww. This is it. Last one, I promise!”

But for real. As I get ready to head to Tokyo, I figured I should finally put the lid on the Barcelona series. For now at least. :p

Before flying back to New York in American Airlines Business Class, I made sure to put my Priority Pass (that came with my Citi Prestige card) to good use by making a visit to the Sala VIP Miro lounge @ BCN.

Sala VIP Miro lounge

Sala VIP Miro lounge

I was able to access it with a guest for free. I added this visit to the Citi Prestige by the Numbers page.

The Sala VIP Miro lounge

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TripBAM Monitors Your Paid Hotel Rates & Alerts You If the Price Drops

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Ever since I got my Citi Prestige card, I’m finding I have a lot more paid hotel stays. Which means:

  • It’ll be easier to earn and maintain hotel elite status (at Hilton)
  • I want to get the best possible price on every day

For my upcoming trip to Japan, the hotel rates were pretty high because of cherry blossom season. I booked anyway in hopes the prices would drop. But I didn’t know how to track it except to check manually on the hotel site every day, which sucks because it’s time-consuming.

Enter TripBAM

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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.

asd

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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Confirmed: RadPad Earns 3X ThankYou Points With Citi AT&T Access More Card

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Hello from sunny and HOT Martinique! I’m at Hotel La Pagerie (which I booked with the 4th night free through Citi Prestige).

Quick update because I just received my first statement on my brand new Citi AT&T Access More card.

I didn’t go for the Citi ThankYou Premier to get the full 3X on all travel including gas. Instead, I hedged my bets and got the Citi AT&T Access More card.

The main draw for me was paying rent through RadPad and earning 3X Citi ThankYou points.

And because I also have Citi Prestige, each point is worth 1.6 cents toward American Airlines flights (including codeshares). So even with RadPad’s 1.99% fee, I’d still get close to 3% back of value (4.8% – 1.99% = 2.81%).

Which is awesome – and better than a 2% cash back card obvi.

I outlined the numbers in detail here. And commenters on both Doctor of Credit and Reddit said RadPad earns 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1.

But I just had to confirm it for myself. It really does!

My 3X Citi ThankYou points experience

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Is the Citi AT&T Access More Card + RadPad a Viable Increase Spend Option?

I wrote earlier about my wishes for the Citi ThankYou program and increasing fascination with Citi.

Today, I had some sort of psychic break and picked up the Citi AT&T Access More card.

Oops, I did it again

Oops, I did it again

I applied for it instead of the Citi ThankYou Premier card. Based on my current spending habits, and the fact that I already have Citi Prestige, the Citi ThankYou Premier seemed redundant.

Except for its broad 3X category for all travel including gas. But then I thought, you know, no.

Before I go all-in with Citi ThankYou, I wanna see what’s next. I can pick up that card up any time. And use my Chase Sapphire Preferred (or some other card) for gas/other travel.

And then, thinking more on the Citi AT&T Access More card, I thought about why it could be better. Including for paying rent at RadPad, a topic I’ve mined frequently.

About the Citi AT&T Access More card

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4 Things Holding Back Citi ThankYou From Being the Best Points Program

For too long, Chase Ultimate Rewards has been considered the best all-around points program for peeps who like collecting them (myself included).

You welcome

You welcome

AMEX is failing miserably at just about everything right now, except for AMEX Offers.

They lost Costco and jetBlue, might lose Starwood, Membership Rewards doesn’t have (m)any great transfer partners (maybe Delta, Aeroplan, and ANA for niche award flight redemptions), and they’ve absolutely failed to make timely and industry-leading adjustments to their credit card and points line-up for a long time (thanks for dropping forex fees after like, a decade…).

That left the door wide open for Citi to swoop in (Barclays and Bank of America were never a concern). And man, they really took their chance.

I went from having 1 Citi AAdvantage card to wanting multiple Citi cards in a short while. I’m in love with Citi Prestige because of all the money it’s saved me in the few months I’ve had it.

Current Citi cards I have and want

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