Author Archives: Grant

About Grant

Grant is an expert in frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points, credit card rewards, and cash back deals. He also has a pretty cool travel blog. Find him on Twitter @travelwithgrant.

My July App-O-Rama Credit Card Results (Spoiler: 4 out of 5 Approved)

Good morning everyone, I hope your 2 day Prime Day shopping spree is going well.  Even though I didn’t buy much on the first day of Prime Day, I did pick up a few new credit cards.  My last App-O-Rama was in March, so I patiently waited 3+ months until my July App-O-Rama.  As a reminder, I was approved for 3 out of 4 credit cards in my March App-O-Rama, including the American Express Gold Card, the US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Signature Credit Card, and the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card.  With those minimum spending requirements completed and the sign up bonuses redeemed, it was time to focus on these 5 credit cards.  Here is a quick summary of my July App-O-Rama:

  • Citi Premier Credit Card – instantly approved
  • American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card – pending, then approved (I called AMEX and had to close an old card to open up a credit card slot)
  • Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Business Credit Card – pending, then declined (too many recent inquiries)
  • Banco Popular Avianca Vuela Credit Card – instantly approved
  • Wells Fargo Propel World Credit Card – instantly approved (I called Wells Fargo to apply for this credit card over the phone)

Citi Premier Credit Card

I currently have a Citi Premier Credit Card that I have had for 4+ years, but I wanted to get another one since the sign up bonus is currently 60,000 Citi Thank You Points after spending $4,000 in 3 months.  If I was approved for a second Citi Premier Credit Card, my plan was to downgrade/convert my old Citi Premier Credit Card into a Citi Rewards+ Credit Card.

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Track Hotel Free Night Certificates & Credit Card Annual Fees with my Spreadsheet

Good afternoon everyone.  Last month, I was reading an article by Nick at Frequent Miler called Almost #Bonvoyed: a cautionary tale on free night certs.  In that post, Nick shared that after cancelling a Marriott stay booked with a free night certificate, the free night certificate did not automatically redeposit into his Marriott account.  He had to track down the cancelled reservation and call Marriott to get the free night certificate redeposited into his Marriott account.  Bonvoy!  Toward the end of the article, Nick stated, “You shouldn’t need a spreadsheet to track the history of your Marriott free night certs — but the reality is that you do need to stay organized with them.”

That’s when the idea hit me, I should create a spreadsheet to track my Marriott category 1-5 free night certificates… as well as my Hilton free weekend night certificates, Hyatt category 1-4 free night certificates, IHG 40k free night certificates, and Radisson Rewards anniversary points.  Here is my Hotel Free Night Certificate Tracker, maybe it will help you stay organized too.

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How to Renew your Global Entry Card & Membership Online ($100 Fee Every 5 Years)

Good morning everyone.  A few years ago, I wrote how to sign up for Global Entry, and now I am writing about how to renew your Global Entry membership (most of the process is the same).  I didn’t know my Global Entry membership was expiring in November 2019 until I received this email from Global Entry with the cryptic subject line “Program Expiry”.  I have several credit cards that reimburse the $100 fee for Global Entry (including my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card), so it was a no brainer to renew my Global Entry membership.  To get started, I went to the Trusted Travel Program website.

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American Express Membership Rewards Points Post Fast for AMEX Card Referrals

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great Fourth of July Weekend.  I spent the week in Orange County, CA and the weekend in Boulder, CO at a wedding.  While I was down in Orange County visiting my family, I went out to dinner with my grandparents.  My grandpa used his Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card to pay for dinner (3x on restaurant purchases).  My grandpa has been an American Express customer for 30+ years and is a mini travel hacker, so after dinner, I told him that he should get the American Express Gold Card because it offers 4x on restaurants and grocery stores (2 of his most frequent expenses).

Later that week, I was over at his house and he asked me to help him get the new American Express Gold Card.  He asked me to send him a link for the card, so I logged into my American Express online account, copied my referral link, and emailed it to him.  According to the referral page, you can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards Points for each referral, up to a maximum of 55,000 Membership Rewards Points per year.  The referral points should post within 8-12 weeks, but in my experience, the referral points posted within 3 days.  I sent my grandpa the referral link on July 2 and he applied and was approved for the card on the same day.

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First Class Flights Cheaper than Economy with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Points Rebate

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  A few weeks ago, I was looking at flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Orange County (SNA).  I found this 7:15pm Alaska Airlines flight that was $155 for Saver (Basic) Economy and $209 for First Class.  The flight is only 1.5 hours long and normally I do not fly First Class, but I remembered that the American Express Business Platinum Charge Card offers a 35% rebate when paying with American Express Membership Rewards Points on First Class flights.  Based on my calculations ($209 x 65% = $135.85), the First Class flight should be cheaper than the economy flight after the 35% rebate.  In this post, I will show you the steps to book the First Class flight using American Express Membership Rewards Points.

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