Category Archives: Credit Cards

Work from Home Diary 2: Afternoon Walks & Restaurant Gift Cards

Good morning everyone, happy Friday.  I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.  For today’s update, I will share what it’s been like to work from home this week.  As I mentioned yesterday, this is Laura’s spring break week.  Instead of spending time driving around Ireland or suntanning in Kauai, we are both spending most of our time inside our home.  My work from home set up is upstairs in our guest room / home office and Laura’s work from home set up is downstairs on our den table.  It’s nice that we have our own spaces to work (and listen to music or watch TV).

As an assistant principal, Laura is used to waking up early and leaving early for work.  Now that we are both working from home, we can sleep in a little later, eat breakfast together, and watch morning news before starting our work.  I’m used to eating lunch around 11:30-12pm, so we both take a break, make lunch (or reheat leftovers) and relax for a few minutes.  In the early afternoon, if the weather is nice/decent, we try to go for a 2-3 mile walk around our city to stretch our legs and talk about work and life.  There are not many people outside, but we do see a few others walking and riding bikes. Continue reading

I Downgraded my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton to Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ($450 AF to $95 AF)

Good afternoon everyone.  A few months ago, I upgraded my Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature to JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite.  Fast forward to March 1 and the $450 annual fee posted to my Ritz Carlton credit card.  Over the last few weeks, I was trying to decide if I should keep this credit card and pay the $450 annual fee or downgrade to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card which only has a $95 annual fee (but comes with a 35K Marriott Bonvoy free night certificate).

The biggest reason for me to downgrade this credit card was the loss of the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit which allowed me to save $100 on roundtrip domestic flights for 2 or more passengers.  I used that benefit a few times last year and was looking forward to using it a few times this year to offset the $450 annual fee.  Unfortunately, that benefit abruptly disappeared in early January 2020.

With that benefit gone, the remaining 2 benefits worthwhile to me were the $300 annual travel credit and the 50K Marriott Bonvoy free night certificate.  As of today, I already redeemed the free night certificate for a hotel in New York City in June and used ~$85 of the $300 annual travel credit.

I called the JPMorgan Chase customer service number to see if they could waive the annual fee, but that was not possible, so I suggested downgrading to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card.  After a few minutes, the downgrade process was completed.  I will receive the new credit cards in the next week and the $450 annual fee would be refunded back to my account in the next few days ($450 annual fee was refunded the following day).  Here is what my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card looks like in my Chase online account.

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Stuck at Home? Listen to Grant on the Saverocity Observation Deck Podcast

Good morning everyone.  A few weeks ago, I was a guest on the Saverocity Observation Deck podcast.  We talked about my Ireland trip (now cancelled), my British Airways / Match.com love story, and what’s in my iPhone wallet.  The episode is ~40 mins for regular listeners or ~60 minutes if you are a Patreon paid subscriber (you will hear Laura make her podcast debut).  Listen to the episode on your favorite podcasting app or listen online here.  Have a great day everyone.

I Cancelled My Last Minute Trip to Hawaii [Rescheduled for June]

Reposted on 3/17/20 at 7:30am


Updated 3pm PT on 3/14/20: I was planning on going to Kauai in March but have rescheduled my trip to Kauai for June.  I have cancelled / rescheduled all the reservations below.


Good afternoon everyone, I hope your Friday is going well.  As a sequel to yesterday’s post (I Cancelled My Trip to Ireland), we decided to go to Kauai instead for Laura’s spring break (we went to Kauai 2 years ago for Laura’s spring break as well).  I checked flights from the Bay Area to Hawaii and flights were in the $100-$130 price range each way to all the Hawaiian Islands.  Prices were so cheap that it was a better deal to pay for flights than to book award tickets.

Laura had ~52K Southwest Airlines Points in her account, so we booked 2 roundtrip tickets from Oakland (OAK) to Lihue, Kauai (LIH) using 50,292 SWA points and $22.40 in taxes/fees ($5.60 per person per flight).  About an hour later, I checked the flight prices and saw a price drop.  I immediately rebooked the SWA flight for free and saved 8,174 SWA points.  This morning, I checked the flights again and saw more price drops.  I quickly and easily rebooked those flights using the SWA app.  After the dust settled, our SWA flights now cost a total of 35,087 SWA points (a savings of 15,205 SWA points in ~12 hours).  I kind of feel bad that the prices keep dropping so dramatically (but I will keep checking the flight prices to see if they get any cheaper).

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$5 TurboTax Chase Offer Triggered with State Tax Return E-File

Good afternoon everyone.  If you are working on your taxes this weekend and using TurboTax, don’t forget about the $5 TurboTax Chase Offer.  $5 is not much, but it’s better than nothing.  The Chase Offer expires on April 30, 2020, and should be triggered with any TurboTax purchase.  I saw the same TurboTax offer on all my personal Chase credit cards but I decided to add and use the offer on my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card since Chase Ultimate Reward Points are more valuable than Marriott, Hyatt, or IHG points.

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