Tag Archives: American Express

My Travel Philosophy for Redeeming Miles vs. Paying Cash for Flights (w/ Account Balances as of March 2020)

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  I just finished listening to the Miles to Memories podcast (latest episode) and enjoyed listening to them talk about Disney when they redeem miles vs. pay cash for flights.  I don’t have a hard and fast rule that I live by, so I thought it would be fun to share my travel philosophy of when I redeem miles vs. pay cash for flights.  I specifically mention flights because I plan to write a similar article about hotels and didn’t want to make this article too long.  Lastly, when I use the word cash, that could mean paying for the flight with a credit card, or paying with an airline gift card, or using credit card rewards to pay for the flight – basically anything other than booking an award ticket with airline miles.

I also think it is important to share how many credit card reward points I have, since my thinking would be much different if I had 1,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points vs. 1 million Chase Ultimate Reward Points.  With that said, here are my transferable points balances, as of March 2020, from smallest to largest:

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Changes to $250 Resort Credit & Point Transfers for American Express Hilton Aspire Credit Card (Effective May 1, 2020)

Good afternoon everyone.  I was just going through my recent American Express credit card statements and stumbled upon this upcoming change to the $250 Hilton Resort Credit and point transfers for the American Express Hilton Aspire Credit Card.  Effective May 1, 2020, American Express may reverse statement credits earned if your eligible purchase is returned / cancelled (aka, if you book a refundable hotel reservation to earn the credit, then later cancel the hotel reservation).  American Express may also reverse the statement credit for “abuse” or “misuse” of the benefit and if you do not maintain the eligible card for the entire year (aka, if you downgrade or close your card before the year is over).  These are some pretty specific warnings from American Express.

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Use American Express Chat to Change Airline Fee Credit Airline Choice (Almost 100% Automated)

Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well.  Yesterday, I booked an American Airlines flight from New York (LGA) to Dallas (DFW) to Orange County (SNA) for Laura and myself (we plan to check out the Centurion Lounges in LGA and DFW during our trip).  With my American Express Gold Card, I get a $100 airline fee credit to use each year to cover seat assignments, checked bags, in-flight drinks/snacks, etc.  I decided to use my $100 airline fee credit to purchase preferred seats for our American Airlines flights.

Unfortunately, American Express has a weird system that will automatically enroll you in last year’s airline choice if you do not make a change by January 31.  Since I selected Southwest Airlines in 2019 (when buying Southwest Airlines eGift Cards triggered the credits), that was who my airline choice was for 2020.  Thankfully, you can change your airline choice if you do not use any of the credit in the current year.  Instead of calling American Express, I clicked the Chat button in the lower right corner of the screen.

I typed in my comment and the automated system asked me a few questions.  After going through the prompts to change to American Airlines, I thought the Chat box was going to make the change for me, but unfortunately, I had to be connected to human.  After confirming my airline choice, the agent processed my change.  I’m not sure why the Chat box could not do it by itself, but the whole process only took a few minutes.

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What’s in Grant’s (iPhone) Wallet?

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great Super Bowl weekend.  I was down in Orange County enjoying the warm weather, but now I am back up in the chilly Bay Area.  I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, but my final motivation was reading 2 Frequent Miler articles: What’s in Nick’s wallet? and What’s in Greg’s wallet?  The first thing you should know about me (if you already didn’t know) is that I am a millennial and I live in the Bay Area, so I can go weeks without using cash.  For that reason, my wallet is built into my iPhone XS case.  I use the Urban Armor Gear (UAG) iPhone Case ($30 on Amazon) that has room for 4 cards: my drivers license and 3 credit cards.  Which 3 credit cards do I carry with me on a daily basis and which credit cards do I have in my ApplePay Wallet?

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If I Could Only Keep 5 Credit Cards with Annual Fees…

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your weekend is going well.  A few weeks ago, I wrote these 2 posts:

In those posts, I listed all the credit cards that Laura and I have.  I also justified why I paid $4,588 in credit card annual fees in 2019.  Since that post, there have been a few credit card changes (JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card lost the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card added Lyft and DoorDash benefits).  A few readers commented and other bloggers linked to the top post and shared which credit cards they keep every year.  As part of my 2020 travel resolutions, I said I wanted to reduce the amount I paid in credit card annual fees.  In this theoretical post, here are the 5 credit cards with annual fees that I would keep…

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