Tag Archives: Free Stuff

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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Work from Home Diary 1: Cancelling My Ireland & Kauai Trips

Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well.  These are very uncertain times and I have difficulty finding motivation to write about anything travel related.  Therefore, I decided to share my feelings in a series of Work from Home Diary posts.  Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below.

First of all, I am very fortunate that I work for a company where we have the ability to work from home.  My heart goes out to everyone affected in the retail industry, travel/hospitality industry, restaurant/bar industry and many other industries that are affected by the coronavirus.

Last week, my company gave us the option to work from home or go into the office. I decided to work from home the entire week.  I’m used to working from home a few days a week, but working from home 5 days in a row takes a toll (both mentally and physically).  In my next diary post, I will share how I am doing in week 2.

Laura and I were supposed to fly to Ireland last Friday (March 13) for a week for her spring break (she is an assistant principal).  On Wednesday evening (March 11), the Europe travel ban was announced and we decided to cancel our Ireland trip.  I cancelled our Aer Lingus flights booked with British Airways Avios, hotel awards booked at Hyatt and Radisson Blu, Hertz rental car, and a few Expedia activities.  Canceling everything online only took a few minutes and thankfully everything resulted in a full refund, with the exception of the $55 cancellation fees per person charged by British Airways (I called to see if they could be waived, but it was not possible). Continue reading

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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2020 Datapoint: AMEX Airline Fee Credit for American Airlines Posted in 7 Days

Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well (despite the daylight saving time change).  Last week, I wrote Use American Express Chat to Change Airline Fee Credit Airline Choice (Almost 100% Automated).  In that post, I showed you how you could easily change your airline choice for the American Express airline fee credit by using the AMEX chat feature.  In today’s post, I will share my experience getting the airline fee credit for a few American Airlines seat upgrades.  As you can see by this email from American Express, my airline choice was changed to American Airlines on 10:16am on February 29, 2020.

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