Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great Easter and Passover. A few days ago, Laura and I did a roadtrip around California and stayed at The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The Kinney is a few blocks from downtown San Luis Obispo (SLO) and a short drive / bike ride to the campus of Cal Poly SLO. Since the hotel is close to the university, the hotel has a college theme. Basic rooms are called Campus Rooms and the suites are called Grad Suite, Dean Suite, and Professor Suite (see all pics and room descriptions here). I used points to book a Campus Room and was upgraded (thanks to my Hilton Diamond Elite Status) to a Grad Suite. I enjoyed staying at this hotel and the location was great for exploring downtown SLO and the surrounding area. I would definitely stay here again the next time I visit SLO. Here are some pics of my room and of the hotel.
Good morning everyone, happy Friday! After I published How Much Did I Pay in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2020?, several readers asked if I could share how much value I received from each credit card in 2020. Today’s post is also a sequel to my 2019 post (I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 – Was it Worth it?). All 24 of these credit cards were opened before January 1, 2020, and no sign up bonus is included. For simplicity, I did not include the value of miles or points earned from credit card spend, since that is somewhat subjective (and most of the miles and points were not spent in 2020). I counted all credits, reimbursements, retention offers, and referral bonuses at dollar face value. For hotel free night certificates, I have several from 2020 that expire in 2021 and 2022, so I am using a standard value of $100 for each hotel free night certificate.
I went through all of my credit card statements and online accounts to see which Credit Card Benefits I used in 2020 and those values are summed up in the CCB $ column. If I received a retention offer, that is listed in the RO $ column. I listed the credit card annual fee in the AF $ column. Lastly, I used this formula to calculate the Profit or Loss (P / L column) for each credit card: CCB $ + RO $ – AF $ = P / L
I sorted the credit cards alphabetically and split them up into 3 smaller groups. Here are some thoughts from the first group:
- The first 3 AMEX cards were big money makers due to the standard card benefit credits and the temporary pandemic benefits. It will be hard to beat these numbers in 2021.
- I never planned on keeping the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card long term and only signed up for the 70,000 Delta SkyMiles sign up bonus in 2019.
- In most years, we are easily able to use the $99 Alaska Airlines Companion Fare, but due to the pandemic and very cheap Alaska Airlines flight, we did not use the Companion Fare in 2020. I am hoping to use the Companion Fare this year.
- I’m glad Laura (LT) was able to get a $59 retention offer on her Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and a $100 referral bonus.
|Credit Card Name||Credit Card Benefits||CCB $||RO $||AF $||P / L|
|AMEX Business Platinum||$400 Dell credit; $198 airline reimbursement; $160 wireless phone credit; $158 shipping credit; $96 AMEX Offers for Dell & AT&T||$1,012||$200||$595||$617|
|AMEX Gold||$120 dining credit; $100 airline reimbursement; $60 AMEX Offer for Shop Small||$280||$0||$250||$30|
|AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire||$250 airline reimbursement; $250 resort credit (used at restaurants); 1 Free Night Certificate (expires 7/2/22) (worth $100)||$600||$0||$450||$150|
|AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles||Downgraded to no annual fee American Express Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card to avoid paying annual fee||$0||$0||$0|
|Bank of America Alaska Airlines (LT)||Alaska Airlines $99 Companion Fare expired in 2020||$0||$0||$75||-$75|
|Capital One Venture Rewards (LT)||$100 referral bonus||$100||$59||$59||$100|
Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well. Every year, I like to check out my stats from Google Analytics to see which blog posts were the most popular. I created 2 lists by looking at all blog posts written in 2020 and then I looked at which posts were read the most in 2020, but written in a previous year (#stayingpower). I will list the blog posts from top to bottom based on pageviews, share the original published date, and provide a short summary of each blog post. If you are curious, here were the most popular posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.
2020’s Most Read Posts (Written in 2020)
- Overpaid Chase Credit Card? Receive Credit Balance Refund via ACH Bank Transfer Instead of Check (7/8/20) – If you have a credit balance on a Chase credit card, you can contact Chase and ask for them to send you back the money. You can receive your funds back via an ACH bank transfer which is much faster than waiting for a check in the mail. I have done this a few times over the last few months and I wish all other banks had a similar process.
Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well. 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. I apologize that it’s been more than a month since my last update in early May titled Work from Home Diary 11: My Thoughts on TWG Turning 7 Years Old Today. For today’s update, it’s not about work, but about my roadtrip from Northern California down to Southern California to visit my parents. I haven’t seen my parents since the end of February and I had to cancel my last trip down to visit for Mother’s Day Weekend (read PSA: Don’t Cancel Airline Reservations through Citi ThankYou Portal; Cancel Directly with the Airline). Laura and I have been staying safe the last few months and so have my parents, so we felt like now was a good time to visit.
I’m not sure about the state you live in, but in California, every county has different rules regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic and which businesses can open. In Sonoma County (where we live), restaurants have only been open for takeout and delivery, but in Orange County (where my parents live), restaurants are open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery. It’s probably been 3+ months since I last sat in a restaurant and I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much (I got used to eating every meal at home and cooking dinner most nights of the week), but boy was I wrong.
Good afternoon everyone, happy Friday. From June 1 through August 31, American Express Hilton Aspire Credit Card members can now use their $250 resort credit toward restaurant purchases. To test this out, I made a small restaurant purchase at Panera Bread (through their app) on June 1. On June 4, the statement credit posted as HILTON RESORT CREDIT. A 3 day turnaround time for statement credits is pretty standard for American Express. The one downside with the $250 Hilton Resort Credit is that there is no tracker that shows how much you have spent or redeemed toward the $250 cap.