Tag Archives: Hotels

Reconsideration Strategy for Credit Card Annual Fees During Coronavirus Pandemic

Good morning everyone.  After reading recent articles by Omar @ Travel Summary (It’s Time to Reduce Your Credit Card Annual Fees) and Doctor of Credit (Credit Card Annual Fee Due? Remember To Ask For A Retention Offer Before Cancelling), I decided to take a look at my credit cards, their annual fees, and whether or not they are worth keeping going forward.  I will share my strategy for organizing my credit cards and my recent call with US Bank regarding my US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card.

I opened up my master credit card spreadsheet and looked at all the credit cards, debit cards, and authorized user cards in the table (68 total cards).  I then removed all my debit cards and authorized user cards and was left with 42 credit cards in my name or Laura’s name.  I then removed all the no annual fee credit cards and was left with 25 credit cards that have annual fees.  The annual fees totaled $4,134.  If you are curious about why we pay so much in annual fees, read I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 & Was it Worth it?  Here are the credit cards sorted by card name:

Credit Card Name AF Credit Card Name AF
AMEX Business Platinum $595 Chase Sapphire Reserve $450
AMEX Gold $250 Chase Southwest Airlines Priority (Laura) $149
AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire $450 Chase World of Hyatt (Laura) $95
AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles $195 Citi AT&T Access More 1 $95
Banco Popular Avianca Vuela $149 Citi AT&T Access More 2 $95
Bank of America Alaska Airlines (Laura) $75 Citi AT&T Access More 3 $95
Capital One Venture Rewards (Laura) $59 Citi Premier $95
Chase Hyatt Hotels $75 US Bank Altitude Reserve $400
Chase IHG Rewards Premier $89 US Bank Radisson Rewards Business $60
Chase IHG Rewards Select $49 US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 1 $75
Chase Ink Plus $95 US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 2 $75
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless $95 Wells Fargo Propel World $175
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business $99 Total Annual Fees $4,134

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Work from Home Diary 3: Upcoming Travel Plans (Cancel Now or Wait it Out?)

Good afternoon 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 wanted to discuss upcoming travel plans and my plans for those trips.  As of today, I have 4 trips on the books.  These trips are not set in stone and could be cancelled by myself or the airlines before departure depending upon how things are going in the world.  We are taking things slowly and focusing on 1 day at a time.

Trip 1 – Mother’s Day Weekend

My next trip is in mid-May for Mother’s Day Weekend.  I was planning on flying down from San Francisco (SFO) to Orange County (SNA) to visit my parents and grandparents.  I have flown down for Mother’s Day weekend for the last few years and enjoy seeing my family.  This trip was booked with Citi Thank You Points for basic economy travel on Alaska Airlines.  If the situation in California remains the same (all Californias are told to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus), I will probably cancel my trip and hold onto travel funds for a future trip.

Mother’s Day dinner in St Kitts (2017)

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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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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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I Cancelled My Trip to Ireland

Good afternoon everyone.  Yesterday, after hearing about the Europe travel ban, we decided to cancel our trip to Ireland.  It’s disappointing but life is unpredictable right now.  Thankfully, most of the trip was booked with miles and points, so cancelling was easy.  I was able to cancel my Hyatt award stay and all 5 Radisson Blu award stays since I was outside the cancellation period and the hotel points were immediately redeposited to my accounts.   I cancelled my rental car reservation booked through Priceline.  I had purchased a few activities through Expedia and was able to cancel those as well.  I should receive the credit card refund in a few days.

Lastly, I needed to cancel my round trip SFO-DUB Aer Lingus award ticket booked with British Airways Avios.  Online, it shows a $55 cancellation fee per passenger.  I called BA and asked if they could waive the cancellation fee but was told that the flight is still operating as scheduled and that if the phone agent cancelled the reservation, there would be an additional $25 fee.  I decided to cancel the award ticket online and the BA Avios were immediately redeposited to my BA account.  The cash refund should arrive in the next 1-2 weeks.

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