Tag Archives: Southwest Airlines

I Paid $3,820 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2020 – Was it Worth it?

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 $250 $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

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My Top 10 Most Read Blog Posts of 2020

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, 20182017, and 2016.

2020’s Most Read Posts (Written in 2020)

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My Rock Solid 2021 Airline, Hotel & Credit Card Predictions

Good morning everyone, I hope you got a good laugh out of my post from yesterday: Reviewing my Embarrassingly Wrong 2020 Travel Predictions.  Long story short, my 2020 predictions were terrible (I had 3 correct and 12 wrong predictions).  I am hoping to redeem myself today with my super-solid, 100% guaranteed-to-happen predictions for 2021.  My crystal ball just got back from the crystal ball repair store and here are my airline, hotel, and credit card predictions for 2021.

My 2021 Airline Predictions

  • Alaska Airlines or Southwest Airlines will make their “convert travel funds to airline miles” feature a permanent feature on their site.
  • American Airlines will finally become a Citi ThankYou Points airline transfer partner.
  • Delta Airlines or United Airlines will introduce a “Cash and Miles” payment option for award tickets (pay 10,000 miles or pay 8,000 miles + $40).

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Chase Launches Rewards Dashboard for Southwest Airlines Credit Cards (Track Travel Credit & Upgraded Boarding Passes)

Good afternoon everyone.  I just received an email from Chase regarding a new Rewards Dashboard that is now available for my Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.  I don’t have any other personal or business Southwest Airlines credit cards, so I am not sure if this Rewards Dashboard is just for Priority credit cards or for all Southwest Airlines credit cards, but based on the interface, I bet it works with all Southwest Airlines credit cards.  The strange thing about the Chase email is that it tells me to sign into my Chase account, go to my Secure Messages and read the letter.  Why not just send me the details directly to my email?  Does anyone else find this strange?

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Why I Redeemed 1/3 of my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with the Pay Yourself Back Feature

Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well.  I recently had a change of heart and decided to redeem 1/3 of my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with the Pay Yourself Back feature.  Chase introduced the Pay Yourself Back feature on May 31 and I wrote How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points via Pay Yourself Back (1.5 Cents Per Point for Restaurants, Grocery Stores & Home Improvement).  Initially, I was not very excited about the new feature, since I convinced myself that I could use my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points in other ways and get more than 1.5 cents per point.

After realizing that I had no concrete travel plans remaining in 2020 (I recently cancelled trips to Boston & New York along with a big trip to Africa), I figured that my stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points would probably not be used much this year.  Before redeeming 1/3 of my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, I looked at Chase’s travel partners to see if there were any major reasons to keep my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.  Chase has 13 airline and hotel partners, but only has 4 exclusive partners (Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, IHG, and Hyatt), the remaining 9 travel partners are accessible with American Express Membership Rewards Points, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One Miles.

My wife and I have ~58,000 Southwest Airlines points and ~$150 in travel credit, so I would not need to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest Airlines.  I am not a huge fan of United Airlines and can usually book Star Alliance flights with other travel programs, plus I have ~$178 travel credit from a cancelled United flight.  IHG points are worth ~0.5 cents per point and I have ~222,000 IHG points in my account.  Last but not least, Hyatt is the only travel partner that stands out from the list.  I decided to save at least 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points just in case we stay at a Hyatt later this year).

I figured that normal spending on our Chase Ink Cash Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Credit Card this year would replenish our Chase Ultimate Rewards Points balance by the end of 2020.

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