Good afternoon everyone, happy Friday. If you are stuck in the cold, you might be thinking about taking a vacation to a warm, sunny destination. Maybe Palm Springs crossed your mind with their warm, year-round climate. Not to mention, this is the second weekend of Coachella, which is a short drive away. I just received a timeshare vacation package offer in the mail for the beautiful Westin Mission Hills Resort & Villas in Palm Springs. They have several beautiful photos of the resort, but here are just 2 that stood out to me. The timeshare vacation package includes 5 days / 4 nights in a 1 bedroom villa, 2 tickets on the Palm Springs aerial tramway, and a $100 gift card to Pacifica Restaurant, a nearby restaurant serving steak and local dishes. The cost of the timeshare vacation package? Just $389, but if you don’t know when you want to go, a $200 down payment is all that is required. The timeshare vacation package is addressed to me and includes a unique preferred invitation number, but if you want to participate in this offer, you can try calling or emailing the contact info on the letter.
Using our miles and points to book award flights is the reason we all spend hours upon hours of reading blogs, learning the ins and outs of airline programs, and attaching sticky notes to all our credit cards to make sure we use the right one for each purchase! But booking a flight using an award is not without its challenges. If you’ve ever used miles/points for an award ticket either for you or someone else, I’m preaching to the choir because you already know this but………there are tips I can give you that just might make your experience go a little bit more smoothly.
1. Booking one-way flights is actually a tip I received last year from a fellow blogger, and now I do it all the time. This allows for two different benefits. If you need to make a change, you only have to do it on one ticket and not on the roundtrip ticket. I find this easier to do. For me, whether I’m using an award or paying for a ticket, I now book the outbound and inbound separately. Maybe an even greater benefit is that when booking an award ticket you can use two different airlines, different alliances, and different sources of miles/points. This gets you thinking creatively, as seeing a trip as two different segments often means you’ll see possibilities you might have missed otherwise. Continue reading
Good morning everyone. I hope you enjoyed my post from yesterday: Keep, Cancel or Convert? Chase Sapphire Reserve & Chase Ink Plus. All this week, I am going to review my credit cards that had annual fees post in March. As a reminder, here are all the credit cards and their annual fees. In today’s post, I am going to cover both the American Express Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card and the American Express SPG Business Credit Card. Are they worth keeping, should I close them, or should I convert them to another credit card?
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450 (posted 4/1)
- Chase Ink Plus Business – $95 (posted 4/1)
- American Express Hilton Ascend – $95 (posted 4/3)
- American Express SPG Business – $95 (posted 4/6)
- Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business – $75 (posted 4/2)
- Citi AT&T Access More – $95 (posted 4/4)
- US Bank FlexPerks Gold – $85 (posted 4/3)
- Wells Fargo Propel World – $175 (posted 3/31)
American Express Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card
I’ve only had this credit card since January, before then, it was a Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card. I received the annual free weekend night certificate for spending $10,000 on the credit card when it was a Citi credit card. MSing on the Citi credit card was much easier than MSing on the new AMEX credit card. I also dropped from a Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Member on April 2 when the new Hilton Honors program changes went live, which was terrible timing since I checked into the Hilton Garden Inn on Kauai on April 2 as a Hilton Honors Gold Elite Member. Should I pay $95 to keep this credit card? Having this credit card gives you Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status, but I can already get that for free with my American Express Platinum Business Charge Card. I don’t pay for Hilton stays very often, so if I no longer had this credit card, I would miss out on earning extra bonus points for Hilton stays.
I have had my eyes on the new American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card that comes with 100,000 Hilton points, Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status, a free weekend night certificate, and $250 Hilton resort credit. The $450 annual fee is steep, but I think the card is wroth it for the first year. I have a credit card App-O-Rama coming up, so I plan on applying for the new American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card. If I do not get instantly approved, I plan on calling American Express and asking them to move my credit line from the American Express Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card to the new card. If that is not possible, I will downgrade to the no annual fee American Express Hilton Honors Credit Card and use that card for the occasional AMEX Offer.
Decision: American Express Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card will be a sacrificial lamb when I apply for the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card. Plan B is to downgrade to the no annual fee American Express Hilton Honors Credit Card.
Lately, American Express seems to be on a roll with reminder emails. Here’s another interesting one I received. I thought this one was clever because it not only addresses the SPG points I might be earning if only my authorized users would put more spend on this card, but it also reminds me of the benefits of the SPG card. So an all-in-one reminder. I had forgotten that unlike some credit cards from other issuers, the SPG cards do not have a yearly fee for authorized users. I’m trying to decide if I should give my inbox a rest and not get so many of these reminder emails. Do you learn new information from these email reminders, or do you have your notifications and reminders preferences turned off? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
Whether or not you buy hotel points when promotions are running, it’s good to know about your options. We all like to travel more, for less! Topping up accounts for an upcoming stay can serve us well when we can get more value from the cost of the stays than we spend on buying those points. I use up my SPG points and Hyatt points way faster than I drink my flat whites, so I keep a list of hotel point promos handy to see if they’ll work for me. Currently, two of the four major hotel chains are running their buy points promotions. Depending on your travel plans, these might be worth checking out.
Starwood Offer: Expires March 16, 2018
I find I can never have enough SPG points. They are extra valuable because when you transfer them to airlines rather than use them for hotel stays, for every 20,000 points transferred, you get an extra 5,000 points. That’s an inexpensive way to buy airline miles. Many people, given their allegiance to Marriott, use these points for Marriott stays as well. They transfer to Marriott in a 1:3 ratio. That’s another good value for these points. Starwood is currently running a 35% off promotion so you can buy the maximum amount of points for $682. And don’t forget, you can gift Starwood points as well. The 35% offer seems to be their standard offer. Starwood has a yearly purchase limit of 30,000 points per account. The offer runs through March 16, 2018.