Tag Archives: Travel

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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Reader Feedback: After We Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic, What’s your Dream Award Trip?

Good morning everyone.  This might be the most optimistic blog post / news story you read all day.  You’re welcome.  I know we haven’t had many happy pieces of news lately, but I wanted everyone to think about the future for a moment with your happy glasses on.  I’ve read a few blog posts over the last few days about incredible award space on many different airlines to many different places.  For example, check out Frequent Miler’s article Premium routes with wide open awards.

Even though no one is travelling now, or even booking flights, there will come a time when it is safe to travel.  After the coronavirus pandemic ends, there could be amazing award space on every airline to every destination they serve.  Just imaging the possibilities brings a smile to my face.  So I wanted to ask my readers:  After we survive the coronavirus pandemic, what’s your dream award trip?  Assuming that every airline in every alliance has 100% award availability on every flight they operate, where you would go, what you would do, and why you want to go there?

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Work from Home Diary 4: Weekend Yard Work & Hallmark Movies

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a good weekend.  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 share my weekend activities.  Before I continue, what does yard work and Hallmark movies have to do with miles and points?  That’s a great question, read on to find out.

On Saturday morning, Laura and I went to Lowe’s to get some cleaning supplies, trash bags, and Amazon GCs.  When we arrived, we saw a deal on colored bark (4 bags for $10) and purchased 8 bags.  We had ambitious plans to clean up our front and back yard and to put out a new layer of bark.  After several hours of work, our front and back yard looked great.  Even though our muscles were sore, using the Lowe’s AMEX Offer on my American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card to get 10% cash back on the Lowe’s purchases was a nice relief.  The Lowe’s AMEX Offer is cumulative and pays 10% cash back, up to $100 cash back (so spending $1,000 will max out this offer).  This AMEX Offer expires on June 30, 2020, but I expect another Lowe’s AMEX Offer will show up after July 1.

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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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