Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a great Fourth of July holiday. Lately, there has been a lot of news about new Chase credit cards and upgrade options for 3 Chase hotel credit cards. I have all 3 Chase hotel credit cards (Marriott, Hyatt and IHG) so I had to decide if I wanted to upgrade any, all or none of my credit cards. The old and new credit cards are good for some people, but everyone’s situation is different. I will share my thought process about keeping or upgrading each credit card. Since everyone travels differently, you may agree or disagree with my decisions.
Before I share my decisions, here is where I stand on hotel loyalty programs. I am very loyal to chain hotels and would rather stay at a chain hotel than an independent hotel or Airbnb. But I do not have loyalty to a specific hotel loyalty program. I consider myself a free agent and do not care about hotel elite status unless it is given to me free for having the credit card. Lastly, I spend 1-2 nights a year at Marriott, 4-8 nights a year at Hyatt, and 5-7 nights a year at IHG (I divvy the rest of my hotel stays between Hilton, SPG, and Radisson Rewards). I use points and free night certificates for the stays as much as possible, unless the cash rate is cheap. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Upgrade Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card to Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card?
Technically, Uber doesn’t exist in Greece, but you can request and pay for taxis with the Uber app (the taxi drivers use the Uber app like all other Uber drivers). The only thing that is strange is that you cannot see the total price of your Uber ride until after the ride is over. All the taxis have a set price schedule for rides, so your rides will always be priced right. Unfortunately, I could not use my Uber credits in Athens, so I paid for all my rides with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card (my referral link) since I earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on Uber and it has no foreign transaction fees.
We used the Uber app to request a ride from the Athens International Airport (ATH) to our hotel, the InterContinental Athenaeum Athens. The Uber pickup was a bit tricky, since our ride was in a taxi and there were many taxis waiting at the airport. Our driver told us where to meet him, but it was still very difficult to find him (he ended up finding us). Our ride to the hotel took 45 minutes and cost 40.70 Euros ($47.43). As of June 25, the exchange rate is 1 Euro = 1.16 US Dollars and I will use that exchange rate throughout this post. In comparison, a shuttle van to/from the airport and the hotel would have cost 100 Euros ($116).
I swear this happened the other day because I could not make this stuff up, even if I tried. And it’s by far the number one mistake people make in gathering miles and points. I’m in line to pay for groceries and the man in front of me pulls out a credit card to pay for his items. I have a curious nature, so I always look to see what credit card people use for their expenses. I contorted my body in several different directions in order to catch the name on the card and it was a, drum roll please… TJ Maxx Credit Card. Who knew TJ Maxx even had a credit card? And I’m not judging people who shop at TJ Maxx. Observing this man using his TJ Maxx Credit Card at a grocery store reminded me of all the other friends and family members I have who use these affinity cards. Using affinity cards doesn’t make sense if the goal is to travel more for less. Credit cards that accrue flexible points and miles so they can be used on various airlines and at multiple hotel chains makes much much much better sense! Continue reading →
Fast forward to yesterday when my Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card statement closed. On the statement, it showed that I received 20,000 bonus Marriott Rewards Points from “Bonus on Premier Plus Upgrade” and an additional 10,000 bonus Marriott Rewards Points as a “Courtesy Adjustment.” I also earned 20,000 Marriott Rewards Points from a referral (thank you whoever you are), but let’s ignore that in this post.
There are some places that are wonderful to visit any time of year, and they become an even more spectacular destination during the summer months. With the high travel season upon us, one of my favorite cities has been on my mind. I’ve been to British Columbia during all different times of the year. In Vancouver, I’ve slogged through slush and snow during December, and ventured out at midnight in freezing weather to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks. I’ve walked through Stanley Park in the most gorgeous October weather when the trees were in full fall foliage colors. And I’ve had the Grouse Grind hike on Grouse Mountain totally kick my butt as I finished it with mud all over my clothes, yet with a smile on my face. Vancouver is an amazing destination any time of year! With summer upon us and many travelers heading up to British Columbia, I wanted to bring together all the blog posts I’ve written about Vancouver so you’ll have an easy time using them when you’re planning a visit.