Best Credit Cards

Ask a Question

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Please, feel free to ask me a question in the comments section. I will do my best to answer it. If I’m not sure, I will do some research. So ask away!

161 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. I have enough miles on American to get to Hawaii. I was wondering what are your thoughts on using points for the rental car and hotel. We would love to try Kauai but I would do Maui if that’s easier to find deals. I had planned on just booking a place on VRBO, but with a recent move, if I can get deals on hotel and car, I could go sooner. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer, the best sign-up bonus for car rentals and non-chain hotels would be Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases(pays commission) , where you would get 440 dollars off travel expenses per card. A husband and a wife can each get one. As far as hotel points, the Chase Hyatt visa comes with 2 free nights. If both spouses get one, you could get 4 nights total. There is a newly opened Hyatt Andaz in Maui, that’s getting rave reviews. There is also a Hyatt in Kauai, that looks nice.
    Also, I hope I understood you correctly. Are you wondering if you should use miles to book hotels and car rental? It’s an option, but usually you get better value if redeeming for flights. However, do what works for you! Let me know if this makes sense and feel free to ask any other questions.

  3. Sorry if I was confusing. I was saying I have enough miles to get us to Hawaii so tickets are taken care of. So now I am trying to get hotel and car rental (the other two big expenses) using some kind of rewards.

    Another question. If we each got a Barclaycard Arrival for a total of 880, and the rental car was say 500, could we use the other 380 toward a fifth night at a Hyatt, supposing we got the four free with Chase Hyatt?

  4. I was a regular subscriber to you posts but all of a sudden stopped getting them via email….I resigned up and still nothing…ive tried reaching you via twitter but no response..how do i get tou back in my email feed

    • Richie, I am so sorry to hear that you aren’t getting the emails. I honestly don’t know what is going on. I haven’t heard from others having this problem. Do you think my emails are possibly going to spam?As far as Twitter, I didn’t get the tweet, I promise. I would have responded if I did. Not all tweets go through for some reason.
      I’m not an IT person but will try to look into it. Meanwhile, maybe try to resubscribe and check your spam? Thank you so much for reading my blog !

  5. Hi! A while back I asked for your advice about getting my family of 5 to Hawaii on miles. I’m happy to report that we did it! We are booked for next Spring Break in March.

    I signed up for a business and personal Citi AA card for 100,000 bonus miles. My husband got an offer in the mail for a Citi AA card with 60,000 bonus miles. He already had 20,000 miles from work travel, so we used these cards for our spending for a few months until we had enough miles to book. Our flights from Dallas to Hawaii were 17,500 miles each. For our return flights, we could not find any availability all the way to Dallas because it’s the beginning of Hawaii’s Spring Break. So we are flying from Honolulu to Las Vegas for 22,500 miles each, and then we will fly on Southwest from Las Vegas to Dallas. With our 10% mile rebate with our credit cards, this trip cost us 181,250 AA miles.

    We are planning to spend 3 nights in Waikiki. I have miles on Korean Air that will get us one free night at a hotel there, and we are planning on staying on points for 2 nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. My husband already signed up for the Citi Hhonors card that gives 2 free weekend nights, and I will sign up for that card later this year (we have to have 2 rooms since the hotel won’t let us fit 5 in one standard room).

    The remaining 4 nights we are hoping to stay at Disney’s Aulani. We are going to offset some of that expense with cashback travel credit cards. My husband already has the Barclay Arrival card, and I plan on getting it later this year. We will also look to see if Capital One offers another high sign-up bonus again.

    We would never book this trip without these free airline tickets, since airfare from Dallas to Hawaii runs about $700-$1000 per ticket. Thanks for your help!

    • Shoesinks, that’s wonderful! Congratulations, I am thrilled that you were able to pull it off. Getting 5 people to Hawaii is no small task, that’s for sure. I am happy that my advice was helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact me about other travel goals. I love a good challenge!

  6. Hi, what a great website! I am seeking advice on what credit card is best for my family of 2 (soon to be 3) and our typical purchase habits. We dine out quite a bit, fly and rent a car 2-4 times per year, and stay at hotels several times per year. We aren’t necessarily loyal to any airline, car company, or hotel chain – so my goal is to figure out how to start cashing in on all our spending w/o sacrificing flexibility. If I had to choose a hotel chain I’d say Starwood would be preferred and where we stay most often. I should also point out that while we’re pretty good about finding deals when we need to, we aren’t great about chasing deals so we’d want a card that’s pretty low-maintenance and consistent, and easy to redeem/use the rewards. Ideally a low APR or a balance-transfer for points would be great – but if not that’s ok. I’ve been looking at the Chase Sapphire and Chase Freedom but am not convinced about cards that have an annual fee. I appreciate your help! -Alanna

    • Alanna, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! I have actually put a list together on best long-term cards for a family, which may be helpful http://milesforfamily.com/2013/07/08/the-best-keeper-credit-cards-for-family-right-now/
      I would say, not knowing what your yearly spending level is, my recommendation would be to get Amex EveryDay Preferred and US Bank Cash Plus (or Chase Freedom). IMO it’s the best combo for collecting flexible rewards, mostly due to ability of transfer to different mileage programs, though Starwood ratio is poor.
      Chase Sapphire Preferred / Freedom combo can be good if you are mostly after United Mileage Plus and Amtrak points. The post I have referenced, provides links to more articles and should give you a good idea on what is available. I’m sorry, my website looks so primitive, I’m bad at IT!
      That said, the best thing in terms of collecting rewards, is to go after sign-up bonuses. You can learn more on that in my “Beginner’s guide.” Let me know if you have any more questions.

  7. I am looking into making a few applications soon, before the summer starts and would appreciate your recommendations. I will be moving this summer and foresee lots of (chargeable) expenses and hotel stays with my family of six. I am planning to apply for the Chase Ink, but would also like to add a couple of other applications to build points/status and build the points piggybank for when the opportunity arises to travel. I hesitate to apply for IHG as I’d like to save the free nights given for when I have a specific destination planned that would be worth using they;re application offer, but maybe that’s a foolish idea, since I don’t know when that will happen. My wife and I both have the Chase SouthWest business and personal cards, and have achieved companion status, but that’s as far as we’ve dabbled into the hobby. Only one of us will be doing the mini app-o-rama. I enjoy reading your blog daily, including your rants, so let ’em fly once in a while. I appreciate your feedback! Thanks

    • SKS, thanks for your kind words and for enjoying my rants! I did include a little one in my yesterday’s post, couldn’t help myself!
      Anyway, Chase Ink is a very good card bonus-wise, so no problem there. I do understand your hesitation about IHG card, but recommend, you get it anyway (pays me no commission). I got one without any specific hotel plans because it’s that good of an offer. You mentioned that you’ll have lots of hotel stays coming up, and perhaps there will be PointBreaks one for only 5,000 points, that will match your plans. You can also get upgrades to suites with Platinum status, which would make it more comfortable for your family, even if you only have 3 per room. Plus, you may get a free breakfast occasionally, depending on a hotel.
      Now, on to Barclay’s bank. You may want to read my today’s post on the matter and decide for yourself. I recommend my readers get US Airways Mastercard. However, if you decide to pass, Arrival would be my next pick. You could use it for any hotel brand expenses. Both of those pay me commission.
      My pick for US Bank would be Club Carlson Visa (pays no commission). Once again, it may come in handy for your hotel stays, especially for 2-night stays. There are many Country Inn hotels around US, and quite a few cost 15000 points, so the sign-up bonus could go a long way.
      From CITI bank, you could look into CITI Premier Thank You card (pays commission) or perhaps CITI AAdvantage Visa (no commission). Once again, it will depend on your goals. You can take a look at my “Best deals” list for more and decide for yourself.
      Bottom line
      If you are not interested in miles and are looking for ways to cover hotel and moving costs, you may want to get US Bank Club Carlson Visa (apply first), Arrival, Chase IHG, Chase Ink and possibly CITI Thank You Premier card. It depends on what your spending level is, so you may want to cut 1 or 2 cards from the list. Between Club Carlson and IHG card, you could get quite a few hotel nights. IHG has a very good coverage, so you should find one nearby wherever you go. Hope it helps and contact me with any other questions.

    • SKS, just wanted to give you heads up on Chase INK. It looks like the offer is temporarily increased to 60,000 points. Not sure how long it will last, though probably will be around for at least few weeks. It does pay me commission when you apply through my site, though as always, it’s not expected on my side. Just wanted to let you know, so you can get the best offer, as some websites may not be updated yet.

  8. I am looking to take my family of 5 ( 11yr old girl, and 8yr son and 1 year old) to a vacation this coming MLK weekend in January. We are looking to go somewhere warm from the NYC area. Do you have any suggestions for a family vacation spot where the weather will be WARM? I’m nervous about going to a place like atlantis where the temperature can be in the 60-70 range.

    Do you have any suggestions of where to go? I’m looking to start planning now so i can use miles if possible. I have a very good intrinsic monthly spend with a strong credit rating.

    Thanks!!!!

    • Adam, thanks for stopping by! If you are looking for warm and easily accessible destination, my advice is to go to Caribbean. Perhaps, look into Jamaica or Grand Cayman. You can fly there from NYC on American or other carriers, like Jet Blue or Southwest (with connection). With the last one, you may have to book connecting flights separately to Atlanta or Baltimore.
      I would advise, you stick with Southwest card (50,000 points offer available now), because you are guaranteed to use your points, and it would be tough to find 5 award seats through traditional programs.
      The hotel part would be a bit more tricky. I mentioned Jamaica because Both Hyatt and IHG have all-inclusive resorts on the island. Hyatt will let you have up to 4 people in the room with Hyatt certificates that come with Chase Hyatt Visa sign-up bonus. IHG has Holiday Inn Sunspree resort, that costs 35,000 points per night for up to 4 people (all-inclusive). So, you would have to get 2 rooms, but with 5 people it probably would make the most sense anyway. You could get Chase IHG Visa with 80,000 points in yours and your spouse’s name. You could also buy some points through Daily Getaways, going on now.
      I hope, it helps! All the bonuses I mentioned are listed in my “Best credit card deals for family” page, so you can read more on it. There is a link to hotel cards from the main page. Let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help.

  9. I read where you may score an upgrade by giving the gate agent some chocolates. My question, is the gate agent the people you check in first or the counter right before you board the plane?

    • @Hilde H I’ve never heard of that, learn something new every day! The agent they refer to is the person at the counter before you board the plane. I’m not sure if this works all that often, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

  10. Hi–I was wondering if you have any knowledge or guesses if the Southwest cards will be offered at 50,000 bonus miles again before the end of the year? My husband already has the $99 version, and we’ve been charging on it but he needs about 50,000 more miles before the end of the year to earn a companion pass. We were hoping the $69 version would come out soon so that he could apply for that and knock off those points. Any guesses? Thanks.

    • Hi, BB! I checked and unfortunately, my affiliate link doesn’t come with any sign-up bonus. Thank you for thinking of my blog, I really appreciate it. This is a pretty good offer for Discover card, so if you’ve been thinking about applying, now is the time. They have never raised the sign-up bonus above $150, not to my knowledge. I will update my links, thanks!

  11. My husband and I are hoping to fly to Frankfurt in October leaving out of Chicago. Since it seems that most flights route through London, I was hoping to stop for 3 nights before continuing to Frankfurt. I have sufficient AA miles and enough Chase points to cover the flight. Which airline will allow me the stop over in London? I also have a stash of IHG points which I hope would cover the hotel or the Chase Points for Hyatt hotels etc. can you recommend a hotel? any assistance is greatly appreciated.

    • @Hilde The only airline that allows stopovers on award tickets is currently United Mileage Plus program. The ticket has to be roundtrip. Not sure how many Chase points you have, but it could be an option, since they transfer 1:1 to United miles. Award ticket should run 60K miles per person, no surcharges, and involve Lufthansa flights. You would have to pick “multiple destinations” and feed one route at a time. You can also call United, and the agent can do it, but you will pay $25 per person. It could be worth it, though.

      Using AA miles isn’t ideal. They don’t allow stopovers anymore. Plus, if you use British Airways (a partner), you’ll pay huge surcharges. If you want to try to fly roundtrip on AA metal to London, it would cost 40K AA miles after October 15th (36K if you have Citi AA card). You can then book a separate ticket on Ryanair to Frankfurt. It shouldn’t cost that much.

      As far as London hotels go, I haven’t personally stayed in one, but I have put together a list here http://milesforfamily.com/2014/11/19/hotel-points-for-your-family-trip-to-europe-london-edition/ There is a Crowne Plaza London City that looks nice.
      Not sure how many people you’ll have with you. You may want to do a search on ihg.com and see what comes up. I am not familiar with Hyatt options, sorry. There are a few, but they seem expensive on points. I would pass on Hyatt, to be honest, and would use IHG program instead. Email me if you need further help, it’s no problem at all.

  12. Just booked my flight St. Louis – Frankfurt- St Louis with a 3 night stopover in London. using UNITED Miles;
    Do I remember correctly, that I can change my flight DATES without a charge as long as it is the same destination? I am asking this because the return flight I found was one day later than I anticipated to be gone. Will check periodically in hopes that my “perfect” date becomes avail.

  13. HI Leana,
    I just read todays post and I noticed that your brother in law gave you his United miles. I’ve looked at the United site and it appears that you have to pay a hefty fee to transfer miles from one account to another. How did you get the miles without breaking the bank to do so. I want to make a trade with my brother in law for some United miles for a trip to South Africa. Thanks for all the great travel information and ideas for saving cash.
    Hank

    • @Hank Thanks for reading my blog! What I meant by my comment is that I’ll be able to use the miles for my parents. I didn’t actually transfer them, they’ll stay in my brother-in-law’s account. However, the ticket can be issued in anyone’s name, not just his.
      So, you don’t really need to transfer anything. If your brother has enough in his account, he can issue the ticket for you. Sorry for making my post confusing.

  14. Any advice on keep versus cancel credit cards? I’m at the decision point for my Chase Rapid Rewards cards. My wife and I both got the business and personal premier cards (for a total of four cards) almost a year ago.

  15. I wanted to reach out to you about visiting Cape Canaveral since you have taken quite a few trips around Florida. It is my dream to see a rocket launch and there will be one on June 26. It is 6 of us travelling with Southwest from Dayton (two companion passes… yay!!!). I have plenty of Club Carlson point so I was thinking of reserving the Country Inn at Port Canaveral. Have you been there?
    And the second question is: what is the cheapest way of getting tickets to visit the Kennedy Space Center? Do I have to purchase them in advance? Thank you very much.

    • @Sebas I’ll be happy to help! Congrats on making this trip a reality. First, as far as discount tickets go, the best I’ve found is $5 off at this website http://www.reserveorlando.com/da/kennedy-space-center-visitor-complex?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Attractions&utm_content=KSC&rdid=ro4786
      You may also check with AAA, http://www.retailmenot.com etc. for promotions. I actually bought my tickets on Ebay a few years ago, but it’s risky. Also, some of these discount tickets may not be valid on launch day, so check fine print.
      As far as Country Inn goes, unfortunately, I haven’t stayed in that particular property. However, the reviews look great. I certainly would not hesitate to choose it, especially if you have a ton of Club Carlson points. I think much of the criticism of that brand is overblown. I had a great experience with their hotels so far.
      You may also look into Radisson Melbourne Oceanfront hotel. It would mean 1 hour drive to Kennedy Space center, but all rooms are oceanfront and it would give your kids a place to play in the sand. Their regular suites fit 4. However, I called them and the manager said that you can reserve the room on points and upgrade for $30 to 1-bedroom suite that fits 6. It comes with bunk beds, king bed and queen sleeper sofa, so may not be the best fit for your needs. It’s just a thought, though.
      Last thing… I almost hesitate to say it, but here it goes. Launches can get cancelled in the summer due to weather. Don’t get your heart set on it. In all likelihood, it will be just fine, but even if it doesn’t materialize, please, try to have fun anyway! Reach out to me with any other questions. I’m not a specialist on that particular area, but will try to help.

  16. How can I book a room using MY points for my son and daughter in law to use. I am looking at Hyatt, or Holiday inn, May have to go to Mariott.
    Hyatt shows no avail for the dates we need. but I remember seeing a site that tracks when avail come open. do you know the address?

    • Hilde H, I believe the tool you are thinking of is Hotel Hustle on Wandering Aramean blog. I can’t seem to paste and copy the address, so just Google it. As far as Hyatt award availability goes, they are supposed to offer it as long as standard rooms are available for sale. you may want to call and see if the agent can help you with booking. Good luck!

    • Hilde H, forgot to add: You can usually book award rooms for others by adding them as an additional guest. you may want to call the hotel and notify them, but I’ve never had a problem except with Choice which required the guest to be my immediate relative. Other programs don’t have that stipulation. Usually you can add an additional guest online, but sometimes you may need to call.

  17. Thank you VERY much. It is indeed hotelhustle.com and I found a Hyatt for them for 5,000 points per night. This is a big help.

  18. Hi! I want to plan a trip to Europe next year, and I know you recently went to Europe. It’s just me and my husband, we are from Orlando fl. I want to see if you had any advice on the best airlines to travel cheap or one I can get reward miles to travel from here to Europe?

    • @Megan Hi! A fellow Floridian, yay! You have several options. If you value flexibility, you might want to stick to flexible points. Look in my page “Best credit card deals for family” as a point of reference. Amex Premier Rewards Gold is a good card, but only if you can get 50,000 points offer to come up. There is a link to CardMatch tool right there, so you can check. The points transfer to Avios (British Airways program). You can fly from Orlando to Dublin non-stop for 25,000 miles one-way on Aer Lingus. Right now, the fuel surcharges are very small, but that could change. That’s why having flexible points will give you a measure of protection.
      You can also consider getting Chase Sapphire Preferred. The points transfer to Avios as well, and also United. That said, it costs 30,000 miles one-way via United mileage program. Another option is Virgin Atlantic. It costs 22,500 miles one-way from Orlando to London in economy, plus $130 per person. That’s not bad. You can obtain miles via transfer from both Gold and Sapphire Preferred cards.
      I really think Avios might be your best bet at the moment. You can connect from Dublin to the rest of Europe cheaply via http://www.ryanair.com So, I think, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Premier Rewards Gold are the best options. If you can get 50K offer on Gold to show up, I would consider it. Plus, the spending requirement is very low at $1,000 in 3 months. If you meet the spending quickly, you can transfer the points to Avios. In October, the transfer ratio will be cut from 1000:1000, to 1000 MR points : 800 Avios.
      Other paid options to consider are http://www.icelandair.com and http://www.norwegian.com They frequently have discount fares to Europe and fly non-stop from Orlando to certain airports in Europe. For those, you would need to get Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture Rewards. The points are redeemable for travel expenses. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to email me as well.

  19. Is there a listing of IHG hotels by category, ie how many points are required for a stay. I am trying to determine if I should participate in the accelerate challenge. How can I find cheap hotels for IHG. Don’t want to spend $900.00 for 6 nights to earn 50,000 points when I could buy them cheaper.

  20. Hi there,

    I wanted to plan a trip to Dubai next year and India the following. I have family there. I just got the Alaska Signature card and the SPG. Which credit card would help me build miles? I am an infrequent flyer. Thank you!

    • @Sameera Hi! I’ll be happy to make some suggestions. First, I recommend this post for some pricing comparison to India and Middle East http://travelisfree.com/2015/03/04/cheapest-miles-to-india-the-middle-east/ In general, I advise you focus on programs that don’t pass on fuel surcharges, which is United and American (except British Airways flights). Delta will be changing its award program soon, so I would avoid it.

      An interesting quirk of AA program is that if you fly off-peak (October 15th-May15th), it’s cheaper to combine your trip to India/Middle East with a stopover in Europe. It’s 20K miles one-way to Europe, and another 20K miles to India/Middle East. Definitely makes sense to combine them if you have the time. So, I would say, for now, it makes sense for you to focus on AAdvantage credit cards. You’ll have SPG points that transfer to AA, and Alaska is American partner, so you can mix and match awards. Look in my page “Best credit card deals for family” where you can find a link to Flyetalk thread. There you will see non-affiliate links for 50K miles offer on Citi AA card.
      After some time goes by, you may want to focus on United miles earning cards, Chase United Mileage Plus Visa and cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (points transfer to United) .

  21. Hi there,

    I have just started following your blog and would love your advice on my situation.

    — I have a platinum amex corporate card and I just got a SPG card accepted.
    — I am planning to apply for amex everday no fee card so I can leverage the membership miles.
    — we are below average spenders. which card or cards would you suggest for my case.

    Your blog is just awesome for the average family getting into rewards.

    Thanks

    • @Varun Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! Actually, this is a good time for you to consider applying for Amex Everyday card. There is a non-affiliate offer that comes with 25K points. Read this post for more info and application links http://milesforfamily.com/2015/09/10/amex-spg-blue-cash-or-everyday-card/
      I don’t know how your spending breaks down, but most low spenders should look into Amex Everyday Preferred (you should be able to upgrade your Amex Everyday to the premium version), Amex Blue Cash Preferred, Sallie Mae Barclaycard, Citi Double Cash or Fidelity Amex. In all likelihood, one of those cards will be a good fit. I recommend you check out my page “Free consulting service” There is a link there to a post that lists all the best long-term cards for low-spenders.
      If you still have questions, feel free to email me with a breakdown of your spending. I’ll be happy to help, though, I’m going away for a weekend, so it could take me a few days to respond.
      I hope this helps!

      • Thanks. I really appreciate your help.
        I am getting the same 15k points with the no fee amex everday card. I have a few follow up questions for you.
        –Do you think it makes sense to upgrade the card?
        –Also do you think I should churn the SPG card when the fee kicks in?
        — for your personal daily spending what cards to you use?
        — If there was just one card you could keep, which one would it be? why?

        Have a great weekend!!

      • @Varun No problem, please, contact me anytime. Now, to answer your questions:
        1. It could make sense to upgrade it, but it does depend on how much you put on cards per year. If most of your spending goes toward new bonuses, then you have to think long and hard about that annual fee. Read my post comparing the two http://milesforfamily.com/2014/03/05/the-king-is-dead-long-live-the-king/
        2. You can only get sign-up bonus on the personal version of Amex SPG once per lifetime. You can get it again on the business version as long as you haven’t had the card in the last 12 months. Personally, I think Amex SPG is overrated when it comes to low spenders. I recommend you read this post if you haven’t already http://milesforfamily.com/2015/08/13/is-amex-spg-still-worth-renewing/
        3. Hmm, most of my spending goes towards new bonuses, but I do try to utilize 5% categories on Chase Freedom (when I can remember).
        4. Probably Amex Everyday Preferred. I would get one in mine and my husband’s names. That way, I could take advantage of 4.5 points per dollar on grocery purchases by buying 2 Visa gift cards per month. You get that return on up to $6,000 per year, per account. I usually shop at Walmart, but even with 1% fee, it would be worth it to get the points. Of course, as I said, right now, most of my spending goes towards new cards, so I’m very picky about annual fees. That’s why I still don’t have Amex Everyday Preferred. It is IMO the best card for middle-class families who like to travel and only get a few new bonuses per year.

  22. I just checked my SPG points statement and I noticed that several times there are entries for Elite Qualifying stays and Elite Qualifying nights. What is that about and can I do something with it?
    I have not stayed in one of their hotels. Usually use IHG or Hyatt.

  23. It’s me again. AIR, Land and Sea has a blog about using Amtrak on a trip across the USA which sounds interesting. I do NOT currently have an Amtrak member account. Do you know if I have to establish an account, transfer some points from Chase before I can see what is avail. and how many points I may need?
    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

  24. It’s ,me again. I did book my AMTRAK trip Chicago – Vancouver/ Vancouver – Denver via Sacramento in June. Now I am plannining my trip back to Germany. We have been stopping off somewhere on the way to Frankfurt. To my amazement my husband agreed to Paris. Did I see a post by you about Paris? Any suggestions/help is appreciated.

  25. @Hilde Hi! Nicely done on Amtrak redemption. Sounds like it’s going to be an epic trip, for sure.
    On Paris, I wrote a post, but it’s a bit outdated http://milesforfamily.com/2014/10/01/hotel-points-options-for-your-family-trip-to-europe-paris-edition/ Plus, it mostly focused on rooms that would fit four. If it’s just two of you, you have all kinds of options. I haven’t been to Paris, so can’t give any first-hand recommendations. Contact Dia at http://www.thedealmommy.com She knows that area quite well. Perhaps, consider Hyatt Vendome. I poke fun at it now and again, but it’s a great redemption for just 2 or 3 people when you sign up for Chase Hyatt Visa (comes with 2 free nights). If you get it in both of your names, you will have 4 nights in Paris.

    • @Mr.S Thank you so much for thinking about my blog! It means a ton to me, I promise. Yes, I do make commission on Citi Thank You Premier. You would have to find it by going via this link http://www.creditcards.com/reward.php?aid=4429d0b5&bid=b71158bb371bd225 At the top of the page, click “Card type”, then select “Citi” When you scroll down, Premier card will show up, so go ahead and click on it. As long as you don’t click out of that page, my affiliate ID should register. I know it’s a rigamarole to deal with, and I appreciate that you are willing to do extra work to find it. I just saw that the bonus will be changing. I don’t know any details, Citi does not communicate with me directly. Good luck with your app. Thank you so much, and feel free to reach out with any questions!

  26. My wife was just accepted for the Southwest Premier card from Chase. She has had 3-4 new cards this past year. We are really trying to get her the Southwest Companion Pass so that she can take one of our children with her when she goes to see her mother 3-4 times a year. (Context: Her mother’s husband recently died, so we want her to be with her mother rather frequently.) Should she apply for the Southwest Business Premier card? She is self-employed out of the home, so I don’t even know if that counts as a business (for business CC purposes). Any ideas? Should she wait to apply – in light of Chase’s new policies? Any thoughts are appreciated! Thank you for what you do!

    • @M First, I’m very sorry about your mother-in-law’s situation. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for her, and I totally understand why your wife wants to visit often. She is a good daughter. Yes, I do think it’s prudent to at least try to get a business Southwest card. Here is a non-affiliate link https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PremierBizR?CELL=PNG/ As long as she has a legitimate business, it doesn’t matter whether it’s from home or not. She can use her SSN instead of EIN. The app may go to pending, I recommend she waits it out because many times it will get approved on its own. If declined, then tell her to call. Chase is getting very picky on approvals. I do think this is the best course of action and the easiest way to get a Companion pass.
      Hope it helps. Email me if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you so much for the advice. BTW, when you speak of emailing you, are you referring to this thread or something else?

    • @Hilde First, thanks for your willingness to support the site! I do make commission on this offer. The bonus is currently increased, so it’s definitely a good time to consider it. But, and this is the key, I would apply for it only if you have definite plans for Marriott points. This offer will almost certainly come back in the future. Think carefully if perhaps there is another card that may suit your plans better at this time. I suggest you take a look at Marriott properties as well as other chains, plus sites like VRBO. Maybe a different card will make more sense. Feel free to ask additional questions.

  27. Since the site says: CreditCards.com, I was not sure that you would benefit from it. I am still on the fence with this. I like IHG properties and Hyatt. got both cards and Hyatt seems to be a good transfer value from Chase UR. Would NOT transfer UR to IHG, too expensive.

      • do you find availability for reward nights good at Marriott? how do the Tiers work. I looked at the Categories and there are Saver nights. how do they work? It is almost “painful” to spend $15,000.00 on insurance between my husband and I and NOT use it to satisfy min, spending. Unfortunately, our insurance co does NOT accept any American Express cards.

    • @Hilde Marriott properties do have blackout dates, unfortunately. So, advance planning is key. This chain has good coverage, so if you book way ahead, you should be able to find something. You probably saw this tier breakdown with corresponding properties https://www.marriott.com/rewards/pointsGridPopUp.mi?awardType=Standard&category= Just select the category at the top right hand corner, and you will see the properties listing. Keep in mind, their nice hotels can be quite expensive. They do have promos where some hotels are discounted on points (“saver”), but it’s impossible to know which one will be on the list when you need to redeem the points.
      Overall, this is a good offer IF it happens to match your plans. As far as not being able to use Amex cards for payments, are you by any chance able to buy Visa gift cards in CVS with a credit card? That’s one possible workaround. Then just use Visa cards for insurance payments. Overall, I agree, it’s nice to leverage such a big bill for minimum spending. Takes the sting out somewhat! 🙂 I recommend you look at various offers on my page of best deals. If Marriott offer is still calling your name, go for it. Keep in mind, it will almost certainly come back.

  28. Does Hilton have a transfer partner or can you only get points from their co branded credit card or purchasing points from Hilton?

    • @Hilde Hilton points transfer from Amex Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You program (if you have Citi Prestige or Citi Thank You Premier), usually on 1.5:1 basis. Occasionally, Citi runs promos where you can get 2 Hilton points per each 1 Thank You point. It’s not the best value, but could work in certain situations. I actually transferred Citi points to HHonors program a for category 1 redemption (5,000 Hilton points).

    • @Hilde Thank you so much for thinking about supporting my blog! Unfortunately, I don’t see this card listed on my affiliate network right now. It may get added later on, but I don’t know one way or another. If you need to apply, feel free to use this direct link https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/freedom-unlimited I plan to mention this card in my weekly roundup. Keep in mind, it is subject to 5/24 rule, but some have been successful at applying over the phone. Of course, if you don’t get that many offers each year, the rule doesn’t affect you anyway.

    • @Hilde I’m not sure if you are still planning on applying for Chase Freedom Unlimited, but it looks like it’s just been added to my affiliate network. No pressure or anything, just thought I would mention it.

  29. I was trying to apply for the AMERICAN EXPRESS Hilton Honors card / no annual fee.
    I clicked your link. It wants me to log in and enter a card number. What am I doing wrong.
    Can you please guide me through this?
    As always, THANKS

    • @Hilde First, thank you so much! I checked and it is weird how Amex set up the application. If you have another Amex card, simply log in to your profile, and it will pull your information. I think the idea is to make it simpler for consumer. Then it will give you an option to apply for Hilton card. It is very strange, indeed. Try it and let me know if it works. If you don’t have another Amex card, you may need to create a profile before applying.

      • you were correct. After I logged in, it showed some of my info. I was approved. So glad I was able to support your blog.

    • @Hilde I really appreciate the support! Thank you so much, and thanks for reading my blog from the start. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

  30. Hello,

    I have accumulated just over 300k chase ultimate reward points, I would love to take my family (3 of us) to Europe, but don’t know the best route to go what would you recommend?

    • @Jose Thanks for stopping by! With that amount of UR points you have quite a few options. Not sure if you saw my recent post that deals with this topic //milesforfamily.com/2016/04/24/case-study-getting-5-award-tickets-to-europe-via-multitude-of-programs/ The situation is a bit different, but principles still apply. With 300K in points you can splurge on business class one-way if that’s something you want to do. The easiest option by far is United. It costs 30K miles one way in economy, 57.5K miles in business on United flights. BUsiness flights on partners are higher at 70K miles. UR points transfer instantly to United 1:1. You could save miles by going through Singapore program, but transfers are not instant. Check my post for more info on this option. Also, watch out for fuel surcharges.
      Of course, it does depend on where you live. Avios or even Korean Air (partners with Delta) may work better. Virgin Atlantic is also worth considering. Like I said, read my post and if you have any additional questions, comment here or email me. Hope this helps!

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  32. I have 140,000 membership rewards points w amex platinum. How can I keep these miles as membership rewards without having to pay $450 annual fee to keep these miles? Is there another no annual fee card I can sign up with to transfer these points to?

    • @Harold I actually had a reader ask the same question, see this post //milesforfamily.com/2016/04/06/should-you-apply-for-amex-everyday-card-in-order-to-keep-you-membership-rewards-points-intact/
      Basically, your best bet it to sign up for Amex Everyday that has no annual fee. But it does depend on what kind of an offer you will be able to pull up. Try different browsers. Good luck!

  33. Good morning: it’s me again with another question. My son, his wife and 2 small children 2&5, will be “homeless” for a week due to the closing on their house one week before the closing on the NEW house. I want to offer to put them up in the Hyatt near their new home. Can I just register my son on the reservation or do I need to register under my name adding him as a second guest like you do with Holiday Inn?

    • @Hilde Hi! It’s always nice to hear from you. Honestly, I’m not sure. I believe Hyatt will let you use your points to book a room in someone else’s name. I would call and ask them. The rep should be able to take care of it one way or the other. You can also try to make reservation online and see if it lets you put his name as the main guest.

  34. Any idea when the new point break hotel list will be out? Have a trip to Tucson end of August I am hoping to be able to use my points for.

    • @HML It will most likely be out in a few weeks or so. It’s hard to say with IHG, but the current list is valid till the end of July, so this is the most likely scenario. So, you should be OK in case something in Tucson pops up.

  35. Hi,

    I got a rejection on the CSR application. I went ahead and applied for the IHG chase card. I was wondering if i should upgrade my sapphire preffered to reserve? will i still be eligible for the bonus? Thanks

    • @Varun Sorry to hear it! You might want to stop by Chase branch and see if you are pre-approved for CSR. Many have reported success when applying that way.
      As far as converting CSP to CSR, it should be possible, but I doubt you’ll get the sign-up bonus. It doesn’t hurt to ask, of course, but it’s very unlikely. Whether it’s worth it to convert, only you can decide. I would wait till the end of the year. That way, you’ll be able to get $300 travel credit for 2016 right away.

      • Thanks. I really appreciate all that you do.

        I will try an upgrade later this year. I have the citi prestige which I will downgrade.
        Apart from IHG chase what other cards do you recommend to you relatives? aka No -brainers..

    • @Varun Thank you for your kind words! As far as “no-brainer” cards go, that’s a tough one. Everyone has different needs, so it’s hard to say. I recommend looking at this page where I usually list the best current offers https://milesforfamily.com/best-credit-card-deals-for-family/
      I’m not sure if you saw my last post, but the bonus on FlexPerks card right now is pretty lucrative https://milesforfamily.com/2016/08/23/us-bank-flexperks-visa-underrated-bonus-summer/
      Another “no-brainer” on that list is probably Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. It’s straight $400 rebate against travel expenses, no need to worry about seat availability etc. So, I would say those two cards are fairly easy to recommend to everyone. If you want to email me and let me know what your goals are, I can tailor my advice according to your upcoming plans.
      P.S. My assumption was that you aren’t able to sign up for any Chase cards at the moment.

  36. Good morning: have not seen one of your posts for about 3 weeks. Hope all is OK.
    I registered for the IHG Accelerate promotion. Now I cannot find the link to check on my offer. I wanted to check to see that my stay the other day is counted for my Stay in September challenge. I was also trying to register for the 1,000 miles on your birthday. Apparently Dr of Credit mentioned it, but I cannot find that link either. As always, THANKS for your Assistance

  37. Leana or Nancy — Could you do a quick write up of the cards you currently have (including hubby’s) and which ones you may cancel or keep? Also, what makes you sign up for a new card? A destination or just to have the miles/points? Which cards do you plan on signing up for next? Do you sign up for business cards? Since I don’t do MS, it takes me almost the 3 months to meet the $4,000 spending on some of these cards. Thanks!!!

    • @Stephanie I’ll try to do a write-up on it next week. Short version: I don’t sign up for business cards and renew very few personal cards. My “keepers” are Chase IHG cards in both mine and my husband’s names and Club Carlson card (I did cancel my husband’s). Those are the only ones I renew because I’m very cheap. I try to look for the best sign-up bonus deal, but take into account my plans within the next few years. I very much dislike hoarding, so cash is always preferable to points. But CSR is an exception, of course. Stay tuned for more.

  38. HI Stefanie–I have a recent post that talks about the cards me and my husband have right now and ones we might get in the near future: https://milesforfamily.com/2016/09/05/whats-wallet-planning-2018-travel/

    Right now, we’re focusing on cards that will help us get to Hawaii in 2018. I can say that we will probably keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve card going forward because it is our lifeline to Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

    I haven’t signed up for a business card in a few years. We are still working on meeting the minimum spend on the CSR and both Flexperks cards right now, so the soonest we can get a new card is Nov/Dec.

    I hope that helps!

  39. I’m mainly asking because I just realized that my Chase Sapphire Preferred will be coming up for annual renewal and I now have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. My hubby is an authorized user on my CSP (and has been using that since we cancelled his CSP as we didn’t need 2), and I’ve been using the CSR on everything for now. I’m assuming it would be worthwhile to keep the CSR in the long run (better travel insurance, travel credits, priority lounge – highly doubt we’ll get to use it anytime soon though). If I do cancel the CSP, can I transfer my UR points to the CSR? or do I need to move them to my Freedom card 1st?

    • @Stephanie I would absolutely cancel Chase Sapphire Preferred or downgrade it to Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited. You don’t need to pay annual fees on both CSP and CSR because benefits are very similar. CSR is a better deal for most folks who like to earn UR points via everyday spending.

      Basically, once you take advantage of $300 airline credit, the net cost is $150. You get lounge access and all kinds of other benefits, not to mention, the ability to get 1.5 cents per UR point on travel purchases. So, for now, I would cancel or downgrade CSP. Next year, you can always downgrade CSR to CSP if you decide it’s a better option in the long run. And yes, you can transfer your UR points from CSP to CSR.

      If you choose to downgrade CSP to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, you don’t have to transfer them. You can always do that later because your points will be safe and you can combine them for free. As far as having your husband as an authorized user, you can request an extra CSR card instead. If you add him, there is a fee, but there is no charge for extra card, though, it will have your name on it. Hope it makes sense. Email or comment here if you have other questions.

  40. I now have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and have 120k points. I am looking to book flight for my family of 5 to Hawaii with stopover in LA or SFO. My question is what is the best way to use these point for my benefit since i am very very new to points. Also how does it work with mile with Infants. I have a 1 month old who will be three month by the time we travel.
    P.s Great website!

    • @Manny Thnaks for stopping by and for complimenting my site! I believe your best option is booking Delta award flights through Korean Skypass program. It is very cumbersome, but could be worth it. UR points transfer to Korean , and you can put your flights on hold ahead of time. Read this post https://milesforfamily.com/2016/10/04/korean-skypass-vs-air-france-flying-blue-program-family-vacation-hawaii/
      Korean program allows a free stopover, so you may be able to spend one night in LAX as long as there is award availability. Your infant should fly for free, no seat required. If you want to try to book it anyway, you’ll have to accumulate another 5K UR points. That way you’ll have enough for five tickets. Hope this makes sense. Feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

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  42. Hello Leana, I booked a trip to Thailand with Gate 1. Paid 75% down with my Sapphire. Do I remember correctly, the travel benefits for the Sapphire card only apply if I pay 100% with Sapphire. They are offering a 5% discount for paying by check.

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  44. Hi! I was wondering if you have any update on your Amex Clawback situation. I just noticed 75k missing due to an ‘adjustment’. Would love to hear more about the outcome.

    • @Ramzi Sorry to hear about your clawback! I’m still working on it, but it’s been a huge headache. I do plan to write an update once things are settled, but I prefer to keep it off the blog for now. Short version: I got a lawyer who has been helping me. I wish I did this to begin with. Amex has refused to reinstate the points, so we are in the process of filing an arbitration claim. That’s the gist of it. I will let you know how things turn out.

  45. I have a 7 night marriott cert thanks to cashing in 270k points for a companion pass. We are trying to pick a hotel for a Florida beach getaway this Nov. Any suggestions? Kids will be 3.5 and 6 by then. We did clearwater in Nov 2016 and loved it but want to try something new. My wife just picked up an spg card so we will have an extra 40k spg / 120k marriott points to upgrade the cert if we need to. Thanks for the help.

    • @Jeremy Thanks for stopping by! I will be happy to make some suggestions. First of all, November is a slow season in Florida. Personally, I wouldn’t upgrade to a more expensive package, but it’s up to you. Consider saving your SPG points for something else.

      If you want to try to stick to a hotel near a beach, I believe your only cat. 5 option in Florida is Courtyard St. Augustine. See TripAdvisor reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34600-d8774775-Reviews-Courtyard_St_Augustine_Beach-Saint_Augustine_Beach_Saint_Augustine_Florida.html

      Technically, it’s not right on the beach, but a short walk away. To me, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but if you insist on a beachfront property, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I love St. Augustine and the surrounding area. There is a lot to do for families. Check my short trip report https://milesforfamily.com/2015/02/25/you-know-you-are-a-cheapskate-when/ So, you would have the best of both worlds: a beach and lots of history nearby. To me it looks like a winner, but only you can decide if it’s the right fit. Be aware, breakfast isn’t included.

      As far as other suggestions go, you will have plenty beachfront choices near Fort Lauderdale. But they all cost 35-40K points per night. My favorite part of Florida is Sanibel island, but there are no Marriott hotels there. There is a Marriott Harbour Resort and Spa, but it’s not a beachfront property. You can’t swim in the bay, lots of sharks. See more details here: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/rswsb-sanibel-harbour-marriott-resort-and-spa/ It does cost 40K points per night, though.
      It’s hard for me to make a recommendation since I don’t know what you like. But I hope the above info was somewhat helpful. Feel free to email me with specific questions on Florida, and maybe I can recommend something else.

  46. Leana, Amex finally released my almost 200k MR points after I emailed CEO Ken Chennault! The back story is I applied for the platinum card that offered 100k for 3k spend around Thanksgiving. As I’ve said before, I don’t manufacture spend. Met the spend around New Years due to Christmas shopping and buying New Year’s Eve tickets to a fancy dinner.

    Fast forward to last week, I filed a cpfb complaint when I saw that my points were still frozen after 8 weeks. Calls to MR were no help.

    Received a response yesterday to my cfpb complaint stating their review was complete and my points were ready for use. I tried to transfer…no dice. Called again, no help.
    Went to flyertalk and found Amex corporate email address. Emailed Mr. Chennault and about 2 hours later, received a call from his assistant stating he had read my email and wanted to help.

    She asked me a few questions, reviewed my account to confirm all spend was organic, then transferred 100,000 points to aeroplan. I can now book our flights to Calgary.

    I cashed out the other 92,000 MR points for $900 in Fairmont gift cards. We are staying at the fairmont Palliser for 3 nights and using my free night certs for 2 nights at Lake Louise. The gift cards will more than pay for our Palliser stay.

    Boy, what a mess, but all in all, I got it done.
    Hope you are just as successful in your fight against Amex.

    • @Natasha That’s terrific news! Squeaky wheel gets the grease, for sure. I doubt I would get much sympathy from Amex president, LOL. I’m still fighting this thing, but the hope is fading away at this point.

  47. I’m sorry to hear that. I know you downgraded the platinum to green and received a partial refund of the annual fee. I plan to keep the platinum and my prg and green until the annual fees hit in October, November 2017 and Jan 2018. If I’m not offered an amazing retention offer, I’m canceling. I do plan to use these cards again but obviously my CSR will be utilized for travel category. I’ll use Amex for every day spending as I do like their consumer friendly stance, despite this debacle. I don’t spend that much on day to day so any points accrued will be minimal in case they attempt to freeze my points again.

    Heck, I may just use my bce and not bother with MR. I don’t know. I’m still waiting on my Barclay card to arrive. Seems like it’s taking forever.

  48. I asked the first csr who said no so I huca and then got a nicer csr who put me through to the supervisor who also said no but then after a few minutes she said yes!!! As a one time courtesy. I recieved the confirmation showing a zero balance. Saved me $1400.00 Canadian!
    It gets better as the hotel also let me use my suite and room upgrade even though they aren’t in my account yet. I have certificates expiring in feb 2018. She said she’d do the upgrade but I would have to pay for it if I don’t have valid certificates when I come. I will gladly pay $95 annual fee for a JUNIOR SUITE LAKEVIEW room!! Wohoo.. I saved over $2500 Canadian as those rooms go for $1200 a night. It’s a stay on a weekend right before Easter.

  49. You get the suite and room certificates as long as you own the card. It also comes with premier status. This card was definitely a good card for my family. I just received the Barclays card to as it came in the mail. Thanks for everything.

  50. Of course you can. Let the readers know it’s ymmv. I think I was very lucky as they said no a few times, but I was persistent. Also let the readers know that contacting the hotel directly allowed me to use the suite and room upgrade certificates even though they weren’t in my account.
    If you call fairmont reservation line directly they will deny you. I asked them many times to use the upgrades and was denied.

  51. True. Very glad to help as you and Nancy have helped me loads. When I apply for the csp, I will go through your link.

    • @Natasha I’m very glad our posts have been helpful! While we appreciate it when readers use our links, it’s not a requirement. Believe me, I’m very happy to make suggestions or give advice with no strings attached. Just remember that I’m not perfect!

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  54. Leana, return flight from Calgary booked on air Canada metal. Direct flight so taxes and fees were higher. All told I spent 100,000 miles plus $150 per person (family of 4) to get to the Canadian Rockies. I put $350.00 of those taxes, surcharges and fees on my Barclay card to erase the charges.

  55. Thank you. United would have had less taxes but when I did the math, it was only $30 more pp for a more convenient flight. I Was also able to book our airport hotel for the night we arrive through the chase portal. Cost me 6,100 UR for the Hilton garden inn Calgary airport. I immediately cancelled my cash booking based on this rate.
    We plan to rent a car to drive to Banff and Lake Louise. Got a standard car through Budget for 2 days for $55 Canadian. Will check the portal once our dates are loaded and autoslash as well.

    • @Natasha Only $30 extra per person for a direct flight? A total no-brainer! Sounds like a terrific trip. I love Lake Louise area and I’m sure you will too.

  56. Hi Leana,
    In July 2018 I have a trip planned, and I’m hoping to use AA miles for airline tickets. I will already have enough AA miles to cover what I need.

    I’ll start looking for availability in late August of this year so I can hopefully grab two seats out of whatever pitiful availability they have before other people get them. Before then, I’d like to be in possession of an AA credit card so that I can get the 10% back in miles (and possibly get a free checked bag on domestic flights?).

    I had Barclay’s US Airways Mastercard which then changed into … oh, what was it called … AAviator? Something like that. I cancelled that in mid-November 2016. What choice does that leave me with? Citi AA? Do you know what their normal sign-up bonus is and whether they ever run higher sign-up bonuses? I’d like to apply for one when I can maximize the sign-up bonus, but I know I just missed a chance about a month ago. Thanks for your advice. I appreciate your time and service to those of us in this hobby.

  57. Once you mentioned about HSBC sending late 1099-INT forms in 2017 for the year 2016. This means that I need to amend my tax returns also. I remember you said something about your sister in law who can do tax amended tax filing for $60 around. Can you send me her contact info so that I can ask her if she can help me with my amended tax return. Thanks

  58. I have 56,777 arrival miles and two things to redeem them on. One charge is $205 for the Hershey lodge and the other is $370 for Disney cruise line. How should I redeem to ensure I use the most miles? Thank you.

    • @Natasha You have enough to cover both charges, factoring in 5% rebate. What you may want to do is make a partial redemption on one (if given the option) The goal is to have 10,000 points left in your account because that’s the minimum required for any future travel redemption.
      So, you can cover $370 purchase completely and then work with the other charge to redeem 12,500 points instead of the full amount. Basically, to get to 10,000 points level, factoring in 5% rebate. Check the math, though, because I’m just giving you an estimate. I’m not sure the website will allow it. If not, just redeem the points for both charges and be done with it.

    • @Natasha Please do! Like I said, you can just cover the charges completely and be done with it. Then, later on convert the card to another product where you can hopefully redeem the points without $100 minimum threshold.

  59. I had a new experience this week, I found a live bedbug on one of the 2 beds in my hotel room. I found it in the crease/ fold of the pillow-top mattress on 1 of the two beds in the room. I had checked 2 corners on 1 bed and 1 corner on the 2nd bed and found this on the 4th corner check. There were dark spots only near the bug, nowhere else. So I am hoping it might have come from the previous guest, instead of an infestation. I did take a short video of the bug just in case they claimed it was not there. I wondered if they might think I planted it, but there were 4 dark spots on the mattress near the bug, and this was discovered and reported in less than 5 minutes of us getting to the room. I put the sheet and comforter back over the bug area and turned off the light, hoping it would still be there when they arrived to see it (that worked). They did send 2 people up to see the bug. While I waited I did a google search and found out this was an adult male bedbug, matched the photos perfectly. It looked like maybe a manager and a maintenance type worker, the worker person did find and captured the bug. The manager looking person never said a word to me. I was moved to a different room. At first they tried to move me 2 rooms away but I insisted I get a room far away from that one. I was very tired and stressed after taking off the sheets from both beds and inspecting all the edges and seams all the way around both beds, and then putting the sheets back on the beds. But felt relieved that I found no evidence of bugs. I was hot, sweaty and agitated, but after about 2 hours I felt better. They did move me to a different room, but the management never said a word about this to us. Maybe that is the policy, but you would think they would have at least apologized and offered some sort of compensation for our inconvenience and stress. My husband answered the phone while I was in the shower and said they just asked if everything was ok with the room and he said yes, and that was it. The room was booked using my husband’s points and he has no status, just Club. I have the IHG credit card so I have Platinum. We were both staying at the hotel together, and I was the one who found the bug and handled the issue with the staff. I did fill out a form with this info to IHG “quality or service concern” web page a few days later. The sad thing is I used to check 2 diagonal corners on each bed, but from now on I will be ripping the sheets off and checking the entire mattress(s) on every hotel stay from now on. It has made me very paranoid since I sure don’t want to bring these home! I do have this same hotel booked in June – still with the points breaks (5K) price under my husband’s account. And I have it booked for July on points breaks price using my account. So I don’t want to “burn my bridges” there. I did write a review through the IHG website and mentioned the bug and was surprised that they actually did publish it.
    Link to my 15 second video of bedbug; https://www.dropbox.com/s/072d7h118bxix30/bedbug%20may%202017.mp4?dl=0

    • @Clyn6 Oh my goodness!!! That’s horrible. I’ve never seen bed bugs, but will be on the lookout from now on. Oh, and I definitely think hotel owes you some sort of compensation. Points, anything! I would complain to IHG headquarters.

      • This was my first bed bug experience. I almost overlooked it, thinking it was maybe some food spilled on the mattress. I did not even realize there was a live bug until it moved! It was very flat so I just thought it was a spot.
        I received a reply from IHG quality concern, they apologized for the issue and gave me 5k points. Seems low, but technically it is the full price for the night since I “paid” 5k a night from points break list.

    • @Clyn6 This is way too low of a compensation! If you brought that bed bug home and it started an infestation, it would end up costing you thousands of dollars. It doesn’t matter what you paid originally, this is not acceptable.
      I would like to publish your comment as a post if you are OK with it (video included)? I think it will be helpful to readers and something to watch out for. It’s probably more common that we all realize. Hotel getaways are fun, but this is the ugly downside.

      • I was mistaken on the 5k IHG pts, that was for the 1 night I cancelled. I emailed corporate and I had mentioned this on another site I follow. That blogger said he forwarded my note to his contact at headquarters. So I have no way to know if my email did the trick or if the other blogger helped me out. Anyways, the corporate person emailed and said there were contacting the hotel on my behalf. I do not believe the hotel would have done anything without corporate getting involved. They gave me 25k IHG pts, which was more than I was hoping for. What made me furious was the hotel claimed they had the bug analyzed and “it had been dead for some time”. I don’t know how a dead bug could be moving around on my video. So glad I thought to take that! So I received enough points for a free night, but now am way more paranoid about bed bugs than I was before! : )

      • @Clyn6 This is definitely a more appropriate compensation. Glad you got some extra points. What an ordeal!

  60. Since the new AMEX Business Blue Plus came out, would it be worth it to keep the SPG Amex for non-bonus spending? I’m wondering if MR points (especially since you can transfer them to airlines but not sure to who else) are more valuable than SPG points. Wondering if you saw any write up on it.

    • @Stephanie Yep, saw the announcement and will write about it at some point. It looks like a decent option, sure. However, if you are interested in MR points and regularly shop at grocery stores, you should look into Amex Everyday Preferred. Here is non-affiliate link https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/amex-everyday-preferred/
      I wrote about this card quite a few times. Basically, if you do 30 transactions per month (you can simply buy $1 Amazon gift cards), you’ll get 4.5 points on groceries, 3 points on gas, 1.5 points on everything else. There is a fee of $95, but depending on how much you spend on bonus categories, it might be worth it. That said, new Amex Blue business card would be a good compliment.
      As far as comparing MR points to SPG points, they are two very different currencies. SPG program is good for SPG hotels and certain mileage programs that don’t partner with MR. However, MR points do transfer to SPG via this ratio: 1,000=333. So, if you end up earning 3 MR points per dollar on average, you are getting the equivalent in SPG points. So, MR program offers a better value proposition as long as you get at least 3 points or more per dollar. Plus, sometimes there is a bonus on transfers to SPG and other programs. That’s my long-winded answer for now, I should probably put a post on it in the future. Remind me if I forget! Also, read this post, though it’s a bit outdated https://milesforfamily.com/2014/05/12/amex-everyday-preferred-and-mileage-transfers-comparison/

  61. Leana, Since I have the CSR, 5000 UR points is $150 in the portal, so why should i transfer them to Hyatt to pay for a $98 hotel room? You said that points is the way to go..not so clear on that…

      • @Natasha No worries! This miles and points business can be confusing, for sure. Yeah, 5,000 UR points is worth $50 or another $75 hotel room if you book with CSR.

    • Sounds like you got it. : ) I just did this myself for the first time last week; I needed a night at a hotel near the airport before my flight the next day. I checked around and the best deal I found was using 8,000 Hyatt points for a night. The regular rate for the room was $179 + Hotel tax, Chase UR website price was around $115. I transferred the UR pts to my Hyatt account to reserve this room. Transfer only took about 5 to 10 minutes. In my mind that was around $80 total charge, The UR website price would have been around $135 with the usual 17% hotel tax. Transfer only took about 5 to 10 minutes.

    • @Natasha A huge thanks from me and Nancy! Without readers like you this blog wouldn’t exist. And believe me when I tell you, I’m happy to help and answer questions without expecting anything in return. Feel free to always reach out for advice.

  62. Have you written any articles about families using miles for tickets and timeshare promotions for vacations? I have had clients book a vacation promo and laugh about how they are using miles to buy their tickets. Slick people…

  63. @Thomas I’m not an expert on timeshares, unfortunately. You may want to check out this website http://www.thetimeshareguru.com
    The author seems to be an expert on timeshares. One way to benefit without attending the presentation is to simply rent the week from the owner. I would like to do it one of these days, but our plans never seem to match up.

  64. hi Leana, YMT has an offer for a 12 day Alaska vacation 7 night cruise/5 nights on land. the cost after promotion is $1298 p p plus $299 for taxes. Do you think it would be beneficial to contact a travel agent to book or go directly with YMT.?

  65. @Hilde That sounds like a good deal! I’m not sure you will save anything by contacting a travel agent, but it won’t hurt to check. Nancy knows a few good ones. She mentioned them before, but I can’t remember the names. I’ll reach out to her, but I’m not sure when she will see my message.

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