- If you're new to travel hacking, check out The Basics page (on the top menu) for the basics on how to travel cheaply.
Questions?Feel free to post a comment to any post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- Airfare Deal (11)
- Credit Cards (48)
- Example Trips (48)
- General (60)
- Hotels (15)
- Non-Travel Deals (11)
- Point Redemption (30)
- Rental Cars (5)
- Travel Blogs (7)
- Travel Communities (2)
- Travel Deal Sites (5)
- Trip Planning (20)
- Uncategorized (3)
Tag Archives: credit card
I wasn’t too keen on the Chase Sapphire card when it first came out. I know that some people like the flexibility of using their points directly to buy any airline ticket. In those cases, I just assume get the cash back instead. I didn’t do much research into if the miles could be transferred to an airline program.
However, I recently changed my mind and I’m thinking of getting the card for a couple of reasons. First, you can transfer miles to Continental and British Airways. Many people say they don’t want British Airways miles because of the fees they charge when traveling to Europe. I happen to love British Airways miles, not for traveling to Europe, but rather for redeeming them on American Airlines in the US. And they also allow unlimited stopovers which is a huge bonus. The second reason I’m thinking of getting the card is you can transfer points between Chase Freedom accounts and Chase Sapphire accounts. Why is this so good? Chase Sapphire has more redemption options including the transfer to airlines. Chase Freedom doesn’t have that. And I happen to be sitting on quite a bit of points in a Chase Freedom account. The way I see it that will approximately double their value because each Chase Freedom point is worth about 1 cent and I value airline miles at 2 cents. So I may be up for getting the 50,000 sign-up bonus with Chase Sapphire after all.
On another note, many people may be looking at all the economic news and fretting. As long as your job is secure and you have good credit, this all may be a good thing for the travel hacking game. I expect to see more big offers from the credit card companies as they try to entice people with good credit to sign up for their cards.
When you go to close credit cards be prepared for the card issuer to offer you a retention bonus. This may be in the form of miles or credits to your account to offset the annual fee partially or wholly. Think about what you’d be willing to take as a retention before you call. There are certain cards that I am willing to do more for than others. As I’ve mentioned before, the Starwood Hotel card is one that is very valuable. The annual fee is lower than most cards at $65, but it was raised to that this year from $40. The points that you earn from this card are very flexible. You can use the points for hotel stays at Starwood hotels (Sheraton, Westin, etc) or transfer them to airline frequent flyer points. When you transfer 20,000 to an airline program, you get a bonus 5,000. This is why most people that play this game consider them the most valuable.
Today was my day to call and cancel cards that are almost up for annual fees. I had one Starwood and one American AAdvantage card that were up. I really didn’t want to cancel the Starwood, but I also didn’t want to pay the annual fee. I was just hoping that they would do something to lower the cost of the card or give me miles. Now I’m not a big spender on this card, so I wasn’t sure that they would offer me anything. But they did offer me a $25 credit to stay (which lowered the fee back down to what it used to be). I was happy with that, so I took that.
When I called to cancel the American, I also was not expecting anything. I opened this card to get the sign-up bonus. I only spent was I needed to to get the bonus. It wasn’t up for the annual fee until September, but I called now because I just wanted to get some of the canceling out of the way. They first offered me an extra bonus of 10,000 miles if I spent $5,000 in 6 months. That’s not worth it to me so I said no. They then offered me 2,500 miles just to keep the card open. I asked if I had to keep it open for a certain amount of time and they said no. I took that and will call back and cancel in September. So a free 2,500 miles for about 5 minutes of my time – not too shabby.
Obviously they are hoping I won’t remember to call back. That’s why it’s important to stay organized with your applications. I keep a spreadsheet of all the cards I applied for, when I applied for them, what the bonus is, what the minimum spend is, and what the annual fee is. I check it on a monthly basis to see which cards I need to cancel.
Southwest is now offering a Visa credit card with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after first purchase. This is a big improvement over their typical offer. 50,000 points will get you 2 round-trip tickets up to $800 in Wanna Get Away fares. The $99 annual fee is not waived the first year. This was a targeted offer up until yesterday. And Southwest does not have blackout dates nor a limited amount of frequent flyer tickets per flight. This is a great card for anyone who likes Southwest and wants some flexibility with their award travel.
As always, remember that your credit is one of your most valuable assets. Only play the game if you pay your bills on time and in full every month.
There is now a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. This is a Barclays card. Some people don’t like Barclays cards because if you don’t qualify for the high sign-up bonus they will give you a different card with a lower sign-up bonus. But this is a great deal if you do qualify. Here are the details.
- Annual fee is waived for the first year (after the first year it is $89)
- 40,000 miles after first purchase
- 10,000 miles on each anniversary (obviously to tempt you to keep the card another year)
- Up to 10,000 miles for balance transfers in the first 30 days
- Earn 10,000 miles towards Dividend Miles Preferred Status (this is not more miles, just miles that count toward status)
- Up to two $99 companion tickets annually
- Preferred check-in
- Preferred Zone 2 boarding
- One complimentary US Airways Club pass annually
- Discount on annual US Airways Club membership
Bank of America’s Alaska Airlines credit card now has a 40,000 sign-up bonus after approval for the card through July 31, 2011. You also get a $99 travel companion discount code annually. Alaska Airlines partner airlines are: American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Air France, Delta, Korean Air, Air Pacific, Era Alaska, LAN, Icelandair, Pen Air, and Kenmore Air.
My main concern with the card was that 40,000 miles is an odd number. You need 50,000 miles for two saver awards, so you would be 10,000 miles short. However, Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest does allow transfers to Alaska Airlines at a 1:1 rate. This again is why people will tell you that the Starwood Hotels Points are so valuable. They are so flexible and allow you to cap off other programs where needed.
I love that this card is with Bank of America. So many of the good sign-up bonuses have been through Chase lately, it’s nice to get some diversity.
There is talk on Flyertalk saying that this is a targeted offer. However, the terms and conditions do not indicate that. If you apply for the card, make sure you take screen shots as you apply.
Here are the details of the card:
- 40,000 mile sign-up bonus upon approval for the card
- Receive a $99 Travel Companion Flight discount code annually on Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Flights and Vacation Packages
- Earn 3 miles for every qualifying dollar in purchases of Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air flights and Vacation packages
- No mileage cap. There’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card.
- Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on purchases
- Receive 2 Board Room passes upon approval
- Free Total Security Protection package helps protect against fraud and unauthorized use of your card
- Online access to our award winning Online Banking service
- Earn up to 5 points for dollar at participating restaurants
- $75 annual fee – does not appear to be waived