Thursday, October 6, 2016

Matched to Marriott Platinum? Get United Silver status

If you recently matched to Marriott Platinum due to the status match with Starwood from the Marriott - Starwood merger, then one of the new perks you get is MileagePlus Silver status on United, through the RewardsPlus program.

The main limited benefit of Silver status is free Economy Plus seating, which isn't available even to other Star Alliance Gold+ members.


  • Priority Check in
  • Priority Security
  • Upgrades, behind all other elites
  • Reduced change fees
  • Extra checked baggage
Sign up if you haven't!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why I got the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

Chase has jumped into the premium card game, joining American Express with their $450 annual fee Platinum card and Citibank with their $450 annual fee Prestige card.

Currently Chase is offering 100k Ultimate Rewards points for signing up and spending $4k in the first 3 months.

Similarities with the Amex Platinum card:

  • $450 annual fee
  • Priority Pass Select lounge club benefit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Premium rental car benefits

  • Priority Pass Select lounge club benefit extends to all members of your party
    • Amex Platinum card charges $27 per additional guest
  • $300 airline fee credit
    • Amex Platinum has a $250 fee credit
  • Primary car rental coverage
  • 3x points for spending on travel and food

Monday, February 2, 2015

Free FICO score as a card benefit!

Your FICO score is a snapshot number (between 300 and 850) to allow lenders to decide whether to lend you credit or not, whether to approve your loan, and the interest rate or APR that you will be offered.

Given the complexity of each person's credit history, this proprietary score makes it easy to make these thousands of credit decisions every day. This is why it's very important to know your score!

Bad scenarios: You've found the house of your dreams and you apply for a mortgage. Your income is high and you've managed to keep your debt to a minimum. You find out that your FICO is 625 and after being rejected for the mortgage, someone else snaps up the house.

Another bad scenario: Your interest rate for your car and mortgage have been several points higher than the average at the bank. Turns out there is a collections on your credit for a $5 copay from the hospital. Over the life of the mortgage and loans, you will pay tens of thousands extra.

Fortunately, you can access your credit report for free at  This website is facilitated by the government and doesn't sign you up for any recurring credit monitoring charges that and the like do. You are allowed to request a copy of your report once a year for free from each of the three credit bureaus.

However, that will give you access to your report, but not the score that lenders use.  There are now three main credit card companies that give you access to your actual FICO score for free as a benefit of the card:

Barclaycard, including the US Airways Mastercard
Citibank, including the AAdvantage cards

Of note, some companies offer "FAKO" credit scores, or scores based on their own proprietary formulas such as VantageScore, but for the most part, most lenders will rely only FICO scores.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Making the most of your current airline status

In 2014 I had earned Platinum Medallion status on Delta Airlines, but unfortunately due to doing too much of my flying on award redemptions and flying other airlines, I wasn't able to requalify even for Silver in 2015.

So, before my status expired in February, I did a status match to Air Berlin, who quickly matched me to topbonus Gold, which is Oneworld Gold. This allowed me access to lounges internationally when I recently flew Japan Airlines or any other Oneworld airline (in addition to Priority Pass access my Amex Platinum gives me).

Other perks include extra baggage, priority baggage, priority waitlist, priority boarding, and Main Cabin Extra when flying other OneWorld airlines.

Now may be a good time to match your expiring status!

Monday, January 19, 2015

American Express buying flights as if you redeemed miles

American Express is offering a promotion to a random selection of cardmembers likely to make up for losing American Airlines and United Airlines as transfer partners.

For flights that have award space on these two airlines, members can call the number and spend the equivalent number of Membership Rewards points, and Amex will BUY the ticket for you.

For example, if there is availability for a one-way United flight on First Class between LAX and LHR for 25,000 MileagePlus miles, you can spend 25,000 Membership Rewards points and Amex will purchase the ticket for you!  If the ticket was $4500, then it would have cost 450,000 Membership Rewards points to purchase if you did the standard "purchase flight using points".

The benefit to this is that you will still get elite-qualifying points and miles, where you would not have if you had just transferred into miles and done an award redemption!  In that regard, you can double-dip!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

American Express Platinum cardholders now eligible for $200 reimbursement again!

Now that the new year has come around, American Express platinum cardholders are once again eligible to have $200 worth of airline fees reimbursed to them. This is a benefit that renews every calendar year. Meaning, if you got your card in October, you could have $200 worth of fees reimbursed in 2014 and another $200 reimbursed in 2015.

The fees that are eligible for reimbursement include baggage fees, late fees, cancellation fees, and charges made on the airplane. The fees must be all from the same airline of your choosing which you can change every single year. I chose United this year.

In previous years, I have purchased $50 gift cards and have been reimbursed without issues. This has worked on both American Airlines and Delta airlines. However I have not tried this on united airlines before. Other people have sometimes reported issues getting reimbursed for the gift cards from United, so I didn't try this.

A work around for this is the United registry. The just of it is that you create A registry that only you can access and gift the $200 to your own registry using your platinum card. I just did this today and will wait to see whether the reimbursement comes.

40% Bonus for Amex MR transfers to British Airways Avios ending soon!

American Express is having a special right now on transfers to British Airways Avios miles. Until January 31, you will get a 40% bonus for all miles transfer. For example if you transfer 50,000 Membership Rewards points you'll get 70,000 Avios points.

Avios points are especially worthwhile to me because I have the ability to get flight segments for less than the standard 12,500 miles. For example a one way between LAX and Las Vegas would be 12,500 miles on American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. Using Avios points, you only need 4500 miles.

Another really nice redemption for Avios miles is lie-flat Business class seats on the transcontinental flights on American airlines, which is a partner. These only cost 25,000 Avios miles. Using this promotion, this is the equivalent of 17,800 membership rewards miles.

After American Express lost United Mileageplus as a partner, I found difficulty using membership rewards points. This is a promotion I got in on, and transferred 50,000 points.