50,000 Hyatt points for Massages and Facials?

Hello all! Good to meet some readers out there at AMDOC and at the neighboring POMI training. I am updating in real time the adventures in my trip. I got some time to blog more, so check out this new thought. If you get the Chase Hyatt card you can get 50k Hyatt points for a mere $6k spend! Keep in mind you must be under 5/24. I have used Hyatt points for hotel stays, but for those non travelers you can get fitness classes and spa services via the Hyatt partnership with Exhale Spas.

I ended up with another free week of classes at the Exhale spa because of my Explorist status back match with M Life. I got this email today:


An award worthy of your Explorist status. Your complimentary Week of Wellbeing at participating Exhale locations is here. Enjoy access to Barre, Yoga, Cardio, and HIIT classes, 25% off spa therapies, and 15% off boutique purchases at participating Exhale locations.

To claim, connect your World of Hyatt account to your Exhale account. If you don’t have an Exhale account, you’ll be prompted to create one. After connecting, you’ll see your Week of Wellbeing in your profile along with instructions on how to use it.

Be sure to claim your award by February 28, 2021. Once you claim your Week of Wellbeing, you have one year to use it.

I logged in and was surprised that I had another one from my first tier goal:

Now I have two full weeks of classes! Just need to get my fat ass to the gym! Regarding using your points you can get about 1.375 cents per point:

For example a 60 min Flow Massage is $165, but you can use 12,000 points for that session.

Has anyone used Exhale spas and classes?


Using USB, UR, TY, or MR to book The Four Seasons

I was tasked with booking the Four Seasons Chicago for my Wife’s birthday, but I found myself with a first time dilemma! Now that I was flushed with points from all four major credit card companies, I had no idea which one to use. Let’s break down how I got here:

U.S. Bank Altitude Points

I have the U.S. Bank Altitude Card and have been earning 3 points for every dollar spent using my mobile wallet. Since this card is a Visa card I earn more points at Costco that their own branded Citibank Costco Anywhere card. Each point is then worth 1.5 cents on travel including hotels. I didn’t have enough points to book the entire cost of the room, but each point takes off 1.5 cents on the booking:

The card currently has an enrollment bonus of 50,000 points worth $750 on travel with $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points (UR)

Earning UR points was accomplished by getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), Chase Freedom, Chase Business Preferred, and Chase Ink Business Unlimited. Best thing to do it earn 5x on the Freedom category, and then the for the quarter then transfer points to the CSR to book for 1.5 cents per point:

Price breakdown
Room price: $399.55
1 night: $340.00
Taxes & fees: $59.55
26,636 PTS redeemed: -$399.55

Total due today: 26,636 PTS and $0.00
Trip Total: $399.55

Note that when you log into the Chase Ink site you end up only getting 1.25 cents per point:

Citibank Thankyou Points (TY)

Citibank TY points can be earned with the Citibank Prestige card which had a sign up bonus of 50k for $4k spend. The real big earning is 5x on dining. Each TY point is worth 1.5 cents on flights only! This means the hotel was a bad redemption at 1 cent per point:

American Express Membership Rewards Points (MR)

I earned my points with: AmEx Personal Plat, AmEx Personal Gold, and AmEx Personal Green. Then it escalated to AmEx Biz Plat, AmEx Biz Gold, and AmEx Biz Green. This resulted in more than 250,000 MR points! Note that the personal green no longer takes applications.

When I pull up the Chicago Four Seasons they want $400 or 40,000 points or nominally only 1 cent per point. I could cash out 40,000 points for $500 in real money using my Schwab Platinum Card at 1.25 cents per point. I could alternatively cash out 40k points for a $600 flight at 1.5 cents per point. If I booked with AmEx I would however get $100 room credit, 4 pm checkout, and also daily breakfast for two but at the cost of $500. Not worth it in my mind.


Since I had no elite status with the hotel I had no problem with booking with expedia via Chase UR at 1.5 cents a point! Especially at a property that I could not have booked otherwise using their points system. I stopped by the Four seasons in Philadelphia and was pretty impressed:

I checked the Four Seasons site and found it to be 36 cents cheaper:

Since I can’t convert UR to cash, to get this room for 26,636 UR points was a great deal. You can earn this much with $5,327 spent on my Chase Freedom card on the select quarterly categories, then transferring them to your CSR.


2019 Palladium Coin Offer On Right Now

If you live in NYC you might want to check out this most recent PFS buyers club deal:

On Thursday, September 12th – at 12:00PM ET the US Mint will release a limited edition Palladium coin.
There is a limit of one (1) coin per household. The cost of each set will be $1,987.50. After including the $4.95 shipping, each order’s total will be $1,992.45.
Important: We will only be accepting opt-ins for members who are willing and able to drop off the coin in Brooklyn (Crown Heights or Boro Park). We will not be providing shipping labels for this deal.
Additionally, we will be working with a strict timeline on this deal – coins will have to be delivered to us by Sep 25th – no exceptions.
We will pay you $1,995.00 – for a profit of $2.55 per order.
This is also a great opportunity to earn valuable points/miles on your credit cards, as well as meet any spending thresholds.
We will not be running any referrals for this deal.
For all the deal details and terms, as well as the ability to opt in to this deal, please login to your account at PFSbuyersclub.com and click the “Current Deal” page.
– Aron
PFS Buyers Club

Use my link here if you are at all interested in this deal or future deals:


Here are details on last year’s offer.

The 2018 coin only cost $1,392.45 last year, and is currently selling for $2,425.90 at APMEX. Keep in mind that Palladium has skyrocketed in value for whatever reason:

The spot price is $1,600, up from $1,000 last year. If I apply greedy idiot logic to this, then this one coin should be worth ten billion dollars by the time I retire. However I think it’s more like I bought into another bubble!

as of 12:30 ET the coin is still on sale, this is different from 2018, when it sold out in 10 mins!


AMDOC SOP, United Expert Mode, Free Upgrades on Y Fare Seats with UA Status

Hope to see everyone out there at AMDOC 19-55! Here is just my running timeline of what I *should* have done, and what I have done in order to make a smoother trip. Also, I put in dates for an expected timeline of events.

  1. Lodging is held at the Rockville Hilton. To ensure free breakfast, better room, and late check out, look into the AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire Card for Diamond status OR any AmEx Platinum for Gold Status. The $450 card annual fee is waived for military. You can call the hotel at (301) 468-1100 and they found my reservation based on name and group alone. I called and added my Hilton Honors number but that resulted in all 18 rooms put under my name! I had to call for them to fix it, best use the HHonors number at check in for the upgrades and free breakfast at the restaurant on weekends, lounge access, free water and the Manager’s reception every Wednesday.
  2. Make Sure you have elite status with United, This will give you the best chances for a full fare Y first class upgrade on booking or on standby at the gate. These upgradable seats are listed as PZ in the inventory using United expert mode. You can earn the elite status by flying or buying it with Founders Card.
  3. Make sure you Citi Govt Card is not expired and in good standing order, call Citi Gov’t line at 1-800-200-7056 to check that is active, especially three business days before your planning on departing, this is when your ticket on DTS will be purchased via CWTSatoTravel. The card is now blue, this replaces the silver Citi Card.
  4. Finish BIMDOC course found on https://learning.nel.navy.mil
  5. AMDOC course dates and applications are found here, I submitted my application 22 April 2019, committee met on 05 August 2019, Welcome email came on 19 August 2019 for a class start date of 16 Sept 2019.
  6. The welcome email will contain a welcome letter which must be promptly filled out and faxed or emailed in.
  7. An email will come to get access to the Pentagon and BUMED. This email will come twice and are identical but are for two different visits. Make sure you go to the link and fill out the info to get your 2D barcode for entry.
  8. Another email will come for Sakai Account Registration, make sure you register CAC access and the course info shows up.
  9. Another form will come for the directorate level approval. Fill this out, get signatures and route up the local chain of command. Then upload to DTS. The LF-102 is the VA equivalent, and worked in place of this form.
  10. A guide with accounting codes will come with the command concurrence form. Follow this guide to submit the trip in DTS. Here you will book the flights
  11. The lodging will be booked by the course
  12. Update your profile with the most current Government Travel Card information, and choose a flight with PZ availability on United. Since DTS books contracted Y fare rates, the instant free upgrade to first will be available, see below for searching PZ class seats.

Finding PZ fare class flights for first class

The one big advantage of any United Airlines status (even silver) is that Y class economy tickets are instantly upgraded to first class, but only for PZ seats are available for the flight. There is a government contract for United to sell only Y class tickets at a deep discount contracted rate. For example the ORD to DCA is only $250 round trip. This price for the city pair is set in stone for the fiscal year and does not vary. The goal is to find availability before booking with DTS. You need to turn on expert mode on United.com to see these seats. I searched the one way ORD to DCA flights on united.com and found out the 6:00 am flight has two PZ seats open as represented by the text PZ2 (Class PZ, 2 seats):

I then booked the flight on DTS and put in my United Airlines Milage Plus number. When the flight is fully paid for (make sure the business office activates the travel card, and that you activate any new card), then you will get this option when logging into united.com, and checking the flight under reservations:

Choosing the upgrade box you now can choose a first class seat! This is of no additional cost. When you search again for the same flight in united.com you will note that PZ2 now is listed as PZ1:

If you are flying American Airlines, I have had luck getting a first class upgrade by just nicely asking to be on the priority upgrade list at check in. You can always choose a Main Cabin Extra seat at the military check in kiosk on the day of your flight.

Working Itinerary

Here I will update the current plan to maximize card benefits on this trip, (all times local):

  • Hotel Check In: (No Love for Diamond, no upgrade, ground floor)
  • Lounge closed on weekend, make sure you get the free breakfast pass for diamond and gold members to eat over the weekend:
Note the lounge closes all weekend from noon till sunday 17:00

Sat and Sunday Breakfast from 07:00 to 11:00

Must pick up one of these each weekend

I have a mini visit to Boston on American Airlines in the weekend between weeks at AMDOC:

  • DCA (Departure/Arrival):
    • Call in and switch Frequent Flyer number to Cathay Pacific Platinum via One World Ruby Status via from Founders Card
    • Use status for Main Cabin Extra Seats 24 hours before departure
      • Free alcoholic beverages in Main Cabin Extra
    • Alternatively use Military check in kiosk and choose MCE seat
    • American Airlines Lounge
      • Terminal C, By Gates 35-45
      • $28 Credit, Must Use Priority Pass from Citi Prestige or CSR
        • AmEx Plat Priority Pass will not work
  • Inflight American Airlines
    • Using military ID to check in at special Kiosk sometimes triggers free in flight food, FA hand held unit will reflect this (sometimes)
    • Alternatively use Barclay AAdvantage Silver Aviator Card
      • $25 daily credit for food
      • $50 WiFi credit for the year
    • Main Cabin Extra Seats include complimentary alcoholic beverages
  • BOS Arrival & Departure
    • American Airlines Admirals Club
      • Access with Citi Executive AA Card or CAC
      • Terminal B, upper level past security by gate B4
      • Use AmEx Plat Card for $200 in lounge dining
      • Departures Level, opposite Gate B24
      • $28 Credit, Must Use Priority Pass from Citi Prestige or CSR
        • AmEx Plat Priority Pass will not work

I will review my stays at each hotel in DCA and Boston afterwards with photos! Stay tuned, this post will update throughout my trip.


Atlantic City: $125 Free Play Slots, 3 free nights, and Rock Legend Status at Hard Rock, $100 Free Play Borgata, $25 express comps, and a free night also M Life Gold to Hyatt Explorist Match!

Credit card churning is dangerous because without self control, the game wins you! If you are looking for a more tempting churning experience, check out the wonderful world of casino comps! At every corner you are tempted to blow your funds on something stupid. I am happy to report I churned Atlantic City with minimal use of my own money.

I ended up in Philadelphia and have been trying to pull off this status match chain for quite some time now. I missed the February 2019 deadline to get Hyatt Explorist in order to get suite upgrades. However I went to AC to get into the the world of Casino Comps especially for military members.

Right now many of you active duty have Hilton Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire card. This card is $450 a year, but AmEx will waive for military members (and some spouses per some states). According to status matcher, this should be enough to get Cesar’s Diamond. I personally bought my Cesars Diamond using Founderscard. For those out there with Hilton diamond, check out the Wyndham status match page here, Then for Cesars Rewards you can match Diamond for the Wyndham Diamond.

You can get a hard copy of your Cesars Rewards card at the Cesars in AC or really any location. With this card alone you can get one free night at the Hard Rock without status match! I called and booked for a free night which I gave to a friend after checking in. He was my ride from Philadelphia to AC, but with the free night he ended up staying with his wife, and I ended up getting a $129 Uber back to Phila:

If you bring this Cesars Diamond to the Wild Card services in the Hard rock you can get a status match to rock royalty. Instantly there should be $100 loaded on the card to use on slots. You also get another 2 free nights to stay there, but only have three months to take advantage of it along with two tickets to Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club. I went to the slot machine with my card. The $125 in credits showed right away:

You can’t cash out the credit, but you must wager with it. So I chose all the lines and spun the wheel! I cashed out every time it paid out, and ended up with about $45 in “winnings”.

Now here comes the real cash out, I ended up with 2 free buffets that I picked up at the rewards kiosk. I went to the buffet and got some good food:

In the end I got paid a free night, two dinners and $45 to go to Atlantic city. I believe I have 2 more free nights that expire in 90 days as well that came on my Rock Royalty match.

My friend only had her Military ID and was given the Wild Card elite status:

This came with a single free buffet instead of two. I think $25 of free play got loaded on the slot machine.

The fun doesn’t stop there! I went to Borgatta and got M life Gold by showing my Cesars Diamond card again. This resulted in $100 Match Play certs that I picked up in $25 increments from the kiosk:

You have to pony up your own bet and the cert will double that bet. I played roulette, but they would only let me play the halves (black/red, even/odd, high/low):

I put $25 and cert on black and red hit, then I did it again on the odds and the evens hit! Right there I was out $50 of my own money. I then bet $25 and my third cert on red and got $75 (3 $25 chips)! They took away the cert after the wager and I was left with my original $25 chip and the payout of $50. I did it again with the last cert and my last $25 and it hit again! I ended up winning $50, and I got a free beer out of it.

When I picked up the M Life gold card I showed my military ID and they put me into the MVP program. This gave me 10% off on food at the cafe. I went to the casino cafe and got myself two tubs of caramel corn and a bottle of water for the $25 in express comps:

If you are out in Philadelphia and have some time to kill, then check out AC! Make sure you get that Hilton Diamond (From Hilton Aspire) Match to Wyndham Diamond to Cesars Diamond! When I got home I went here and then matched my M Life gold to Hyatt Explorist, good till Feb 2021!

The match took a few weeks because of some glitch, but reaching out to World of Hyatt via facebook messenger fixed the whole deal. Looking forward to what this status gets me at my stay at the Lincoln hotel in Lincoln Park!


A case for (and how-to accomplish) rapid churning

I should start by saying that my churning game doesn’t run nearly as long or deep as Derp’s, or probably most of the readers. I got my first “adult” credit card in 2006, my second in 2013 (AMEX Platinum), but didn’t start churning until January of this year (2019). In 8 short months I have amassed the following horde:
– 4 AMEX Charge cards (2 x plat, 1 rose gold, 1 green)
– 4 AMEX Credit cards (all 3 Hilton cards, 1 Bonvoy Brilliant
– 4 AMEX Biz cards (3 x plat (2 upgraded from Green & Gold), 1 Green after upgrading previous card)
– 3 Chase cards (1 CSR, 1 Freedom & 1 Freedom Unlimited to be upgraded to CSRs in one year)
– 1 Citi Prestige
– 3 x P2 cards (Rose Gold, Biz Plat, Hilton Surpass)

All of this has been done without any manufactured spending (other than paying taxes, which isn’t necessarily considered MS). The rest of this article assumes you have read the Beginner’s Guide to Churning and/or the Optimum Perpetual Wallet Holdings, and that you have some basic background knowledge of the reason we’re doing all of this.

Conventional wisdom for churning says that “Slow & Steady wins the race”. It certainly is easier & more sustainable long-term, but with the right mindset, tracking (spreadsheet), and referral partners you can crank up your wallet size and points balance in less than a year, all while setting yourself up to have some sweet travel credits waiting for you in less than 2 full years of churning.
I am by no means advocating irresponsible spending… follow Derp’s rules of churning, one of the first few is ALWAYS PAY YOUR BALANCES IN FULL! I have a 2xweekly rule, every Wednesday and Sunday I login to my accounts and pay every single balance in full. If you can’t do this, slooooow down. I’m not rich, and run a single income family with 3 kids… if I can do it, so can you.

My rapid churning SOP:
– First and foremost, enjoy the fact that you won’t be paying annual fees for any of this; otherwise, you’d have to be insane to pay for all of these cards.
– Keep a rotating 3-4 card active welcome bonus chasing stack, application dates/approvals separated by roughly a month each. Sometimes more, sometimes less for both amount of cards and time difference between stacks. Once you meet a welcome bonus or you’re about to meet one, apply for your next card (keep in mind Derp’s rules of thumb for starting with Chase until 5/24, then moving on to US Bank and AMEX). Take advantage of the easy cards (Biz Green, Regular Green) that you can meet minimum spend on without much effort.
– Spreadsheet tracking each and every card with the following info: Card name, approval date, sign-up bonus, achieve-by date (always 10 days prior to actual 3 or 4-month deadline to ensure it is reached). Each row/card status highlighted in Green (sign up bonus achieved), Yellow (not yet achieved), or Red (missed… should never happen!)
– Meet low amount sign-up bonuses as quickly as possible (ex: Hilton Honors card, $1k in 3 months) to focus your big-spending items on larger card bonus requirements (ex: Biz Plat, $10k in 3 months).
– Pay taxes in large chunks (preferably do at least one $5k payment on a Biz Plat to get 50% bonus MR points). I only pay taxes as a finisher for welcome bonuses if the deadline is getting close, or with the first Biz Plat I got to get the high spend welcome bonus. You can do this from the IRS website, or just google “Pay taxes with credit card”.
– Keep an eye on your credit score. Mine has fluctuated up to 30 points following heavy application periods (mostly at the beginning with 3x Chase cards and my push on Hilton cards rapidly), but always returns to normal a month or two later.
– Follow up advice for “healing” your credit score after a dip: AMEX Biz and/or charge cards are your friend and don’t have major impact on your score. After you max out your Chase 5/24 and get rolling on Citi and/or your pile of 5 AMEX credit cards, take a break and work on Biz cards only for a couple months.

Those are the basics to getting a healthy stack working for you in less than a year. If you have a P2, you can have a larger & better high-end card portfolio before you start slumming it with AMEX Green cards & regular Hilton cards. As I said, year two you should be able to start enjoying some of the fruits of your “labor” (travel credits, points, free hotel nights), and you’ll spend much of year two upgrading the lower-tier cards that you phased into your collection during your first portfolio building year. By the end of year two, you can easily have several AMEX Platinums, 3-6 Biz Plats, 3 CSRs, 2+ Citi Prestige cards, and multiple $450 annual fee-waived AMEX credit cards that give you whatever you desire (airline credits/companion passes, Hilton/Marriott free nights & hotel $$ credits).

Stay tuned for not-so-distant future articles about ways to EASILY maximize points earned while achieving welcome bonuses to multiply your point-folio in whatever your cards of choice are.

AmEx Connect Rips Off Chase Offers

I just started using AmEx Connect which lets you search out current AmEx offers in a more visual way:

The Site Has Eye Candy for Everyone!

I am not sure who came up with this first, but it looks dead on to how Chase does their offers:

I hope this copycat business escalates with AmEx! Next thing we all want to see is the $200 travel credit on AmEx Platinum copied to be the same as what CSR does for $300 travel credit!

We can only hope!


Wyndham Grand Chicago on Wacker To Become Sonesta

The view from the Former Wyndham Grand Chicago

My sources are saying the Wyndham Grand Chicago on Wacker Drive is changing hands from one weirdo brand to another!

The Wyndham Grand located right on Wacker Drive in Chicago (the one next to London House) is going to become a Sonesta property on 01 November 2019. This means I will have to delve into the dark world of Bank of America Credit cards (again) just to have the same status.

I currently have the BoA Alaska Airlines Bank of America credit card, which had its annual fee waived for MLA one year, but never again! So, I am wary of any new BoA products since they don’t consistently or persistently waive for MLA.

I will however miss the free food tours, suite upgrades, and in room amenities I enjoyed while using all Wyndham points to book a room as part of the Wyndham Diamond status match with Hilton Diamond or Cesars Diamond Match with Founders Card. When you are Wyndham Diamond, each stay comes with a free local amenity such as a guided tour!

The only remaining Wyndham property will be the La Quinta By Wyndham on Franklin St. I stayed at this property last night, and it was quite unremarkable. Service was good, I got the 3 hour food tour again, but gave it to my mom. The only amenity was a bar of chocolate and bottle of water. However I got the corner king room which was about $206 a night. Breakfast was a buffet with hot biscuits, gravy, waffles, and hard boiled eggs with sausage patties.

That room cost me 30k points! Now that redemptions are not fixed to 15,000 points, the whole Wyndham redemption is kind of devalued. This along with the fact that Barclays Bank does not waive for MLA makes this a non ideal card to have. I rather have perpetual nights with Hilton and Marriott using my CARDPERSMAN Plan here.

The lack of pool was also a bummer, I was able to see the Hyatt place from my room which got me thinking of pushing the Hyatt card by Chase as one of th 5/24 must get cards. This would at least get you a free annual night here, but at the expense of the United Club card or even CSR #3 via Freedom.

The $300 travel credit would however be more than enough to cover the cost of one night. Thoughts?


5 Hours in Branson From ORD for $30 RT on Frontier

Last year I went to see an amazing Christmas Themed show at Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson, MO. It was part of a mileage run so that my mom could make AA Platnum status before the year was up.

I flew ORD into Springfield, MO and drove an hour to see the show, but it turns out Frontier has a flight every Wednesday and Saturday from ORD to Branson!

Branson Airport Route Map

The flight is only $15 a segment!

The fare comes out to $1.15 a person round trip with the rest as taxes. Here is the breakdown for a pair of tickets:

I mapped it out and from Branson airport it is a 18 min car ride to the theater:

Best part is the flight arrives at 4 pm and departs returns at 9:35 pm making it perfect for the 5:30 pm show:

The military discount was $3 on advance tickets, not sure if it is higher if bought in person. This is last year rate:

Here is what they are charging for the weekend:

It was a dinner and a show, with tiny chickens all around:

Now on departure, Frontier is unique as it is a domestic airline that departs from ORD Terminal 5 (international) which has these two lounges:

Since the flight departs at 14:20 on a Saturday, I would get access to both lounges. While onboard FRONTIER airline, you get:

  • One free personal item
  • One free carry-on bag
  • Two free checked bags (no need for a 5 hour trip)

With this flight, I could finally exhaust my $300 inflight benefit on my Ritz card or $100 on Gold, $200 on Platinum, or $250 on Hilton Aspire AmEx card. This can be spent picking actual seats or on food. I am looking at Double Happy Hour (4 adult beverages, 2 mixers or soft drinks, 2 snacks) for $29.99! If I can pick seats at check in that should be a good way to spend most of the credit on a $30 RT flight, however I don’t know if showing your CAC at check in person would waive the seat selection fee.

Has anyone out there flown Frontier?


AmEx $200 For In Lounge Dining?

Edit: Thanks Gary for the pingback!

Congrats to the newly minted O-6 reader that just reported to me that he was reimbursed for on the ground dining at the Admiral’s Club. This goes with several reports on flyertalk: here& here

cyncyn129 , May 8, 19 9:07 am:
Seems that purchases at the AA Admirals Club are reimbursed. Both myself and my wife (AU) got drinks at the Club, used our Amex PLT, and refund was posted to our account.

Segments , Jun 6, 19 10:55 am
Quote:Originally Posted by mia
Purchases of an Admirals Club membership or passes are covered, but purchases of food and drink inside the clubs has been inconsistent. At one time AA was using a different (outsourced?) merchant account for those, but that might vary by location.Reimbursed for food purchase in AC ORD H/K last week.

I will try it out with my new AmEx Platinum, and my soon to be upgraded former Personal Gold AmEx. In the meantime check out the menus here and here. I’m planning on buying a few Sparkling Split bottles of the Mionetto Prosecco if they don’t open them!

I recently came across a $25 Moët & Chandon vending machine at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. It was located in the lobby and you buy the tokens at the bar:

I wondered if this would come off my $300 Bonvoy Brilliant credit

I am a sucker for tiny bottles of free booze!