Suckered out of $27 By AmEx Surpass Hilton Card

I got the Hilton Surpass AmEx and this beauty came in the mail:IMG_4536It looks identical to the one I got with my AmEx Platinum(s) with free Lounge Entry for the card holder, but it is not at all. I got this shock when I checked my bill after using it at Narita Lounge:

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I should of read this blog before even using the card. I’m dumb for not just cutting the thing up the second I got it as it says in tiny print that there is a charge of $27 even for the card holder. What a joke, shame on you AmEx for nickel and dimeing us. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake. If you got the Hilton Surpass, cut up the priority pass card the second you get it, or mark it like I had above. Just stick with your exact same looking card from your AmEx Platinum that has free acess for card holders, or even better use the Lounge Club Card that comes with Barclay Gold Luxury Card which includes unlimited guests.

-Derp

Fire Sale on Stocks today, Time to leave G Fund and go on a shopping spree!

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Good news everybody! The European Union is free of Great Britain today! This means the EU has on average much better tasting food and overall dental health, but much worse whiskey. This also means it will be much harder for Businesses in GB to trade with other EU nations, but the best result is there is a massive discount on all of your favorite stocks! You don’t have to pay for an astounding $130 for a single share of AAPL, now you can get it at the bargain price of $93. This is like going into Macy’s and finding everything is on sale!!! Paradoxically everyone seems to be upset when the same thing exact thing happens to stocks! This fire sale will be reflected in the TSP C-Fund today which opened at $28.8155. You can snach up C and I for super cheap by shifting money from G in the upcoming weeks.

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AmEx PRG pays me $650 once and $100 a year to have it

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Quitting smoking is hard (so I have been told), and quitting churning is ever harder when you got AmEx begging for membership by offering unprecedented bonuses such as 100k for Platinum, 75K for MB Plat, and this offer of 65k for gold. You could gotten way with 240,000 MR point (worth $2,400) just this year alone!

They have seen lots of membership losses since cutting ties with cost co. I just that this email informing me that I should switch to the Blue Cash since the CostCo relationship is over. Time to get in on AmEx while they are super desperate for your applications.

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Right now lets break down what 65,000 MR points are good for. Right off the bat you have the $650 cashback, but even better I am planning on booking New York JFK to Frankfurt in Singapore Suites First Class (much more than $650) for 57,375 MR points.

Next thing to do is to choose an airline for your $100 annual fee reimbursement.  I have been using my United MPX app to buy Amazon gift cards which have been magically reimbursed as an incidental fee. I don’t complain, and neither should you,but please keep abreast on this “datapoint” here because it will eventually dry up one day. This is the same techniques that can be used for the $200 for each of the AmEx Platinum Cards for a cool $700 total that essentially AmEx is paying you to be a de facto brand ambassador for their products.

The other benefits for the Premier Rewards Gold are:

3X points for flights booked directly with airlines
2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets
1X points on other purchases.

The only use for this card will be the 3x points for airlines that I don’t already have a card for. Between 2x Miles on my United Club Credit Card and this I am going United all the way as the United Miles tend to be more useful for routes out of ORD.

I will use Chase Sapphire preferred for US restaurants where I can transfer to United, AmEx Blue Cash for Gas since 3% cashback is much better than points and you can never beat 6% cashback for the supermarkets.

Keep that PRG around for the $100 at least, but otherwise its going into the sock drawer.

-Derp

Target 65K offer for AmEx Premier Rewards Gold

It has only been one day on my Non-Churn wagon and I already fell off. I read a post by user physixfan on r/churning and they are offering the good people of Dallas TX a offer I can’t refuse. 40K points on $2k spend in 3 months, followed by another 25K with $2k spend between 7/15/2017 and 10/15/2017. This makes you pay the annual fee, unless of course you are military where it will be waived any ways.

This is a tricky one that is outlined here, use VPN and incognito mode.

To get the offer you must go to this site on incognito mode:

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/premier-rewards-gold/

copy and paste it incognito mode via VPN Dallas. You will be offered the 25k offer, but then close and reload again. till this appears:

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It took me 20 times! good luck!

-Derp

Update: you snooze you lose, the offer is now only 50K as of this second:

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double edit! Its back on!!!! It goes between 50k and 65K now using the VPN. What will not work is Chrome on Linux. Mac OS running Chrome Incognito along with VPN thru Dallas will get you 65k for sure.

-Derp

 

$2,400 or use $41.56 and 107,500 UA miles to leave OKA to ORD

As promised, I stopped building points and started spending them. This is the first of many posts on how I’m using up the million plus points I have acquired over just a mere 3 years overseas. If you got in the game late, I feel bad for you because the golden age of churning is over, and the best redemptions were right here in Asia using OKA as the newest politicly motivated  hub of southeast asia with daily fights to the major hubs of HKG, NRT, PVG, HND, and ICN.

One way tickets are usually more expensive than booking round trip. Since I am so fully saturated with the wonders and joy that Okinawa has provided me in 1096 days of my “Sea Service” Deployment, I never intend to come back. This makes the using the second leg of a round trip pointless, and I’m not going to pay for a more expensive one way ticket. I looked into flights for my mom who will have to pay for a ticket out of pocket. She wanted to visit HKG on her way back to Chicago.

The flights leaving island due to PCS season, summer vacation and general political mischief during this time are driving up prices. For example the flight on good old peach at this time is a whopping $300 direct. However EVA has a flight via TPE, but they want almost $500!

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On the second leg from HKG to ORD we are looking at a whopping $1,900 for a one way ticket on United, or a not so good 85,000 miles for coach.

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Yeah you could do the MAC flights which is a giant waste of time in all respects (please someone, try to justify why waiting around a week, overstaying your welcome at your friends house, and begging for a seats ever worth it). You could however just spend $41.56 and use your the miles from your Chase Mileage Plus Explorer card (70k sign up bonus from a month ago) along with your 50K UR bonus from your Chase Ink Plus Card to essentially get a $2,400 ticket off the rock. This is a 2.2 cent per point redemption so its twice what you would of gotten for cash back!

The first segment is on EVA which is a *A (star alliance) member, yes you can use United points on EVA, therefore you can use Ultimate reward points for EVA. Next time you think you so smart in using points to rent a car or get a magazine subscription, you are a sucker and you should be evaluating your points better. 22,000 points for a $500 ticket is again 2 cents per point! Twice as much as you would get than cashback!

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The second segment is a good old United flight from HKG to ORD so the redemption is pretty straight forward here. Its not so great as you normally could get it for 40k if there was a economy saver award open. Again you can transfer your Chase Ultimate rewards here to book, and I paid 2 times these points this because I’m still getting 2 cents per point! Whats also nice with United is the lack of fuel surcharges so the $41.56 is taxes only. In summary $9.60+$31.96 and 22.5+85k MP miles get you off the rock on the days you want without sleeping on a couch for weeks waiting for the MAC flight to be empty.

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If time wasn’t a concern, if we delayed our flight till late August we could of done the same trip for $41.56 and only 64,000 miles!

-Derp

The Good Times are Over….

…for churning of course, no comment about anything else that you might of heard about in the news about this humble little island. There are three new rules you should really be concerned about. Chase has a new 5/24 rule and AmEx has its once per lifetime rule and its 5 charge and 5 credit card max. What this all means for me at least is, STOP APPLYING! I’m fully saturated on categories, fully saturated on points and not seeing any trips on the horizon. I think it’s time to give this a break and concentrate on how to handle spending all these points that devalue faster than the Zimbabwe dollar.

The strategy now until further notice:

  1. AmEx Blue Cash for 6% Groceries, 3% Gas cash back
  2. Chase Sapphire for 2x points on “travel” and restaurants
  3. Airline tickets on their respective cards: United Club Credit Card, British Airways, American Airlines Aviator Silver, American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
  4. Hotels on their respective cards: Hilton HHonors Surpass form AmEx, Ritz Carlton for Marriott, Hyatt Platnum, SPG Card from AmEx
  5. Everything else on Gold Luxury Card World Elite MasterCard powered by Barclays Bank of Delaware for some sweet 2% cashback. This is probably the most expensive 2% cash back card for $995 a year, I’m going to use the Citi Double Cash Back card if the SCRA waiver disappears.

And then once a year we need to:

  1. Spend $200 on reimbursable airline fees on each AmEx Platinum Card (normie, business, MB)
  2. Spend $200 on reimbursable airline fees on the Gold Luxury Card
  3. Spend $300 on reimbursable airline fees on the Ritz Carlton Card
  4. Spend $100 on reimbursable airline fees on the PRG AmEx
  5. Stay in a free Marriott cat 1-4 hotel on the Chase Marriott Card
  6. Stay in a free Hyatt cat 1-4 hotel on the Chase Hyatt Card
  7. Look out for some flossy gift from Gold Luxury Card
  8. Spend the $100 certificate at the Mercedes Benz dealership on this adorable thing:

AMBY185This accounts for $1900 in fee waivers (2Plat, 2MB, 2PRG and 1BizPlat, 2LuxGold, 1 Ritz), so I don’t forget, I make it a Hung Over on New Years Day activity!

Every 5 years:

  1. Renew Global entry using: AmEx Plat, Hilton Surpass, Gold Luxury, Ritz Carlton Card,

Now you know the time to quit while your ahead! Plenty of good resources out there, but it seems like good news always breaks on r/churning first. Look ahead to more TSP related posts ahead as well as help on redeeming your millions of points!

-Derp

Derp Report Certified for Financial Advising

ELF_CERTIFICATE.eps

You are also certified!

Yes, it takes a British Comedian John Oliver on HBO to get American Millennials to invest in their retirement. This quite a week as I have been following r/MilitaryFinance as well as long time asian o-5 reader to see that DoD has posted some dumbed down explanation of the new retirement plan. This in a combination with the Last Week Tonight on Retirement should be all you need to realize maybe its time to really think about putting some green into your TSP already. As John Oliver reiterates, even 0.1% fees can really f**k you! This is true as fee will compound, and you can never beat 0.029% that the C fund on TSP offers this is lower than the 0.05% that Vanguard charges for the same index fund.

Then another thing I thought about today is the 20% pay cut for the 5% matching (if they make me instantly vested) would be insurance to not doing 20 years AD. The Dave Ramsey approach would be take the matching as is equates to real money in an account that can be gifted to some one or some thing. The pension stops when you die, in the new system I at least have the 5% match compounding all that time.

I still got till 31 Dec 2017 to decide on exactly what to do, but I should know for sure:

  1. Financial advisors are mooches that can’t beat the index. They make mulah money by selling you on annuities and s**t products you are never meant to understand
  2. Many firms charge different fee for the same index, you can’t beat TSP as they charge 29 cents per $1,000. Not even the boogleheads Vanguard comes close at 50 cents per $1k
  3. The only precious resource in this world is time and every moment you spend reading this blog is taking away from your finite time on earth. Time is your friend in terms of compounding interest and you should of done this when you were younger.

I’m also excited as this week looks like a rough week, maybe a nice market correction so I can move most my funds from the G fund to the  C fund when its valued correctly. The VIX seems to think so as well.

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looking forward to the update on our TSP race with trainwrecktrader.com I don’t care who wins as long as we beat Dave Ramsey and the L2040 fund. If this correction happens this week I will be so happy to move my money out of G and buy up as much CSI as possible!

-Derp

Hilton Diamond match for BW Diamond + 1 stay matched with HHonors gold

unnamedHHonors LogoI love recursive status matching, I have not successfully completed this particular match, because I blew my one chance, but just working with theory here. According to Status Matcher you can get Hilton HHonors Diamond with Best Western Diamond as long as you actually stayed at the hotel for a night in the past 12 months. Now you can get Best Western Diamond with Hilton gold, and you can get Hilton gold by being a AmEx Platnum holder.

The play by play:

  1. Get an AmEx Platinum Card, get annual fee waived per SCRA
  2. Get HHonors gold with AmEx Platinum here
  3. Take a screenshot of your Gold membership card on the Hilton HHonors App
  4. Sign up for Best Western Rewards and then email BW Status Match <StatusMatch@bestwestern.com> with your new Best Western Number and the Hilton HHonors Gold Card Screenshot. You will instantly match with BW Diamond!
  5. Now actually stay at a Best Western with Diamond, some people will reserve one night, not even stay and just pay the $60 night. I have yet to do this myself.
  6. Now go here and submit your receipt of stay and your screenshot of the BW Diamond for some sweet HHonors Diamond status.

REMEMBER you have only but one chance to do this!!!! I tried with my Marriott Gold and my stays and they only matched me to Gold (which I already had). I tried just now with my BW diamond Card and a booked stay, its rejecting me saying I had already subitted with the same email and number. What a big regret, should of submitted with my most baller status! Don’t do what I did, let me know how it goes with you guys!

-Derp

Gift of Tech3+ 23KT Gold Plate Multifunction Pen for Gold Luxury Card Holders

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Almost three times as useful as my Skillcraft

Be patient my Okinawa Golden Churners, because the pen is on the way! It takes over a month for UPS “Mail Innovations” (4th class mail) to send it to San Francisco where it sits in a warehouse for nearly a month until there is enough boxes to put on a slow boat to China. Thanks a lot UPS “Mail Innovations”!

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Better late than never right? I knew it was on the way since reading this post on r/churning over a month ago. It is a Tech3+ 23KT Gold Plate Multifunction Pen worth about $125. It has the card holder name engraved on the side. The most interesting part about it is it has a stylus and eraser on one side and red, black pen and pencil on the other.

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So its also interesting the amount of packaging it takes to send a plastic card, metal card and pen. They really taken a page from the Japanese in this respect. The millennial target clientele love experiences over substance I guess. If you count the experience of opening stuff as noteworthy.

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For the price, it was worth every penny, This card has cost me -$1380.00. Where the 5ok points were worth a $1,000 statement credit, the $200 airline fee was auto reimbursed, and the $9k charged got a 2% cash back of $180. This pen is just the cherry on top!

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Doesn’t really blend in to the MARPATS like the Skillcraft

Well if you see a bunch of these pens out there, you will know why. I’ll let you know if the AUs get them as well.

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Overall, nice touch, not a bad way to steal business from AmEx Platinum, its been the most disruptive product for some time now. It looks like they are rolling out with a pretty heavy advertising campaign. They got an ad in Vouge and on billboards in Wisconsin now.

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Then you got the bloggers like myself who write about these things, overall a manufactured viral rollout of what is essentially a 2% cashback card where you can buy into a manufactured flossy lifestyle.

-Derp