dead: Visa’s Answer to AmEx Uber Credits


Edit: deal is now dead! Just wish I could of used my credits!

Visa Signature and Infinite card holder can get a one time $20 or $30 credit (respectively) by simply adding their card to their GroundLink account via these links here:

$20 for Visa Signature

$30 for Visa Infinite

You can get an additional $25  by using my code “bkd94” or my sign up link here to open an account with GroundLink. Here are the cards that worked:

Visa Infinite
US Bank Altitude $30
Chase Sapphire Reserve $30
Chase Ritz Carlton Me $30
Chase Ritz Carlton Wife $30
Total $120
Visa Signature
USAA Limitless $20
Citi Costco Everyday $20
Chase United Club Card $20
Chase Marriott Wife $20
Chase Marriott Mom $20
Chase Hyatt Wife $20
Chase Hyatt Me $20
Chase British Airways $20
Chase Amazon $20
Total $180

Now I got $300 in free rides to and from the airport. In NYC I used Ground Link to catch a ride in a Mercedes s550 with nice electronically tightened seat belts and massaging seats in the back!

I don’t think I have ever paid full price for a GroundLink ride. The $50 off a $150 deal is always on AmEx offers, and now this! I originally caught this report on reddit r/churning as well as much better write up at DoC.


$250 Aspire Airline Credits Work For AA Giftcards

Thanks to reader Andrew for this datapoint:

FYI I was reimbursed for the $250 for American Airline Gift cards….50, 100, 100

Anderw was one of the lucky ones that was able to pick an airline early and was then able to do the gift card spend. My process to choose the airline has been fraught with delays. I tried to sign up for AA for my airline via chat the day I got my card, and was told that benefits did not start till 30 January 2018. I called in on that day and they said the system has crashed due to the Citibank and AmEx merger of HHonors accounts.

I finally used chat today and got to pick my airline (see above) and was sent this email:

So I was bambozed once again by AmEx, I could of used the benefit well before 30 Jan 2018. Flyer Talk is starting to post successful results for the aspire as well! Now I just need to think of a place to go with all these credits.



US Bank Denial for 2nd Altitude

Edit: Wow! Thanks for the shoutout (both love and hate) on r/churning, looks like I may have jumped the gun here and was denied for a multitude of possibilities and was told the 6 month rule just to sooth by bruised ego.

I applied for the Citi AA Executive card in December and then the Aspire on 18 January 2018. According to reddit user itrytopaytaxes, US Bank should not have seen the AmEx card so soon as it takes a statement to report it, this delayed reporting is confirmed by user Sirtheta. He suggests:

This is a useless data point, and does not support the conclusion that “Derp” draws.

The Hilton Aspire was released January 18, 2018. Unless something has changed, which we would’ve heard about, it will not appear on this person’s credit report until early March (at earliest). While it’s possible that the underwriter drew this conclusion from a hard pull (if one was issued), it seems more likely that something was miscommunicated.

US Bank is stingy as fuck about extending credit. It’s much more likely that the contents of this person’s credit report disqualified them rather than that there is a strict 0/6 rule. (Equivalently, it does not seem to me that US Bank has instituted or changed any of their usual rules.)

I guess the only thing I can conclude is it might be hard to hold two Altitude cards at one time. It looks like several people gotten the Altitude no problem despite having newer accounts at other banks. User AmEx Fangirl says:

“Stop applying for 6 months and try again” is a general recommendation analysts often use to soften the pain and prevent an awkward moment after they deny someone.

Seeing approval DPs below couple with my own (6/6 when AR was approved, and 2 of those 6 were US bank cards), I am not convinced this is a hard rule.

Thanks for the datapoints, and sorry for the bad conclusion! Just note that US Bank is tough to churn!

I feel shitty jumping to the 0/6 conclusion and even had to reconsider how to approach my next articles. Even user r9anirudh called me out on the drop in quality of derp report:

This is a generic suggestion by any credit analyst to wait 6 months and apply again which has been blown out of proportion because Derp needs to create content for the blog!

So for the sake of completness of my datapoint I decided to look at my credit karma to see what US Bank took into account:

When I match it up to my own record I have:

  1. 6 months ago: Chase IHG Card
  2. 5 months ago: AmEx AU on Hilton Honors Surpass
  3. 4 months ago: AmEx Green Card
  4. 4 months ago: AU on Chase British Airways Card
  5. 3 months ago: AmEx Ameriprise Platnium
  6. 3 months ago: Bank of America Alaska Card
  7. 2 months ago: AU on Chase Ritz Carlton Card
  8. 1 month ago: Citi American Airlines Executive Card

Most likely the underwriter gave me the 6 month line because they had to say something. It’s more like I was denied for hitting too many banks at one time. Time to slow it down I guess. The 0/6 conclusion I made is false and is confirmed by RomingRedPanda who says:

If they do, it’s either new or not a hard rule. This sounds like their general “too many accounts” denial that they’ve been denying people with for months. Their suggestion has been to lay off applications for 6 months.

  • 6/2 – Opened MileagePlus Explorer
  • 8/18 – Opened Merrill+ (reported after first statement)
  • 9/19 – Opened Arrival+ (reported next day)
  • 12/1 – Applied for Altitude – identity verification – approved 12/4

There was a HP for a CIP in August and a bunch of HPs for a car loan in November, too.

I opened my US Bank checking/savings accounts in July.

Edit: wording, forgot a card, and probably should mention I was 7/24 at the time.

Well my datapoint on 0/24 is useless, just going to keep the article for future reference. here it is below:

Continue reading

Crypto Coming To Robinhood

Use my link here to sign up for Robinhood so we can both get a free stock. Coming this February on Robinhood is cryptocurrency trading without commission. That is, free to get in and free to get out.

Since I have no fiduciary duties to my readers, I say go for it! Just to remind you, if you had bought and held when I made the suggestion of churning with bitcoin via coinbase, you would only be down 30% as of today! This is the reverse of my suggestion of buying SCHE 10 months ago where you would be up 30% today. I guess listening to everything here is just a wash.

Weeeeeeee! from Bitcoin

If you want to buy the crypto dip (or try to catch a falling knife), now is your chance to do it without commission via Robinhood! The goal is to drive in more dumb money to jack this BTC price up, and I hope to cash out my bitcoins and buy a nice bottle of scotch at Costco:


US Bank MLA Annual Fee Waiver For Altitude

Metal Card with MLA Waivers!

I was unable to get the MLA waiver for my US Bank Altitude card because I had gotten it in April of 2017, before the MLA was active. The process to get the card was long, but the card has proven to be pretty useful. The $325 travel credit worked much like the Chase one, and the 3x points on Apple pay make it my go to iPhone linked card.

Good news today from reader Blaze who shared his experence:

New datapoint:

1/12/2018:  Applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card
1/18/2018:  Received the new card in the mail
1/21/2018:  Sent a secure message to U.S. Bank to see if my card qualifies for the benefits provided by the MLA.
1/24/2018:  Received a letter in the mail determining my account meets the requirements for MLA.  The letter states that “In accordance with the provisions of the MLA, we have reduced the APR for your obligations to a maximum of 6.00%.  We will also eliminate all fees while you are subject to the terms under the MLA.”

So it looks as if this card is a go.

There you have it! I might apply for another Altitude card after downgrading my current one to a fee free product. This way my new card can get the $400 annual fee waived and I would get a free $325 credit per year. I will not be able to get the 50k offer worth $750 right now if that is the case.

Good Luck!


The Volatile Spirit Passenger Usage Fee Game

As you all might have heard, you can save a significant portion of the ticket price on a Spirit flight if you book in person and not online or on the phone.

On Sunday I asked my brother who was flying in to ORD to buy a ticket to fly from ORD to IAH on 06 Feb 2018 at the Spirit counter. The counter is open only from the hours of 3:30 am to 9:30 pm. His flight got in late due to fog so he could not get the ticket. On that day it would of only cost $23 for this one way flight. The website breaks it down like this:

Note the $9.99 usage fee would be waived when booking in person. The ticket would of cost $23.30 at the counter. I checked online today to see that the ticket price has gone up to $46.30! I was a bit disappointed until I broke down the new cost:

The bulk of the fee increase is the Passenger Usage Charge, note the ticket is now just 1 cent! If we compare the two tickets we see that there is a new fuel charge and compliance charge. I broke it down here:

20-Jan 23-Jan
Flight $8.37 $0.01
Regulatory Compliance $6.51
Fuel Charge $5.58
Passenger Usage $9.99 $18.99
Security Fee $5.60 $5.60
Passenger Facility $4.50 $4.50
Segment $4.20 $4.20
Federal Excise Tax $0.63 $0.91
Total $33.29 $46.30
Total Counter Price $23.30 $27.31

Online the ticket went from $33.29 to $46.30 ($13.01 increase (39%)). However if I compare the price at the airport it had just gone from $23.30 to $27.31 ($4.01 increase (17.2%)). These swings in prices are worse than bitcoin! More explanation is foind in the terms and conditions on the spirit site:

What a bizarre game these people play! If they are charging a fare of $8.37 then the fuel charges and compliance fee hits. When they are charging a cent then these fees appear and the usage charge doubles! I will be back on Sunday to pick up our most senior Derp Reporter. I will report on what happens to the prices then!


Maximizing the Hilton Aspire

Congrats to all the early adaptors into getting the Hilton Aspire Card! As my O-5 friend called and said to me that this card might even outshine the AmEx Platinum card for military! Right off the bat the $450 annual fee is waived (for Active Duty Military per MLA and SCRA), meaning the $250 Airline Credit and the $250 Hilton Resort credit pays $500 annually just to have this card in your wallet! The free night as well as the Diamond Status are just the cherry on top!

Getting the Card

Easiest way to get the card is to make sure you have less than 5 credit cards in your AmEx account, then applying here. There are no referral bonuses from having the card, or to upgrade the Ascend/Surpass, yet. This lack of referral links has been confirmed by three readers who currently have the activated card in hand. I was able to get the card in 2 business days via UPS by simply asking for expedited shipping for free. I was over 5 cards so I had to wait for a phone call to close one of my accounts.

Second easy way is to product change your Ascend/Surpass (by forfeiting the 100k sign on bonus) into the Aspire. Reader RWHR had this experience:

I already had the Hilton surpass which on my amex account said amex ascend. A couple of days ago, I went to all cards and saw the option to upgrade my ascent to the aspire. I did so and I upgraded it about 24 hours later.

I applied for the Aspire card in order to capture the 100k bonus, but I chose to close my Surpass/Ascend card to get under the 5 max. Not sure if I made the right call by closing my Surpass. I should of upgraded that Surpass to an Aspire in order to have double the $500 credits as well as the 100k points with the first aspire. I feel like an idiot!

For those with a current Ascend/Surpass, I would not be so quick to product change the Ascend to Aspire before getting the 100k bonus on applying directly for a new Aspire, in case it makes you ineligible in some quirk. I would wait till the 100k hits then do the Ascend to Aspire upgrade with the second card.

Another note worthy thing is the new card came with a different HHonors number despite entering it in the application. This can be corrected by simply calling in and merging the HHonors accounts.

$250 Airline Fee Credit

You can read all the terms and conditions here. The credit for $250 will work exactly like the AmEx Platinum $200 airline credit and PRG $100 credit. You will need to pick an airline for the year and then have till Dec 31 each year to spend it. No word if AA Gift Cards or United Gift Registry (when it is back up) will work. From the terms and conditions:

Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $250 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Card Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges

$250 Hilton Resort Credit

Now this $250 credit follows the card membership year, so you only get a reset of the credit when one year has passed since getting the card. Note this is different than the $250 Airline Fee Credit. This also only works at the Hilton Resorts found on this site here. The military leave staycation ones I can see are:

  • Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort (Next to Hale Koa)
  • Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
  • Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
  • Hilton Niseko Village
  • Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
  • Hilton Pensacola Beach
  • Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort
  • Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center
  • Hilton San Diego Del Mar
  • Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
  • Hotel Karlan San Diego – a DoubleTree by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego – Del Mar
  • Beach Village at The Del, Curio Collection by Hilton

From the terms and conditions this $250 can be used for:

Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at checkout

When you pay your bill these credits should post on your credit card account unlike the $100 property credit which gets deducted from your bill.

$100 Property Credit

The $100 credit is only activated according to the terms:

When you use your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to book through or by calling Hilton Honors at (855) 292-5757, for a two-night minimum stay at Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts, and Conrad® Hotels & Resorts

So if we pair this up with the $250 resort we can squeeze out $350 of free shit at the following hotels:

  • Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando

  • Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

  • Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Conrad Maldives

  • Conrad Bali

  • Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

  • Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

  • Conrad Bora Bora Nui

  • The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Las Casitas, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

  • Waldorf Astoria Park City

  • Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

  • Conrad Koh Samui

  • Conrad Algarve

  • Ho’olei at Grand Wailea

  • Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

  • Conrad Pezula

  • Conrad Punta Del Este

  • Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay

  • Conrad Cartagena

  • Waldorf Astoria Jeddah, Qasr Al Sharq

Note that the majority of these hotels are stupid expensive, with the exception of:

  1. $116 a night Punta Del Este, Uruguay
  2. $155 a night Algarve, Portugal
  3. $159 a night Nusa Dua, Indonesia
  4. $249 a night Paris, France

A two night stay at the Conrad Punta Del Este would cost you $116 a night or $232.80 with tax:

Then you would get $100 in property credit for being a 2 night stay at a Conrad, then a $250 credit for being a resort. You would get paid $117.20 to stay two nights in Uruguay. People have gamed this using the Fine Hotel and Resorts $100 credit on AmEx.

Unfortunately it would cost you $1,686 to fly there, but at least you get $250 towards that with the airline credit if United ever opens up the registry again!

Diamond Status

I have had diamond status for over a year now with my clever back matching. With Diamond, I got a suite upgrade in Iceland and free cupcakes and sparking white wine in Manhattan! At the Palmer House Hilton I was able to get lounge access as well as a two bathroom suite (a unique room indeed). Best part of Diamond Status is 48 hr room guarantee. I was even able to get a hotel during the BRK shareholders meeting in downtown Omaha when it was all booked up for normies.

Other diamond benefits include: 50% more points per stay,  as well as free breakfast at Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Hotels, lounge access, and a welcome amenity. All the benefits are listed and valued here.

Free Annual Weekend Night(s)

The free weekend night is nice, but not worth spending $60k to get another free night! From the terms:

The Annual Weekend Night Reward will be issued in the form of a redeemable code and sent in an email from Hilton Honors to the email address listed on your Hilton Honors account. You will receive the reward email within 8-14 weeks after opening your Card Account and each year within 8-14 weeks after your Card Account anniversary date. This benefit is only available to the Basic Card Member on the Card Account. The Annual Weekend Night Reward can be redeemed for one weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability at properties in the Hilton portfolio, excluding those listed at A weekend night is defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. To redeem the Annual Weekend Night Reward, Card Members must call 1-800-446-6677 and mention the code provided by Hilton Honors. The Annual Weekend Night Reward expires within one year from the date of issuance and must be redeemed on or before the expiration date. An Annual Weekend Night Reward will be forfeited if not redeemed on or before the expiration date. Card members are only eligible to receive this benefit once per year of your Card membership. You are only eligible to receive the Annual Weekend Night Reward once per year of Card membership, and you are only able to receive this benefit with an upgrade to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card one time.

More rules than a strip club to use one of these things and they can be found here. I have no experience in using the free night, but I guess the CitiBank card holders of the Hilton card got them before.

Card Upgrade Strategy

Well I fumbled on canceling the Surpass before I realized that I should of upgraded it to an Aspire, but the no-fee Hilton AmEx is currently offering 50,000 HHonors for a mere $1,000 spend. I should get this one and in a year move it up to another Aspire to get another $250 resort, $250 travel credit.

For those who haven’t had the Surpass or the Ascend use this link here:

It is nice to have another $450 card hitting the market that we get the annual fee waived. I say it’s going to be good churns for 2018 as the Marriott SPG elite card will be the next one to look out for!


Surpass to Ascend to Aspire: 300,000 total HHonors Points!

I read a pretty interesting article here about why in reality we may get the bonus for Ascend even if we had the Surpass in the past. This goes against my experience outlined here.  Despite what customer service says, there is no written rule regarding Surpass counting as Ascend. Basically there is no language in any of the application documentation specifying Surpass ownership, rather they say if you had this specific product, then no bonus.

I had the Surpass for many years and when I called in to close it before 18 January 2018, they offered me 5,000 points to keep it open, and convinced me that I could never get the Ascend bonus because I had the Surpass in the past. They also said that I would not have the physical cards until this card expired, but I would have the card benefits of the new Ascend card (no foreign transaction fees).

I also called in on 18 January 2018 and tried to get a bonus to upgrade my Surpass (now an Ascend) to an Aspire, but there was no upgrade offer given. I was then told the 5 card limit no longer existed and I was encouraged to apply for the Aspire. I took her advice, but of course the rep was wrong and I went into pending as the 5 card limit is still true.

Today i got a call from 1(801)945-5000 (Midvale, UT) asking me to call AmEx back at 1(800)266-1260 about my application. The rep on the phone apologized for the wrong information regarding the 5 card rule. She reiterated that you can only have 5 cards and unlimited charge cards. In order to get the Aspire, I had to close one of the cards and there was no need for 2 Hilton Cards. I said “Close my Ascend!” and she was confused, and asked “I see you only have the Surpass, do you want me to close the Surpass!?”.

So there is no record of me ever having the Ascend in the AmEx credit department, only Surpass! I am thinking of getting that Ascend for yet another 100k HHonors points for only $3k spend. Since I got 100k for Surpass in the past, and then 200k for a total haul of 300K HHonors! Use the link below to apply for your own Ascend, Aspire link coming soon:

Hope this is true!


How To Survive The Ultra Basic Bitch Fare at ORD

There is an amazing loophole where you can skip the $19.98 “Passenger Usage Charge” that Spirit Airlines charges for booking online or over the phone by booking in person at the airport. Here is an example flight from ORD to DFW booked on the Spirit website:

Note that the $19.98 fee counts for 30% of the ticket price (and more than the $16.74 fare). Even the people at One Mile At a Time were skeptical, but it totally works. If you would go in to ORD and book the flight in person you would only pay $46.60 for the same round trip ticket. This way we can beat the airlines at their own tax evasion game. Fares are taxed at 7.5%, but fees (which there must be a way to get out of) are not taxed at all. Notice how any options like carry on luggage, baggage, seat picking, and priority boarding are “fees”. This is the bulk of their revenue. This is much like a movie theater making most of their revenue on concessions rather than the movie ticket. We are also in a unique position because our Active Duty Military status gets our luggage fee waived on Sprit Airlines. From their own site:

Free Bags For Active Duty U.S. Military

For active duty military traveling on Spirit, we will provide two free checked bags and a free carry-on, in addition to the already free personal item.  The U.S. military member should arrive early enough to have their bags checked at the counter, and present their U.S. military ID. As much as we would like to extend this policy to your family and loved ones, it only applies to the active military member. Active duty U.S. Military can now save time at the airport by validating their active duty affiliation online during their booking using ID.ME, a third party verification service. Simply click on the “verify” button at checkout via to validate your active duty status and claim your free checked and carry-on bags.

Note that your child or spouse would not get this benefit! However I have reports that they will seat you with your party when you check you bags in for no additional charge, even if you were placed on separated seats on check in. Now the question is, how do you survive a  super basic bitch ticket?

Pre Flight Drinks

I am based in Chicago, and all Spirit flights depart from ORD Terminal #3 with the American Airline Flights. I sent my most senior correspondent on a trip from ORD to LAS for the weekend. She is an AU on my Citi American Airlines Executive Card which I get the $450 waived per the MLA. Just being an AU and not active duty, she got access to the Admirals Lounge in terminal 3 just down the way from the Spirit gates. I also have a SCRA waived United Club card which would get me into the United Club without flying United. The Delta club will not let you in for free since your not flying delta, but the USO in terminal 2 outside of security or the one in the rotunda will let you in if you show your CAC.

In Flight Drinks

Next is in flight amenities. If you notice, Spirit is one of the airline choices for your annual AmEx $200 reimbursement. If the Gift Card loophole gets shut down we might just have to drink away our credit this way. Other cards like the Chase Ritz card have a $300 credit that would count for “In flight Meals”. I made the mistake of asking the CSR in a Secure Message at Chase to reimburse a “Beverage” which was declined. I then re-asked as a “in flight meal” reimbursement and they gave me my $25

What $25 will buy you in flight

Arrival Lounges

Be careful about terminal access and Spirit. For example when my senior writer arrived in LAS she could not easily get to the Centurion Lounge as it was all the way over in terminal 3. Plus the flight got in at 11 pm meaning it would of been closed. Her return flight was luckily on United so she had access to the centurion lounge on the way back. Coming soon will be a break down of lounge access per destination Spirit goes to and what lounges are accessible. In the mean time here are the locations that they fly to from ORD:

I then mapped the for all the Florida locations:

At $20 a segment to 5 destinations in Florida, this sure beats the MAC flights! More to come with a lounge access chart!