$25k AmEx Personal Loan at 0.00% APR?

Dane, an O-3 reader in Japan, alerted me to Spencer’s article over at his blog Military Money Manual which claims that the SCRA benefits will reduce interest rates to 0.00% APR for an AmEx unsecured Personal Loan. Data points also reported here on reddit show this SCRA reduction method is possible. The APR waiver seemed to be a extension of goodwill for military members rather than a legal obligation. If the APR would go up to anything at all, I would just immediately pay the loan back (at no penalty), and I suggest you do the same if the APR does change.

Seeing that I really had nothing to lose, I went ahead and applied at the site here, I had no pre-qualified offers:

but my wife (who is active duty) got this:

Wow, $25k for much less than $760 a month seemed pretty good, the application was already preloaded with my bank information as well as my address. It did have a question for what the loan was for, and had this caveat:

So the loan is not for bitcoin, investing into stocks, education, or cars. I chose vacation and then had this last page:

I submitted the application and it went to pending. I was able to check my status here and it showed this familiar page:

Dan chimed in and mentioned that the loan may count as a credit card account and against the 5 max rule:

There is a Reddit thread on it here. This post in particular states how it counts for one of the slots. Might have to call in and close one of her 5 cards:

  1. SPG Luxury Card (Keep for $300 Credit and Free Night)
  2. Hilton Honors Ascend (To Be Upgraded To Aspire for $250 Air, $250 Resort, and Free Night)
  3. Delta Personal Platinum Card (Keep for Companion Pass)
  4. Delta Business Reserve Card (Just Opened)
  5. American Express Everyday Preferred Card (most likely to be closed)

Update: Approved despite having 5 cards, SCRA is not for certain


Marriott Gift Cards are Charged As Room Rate (In Person Only)

I had just a few days left to redeem this offer:

I happened to be in Waikiki, so I walked in with my O-6 select buddy stationed in Hawai’i and bought a physical gift card at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort:

When the charged posted, it was coded as category: Travel – Lodging, and showed an entire month’s stay:

This triggered the AmEx offer of $60 back on $300 spend:

It also took the last bit off from my remaining $300 annual hotel credit for SPG Lux:

I am not alone on this datapoint, reader Scott says:

Hey Derp, wanted to add another datapoint. I was able to buy a $300 gift card from a Marriott front desk in the Bay Area and it got reimbursed just a few days later. I was able to do it again with my upgraded card, this time buying a $360 gift card and getting reimbursed for the $300 credit and the $60 of $300 spent Amex offer. After my card renewal later this month, I’m going to do it a third time for a grand total of $960 in Marriott gift cards in around 2 months of having the cards.

Reader RWHR writes:

It worked on $300 gift card at hotel front desk. It triggered the $300 credit plus it triggered the $60/$300 promotion I had added to the account as a sweet bonus! I bought gift card on Monday. $60 credit showed up on Thursday and $300 credit on Saturday (Hotel was the JW Marriott)

Now I tried to buy a card at the Courtyard By Marriott in Waikiki, but was sent to the real Marriott down the road, Scott also had the same experience in SFO:

I did it at a local hotel’s front desk, and got physical gift cards.  Not all Marriots do it though.. I had to call a few before I found one that did.  I’d say the bigger one’s in the cities are your best bet- I had no luck at any of the other Residence Inns or Towneplaces etc that were closer to my home.

The gift card can be applied at the end of any stay towards room rate as well as any incidentals. I have not tried buying online, but will keep this trick in mind in case I don’t spend the $300 on my SPG lux card before it resets! Please use this link if you are at all interested in the SPG Lux.



Last Chance To Sign Up For Derp WeBull Report Challenge

If you are interested in participating in the Derp Report WeBull Challenge, this is the last call for sign up! Prizes will be:

  1. First Prize: One (1) digital $250 Southwest Airlines gift card (Thanks to AmEx Hilton Aspire)
  2. Second Prize: One (1) digital $100 American Airlines gift card (Thanks to AmEx Platinum)
  3. Third Prize: One (1) Physical $50 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card (Thanks to AmEx Platinum)

I have 18 eligible people so far, but I am not sure if they are up for the challenge. I just have your email address and phone numbers and will be reaching out in the next few days. Please comment below if you are signed up and ready to go!


AmEx Rose Gold $10 Dining Credit

I didn’t think much of the AmEx $10 dining credit until I was out late at night and had a craving for cheesecake. Luckily I had my Rose Gold AmEx card and we were around The Royal Hawaiian Shopping center where the Cheesecake Factory is.

They had closed at 22:00, but the O-6 select was very convincing to have them accommodate us for a to go order. Each slice came to about $8.90 a piece with tax. I decided to get two slices, but in the future probably only get one slice and tip $1.10:

The cake was yummy, and about 3 days later the charge posted and I was compensated $10 without even asking:

So the $10 dining credit is real, and works without any problems. I plan on using this with Seamless or Grubhub in the future. I also earned 71 points. Please use my link here if you are interested in the new AmEx Rose Gold Card!



The Perks of Multiple Business Platinums

There has been multiple reports of inconsistent upgrade practices regarding a product change from AmEx Business Green, and Business Gold to a second AmEx Business Platinum. I was able to upgrade mine via online chat just a mere 2 weeks of applying for the card. I spent $6.56 at Walgreens and paid the balance when it posted on October 2nd.

Three days later my 5k MR point bonus hit:

I then used the online chat and Upgraded from my business green to platinum after trying three times.

There are three reasons we are seeking multiple Business Platinums. One is for the sweet $200 in airline fee reimbursements we get every January 1 to use on Delta, AA, and Southwest gift cards. If we can do this upgrade before the year is up we can get a gift card now and again in January. Another is the fact that all the AmEx business products don’t show on your credit reports as they use their own internal systems for approval. This means there won’t be any cards against you if you are seeking 5/24.

The best reason for multiple biz plats is for the 35% points back when booking flights with points on amex travel. You only get 35% on the airline you select, so with multiple Airlines selected you can get effectively 1.5 cents per point for multiple airlines. Whenever I book an airline ticket (of the airline I selected) with MR points I get this email:

For example I selected American Airlines for my new Biz Green Turned Platinum and booked 2 tickets to Springfield, MO to go and visit Branson for 80,128 MR points. In 6-10 weeks I should get 28,044 MR points back (35%) effectively costing only 52,084 MR for a $801.28 fare for two. This makes it out to being 1.5 cents per point which is par with Chase Sapphire Reserve level of redemption.

I am planning to select United, American, Delta, and Southwest to both diversify my points redemption possibility and also to have gift cards (with exception of United) in each airline. I am also happy to show an interesting datapoint my O-6 select friend in Hawaii was able to get a $200 gift card reimbursed for American airlines (previously possible with $100 cards):

Now MR points for Southwest is tricky, you just have to charge the Southwest tickets to the card and then call customer service after the purchase to apply points to the charge. Million Mile Secrets suggests these steps:

Fortunately, there is a workaround that is faster and more convenient.  And I’ve recently had success using it!

Several AMEX travel agents have told me to go ahead and make a flight booking directly at Southwest.com using my AMEX Business Platinum card.

Then, after the charge posts, call AMEX Travel at 800-297-2977 and request to pay with AMEX Membership Rewards points.

It is all here in the terms:

If you select Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or AirTran Airways, to receive your 35% Airline Bonus you must call Business Platinum Travel Service at 1-800-553-9497. A flight booked as part of a travel package or booked with the American Express U.S. Representative Travel Network is not eligible for the 35% Airline Bonus. In addition, to be eligible to receive extra points, Card account(s) must not be cancelled or past due at the time of extra points fulfillment. If booking is canceled, the extra points will be deducted from your Membership Rewards account. Extra points will be credited to your Membership Rewards account approximately 6-10 weeks after eligible airfare purchases appear on your billing statement. See membershiprewards.com/terms for Membership Rewards program terms and conditions. This 35% Airline Bonus is the maximum Membership Rewards points you can get back for Pay with Points on flights booked with American Express Travel. Bonus ID: A6ZB.

Diversification over multiple Biz Platinums will make redemption of points more worthwhile. There are several airlines to choose from:

Here is my current situation and how I am planning to diversify my gift card portfolio:

  1. My Biz Gold turned Platinum: American Airlines
  2. My Biz Platinum: Southwest Airlines
  3. My Biz Green turned Platinum: Delta
  4. Wife’s Biz Platinum: American Airlines
  5. Wife’s Biz Gold turned Platinum: United Airlines

I hit American Airlines twice to take advance of both points pools. I didn’t want to be stuck with United twice because their travel bank is still broken. If you want to apply for any of the AmEx Business Products, please use my links below:


Time To Drop Blue Cash Preferred?

12 years ago I got my first AmEx card, the Blue Cash Everyday, which I product changed to the Blue Cash Preferred after joining the Navy since the $95 annual fee would be waived. I have kept this card for 12 years only because of the 6% cash back on groceries which cannot be beat. I also kept the card to have a 12 year old anchor to up my credit score. The downside in doing this is one of my valuable 5 AmEx credit card slots has been filled by a card that give me no annual benefit such as a free hotel night and $250 Resort Credit and $250 airline credit like the Hilton Aspire, or a $300 hotel credit and free night like the SPG Luxury or even a companion pass like the Delta Platinum or Reserve. This slot even takes the place of a lesser card such as the Hilton Ascend, Hilton Honors, SPG Personal, or Delta Gold or Blue Sky that could be upgraded to another one of the higher product to double dip.

I came to this realization today when I finally saw how valuable the new Rose Gold AmEx Card is when the 4x MR earning is paired with the 1.25 cents per MR point cash out with Charles Schwab Platinum and 1.5 cents per point for flights with the Business Platinum.

I also came across this article regarding the illogical obsession of pursuing a 850 credit score. Turns out anything over 760 is treated the same as a 850 in terms of best rates. So there goes my main point for having my 12 year old Blue Cash Preferred taking up one of these valuable slots!

The second point of having the card was for 6% on groceries and 3% on gas. Which this new Rose Gold card has taken its place. I already use my CostCo card for 4% on gas which puts this card in the obsolete category. I made this chart below reflecting what cards I currently have and the cash back:

My humble summary of best categories and cards is as such:

Since I rarely shop at department stores we can bring the Blue Cash Preferred to the chopping block. I hope to replace it soon with a Personal SPG card or Hilton Honors card in hops of upgrading for another high level product. This will be my make up as my solid 5 cards:

  1. Delta Reserve
  2. Delta Platinum (Replace with Business Reserve)
  3. SPG Luxury
  4. Hilton Aspire
  5. Hilton Honors (Upgrade to Aspire)

This set up will result in 2 first class companion passes, $300 at Marriott, One 50k Marriott night, $500 Hilton Resort Credit, $500 in Airline Gift Cards, and 2 free Hilton nights every year.

I think its time to drop the Blue Cash Preferred, now that we can get the same bonus on the Rose Gold charge card, thus freeing up one of our valuable 5 card slots. Thoughts? Comment below.


Rose Gold Card Received!

I applied for the AmEx Rose Gold Card when applications went live on 04 October and got my card today! AmEx underpromised and over delivered again! I received this email on 07 October:

7-10 days! I was bummed, because I wanted to use the card for my NYC trip this Friday. I then got this mysterious shipment notification from UPS yesterday:

Sure enough, 19 hours form the notification I got my card, way beyond my expectations! Here are the required unboxing photos:

and the rose gold card:

I made a new account to make sure I could upgrade it easier to another Platinum. I went ahead and signed up for the $120 dining offer as well as the $100 for American Airlines gift card:

Here are the terms:

New! $120 Dining Credit

To receive this benefit, Card Members must enroll. Only the Basic Card Member or Authorized Account Manager(s) on a U.S. Consumer Gold Card Account can enroll in the benefit. Traditional Gold, Senior Gold, Classic Gold and Ameriprise Gold Cards are not eligible. Eligible purchases must be charged to a Card Member on the enrolled Card Account for the benefit to apply. Purchases by both the Basic Card Member and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a $10 statement credit per month, for a total of $120 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Participating partners are Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. Excludes Shake Shack locations in ballparks, stadiums, airports and racetracks. Not valid on gift cards or merchandise purchases. Only valid for transactions completed in the United States of America, and US Territories. Please allow 2-4 weeks after an eligible purchase is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. Please call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase. American Express relies on the merchant to process transactions within the same calendar month that you made the purchase in order to apply the $10 monthly statement credit in the month that it was intended. For example, if you make an eligible purchase on the last day of the month, but the merchant doesn’t process that transaction until the next day, then the statement credit would be applied in the following month. If American Express does not receive information that identifies your transaction as eligible for the benefit, you will not receive the statement credit. For example, your transaction will not be eligible if it is not made directly with the merchant. In addition, in most cases, you may not receive the statement credit if your transaction is made with an electronic wallet or through a third party or if the merchant uses a mobile or wireless card reader to process it. To be eligible for this benefit, Card Account(s) must not be canceled and not past due at the time of statement credit fulfillment. If a charge for an eligible purchase is included in a Pay Over Time balance on your Card Account, the statement credit associated with that charge may not be applied to that Pay Over Timebalance. Instead, the statement credit may be applied to your Pay In Full balance. For additional information, call the number on the back of your Card.

Here is how it looks on the website:

and the little gauge shows it in the dashboard:

Can’t wait to use it instead of my CSR for dining! The 4x MR points worth 1.5 cents for travel for a sweet 6% cash value vs only 4.5% for CSR for 3x UR. Here is my referral link for 50k points with $3k spend and 20% cash back on dining (up to $100).

I wonder what Chase will do in response to this new card.


Gift Cards Work For SPG Lux

Big thanks to reader RWHR for this amazing datapoint regarding the SPG Lux:

It worked on $300 gift card at hotel front desk. It triggered the $300 credit plus it triggered the $60/$300 promotion I had added to the account as a sweet bonus! I bought gift card on Monday. $60 credit showed up on Thursday and $300 credit on Saturday

For those that were wondering how the SPG Lux $300 credit works, we have used it successfully for room rates, in room dining while staying on points, and now for a gift card bought at the front desk. This may very well be a huge money making card. I suggest every AD get the Lux and then the personal SPG with the intention of upgrading the Personal SPG version to the Lux. This would mean $600 in credit as well as 2 free nights a year.

I have exhausted my credits for the year but this offer of $60 for $300 spend might still be good for a gift card, even if I cant double dip it:

Again, thanks for the data points out there! Keep them coming on the comments below!


AD Stationed In Hawaii Should Hit Delta Plat and Reserve Hard

In two weeks I am going to the ADA meeting and to visit my best O-6(s) reader in Hawaii! This made me think of the unique loophole those service-members have with Delta’s companion pass.

If you are active duty living in Hawaii you can get up to 5 free companion passes (Up to First Class) every year from Hawaii to Mainland from having 5 annual fee waived AmEx Delta Reserve cards. There is one provision of the AmEx Reserve Guidelines that allows use of the companion pass to fly OCONUS:

The companion pass can be used for overseas flights for: residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) the flight must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI

Normally us 48 CONUS normies are restricted to only using this pass to fly between the lower 48 states. If you want 5 companion passes, you must have a plan that keeps in mind the 5 card max rule and the 2 cards every 90 days rule. This would be the sequence of application to have 5 Delta Reserve cards:

  1. Get the AmEx Personal Delta Reserve Card (40K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  2. Get the AmEx Business Delta Reserve Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $5k spend)
  3. Wait 90 days since you can only get two credit cards in a 90 day window
  4. Get the AmEx Personal Delta Platinum Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  5. Get the AmEx Business Delta Platinum Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  6. Wait another 90 days since you can only get two credit cards in a 90 day window
  7. Get the AmEx Personal Gold Delta Card (60K Sky Miles on $3k spend)
  8. At the one year mark of the Delta Reserve Cards you will get two companion passes good for first class
  9. At the 1 year mark for Delta Plats you will get 2 more certs only good for main cabin
  10. Upgrade the 2 Delta Platinums to Reserves to get two more first class companion passes
  11. Upgrade the Delta Gold at the one year mark to the 5th Delta Reserve
  12. Enjoy a perpetual annual fee waived 5 companion passes good for first class for the rest of your active duty time

If you follow this sequence you will have 310,000 SkyMiles good for 7 round trips form HNL to SEA:

and 40,000 MQM which is almost enough for gold status:

The companion passes can potentially get you 2 tickets for $2,793 on Delta ONE First Class form HNL to MSP:

That is $698.43 a segment for the 17 hour round trip journey! Even at the main cabin rate of $974.60 the companion pass saves you big:

You can fly two people at $243.65 a segment by taking advantage of this companion pass. If you live (or can claim an address in Hawaii) and can originate a flight form Hawaii to mainland, this might be worth filling most of your 5 AmEx slots to take advantage of the companion pass loophole!


Biz Green To Plat: Denied Three Times Before The CSR Folded

Shout out to my reader Dan who pointed out the loophole that allows product changes without a one year wait for business cards. I followed his steps, and I was able to successfully upgrade my Green Biz today to Platinum Biz in less than a week of having it open! This, of course, was met with a lot of inconsistencies among Customer Service Reps (CSR).

On 25 September 2018 I got the Business Green Card, and I received the card on 30 Sep 2018 and charged a single charge of $6.56 at Walgreen’s:

The charge posted on 01 October and I paid off the amount the next day. By 05 October the 5,000 points posted to the account:

This is when things got weird. I was denied three times to upgrade from Green Business to Platinum Business:

  1. I called the number on the back of my Green Card and requested the upgrade, everything went alright until I was put on hold for about 20 mins. They said that the computer stated I had just opened the card that day, and I had to wait one billing cycle before any upgrade could take place. I was given a date of 24 October to call back to upgrade on despite having the account open on 30 Sept 2018
  2. I logged in and used the online chat to upgrade and was told that only downgrades can take place in chat, and I was directed to another site to upgrade without any success
  3. I logged in again and was told that one year of green was needed to upgrade the card

and this is the last denial:

Then I HUCA on online chat and finally got what I wanted:

Success! I got another successful verification message later on in chat:

If you get denied in one of many ways, Hang Up and Call Again (HUAC) you will eventually get someone that will go ahead and upgrade the AmEx Green Business to Platinum with no delay. You don’t even have to wait till the 5k points post according to Dan. I got the green in the mail on 30 Sept, and now I have another Biz Plat by 05 October for another $200 flight credit before the year ends! Use my link here if you want to take the same ride!