Ritz Carlton Card Still Alive (But It’s a Plastic Sandwich)

Over at Little Miss Traveler’s place and drinking with her husband. She waited one year with her MLA waived Marriott Premier Plus (Now Bonvoy Boundless) and upgraded over the phone with Chase to a Ritz-Carlton Card. It arrived today (after three days) in a medium box:

Check out her unboxing photos and article here. Her website is: littlemisstraveler.com . It’s nice they still have the card, but it’s no longer a solid slab of metal weighing an full ounce! Plastic is what they make toilet seats out of, ewwwww:

Card is now plastic with aluminum center like CSR and Marriott

Use my link or hers on her site to get your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.


GAME OVER: No More Airline Gift Card Reimbursements From AmEx On Any Airline

Today flyertalk posted about $50 and $100 Delta Gift Cards are posting as passenger tickets. Yesterday we noted that Southwest was dead as well. On top of all that they killed American Airlines again. Well we done did it for sure, looks like we are all going to have a minibar that looks like this next year:

The game has changed, and I was thinking how the shine is gone on the AmEx Platinum as well as the Hilton Honors Aspire. Not to fret, there are plenty of other banks and cards out there! We gotta move on from AmEx Platinum, it is old and busted. Ironically it has become the most basic bitch card of our entire collection. Let those fake churners flash that thing around! Here was my comment on the whole AmEx Plat situation if you missed it:

I would say more than half of the AD that flash around their annual fee waived platinum that I encounter don’t care to use their Saks Fifth, Uber, or even their gift card for airlines. They do however mindlessly show off the card like it’s the best thing ever, and put every possible charge on it despite it only earning 5x for direct booked airline flights.

Just to have the card is the greatest benefit to many of AmEx Platinum Users. I am sure many of you readers knows a friend that just got it because of the fee waiver, but had no idea they could MAKE $500 a year off the thing!

Hell, I have encountered may FULL $550 annual fee PAYING civilians that don’t use any of these benefits!

This my friend is why AmEx wins even for the handful of super duper churners here. They got pretty much a base of people that have the card for the sake of having the card!

The AmEx platinum is your typical veblen good! The higher the annual fee, the higher the demand, but no one knows why! I just hope I can explain to our AD brethren that it’s just more than a status symbol, but by all means it’s not the only card that I suggest on this site!

TLDR: AmEx Plat, just one of Many, Many Cards you should have!


How should we address our new super chuning wallet? I am planning on finishing up MLA travel club this weekend so I will put it all out there. Here is the current plan:


I am planning on hitting all 5 chase cards first and slip in a double application one day for the Chase Ink while under 5/24 (thanks strugglebus for the suggestion)

Product NameDispositionReturnLink:
Chase Sapphire ReserveAll Travel$300Public
Chase FreedomChange to CSR$300Referral
Chase Freedom UnlimitedChange to CSR$300Referral
Chase United Club Card*A Lounge Access$550Public
Chase Bonvoy BoundlessChange to Ritz$3001 NightReferral
Chase Ink Biz PreferredClose after 80k3x PhoneReferral

U.S. Bank

I would suggest hitting U.S. Bank right after Chase since they are so strict. I would go ahead and spend the $350 and the $200 on a plane ticket and have it reimbursed. You could load all $550 on to Uber to have free uber and Uber eats for the year!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
AltitudeAll Digital Wallet$325, In Flight WiFiNo
Skypass PremierKorean Airlines$200, KA Lounge PassesNo

American Express Credit Cards

I am almost biased to having 4 Marriott Bonvoy cards and a single Hilton Aspire since the $250 airline credit is no longer usable. The 50k anytime night is better than a weekend night, and the $300 credit can be used for Marriott gift cards online (Thanks Dan for the datapoint). Delta reserve sucks since domestic first sucks. However if you live in Hawaii then the Delta Reserve is a no brainer!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Hilton Honors AspireAll Hilton$500, 1 nightYes
Hilton Honors AscendUpgrade to Aspire$500, 1 nightYes
Hilton HonorsUpgrade to Aspire$500, 1 nightYes
Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantAll Marriott$300, 1 nightYes
Marriott Bonvoy BusinessReplace W Brilliant35k NightYes
Delta ReserveAll DeltaComp PassYes

American Express Charge Cards

The only advantage now to multiple Platinums (and subordinate products) is just to get multiple 60k offers for $5k spend. The annual benefit is limited now to $200 on Uber per card as well as $100 on Saks Fifth.

For the business cards the benefit of $200 a year on Dell is useful if you have any dell or microsoft.com things to buy. I would not suggest getting multiple AmEx Platinum cards without bonuses just to multiply this. THere is so much to earn elsewhere!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500Yes
Gold ChargeGroceries, Upgrade to Pt$500Yes
Green ChargeUpgrade to Pt$500Yes
MS Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
CS Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
AP Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
Business Platinum$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes
Business Gold$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes
Business Green$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes


I believe this is where it’s at! Planning on hitting every on of their products now. Consistent data points on MLA waivers for AD and spouses. All cards can be upgraded to Multiple Prestige cards that all offer $250 a year for any travel reimbursement! I am not sure the policies on using multiple cards to pay a ticket. We do need data points on gift cards on Prestige getting reimbursed.

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Citi PrestigeAll Dining$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo
Citi PremierPC to Prestige$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo
AA ExecutiveOW Lounges$650No
AA PlatinumPC to Prestige$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo

We all knew this day would come since the United Gift registry was shut down years ago. Let’s get over it and gather up some data points regarding gift cards on U.S. Bank Altitude, Skypass Premier, and Citi Prestige.


$200/$250 Southwest Gift Card Shutdown?

Getting some reports out there that $200 Southwest gift cards are coding as flight tickets on Southwest.com. Which means no reimbursements on the annual $200 flight incidental fee when using the AmEx Platinum.

Now what is interesting is $100 gift cards are still coding as “freight” which is being reimbursed. Check out flyer talk for the latest information. Any experience from those readers out there?


Why We Are Hitting United Club Card Before CSR

The time has come to bring player two on the scene. My wife will be under 5/24 in the first time in two years! She has been hitting only AmEx Business cards, and has flown under the radar of Chase’s draconian churn police! This has all paid off because now we had 24 months to devise a perfect churning plan. Right now her credit karma score looks like this:

Even better is hitting 24 months on her 5th card on 01 July 2019:

Now only one slot will be opened, and you would think that she should jump right on CSR! However the current offer for CSR is 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Where as the United Club card is 50K United MP for only $3k spend! We are planning another European trip and want to supplement her current 140k miles with either UR transfers or with more United Miles.

The United Club Card does come with Star Alliance Lounge access, as well as access to all domestic United Clubs while flying on any airlines. However this is just the smallest perk. What makes this card useful is this trifecta:

I was lucky to have the United Explorer card before I joined. This card was covered under the SCRA, so I product changed it to an United CLub Card, and had it ever since.

I finally got a chance to book our first summer trip. List price for 2 adults and three kids to fly ORD to RAP (Rapid City, SD) would have been an astronomical $2,583 just for the flights alone! I was able to book using my United Club Card (5/24 restricted) right now you can get 50K Bonus Miles using the link: clubcardinvite.com. Keep in mind they will waive the $450 annual fee, but you have to not had more than 5 cards in the last 24 months AT ANY BANK. The United Club card also gave me the ability to find lower fares when paying with points. When I searched for these segments on united.com they had them listed for 12.5K Mileage Plus for each one way segment:

The other hidden benefit from the United Club Card is Hertz Presidential Circle membership which has given me an upgrade to an Cadillac Escalade in the past when we traveled to Hawaii. This status sometimes gives you a lower rate. I ended up booking a Standard SUV via delta.com for sky miles for this trip at an amazing $49 a day with taxes for a Standard SUV.

I used my now defunct United Gift Registry funded by $200 AmEx Platinum reimbursements to fly the entire family to Hawaii. I booked a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or similar (5 Passenger Standard SUV Group L SFAR (L) ) and ended up with this:

Cadillac Escalade Upgrade from Hertz Presidential Circle via United Club Card

I booked my whole family to fly to Mount Rushmore for 12,500 United Miles a segment (using some topped off UR points):

This flight would have been $479 a person! You can get about 3.8 cents per UR point this way. The best part is I got upgraded to first class since the flight is so stupid expensive and empty:

The takeaway lesson is this, it might be time to try to get under 5/24. You just got to stick to AmEx Biz cards for 24 months. It is hard, but in the long run well worth it to not try to get that 5th AmEx personal platinum just because you can!


Double Dip Cards?

AmEx is so lucrative for the MLA covered users that it makes sense to get multiple of many cards. When it became clear that people could simply apply for another Bonvoy Brilliant even while having one got me thinking if it would be possible to get another Gold AmEx while holding one. This would mean $20 in cheesecake every month on top of upgrading to two gold cards in a year!

On top of that the AmEx gold has $100 credit that will now work for American Airlines Gift Cards (back on as of 15 June 2019).

Any data points out there for this? Looking forward to more monthly cheesecake and free AA flights!


AmEx American Airlines Gift Card Reimbursements Back? NO!

Update: O-6 in Hawaii says his $200 gift card coded as a gift card, multiple other reports stating that the error has been fixed! Looks like we only have southwest and delta to hit now.

Reader el_georgie reported two data points (here and here) that suggest that the AA gift cards charged to AmEx Platinum are working again:

and on reddit:

Does anyone out there have any credits left on there AmEx Platinum and is willing to try to buy a $200 gift card? Your input is appreciated!

I have my O-6 in Hawaii attempting a $100 purchase right now.


Huge Delta Bonuses Are Back!

Update: there is a 75k offer for the Platinum Delta at http://www.delta.com/actnow but it won’t throw me points. there is also a 70k offer on biz gold, 80k on biz plat!

BLUF: If you got $16k to spend in 3 months, you can earn 285,000 Delta miles, $150 statement credit, 25k MQM. Offer ends July 31st. All annual fees waived for active duty. Please use my referral links below:

I just flew round trip in Delta ONE from ORD to FRA via JFK using only 172,000 Delta SkyMiles. This flight would have been over $10k if paid for in cash:

The flat bed was nice for the 8 hour flight, which included all the meals and drinks, as well as a nice Tumi Amenity kit. I was able to get six cents per point!

Full review to come later on MLA Travel Club. Now I am ready to experience one level up on the Delta ONE Suite only from DET to AMS on the brand new A350:

This service is a level above with a closing door and walls!

Limited dates in October that have one way non stop segments for 105k Skymiles:

If you have 3 slots of your 5 open for AmEx then it’s a good move. At the one year mark you would end up with two companion passes and you can upgrade the gold to another Reserve.