Ebates, Wyndham, and Founder’s Card Triple Stack Mattress Run

The most overlooked hotel award program is Wyndham which gives any night at their hotel for 15,000 points a night. The points are super easy to earn by taking advantage of bonus events throughout the years.

For this triple stack to work you need the Barclay’s Annual Fee Wyndham Card. (Referral link here)

You also need a Ebates account. (referral link here)

Finally you need a founders card account. (referral link here)

I earned 60k points by getting the annual fee Barclay Wyndham card and paying the annual fee. Barclay doesn’t wave fees for military ever since we broke them with the $995 Gold Luxury card that we had essentially used as a 0% APR $10,000 loan. I have since tried to scrap the card for its residual gold plate, but not even the scrap yard says it is worth it. I pay the annual fee because the card comes with a free night on renewal which is worth ore than the annual fee.

Right now Wyndham is offering 15,000 points with two stays at any of their properties including HoJo’s:

What is nice is most of their hotels offer a military rate of less than $60 a night. For example the one Wyndham by Great Lakes Naval Base can be had for $55 a night at the military rate:So for two nights it cost me $109.94 to get 15k points. I can use 15k points for a “go free plus” to book anywhere including downtown Chicago Wyndham River Front for 15k points:

Now you may see that spending $110 for a $174.93 hotel is not much of a savings, however the room comes with an Viator experience tailored to each hotel (use my link here for $10) if you are a diamond member of Wyndham and use points to book. I was able to get the diamond status with Ceasar’s Total Rewards and then match it to Wyndham as a benefit of my founders card membership. Examples of experiences are shown here. For the Chicago location they offered me two tickets to a prohibition tour worth $90:

Total value of a diamond member redeeming 15k points for a Wyndham room is $264.93 which is a $90 tour and a $174.93 room. We spent $110 on two nights at a chepo Days Inn to trigger the 15k bonus, but I didn’t mention that Wyndham is on Ebates which we get 2.5% cashback for the Wyndham hotel booking. We also get points for the stay:

With charging the Days Inn to the Wyndham card you get 5 points per $1 spent on Wyndham Hotel stays, that means 549.7 points from spend and then the base earn per night is 1,000 points with go get ’em! if we subtract the 2.5% cashback from Ebates we get 2,476 points from the spend and stay + 15,000 bonus =17,476 points for $107.1915 ($109.94 minus 2.5%). This makes 162 points per dollar spent while we get $264.93 in value for 15k points or 1.7 cents for 1 point spent!

Each point cost me .6 cents to earn, but I got 1.7 cents in value per point. So each dollar spent using this stack resulted in $2.74 in value received. Pretty good return on investment, and you don’t even have to stay the night, just check in the the Day’s Inn and then check out in a technique known as a mattress run.




Hilton Aspire and Ascend Referral Links are Now Up

The Hilton Surpass was replaced by two new products called Aspire and Ascend. Lots of info here on ask Sebby. The new offer of 100k HHonors points for $3,000 spend. For those who had the surpass, you can’t get the ascend offer since they are counting the ascend as a surpass. I for one kept my surpass and am hoping for an upgrade offer to the Aspire.

The aspire gives a free annual night, also $250 in Hilton Resort Credit and another $250 in airline credit much like the AmEx Platinum (can be used for some gift cards). Use my link here. I wrote an article here on my whole experience.

Use the link here for the ascend. Pretty much exactly the same features as the surpass along with no foreign transaction fees.


Chase 24 rule: Card Open Date ≠ Bonus Award Date

The ubiquitous warning on every Chase application is:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months

Back in October of 2015 I opened my Chase British Airways card and got the bonus of 50k on 22-Nov-15, then another 25k on 22-Jan-16, and a final payout of 25k on 22-Apr-16. This was in line with the offer of 100k points over several tiers reported two years ago. I ended up closing the Avios account (no SCRA or MLA waiver) in preparation of applying for the product again to get the current 75k offer as well as MLA protection. I thought I would be eligible because I would no longer have the card, nor would I be in the 24 month window of getting the first bonus!

Unfortunately my plan was foiled because they counted the last tier, April 2016 payout as receiving a bonus! I called Chase Lending Service at 1-888-270-2127 and they explained to me that my credit wasn’t even pulled, and that the application was flagged because I was within 24 months of receiving the April 2016 bonus. SO I would have to wait till April to get my sweet MLA Waived Avios Card.

Keep in mind Chase keeps excellent records, and don’t be so quick to close accounts until your last bonus payout times out! Check those statements both on the Chase side and the awards program side. You might be surprised at how long some of these card took to get the awards!


Regrets, I’ve had a few

Well it has been less than a month with the AmEx Aspire and I already hit my spend to get 100k points! Like an idiot I closed my Ascend to get under 5 cards, instead of closing another card and upgrading the ascend to another Aspire to hit the Flight and Resort bonus twice a year ($500 more).

For those who didn’t have the Aspire or Surpass before, its time to hit AmEx for another 100k Hilton Honors point using the link below:

Happy churning!


3 United Updates

1) Orders Required for United Club Access

As of 01 February 2018 United Clubs require you to bring printed travel order to access United Clubs when flying on their airlines. This was reported by reader Howie who has previously reported on the Centurion Lounge in Sweden. He reported being asked for orders in SAN and IAD this last week. From the United Club website:

United Club℠ invitation

We are pleased to invite active duty military members in uniform or with present leave orders or rest and recuperation papers to visit our United Club locations on the same day they are traveling on a United- or United Express®-operated flight. Please present your military ID, your boarding pass and sponsoring documentation for entry. Access is available to active duty military members and family members with gate passes or traveling on the same flight as the military member and is subject to each location’s capacity and seating availability. For more information about our United Club locations, please see the Club and Lounge Access page.

I guess the rule has always been there, but they are enforcing it to the letter from now on. On the Club Access website we have this:

Make sure you carry your orders from NSIPS, or TAD orders from DTS if you want access to the Club.  I for one recommend getting your spouse or yourself the United Club card and using the MLA to get the annual fee waiver. This way you will have access without showing orders when traveling with the spouse, and then your spouse would get 2 free bags checked as well as United Club access when traveling without you. Keep in mind the applicant would have to be under 5/24 to get the Unite Club Credit card.

2) United Gift Registry Still Closed

United still has to way to contribute to their gift registry outside of using their branded Chase United Travel Bank credit card. This is a bummer for those who just got the Aspire card form AmEx and are looking for a place to dump their $250 for the year. I am happy to report that American Airlines gift cards still work. I called in and chose American Airlines for my Hilton Aspire card. Then bought $100, $100, and a $50 gift card from American:

Three days later the benefit showed it was depleted:

On the fourth day the credit posted for the previous day:

3) Use AmEx MR to Book United via Singapore Air

Frequent miler posted an article here with an excellent go by on how to book United Flights using Singapore Miles. You can transfer the points from Chase UR or AmEx MR to Singapore Air. Keep in mind you can always book using MR or UR directly using their travel portal for 1.5 cents. SO do your calculations to see if it will be worth it to transfer.



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!