Reminder To Destroy Your Priority Pass From HHonors Surpass

For those who signed up for the  HHonors card (use my link here). You will soon get another Priority Pass!

Make sure you cut it up! Since this one will charge you $27 for every lounge visit! Stick with the one you get from AmEx Platnium, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or The Ritz-Carlton Card from Chase which all get you in a lounge for yourself and 2 guests for free!

-Derp

 

Delta Triple Dip Time: 170K SkyMiles, 20k MQM, $150 Credit, 2 Companion Passes for $3k*3 spend

AmEx is really pushing their Delta Cards of which I already have all three. Every year I get 2 companion passes, one from my Platinum and another from my Reserve AmEx card. Since I get the annual fee waived for being active duty, it’s like a 2 free delta roundtrip tickets from AmEx every year! This means I can bring along a companion on a flight for free, even in first class (with the reserve) for any domestic ticket I buy!

Please use this link for the Reserve to get 40k SkyMiles and 10k MQM. The $450 annual fee is waived for military. The Platinum offer is below and they dropped the minimum spend to $3k from $4k for the same points and credit, again the $195 annual fee is waived for military:

Please use this link for the Platinum to get 70k sky miles, 10k MQM and $100 statement credit. If you get both you would have 110,000 Sky Miles and 20k MQMs with 2 companion passes and $100 credit. This is a much better offer than what was given in the past for the Reserve, but the same for Platinum with less spend.

Now lets say we go for all three here, we can get another 60k on gold for $3k spend:

Please use this link here for the gold. If you go for all three, we are looking at a total of 170K SkyMiles, 20k MQM, $150 statement credit, and 2 companion passes all for $9,000 spend. Now bonus strategy time is to product change the Platinum and Gold to Reserve for three first class companion passes a year!

The 20k MQM will put you up to almost Silver Medallion (25k needed) for the year without ever setting foot on a plane. The 170k will get you three round trips from ORD to SEA (44,500 SkyMiles) to go visit your favorite O-4 reader that just PCSed:

If Seattle isn’t your thing, you can fly 10 segments to and from Atlanta for 17k SkyMiles per segment.

So if you got $3,000 to spend three times, might as well make it worth it for some free travel from Delta and AmEx!

Well lets just say we end up upgrading the Delta Gold and Platinum both to Reserve, With three reserve cards we are looking at 3 round trip flights a year in first class for the price of coach! Every year you will have a deposit of a companion pass held electronically in your SkyMiles account:

You then apply it to book a pair of tickets, it must be used in a year of it being issued. Here is ORD to SEA round trip:

For $845.80 or $211.45 a segment you can fly first class to SEA from ORD as your companion gets to fly for free! This is the cost of a regular coach ticket. Take advantage of the annual fee waiver for the Reserve, and when your AD time is up, downgrade all the cards to Gold to take advantage of the account history without annual fee.

-Derp

Hong Kong Centurion Lounge Now Open!

My plan to hit every Centurion Lounge

Thanks to an O-5 Navy Okinawa reader for the link! The Reward Boss has some good photos from the newest international AmEx Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong. Looks like you get a free gift for being there. The lounge is located in Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1, Level 7 before Gate 61. They are open from 5:30am – 12:30am. This looks even more awesome than the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 1, East Hall I often go to with their in house XO sauce.

Don’t forget the lounges in AustraliaMexico, India, and Sweden as well when traveling overseas. Hope to send my most senior correspondent there in January for an update!

-Derp

35K SPG (105K Marriott) For AmEx Biz SPG

Well, I should of waited till today to sign up for the Biz SPG card with an all time high offer of 35,000 SPG or transferable to 105,000 Marriott points. This is worth it for at least one or two nights at a Ritz Carlton (Depending on Tier). The offer can be found at this link here. I ended up applying two months ago like a sucker for only 25k points.

To get the first 25k SPG points you need to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $4,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months. The annual fee of $95 is waived for military, but those non-military get the first year free. You can also get Sheraton lounge access using this card when booking a select Sheraton directly with SPG.

Please use this link here to toss me some points, thanks!

-Derp

Free Old Style and Chicago Style Hot Dogs at ORD Admirals Club, Terminal 3, Concourse H/K

I picked a good day to fly. During the Cubs Nationals game tonight they were serving up made to order hot dogs (Chicago style without Chicago dog sauce) from a cart at The Admirals Club, Terminal 3, Concourse H/K at ORD. Also always free at the bar is Old Style beer for that authentic Cubs experience:

Go cubs go!

I was able to get in with my CAC and AA boarding pass without any hesitation. It makes me wonder why I have a United Club membership at all. This is the superior club welcome to all active duty. I asked the cart dude, and he said that the Hot Dogs will be around for pretty much every sports event.

-Derp

Free Stock Trading For Military Members

Thanks to Davey Nelson at Trainwrecktrader.com for this one! Please use this link here and mention my real name to give me $100 in credit (comment below and we can talk)!

Right now get an actual trading platform with the Robinhood Pricing at TradeStation! More details on the site here, Please use this link and my name to give me a referral credit. This program has been around since November of 2016 as mentioned in an article here. They just recently expanded to police, fire, and first responders last month according to this article here.

I applied for an account and am awaiting approval. Once approved, I plan on dropping in the $500 minimum to see if I can buy stocks to transfer out to Computershare for the sweet paper certs. I will keep you posted! Again use my link here.

-Derp

Fine Dining Events Using AmEx and Chase

I was thrilled with the success of using the AmEx Platinum Concierge for my French Laundry Adventure, I thought I would give AmEx another tough tasker, which was to get a table at another 3 Michelin Star Restaurant on the other coast. I wanted to give them the impossible feat of getting a seat for 2 at a normal time at the newly renovated Eleven Madison Park. On top of that I demanded to have this done before the restaurant was to be re-opening on 08 October 2017. At the time of writing the restaurant has been shut down for the summer for much needed renovations. They had an AmEx only pop up restaurant in the Hamptons in the meantime of which apparently Leo DiCaprio went to close up last month.

I had first asked the concierge at the Ritz Central Park and they said they had no opening date or information on how to get a seat. This was the best effort from a $1,200 a night hotel, mind you! They were not going to call or use any special hook up to get me a seat. Now if you noticed the EMP venue in the Hamptons was sponsored by AmEx so I figure this would be the better route.

I put my request in for EMP via email (platinumrequests@concierge.americanexpress.com) by replying to my AmEx concierge request for French Laundry on 03 July 2017. I then got a random phone call on 22 September to verify my request, and then I got an email this 02 October that they were able to fit me in! Another successful reservation made for those who plan!

Again, it is worth hitting up the concierge for the places that are listed in the Global Dining collection for Platinum. Now the $642.36 seems like an outrageous amount for two people to eat dinner. This fee for two includes 8 to 10 courses at $295 a person, then tax and tip for a 3 to 4 hour experience. As I write this I am enjoying my 6 slices of Kirkland pre-cooked bacon while sipping on a tea I pocketed at the AmEx Centurion lounge on my last visit to the airport, this dinner at EMP is not going to be a normal meal for me! Fortunately my wife and I agree that t$642.36 is an outrageous amount reserved for those very special times we have together. Dining at the number one of the 50 best restaurants in the world 2017 would be one of these special times.

Rather than dropping $300 bucks on Hamilton tickets, I rather have a dinner that is the show with my wonderful wife. They will at least allow us to talk during the entire show! Plus between the Uber credits, flights and the Ritz Carlton room on points, this will be really the only expense of our NYC adventure.

Now for the beauty of pre-pay is I already paid up for the meal, I will just have to show up, eat, then leave. This is cited as a good way to maximize happiness with spending money. Also note that the datapoint is there that AA gift cards are still being reimbursed automatically by AmEx, this could easily be used for the flight to and from NYC.

Now for those who don’t want to fly to NYC, and live in Chicago, there currently is an offer for holders of the Chase British Airways card to get 2 seats at NEXT on 07 November, 2017. It will cost you 20k Avios, that you can transfer from your MR account (too bad the 40% bonus is over).

Bon Appétit!

-Derp

Back to Basic Bitch AmEx Green!

Thank you to reader Dan who shared a photo of his entire AmEx card collection in a comment to my post. In his collection I noticed an old friend from ten years ago, the AmEx Green Card! This card is what really started it all in 2006, I think I blew all the points on Lettuce Entertain You Gift Cards at Everest at 1 cent per MR point. Just n00b level churning right there! How was I to know any better 10 years ago? At least that girl I took out ended up marrying me!

Now I have had this product ten years ago and might not be eligible for the 25k points due to the life time language. Now I can be the datapoint if AmEx considers a card from 10 years ago a once in a lifetime card. I stumbled upon this incognito offer here on DOC. The direct link for the 25k MR for $1k spend can be found here. I was surprised the offer was still around a year after its original post.

Now you might be wondering if I am going for the green basic bitch card just to be ironic. Why would I care to have a card that had no benefit other then 2x MR points on AmEx travel? Simple, this card is going to be my backdoor rollover (better named “Platinum Conversion”) to get another Personal Platnium card. Right now I have had many readers reporting straight up denials for applying for duplicate already owned products. For example my O-3 reader got approved for an Ameriprise AmEx Platinum, but was then denied for a second application for the same product. They wrote him a letter saying he could not apply for a product he already owned.

Now once I do my $1k spend for 25k MR points on the Green, I intend to upgrade this to a Platinum to capture another $200 for flights, and another $200 for Uber. According to Ask Sebby this will work since they are all personal charge cards. I called today and upgraded my existing PRG to a Platinum of which was no problem. The customer service rep said you can upgrade Green to Platinum or PRG, but you could not swap branded product lines. He also said you had to have a card for at least one year to do a product change. Now what was interesting in the Ask Sebby article is the ability to change the MB Credit card into the MB AmEx Plat Charge for another sweet $100 for MB merch. This can come later, since it’s worth doing for the MB YETI cups that the dealership sells for $59 a pop!

I am going to take it slow and see how it goes. Be sure to check back to see if this crazy plan works out!

-Derp

Journey To GS AmEx Plat

I don’t think I will have $10 million anytime soon to get invited to invest with Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management. I will need this relationship to get the GS AmEx Platinum to compete my collection of every Co-Branded AmEx Platinum card. Currently I have the: Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, Mercedes-Benz, and Ameriprise. This in addition to my Personal and Business Platnum Cards each of which get $200 on an airline, and the $550 ($450 biz) annual fee waived for each. All the personal Plat cards also come with $200 Uber credit a year each!

So here is the plan, what if I could own a share of GS and exploit the shareholder services to get an invite to GS AmEx Plat? I have several readers sign up for a personal GS Bank Saving account, but none have reported any success in getting the GS Platinum Card invite.

Not to repeat their strategy, I decided to go my own way which is that of the GS shareholder relationship. Now what would be an even better churn is to use MR points from my other churns to get that one share for free. Right now for $440 you can go to giveashare.com buy one share framed online:

Another company called unique stock has the audacity to ask for another $40 on top of share price and a $49 transfer fee just to get a genuine certificate produced. Apparently the SEC forces these companies to charge twice the value of stock to make sure they don’t act as a brokerage firm. This $440 seems pretty steep since GS is trading for around $230 right now.

To save a few bucks, I thought about using Robinhood to buy the stock, but their brokerage house will not allow external transfers. I decided to transfer some MR points with Charles Schwab, and getting the certificate issued for $25 via transfer to Computershare as the holding company. I just used the invest with rewards option on my Schwab account.

I moved enough MR for the $4.95 commission fee as well as one share of the GS ($229.90 at the time), each MR is worth 1.25 cents.

I then put the order in and the one share was mine!

In this case it cost me $234.85 for the one share plus trade fee or 18,788 MR points at 1.25 cents per point, which is what I earned for adding 4 AU accounts and have each spend $500 in a 90 day period. Essentially the share was free on my end. Once the stock was bought I went ahead and submitted a signed and dated letter of instruction to Schwab via their secure messaging service. In the letter I wrote out:

1. Schwab account name and number
2. Stock name(s) or symbols
3. exact number of shares to be transferred
4. any control # or reference number at the receiving firm
5. Contact name and phone number at the transfer agent (if available)
6. Any DTC number provided
I am still awaiting the stocks to transfer since the transition has not settled yet. I had an existing account with Computershare, and the shares from other companies I have done this with show up in about two weeks. I can then request a stock certificate for $25 (payable by credit card) which will take another week to show via USPS. Here is the one share of WW Granger I had done the same way:
Now it is not required to get a physical certificate to be a registered shareholder, but why the hell not? It makes for a nice piece of artwork, and I see this technique equivalent to the old credit card in the ice block trick to prevent panic moves. A physical certificate forces me to become a literal buy and hold investor. Just to sell the damn thing I would have to sign the back, get a medallion stamp, and deposit it to a brokerage house just to sell it a week later. The intentional barriers to selling it on a whim as if it was on Robinhood will mean I can hold on to this for many years and forget about it. Hopefully my grandkids can sell it to buy a 6 pack of beer when they go through my old junk and find it.
As of today that one share is up $7.29 far exceeding the $4.95 commission paid! I am pretty happy with my use of 20k MR points.
Next step, calling shareholder services to get the invite!
-Derp
Update:
The stock got moved to Computershare and it was only $25 to get a paper certificate. The closing price of GS on Friday 06 October was $246.02. I paid $229.90 on 19 Sept 2017, so it only cost me $8.80 to get a fancy paper cert of GS! I went ahead and put the order in today (10 October 2017).
Will let you know once it get framed!

ORD to SAN for $8.20 A Segment, 1 cent per Avios or 2.4 Cents per MR

My very understanding and accommodating wife has allowed me to take advantage of a a excellent direct flight deal to San Diego from O’Hare for February 2018 for only $8.20 a segment! This was achieved by taking the red eye flight both ways in conjunction with the $200 fee credit waiver on my AmEx  Platinum Card from Ameriprise. As some of you may have experienced, there has been a serious month long shutdown of the United Gift Registry.

This has been the message on the site to add to the registry since 07 Sep 2018. As of today (27 Sept 2018) there seems to be no sign of the site coming back online. I had failed to do my due diligence and check FlyerTalk for their data points. Stupidly, I had chosen United Airlines as my airline for my new Ameriprise AmEx Platinum card, which now had no way to add to my United registry with the shutdown.

In the end this turned out to not be a big deal, I called 1-800-615-0403 and just asked nicely to switch to American Airlines (I checked here to verify AA was still working). I explained that my travel patterns have changed. This was not a problem since I had not spent any of the credit. I got an email right away:

Dear Derp,

We received and processed your request to change your airline selection for the $200 Airline Fee Credit benefit to American Airlines and US Airways. You will continue to receive up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your eligible Platinum Card® Account.

Eligible incidental fees include:
  • Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize)
  • Itinerary change fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Pet flight fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
  • In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet because it’s not charged by the airline)
  • Airport lounge day passes & annual memberships
Please allow 2-4 weeks after you charge the incidental fee(s) for the statement credits to appear on your Account. We rely on airline transaction data to identify incidental fee purchases, so if you do not see a credit after 4 weeks, simply call the number on the back of your Card and we’ll be happy to assist you.

So keep in mind the gift cards are not listed, but because of the magic of merchant category codes (search for them here) some times a gift card codes as an additional covered fee and will trigger the $200 rebate. I charged two $100 gift cards on American Airlines in June, and sure enough they credited me the $200 two days later. I would of used my newly charged gift cards but there is a 72 hour hold on the gift cards when purchased. I figure I will switch my cards to American if the United Gift Registry never comes back.

Now I looked at other options before resorting to using my $200 in gift cards. Since the distance between ORD and SAN is over 1,152, but less than 2,000 miles they want 10k Avios for it. This seems like a great deal, until you pull up the actual cost of the flight:

It would only be 1 cent per Avios which is pretty low when compared to some amazing redemption I have gotten before. I decided to look at using the Visa Discount Air via my Ritz Carlton Card:

Again this would be an amazing deal at $83 a segment, but I could not find anyone to fly with me, and gift cards cannot be used on this site. I then settled on using my $200 gift cards and booking directly on the AA.com site:

It was easy, you just enter the card number and PIN when checking out. I was left with a $16.80 charge of which I paid with my AAdvantage Silver card from BarclayCard to earn 50 AAdvantage miles (3x miles per $1):

That is $8.20 a segment, free checked bags (military waiver), free Admirals Club (military CAC), free $10 Airspace Lounge at SAN (AmEx Plat), and all thanks to the $200 gift card bought with the reimbursement from the annual fee waived AmEx Platinum. I thought this was a screaming deal, but I made the mistake of still looking after booking. I checked the AmEx Travel site to see that my flight pair had an insider deal:

If I had booked the same flight with 20,511 MR points via AmEx travel, I would of gotten 10,256 MR back as my 50% as well as 1,085 from the 5x personal booking. I would have only spent 9,170 MR for a $217 flight at a whopping 2.4 cents per point! Lesson learned, even if you have the Avios and the gift cards, don’t be quick to just dump miles or use credits for the sake of a free flight. Make sure you do your due diligence and maximize those points and bonuses!

-Derp