Hyatt Family Rate with Points Booking

I just got the latest email edition of Frequent Miler and it talked about the Hyatt Family rate where you can get a second room for your kids at 50% off! The catch is there is no points to be earned for this second room, but since I earn all the points via UR points on Ink+ and Sapphire Reserve, I don’t care to earn points with stays.

I already had 2 club level rooms booked at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch for a Columbus Day visit as well as attend the AAOMR meeting. I was ready to drop 36,000 points per room for 2 rooms at about 2.3 cents per point for club level.

For two rooms this would of been $1,705.06 or 72,000 points making it worth 2.4 cents per point. I was willing to pay extra for club level to make sure the family got fed breakfast in the morning and boozes appetizers at night.

The rep on the phone was able keep one room booked at the full 36k points (2.4 cents per point) and the other at the family rate of $149.50 a night! This would drop the total to $524.43 which would only mean the 36,000 points would be a value of 1.4 cents per point, which is worse than using the underlying UR points for booking flights at 1.5 cents per point!

Funny part is the reservation has just the one child in the room all by herself! So grand total is we spent 36k UR points transfer to Hyatt and paid $524.43 for 2 club level rooms for 3 nights valued at $1,705.06. That is $1,180.63/36k MR = 3.27 cents per point! Not bad at all since it is beyond double the basement value of the UR points of 1.5 cents per point.

Not so bad being a father of two after all. Next time you want to drag the kids along, try the booking one room with points and paying 50% for the second room with cash!

-Derp

Stockholm Arlanda Centurion Lounge

Edit: Looks like I forgot about the Australia ones as well. Thank you Mark H and Point Hacks AU for the write up and comment!


A shout out to long time ODS buddy O-3 LT Howie for an on the field report of access to Swedish Centurion lounge by Pontus at Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). He is flying Stockholm to Zurich on his way to gates 1-24 and saw this sign:

Just flashed his AmEx Plat (don’t leave home without it) and got a wonderful free breakfast:

He reports the spread as:

I was told I have an assortment of breads with jam and butter, a plate of smoke ham and cheese, orange and coffee along with yogurt, jam and granola!

Thanks Howie for the report! Please use his link here to toss a few points his way! I could only find the press release in Swedish. It is the first Centurion Lounge in Europe that just opened May 2017, and his American issued AmEx got him in!

The highlights from the article are below:

American Express Lounge at Pontus

To give you an even better start of the trip, we opened the American Express Lounge by Pontus at Arlanda in May 2017 in collaboration with Pontus in the Air . In the lounge we offer light food and drink. Do you want to order food from Pontus in the Air is also good. The lounge can accommodate 38 guests. There is an open lounge with 2.5 meter high walls, which means that sound from the airport reaches.

Where? You will find our new lounge on the airside in terminal 5, between the A and F piers.
When? The lounge is open monday – sunday, from 05:00 to an hour before the last departure

The lounge is available to you as a Centurion and Platinum member, as well as the Centurion and Platinum Extra Card Members – you can both bring a guest. Show your Card on our disk in the entrance.

Welcome!

-Derp

Already Beat Morgan Stanley

I called my financial manger at Morgan Stanley today to find out that he left two weeks ago. He didn’t even say goodbye, he just took my $700 and left! As you can recall this is the dude I pay a hefty 1.3% to manage my wife’s Roth IRA (part 1 and part 2 here). He has picked some ridiculous 19 fund portfolio that overlaps to all hell. Mine is a simple 2 fund portfolio 33% domestic equities and 66% international. In light of the shocking patient abandonment situation, I guess it is good time to check on how things are going. Lets take a look at my holdings, there have been no new contributions due to the income limit for direct roth contributions. As you can recall I have a simple 2 fund portfolio with Vanguard:

Vanguard Growth Index Fund Admiral Shares VIGAX 32.5%
Vanguard International Growth Fund Admiral Shares VWILX 67.5%

As of 16 April 2017, I have $53.5k in the wife’s and $87k in mine, today at the open of market this 21 July 2017 I have $91,370 in mine and my wife has $54,625.

16-Apr-17 21-Jul-17 Delta Percent Gains
Wife $53,500 $54,625 $1,125 2.1%
Derp $87,000 $91,370 $4,370 5.0%
Totals $140,500 $145,995 $5,495 3.6%

Well I still have my job, so I guess I am ahead of the Morgan Stanley guy. How can a tooth carpenter out preform some dude that spends his entire day looking at analysis? Is it time to trust in ourselves and not fall prey to the “experts” out there? Anyways if you had just made the same moves as me you could of saved 1.3% on fees! I am still awaiting a phone call to see which Bro they assign me to next!

-Derp

MR for Flights Stacking Bonus Datapoints

We have been shut down! I just got off the phone with the RAT and they said I could not do both 5x AND 50% back! I had to pick one or the other! Also lots of grumblings here on reddit about the lack of 5x on the Business Platinum.

First off the 5x booking on amextravel.com with AmEx Biz Plat is a lie! Even booking on the site, the charge is getting coded as if I had phoned it in! I called Membership rewards and they said their “research” shows it was done via phone, there was nothing to be done. I called amex travel and they confirmed it was done online and not via phone. I had to conference call in with both reps to resolve the conflict.

The MR Biz reimbursement game has changed since 01 June 2017. Here is what we know so far according to this flyer talk thread:

  1. The bonus is now only 35% (1.5 cents net) versus 50% (2 cents net), and takes 31 days to get 35%, then 7 days for the other 15% (if grandfathered)
  2. If you got the card (or downgraded to gold and upgraded) between Oct 2016 to May 2017 you are grandfathered in for the 50% for one membership year
  3. We get 5x points for sure booking Airlines (direct or via AmEx travel) on the Personal Platinum
  4. We should be getting 5x points on the biz (AmEx travel Only), but only 1x shows up, you have to call and complain for biz (no success, yet)
  5. Reports of getting the 5x by choosing the Personal Plat and just having a linked Biz gets you the 35% (or 50%) back after 31 days, you have to be super patient. You also might need to wait another 7 days for the other 15% to show!
  6. Must use www.amextravel.com to book for 5x points on biz card, even then it codes as not online.

I went ahead and listed my datapoints here:

Scenario Cost Points Booked Applied 5x Bonus 50% Rebate Card
1 $118.20 11,820 8-Jul 17-Jul ? ? Business
2 $248.20 24,820 3-Jul MR @ Book July Statement ? Personal
3 $650.38 65,038 14-Jun 17-Jul No: Claimed it was called in, not online ? Business
4 $1,119.86 111,986 28-May MR @ Book 28-May 28-Jun Personal

In each scenario I switched up how I did it for the bonuses. I will have a better report one the points hit.

  1. Cash Book Online, Call In MR (9 days) – I booked on AmEx travel, and paid with my Biz Plat to get the 5x. I Then called in a week later to apply points to get the 50%
  2. Personal MR Online – I used MR points and picked the personal card on the website to get 5x and 50% (with shared points pool with a business card)
  3. Cash Book Online, Call In MR (33 Days) – I did the same thing as the first, but waited till the statement closed. I only got 1x points, I did online chat to complain, rep claims I booked over phone or used Platinum Travel to book, does not qualify for 5x
  4. Personal MR Online (May) – I booked on AmEx travel before the hammer came down in May, I picked personal platnum and got 5x, and all the 50% bonus points came back 31 days later.

Bottom line, we are getting throttled back since this MR points bonanza is killing AmEx at the moment! Just be patient, looks like the way to go is to pick the personal card for 5x, then wait 40 days for the 35% and 15% to make it back in your account. Even though this deal is maximized with 50% with 5x it will still be useful when it drops to 35% after the anniversary date. For example I book a flight to Hong Kong for $1,000 or 100,000 points. We get this valuation:

 Bonus Book Cost Biz Bonus Personal Bonus Net Points Cents Per Point
50% 100,000 50,000 5,000 45,000 2.22
35% 100,000 35,000 5,000 60,000 1.67

This is still better than Chase UR points which are valued at 1.5 cents per point. Now let’s say they shut down the 5x then we get these values:

 Bonus Book Cost Biz Bonus Net Points Cents Per Point
50% 100,000 50,000 50,000 2.00
35% 100,000 35,000 65,000 1.54

Still a good value for points since the basement value for a MR point is 1.25 cents right into your Schwab account.

Note: as an additional datapoint I booked 23 July 2017 a flight for 30,640 MR on United right onto a linked personal platinum. Will let you know when the points hit!

-Derp

Impromptu Churner’s Conference in Las Vegas!

I am absolutely floored by the about of O-6 readers of the blog, and also of how many senior officer churners there are out there! Happy hour turned into an impromptu churner’s hangout right next to the AmEx booth. As promised to CAPT, here are the 5 platinum cards I have:

  1. Personal Platinum (use link to give points to a fellow O-4)
  2. Mercedes Benz Platinum
  3. Charles Schwab Platinum (open an account using code ‘refer’)
  4. Morgan Stanley Platinum (must have Morgan Stanley Relationship)
  5. Business Platinum (use link to give points to a fellow O-4)

Each comes each with $200 Uber, $200 Airlines, and 60,000 points with $5k spend. All the points will be pooled. The business is 75,000MR for $25,000 spend, but gives you 35% points back when booking with points. Each personal one comes in metal with a wood case for new accounts. The Benz one comes with a $100 for MB Schwag at the MB dealer on renewal. All will waive the $550 (personal) and $450 (biz) annual fee for Active Duty. Best part is there seems to be no limit on how many a person can have on AmEx Charge cards. There is a strict 5 card limit on their credit products.

Since each one is a separate product you will be eligible for the bonus for each brand if you did not have it before. Wait, there is more! Below are the two Platinum cards I want to get next:

  1. Ameriprise Platinum (Do not need an Ameriprise Account)
  2. Goldman Sachs Platinum (An O-5 opened a GS Saving in hopes of getting an invite)

I couldn’t believe that the AmEx employee at the booth didn’t know about the Uber eats use, and she had never seen the Morgan Stanley card before! Anyways I got some info that the Open Lounge will be open for the following events:

Chicago McCormick Place:

  • ASI! Show 7/12-7/13
  • Automechanika 7/26-7/28
  • Print/Graph Expo 9/10-9/14
  • American Academy of Pediatrics 9/16-9/18
  • NACS 10/18-10/20
  • National Association of Realtors 11/3-11/6
  • FABTECH 11/6-11/9
  • RSNA 11/26-11/30

NYC Jarvis Center

  • Market Vanguard 7/16-7/18
  • JA NY Summer 7/23-7/25
  • NY NOW Summer 8/19-8/23
  • Fashion Coterie 9/17-9/19
  • Audio Engineering/NAB NY 10/18-10/20
  • SMX East 10/24-10/26
  • PDN photo 10/26-10/28
  • Business Data Summit 10/29-11/1
  • JA Special Delivery 10/29-10/31
  • HX Hotel Experience 11/12-11/14
  • ISC East 11/15-11/16
  • Greater New York Dental 11/26-11/29

Las Vegas Convention Center

  • Wood Working 7/19-7/22
  • ASD 7/30-8/2
  • MAGIC 8/14-8/16
  • ISSA Interclean 9/12-9/14
  • Pack Expo 9/25-9/27
  • National Business Aviation 10/10-10/12
  • ABC Kids 10/17-10/19
  • SEMA  10/31-11/3
  • Groundwater 12/15

My own Datapoint shows you don’t have to attend the conference for access. Just stop in for coffee if you are in the area! Well hope more lively discussions to come in future nights.

Please always check my links and toss me some points.

-Derp

Centurion Lounge Gran Turismo with Points

Edit: First off Thanks to Garry Leff for reading and linking to my blog, truly honored! Looks like View From The Wing has intel about the PHL lounge opening in late fall, not 03 August 2017 as reported before by The Points Guy.

I’m enjoying a post flight drink at the LAS Centurion lounge right outside of gate D1 and thinking this is awesome!

I looked it up, it is entirely possible to hit every AmEx Centurion Lounge on a single journey just using Avios and United miles. Hell you could just use AmEx MR points to book as well, but between Avios on AA as well as Super Save United, this is the way to go. I am assuming the PHL lounge opens as scheduled at the end of 2017. Here are the Lounges and their locations:

Airport Open Close Terminal Gate Airline Showers?
DFW 530 2200 D D17 (American) Any Yes
IAH 530 2100 D D6 (United) Any Yes
LAS 500 2300 D D1 (United) Any Yes
LGA 530 2000/1830 Sa B 3rd floor Out Not Ideal for Delta Shuttle No
MIA 500 2300 D D12 American Only Yes
SEA 500 2200 B B3 Any No
SFO 500 2300 3 74 (Delta) Any Yes
PHL Aug (now fall) 2017 A British Airways Any ?
HKG Oct 2017 1 Any ?

You can see there are not too many over flyover country (yet). It would be awesome to hit the Hong Kong one (opens end of 2017 as well), but that makes for a hell of a detour:

Now if we focus on just hit all the CONUS ones, we got quite a trip!

Avios is wide open for the trip at 7,500 avios per leg!

Great use of Avios from MR if there is a bonus!

PHL to MIA seems to be pretty unpopular, Mr. Webmaster of DerpReport is the only person from PHL that has any relation to MIA.

Same as MIA to IAH, seems like a weird flight. Keep in mind the MIA AmEx lounge is only accessible when flying out of terminal D, where most of the gates are for AA. No access with any other terminal as confirmed by a LCDR reader who tried on a United flight.

A short hop from IAH to DFW is wide open as well.

SFW to LAS is also wide open, but thats when the AA adventure ends because there seems to be nothing for Avios from LAS to SFO, we got to go UA:

10k super saver with Chase Club card form LAS to SFO, then again from SFO to SEA:

Another 10k super saver! I don’t think my wife and two beautiful kids will allow me to run around centurion lounge to centurion lounge over the course of a week. For all you DINKS and HENRYS out there, something to think about! 37,500 Avios and 20k United is not a lot of points to go hit every lounge!

-Derp

 

No 5/24 on Select Chase Cards

Huazzah! I Just got two Chase Cards despite having 20 new accounts in the last 24 months. Turns out there are 5 exempt Chase cards: RC, BA, Hyatt, Amazon, and IHG. I applied for Hyatt for my wife to capture the 2 free nights to book at the Park Hyatt Paris or NYC both valued at $700+ a night. Her application went to review, but was approved confirmed by its appearance on her chase account website the next day. When I applied to IHG, same thing, but it never showed on the site. I had to call 888-270-2127 (personal credit analyst, 7am-10pm EST M-F; 8am-10pm EST Sat. and 9am-9pm Sun.). Just be ready to answer with the last 4 of an existing card and its credit limit for verification. I called and all they just wanted was to shift some credit around. IHG got approved that very second! I was also able to match to the 100k offer for $2k spend, just in time for summer wedding season which will be half that spend alone. Here is therei reply to the secure message online:

Hello [Derp],

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us regarding
the enrollment offer on your IHG® Rewards Club Select
credit card account.

Derp, we will be happy to match the 100,000 bonus points
after you spend $2,000.00 in the first 3 months of account
opening. Please reply to this email after you spend
$2,000.00 in the first 3 months of account opening and we
will add the additional 20,000 bonus points.

Please know, you’ll be eligible as long as:
– You have not received a new cardmember bonus for this
card in the past 24 months.
– Your account is open and not in default when we post the
bonus.
– Your eligible purchases do not include balance
transfers, cash advances, and cash-like charges such as
traveler’s checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any
checks that access your account, overdraft advances,
interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of
any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.

To view or redeem points, sign in to your IHG Rewards Club
account at ihgrewardsclub.com or call IHG at
1-800-421-5162 and a representative will be happy to
assist you. Please send us a secure message or call us at
the number on the back of your card if you have any
questions.

We appreciate your business and thank you for choosing
Chase.

Thank you,

Trevor
Chase Email Servicing
1-800-436-7927

For those churners out there missing chase, don’t loose hope with Chase. They will still string us churners along…

-Derp

Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel SF

San Francisco is an amazing city at a premium price, and now I am kicking myself for not looking at Military hotels in previous visits. I often had to pay $300 a night even at the govt’ rate just for a room, or burn through points just for a decent hotel. In Tokyo we have the New Sanno which is booked out up to a year ahead of a desired date. The hotel is popular since the Hotel charges well below area hotels to give service members a chance to explore a world class city at an affordable rate.

The closest hotel price to performance equivalent I have found in CONUS is the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square. Thanks to a tip by reader Eddie S., I decided to check it out. Also General Goddard likes to stay there, so if it’s good enough for a flag officer, it’s good enough for me.

First off this organization is a private club, not affiliated directly with the DoD, it runs completely on donations. The club and building is a living Memorial and Museum to the USMC. I called the front desk at 1-(844)913-7703 and they said I could book for $99 a night for a standard 2 queen room, but only 21 days out. This rate goes up for O-4s and above. The $99 rate would not take effect till I showed up in person to join the cub for free. Other rooms and suites are also at a substantial savings compared to the J.W. Marriott next door. The 6 person 3MLG suite goes for $345 a night!

The 3MLG suite which presumably has a toothbrush from 3D DN BN (just kidding).

If you apply for club membership online it would be $35 for membership for the service member and a spouse. Since I was not a member yet, I was booked the room for $319 a night. Upon check-in I presented my CAC and became a member instantly for free with the room rate discount applied for $99 a night for the most basic room.

An affordable room is one thing, but I was blown away by the sheer value of the hotel stay. First off the hotel is beautiful, every floor a museum of USMC history. Nice soaps, linens, and just nice fine woodwork everywhere. The rooms are the quality of a Marriott with better furniture. Any room comes with happy hour (all you can drink) on floor 12 or floor 2 for members only between 1600 to 1800 on weekdays (not Friday night). The rooms also come with breakfast buffet every morning including made to order eggs.

Just an amazing experience, but it doesn’t end there, with over 180 private reciprocal clubs available for member use around the world. I will check out the Chicago ones and get back to you! At least check it out to get membership next time you are in SFO.

We also had dinner at the Leatherneck Steakhouse (where they have happy hour and breakfast on the 12th floor) which was an excellent meal with a beautiful view. I was also able to make reservations using OpenTable for the points. Overall the hotel is one of the greatest values to service members visiting San Francisco.

-Derp