The current debate raging right now is if we need to hit U.S. Bank before even hitting Chase. I am currently 24/24 right now and have been denied for Altitude card #2 as well as the Skypass Select in the last two days:
I applied in persson to get my first and only U.S. Bank card 2.5 years ago. I have $33k in credit on my first Altitude card, but I don’t get the MLA waiver since I opened the card before October 2017. In the last year I opened 8 new cards:
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (Upgrade to Ritz in 1 yr)
Please report in on when you got your Altitude and how many cards you had before applying for it. We need to crack this U.S. Bank problem before making our optimized churning wallet! I have been working on this since January 2018.
Update: I got this letter today (04 May 2019):
It appears that the most recent lines with Citibank are the problem, and they were not even hard pulls. I also checked credit karma and saw that the two pulls were not combined:
On the flipside, U.S. Bank is offering MLA waivers on all of their cards. This means the card will generate 40k every year for free, as the $75 annual fee is waived.
There does not seem to be a limit on U.S. Bank card cards. I am serious about hitting U.S. Bank hard, but can’t decide between a second Altitude, Korean Airlines, or this Raddison Card. Does anyone out there have a referral for this card or any U.S. Bank Product?
Thanks to all that participated! I hope you guys get some ideas on what, (and what not) to invest your money into aside from the $19,000 you put into TSP! Many more contests to come in the future, so stay tuned.
Thanks to reader James that suggested to include the U.S. Bank Korean Airline SkyPass Select Credit Card in my optimal perpetual preferred card portfolio. I had sadly never heard of this card because U.S. Bank is not really know for their premium products, nor for their MLA annual fee waivers. The card was launched May 2018 and was dubbed the “Worst Premium Credit Card” by the people at one mile at a time, and this is when they were offering 30K points for $3k spend (now only 15k for $1.5k spend).
I have never flown Korean Airlines, but enjoyed their lounges when flying to Seoul from Okinawa. Since U.S. Bank waives the $450 fee per the MLA, I just see the following benefits of the card as free perpetual benefits:
15,000 Skypass miles after spending $1,500 in 90 days
$200 on travel purchases, resets on card anniversary
A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit every four years
Honolulu?? (Korean Air considers HI to be part of North America for the purpose of SkyTeam awards)
The Chicago Lounge closed in 2018, but mainline KAL metal flight to Seoul still departs out of Terminal 5:
The card can be referred! Please post a referral code or link so we can all get in on this action. I am planning on doing it for the sake of the yearly $200 credit to use on the Minibar on my points stays!
Turns out nobody has the time to read my articles so here is my TLDR guide of the optimal wallet holdings. It can be found in the sidebar menu. In my military career I plan to holding on to this optimal card portfolio:
If we can get all the above cards we are looking at:
$1,975 in Travel Expense Credit
6 free hotel nights on stays of 4 nights or more
Unlimited Lounge Access for:
Delta (When Flying Delta)
Citibank Airport Lounges
Priority Pass Lounges
$28 credit at Priority Pass Restaurants
AmEx Centurion Lounges
5 Free Nights (3 Weekend, 2 anytime 50K Marriott)
$1,050 in Hotel Credits ($750 Hilton Resort, $300 Marriott)
$2,550 in airline gift cards (3x $250 and 9x $200 Delta or SW)
One First Class Companion Pass (Delta Domestic)
$600 in Dell Credit
$1,200 in Uber Credit ($15 a month, $20 more in Dec)
$600 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credit
$300 in flight dining
Then double it up for your player 2! Assuming you vacation together, you and your family would be able to fly $5,100 in gift cards for Southwest or Delta flights.
You will have $600 to use in the flight for food, and lounges access at the United Club, Delta Lounge (on Delta), and American Airlines to a nice destination. You can stay Friday night to Sunday night vacation at any Hilton Resort worldwide using 3 weekend free night certificates. You could use the credit to do this at least twice a year for free and drop $750 each time at the Hilton resort. You can do two more free vacations at a Marriott and use your two 50k point nights as well as your $300 credit for each stay.
You can also be a huge cheap ass for Christmas and birthdays as long as all of your gifts come from Dell and Saks Fifth Avenue. Stack topcashback or ebates for some sweet cash back. Use shoprunner for free shipping and use the Saks Fifth Avenue free gift wrap online. You will have $1,200 for Dell and $1,200 in Saks Fifth. It will always be a Merry Christmas indeed!
Between vacations you will have $2,400 in Uber credits for Uber Eats and $3,950 for parking tolls and taxis. Then you would have 2 first class companion passes that would be helpful to fly from Hawaii to Mainland if you are stationed out there to cut your flight costs in half.
I don’t think there is a timeshare ownership out there that can offer all this at an annual fee of $0 with $0 in maintenance fees. The cost however is to be under the UCMJ, possibly get deployed on a ship for to the middle of the ocean, and not have a stable residence for more than 3 years for 20 straight years. This substantial benefits and having the AF fee waivers for all the listed above products would in my humble opinion make it worth a 30 year career out of it!
Howdy folks, for those awaiting a positive data point regarding MLA waivers on the Citi Prestige directly from me, I got my good news today. I have been anxiously awaiting something regarding MLA or SCRA from my application in the beginning of April. I logged in and found the above waiver.
Looks like the MLA for Prestige is here to stay. So hit it hard!!!
Note: The following post is from Little Miss Traveler. She is a civilian spouse who just married an active duty Navy Dental Corps Officer and has just started her churning journey. She has offered to post the following report in exchange for being able to host her referral links.
I recently made a blog post about an Orlando getaway weekend my husband and I took using credit card points we earned by maximizing the MLA benefits available to military members and their families, and after hearing some great feedback I decided to post about another amazing trip we recently took. I hope these posts about my personal experiences will inspire you to discover and take advantage of these benefits so that you can take the trip you have always dreamed of for as close to free as possible. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have; feel free to contact me at Cecilia@littlemisstraveler.com.
In late February my husband and I escaped the Midwest winter
for five days in Scottsdale, AZ. By
using points and benefits from five
different credit cards, we were able to do this for only $907.
I realize 5 credit cards sounds like a lot, but by organizing our
spending, we were able to acquire these credit cards and hit the minimum
spending requirement to receive the welcome bonuses used to pay for this
trip. Normally, these 5 cards would carry
a total annual cost of $2450,
but due to my husband’s active duty status, we get them for free!!! It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not;
this really works.
I have written a detailed explanation of how we paid for
every aspect of this trip, illustrated with a plethora of pictures to bring it
to life, but if you are more of a nuts and bolts person and don’t want to read
my whole story scroll to the bottom of the post to get a simplified version of
the cost breakdown.
We flew round trip from Chicago to Phoenix on American Airlines
for absolutely free thanks to our American Express Platinum charge cards as
well as my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
The Amex Platinum has an annual $200 airline credit, and the Chase
Sapphire Reserve has an annual $300 travel credit. Since my husband and I both have an Amex
Platinum, that totaled $700 in free airfare.
The $300 CSR benefit was automatically credited back to my account after
the travel purchase, but we had to buy two $200 American Airlines gift cards
with our Platinum cards. As I mentioned in my previous post, American Airlines
no longer allows the $200 airline credit to be used for gift card
purchases. However, Southwest Airlines
still allows this, so keep that in mind if you decide to get an Amex
American Airlines allows military members flying with them
access to their Admirals Lounge, so we began our trip there, enjoying free food
and drinks before boarding our flight. After arriving in Phoenix we went to the Hertz
rental car location where our GMC Terrain was waiting for us with the keys in
it. Since we reserved the rental car
with rewards points I earned on my CSR, it was free!! After spending $4000 in the first 3 months of
opening the CSR card, you are awarded 50,000 rewards points, which is worth
$750 in travel credit. We used a
portion of these rewards points to pay for the car, and still had quite a bit
left over. Another benefit of the CSR is
automatic Hertz Gold Status, which means an automatic vehicle upgrade and no
waiting in line at the rental counter to get your car, so we immediately hopped
in and headed toward the hotel.
We drove to the Phoenician Canyon Suites by Marriott and
quickly realized it was more of a palace than a hotel. Upon arrival, we were greeted by name and
escorted to our room. They upgraded us to
a King Suite Golf View…we had two bathrooms, two balconies, and a massive
living room in addition to a separate bedroom.
By far, it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever been to. Literally, it was insane!
How much did five nights at this insane palace-like hotel
cost us you are surely wondering?? You guessed it, nothing!!!! We booked the room using 240,000 Marriott
points we earned from our American Express SPG Luxury cards (Marriott and Amex
have since changed the name of this card to the Bonvoy Brilliant). I suspect the fact that we booked our stay
with points is the reason we were upgraded to a suite. The suite was 60,000 points per night, but
whenever using points to pay for a reservation of 4 nights, Marriott gives the
5th night free. Ok let me
break down how we were able to amass so many Marriott points. First, my husband applied for the Bonvoy
Brilliant card, which awards 100,000 points after spending $5000 in the first 3
months of opening it. Then, he referred
me the card, so we got another 100,000 points after I reached the minimum
spend, plus he got a 20,000 point bonus for referring me! So we are at 220,000 points, a little short
of the 240,000 required to book our slice of heaven in the Phoenician
kingdom. To get that last 20,000 we converted
20,000 of my 50,000 Amex Platinum to Marriott points (you are awarded 50,000
Amex points after hitting the $5,000 minimum spend in the first 3 months).
So we were feeling pretty good at this point…free flights, free car, free suite. But we still had to fill 4 days with activities that would surely be expensive, right? Not quite. The Bonvoy Brilliant card comes with a $300 credit that is good at any Marriott property, and since my husband and I both have one, we had a grand total of $600 of free money to spend! There was a daily resort fee of $40, so that ate up $200 of it, but I will still take a free $400 any day 🙂.
We slept in Saturday but woke up in time to hit the free
breakfast, which was amazing. Our plan
for the day was to hike up nearby Camelback Mountain, so the concierge provided
us with complimentary backpacks containing bottles of water and granola bars
and also gave us a golf cart ride to the trailhead. It was perfect weather, so we had a wonderful
hike then relaxed by the pool with drinks and appetizers before going to dinner
at J and G Steakhouse.
We booked our dinner reservation via the concierge, which is probably
why we got a table right next to the window overlooking the city. After a delicious dinner, we stopped by the
lobby to check out the live band and grab a drink. We spent a total of $290 at the resort that
day, meaning we still had $110 of free money left to play with.
After another free breakfast on
Sunday morning, we left the resort to spend the day with family that live in
the area. We spent most of the day with
my family, who graciously bought us lunch then went to my husband’s aunt’s
house in the evening. She cooked dinner
for us, so we brought a nice bottle of wine.
Overall, Sunday was a day of nearly free entertainment with family, and
we were happy to have had the opportunity to catch up with them.
We decided to take full advantage of
the amenities offered by the resort, so after breakfast Monday morning we
reserved a tennis court, which was complementary to guests for one hour per
day. The resort had impressive tennis facilities
including a pro shop and nearly a dozen courts.
The pro shop provided us with free rackets so all we had to pay was $4
for a sleeve of tennis balls. We told
the tennis pro we were not skilled tennis players and fully expected to be
delegated to a court away from any other human beings, but we were shocked when
she said “you guys will be on center court.”
As tennis novices, we weren’t sure what “center court” meant, but we
quickly discovered that it meant we got to play on the nicest tennis court they
had…the closest to Wimbledon we will ever get haha!
After an hour of tennis, we went
straight to the pool and spent most of the afternoon lounging in the sun. We ate lunch and had drinks poolside
and were pleasantly surprised when a pool attendant came to us offering
complimentary frozen grapes every 30 minutes.
I have no idea how, but the pool attendant also knew our name without us
having to introduce ourselves!
After a spectacular pool day, we decided to check out Old
Town Scottsdale, which was only a few miles from the resort. The concierge arranged a complimentary ride
to and from Old Town…the complimentary ride was in a Cadillac Escalade by the
way! We toured some art galleries and
met my husband’s aunt and uncle for dinner.
We picked up the check since they had graciously hosted us the previous
evening. After riding back to the resort
in style we ordered a nice bottle of wine via room service and watched the
sunset and stars from the balcony (ahem, I mean one of the balconies ;)) of our
suite. The poolside lunch, tennis balls,
and bottle of wine totaled $189, meaning we had maxed out our resort credit
plus another $79.
Tuesday we decided to give tennis
another shot, and we were in luck because the tennis pro gave us center court
again! They must pay a team of people to
manicure the court every night because it was pristine. It was another perfect
sunny Arizona day so we spent another day relaxing by the pool. The afternoon at the pool was almost an exact
replica of the previous pool day, with the exception of two things. One, the complementary snacks were mini fruit
smoothies instead of frozen grapes and two, we actually had to pay for
everything ourselves since we burned through the last of our resort credit the
previous day. After living like royalty
for 3 days in a row we toned things down and had a light dinner in the hotel
lobby then enjoyed a night cap at the lobby bar. The day’s activities cost a total of $205.
We woke up the next morning sad to
know that our trip was coming to an end and that we didn’t have any more resort
credit to have fun with, but it was our last bit of sunshine before heading
back to the tundra so we made the most of the day. My husband is an avid golfer, so he was
overly thrilled (in my opinion) to wake up way too early to spend way too much
money ($300) to rent clubs and play 18 holes at the resort’s golf course. After sleeping in and enjoying breakfast, all
I wanted to do was spend my few remaining hours in Arizona soaking up more sun,
so I got comfy with a book and an iced coffee in my favorite poolside lounge
chair. When I checked out of the room, I
was sure to go to the front desk to request a split charge on our Bonvoy
Brilliant cards. I had them put $300 on
one card and the remaining balance on the other, that way we only had one card
to pay off. Normally we get to the
airport a bit early to take advantage of access to the Admirals Lounge, but we
wanted to stay in the Phoenician dream world as long as possible so after checking
out we opted to have lunch on the patio at the golf course. We spent an hour rehashing all the trips we
had ever been on together and decided that this trip rivaled our honeymoon as
our best yet.
See below for a breakdown of the
cost of each part of the trip and a recap of the credit cards that made this
Cost of round trip flight for two
from ORD to Phoenix: $700
Cost of 4 drinks and snacks at ORD
Admirals Lounge: $75
Cost of GMC Terrain rental car from
Hertz plus: $230
Cost of five nights in King Suite
with Balcony Golf View with daily breakfast and valet parking at Phoenician
Canyon Suites: $6,335 (* items below included in this rate)
Cost of two hiking packs with waters
and granola bars: *included in nightly rate
Cost of poolside drinks and snacks:
Cost of dinner at J and G
Nightcap drinks at lobby bar: $15
Cost of lunch with family: free!
Cost of dinner with family: $25
Cost of 1 hour of tennis: *included
in nightly rate ($4 for tennis balls)
poolside drinks and snacks: $125
ride to and from Old Town Scottsdale in Cadillac Escalade: *included in nightly
Cost of dinner in
Old Town Scottsdale: $120
Cost of bottle of wine from room
Cost of 1 hour of tennis: *included
in nightly rate
Thank you to Derp for hosting my guest post! Mark Wednesday April 24 on your calendar and be sure to check out my new blog littlemisstraveler.com to stay up on my newest adventures. Be sure to check out my step by step guide on how to make the trip of your dreams to become reality!
I done did it now, I just opened 4 cards in the last two months and I might not be able to organically spend my way out of this hole. I might need to turn to the good old plastiq trick or even the metal bullion churn.
Here is what I need to hit:
Chase Hyatt Card (Mom’s Account Due to 5/24)
Opened 20 March 2019: $5280.22 of $6,000 spent
50K Hyatt for $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening
So I need to spend $6,793.92 in the next 3 months. My plan is to start up my plastiq referrals again. Please go here: http://www.plastiq.com/ and use my code: 674873 to open an account. You will earn $500 Fee Free dollars to charge to a card, and I will earn $1,000 in fee free payments. I will then use this pay off my kid’s monthly day care using a credit card.
I am not sure on the process on selling back to Amagimetals, but in my last churn I was able to sell to BGASC.com without a problem. They require minimum amount of coins before they will consider buying back. In my case I had to sell back 5 Krugerrands at one time.
I don’t have $100 in junk silver yet, but I could buy the quantity I need from Amagimetals or BGASC on a card. Then wait for silver to go up, and then mix in my collection and sell to BGASC.com for a sweet check.
I clicked the link to get this offer and I added the sale item for two 12 ounce Boneless N.Y Strip Steaks and signature seasoning at $39.99. I then added ten 4 ounce burgers for $20.99.
That is 4.625 pounds of beef for $61, which is not a great deal. However when we stack the discounts we see it’s actually in line with the supermarket. The first one is when I added the 10% military discount using troop ID.
The the 3.5% Ebates $1.92 off, and then the $15 back on AmEx makes for a grand total of $55.49 – $16.92 = $38.57 for 4.625 pounds of beef or $8.33 a pound shipped free to the house!