Time To Drop Blue Cash Preferred?

12 years ago I got my first AmEx card, the Blue Cash Everyday, which I product changed to the Blue Cash Preferred after joining the Navy since the $95 annual fee would be waived. I have kept this card for 12 years only because of the 6% cash back on groceries which cannot be beat. I also kept the card to have a 12 year old anchor to up my credit score. The downside in doing this is one of my valuable 5 AmEx credit card slots has been filled by a card that give me no annual benefit such as a free hotel night and $250 Resort Credit and $250 airline credit like the Hilton Aspire, or a $300 hotel credit and free night like the SPG Luxury or even a companion pass like the Delta Platinum or Reserve. This slot even takes the place of a lesser card such as the Hilton Ascend, Hilton Honors, SPG Personal, or Delta Gold or Blue Sky that could be upgraded to another one of the higher product to double dip.

I came to this realization today when I finally saw how valuable the new Rose Gold AmEx Card is when the 4x MR earning is paired with the 1.25 cents per MR point cash out with Charles Schwab Platinum and 1.5 cents per point for flights with the Business Platinum.

I also came across this article regarding the illogical obsession of pursuing a 850 credit score. Turns out anything over 760 is treated the same as a 850 in terms of best rates. So there goes my main point for having my 12 year old Blue Cash Preferred taking up one of these valuable slots!

The second point of having the card was for 6% on groceries and 3% on gas. Which this new Rose Gold card has taken its place. I already use my CostCo card for 4% on gas which puts this card in the obsolete category. I made this chart below reflecting what cards I currently have and the cash back:

My humble summary of best categories and cards is as such:

Since I rarely shop at department stores we can bring the Blue Cash Preferred to the chopping block. I hope to replace it soon with a Personal SPG card or Hilton Honors card in hops of upgrading for another high level product. This will be my make up as my solid 5 cards:

  1. Delta Reserve
  2. Delta Platinum (Replace with Business Reserve)
  3. SPG Luxury
  4. Hilton Aspire
  5. Hilton Honors (Upgrade to Aspire)

This set up will result in 2 first class companion passes, $300 at Marriott, One 50k Marriott night, $500 Hilton Resort Credit, $500 in Airline Gift Cards, and 2 free Hilton nights every year.

I think its time to drop the Blue Cash Preferred, now that we can get the same bonus on the Rose Gold charge card, thus freeing up one of our valuable 5 card slots. Thoughts? Comment below.


Rose Gold Card Received!

I applied for the AmEx Rose Gold Card when applications went live on 04 October and got my card today! AmEx underpromised and over delivered again! I received this email on 07 October:

7-10 days! I was bummed, because I wanted to use the card for my NYC trip this Friday. I then got this mysterious shipment notification from UPS yesterday:

Sure enough, 19 hours form the notification I got my card, way beyond my expectations! Here are the required unboxing photos:

and the rose gold card:

I made a new account to make sure I could upgrade it easier to another Platinum. I went ahead and signed up for the $120 dining offer as well as the $100 for American Airlines gift card:

Here are the terms:

New! $120 Dining Credit

To receive this benefit, Card Members must enroll. Only the Basic Card Member or Authorized Account Manager(s) on a U.S. Consumer Gold Card Account can enroll in the benefit. Traditional Gold, Senior Gold, Classic Gold and Ameriprise Gold Cards are not eligible. Eligible purchases must be charged to a Card Member on the enrolled Card Account for the benefit to apply. Purchases by both the Basic Card Member and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a $10 statement credit per month, for a total of $120 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Participating partners are Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. Excludes Shake Shack locations in ballparks, stadiums, airports and racetracks. Not valid on gift cards or merchandise purchases. Only valid for transactions completed in the United States of America, and US Territories. Please allow 2-4 weeks after an eligible purchase is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. Please call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase. American Express relies on the merchant to process transactions within the same calendar month that you made the purchase in order to apply the $10 monthly statement credit in the month that it was intended. For example, if you make an eligible purchase on the last day of the month, but the merchant doesn’t process that transaction until the next day, then the statement credit would be applied in the following month. If American Express does not receive information that identifies your transaction as eligible for the benefit, you will not receive the statement credit. For example, your transaction will not be eligible if it is not made directly with the merchant. In addition, in most cases, you may not receive the statement credit if your transaction is made with an electronic wallet or through a third party or if the merchant uses a mobile or wireless card reader to process it. To be eligible for this benefit, Card Account(s) must not be canceled and not past due at the time of statement credit fulfillment. If a charge for an eligible purchase is included in a Pay Over Time balance on your Card Account, the statement credit associated with that charge may not be applied to that Pay Over Timebalance. Instead, the statement credit may be applied to your Pay In Full balance. For additional information, call the number on the back of your Card.

Here is how it looks on the website:

and the little gauge shows it in the dashboard:

Can’t wait to use it instead of my CSR for dining! The 4x MR points worth 1.5 cents for travel for a sweet 6% cash value vs only 4.5% for CSR for 3x UR. Here is my referral link for 50k points with $3k spend and 20% cash back on dining (up to $100).

I wonder what Chase will do in response to this new card.


Gift Cards Work For SPG Lux

Big thanks to reader RWHR for this amazing datapoint regarding the SPG Lux:

It worked on $300 gift card at hotel front desk. It triggered the $300 credit plus it triggered the $60/$300 promotion I had added to the account as a sweet bonus! I bought gift card on Monday. $60 credit showed up on Thursday and $300 credit on Saturday

For those that were wondering how the SPG Lux $300 credit works, we have used it successfully for room rates, in room dining while staying on points, and now for a gift card bought at the front desk. This may very well be a huge money making card. I suggest every AD get the Lux and then the personal SPG with the intention of upgrading the Personal SPG version to the Lux. This would mean $600 in credit as well as 2 free nights a year.

I have exhausted my credits for the year but this offer of $60 for $300 spend might still be good for a gift card, even if I cant double dip it:

Again, thanks for the data points out there! Keep them coming on the comments below!


AD Stationed In Hawaii Should Hit Delta Plat and Reserve Hard

In two weeks I am going to the ADA meeting and to visit my best O-6(s) reader in Hawaii! This made me think of the unique loophole those service-members have with Delta’s companion pass.

If you are active duty living in Hawaii you can get up to 5 free companion passes (Up to First Class) every year from Hawaii to Mainland from having 5 annual fee waived AmEx Delta Reserve cards. There is one provision of the AmEx Reserve Guidelines that allows use of the companion pass to fly OCONUS:

The companion pass can be used for overseas flights for: residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) the flight must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI

Normally us 48 CONUS normies are restricted to only using this pass to fly between the lower 48 states. If you want 5 companion passes, you must have a plan that keeps in mind the 5 card max rule and the 2 cards every 90 days rule. This would be the sequence of application to have 5 Delta Reserve cards:

  1. Get the AmEx Personal Delta Reserve Card (40K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  2. Get the AmEx Business Delta Reserve Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $5k spend)
  3. Wait 90 days since you can only get two credit cards in a 90 day window
  4. Get the AmEx Personal Delta Platinum Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  5. Get the AmEx Business Delta Platinum Card (70K Sky Miles, 10K MQM on $3k spend)
  6. Wait another 90 days since you can only get two credit cards in a 90 day window
  7. Get the AmEx Personal Gold Delta Card (60K Sky Miles on $3k spend)
  8. At the one year mark of the Delta Reserve Cards you will get two companion passes good for first class
  9. At the 1 year mark for Delta Plats you will get 2 more certs only good for main cabin
  10. Upgrade the 2 Delta Platinums to Reserves to get two more first class companion passes
  11. Upgrade the Delta Gold at the one year mark to the 5th Delta Reserve
  12. Enjoy a perpetual annual fee waived 5 companion passes good for first class for the rest of your active duty time

If you follow this sequence you will have 310,000 SkyMiles good for 7 round trips form HNL to SEA:

and 40,000 MQM which is almost enough for gold status:

The companion passes can potentially get you 2 tickets for $2,793 on Delta ONE First Class form HNL to MSP:

That is $698.43 a segment for the 17 hour round trip journey! Even at the main cabin rate of $974.60 the companion pass saves you big:

You can fly two people at $243.65 a segment by taking advantage of this companion pass. If you live (or can claim an address in Hawaii) and can originate a flight form Hawaii to mainland, this might be worth filling most of your 5 AmEx slots to take advantage of the companion pass loophole!


Biz Green To Plat: Denied Three Times Before The CSR Folded

Shout out to my reader Dan who pointed out the loophole that allows product changes without a one year wait for business cards. I followed his steps, and I was able to successfully upgrade my Green Biz today to Platinum Biz in less than a week of having it open! This, of course, was met with a lot of inconsistencies among Customer Service Reps (CSR).

On 25 September 2018 I got the Business Green Card, and I received the card on 30 Sep 2018 and charged a single charge of $6.56 at Walgreen’s:

The charge posted on 01 October and I paid off the amount the next day. By 05 October the 5,000 points posted to the account:

This is when things got weird. I was denied three times to upgrade from Green Business to Platinum Business:

  1. I called the number on the back of my Green Card and requested the upgrade, everything went alright until I was put on hold for about 20 mins. They said that the computer stated I had just opened the card that day, and I had to wait one billing cycle before any upgrade could take place. I was given a date of 24 October to call back to upgrade on despite having the account open on 30 Sept 2018
  2. I logged in and used the online chat to upgrade and was told that only downgrades can take place in chat, and I was directed to another site to upgrade without any success
  3. I logged in again and was told that one year of green was needed to upgrade the card

and this is the last denial:

Then I HUCA on online chat and finally got what I wanted:

Success! I got another successful verification message later on in chat:

If you get denied in one of many ways, Hang Up and Call Again (HUAC) you will eventually get someone that will go ahead and upgrade the AmEx Green Business to Platinum with no delay. You don’t even have to wait till the 5k points post according to Dan. I got the green in the mail on 30 Sept, and now I have another Biz Plat by 05 October for another $200 flight credit before the year ends! Use my link here if you want to take the same ride!


The New Rose Gold AmEx Card: 50K MR on $2k spend, 20% Dining Cash Back (up to $100), $120 Dining Credit, $100 Airlines, No Annual Fee for AD

There was a leak last week on the new Gold Card which turned out to be a real product with details here, and 50k MR for $2k spend application rolling out today (not public). The current offer (if you qualify) is getting $100 dining credit (as 20% cash back) when $500 is spent in 3 months on restaurants. The card even comes in rose gold of which I am not ashamed of getting just for the color:

Unfortunately I got the screen of bonus denial because I had the PRG in the last 7 years and I popped positive on the internal check.

I went ahead and got it anyways for the:

  1. $100 airline credit
  2. $10 a month for these dining establishments:
    1. GrubHub (My Link)
    2. Seamless
    3. The Cheesecake Factory
    4. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
    5. Participating Shake Shack locations
  3. 4x MR on Dining (worth 6% towards flights)
  4. 4x MR on Groceries (worth 6% towards flights)

In one year I plan on turning this into another Platinum, and hitting up for another gold card. The quadfecta between Every Day Preferred, (Rose) Gold, Personal Platnum, and Business Platinum means:

  • 5x MR (7.5% towards flights) on flights booked directly with airlines (Personal Platinum)
  • 4x MR (6% for flights) on Dining and Supermarkets (Rose Gold)
  • 3x MR (4.5% for flights) on Gasoline (Everyday preferred after 30+ monthly uses)
  • 1.5 MR (2.25% for flights) on all things over $5k (Business Platinum)

The $250 annual fee is waived for military, meaning they are going to pay you $220 a year to have this thing. Please use my links here if you want to get the card, it is the only way to get the 50K MR for $2k spend offer instead of the public 25k offer.


Iberia Points Black Hole

DO NOT transfer BA Avios to Iberia without book a ticket right away, because they will expire them almost immediately! Here is my demise of 11k Avios moved from BA to Iberia back in April:

Some how my 11k points became muddled with the 50 I had gotten form opening the account back in 2015. Therefore it appeared that it had been over 3 years of inactivity. This very same thing happened to a blogger with 90,000 points!

I was lucky because it was such a tiny amount I was planning to book for ORD to CMI for 5,500 a ticket for two. The plans fell apart and I had forgotten about the points until today. I noticed my account was zero when I was planning to book this wicked cheap flight for two from ORD to DCA:

So beware out there! Iberia, BA and pretty much all of Avios are terrible booking websites full of glitches. I just want to spend these things as fast a possible!


SPG LUX Datapoint Summary

Our Ritz Application Loophole worked! Despite having the Ritz card, I was able to get the SPG Lux bonus. Once I hit my $5,000 spend I was issued the 100k points on the AmEx site, showing up as YTD points earned:

Once the statement was paid the points showed up in my account along with my 55k from your referrals (thanks for the support):

On the player 2 side, my wife converted her SPG Personal to an SPG lux over the phone. She should have waited for an upgrade offer of 100k, but we were pressed for time as she had an upcoming girl’s trip to the Ritz in Toronto. We asked for the 100k, but no such offer existed for her upgrade. Some other readers report being patient and having the offer suddenly appear. She had booked the ritz with the old points system before August for 50K points per night. She spent $262.11 on breakfast and lunch in room dining and charged it to the room:

The charges were credited less than a week later:

She will have another $37.89 to go on the credits till her card anniversary. On my side I had the room rate reimbursed over 3 rooms:

 Hope you guys are just as successful with your AmEx SPG Lux card! Sine we have maxed out our referrals, feel free to post your SPG Lux referrals below for other readers.


United Gift Registry Updated!!!

Time for a click-bait shit post! I was curious to see if United had done anything to revive their gift registry that we had used up to 2017 for dumping our AmEx Platinum credits. This October marks one year since the site closed its doors to the United AmEx gift card loophole. Today, I am happy to report some changes to the site!

United has dropped the red text as well as the mention of “Early 2018”

Overall it looks like United Gift Registry is gone forever. Compare this new site to the old message:

Looks like “Early 2018” has come and gone. I am prepared to hit 28 x $100 AA Gift Cards starting January 2019 to use up my AmEx Plat credits over 14 cards! Other options are $200 Southwest or $50 Delta. Other airlines you can still use for in flight amenities and baggage and upgrade fees only. However I have proven that this would be impossible to do over our collection. Don’t forget to pick a new airline coming this January!


AmEx Business Green and Gold Instant Upgrade to Platinum (No 1 year wait)

Click for direct green application

Since Active Duty military get the annual $550 fee on AmEx Platinum waived, it makes sense for us to get multiple versions of these cards to duplicate annual benefits like $200 for Uber, $200 for Airlines, $100 for Saks for each card. Some of us have maxed out all the co-branded versions with Mercedes-Benz, Charles Schwab, Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise, and Goldman Sachs (LOL, not me).

After that we have had to resort to getting the lower personal cards in order to upgrade them a year later to get multiple higher versions. For example I got the AmEx Green and PRG and upgraded them to the Platinum in one year. The one year wait is a provision of the Credit CARD act of 2009 that has a prohibition of changing terms and conditions within one year of a new card opening.

Turns out this law only applies to personal credit cards, business cards are excluded! This came up in the monthly /r/MilitaryMS thread here. User OrangePartyLamp writes:

There is no wait on business cards, DerpReport reader Dan writes:

as an update – after i upgraded my biz gold the other night i have opened a new biz green and biz gold for both me and my wife without issue. furthermore, even without having Received the card yet, I chatted with the CSR online asking if my account was eligible for upgrade to business platinum and they said yes

The best part is you can select a different airline for each one of your new AmEx Platinum Business card to get 35% points back when booking with the three major airlines with points! For example you select Delta and buy 4x $50 gift cards, next one you pick United (No gift cards here), then last one you pick American Airlines and buy 2x $100 gift cards. You would therefore get 35% cashback (1.5 cents per MR point) because you have a Biz Platinum selected for each airline!

I would start with getting the AmEx Biz Plat for the hefty 75,000 MR on $20k spend (try the coin churn?). Then the green (5k MR for any spend in one year), then finish with the Biz gold for 50k for $5k spend in 90 days! If you choose to upgrade the Green or Gold off the bat you would be ineligible for the 75k on Biz Platinum forever!

Use my link here to apply for all three cards, or this one direct for green, just select the choose the view other cards option to pick the card you want:

The green just takes a single buy to get 5k points, and gold is $5k for 50k MR! Just get the card and in a week or so upgrade them to another Plat for an annual $200 towards flights! I got approved right away despite Applying for both the SPG Lux and the IHG Premier in the last 90 days:

Just got to spend any amount for 5k MR:

If you don’t think you will ever do the $20k spend then go ahead and get all three this year for a sweet $600 on flights in the form of 12 x $50 Delta Gift cards or 3 x $200 Southwest gift cards or 6x $100 American Airlines Gift Cards. Then repeat every January!