100,000 Hilton Honors Points To Quit The Armed Forces

Thanks to Davey for the tip! This post is terribly sarcastic, so please don’t send me any hate mail:

Right now Hilton is enticing service-members to leave the military with a 100,000 point bonus to be used in search of a normal people job. More details here at the points guy. I for one love this beautiful nation and serving its military. I would never ever think about quitting active duty (unless of course I made O-6, done 26 years, had my loans forgiven, and got that sweet pension with a 5% TSP match for 22 years). I also enjoy the AmEx annual fee waiver on these two AmEx products:

Use my link here to apply for the Hilton Honors Ascend.

Use my link here for the Hilton Honors Aspire.

If you stay in the military you would get the SCRA waiver for annual fees on both cards on top of 175,000 points. The Aspire would give you a free night every year including the first one on top of a $250 airline credit, and $250 Hilton resort credit. Totally worth it to stay in right?

If you do get out, it’s worth looking into this program to help seek employment and take advantage of the 100k HHonors points!

Happy 4th!

-Derp

 

Open Enrollment For $100 Saks Credit

BLUF: Terms have come out on the new AmEx and Saks partnership, $50 Jan to June, another $50 July to Dec (not Sept as previously reported)! You don’t have to spend $50, the credit will apply like the airline credit. However gift cards are not going to be reimbursed. The credit only works at Saks 5th in store or online, and will NOT work at Saks off 5th.

Another write up here at Frequent Miler.

I was successful in adding my Ameriprise, Schwab, MB, Morgan Stanley, and regular Platinum Cards. However when I tried to add my second Platinum (Upgraded form PRG) it kept on switching back to a card already enrolled. I contacted customer service via chat and got this:

I guess we are well ahead of the game, again!

Good to know that the enrollment period has started for the first wave of $50 bonuses for your AmEx Platinum Card. The terms are:

Shop Saks with Platinum (Effective July 1, 2018)
Only the Basic Card Member or Authorized Account Manager(s) on a U.S. Consumer Platinum Card®Account can enroll in the benefit. Eligible purchases must be charged to the enrolled Card Account for the benefit to apply. Purchases by both the enrolled Basic Card Member and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is only eligible for up to a $50 statement credit from January through June and up to a $50 statement credit from July through December for a total of $100 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Valid at Saks Fifth Avenue online or at locations in the US and US Territories. Not valid on Saks Fifth Avenue Gift Cards or purchases at outlet locations (in stores and online). Excludes purchases at restaurants located within the store and Online Bill Pay for Saks Credit. Not valid on online purchases shipped outside of the US. 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. Note that American Express may not receive information about your eligible purchase from merchant until all items from your eligible purchase have been provided/shipped by merchant. Statement credit may be reversed if the eligible purchase is returned/cancelled. 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 be not canceled and not past due at the time of statement credits fulfillment. If a charge for an eligible purchase is included in a Pay Over Time feature balance on your Card Account, the statement credit associated with that charge may not be applied to that Pay Over Time feature balance. 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.
Important points to take away:
  1. You don’t have to spend $50 each time (No Minimums)
  2. You will only get $50 Jan to June and another $50 July to December
  3. No gift cards
  4. No credit at Sacks Off 5th outlet locations
  5. Can be used online (idealy stacked with 4% cash back with ebates)

Happy shopping!

-Derp

Starting Sunday: Another $100 Credit For AmEx Platinum

AmEx now pays AD members $700 every year in credits. That is with your waived $550 annual fee per the SCRA, you are earning $200 in Uber(Eats), $200 in Airline Incidentals, $100 in global entry, $100 MB Accessory Certificate (Mercedes Card Only), and now $100 towards random over priced shit at Saks!

get $50 off your $28,000 purse starting Sunday 01 July 2018

Starting this Sunday 01 July 2018 you will get a $50 credit to use at Saks Fifth Ave between July and Dec every year; according to this r/churning post and DoC. Log in to your account here and add the benefit to each one of your Personal Platinum Cards (Business Card does not count). If you don’t have the card, use my links below to get your $550 annual fee waived AmEx Personal Platinum Card for Military:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

The payout is one $50 credit to spend from January to June (starting 2019), and another $50 for July through Dec for each card. This is every year for every personal platinum card (MB, Schwab, Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise, Goldman too). For our family we have: 2 Personal Platinums, 2 More upgraded from the PRG, 2 MB Platinums, 2 Morgan Stanley, 2 Charles Schwab, and one Ameriprise Platinum for a grand total of 11 cards worth $1,100 per year at Saks 5th Ave. I plan on upgrading my Green and Ameriprise Gold to two more personal Platinums. I am planning on getting $50 gift cards in store (although the terms outright say it can’t be used for it), (seems like e-gift cards start at $150). This would allow me to split up the charge over 13 cards covering the two payout periods. The combined 26 x $50 gift cards would be good for $1,300 towards a single pair of Gucci boots for my type 3 NWUs:

Just kidding, I think I could do 13 trips to Saks twice a year and buy $50 keto treats each time:

You can also use the credit online, and $50 goes a pretty long way on sale items:

If you go the online route, make sure you stack it with Ebates to get another 4% off also use your shop runner for free 2 day shipping and returns. More info this Sunday when I bring 11 AmEx Platnum cards to go shopping at Saks downtown Chicago!

-Derp

Getting Dumped By Charles Dow and Edward Jones (Again)

Did you know that General Electric was dropped from the  Dow Jones Industrial Average in September 1898? Well history repeated itself on 19 June 2018!

Yesterday General Electric got dumped from the Dow 30 and replaced by Walgreen’s. I have always felt the DJIA is a worthless (very flawed) index that we just keep around because it is our longest running index. Back in 1896 it was easy to calculate the average of a 12 companies since it all had to be done by hand. You would just add up the closing price for every component and divide by the numerical average price of each, and you got the number for the trading day.

Here are the original dozen companies in the DOW, note that none of these are part of the index as of 20 June 2018:

The American Cotton Oil Company Distilling & Cattle Feeding Co. North American Company
The American Sugar Refining Company General Electric Company Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
American Tobacco Company The Laclede Gas Company The United States Leather Company (Preferred)
Chicago Gas Light and Coke Company National Lead Company United States Rubber Company

If you are curious about what happened to the other 11 companies there is a great write up here. The Dow 30 is the like floppy disk icon to represent save in the menu bar. It is some archaic reminder of days past which has no indication of the present. Right now we have computers that can calculate a better index like S&P 500 or even the Wilshire 5000. The only adjustment made for modern times is the use of the Dow divisor that makes up for stock splits and other changes. The Dow as a indicator of market direction is flawed because they didn’t account for outstanding shares, market capitalization or balance each component like the do with a modern index. We can see that the Dow 30 is just a elite list of the most uniquely American companies rather than a useful market indicator.

It has been suggested companies dumped from a major index end up outperforming due to being dropped. Mechanically all these funds that held on to that component are forced to sell at any price to match the new index. I don’t think there too many savvy investors that are invested heavily in just these 30 companies (unless you’re like 100+ years old). Rest assured that GE is still a component of the S&P 500. If you hold onto the C Fund, you have about half a percent of what you have in C Fund as exposure to GE.

However the Dow Dumping Effect has worked in the past where it has signaled the bottom of a company’s cycle. Things did not get worse from there, but with getting kicked out of the club massive changes took place. The article here that outlined AT&T’s dumping and replacement by Apple goes into every ousted company in modern times, and what happened afterwards:

GE might be a good buy at $10 after the dust clears (note: no due diligence here, just made the number up in my head). I don’t think a company that makes everything form light bulbs to jet engines will go out of business anytime soon. You can always use TradeStation or Robinhood to own a share of GE, but that would be boring. Let’s just say you wanted to buy it directly without a broker, you could then have direct registration and Buy and HODL [Sic] forever. If you go over to EQ by Equiniti you can actually buy these 93 companies (including GE) with a simple ACH from your bank account:

Minimum Initial Investment Company Serviced by EQ
$100  ADIENT PLC
$250  ALLETE, INC.
$250  ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION
$250  APOLLO COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FINANCE, INC.
$500  ASHLAND GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC.
$500  BEMIS COMPANY, INC.
$250  BLACK HILLS CORPORATION
$250  BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB COMPANY
$250  CALERES, INC.
$250  CBS CORPORATION
$250  CBS CORPORATION
$250  CHATHAM LODGING TRUST
$250  CMS ENERGY CORPORATION
$250  CVS HEALTH CORPORATION
$1,000  DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.
$500  DIEBOLD NIXDORF, INCORPORATED
$250  Dollar General Corporation
$250  DUKE REALTY CORPORATION
$1,000  EDISON INTERNATIONAL
$1,000  ELI LILLY AND COMPANY
$250  ENTERGY CORPORATION
$250  EXELON CORPORATION
$250  FIRST AMERICAN FINANCIAL CORPORATION
$100  FLOWSERVE CORPORATION
$250  GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY
$250  GENERAL MILLS, INC.
$500  GLASSBRIDGE ENTERPRISES, INC.
$750  HCP, INC.
$1,000  HMN FINANCIAL, INC.
$250 HOLLYFRONTIER CORPORATION
$200  IDACORP, INC.
$500  ITT INC
$100  JOHNSON CONTROLS INTERNATIONAL PLC
$100  KIMCO REALTY CORPORATION
$500  KOHLS CORPORATION
$250  LAMB WESTON HOLDINGS, INC.
$1,000  LIBERTY PROPERTY TRUST
$500  LINCOLN NATIONAL CORPORATION
$500  MARSH & MCLENNAN COMPANIES, INC.
$500  MCCORMICK & COMPANY, INC.
$250  MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC.
$250  MEDTRONIC PLC
$350  MERCK & CO., INC
$500  MODINE MANUFACTURING COMPANY
$500  MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL, INC
$1,000  MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS, INC.
$1,000  NATIONAL FUEL GAS COMPANY
$250  NCR CORPORATION
$100  NEW JERSEY RESOURCES CORPORATION
$50  OLD REPUBLIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
$250  OMNICOM GROUP INC.
$250  ONE GAS, INC.
$250  ONEOK, INC.
$250  OTTER TAIL CORPORATION
$250  PENNSYLVANIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST
$250  POLYONE CORPORATION
$250  PPL CORPORATION
$250  PUBLIC SERVICE ENTERPRISE GROUP INC
$250  QUANEX BUILDING PRODUCTS CORPORATION
$250  RLI CORP.
$1,000  ROCKWELL AUTOMATION, INC.
$1,000  ROCKWELL COLLINS, INC.
$200  RPM INTERNATIONAL INC.
$250  RYDER SYSTEM, INC.
$250  SCANA CORPORATION
$500  SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC.
$250  SOUTHERN COMPANY
$250  SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
$250  SOUTHWEST GAS HOLDINGS, INC.
$250  SUPERVALU INC.
$500  TARGET CORPORATION
$250  TENNECO INC.
$250  TESSCO TECHNOLOGIES INCORPORATED
$500  THE ALLSTATE CORPORATION
$1,000  THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORPORATION
$250  THE KRAFT HEINZ COMPANY
$250  THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY
$1,000  THE TIMKEN COMPANY
$250  THE TORO COMPANY
$250  THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES, INC.
$1,000  TIMKENSTEEL CORPORATION
$250  TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP.
$250  UNITI GROUP INC.
$250  VALVOLINE INC.
$500  VECTREN CORPORATION
$0  VENTAS, INC.
$250  VIACOM INC. CLASS A
$250  VIACOM INC. CLASS B
$250  W. R. GRACE & CO.
$250  WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.
$250  WELLS FARGO & COMPANY
$250  XCEL ENERGY
$500  XYLEM INC.

If you go to the site you can just buy a share or two with a linked bank account. You would then be able to transfer shares as needed to gift them to friends and family. Some companies will issue physical certificates, but GE will not. Hope to make some money for the grand kids this way when they find an old certificate buried in my desk!

-Derp

 

 

MLA Waived, 5/24 Non-Restricted, Free Annual Night, 85k Points IHG Chase Card

Please use my link here to apply for the IHG Card. I currently have this card, but got it before the MLA took effect. If you get it now the $89 annual few will be waived per the MLA. This mean by holding on to the card while on active duty means one free night a year. When you spend $2,000 in 3 months and if you add an AU you can get 85,000 points. These points can be use from Hotel brands below:

Top tier hotels like the Intercontinental in Chicago run 50k points a night:

Where as the Holiday Inn runs you about 10k a night. The best part is 4th night is free when booking with points:

With 80k points you can get the Holiday Inn for 3 nights and get the 4th night free. That would be good for two bookings of 4 night and a booking for 2 night for a total of 10 free nights with $2,000 spend in 90 days. I was able to use my points for the ANA Intercontinental in Tokyo for 50k points. The free annual night has been restricted to hotels of 40,000 points or less, and must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue. This is a bit of a downgrade from the previous card, but for the price of $0 a year its is still well worth it.

-Derp

Split Segments or Tickets to Use 16 AA Gift Cards? Diversify your GCs for 2019!

Edit: Turns out you can’t use gift cards on the return fight as each segment must originate in the USA to use for gift cards.

Tomorrow will be the last month if the first half of the year which should be a wake up call for y’all to get on spending some of your points and gift cards that you have been hoarding. For me I have 24 American Airline Gift Cards from my 12 AmEx Platinum Cards which need to be spent at a max of 8 cards at a time. Since $100 card value is currently the maximum value to auto trigger the $200 annual airline reimbursement, because of the 8 Gift Card cap, I have an $800 cap per booking.

I wanted to send my family to Toronto and noted that both United and American Airlines have separate pricing when it comes to the ORD to YYZ routing depending on booking round trip or two one way segments:

United has followed suit:

According to Google, if you book two separate one-way segments then you would save $35 on American and $38 on United versus booking round trip. Thanks to Google Flights for pointing this out! I went right to the American Website and sure enough for three people it is cheaper to book two one way trips:

And the return:

There was no problem using gift cards for the outbound flight form ORD to YYZ…

However for the return the gift card option was gone:

Silly me! I read the terms here and it is quite clear:

Gift Cards are redeemable toward the purchase of air travel wholly on flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle® and oneworld® carriers for itineraries sold and originating in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Three tickets are $630 each way which you can use 7 gift cards for with $70 in change on the last one. I still plan on using the gift cards for the outbound flight, and then my US Bank Altitude for the return flight for $325 off. Overall I would just be paying $629.16-$325= $304.16 for round trip for 3 to Toronto.

I didn’t book yet because a part of me knows that if I pay for the round trip all with gift cards (just booking one ticket at a time) I would spend zero real dollars. Which in the end I am spending more money, but it would all be gift card money.

Thoughts? Comment below! Moving on…

You got 7 months of 2018 left to spend your credit. I think my folly this year was to not diversify my gift card portfolio. Now that the United Gift Registry looks like it will not open in “Early 2018” as it claims on its site. This may be a sign of the times and we need to anticipate possible loophole shut down procedures happening to other airlines.

For 2019 I am thinking of splitting it up as such:

  • My AmEx Platinum Business (Was Gold): American (Two $100 GC)
  • My AmEx Platinum Business (Derp Report): Delta (Four $50 GC)
  • WIfe’s AmEx Platinum Business: United (Club Membership or 12 Premium Bottles of Wine @ $16 each)

This would allow 35% points back over 3 airlines: Delta, American, and United.

  • My Personal Platinum: American 2*$100
  • Wife’s Personal Platinum: American
  • My MB Platinum: Delta 4*$50
  • Wife’s MB Platinum: Delta 4*$50
  • My Personal Platinum (Was PRG): Southwest One $200 GC
  • Wife’s Personal Platinum (Was PRG): Southwest One $200 GC
  • My Schwab Plat: Southwest ($200)
  • Wife Schwab Plat: Southwest ($200)
  • My Morgan Stanley Plat: American
  • Wife Morgan Stanley Plat: American
  • My Green Upgraded to Plat: American
  • My Ameriprise Plat: American
  • My Hilton Aspire: $250 on one Southwest

Or in a grid form it would look like this:

United Delta AA Southwest
My Biz $200
Wife Biz $200
My Biz 2 $200
Personal Pt $200
Wife Pt $200
MB Pt $200
W MB Pt $200
PRG Now Pt $200
W PRG Now Pt $200
Schwab $200
W Schwab $200
Morgan $200
W Morgan $200
Green now Pt $200
Ameriprise $200
Aspire $250
$3,250 $200 $1,000 $1,400 $650

This should begin in October with my Green to Plat conversion, and then slowly in 01 January 2019 with the rest. This is because January is the month you can choose a new airline every year. Then I will always check flyer talk to make sure these reimbursements still work. What you want to avoid is getting trapped on United after January had passed like a lot of those suckers out there in 2018. Many people (myself included) didn’t see the United Gift registry shutting down!

Because I cant add to the registry, my only way out of this mess is to buy a United Club Membership or drink 12 bottles of premium wine to spend down $200 trapped on their card! I know I have to chose one Business Card to be United to get the 35% points back, so this is my current dilemma.

As for the rest of you with many Platinum Cards, think about selecting other airlines just to make sure your not completely shut down in the future like those that were 100% United.

-Derp

Good Domestic Lounge Locations For AmEx Platinum Holders

For all those out there that have the CSR, keep in mind you only have Priority Pass which is nice for international lounges. When flying domestic, you are out of luck! This is where AmEx comes ahead with their own Centurion lounges, Delta Partnership (Only assessable when flying Delta), Airspace Partnership, and Escape lounge partnership.

I have and always will be a fan of the AmEx Platinum Card strictly for the addional lounge access it provides while traveling. Even if I didn’t get the $550 fee waiver for being in the military, I could easily justify the annual fee with $200 in airline fee waivers, another $200 in Uber credits. I would then be only paying $150 a year for access to all of these lounges below. I added only the restaurant credit Priority Pass locations. In my opinion domestic Priority Pass Lounges are very disappointing as compared to their international counterparts. I haven’t used Priority Pass domestically until they started adding these restaurant credits.

Airport Location Airline Served Name
ATL Concourse A,B,C,D,E,F,T When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
BDL Gate 1 Any Escape Lounge
BNA B3 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
BOS A7, A18 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
CLE Concourse B Any Airspace $10
CLE Gate C4 & C6 Any Bar Symon $28
CVG B14 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
DCA Con B Gate 15 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
DEN Concourse A 4th Floor When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
DEN C Concourse Any Timberline $28
DFW E10 & E11 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
DFW Terminal D D7 Any Via Skylink Train Centurion
DTW C, A68, A18, A38 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
EWR Gate 40 to 47 T-B When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
FLL Gate Info Center When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
HNL Gate 13 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
IAH Terminal D D8 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
IAH Terminal D D6 Any Via Skyway Train Centurion
IND Concourse A When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
JAX Concourse A When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
JFK T2, T4 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
JFK T4 Delta, Virgin, South African, Emirates, Air India, KLM Centurion (Coming Soon)
JFK T5 Aer Lingus, Hawaiian, Jet Blue Airspace $10
JFK T8 Gate 14 American Airlines Bobby Van’s $28
LAS Concourse D D1 Any via train Centurion
LAX T2 and T3 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
LEX B Concourse Any Kentucky Ale $28
LGA Gate 2B, Term C, Term D G2 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
LGA Terminal B Pre Security Any Centurion
MCO Gate 71 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
MEM B/C Connector When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
MIA D12 American Airlines Centurion
MIA D23 & D24 American Airlines Corona Beach $30
MIA H & J Connector When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
MIA Landside E Door 11 Any Air Margartaville $28
MIA Landside E Floor 7 Any Viena $28
MKE D Concourse When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
MSP F/G Concourse, C12 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
MSP T1 Upper Level Not Southwest, Jet Blue, Sun Country, Condor or Iceland air Escape Lounge
MPS T1 Upper Level Not Southwest, Jet Blue, Sun Country, Condor or Iceland air PGA $15
MSY Concourse D Gate 4 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
OAK T1 Gate 9 Any Escape Lounge
ORD E6 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
PBI Concourse C Gate 4 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
PDX C Concourse Departing Any Capers Café $28
POX C6 Any House Sprits $28
PDX D Concourse Departing Any Capers Market $28
PHL Term D When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
PHL Terminal A West Any but near by American Airlines Centurion
RDU Term 2 Gate C3 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
RNO Between Concourse B & C Any Escape Lounge
SAN Above Sunset Cove When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
SAN Terminal 2 Bridge Not Southwest or Alaska Airspace $10
SEA By S-9&10, Con A by Gate 1 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
SEA Concourse B Gate B3 Any Centurion
SFO Term 1 Gate 41 on Con C When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
SFO Terminal 3 Gate 74 E,F,G Concourses (No American, Delta, Southwest, Virgin or Alaska) Centurion
SLC Between C&D When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club
STL Terminal 1 Baggage Any Pasta House $28
STL Terminal 2 Gate E6 Southwest Schlafly Beer $28
TPA Con E gate 68 When Flying Delta Delta Sky Club

Now if you don’t already have an AmEx Platinum Card, please use my links below to apply for one. Keep in mind that if you are active duty or reservist they will waive the $550 annual fee for the Personal Platinum and even the $450 for the Business Platinum.

  1. AmEx Personal Platinum Link
  2. AmEx Business Platinum Link

I got all the information about the longes from these sources:

  1. Delta Lounge Locations
  2. Centurion Lounge Locations
  3. Priority Pass Locations at Restaurants 
  4. Escape Lounges
  5. Airspace Lounges

I have it all in a excel spreadsheet here: AmEx Lounges

Now if you wanted to look at all the domestic Priority Pass Lounges they can be found here. They are often lacking in hot food so I omitted them form the list. Really just stick with the 61 lounges listed above! Happy travels.

-Derp

$28/$15 Food Credit is the New Lounge Access

Edit: To be clear, not every restaurant is participating with Priority Pass. You can check right here for ones that are. Some one has compiled a compiled a complete list here, and here are the ones I know for sure are participating based on reader reports:

The name of the game in airport comfort has changed from isolated little lounges away from the crowds, to free food and drink at an existing airport venues. The one company really pushing this change is Priority Pass (which you get free membership to with your CSR or AmEx Platnum). If you have the Priority Pass card from your AmEx Surpass, you need to cut it up right now as it charges you $27 per lounge visit.

The problem about building a lounge network is simply the approvals needed to build such a space. One Mile at a Time is reporting that AmEx is planning to open a Centurion lounge at LAX. However a bureaucratic nightmare that is the City of Chicago means as of today, no ORD Centurion lounge (which has has been proposed since 2015). ORD has become a tough spot for lounge access since all the Priority Pass lounges are trapped in the restricted Terminal 5. What is left are two Crowded USOs, 3 American Airlines Lounges when flying American, and a Delta Sky Club you can only get to when flying Delta. Before you could get into the United Clubs, but United has been shutting down access to incognito service members.

Frequent Miler and SaveroCity report the growing trend of the $28 credits you can get at airports with your Priority Pass membership. This new strategy saves money by giving directly to these already established venues instead of contracting to some seriously underperforming lounges. PriorityPass can the serve their members without having to wait for new lounges to be built. Also I think they know that they can’t compete with the big boys like AmEx with their giant lounges.

This $28 Priority Pass credit is very innovative because I am all about not paying for overpriced food at the airport like a bitch. If I had to pick between free hot meals in public over cold sandwiches in a private club, then put me with the normies! I was recently at STL which has partnered with Schlafly Brewery and Pasta House to provide $28 worth of credit per member and another $28 for 1 guest. Since I was flying Southwest from STL, I went to the Terminal 2 location by gate E6 at about 8 am and they had this menu for me to order from:

Note that these are midwestern sized portions. My complete breakfast platter was gigantic, and note that all the cocktails are $11.99 which I believe is priced to maximize the $28 for an entree and drink:

At the end of the meal they brought over my check and I swiped my Priority Pass card in the handheld reader like I would have done at a lounge. I left a cash tip of $5, and was full for my flight. I had forgotten that I was with the general population at the gate, but I didn’t mind at all. I just hope this new trend makes it to ORD!

If you don’t Have Priority Pass use my links below to get a MLA military fee waived card:

-Derp

 

 

0/24 Churning: I Forgot About Southwest Airlines!

It has been 6 years since I have flown Southwest Airlines, so I thought I would give it another shot this weekend. The question I got yesterday was what 5 cards I would get if I was at 0/24. I had previously forgotten about Southwest and their companion pass. If you can get 110k points through card bonuses and flying, you can choose a companion that will fly free with you for the rest of the year and the next year. Here are the only possible Chase Cards I would consider (Note: I excluded Business Cards because they do not get MLA waivers):

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
  2. Chase United Club Credit Card
  3. Chase United Explorer Credit Card
  4. Marriott Rewards Plus Card
  5. Chase Freedom (5 UR for quarterly category)
  6. Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5 UR for everything)
  7. Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card (3k bonus points)
  8. Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (6k bonus points)

Depending on what airlines you fly I would pick 5 from the 8 above. I do not believe that there is any restriction for multiple United Cards, Multiple Southwest cards, or even both Freedom Cards.

Please send some links if you want me to host them on the site.

-Derp

TSP Should Merge With Acorns

My curiosity got the best of me and I went ahead and opened an Acorns account. Mainly because these Acorn backers are so starved for business that they are going to give me a $1,000 bonus (and $5 each referral) if I can get 12 people to use my link before the end of May 2018. Please use my link here if you are at all interested: https://acorns.com/invite/NPJQY7. I for one think that Acorns is really fucking expensive with a fixed management fee of at least $1 a month up to $4,999.99 invested. Investing more than $5k means paying 0.25% per year which is at least$12.50. This may not seem like a lot, but for their target audience of newbie investors with small balances (less than $5k), this is very expensive. I will explain after I show how the scam innovative depositing works.

The basis of this account is to monitor and round up all your credit card or debit card transactions of the linked bank, and take the difference as a digital piggy bank deposit. BoA did this first in their program “Keep The Change” to encourage dumb money to invest in any way possible. They used to match as an intro offer but enterprising people like me would buy $0.01 stamps at the post office to maximize the match.

BoA gives an example of what you can put away as savings on their site. Let’s say you do and buy all of this stupid shit every week:

Great, so it takes you an entire fucking year to put away $286.52. For most of us this is barely enough to buy a single Prada loafer, maybe just one bottle of Dom.

However the target audience for Acorns only puts away $60 a month, and that seems like a good start for your savings for a car or whatever. From the policy genius website:

If you make 50 transactions each month with an average of $.25 rounded up per transaction, you’re only investing $12.50 every month. At that rate, Acorns’ monthly fee is taking away 8% of your contribution to your investment portfolio in your first month.

So Acorns it is an intricate system to rip off the poors encourage automatic savings and investing at a fee that is really high for small balances. All you Active Duty all are better sticking with just putting away 5% of your base pay for 5% match right into a TSP LifeCycle fund at 0.04% management fee. The same $286.52 would only cost you yearly, 11.4 cents on TSP vice 1,200 cents on acorns (110 times more expensive) and it would be just as diversified.

Bottom line if you really want to save for retirement, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ACORNS if you haven’t maxed out your TSP at $18,500 a year! For non-retirement savings, I would use Commission Free TradeStation right into cheap ETFs like SPY, QQQ, DIA, GVAL, SVOB and balance them as needed.

Now for the fun side of Acorns, I don’t totally hate on it. The interface is completely dumb money proof:

From the first click to the account approval, it can all be done in 10 clicks tops! Just a few questions on goals and risk tolerance you end up with a robot portfolio displayed all fancy like a video game:

It then further breaks down the portfolio in simple english terms:

You can go to the dashboard and deposit funds directly as well, I did $10 so it would not all go to zero before the end of the year!

You can also do a monthly deposit, but I won’t because I am going for the $1,000 bonus then adios!

After setting up my account, I only wonder why TSP could not have been this easy to set up. When this company goes out of business I hope the good folks at TSP.gov use the code to encourage the E-1 to put that 5% away of base pay with a match with just a few clicks of an iPhone App. The interface is nice and clean, videos are easy to view, and the language is very encouraging. Breaking down the balance of the portfolio in simple terms is what TSP lacks. Kudos to Acorns in brining a balanced investing scheme to the masses, but too bad for the high fees compared to TSP and many commission free ETFs out there under 0.25%.

In the meantime, if you know 12 churners ready to make $1,060 bucks (12*$5 BONUS WITH $1,000) paying only $12 in a year of fees, then please go ahead and use my link to get started. Once I hit 12 referrals I will open up the comments section for hosting reader links!

For those seriously considering Acorns as an actual investment, there is an excellent go-by here on how to really churn the application. For the rest of us, get on the Acorn MLM and getting a head start on this reverse funnel investment! You know $1,000 can buy you plenty of stupid shit.

-Derp