Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gun Control, RIP and End of the World of 12/21

A bit off topic of this kind of blog. If the killer, Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza has some common sense of his son’s autistic and we probably wouldn’t be completely shocked on Fri 12/14. Parents have their own way to educate their children, I have no intention to interface and I respect their decision. However, Nancy definitely paid her price. Yes, my finger point is on her, period.

Will gun control be enforced? I don’t think so, it’s a historic issue and I don’t expect it’ll be resolved any time soon. We will have this kind of tragedy again and again and again, it's a shame!!!
RIP, as a father of two children between 9-10, I have no word to express my condolence. For rest of us, let us Cherish the time we are together. I have more motivate to spend more time with my family and I will supercharge our vacation each year going forward, Life is short, Life is unforeseeable.
Lastly, let us ephemerally restrain the loss. X’mas is coming and I will be with my family in FL and Bahamas. I wish everyone has a great holiday no matter what. However, don’t spend all your credit card limit believing End of the world is 12/21, because if you do and sun arises on 12/22, it’s your “end of the world”. J

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A $600 value Complimentary Regus Gold card for one-year

I received an invitation for one-year free Business Gold card from Regus via my United Premier status. By searching the FT, it appears that others got it too without catcha, no credit card, no contract, no obligation.


The idea is for you to get free access to 1200 business lounges globally as a Gold card holder and to me I recap
  • It’s not airport lounge
  • It’s alternative to Starbucks
  • If I have some time hanging in some other countries, I can pop in their office in downtown area and get access to Wi-Fi, free coffee.
Why not?

I’ve signed up and am waiting for the card to be delivered and I will report back the experience.
Also, if you are not United Premier status, search internet, AA/Delta and other airlines also have the link of this freebie. AVIS preferred guest too, which you get the status for free, right?

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Credit Score Facts

I still have friends with the perception of applying too many credit cards will hurt or ruin their Credit scores. They are hesitating to foster this hobby or goal of “Travel FirstClass For Free”

The Answer: No, but it depends.

1. My Score
I am still maintaining my Credit Karma score which is a proxy of TransUnion (one of the three credit bureaus) at Excellent level 750, given the fact of
a.   I have/had 20+ credit cards
b.   I open/close credit cards every a few months via app-o-rama
c.   I had flied 40,000 miles and checked in 30 nights this year, literally paying only tax
d.   If I were to convert those benefits into list price of airfare/hotel nights, it would be approx. USD 40~50k (one FirstClass ticket is ~10k USD at least, one suite night is easily beyond $300)
 
2. I confidently and safely make my statement that applying 20+ cards won’t hurt/ruin your score in a long term, say 6 month to 1 year.

3. However, in short term, it will. Every inquiry (aka hard pull) will likely lower your score by 3~5 points, if you are doing an app-o-rama with 5-7 cards, my experience 20-30 points drop is very likely. By short term, I mean 3-4 months. Therefore, if you are buying a house, car, hold your horse until it’s done.

4. Breakdown of FICO score.
Please have a look at here. Essentially, you can see the 5 factors of different weight really impact your score. My personal experience then:
a.   Do not cancel a long history card. If it doesn’t have annually fee, lock in your drawer and make one or two transaction every 6 months. (some banks have policy if you don’t actively use the card every 6 months, they will cancel it). if it comes with fee, talk to your bank to trade(downgrade) to a no-fee card

b.   Payment, payment, payment on time, if you can’t, remove all this kind of blogs from your blogroll, you won’t take advantage this hobby at all.

c.   Lower your credit utilization, say you have $50,000 in total across the board for all your credit cards, keep the balance at 10-20% level should be safe. Once upon a time, when I don’t have huge credit (now I have over $100,000 J ), I heavily used my credit to 80% level, my score lowered to 640 for a period of time.

d.   You can see that once you have more and more credit cards, it’s actually doing good for your score because you have more credit. Does it make sense? That’s explained why those bloggers with 30+ cards and travel around the world for free, their score is still 780.

Recap


1. Applying too many cards wont hurt your credit score in a long run at all, however, you should keep the discipline of paying balance on time and

2. Don’t open too many cards in a short period of time(banks will treat you as aggressive credit seeker and likely shutdown all your cards, not kidding!).

3. Check your credit often and make sure you don’t apply for cards if you have a refinance or mortgage in the coming months.

4.  Most importantly, pay the balance on time.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SEA-PEK 4.4 CPM Mileagerun and 72 hours VISA free policy from 1/1/2013

China has approved 72 hours VISA Free for 45 countries passport holders, including USA, Canada and most EU.
http://zhengwu.beijing.gov.cn/bmfu/bmts/t1290501.htm

Essentially, as long as you hold 3rd country visa/airticket and stay in Beijing and departure from Beijing within 72 hours, you don't need a VISA. wow!

However, if you fly to Beijing and come back to America is disallowed. As a workaround, if you do head to other country, no issue, if you don't, like below mileage run and take a look at Great Wall, I'd book a full refund ticket from PEK-NRT for example and show the ticket when you enter Beijing custom.

I quickly checked UA for a Mileage Run opportunity of March/April 2013, there are tons of $617 all inclusive tickets from SEA-PEK. it's about 4.4 CPM (Cents per mile)

 

Monday, December 3, 2012

PointBreaker is out until 1/31/2013

I am not a big fan of IHG hotels(Holiday Inn), however, periodically, they throw in 5000 points/night deal aka PointBreaker. I have reviewed the 80,000 points Chase PC card and PC’s points here. Feel free to take a peek to understand why it’s a GOOD deal.
 
Today, IHG released the latest 5000 points deal here until 1/31/2013. My experience of those 5000 points hotel nights are gone super fast, last time I booked a hotel night near Portland, OR airport and the night was gone within 1-2 days. So, act fast!
 
If you follow the pointbreaker from the last a year or two, you will find out that the hotel list becomes shorter and shorter in America and the hotels are most likely in some unpopular places. Hence, I am hesitating in the future I still consider it’s a good deal. However, if you look up Asia(such as China), some Crown Plaza nights are 5000 points which is a smoking deal, I paid ~ $200 a night a few years ago in some of those Crown Plaza in China.