Wednesday, April 3, 2013

US Airway churn strategy and 40,000 miles link

Long time no post. :-)
Today, I was approved by the 3rd US Airway cards, I think I’d like to shed some light and I am throwing in a 40k offer link which is the best in the market.


How Often should I churn


This is a tough question and YMMV. My personal experience is
1. You need to have solid score, say >720 from TR(Trans Union) as Barclay pulls this credit bureau
2. You cannot have too many inquires, I will say <6 for the past 6 months. My wife got denied because of this
3. Barclay is picky on income and employer, no one can confirm this, but I got a feeling. Last time I was denied, I didn’t put my employer name.
4. Wait for 4-5 months, 3 months is too short

If denied, what do you do

1. If you have the card
   Don’t call recon, last time, they not only denied me and closedown my existing one
2. If you never have the card
   Yes, call reconsideration line
3. If you just closed the card within 2 months
   Wait a while to 3 months and start to apply. My wife closed down the card and applied next month, got declined. The letter says they declined her without using credit report and they said they already have too much credit offered to her. My understanding is you need to wait a bit longer.

What can I do with US Airway Miles

2. Merging with AA and you have 40k AA miles
3. US Airway’s agent is easy to manipulate, you can have a RTW(around the world) award ticket

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AMEX 50k Gold Card still avail

Today, I convinced a friend why he should apply for this card
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/02/21/50000-points50-amex-premier-rewards-gold/

1. he doesn't have loan in a short time
2. he doesn't worry about credit score as it's high'
3. he is capable of paying debt

His concern
1. $1000 spending within 3 months.
(dude, are you kidding me? amazon payment takes care of it)
2. how to I use the 50k MR points
(check the above post)
3. I have too many cards (four actually).
(Dude, I have 30)

Bottom line, he can transfer the 50k to me and I pay him $550. :-)
 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

US Airway award change and merger with AA

Based on a few blog post, like this one, US Airway off-peak from US to Europe of 60k (55k with US Airway Card) is gone. Also, US/AA merging will be revealed soon.

I am about to book my travel to Asia using 85kmiles (90k-5k, same reason of the card) and this change definitely facilitates my action.

The impact to people like me are as follows

1.      Jan 15 to Feb 28 off-peak 60,000 miles to Europe in business

It’s gone, AA off-peak is a lot expensive. My bubble of next year taking my wife with me to CDG with 110k in business is burst. L

2.      90,000 miles to North Asia

After the merger, it’s gone, as AA charges 100k and US will join Oneworld.

3.      US Airway card

After the merger, it will be gone. Citi has AA cards and I feel Citi AA cards will still be avail, not this Barclay MasterCard which I applied for 3 times and gained 120k miles without spending much $$$. For those of you who has not applied for this card, I strongly suggest you do it asap and the above link is the best offer without fee. Some bloggers affiliate links have annual fee or only 30k miles vs 40k miles

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I dreamed a dreamliner in time gone by

I was about to book my US Airway 85k business class around trip from SEA-NRT-PEK-SIN-ICN-SEA for March 2013 back in Dec 2012. And I considered myself lucky as all 787s grounded. otherwise, all my flights will be cancelled.


Now, I have to abandon the idea and focus on seatguru.com to tell me the best business seats. Here is what I came up with: (for those of you who don’t understand why you can go all the way to Singapore with only 85,000 miles in business class, I explained in the end of the post)

1. SEA-NRT: UA875 lie-flat business class.
2. I will stay in Beijing for a bit over 72 hours and Beijing just had the 72 hours free-VISA program. Then, I am heading to Singapore via SQ805 with recliner seat which is not a problem for day flight
3. Upon arrival in SIN around 4pm 3/4/2013, I will join the evening free tour http://www.changiairport.com/at-changi/leisure-indulgences/free-singapore-tour
4. Mid night I head to my return trip from SIN-PEK as first leg via CA970 with lie-flat bed
5. From PEK to NRT, I have a bit over 3 hours connection time that I can do some shopping.


Recap

  1. It’s a short trip and I can get a business taken care of in Beijing (a press conf)
  2. I can explorer evening in Singapore
  3. I can shop in Japan, literally.
  4. Only 85k miles because
  • US Airway has nice award chart for partner flight via Star Alliance to North Asia only 90,000 miles
  • I will call US Airway to book this award. US Airway agents will book this trip, even though I will travel to South Asia. :-)
  • I have US Airway Barclay card which saves me 5k miles
  • This card can be churned every 3-4 months, so you just need two cards to get this kind of trip.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Club Carlson added Southwest as airline partner

You can redeem their points as following

•2,000 Gold Points for 250 Rapid Rewards Points

•50,000 Gold Points for 8,000 Rapid Rewards Points

•100,000 Gold Points for 18,000 Rapid Rewards Points

It’s NOT a  deal, because I had redeemed 9000 point/night in Orlando last year for 10 nights, which is $50/night=at least 0.7~0.8 cent/point and I value SW 1.1~1.2 cents per point.

However, it’s an option for you to liquidate some of your Club Carlson points.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

75k AMEX Gold Business Card

It’s everywhere today
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/01/21/75000-point-american-express-business-gold-card-apply-by-january-28-2013/

If I weren’t getting the 1/8 100k AMEX personal PLAT card, I would go this one for sure. But, $10k/4months is too much for me to chew now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spring Break Las Vegas trip booking

I’ve booked April 2013 spring break Las Vegas trip for my family. I know it’s too earlier, look, let me explain the following savings then you know it’s beneficial to book earlier.
 

            Flight

SEA-LAS for 4 people, 8000 Southwest points each for a round trip and total 16000 for 4 people+$20 tax and 911 fee (we have Companion Pass to buy one get one free)
 

Hotel

  • Marriott 4/6 Saturday using voucher (cat 1 to 4) from promotion last year (2 stays, one free night, I knocked down all three
  • 4/7 We will head to Grand Canyon and I charged 25000 Priority Club for a Holiday Inn Express ~$200 night in the entrance of Grand Canyon
  • 4/8~4/11, four nights are comp for us from the Orleans and GoldCoast. They are from the same Boyd Gaming firm and if you gamble there, make sure sign-up for their member and they will often mail you the free night coupons.

Car rental

  • I used to be a fan of priceline, not anymore. The price becomes ridiculous expensive, I remembered I won the name your own price for $8/day for a full size car in 2008.
  • Instead, I booked an Intermediate SUV from costcotravel.com for one week of $240, pretty good deal.
 
Our cost is flight $20 (tax+911 security fee, unavoidable), hotel is completely zero, airport parking, gas, food and misc which I do believe it’s within ~$1000(If I don’t lose a lot in Casinos. LOL)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Goodbye 2012 and first 2013 churn

Happy new year though it’s late.

A quick snapshot of our 2012

1.      My wife and I managed to accumulate close to 1.3 million points/miles
2.      The family had quite a few trips, including Vegas, Disneyland, Orlando, Bahamas, Oregon
3.      I flew ~40,000 miles with international trip to Asia and SEA-FLL route.
4.      We didn’t pay much airfare, barring security and tax fee
5.      I achieved Hyatt Diamond, Marriott Platinum and Gold of almost every hotel chain which gives us free internet, breakfast, lounge access and a lot more.
6.      All this benefits added up, in a nutshell, I believe it’s close to ~$40k if I were to pay for it (firstclass Asia trip will cost you $10k at least, one double bathroom free upgrade suite will cost you $300 a night and so on so forth)

Starting 2013, I’ve finished my first churn

1.      Two Hilton 50k signature cards using 2-browse trick, $1500 within 6 months, EASY!

2.      Chase Ink Bold business charge card, it’s actually a master card, however, you need to pay in full every month. 50k UR points after $5000 within 3 month, tough but manageable!

3.      Amazing100k AMEX MR points, with $450 fee and $3000 within 3 months. Moderate spending!
This deal was lasted for roughly 16 hours and it was all over on bloggers. The deal was pulled, however, lots of people jumped onto the deal and confirmed the 100k MR points. I don’t need to tell you how amazing the deal was, here are some. For those of you who missed the deal, you have to monitor those blogs and act fast, no shortcut. I had quite a few people pinged me that night whether or not they should jump the deal, I told them if they waste another minute with me on the phone or email, the deal will be gone. J

a.      $450 fee will be offset by double $200 airline reimbur, i.e. $400 is back. people is scared about the fee, if that's the reason they missed the deal. they need to learn more in this hobby. bear in mind, normally, this card is 25K MR points, this deal was 4x.

b.      SPG gold member

c.      Airport lounge access
d.  First/Business paid ticket, free ticket if you book via AMEX PLAT DESK (PTS)

4.      250,000 points only 4 cards and my credit dropped 3 points, not too bad. J
 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Smoke Emanates From Cargo Area of Boeing 787 Aircraft

http://www.flyertalk.com/the-gate/blog/13400-smoke-emanates-from-cargo-area-of-boeing-787-aircraft.html

I was about to book my 85,000 US airway miles business award ticket via ANA 787 Dreamliner SEA-NRT-PEK in May. and I am holding it now until things get sorted out.

for those of you who wants to understand the 85k biz class for 787 from North America to Asia:

1. US Airway has 90,000 miles to fly business to North Asia. see award chart
2. I have Barclay US Airway MC card to save 5k miles redeem. you don't have to be chairman level to get the card and the card is churnable every 3-5 months.
3. you need to close the card to apply for 2nd, 3rd one, that's my expedience.



 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to get credit card Retention Offer


Update 1/7: I called to cancel my Citi AMEX and got an offer of 3000 miles if I spend $500. I took it and the rep told me I can still close it out before March the annual fee applies. I will call back later to see any other retention offer. :-)

My Citi AAdvantage VISA is due in March. Per this flyertalk thread. I should call and negotiate a retention offer 2 months before. J Here is how I approached

Me: called the # on the back of the card and after security verification and immediately I mentioned  I want to cancel the card. (I am not bluffing as I have another AMEX from the 2-browers trick last March)

Agent: Ok, I will transfer you. (Every bank has a retention department)

Agent in Retention Department(Sara): Hey, Mr. XX, this is Sara, here in Florida, how can I help you?

Me: Hi Sara, I just came back from Florida. I envy the people living in FL. J

Sara: (laugh) well, to make you feel better, its cloudy today.

Me: here in Seattle, it’s 30 and we don't have "sunshine" in our dic anyway. I am still feeling unbalanced.
Sara: LOL
(This kind of chitchat is VERY important, you have established a quick relationship with the agent in the first 3 minutes and Sara will likely offer me the best offer with her power.)

Me: Look Sara, I’d like to cancel this card as I don’t use it often and I don’t want to pay the $85 fee
Sara: Sure, let me see what I can do for you.

(She offered me 1) double miles for the first 750 miles once I spend $750 for the next 16 cycles 2) $85 statement credit)
Me: I think the offer is good and I took it.
(it's 10 minutes talk and I saved $85, not bad, er?)

Now, I literally got the annual fee back but this is not done, once the $85 posted, I will still cancel the card, I called it double dip the retention offer. The reason why I need to cancel it because

1.      I still have AMEX version of this card and I will keep that for the 10% redeem miles rebate

2.      Those AA cards approved to be churnable every 18-24 months starting your application, however, if you have it open, you can’t get approved.

3.      Credit history is based on avg of all your accounts, I don’t want to cancel a card with 24 months long. (i.e., next year)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

US Airway Master card targeted 5x offer

Check your mail and you might be targeted for 5x (up to 2500 miles) groceries/utility bonus offer from 1/1/2013 to 3/31/2013. However, you must register by 1/20.

This is a free 2000 US Airway miles. I like US Airway miles and I’ve applied and churned 3 times of this card for 120,000 miles. Even though I am not a chairman member, I managed to get all miles posted.
For 120k miles, you can travel to Asia in 90k in business class or 120k in first class via Star Alliance United. US Airway has most generous chart to Europe during off-peak .  While holding this card, you can travel to Europe with only 55k in business class off-peak(5k discount), so for 120k, I can take my wife via business class for an anniversary trip to Paris.