I’ve been able to enjoy many small and big victories since starting this blog. Sergio, Darius, Todd and many others have privately shared with me, finding out they really can travel frugally.
Karen shared yesterday the nickname the Chase bank people use for those of us that work their promotions so consistently. We are called “Points Pirates”
I say “Aaargh Maties, Bring on the Points”
But today, I want to share two emails I got from Jim, with his permission of course, on the success he has had with credit card applications and a huge tip for those of you struggling to reach the magic 90K with your Thank You Point balances.
Jim, your story is another reason, I write this blog. Thank you very much for allowing me to pass your story on.
I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog for over 6 months now. So far we have “earned” the following in the past 9 months…
Roundtrip tickets for 4 from RDU to Barbados on American Airlines
4 free nights “GLON award” at the Barbados Hilton April 2-6
Roundtrip tickets for 4 from RDU to Maui on American Airlines departing July 5 & returning July 15
4 nights at the Sheraton in Maui using Cash & Points at a cost of $90 + 4800 SPG points per night
We are booking a condo for the other 5 nights in Maui from VRBO.com for $660.
Total Current unused balances for me:
- TYP – 36,000
- HHonors – 84,000
- AA -3300
- Delta – 76,000
- US Air – 45,000
- Priority Club – 30,000
- SPG – 7600
Current unused balances for my wife:
- TYP – 55,000
- AA – 89,000
- SPG – 11,400
I have successfully funded new accounts at Citibank twice for myself and once for my wife using credit cards to earn 62,000 AA miles (12K, 25K, and 25K). On all 3 attempts I contacted the fraud protection group at Citibank to alert them to a large purchase that would be appearing in the next day or two and in all 3 instances the payment was denied on the first attempt and accepted on the second attempt after contacting them again to find out why it was denied the first time. Minor hassle that is worth it to me.
I thought all hope of achieving 90,000 TYP prior to the 3/1/09 devaluation was lost. Based on a forum entry in flyertalk, I contacted Citibank today and asked if I could combine TYP from our two accounts if my wife and I had a joint checking account with Citibank. Much to my delight I was told that could be arranged. Since we currently hold separate accounts at Citibank, we applied for the joint checking account over the phone today and I was advised it could be open in as few as two days since we are already Citi customers and that worse case it would be open within 7 to 10 business days. Once that hurdle is clear I will contact TYP and apply for the accounts to be combined (told it would take from one week to 30 days). Hopefully the timing will come through to make 90,000 points available prior to 3/1/09. “
Jim, goes on in his email, to discuss a minor flaw in his future Thank You point redemption plan and we head him in the right direction. (Although, it sure looks to me like he is working the game to perfection).
Jim then sends the credit results of all his applications in email #2. Remember, your results may vary:
“ Thanks for the quick response. I thought I had limited my search to business fare, but apparently not.
Feel free to use my story in the blog.
Interestingly, our credit scores from applying for cards since last April have moved very little in terms of actual score as reported by the Citi IdentityMonitor service (free with our Citi Platinum American Express cards – no fee first year), however we are now identified as having “good” credit by all 3 agencies as opposed to “outstanding” credit when we started even though 3 of the 6 scores have actually increased:
Me before starting: 758 Equifax, 742 Experian, 761 TransUnion
Me after starting: 741 Equifax, 751 Experian, 774 TransUnion
Wife before starting: 767 Equifax, 761 Experian, 782 TransUnion
Wife after starting: 772 Equifax, 747 Experian, 778 TransUnion
Perhaps the ongoing devaluation trend is has now reached its nasty tentacles into the credit reporting bureaus!
I gotta tell you, I’m feeling like a proud Papa Pirate today, and so thrilled for Jim and his family. And it looks like from Mrs. Jim’s AA balance, the next trip is probably already in the planning stages.
“Aargh Maties, a point hunting we go.”
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49