Cabo San Lucas Beads Photography by Anne
I did two Bank of America Alaska Airlines cards, one personal and one business. They were both delayed decisions but I was given a phone number to call on the personal side for immediate assistance. They weren’t kidding.
I called Tuesday at about 4 p.m. and a human being answered on the first ring. After the qualifying questions, we talked for several minutes and he informed me that they had already approved me and had moved $10,000 of my credit limit (of my $20K total) from a card I seldom use. I didn’t even need to suggest it. In the ensuing chit-chat, I mentioned that I had also applied for the business card on the same day. Eric offered to switch me over to the business card section for the same personal service. I’m in Heaven.
After about two rings, Dana comes on and we pass through the pleasantries, then she informs me they are only two days behind on their application requests and gives me the green light on the business card as well.
In both circumstances, I encountered pleasant, professional, English-speaking customer service representatives with winning attitudes. With the approval I got yesterday from Barclays for the US Airways personal card, I now have four approvals out of six applications with just the US Airways Business card and Chase Continental OnePass left to hear from.
A Sample Frugal Trip
Here is an example of how well things can go when you’re on the road. This was a simple trip back to Atlanta. Even without the bump — an inexpensive New York trip.
What frugal travel can mean: Our trip to New York (home via ATL) –
- 50k Delta frequent flier miles for two from Suntrust cards $110
- Fee from Delta on points ticket $ 10
- Lodging at EWR Sheraton SPG points 13k $ 0
- Car rental and gas $100
- Food (friends and out) $200
- Lodging at ATL Westin SPG points 5k $ 0
- Massage at ATL $ 80
Net all-in for a six-day trip: $500
Now the good part.
Weight restrictions on flight on the way home: $800 in vouchers. Hotel first promised became sold out while we waited for them to get the flight out, so $400 more in vouchers and the need for me to use 5k SPG to get a nice club-level king room. Did get $80 in food vouchers and enjoyed a very nice dinner at Westin, plus lunch before the flight home next day at ATL. Breakfast at Skyclub. Also treated my wife and me to massages at the airport since we had extra time and had had such a “stressful” trip so far. We even got a first class upgrade on the way out and enjoyed club-level rooms and amenities at each hotel.
Bottom line: I EARNED $700 for this trip.
Thanks, Rick, for helping us see the world at prices we can afford! (Suntrust deal and SPG 40k cards thanks to your blog and thanks to you!)
Thanks for sharing, Rene. I love these stories. Send me your cash-earning trips for possible publication.
Thanks for the Survey Results Last Week
Apparently my readership represents a very diverse crowd, which I had guessed from the emails I receive. We will keep Shannon doing the Rookie segments, Andrew sharing travel stories and photos on Wednesdays, and I’ll stay with the more complex deals — but with more detailed explanations.
If you have any suggestions for the Rookie Tips, send them by comment on Fridays. And if you have sample Q and A’s for the Q and A section, please send them along for all to read.
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