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.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95