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.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases