Monthly Travel Hacking Report: February 2017
February was a pretty busy month for Travel Hacking related items. Lots of spending on Inventory for my FBA business and even got a new card. Lots to to talk about, so lets take a quick look at what happened this month:
- Applied for and received the AMEX Business Plat OPEN with a 150k spending bonus
- Downgraded by Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Past my 5k Spending on the Ink Preferred
- Got my Global Entry
- Enrolled in Priority Pass Select
- Filed an insurance claim for my delay in Grand Rapids
American Express Business Platinum
I know I said it last months post that I wasn’t going to apply for this one but business has picked up and suddenly I have a lot of spending to do. I’ll go into it more in the monthly FBA post but if I buckle down I could have that $5k spend done in a week or two with plenty of cash to pay it off.
I guess at this point it goes without saying that I was approved for the card. Straight approved too, no need to call reconsideration like with the Chase Ink Preferred.
The bonus is incredible. It gives a 100k membership rewards after $5k spend in 3 months. I can also earn another 50k membership rewards points after an additional $10k spend. Meaning that $15k spent equals 150,000 AMEX membership rewards points. Not a bad way to start and the important part is that the second tier spending is optional. So long as I hit $5k spend in 3 months I still get 100k points. This makes it more than worth it.
The AMEX Platinum comes with a bunch of perks that I had to go through and enroll for. To make it easier I’ll list them out.
- Hilton HHoners Gold Status (Looking forward to the free breakfast and possible upgrade)
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status (This also gets me Marriot Gold status since there merger)
- Boingo AMEX preferred plan (not sure if I’ll ever use this)
- Gogo Preferred program (10 free tickets for WiFi on planes when available)
- $200 Airline Fee Credit (only on your selected airline, chosen once per year)
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit (Won’t be using this as you’ll discover below)
- Get 50% points back when booking first or business class (or on the selected airline)
- Access to the global Lounge collection (Centurion, International AMEX, Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass, Airspace Lounge)
While some of those are redundant because of my other cards it still has incredible value and offers a lot of other services. You can find the full list of benefits here. I won’t be using my Global Entry or Priority Pass credits as I already have them through the Sapphire Reserve.
Downgrading the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Since I now have the Sapphire Reserve there was no point to me paying the annual fee. Since I know through previous research that the best course of action is to downgrade the card I called Chase and asked. While they could not downgrade me to the Freedom or Freedom unlimited (because it was open less than one year) I could downgrade to the sapphire regular. Then later I could transfer the card over to one of the others if I wanted. They also said that if I waited after one year they would refund my fee.
Overall, this was a smooth process and left me in a good position. I got to avoid the annual fee; keep my authorized user (and there credit line) open; keep my own credit line open (and history); use the same account number; and have the opportunity to apply for the Freedom cards with bonuses later. Excellent.
Chase Ink Preferred
Part of my reasoning for applying for the AMEX Business Platinum was that I hit my spend for the Chase Ink Preferred sooner than I thought. Now all I really have to do is wait. I’ll report next month whether or not I got the 80k bonus in my account.
I also had my Global Entry Interview in February which was pretty simple. I had booked it shortly after getting my Sapphire Preferred so it had been a few months.
The main benefit to getting Global Entry will be getting to breeze through customs when entering the US but it also gets you TSA Precheck (usually). I’m not going to go into all the details so here is an excellent post on Global Entry.
I went to Michigan to see some friends in January and I don’t think I mentioned it last time but my flights back got cancelled and delayed numerous times. I ended up getting back about 6 hours later which I thought would qualify me for travel insurance. This would have covered my $60 Uber ride home and 3 airport meals totaling about another $25.
Unfortunately, it turns out that it has to be one individual flight that is cancelled. Because my 6 hours of delay (the min to qualify) was spread across two separate flights than I do not get reimbursed. Oh well.
Totals as they Stand Now
As I said above, February was very busy when it came to my Travel Cards. This month I will be focusing on meeting my spend in the AMEX and determining if I will have the opportunity to take advantage of the new SPG offer. Here are the point totals:
Chase Ultimate rewards – 187,470
AAdvantage Miles – 26,934
Doesn’t look like much progress but the next couple months should be a big upswing. Still gotta do more writing though…