Month: November 2016

Review: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

I recently product changed my Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite card to an AT&T Access More card from Citi (details to come).  The biggest reason I downgraded was the Executive card’s whopping $450 annual fee.  After the first year, I just couldn’t justify paying the high fee.  Originally, the card was compelling simply because of the mileage I could accrue from the sign up bonus.  It’s offered 100,000 AAdvantage miles in the past, but I was only able to snag a 75,000 AAdvantage offer.  Still, after 90 days I was 75,000 miles richer!

Before I get into all the details, a disclaimer:  In my opinion, every card is worth the sign up bonus if you cancel after the first year.  You just need to pick which card works best for you.  Once you have a few, you then need to pick which ones to keep.  There are a lot of factors that go into this – the bonus offer, the long-term benefits, you get the idea.

In an effort to clear up some of the mystery of selecting cards, I’m going to outline my decision and the benefits I was able to use with the AAdvantage Executive.  I’ll break the benefits up into “tangible” and “intangible.”

Tangible:  benefits that I more than likely would have paid for otherwise, or that I will be able to use or well save me money in the future

Intangible:  benefits that I can’t comfortably assign a value to, this is usually because I’d be unwilling to pay upfront for such benefits

(more…)

Thank you!

Just a quick note to say thanks!

I hope all of you folks that celebrate Thanksgiving had a great one!  If you don’t celebrate, then I still want to say thank you.  November 2016 marks the 6th consecutive month of increased pageviews on this blog, and while I know it doesn’t sound like much, I do consider it a personal accomplishment.

I really enjoy writing the content, and I know there’s a lot of competition in the blogging world, so thank you for reading here.  I hope I’m producing posts that are useful to most of you, and that you continue checking back frequently!

Thanks again, to you, and may we all find fatter wallets and fuller passports this holiday season!

-FH

First Impressions: Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard

So, the latest weapons in my arsenal are two new cards from Bank of America.  One personal, one business.  On the personal application, I opted for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard.

I actually plan on keeping the Amtrak card long-term.  Some of the benefits we’ll discuss below will be great for my long term.

Depending on your local rail scene, this card may not provide much value for you.  Since I live and travel in the Northeast corridor, I’m looking forward to adding more train trips to my itineraries!  There’s something nostalgic about trains to me, and I just took my first trip by train last month!  It wasn’t long, but Amtrak offered an easy way to get from Baltimore Washington Airport into Washington DC’s Union Station.

(more…)

Electric Miles – The NRG United Promotion

You’ve heard of those deals before.  They draw you in with a great promotional rate or a free month of something.  You’re pretty happy with what you get, and then they smack you with a high charge, just when you thought you were safe!

If you’re careful though, you can come out ahead.  I was able to net a decent chunk of MileagePlus miles with a recent offer from NRG Home.  We’ll likely be using our MileagePlus miles to fly Lufthansa to Germany.  We have some family that will be there for a few years, what better way to explore a new country, than on free miles with your family and friends?

So, here’s what I did.

(more…)

Washington DC 2016

We have a roughly annual trip to DC, usually in the fall.  This is actually our third year heading down to visit some close family friends, and the 2nd year doing the trip over the long Columbus Day weekend.  Check out the small report on last year’s trip!

I find October to be a particularly nice time of year in DC – not too hot, and not cold either.  The long weekend itself is a bit busy, but you definitely don’t have the tourist traffic that DC sees during other times of year.

Usually we drive, but that was before travel hacking.

Now, we fly.

(more…)

Earning Virgin America Miles with AirBnB

I love new partnerships between companies I use!

And although this one isn’t new, it’s great.  AirBnB is a fantastic option for lodging while you’re travelling.  Usually the cost comes in low, and it offers a bit more local flair to your journey.  We’ve used AirBnB in Peru, and then again in Mexico (twice!).  All three times, I’ve been happy with the process, and with our hosts.

If you’re keeping up with travel hacking news, you’ve been able top earn Virgin America points on AirBnB bookings for the past year or so.  Using my recent Mexico bookings, I decided to figure out the process, and a time frame for it.

Here’s what I did:

(more…)

My Global Entry Application Process

Last October, I applied for the Citi AAdvantage Executive card.  Now, this was only my second card along my travel hacking journey, and I thought it was a great deal:

You get the idea.  It also came with free Global Entry.  Pay for Global Entry with the card, get a statement credit.  Easy right?

(more…)