Excellent Points Redemption Hyatt – Miami

I am writing another post about a great point redemption in Miami for a one night stay in mid January.  Again, I am just looking for a quick less than 24 hour stay in Miami away from the hustle and bustle but still at a nice hotel that I can enjoy and feel like I am on vacation.  My discover is the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables at 12,000 points per night.  Compare this to a hotel rate of at least $270/night after taxes and you’ve got an excellent 2.25x multiple on your points (compare to The Points Guy 1.8x multiple for Hyatt).  My stay is also during the week so I would imagine a weekend night at 12,000 would yield you an even better multiple.

Excellent Marriott/SPG Points Redemption – Miami

I am planning on staying in Miami for one night in mid January before driving down to Key West for a 3 night trip.  I did not see the necessity to stay in Miami beach as I will be just getting out of the airport at about 3pm and then leaving the next morning.  I wanted a Marriott/Starwood hotel to take advantage of my Gold status provided by the Amex Platinum and found the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove.

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/miami/coconut-grove

The hotel rate was just about $600 and the marriott point redemption rate?  35,000 points per night.  This is a whopping 1.71x multiple on my points (The Point Guy currently values Marriott/Starwood points at 0.90x).  This is one of the best multiples I have seen for a marriott property and while this may be just outside mainstream Miami in Coconut Grove I am sure I will still enjoy my stay at the Ritz.

Why the Capital One Venture card Hotels.com benefit is not worth it

The Capital One Venture card currently has a promotion through January 2020.  You will receive 10x points when booking travel on Hotels.com.  Keep in mind you have to use the Capital One specific portal so you cannot earn any additional cashback through shopping portals.  While this is not a bad deal its not a reason to get the card, here’s why:

There are many discount gift card websites offering between 5-10% off Hotels.com gift cards pretty much all the time.  Currently Gift Card Zen is offering them at 7.50% off.

Link to Deal

What’s great about Hotels.com gift cards is that you can combine them easily right on the Hotels.com website so no need to worry about finding one gift card that fits your purchase amount.

Next when using TopCashback.com you can get an additional 2% using their portal when booking using gift cards on Hotels.com.

Link to TopCashback

Lastly, whatever card you use to purchase the gift card initially will get you at least 2% cashback so lets do a final comparison on a $1000 purchase using my Alliant 3% cashback card.

 $            1,000.00  $                 1,000.00
Cap One Discount Gift Card
Price  $            1,000.00  Price 7.5% off  $                     925.00
Pts/Cashback                    10,000 Pts/Cashback  $                       27.75
Pt worth  $               100.00 Portal Cashback  $                       18.50
Final Cost  $               900.00 Final Cost  $                     878.75

As you can see by buying discount gift cards you are saving over $20 on this purchase or getting a 12.10% discount versus the Cap One 10% discount.

What cards are in my Wallet?

A lot.

First I will go through my spending categories and then tell you which cards I have in addition:

Everyday Non Bonus Spend:  Alliant Credit Union 3% cashback card – but this is a promotion for only the first year of the card at which point it drops down to 2.50% with a $59/yr fee.  I plan on either downgrading or cancelling this card and then using my Amex Blue Business Plus card which earns 2x membership points on all purchases and when paired with my Charles Schwab Amex Platinum I earn an additional 1.25x in cashback when depositing into my Schwab bank account so this equates to 2.50% on all purchases with no annual fee.

Dining and Travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve the godfather of rewards cards earns me 3x Ultimate Reward points on dining and travel and then another 1.5x on towards travel on the back end rounding out to 4.50%.

Strategic Gift Card Purchases: Chase Ink Business Cash earns me 5x Ultimate Rewards on vendors such as Swych, Gyft, Staples, and my internet bill.  Again on the back end I earn 1.5x toward travel via my Sapphire Reserve so this rounds out to 7.50%.

Rotating Bonus Categories: Chase Freedom earns me 5x on quarterly bonus categories such as Walgreens, Paypal, and sometimes travel in general up to $1500 per quarter.  If I max these out I get 7,500 ultimate rewards points per quarter which is equal to $112.50 in travel dollars.

Phone Bill and Venmo: Chase Ink Business Preferred which I used to use on Plastiq as well but that coding has dissapeared.  This cards earns 3x on my phone bill and also includes phone insurance, 3x on venmo which charges 3% on credit card transactions.  However, the back end earns me 1.50% so these purchases round to 4.50% rewards towards travel.

Amazon Purchases: I have the Synchrony Amazon Store Card which offers 5% cash back on ALL Amazon purchases

Other Cards: American Express Charles Schwab Platinum offers perks such as Centurion Lounge access, Delta Sky Club access that I enjoy.  In addition to a 1.25x on Amex points when used to cash out into a Schwab account.  I also have Delta Gold Business which earned me a hefty sign up bonus and offers priority boarding and a free checked bag on all Delta flights.  Delta has a huge hub for me in NYC at JFK airport so this works well.  The Hyatt Hotel Credit Card is one I am debating cancelling for Starwood but in the meantime this card offers me discoverist status which hasn’t done too much for me but I have described in prior posts.

Hyatt Discoverist Status = M Life Pearl Status

In a previous post I mentioned how I was planning on cancelling my Hyatt card because of the $75 fee which gives you automatic Discoverist status.  I have started to rethink this mainly because of my trip to the Borgata in Atlantic City this summer.

download (1)

Since Hyatt and M Life have a partnership I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was Pearl status through M Life.  This allowed me to save $10 in valet parking for the weekend, gave me “special” rates for my stay (I paid around $180/night at the Water Club and received a high floor room), and I also got a $10 players credit that I applied to my room bill at checkout.

These perks certainly don’t blow me away but it might be worth rethinking keeping the Hyatt card if I am planning more stays at the Borgata in the future.

 

 

 

Amex SPG Business Card Review 100,000 Sign Up Bonus

I am debating cancelling my Hyatt card and switching to the Amex SPG Business Card.  The reason for this is because of the 100,000 sign up bonus for Marriott/SPG points after spending $5,000 in three months.  I value this sign up bonus at a minimum of $750, here are a couple of data points:

  • $95 yearly fee but waived first year
  • Free night every year at a property up to 35,000 points per night
    • 35,000 point properties are nothing fancy but if you look hard enough you can find diamond in the rough
  • I like the Amex business cards because for the most part there is NO hard credit pull and an instant application decision
  • The card comes with automatic silver status and I am excited to pair this with my Amex Platinum card which actually gives me Gold status – even better

So my thinking when cancelling the Hyatt card is that I am not going to be using it to spend $15,000 for the extra free night because I get more bang for my buck on non bonus spend with the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Amex Blue Business Plus.  I also don’t need a free night from Hyatt every year if I can get one from Starwood which has many more hotel options.  At this point I am really just spending $75/yr (Hyatt card fee) simply for discoverist status which I never thought was that great.  I never got an upgraded room (maybe free water once?).

In essence I am going to cancel my Hyatt card before the yearly fee, get the SPG card with a waived first year fee and get 100,000 free points.  Makes sense to me.

Link to application

Plastiq no longer earning 3x on Chase Ink Preferred

This is a complete bummer, reports have indicated that Plastiq is no longer earning the 3x multiple when using the Chase Ink Preferred Business card.  I was able to generate about $1,200 per year paying my rent this way so it is a huge personal loss for me and I would imagine others have well.

In June The Points Guy published an article about someone who bought a $60,000 Tesla with Plastiq using the card which likely caught Chase’s eye.  This is an unfortunate development.

Capital One Savor Card Review

  • $500 sign up bonus (Cash) after spending $3,000 in three months.
  • 4% cashback on Dining and Entertainment
  • 2% cashback on Groceries
  • 1% cashback on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees and no minimum amount of rewards to redeem
  • Access to premium entertainment experiences
  • $95 fee waived for the first year
The 4% toward dining and entertainment is industry leading with the only other card offering this is the Uber Visa.  In my opinion the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers better returns with 4.5% towards travel on all travel and dining purchases, plus lounge access, good travel partners, and other ancilliary benefits.  I would recommend this card for the sign up bonus or those who do not travel much and spend a lot on dining.

American Express Platinum (Charles Schwab) Review

Currently offering 60,000 bonus points after $5,000 spend in 3 months.  In order to get this card you must have a Charles Schwab account, I will give you further suggestions on that below.

Apply at this link

The annual fee is $550 but in my opinion the real “Net Fee” is $150 because Amex provides you with $200 in airline credits and $200 in Uber credits that are spread out $15/mo with the exception of December which is $20 per month.  Some of my favorite perks of this card are below:

  • With the Schwab card, you can cash out your points into a Schwab account at a 1.25x multiple so the sign up bonus is worth $750 in cash.  You can also use these points to transfer to many valuable travel partners but I prefer the cash.
  • Centurion lounge access in airports – while there are currently only 9 lounges, they are in major cities and are expanding with more opening including a JFK and LAX location.
  • Uber VIP status – gives you access to better cars and drivers
  • Gold status with Marriott/Starwood and Hilton which has perks like free room upgrades
  • Global entry $100 credit
  • 5x points on airline travel purchases
  • Access to Amex Offers
  • Gold membership to use toward Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental
I do think the $150 net fee is worth all these perks, granted you have to be somewhat of a traveler.  Now onto the Schwab section.
Use the link below to open a Schwab checking account and receive a $100 bonus when depositing $1,000
Schwab offers no minimum balance checking with ALL ATM fees reimbursed.  You can then cash out your Amex points at the excellent 1.25x multiple.

Why I applied for the Capital One Venture Card

For the Sign up bonus primarily! But there are other perks as well:

  • 50,000 point sign up bonus after $3,000 spend in 3 months
    • These points when used towards travel are worth $500 and the great thing about Capital One is that you can redeem these in any increment (no minimum of $100 like we usually see)
    • Another benefit is that these points can be used towards ANY travel purchase and you are not limited to a specific travel portal like Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 2x travel points on all purchases so I am really redeeming 56,000 points once I get my sign up bonus
  • 10x travel points for all purchases at Hotels.com
    • This isnt great because you can usually buy discount Hotels.com giftcards on sites like Amazon and Ebay for 10% off or more and then use a cash back portal in addition but its definetly not bad
  • $100 TSA/Global entry reimbursement.  I have tons of these by now so not very useful
  • Waived $95 fee for the first year – this is big for me
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
Overall will I keep this card after a year when the fee kicks in?  Definitely not, I will look to downgrade it as I have much higher earning cards on both everyday spend and specialty categories.  Also the card has no travel partners so you can’t even transfer the points to an airline or hotel for a better redemption.  I would advise all to only get this card for the sign up bonus.