I love credit cards so much!

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by FairestOfThemAll37, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. FairestOfThemAll37

    FairestOfThemAll37 DIS Veteran

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    I think this is appropriate for the budget board because it's about saving money!

    I just purchased what would have cost over $15k in airfare for under $500 thanks to credit card points/miles.

    It was a huge PITA transferring and sorting everything out/finding availability but saving that much money is kind of a rush! I've used points for flights before but never this complicated or for such a high cash price tag!

    For one leg of my trip United kept asking if I would like to buy my ticket for zero points for only $7,995...no, United I would not. Also does that ever work?
     
  2. DVC California

    DVC California Good Old DVC

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    Wow, that's fantastic - Good Job! (I'm guessing it must be "fuel surcharges" that is costing you?)
     
  3. FairestOfThemAll37

    FairestOfThemAll37 DIS Veteran

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    I managed on airlines that don't have fuel surcharges. It is taxes and actually I paid one domestic leg in cash since Virgin America was the best flight option and the redemption value from transfer is so awful. I just paid the $349 for that leg in Main cabin plus or whatever they call it.

    I looked at a few British airways flights but man oh man those fuel surcharges. My "free" business or first class ticket would have still cost me almost $2k!!
     
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  5. KarenAylwood

    KarenAylwood <font color=red>It wouldn't be the holidays withou

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    Yay!! We saved hundreds on our honeymoon to Hawaii in hotel stays and stayed for free the whole week we were in California on vacation using hotel points. Just by using the card for everything we'd normally buy. Congrats on figuring out how to save that much, it does sound like it was a bit complicated! Happy travels!
     
  6. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

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  7. ski_mom

    ski_mom DIS Veteran

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    Great job! I've mostly done the southwest credit cards and am happy with all the free flights we've received from them! That definitely has to be a rush!

    If I may ask, what hotels did you stay in? Like I stated above, we've done well with Southwest flights, but I haven't really delved into redeeming credit card points for hotels.

    The few I've looked at seemed like the points weren't worth much, so I didn't end up looking into it much more.
     
  8. Albort

    Albort ODV Crew

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    which credit cards do u have?
     
  9. FairestOfThemAll37

    FairestOfThemAll37 DIS Veteran

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    I should add up my southwest savings at some point! I if the companion pass for nearly two years and then redeemed I don't even know how many flights. I know I've bought 5 roundtrips between now and the end of the year on points.

    I know the hotel question wasn't for me, but I've found Starwood to be the absolute best redemption value.

    If you don't travel for work where you're essentially getting free points then your best bets IMO are sign-up bonuses and shopping portals.

    I use the Chase ultimate rewards shopping portal for nearly everything I've bought online which added up to an extra 60,000 points last year.
     
  10. FairestOfThemAll37

    FairestOfThemAll37 DIS Veteran

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    I have a quite a few lol, I chase sign-up bonuses every now and then.

    My go-to cards are Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi Preferred (I think, not really high annual fee one the normal one) for 3x points on gas, and Amex Platinum. The fee is super high but I've gotten way more back in perks than the yearly fee.
     
  11. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    We didnt have much luck with the sapphire... The flights we wanted never seemed to show up and the message that we couldn't pick our seats or upgrade to premium economy even if we took a less optimal time/route gave us pause. In the end we just bought the tickets and used the points as a credit which means we lost out a little. :sad2:
     
  12. FairestOfThemAll37

    FairestOfThemAll37 DIS Veteran

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    I only use the Sapphire points through transfer partners. I don't book directly through Chase. You get the best return through transfer.

    So for example on this trip, I searched for award availability on all the partner airlines. I topped up my united account to buy one leg. Then transferred to Sigapore air to book another leg and then topped up my Hawaiian airlines account (from Amex) for my last leg.

    It is annoying if you book with an alliance partner that you can't pick your seats. Unless I'm doing first or business where there isn't much difference then I make sure to transfer to the actual booking airline even if it's a few more points.

    I booked on Air canada through Singapore airlines (though I'm really hoping my wait list for the Singapore air business or first clears). Since I booked through Singapore I couldn't pick my Air Canada leg seat. But there's little difference in the seats. If I were going economy, I'd have spent the extra points direct to Air Canada so I could pick my seat.

    Sometimes you can call and see if you book through a partner if there's anyway to get a seat ahead of time. There's lots of phone calls involved.

    It's stressful haha, but well worth it for me especially on long haul flights.
     
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  13. mrsp1030

    mrsp1030 DIS Veteran

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    That is awesome! We are big CC users...going on a weekend Getaway to Cancun at an AI Hyatt Zilara thanks to Hyatt Points and United. We just recently transitioned to the Bank of America Travel Card as no annual fee and since our retirement accounts are through Merril Lynch it ups the value. They can be redeemed for any travel related expenses including theme park tickets, cruises, etc.. SO thankful for points!!!
     
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  14. ski_mom

    ski_mom DIS Veteran

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    Is there a trick to booking the AI in Cancun with points? Since I saw your post, I've been trying to see how many points and every date I put in says it's not available to book with points. Not sure if I'm trying too far out or too close or what? Just curious if there's a trick to it?
     
  15. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    Me too! We haven't paid for airfare in years thanks to travel hacking with credit card sign bonuses. We've been able to fly first class to Europe and back for the last 4 years on miles. We've stayed at hotels in Europe for free with points. We were even able to redeem over $3,000 worth of excursions and on board charges on DCL with cash back travel points. I love credit cards! They save us so much money and allow us to travel in a manner and style we would not actually pay real money to experience. Looking forward to our first class flights to Hawaii next March that we snagged for miles and $5.60 in taxes and fees each way LOL
     
  16. mrsp1030

    mrsp1030 DIS Veteran

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    ]

    You can not book the AI online...you have to call Hyatt to book. With all ocean views and in room jacuzzi...it was hard to pass up!
     
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  17. mrsp1030

    mrsp1030 DIS Veteran

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    We have just started doing some more travel hacking with credit cards as I am a big fan of may of websites. Which cards do you feel have been the most bang for your buck?
     
  18. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    Often I will pick up a card just for the bonus or for a specific travel hack I am planning. Like the Citi Prestige and Premier cards so we could fly to Hawaii on American for free in first class. However, I have a few keeper cards. I'd say my most valuable would be the the Chase Trifecta which is a combination of the Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom. In addition to the 5 points per dollar we get for paying cell phone, cable and internet, we use the Ink card to purchase gift cards at Office Supply stores for 5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar. That way we get 5 points per dollar on most of our spending. We purchase Whole Foods gift cards for grocery shopping, Amazon, Macy's, Bed Bath Beyond etc. We also purchase Disney gift cards at the Office supply stores and then load them on to the Disney Savings Vacation account for the additional 2% back in Disney gift cards. This way we get 5 points per dollar for annual passes, DVC dues, Disney cruises, Special events and tours at Disney and our Adventures by Disney trips. Just the Disney gift cards alone will earn us enough in UR points for a couple of flights every year.

    The Sapphire gets me 2x on dining and travel plus comes with primary car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees. The Freedom has the rotating category bonuses which we try to max out and the transfer those UR points to the Ink or Sapphire account. I like that the UR points can be transferred to airlines across all 3 airline alliances. Since we usually redeem for flying in first we value the miles more than the cash option. 50,000 UR points is only worth $625 in travel through Chase. However, transferring 50,000 miles to United will get me one way in first class and that has a value into the thousands of dollars depending on the flight.

    The Starwood Preferred Guest card is another keeper card since the points transfer to over 30 airlines. Once we used 12,000 SPG points to stay a night in a lovely resort hotel in Scotland that would have cost well over $300 per night. So I will also use the points for stays at an SPG property from time to time.

    We also keep the Club Carlson card but do not use it for spending and earning. I'll buy something with it about once a year. The card gives you 40K points every anniversary year. DH and I each have this card and for the $75 annual fee we have been able to use those points and redeem $1800 worth of free Radisson Blu hotel stays in Europe over the last couple of years. We also have a Marriott card which gives you a free night each year at a category 1- 5 property. That is worth more than the annual fee. I recently added an IHG card which gives one free night at any property each year. Well worth the AF. Hope this helps!
     
  19. mrsp1030

    mrsp1030 DIS Veteran

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    Wow that is awesome information. Thanks so much for sharing.
     
  20. Ngwira

    Ngwira DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for all of this info. I am currently looking at opening a few cards. I have spg which has been amazing. I got in on the 35k deal and have put good use to my star points. I am now looking at the Marriott which has the 80k bonus but can't decide if I should also do the Hyatt card. Any feedback?
     
  21. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

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    Southwest bonus cards (going for cp makes it a win/win/win) Chase sapphire preferred with bonus TOGETHER with Chase Freedom to max out 5x quarterly bonus categories(then combine the points on Ultimate rewards for use,incl. transfers to airlines and hotels) I like Starwood for obvious reasons, but they are much harder to get points for(so worth it tho) those are the 'main beginner' cards I like the best.... the simplest is of course southwest, get the bonus,use points,fly. to the OP,I too love my credit cards,and their lovely rewards! We have traveled so much in recent years,and we wouldn't have been able to without learning all this.....
     

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