Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Hotel Rewards

When Hotel Loyalty Programs Are a Waste of Time

Loveland Pass Colorado

Booking last-minute hotels on a quick cross-country road trip taught us the value of using CASH to book last-minute budget hotels.  We never paid more than $60 a night for hotels that were basic but adequate.  This experience makes me question the value of hotel points that I have been saving.

Airport Lounges / Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising

American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve–Why I Have Both

I am currently using and paying a $450 annual fee on each of these cards.  I think that the benefits of these cards are valuable enough that I may keep them indefinitely.

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Manufactured Spend

Pay With Points at Chase Ultimate Rewards Cruises

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cruise Portal

You can use points to pay for the total cost of  Chase Ultimate Rewards cruises.  These rewards are earned with several Chase cards.  You can redeem Ultimate Rewards online to book airfare, hotels, and cars, but cruise redemptions must be done over the phone with a cruise specialist.

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Marriott

Paying for Cruises with Marriott Points

cruises with marriott points

You can book cruises with Marriott points.  You must call the Marriott cruises website to use the points to book a cruise.  You can also choose to get Marriott Rewards points when you book online through the Marriott cruises website or by phone with a representative. 

Airport Lounges / Credit and Debit Cards / Delta

Why I’m Paying a $450 Credit Card Annual Fee

The American Express Platinum Card

When the annual fee became due on my American Express Platinum card, I called the retention department and told them I was thinking of cancelling my card.  They offered me 25,000 Membership Reward points if I would keep the card.  I took the deal.

Carnival / Cash Back / Credit and Debit Cards / etc.

Stacking Carnival Cruise Discounts

We have saved about 17% on our recent booking using Carnival cruise discounts.  We booked an early saver rate and then took advantage of several opportunities as they came up.

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Family travel / etc.

How We’re Using Our Chase Anniversary Free Nights This Year

Aqualand at the Holiday Inn Panama City Beach

Our Chase IHG cards give us a free night certificate every year.  This year we’ve each booked a Holiday Inn beach resort in back-to-back reservations.  Hopefully the kids will enjoy the in-house water park as well as the beach during our weekend getaway later this month.

Award travel / banking / Credit and Debit Cards / etc.

My Battle With the Chase 5/24 Rule

About a week ago I applied for a new Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  Today I got the denial letter–“too many credit cards opened in the last two years.”  This is my first encounter with Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Airport Lounges / American Airlines / Award travel / etc.

Use Airline Miles or Pay Cash? How We Decide

George Clooney Should I Use Miles or Pay Cash

Our family took numerous flights this spring.  In each case we had to decide whether we would redeem airline miles or pay cash for tickets.  In most cases, we used miles if we could get a valuation of at least 1.5¢ per mile for our airline miles.

Airport Lounges / Credit and Debit Cards / Luxury

American Express Centurion Lounge–Is It Worth the Hype?

This is a review of the American Express Centurion lounge at the Dallas (DFW) airport.  I’ve posted the bar and massage menus, and give you my take on whether or not it’s worth holding the AMEX Platinum card with its $450 fee just so you can get Centurion Lounge access.