How To Avoid Extra Credit Card Fees During International Travel

Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.

Continue reading “How To Avoid Extra Credit Card Fees During International Travel”

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Our Weekly Recap: 7/23/17 – 7/29/17

Hi everyone! It’s the weekend! Woo HOO! Here’s a quick recap of our posts this week:

Joe wrote about:

Sharon wrote about:

Like this post? We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just once or twice a day). Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

Our Weekly Recap: 7/16/17 – 7/22/17

Hi y’all and HAPPY SATURDAY to you! Here’s a quick recap of our posts this week:

Joe wrote about:

Sharon wrote about:

Like this post? We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just once or twice a day). Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

ACT NOW: $60 in Amazon.com Purchases for $4.99 (if Eligible)

I know I usually write about how to maximize travel with miles and points and reviews about our travels. However, I’m always looking for a way to save a buck here and there, and this offer was just too good to not to pass on to everyone.

Continue reading “ACT NOW: $60 in Amazon.com Purchases for $4.99 (if Eligible)”

Should you keep, downgrade or cancel a credit card that has an annual fee?

When you have a credit card with an annual fee, you should evaluate every year whether or not the benefits of keeping the card are greater than the cost of keeping the card. This would seem to be an easy thing to do but there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. A card that has great value to one person may be useless to another and therefore when reading posts about if a card it worth it, remember that Your Mileage May Vary. 

So what should you be thinking about when deciding if you should keep that card?

Continue reading “Should you keep, downgrade or cancel a credit card that has an annual fee?”

Resort fees and parking fees and taxes, oh, my! Choosing a hotel in Las Vegas

I’m well into planning mode for our big trip to the Southwest, which means I have to start researching hotels. I love the planning of trips almost as much as I do going on them; it is part of the fun for me. There are times where the planning starts to drive me, and Sharon, a little crazy (edit by Sharon: a LITTLE?!?!?! hahahaha!!!).

Part of our trip will be a stay in Las Vegas. Due to the number of activities suggested to us when we asked for help with planning, we extended our stay there to 3 nights. It’s been a
while since I’ve been to Vegas so I needed to brush up on my hotels. Many of the places I Continue reading “Resort fees and parking fees and taxes, oh, my! Choosing a hotel in Las Vegas”

Why I’m not going to bite at the 100,000 point AMEX Hilton Surpass card offer.

When I was at work this week, my travel news feed was full of these headlines.

Best ever offer on Amex Hilton cards: Up to 100k + free weekend night!
AMEX Hilton Cards Offering Highest Sign-Up Bonuses Ever
Limited Time: 100,000 Hilton Honors Points Available Via Bonus!

I was all ready to go ahead and write about why I was going to jump in on this offer, and why you should, too. Then I started looking at how I could use these points and upon closer inspection, the cracks in my logic started to show.

Hilton just recently revamped their program, including changing the name from Hilton HHonors to Hilton Honors, as well as the ways you can redeem points. Hilton previously had a clear system with 9 categories for their hotels and each category had a set range of points needed to redeem a free night. They have now gone to a variable point redemption model, where you can apply some or all of your points to get any room. However the amount of points needed to book a room can change based on the going rate. While this does increase your opportunity to use points, the value of your points is now a mystery.

I crunched the numbers for some Hilton brand hotels I’ve stayed at before, to give myself an idea of what type of value I could get from Hilton points. I searched for the same weekend in May and compared the points rate to the AAA rate I would usually book.

Lets go toward the top of my range. The Hilton Garden Inn Times Square.

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One night at this Hilton Garden Inn will cost you 70,000 points

Times Square Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 10.25.51 PM

With the AAA rate, a 2 night stay after taxes is $686.55. If I used points, the stay would cost 140,000 points (that is well over the 100,000 sign up bonus offered). I would be getting $0.49  a point value (686.55/140000) x 100.

Maybe a value hotel would give more value. Here’s a hotel we stay at when visiting family, the Hampton Inn Linden.

Linden HampronScreen Shot 2017-03-24 at 10.26.04 PM
Rooms here are going for 30,000 points a night

A two night stay with AAA rate would be $287.73. With rooms costing 30,000 points a night, this would mean that you would be getting $0.47 a point (287.73 / 60000 x 100)

Hmmmmm, that’s almost the same as the first example.

Maybe a different hotel might give a better value. Here’s a hotel we are considering staying at later this year, the Palmer House – a Hilton Hotel in Chicago.

Palmer Shot 2017-03-24 at 10.26.15 PM
Nights at Palmer House cost 60,000 points

Even with a stay costing 10,000 points a night less than the hotel in New York, the price for a 2 night stay would cost $824.93 or 120,000 points. This would be a value of $0.68 a point (824.93/120000 x 100). That is a much better value for the points than the other two examples.

With this value, I might have jumped at the offer for 100,000 points. However for the weekend we are looking at, the rooms are going for a much more reasonable price of $525 for two nights. This would only be a value of $0.43 a point. That’s even lower than the other examples.

I’d say the maximum value I’d get from this sign up bonus of 100,000 Hilton points would be $680 but I’d be more likely to find it worth a little less than $500. There are way too many other cards I could sign up for that would give more value. One thing you learn with miles and points is to go after good deals when they show up. With experience, you also learn that what is a good deal for other people might not be the best deal for you.

So I think I’m gonna let this one go. I have 1 or 2 other cards that I was already thinking about getting. Even though this is a compelling offer, I have a inkling that this will not be the last time we see a higher sign up bonus for this card. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Your Mileage May Vary.

Like this post? We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just once or twice a day). Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!