You know the feeling that you needed to do something but just can’t quite remember what it is? I had that feeling for the last three days of my business trip. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I found out what I was forgetting to do.
As you may have read, we had a blowout trip through the American Southwest in 2017. For us, a fifteen night trip is an amazingly long time to be away from home. We could have stayed at the same hotel chain properties and worked our way towards some low level of status. However, it was much better for us to pick the best hotel for us in each location and use the most sensible form of payment, be it paying cash or using points. The same thing went for the flights, which were booked with a combination of cash and airline miles.
This was possible because I had a stash of points in several hotel programs as well as had transferrable credit card points. Some of the rooms I paid for because the hotels either weren’t part of any point program or there was a promotion that made paying with cash a much better value than using points.
I previously wrote about my not-so-pleasant experiences with three different banks over the course of a single week. The lengths I was forced to go through to complete what were seemingly simple transactions led me to think that I was the problem and not the bank. However, the difficulty I experienced this week trying to figure out the answer to a single question has led me to believe the banks make things overwhelmingly difficult on purpose. What event led me to this conclusion? The combination of the Marriott Bonvoy credit card portfolio under the combined umbrella of American Express and Chase.
All the confusion started when Marriott announced they were acquiring Starwood, way back in November 2015 (can you believe it was that long ago?). The points world almost immediately started to wonder what would happen with the credit card portfolio of the two companies, since Starwood had an agreement with American Express and Marriott’s co-brand card portfolio was with Chase. There was much speculation of what would happen, with the odds leaning towards Chase keeping the combined cards.
In December of 2017, an announcement about an ongoing agreement between Marriott, American Express and Chase took almost everyone by surprise. American Express was keeping the right to issue some cards, Chase was going to issue other cards but both banks would be able to continue to offer competing products. That is, until now.
Note: Offers mentioned in this article are no longer available.
Over the course of one week, I dealt with issues from three different banks. Needless to say, that was one long week. I don’t understand why, when dealing with a bank, every transaction must be difficult. It’s like pulling teeth to get anything accomplished. When everything is difficult, I tend to get introspective and think, “Maybe I’m the one that’s difficult to deal with.” I’m looking for some objective opinions, is it me or is it the bank?
January 1st is a day that most frequent travelers hate to see. It’s when all the airline miles flew and hotel nights stayed over the past year reset to zero and they have to start all over again to try to reach status for the next year. Since I don’t worry about status, the start of the new year means that my travel credits have reset and I have some money to spend. Or do I?
If you have a premium travel credit card (or five of them), hopefully, you’re aware of the travel credits offered by these cards. Travel credits, ranging anywhere from $100 to $325, help to offset the lofty annual fees these cards charge. The trick is that you have to use the credits or they expire. To make things more difficult, the charges that are eligible for reimbursement and the procedures to get the credits are different for every card. Another difference between these cards is if the credits go by your membership year or the calendar year.