Hotel Review: Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale-Commercial Blvd – Tamarac, FL

Finding a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale is so frustrating for me. It only takes us about three hours to drive there so we’ll sometimes plan a quick getaway weekend. It’s just far enough away that driving there and back for the day is a pain (especially if we stay late for something), but it’s still close enough to home that we don’t want to spend a bunch of money for a hotel room for one night.

All of the hotels near downtown charge extraordinarily high rates and some of them even charge an additional resort fee as well as mandatory valet parking. I learned this when a free night at a Hilton ended up costing me over $65.

As this was going to be a truly quick trip, I had a few main requirements. The room would preferably be free and relatively close to Ft. Lauderdale. After looking with IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt there were no good options to redeem points. Even the base hotels were costing a tremendous amount of points in relation to the cash price. Since it looked like I was going to need to pay for the room, I focused on Hilton since Sharon needed a stay to keep her account active. I found a decently priced hotel and booked it for the night, and figured out a way to get it for free, while I was at it.

Continue reading “Hotel Review: Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale-Commercial Blvd – Tamarac, FL”

Why I’m Keeping My American Airlines Aviator Red Card, For Now

On May 1st, 2019, Barclays is making changes to its American Airlines Aviator Red credit card. For those of us who have held this card for a while, it’s the card that used to be the US Airways credit card. While I pulled the plug on my card last year, Sharon’s kept her card active and will continue to do so, at least for another year.

The changes make a material change to the value proposition the card offers so it would make sense to see if you still want to keep the card or not.

320x180_aadv-aviator-red-card

Here’s a list of the changes, both positive and negative, depending on what benefits you find important from a credit card.

Continue reading “Why I’m Keeping My American Airlines Aviator Red Card, For Now”

When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare

All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.

In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.

Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:

American Express (Membership Rewards)

  • Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

Chase (Ultimate Rewards)

  • Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
  • Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)

Citi (Thank You Points)

  • Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies

The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.

So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.

Continue reading “When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare”