How I Realized Marriott Bonvoy Killed The Value Of Their Co-Brand Credit Cards

Way back in ancient times, circa 2010, the SPG American Express was my go-to card for all non-bonused spending. It earned a whopping 1 Starpoint per dollar. Those points could be used for stays at Starwood brand hotels. You could also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from SPG to over 40 airlines and if you transferred 20,000 points you’d receive a 5,000 point bonus. So if you’d maximize the bonus, non-bonused spend would earn you 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent, which at the time was great as almost all other co-brand cards would earn 1 point per dollar.

When Marriott purchased Starwood, the exchange ratio for Starpoints to Marriott was set at 1:3. Spending money on the SPG AMEX still made sense since you could still redeem points at SPG or Marriott hotels. Up until 2018, it only took 12,000 Starpoints to stay at a hotel like the Sheraton New York Times Square and if you booked 4 nights, the fifth night was free (A free night at that hotel now costs 40,000 to 60,000 Bonvoy points).

Then we all got #Bonvoyed.

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The Cards I Am Now Using For Travel Expenses

I have a quandary. I’m no longer sure what card to use for my travel expenses. It used to be pretty clear cut. There was the card I used when I wanted to get travel protection. I had a card that earned the most points for expenses that other cards didn’t cover. I even had a card to use for my tolls and UBER expenses.

Well, things change. Some cards devalue while others become more valuable. So where do I sit right now when it comes to travel charges?

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How Many Guests Can You Bring Into A Lounge With Priority Pass Select? It’s Complicated. (Updated October 2019)

Priority Pass is a program that provides access to airport lounges and business suites as well as gives credits you can use at airport restaurants. While you can buy a membership in the program, most people from the United States have a Priority Pass Select card by having a credit card that provides membership as a perk. That’s where things get interesting. While the access to the club may be limited due to capacity issues, the cardholder will get in by showing their Priority Pass card (or a digital card if available). If you want to bring in a guest, each card has rules that are worded slightly differently and those small differences may cost you an additional $32 for each extra guest.

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How I Spread Out Our Credit Card Spending For The First Half Of 2019

It’s now the second half of 2019. Besides being a good time to look at how we’re doing on our New Year’s Resolutions (I’ve joined a gym but I’m not going as much as I’d like), it’s as good of a time as any to look at our points and miles situation.

Some bloggers are looking at their progression on qualifying for status with airlines or hotels (Ben from One Mile at a Time wrote about his progression, and congrats to him for figuring out it doesn’t pay to be loyal). Since I couldn’t care less how many nights I’ve stayed at a hotel chain or how many miles I’ve flown with an airline, what can I look at?

After sign up bonuses for credit cards, ongoing spend is the next most important way I accumulate points and miles. Looking into where I’m putting that spend and if it fits the plan I have for our points earning is a smart thing to do.

Thanks to Quicken and some scrap paper, here’s a breakdown of our spending for the first six months of 2019.

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Why I’m Considering Ditching All Of Our Premium Credit Cards

What do you think of when you hear the phrase premium credit card. Exclusivity? Luxury? Benefits? Perks? For a while, these cards offered all of these.

The grand daddy of the premium card is the American Express Centurion card. A card that’s so exclusive AMEX has to invite you and no one knows the requirements to get said invitation. What we do know is that the card has a $7,500 initiation fee and a $2,500 annual fee. Since I occasionally run a cash register for my day job, I’ve held a few of these cards over the years. It’s wasn’t nearly as exciting as I hoped.

Personally, I’m not at that level. However, I was able to get a base level of premium card from all the major banks. American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige. So why have I reached the point where I’m considering not holding any of these cards?

Here’s the reason:

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