What Cards Am I Looking At Before The End Of 2019?

We’re more than halfway through September and it’s less than 100 days until Christmas. Christmas music is already playing on Sirius XM if you listen on the app (Note from Sharon: YAY!), and you should because now it’s included with even the cheap select subscriptions.

Besides getting ready to pull holiday decorations out of the attic, it means I have to give a good, hard look at my plans for our credit cards for the rest of the year.

Right now, I’ve finished with all of our spending requirements for new cards and I’ve almost reached the one spending threshold I set to achieve. That only means it’s time to look for new cards.

What’s out there that looks interesting to me? As a preface to my choices, I’m currently at 4/24 and Sharon’s at 5/24. I’m not looking at Chase right now for me because I already have 5 personal cards and 1 business card with them and I’m happy with that portfolio.

So what’s looking interesting for me right now?

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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.

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The Credit Cards That Will Pay For Your Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Application Fee (Updated July 2019)

Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer decision for any frequent traveler to sign up for this program. The $100 non-refundable application fee is a small price to pay in order to blow past the long immigration lines when returning to the United States. Your Global Entry status is then good for five years. So that’s $20 a year. Where else can you buy VIP treatment for twenty bucks?

What makes this an even better deal is when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN), giving you access to TSA Pre✓® lanes at domestic airports. This program charges an $85 membership fee if you apply for it separately, so it only costs an extra $15 to get expedited entry when entering the U.S. on international flights (as well as some cruise ports and land crossings). You could just apply for TSA Pre-Check instead of Global Entry but the process is similar and if you’re getting reimbursed, why not go for the better deal?

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This New Way To Search For Awards Found Me A Ticket For 8,000 Miles

A fact you learn when you get started with miles and points is that the earning part is relatively easy. You don’t have to learn a lot to get going and jumpstart those balances. This can cause problems down the line if you get too enthusiastic so here’s a list I made of what you should do if you’re rather new to the game.

Redeeming your miles and points for rewards can be a bit more difficult. For starters, there’s the availability problem. Unless you’re in a fixed value program like Southwest or JetBlue, not all flights have award tickets available.

Even if you find an available flight, if you have transferrable points there are numerous programs you have access to, and each of them might charge a different amount of miles and fees for the same award ticket.

If you can keep track of every award in every program, good for you. I know I can’t. But that’s not as much of a problem as it used to be…

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You Have To Stay At A Hotel That’s Not Your Preferred Brand. How Can You Maximize Your Points Earning?

When you need to pick a hotel, there are the brands you’ll normally go with. If you’re focused on loyalty, then you’ll try to go with a chain where either you have status or one where you’re trying to achieve status for the current year. But what if the place you’re going doesn’t have a hotel in your favorite (or any of your favorite) chains? Or maybe, you’re going with a group of friends and they picked a hotel convenient for their needs, not taking into consideration that you want to earn points in another program. What nerve, right? 😉

All hope is not lost! You can still maximize your points earning even if you’re not staying at your favorite hotel chain. Since you’re not worried about booking direct to keep your benefits, you might be able to book somewhere else besides the hotel website and get some extra perks or a lower price.

Here are some of the options available…

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