The Pre-Trip Wallet Shuffle

Before going on a trip, there’s a ritual I go through involving our wallets. I need to go through them, remove cards we won’t need when traveling and replace them with the cards we will or might need when we’re out of town. Unlike packing, where I have a list I’ve perfected over the last 20 years, when it comes to our wallets, I have to wing it and make choices for each trip because every time is different.

Here are some of the questions I ask. Did I use a certain card to book something during the trip and need the card for confirmation? Are we flying on an airline where using the card for onboard purchases will give me a discount? Do I need a specific card to get into an airline lounge? Will we be buying groceries during the trip or will we be eating out all the time? Will we be renting a car? If so, I’ll need to bring a card that has primary LDW coverage as well as one that earns a good return on gas purchases.

While I’ve read about making a dedicated travel wallet so you don’t forget to bring any of the cards you only need when traveling, I’m more afraid I’d forget to put something in the travel wallet like my drivers license or my insurance card. I don’t think I’d ever hear the end of it if that happened (Note from Sharon: No. No, you wouldn’t BWAHAHAHA!). As usual, I take two approaches to making our wallets because while I will bring a different card for each category, Sharon will only allow me to give her one to two cards at the most for her to use, hereby named the card in the front of the wallet she’ll use for everything and the card behind it for if the first one doesn’t work somewhere.

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Save Money On Every Fill Up With Fuel Rewards

Fuel Rewards is a program that provides discounts at Shell gas stations. It’s free to sign up and everyone who joins automatically gets some type of savings. You can save more by taking certain actions (i.e. using a shopping portal or dining program) or by having a card belonging to one of their partners.

Let’s first talk about signing up for Fuel Rewards.

If you’re not already a member, you can get 25 cents off per gallon on your first fill up after joining. We have a referral link where we’ll also get a credit for for new signups. You want to support YMMV, don’t you?

Once a member, you have automatic gold status for 6 months. The ongoing membership process is a little more difficult to follow:

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Why Do Banks Make Everything So Difficult? (Part 2)

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.

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There’s No Holy Grail And Chase Just Proved It

Very few topics get the attention afforded to the Southwest Companion Pass. You could spend a lifetime reading the 14.5 million web pages about it just from a Google search.

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I was one of the people reading these posts that told me about how the Companion Pass was the be all and end all of the travel savings. Having the pass lets you fly on Southwest for half price. You could take twice as many trips as you did before and not pay any more money. Or if you had Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you’d only be spending for one ticket and the other one was free.

I fell for this line and decided that I was going to do whatever what I needed to in order to get one of these passes. After six months of trying and some false starts, I finally had the pass and 14 months to use it.

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