Hi everyone! Here are the articles we’ve recently seen, written by others, that we learned from, made us think or maybe made us chuckle a little bit. We hope you enjoy them!
Many credit cards offer access to a concierge. “So What?” you might ask (I know that’s what Sharon would say) (Note from Sharon: Yup!). Well, a concierge may be able to help with your vacation plans or get tickets for shows or concerts you couldn’t get yourself. Being an obsessive planner, I never found much value added by talking to a concierge. They’ve often just cut and and pasted lists from Yelp! or TripAdvisor for me and that’s something I can do myself. But if you’re the type that’s too busy to look up good restaurants in San Francisco near your hotel, this might be a great service for you.
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 that when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that gives 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 (and also some cruise ports and land crossings).
January 1st is a day that most frequent travelers hate to see. It’s when all the airline miles flown 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.
I’m a Starbucks person. I love drinking my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season (but only when the temperature drops below 60F.). When I’m working a morning shift, a stop at the Starbucks for a coffee and breakfast sandwich is going to happen. The baristas even left me a note on my coffee on the last day before I changed work locations.
So when Starbucks is willing to give away 300 stars in the Starbucks Rewards program, they have my attention. Since you can redeem 125 stars for a free drink or food item, this offer is like getting $10 – $20 back. Unlike some of their recent promotions that wanted me to change my behavior (Like the one that was offering me 50 stars if I stopped in on a weekday between 2-5PM for 5 days in a row. Yeah, not gonna happen), this one is rewarding me for something I’m going to do anyway.
The $95 annual fee was due for Sharon’s Chase Sapphire Preferred card. That’s the time each year when I think about the card’s benefits vs. the cost and if I should keep, downgrade or cancel it. After giving it some thought, I decided that we’d keep the card but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t try to get a retention offer from Chase.
I had Sharon call (she hates these calls so I try to not to make her do them often) and she was told by a representative that there were no offers available for us right now. As per the notes I gave Sharon, she thanked them for looking and said that we could keep the card for now.
The Sapphire Preferred is a good card for $95 but we hardly use it anymore now that I have the Sapphire Reserve. I was updating the annual fee spreadsheet and gave one more look at deciding if I wanted to keep the card or not. Continue reading “Why You Should Keep Your Sapphire Preferred Card”
Visiting the Grand Canyon was one of the “anchor” stops during our trip through the American Southwest. We’ve visited the Grand Canyon twice before, once as a day trip from Las Vegas and the other time as part of an Adventures by Disney tour. The last trip was 10 years ago and we decided if we ever went back, we’d do it right.