Review: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Starwood was recently in the news because it was bought out by Marriott to create the largest hotel chain in the world. Starwood’s loyalty program will eventually be merged Marriott’s, but for now, you get the best of all worlds, with reciprocal benefits between Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton. And now, until April 5, Amex is offering this card with its highest ever initial spending bonus of 35,000 SPG points!

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. Image Credit: courtesy of American Express and Starwood.

Continue reading “Review: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express”

Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Best Uses for Points and Miles Other than Travel

So, this is a tricky subject. Especially when the answer is usually: nothing. Points and Miles (that are not strictly cash back) are generally best used for travel to achieve maximum value. But sometimes there are opportunities and exceptions.  Because sometimes a gift from 1800-Flowers just isn’t enough.

Let me give you a few examples:

On the top of the list is Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points. These (flexible) points can be redeemed for cash on a 1:1 ratio. So if you have 100,000 UR points, you have $1,000 cash (or $1,000 in gift cards). This is fine in a pinch, but you can easily squeeze $0.015-0.02+ out of each point (for a $1,500-2,000 value). Continue reading “Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Best Uses for Points and Miles Other than Travel”

Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Travel Hacking an Interisland Flight on Hawaiian Airlines

T and I and the two kids had to go to Hilo for the day for a family commitment. Trip report to follow (maybe), but most of you guys have been interisland and know the drill.

Prices were a little over $100 each way in coach, so for 3 round trips (and one lap-riding kid) we’re talking $600+. So, obviously, we started looking into points and miles options. Continue reading “Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Travel Hacking an Interisland Flight on Hawaiian Airlines”

The Basics: an Introduction to the Major Credit Card Players

 

Credit cards have had a short but vital life in the US (and world) economic landscape. Not until 1958, with Bank of America’s Bankamericard, was a revolving credit financial system issued by a third-party bank finally established (to later become VISA in 1976). Things really took off from there. MasterCards’ early ancestor, Master Charge, popped up in 1966. Then Discover was introduced by Sears in 1986. And American Express introduced their first credit card in 1987 (after many years of being a charge card issuer where balances have to be paid in full every month). While I’m probably skipping over various important points in credit card history (which you’re not here for), here’s where the industry currently stands: Continue reading “The Basics: an Introduction to the Major Credit Card Players”