My Week in Points August 26-September 1: Miles Abound is my new read

Lunch with the author of Miles Abound was highlight of the week. He and I sparred on the UA 4-mile ‘deal’ and struck up a correspondence. He is currently doing a brutal flying commute that I am happy to have forsaken, though at the personal cost of being exiled to NY. He has hardcore stuff on pre-paid cards and is building comprehensive destination guides for reaching destinations such as the Maldives, planting a seed with me of sticking with SkyTeam on Aeroflot and getting some time in Moscow, when I am ready to again pay the exorbitant Russian visa fee. He is an avid skier and diver so it will be instructive to see how he makes those often points-resistant hobbies work.

Delta:

  • Diamonds get a pass on the no co-terminal rule for same-day confirmed in cities like New York (LGA, JFK, EWR). I had never tested with a companion, my treasured Platinum, and it turned out to be a real hassle, earning a supervisor’s stern warning before getting an exception. I won’t try again unless absolutely necessary.
  • I finally was targeted for something, and the $50 Amex gift card for roundtrip travel to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic is well timed because I have been meaning to head to DR for a weekend, the JFK flights are well-timed to take  full advantage of the weekend. Fares are stable and reasonable for the region so I have procrastinated. This will get me off my duff.

Credit Cards:

  • FlyerTalker muirhejsff posted a App-O-Rama Workflow. Mention is made of using mint.com which I have found of little use in a test, it does not appear to provide credit card transactions, only balances, and has limited reporting features. I found manilla to be no better.
  • Paddy in the Big Apple shares a great Travel Hacking Points Status sheet and the$4.95/month link for 3-bureau credit monitoring with Citi Identity Monitor. That’s the service I use and for me is much more accurate than the free services. Good for even non-churners. Credit Sesame for me has been consistently inflated by 60-80 points on Experian over a period of a year, while Citi has been spot on, both based on reports from card issuers on my applications.
  • Speaking of credit scores, the NYT’s Bucks Blog has an interesting piece, Why You Have 49 Different FICO Scores.

 

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  • KateFromCA

    Mint.com does show you transactions but they appear to be a day delayed (for example, the balance changes by $1,000 today but there are no transactions to reflect that… until tomorrow).

    Other than that, really useful – helped me see some weird transactions that turned out to be “mistakes” by a vendor and were reversed when I questioned them. I certainly could have seen them on my credit card’s website but I hadn’t until I could see all my transactions from all of my cards in one list.

  • JB

    D.R? seriously, why?
    We tried mint, manila, and pageonce – all failed the basic test – 1) keep me from forgetting to pay my bill on time and 2) help me quickly review charges- we should make that app.

  • thanks for the mention – much appreciated

  • Why thank you for the kind words! Lunch was a great pleasure. Always nice to meet fellow enthusiasts

    Personally I love Mint. Check it every day and rely on it to remind of when the bills are due. Although that said I just started using Yodlee because it lets me track my UK and Canadian accounts too which is awesome. But it is not quite as “refined” as Mint.

  • sbjnyc

    I use mint.com and it can be set up to send you bill reminders, notices of getting charged bank fees, annual credit card fees, etc. it also shows all you transactions, including pending transactions for all accounts. You can export your transactions into a financial package or just download them into an excel spreadsheet. You can categorize them however you want and split transactions to categorize them better (eg splitting your paycheck into salary and the various payroll deductions). Mint also has a very good iPad app.

    Plus, when you eat out, the pending charge is without a tip and the final charge is with. The pending charge usually sits in limbo for a few days once the charge is processed so you can see if someone fudged your tip (or added one that was not left like at a concession stand). I’ve seen this happen with mint on more than one occasion.

    Now if only there was an app that combined mint with awardwallet.

  • @sbjnyc – thanks for the detail, I am thinking my mistake was not giving mint time, and perhaps it does not import old transactions, I signed up, added some cards and saw bill dates but no transactions, I will have to give it another try.