My Week in Points December 9-15: year-end credit card rebates and holiday struggles

My week started with a end of year credit card churn, 11 Approved, 2 Pending, and follow-up posts Barclays credit cards 101 and Freezing your credit report to manage credit inquiries. I flew to China for business on Tuesday, I do not let my personal mobile phone roam so am not sure if I have received any calls on the 2 holdouts, the US Bank Radisson business, which I want, and the Barclays Best Western, which I did as an experiment and don’t care if I get. I still owe readers detail on the reasons for my card choice and the mechanics of the churn.

I received an inquiry from a commentator on why I presume to write about credit cards when so many are flooding the blogs with copycat credit card content. Well, I see a growing distance between the credit card topics people write about and the topics and lessons that are useful in my actual experience.

It is almost year-end so it is good to check your credit cards for any calendar year rebates that you have not taken advantage of. The Citi Platinum Select AA Visa rebates 10% of award redemptions up to 10k/year, I have gotten 8k back on mine but none on my wife’s. The Chase Priority Club Visa similarly rebates 10% up to 100k and I have barely touched it.

Also check any year-end spend bonuses, such as Delta SkyMiles MQM ‘boosts’ on their Amex cards. Amex makes it easy to see year-to-date spend, just keep in mind to subtract any fees such as annual fees from your spend total. It would be awful to be a big spender and fall just short on these.

Wait, is this Rapid Travel Chai, where’s the actual travel you say?

I am having too much fun in Shanghai and too locked down on the internet behind the Great Firewall to get much done for future trips and have not been able to read much news or blogs.

I am struggling to figure out holiday plans. For a number of personal reasons we could not settle plans earlier but have ‘use ’em or lose ’em’ vacation days. Three of us, and with visa restrictions, must be in the US. Delta is hopeless, will not pay 60k for an economy award. I do not have status with American or United and refuse to pay close-in award fees, my most hated of airline fees. I paid them the first-time ever to American for our Thanskgiving Brazil trip and it was so painful on principle, only slightly alleviated by being 40k roundtrip MileSAAver awards. My fallback is a British Airways Avios redemption on American, which is tricky since it requires finding MileSAAver awards, it is not possible to redeem for Economy AAnytime, but circumvents the close-in fees.

I will devote a full post to this, but the British Airways Executive Club program has totally changed how I think about airline frequent flyer programs. I now have a principal, long-haul program, Delta SkyMiles, and a short-haul, Special Ops-type program that helps in a pinch, British Airways Executive Club.

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  • Kay

    I’m actually really intrigued by your churn. I’ve unsubscribed my google reader from a few popular blogs because of copycat content, but the cards you included in your churn seemed like new ideas. I’ve already churned through all the usual suspects all the blogs write about, and I’m looking for some new ideas. I don’t see a reason to replicate your churn myself, and I’m eager for the rationale.

  • john

    I am also eager to hear more about the mechanics of your churn.

  • I’m interested in your DL+BA points strategy.

    Most of the churn cards were uninspiring.

  • JB

    Philly!

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