Let’s put on a pot of Bourbon and settle in next to the fire…

This will be a long discussion, so let’s clear our minds and go down the Rabbit Hole together.

They’re many ways to solve problems.  In this business, I like to identify the problem and work backwards to the solution.

My daughter has a travel problem.  My kinda Problem.  She needs to fly from A to B on a Thursday and return the following Sunday. Sounds simple enough right?  We need to get a ticket.  How hard can it be.  If you’re loaded and don’t care call a travel agent and pay cash. If you want a money-saving challenge (and you are cheap like me) read on.

In today’s world, buying a plane ticket can be overwhelming.  There are so many ways to buy them (Orbitz, Priceline, Delta etc…) and they all have “The Best Deal”.  I don’t count on deals, I count on smart (or at least my version of it).  Random Scenario Time….

You have to choose 4 credit cards.  That’s  It.  Which 4 do you choose?   They must give you the best of everything with Hotels and Airlines and they must be sustainable. Sustainable means that once you use up the points they give you, the card must provide extraordinary  value for you to keep using it to earn points, perks or SOMETHING.  This is where it gets subjective and everybody has an opinion.

Here is my 4:  Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Business Platinum, Starwood (SPG) and American Express Everyday Preferred.

What does this even have to do with the Airline Ticket Problem?  Lots…Below is a brief description of some of the benefits of my 4.

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve:  3 pts per $ on Travel/Dining, $300 annual Anything Travel Credit,  Airport Lounge access, 50K sign-up pts and when used for travel, it’s worth ~$750.00.  Value per point ~.021
  2. Amex Business Platinum:  1 pt per $, 2 pts if you book through the Amex Travel portal, $200 Airline credit (cannot be used to buy ticket, good for luggage etc…), lounge access, Automatic Gold with SPG (also Marriott and Ritz) and Hilton, 50% of Arline Points back (Wow) and GOGO and Boingo. Wifi-Airplane and Wifi-Airports and elsewhere,  respectively. 75k sign-up points.  Value per point ~.019
  3. SPG is easier, it’s the best way to earn points in non-Dining/Travel.  You also get great value when you use it at Starwood, Marriott and Ritz Hotels.  It has a quirky perk, 20k SPG points becomes 25k points at over 150 Airlines. 25k sign-up points   Value per point ~.027
  4. Amex Everyday Preferred:  This is my Gas and Grocery card, 3 amex (MR) points per $ at Grocery stores and 2 points per $ for fuel.  15k sign-up points Value per point .019.

Quick Note, Chase Points are called Ultimate Reward Points (UR) and Amex Points are called Membership Rewards Points (MR).  Check out each card for details (I just covered a few of the details that apply to our long forgotten problem).  Keep in mind this list does not include all benefit etc…and is subjective;  Translation, no whining if you disagree.

Tomorrow let’s get back to the “problem” and it’s solution.  This is a two-parter…






Increased American Express Credit Card Bonuses (Incognito Mode) Are Back Again + List Of Offers – Doctor Of Credit

It’s possible to get increased sign up bonuses on many American Express cards again, these are often referred to incognito mode offers (as it’s possible to get them to show up by using incognito mode. If that doesn’t work, try one of these methods instead). AmEx EveryDay Preferred 30,000 Membership Rewards Offer. Great deal, especially [&hellip

Source: Increased American Express Credit Card Bonuses (Incognito Mode) Are Back Again + List Of Offers – Doctor Of Credit

Great information about IHG


Want Hilton status?


Starwood Link


Amex Hilton 75k

Well we missed the 100k but it was short and sweet.  The 75k is still excellent.   You’ve checked out www.hilton.com, so what could you do with 75k?  Lots!


Hilton offers…


Great IHG(Holiday Inn) Article



Let it me know what you think.

Big Changes at Travelgump

Big Changes by the tech department, we lost the “blogspot” and are now Travelinggump.com

A new look and it’s now easy to comment!

Happy Travels!

Let’s talk Marriott Credit Cards

You’ve checked out Hilton and it’s 4 credit cards and now let’s talk Marriott.

Hilton is somewhat straight forward.  Marriott get’s a bit complicated.  When Marriott acquired Ritz-Carlton and Starwood Hotels it also inherited their credit cards.  The original Marriott card came with 80,000 points and Silver Status (yawn…).  It paid 5 pts per dollar spent on the stay.  Enter the Ritz-Carlton card which also gives you 5 points per dollar spent on rooms.  Both cards have an approximate value of ~.009 (10,000 pts = ~$90 value)

Now along comes the SPG (Starwood) card (www.americanexpress.com).  25,000 points after a 5k spend W/I 90 days.  25,000 sounds pretty low doesn’t it?  Not really, SPG  is valued at ~.027 cents per point (10,000 points =~$270.00).  WOW! And you can convert SPG pts to Marriott 1-3.   Convert your 25k to Marriott and now you have 75k Marriott Points.

In simple terms, stay at a Marriott and pay with a Marriott or Ritz card and get 5 pts per Dollar spent on the room ($100 bill = 500 points), use the SPG card and get two points per $ spent = 200 pts.  Easily convert to Marriott 1-3 and you now have 600 Marriott points for the same stay with the SPG card.

All three cards work at all three brands.  I use my SPG card at Marriott and Starwood.  I’m still crunching the numbers regarding Ritz but at this point, its Spg in the lead.

Also, get Gold status with any and your Gold at all three.   Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are Chase cards (www.chase.com)

A few thoughts, Pick a Hilton Card (I like the Surpass card by American Express) that suits your needs.  For Marriott, it’s more complicated.  I have the Business Marriott (which I never use) and the SPG card which I’m wearing out.  The Ritz card is a Premium Card that is Feature Packed (check it out at www.chase.com).  The annual fee is $450.00 and  it can be well worth it.  Its benefits are a conversation in itself.

Ask Questions…it’s starting to get interesting and complicated.

Next, we need to talk about Chases 5/24 rule.