Archive | August 2013

Rookie Misplay #6 – Annual Fees Don’t Count Towards Minimum Spend

Back in May I applied for the Club Carlson Visa. It’s a great card and for a $75 annual fee you get 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points after your first purchase and 35,000 more after spending $2500 in 3 months. You also get Club Carlson Gold status, and an extra bonus night benefit where when redeeming Gold Points for two or more nights the last night is free! Upon card renewal (and a second annual fee) you get 40,000 more points.

For an example of how far those points go, I recently redeemed 28,000 for a two night Country Inn and Suites stay in Atlanta. And 50,000 will get you two nights at a Radisson Blu!

My third statement just closed – and guess what, no points. I messed up! I had double checked that I paid over $2500 to confirm that I met the spending. The catch was that $75 of that was for the first year annual fee. So in reality, I spent a little over $2450.  I was aware annual fees didn’t count, and have avoided this in the past. I simply overlooked it this time. So here’s a reminder for those who know, and a lesson for those who are new. Don’t make my mistakes!

I called the number on the back of the card to see if there was anything that could be done. I spoke with a very friendly agent who sounded like she wanted to help. I was put on hold for about 10 minutes, but she came back after talking to her supervisor and said there was nothing she could do – which is the answer I was expecting. This is sad, but definitely not that bad. The card gives 5X on spending, so points are not that hard to get. If I had to miss it on a card, I’m glad it was this one.

App-o-Rama Results Again!

It’s that time again, time to apply for some more credit card offers! I try to abide by the 90 day rule/suggestion – mostly for self-control. My last round of apps was back in May, but I broke the cycle to apply for one offer in June. I was hoping that wouldn’t affect me too much. This time around I was only applying for two cards – and if all went to plan, a third would follow 8 days later.

WARNING: this hobby is not for everyone. If you cannot use your credit responsibly and pay off your cards each month, interest on the cards will override ANY benefits you get. I treat my cards like cash and pay them off either right before the statement hits or immediately after. If your credit score isn’t great I would not attempt this without researching the effects. However, scores in the upper 700′s don’t benefit you much as they increase. If you have a great score/history and don’t need a mortgage or loan any time soon, use your score to your advantage. This will negatively impact your average age of accounts. If your score is low and you are new to credit cards I’d definitely hold off and establish your credit/history some. See my post about traveling on your credit score for more information on this topic.

Card #1: The Barclay’s US Airways Premier World MasterCard

The current best offer is 35,000 miles with the $89 annual fee waived for the first year, and 10,000 miles on the card’s yearly anniversary. I was pretty much expecting my application to be denied for this card. I’ve been following the FlyerTalk thread, and approvals seem to be thinning out for second or third cards. This card used to be churnable, and people reported success with getting multiple cards. I already have this card, opened 6 months ago in February and still open. My plan was to apply 6 months later for a second. But with what I had been reading on FlyerTalk I wasn’t optimistic.

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Sheraton Suites Plantation Review – SPG Award Stay

Over the 4th of July I took a mini vacation in Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel July 3rd, but then abandoned the crowds and moved to the Sheraton Suites Plantation for the 4th. I chose this hotel for the rooftop pool – hoping to see some fireworks!

During my last app-o-rama, I chose to apply for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. Due to my rookie mistake of not clearing my browser – see my post about it here – I only got 10,000 Starpoints. Turns out for the one night at the Sheraton Suites Plantation I only needed 4,000. The reason the Sheraton Suites Plantation was 4,000 points is because it is a Category 2. I wasn’t expecting anything overly fancy – I was just looking for somewhere nice to stay for the night that would allow us to see more in the area. We had gone to the beach the day before, and were more interested in exploring. Even though it was so cheap points-wise, it was fairly nice.

The lobby and front desk staff made a nice first impression as we entered and had some great recommendations. The rooms are all suites (hence the name), and gave us plenty of space.

The Living Area of the Room

The Living Area of the Room

There was a separate living area and a tv in both the bedroom and living area. The bedroom had a door to separate the rooms if necessary.

Sheraton Suites Plantation Bedroom

Sheraton Suites Plantation Bedroom

The room was nicely done, and didn’t appear overly dated or anything. We enjoyed our stay. The best part, however, was the rooftop view. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, but figured it might be nice to try to catch some fireworks.

Daytime View From The Pool At Sheraton Suites Plantation

Daytime View From The Pool At Sheraton Suites Plantation

They actually had an event up on the roof for the 4th of July. They brought out a grill and were serving hot dogs and hamburgers and mixing drinks as well. It turned out to be very nice. The best thing about Florida is that even though the roof wasn’t that high up, the state is so flat it didn’t matter. I was able to see fireworks up and down the coast!

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