You probably know that I think Chase Ultimate Rewards make me feel all tingly, and I think Amex Membership Rewards are ugly and foul. But, to be fair, they’re not entirely stupid for international travel. Continue reading
In the spirit of buying into The System just about as much as I can while archly posturing as being somehow above it, I offer to you Gang of Four’s splendid 1981 funk-bass screed against credit cards, Capital (It Fails Us Now):
This is the story of my struggle.
The moment I was born, I opened my eyes.
I reached out…for my credit card.
Oh no! I left it in my other suit!
American Express used to say, or maybe they still do, that membership has its privileges. It turns out that’s only half true in their lame rewards program. But it’s very true when it comes to airline elite status.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but being at the airport is an enormous fucking pain in the ass. Elite status is awesome because it makes everything faster and easier and more tolerable, even at the lowest tier. I don’t know if that’s true on every airline, but it’s certainly true on United, as I learned when I became Premier Silver. (United calls elite status “Premier.”)
What I get by being Premier Silver is the following fanfuckingtastic perks. I’ve put in brackets what you can also get by holding the appropriate Chase United card, or other alternative methods. Continue reading
Everything I’ve written until now is all about how to get free travel points by just spending on the shit you’d be spending on anyway. This post is now the effort round, where you can earn extra Chase Ultimate Rewards points and United Miles proactively, as opposed to passively charging away like a goddamn lemming hurtling off the cliffs of capitalism. (If you’re not a Chase/United person, there are probably equivalents for whatever crap you prefer. This is America.) Continue reading
So what about those cards which earn “double miles, any airline, any time” like the Capital One Venture? Sounds awesome. Are they any fucking good, like Alec Baldwin says in the ads? Kinda: they’re simple and flexible as promised, but not super rewarding. They pay off a little better than Chase or Amex cards for cheap and moderately priced tickets, but they pay off quite badly for expensive tickets. The “miles” these cards earn are really points, which can be used as currency, pinned to the cash price of a ticket. The “miles” (points) can’t be transferred to actual frequent flyer miles with any airline, like Chase and Amex and Citi and SPG points can, so you miss out on kick-ass award tickets. Continue reading