Price tracking with Google Flights kicks ass (better than Kayak, Airfare Watchdog, etc)

Every now and again, I make, you know, actual travel plans, meaning something other than a spontaneous where-do-I-go-today type travel decision. And sometimes I want to pay with cash or travel credits or gift cards or points, as opposed to booking an award ticket. And sometimes the cash price is higher than I’d like. And sometimes I fly JetBlue, who has a policy of honoring price drops. And even on other airlines, a price could drop enough to be worth eating their $200-$300 change/cancel fee.

All this means I want to know when a fucking fare goes down before I buy my ticket, and sometimes after. Continue reading

I sucked it up and got the most expensive fucking card I’ve ever owned: the Chase United Club card.

I’ve long been tantalized by the United Club card, but could never justify it to myself, because it is trés cher. It’s $450 per year, with no way of offsetting that amount because it does not come with some amount of dollars towards towards travel credit, like most premium bank branded cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and Amex Platinum and Gold. Those cost me between $100-$250 each out of pocket after I use their travel credit. Ok, not terrible, but I have all four of those freaking cards. Did I really need to throw down a full fucking $450 for another credit card? Continue reading

Now that Capital One Venture has transferrable points, is the card any fucking good?

Capital One recently surprised everyone and introduced transfer partners for their Venture card, and there great rejoicing across the land, notably among those who get paid to refer Capital One cards. Will I rejoice too? We shall see. Continue reading


I’m noticing a lot of handwringing in the points blogosphere lately about whether or not the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still anything special. Lucky, over at One Mile At A Time (the one big blog I very consistently read and enjoy) has the latest meditation on this important matter, and Greg at the always excellent Frequent Miler has his own contemplation. But, what do I think? I don’t fucking know. I usually just want to lie down.

But, it turns out I can both lie down and think, so, after careful consideration:

  • YES. The Sapphire Reserve is still my personal champion of cards, when paired with the no-fee Freedom Unlimited, despite now earning less on some spending than competing cards.
  • The Reserve’s value when paying with points, which is sometimes desirable or necessary, is excellent, and better than any comparable card.
  • United is a more valuable transfer partner for me than any other airline.
  • Being able to pool points between family members is awesome.
  • Your needs may be different, so you might want a card that earns more Amex or Citi points than you’d get in Chase points for the same spending on the Sapphire Reserve. But I do not care about your needs. Your needs suck. My needs rule.

The argument against the Reserve goes something like this: Continue reading

Loyal to American? So sorry, but…

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Ok. If I lived somewhere that forced me to fly American Airlines, I’d probably move, because I’m a reasonable person. But if you’re stuck with them, or, worse, choose to fly them, what options do you have? Not great ones. But not nothing.

  • I think the best cards to have for flying American are the Chase Sapphire Reserve + Chase Freedom Unlimited combo; you will be able to get some MileSAAver award tickets, and when you can’t, you can use the points as cash for any flight. These cards earn much faster for the same spending than American branded cards do, and offer much more flexibility. And, if I wanted the perks offered by an American branded card, I’d get one of those too, but still put my spending on the Chase cards.

Long, boring version: Continue reading