Triangle Trip

Tag: AMEX

Why you should add cardholders to your American Express Platinum card?

by on Jul.08, 2014, under Business Tools, Business Travel

If you’re an American Express Platinum (AMEX Platinum) cardholder, you can add up to three (3) cardholders to your account for $175. It will cost you another $175 for each card afterwards (5th, 6th, etc.).  The additional cardholders will receive the same benefits as the primary cardholders except for acquiring American Express points as that goes to primary cardholders (benefit #1).

Spending the additional $175 to add your three family members and/or close friends pays for itself with Amex’s credit for your global entry application. Each global entry application costs $100 per application, so the combined savings is $125.  You can even pay for anyones Global Entry cost, it is a one time credit and the name on the card does NOT need to match the applicant.  Note, when applying, it will charge your card before you setup your interview.

Furthermore, the additional cardholders also gets:

1. Access to Centurion, Delta, and Airspace lounges at major airports.  You only need to show your credit card, ID and an airline ticket. You can also bring in two guests.

2. Complimentary access to Priority Pass Select (mostly international lounges).  This is a good gap for airport lounges when flying without airline status. You will have to call customer service to enroll.

3. Free SPG Gold status. We’ve found sometimes SPG may reject you because you are not the primary cardholder but keep trying.

4.  Free BOINGO account for wireless access around the world. BOINGO has many Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe which can be costly when you travel.

5.  Access to ShopRunner, a free 2 day shipping and returns at many stores across the country.

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British Airways and Asiana Credit Cards, Worth the Hassle?

by on Nov.06, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel, Hotels, Travel Partners

I already have the SPG AMEX, which I think is the best travel credit card out there.  You get 1 point/$1 for everyday purchases.  You get an additional 2 points/$1 for stays at SPG properties (W, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridian, Four Points and more).  If you are Gold or Platinum SPG member, you get 3 points/$1 instead of 2 points for stays at SPG properties.  You can earn Gold status at SPG by spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.  A SPG night redemption runs around 10,000 points for a decent property.  So that’s about a $200 return for $10,000 spent on the card.  Not only that, the SPG AMEX allows you to transfer points to airlines miles at a 1:1 point to mile ratio, with a 5000 miles bonus for every 20,000 points transferred to miles.  So if you transfer 20,000 points to an airline mileage account, you would get 25,000 miles, usually good for a free domestic flight.  The card has an annual fee of $45 that is far less than the annual fees of airline cards, which run about $75-$100.  Lastly, I think SPG is the best hotel program out there and hotel points are far better than airline miles.

However, there have been 2 recent airline card offers that have been tempting, but not sure if its worth the hassle.

Firstly, the British Airways Visa Signature Card.  What’s so special about this card?  Well not much but the current promotion is probably the best signup promotion I’ve seen yet.  You get 50,000 miles for your first purchase on the card and then another 50,000 miles if you spend $2000 in first 3 months, which is easily doable.  That’s a total of 100,000 miles, which gets you 2 free transatlantic flights from the US to Western Europe in economy.  You also get a free companion voucher valid for 2 years for spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.  The downside of the card?  First, the annual fee is $75.  Also, personally I don’t ever fly British Airways and I don’t fly any of the airlines in One World, which includes American Airlines.  Star Alliance is probably the best airlines alliance out there especially now that Continental has defected over to them from Sky Team.

Speaking of Star Alliance, this brings me to the 2nd card on my mind: the Asiana AMEX from Bank of America.  You earn 2 miles per $1 spent on the card, which literally unheard of for airline credit cards.  Although the card has an annual fee of $99 this offset by the fact that the card offers an $100 annual rebate towards the purchase of Asiana Airlines ticket.  You also get a 10,000 Bonus miles Certificate every year in the month of your anniversary date of the card.  This is good towards a choice of an international or Korea domestic air ticket, a seat class upgrade or an excess bag allowance.  But its use it or lose it annually.  Also, there are a couple great things about Asiana Airlines.  First, as I alluded to before, Asiana is a part of Star Alliance, which consists of 25 member airlines such as United, Continental, US Airways, Lufthansa, BMI, Air China, ANA, and Singapore Airlines.  Below is the Asiana Star Alliance award ticket redemption chart:

This redemption policy also allows you to redeem a one-way ticket instead being forced to redeem a roundtrip.  Additionally, another great thing about Asiana is their favorable status qualification.  See my previous post about this.  Basically you just need 40,000 miles in 2 years to get Star Alliance Gold (Asiana Diamond).  This doesn’t have to be on Asiana but you can use any miles flown on Star Alliance partners for status qualification.  In contrast, you need to fly 50,000 miles with United in one calendar year to get Star Alliance Gold (United Premier Executive).  Recently, after hitting 1K with United, I’ve been banking all my United miles to my Asiana account.

So what’s the verdict?  If you are willing to deal with getting the BA Visa and then canceling after 3 months, the $75 annual fee is definitely worth the 2 round trip tickets to Western Europe.  If you fly Star Alliance frequently, especially to Asia, and don’t have any other credit cards with an annual fee, then I think making the Asiana AMEX your primary credit card is a great deal.  If none of these sound appealing enough, do look at the SPG AMEX.

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Stay 10 nights at Crowne Plaza for Free Nights and Golf

by on May.07, 2009, under Hotels

Before July 3rd, I am going to stay at least 10 nights at a Crowne Plaza hotel.  Why you ask?  There are two highly enticing offers that have caused to me switch temporarily from Starwood to Crowne Plaza in particular, especially if you golf:

1) Stay 2 nights at a Priority Club hotel (ie. Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental) and get a free night at Priority Club hotels (ie. Intercontinental). You’ll get a max of 4 free nights.  Here is the link to this offer.  See Captain G’s post regarding this offer.

2) Bonus of 1000 points per NIGHT when you use AMEX to pay for your stay at a Crowne Plaza hotel.  And along the way earn Callaway golf equipment.  You’ll get a sleeve of Callaway Golf Tour iX balls shipped to the address you have on file after the first night.  Each successive Callaway award according to the fine print will be fulfilled in the form of a Callaway Golf Gift Card.  Ten nights will give me the equivalent of a sleeve of Callaway Golf Tour iX balls, another dozen Callaway Golf Tour iX balls, and a Callaway X-Forged Wedge. The rest of the details of the offer are here.

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