Recently, I was thinking about general advice that I might give an individual in New York City who was trying to decide on the best credit card option. To be honest, I couldn’t come up with just one answer, so what I decided to do instead was lay out the four best cards to have if you live in New York City.
NOTE: This is purely my opinion! You may disagree with me, and that’s OK. Take all advice with a grain of salt, and tailor to your unique situation.
That being said, I looked for cards that would create a well-rounded wallet, covering flights, hotels, other travel, and miscellaneous expenses. I also tried to keep annual fees to a minimal cost; however, the four cards outlined below have annual fees totalling $227. I would argue that the benefits of having these cards, detailed below, outweigh, and pay for, the annual fees.
In addition, all of these cards make sense for people living in New York City (or the surrounding area): jetBlue’s largest hub is at JFK, there is literally a Holiday Inn anywhere you might want to go, and Amtrak can get you anywhere in the country from New York’s Pennsylvania Station.
If you follow me on Instagram (@apointearned for those who don’t! 😉 ), today was the day that I planned my roundtrip flight for in the jetBlue #GoForthWithJetBlue promotion. If you need a recap on what this is, or why I’m doing it, head on over to my earlier post on it.
Sometimes you just need to take a vacation. And sometimes, you know you’ll need to take a vacation sooner rather than later. So what did Nick and I decide to do? Go to Harry Potter World, of course! And this wouldn’t be A Point Earned if we didn’t use points (and earn some!) to get there. Here’s our plan: fly LGA-MCO (Orlando) on 11/18 and return MCO-LGA on 11/20. Yes, it’s a short vacation, but our LGA-MCO flight is early in the morning and allows us to spend the rest of Friday at the beach–only an hour from the airport. Saturday will be spent at Universal, and we plan to see both parts of Harry Potter World. Sunday will be a hotel/pool day, and we’ll fly back in the afternoon.
2x DL tickets (11/18-11/20)
2 nights – DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Lake Buena Vista
0* Redeemed Hilton Select certificate (free three day/two-night stay)
Enterprise Rental Car – Economy (Kia Rio or similar)
2 one-day passes to both Universal Studios Parks
In sum, we used 60,000 points and $524.91, which saved us $960.00 had we only paid with cash–over 60% in savings!
This trip could have been even cheaper had we not:
Decided to upgrade our hotel room ($112.50)
Paid cash ($80.01) rather than points (6,401) for the rental car
Had we not done either of these things, our trip costs would have been 66,401 points and $332.40.
We’re looking forward to our quick getaway–what was your favorite part of Harry Potter World?
Recently, I was poking around my Amtrak Guest Rewards profile, and noticed there were four promotions I had not enrolled myself in:
After I enrolled, I noticed that the top two promotions–Amtrak.com booking bonus and Take Acela–are retroactive to October 4th, 2012. Between 2012 and now, I’ve definitively booked on amtrak.com and taken the Acela, so once I enrolled, I was automatically given the 200 points per promotion, netting an easy 400 points. SCORE!
So, how can you enroll in these promotions? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Click Log-In and log into your account (or Enroll in AGR now!)
Click on the drop down under your points balance, and select “My Promotions”
Click “View All Promotions”
Enroll in any/all promotions
Note: Amtrak points have a fixed redemption value of 2.7 cents a points, which means these 400 points are worth $10.80 in free travel. Not bad for ~5 seconds of work.
The other two promotions, depending on where you live in the US, could also be easily attainable. The Cardinal runs 3 times a week (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday) from New York to Chicago via Washington, D.C. and the Crescent runs daily from New York to New Orleans. For me, both would be easy to accomplish; however, I can’t seem to find either of these trains when I search for service between New York and Philadelphia. Maybe these 400 points aren’t as easy to attain as I thought…
Recently, a friend from college reached out to me to ask for some credit card advice (hi Tara!). She currently lives in Boston and was wondering if the jetBlue Plus credit card by Barclaycard would be a good option for her. She also expressed that she was looking to go New Orleans sometime in October, which I’ll use as the test basis for recommending a card for her.
Or, how I completely lost my mind. Hear me out though, as this is going to get interesting.
About a week ago, jetBlue introduced a points match promotion targeting Virgin America flyers. The gist of it is that depending on how many points you had in your Virgin America account, jetBlue would match–with one caveat: you need to also buy and fly a roundtrip on jetBlue before August 31.