What can you do with 30,000 Amtrak points?

Back in December, I completed my first mini app-o-rama, and was eventually approved for all three cards I applied for–including the Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards World. Well, those bonus points recently posted to my account, and I started to wonder, what could I do with those 30,000 Amtrak points? Here are some options, from the practical to the fantastic.


Continue reading “What can you do with 30,000 Amtrak points?”

Chase Freedom Q1/Q2 Categories Announced

Yesterday, Chase confirmed their 5% cash back categories for the first two quarters of 2017. Are we in for something new–or a return of the categories we have come to expect?

According to Doctor of Credit, we’ll see:

  • Quarter 1 (January 1 – March 30):  Gas stations and commuter passes
  • Quarter 2 (April 1 – June 30):  Grocery stores and drugstores

Remember, the Chase Freedom earns you 5% cash back (up to $1,500 per quarter) on the above purchases. For New Yorkers, that means $5.83 back everytime you buy an unlimited monthy Metrocard in January, February, and March.

Interestingly, the 5% cash back category for the Discover it in quarter one is also gas stations, commuter passes, and wholesale clubs.

The Curious Tale of my Starwood Starpoints

Or, how I spent 38,514 points without stepping foot in a hotel.

As you may be away, Starwood is a hotel chain. If you weren’t away, now you are! Earlier this year, I signed up for the Starwood SPG credit card by American Express when the sign-up bonus was 35,000 points. After I completed the spending requirement, I had a balance of 38,514 points. This is the tale of how I didn’t use a single point for hotel stays.

Continue reading “The Curious Tale of my Starwood Starpoints”

Two Interesting Hotel-related E-Mails

Last week, I got two very interesting e-mails about some offers and changes to some cards I currently have. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

First up, from Chase and IHG is an offer to earn additional points on large purchases over $1,000:


Between 10/1 and 12/31, you’ll earn an additional point for every purchase that is over $1,000. You’ll earn 6 points per dollar on IHG stays; 3 points per dollar at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores; and 2 points per dollar on everything else. It’s not a great bonus, but if you were going to use the card to make a large purchase, now you have even more incentive to do so.

Next up, American Express and Starwood:


Going forward, and thanks to the merger between Marriott and Starwood, your SPG card now earns 2 points per dollar on Marriott hotel stays, rather than one point per dollar. Again, not a huge increase, but if you have the SPG card and not the Marriott card, it makes sense to put your hotel purchases on the SPG card going forward.

Nothing to wild or crazy, but worth sharing!