What’s In My Wallet?

With so many different credit cards circulating, it’s important to have a good strategy. As the saying goes, you have to have the right tools for the right job. Well the job is your everyday spending and the tools are your credit cards. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that the 3 credit cards I carry in my wallet are the following:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature (SP)
  • American Express Premier Rewards Gold (PRG)
  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

This lineup covers my most important needs – Dining, Travel, Gas, Groceries, and Airfare.

Continue reading

Starwood: Island Paradise for half the price

Here is a potential great deal for anyone looking to visit true island paradise in Hawaii or Bora Bora. Hint hint, maybe for a certain #hustle blog’s wedding in February 2012. Starwood is offering 50% off rack rates for their Hawaii & French Polynesia properties from now until June 30, 2012. Here is the link.

At first glance, 50% off sounds like an amazing deal, but be aware that it is discounted from the rack rate, which is the full published rate of a hotel room. You may be able to find a better deal by simply searching Starwood’s web site (standard rate, AAA rate, etc.) or on Kayak/Expedia/Orbitz. ALWAYS crosscheck the rates on other sites because you never know which site may have the best deal.

Where the edge lies is the higher end properties that are included in this promotion. The St. Regis Princeville on the island of Kauai in Hawaii and the St. Regis Bora Bora are 2 of the most expensive hotels you’ll come across.

Continue reading

Starwood presents SPG Triple Up!

As per William Sanders aka Starwood Lurker on FlyerTalk, Starwood Preferred Guest will be offering triple Starpoints on every stay from September 6 through December 18, 2011. You just have to make sure the stay encompasses a Thursday or Sunday night. The earnings are unlimited so start planning! 

The landing page for this promo will be http://spg.com/tripleup.  You can check out more details on the promo along with a list of the non-participating properties.

I haven’t used Starpoints very extensively yet but I value them (mostly for hotel nights using the Cash & Points option) at about 2.5 cents per Starpoint. I usually won’t redeem them unless I get at LEAST that much value.

Check back often or follow me on Twitter because I’ll be updating this post with more details as they emerge and even sharing plans on how to really maximize this deal!

UPDATE: If you have stays planned an also participate in the Hyatt Gold Passport program, then you should do some number crunching to see which promotion is more worthwhile for you. Here is a link to Hyatt’s promo in which you earn 3,000 points every 3 nights (link).

Trip Planning: The Big Easy & ATL

Intro – Planning
Delta and Weather Troubles to Start
Wyndham La Belle Maison
Cajun and Creole Goodness
Delta Strikes Again!
Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel
Southern Comfort Food


In light of this new found travel bug, Joann and I are once again going on vacation. We’re heading to New Orleans and Atlanta during Labor Day week.  It’s a great time for a full week of vacation because the kids will be back to school and you can outlast the vacationers that are just touring places for the weekend. For flights, we redeemed Delta awards and for lodging, we used a combination of Priceline Name Your Own Bid, and my parents’ Wyndham Vacations timeshare.

Continue reading

How To: Vacation in Bora Bora – Part 2

Now that the air strategy is taken care of, it’s time to discuss the lodging options. This is where it gets more complicated (or interesting, if you’re me). Hotels are a totally different game. There are more options and more ways to get a good deal.

My friend and his wife want to stay in a luxury hotel for 5 nights in Bora Bora. They’ve already gone there before and stayed at the best Overwater Bungalow (OWB) at the InterContinental Thalasso so doing that again may not be a priority. With this information, I was able to put together a list of potential hotels along with ways of getting cheap/free nights.

Continue reading