Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Opinion: Chase Hyatt Visa Card

Hyatt Card

Key Changes:
1. No minimum spend - Prior to today's announcement on the new Chase Hyatt Visa card, there was a minimum spend requirement of $1,000 in three months. However, the new offer has no minimum spend requirement which is great. The only requirement is that you will receive your bonuses after your first qualifying purchase.
2. Smart Chip - The new Hyatt Visa card will have a Smart Chip which makes it the fourth Chase card to have one. Unfortunately, this is a 'Chip and Signature' instead of 'Chip and Pin' which would be more useful to those who travel internationally more frequently. However, it's better to have something than nothing.
3. Benefit for Hyatt Platinums - The new sign-up bonus includes two Award Nights and two Suite Upgrade certificates for those who have Hyatt Platinum status at the time of application. The downside to the Suite Upgrade certificates is that it can only be used on paid stays which means you cannot combine the two Award nights with the Suite Upgrade certificates.

What do I think?

Personally, I think this offer is great and makes the Chase Hyatt Visa card more enticing to get since there are no minimum spends and you get two Award nights after your first qualifying purchase. Prior to this new offer, I thought it was only worth getting this card if you had Hyatt Diamond status which requires twenty-five eligible stays or fifty eligible nights.

What would I do?

First, I would try to obtain Hyatt Diamond status since you can get two Award Nights in Suites as your sign-up bonus along with the four Suite Upgrade certificates which can be applied to award nights. Hyatt Diamonds can even get an upgrade at any Hyatt property without using an upgrade certificates as well. If you live near a Hyatt Place or House, consider doing a "mattress run" if the rates are cheap which for me would be < $75.

Even if you can only reach Hyatt Platinum status, it is still worth a credit inquiry to apply for this card especially if you have any travel planned in Europe, Middle East, and Asia since the properties there tend to be better.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My First Round-the-World Redemption: Introduction

Part I: Introduction
Part II: New York to Hong Kong in CX F
Part III: Hong Kong
Part IV: Hong Kong to Bangkok in CX F
Part V: Bangkok and VIE Hotel Bangkok
Part VI: Bangkok to Tokyo in TG F
Part VII: Narita and Hilton Narita
Part VIII: Narita to Frankfurt in LH F
Part IX: Frankfurt and Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
Part X: Frankfurt to Munich in LH C and Munich to Newark in LH F
Part XI: Conclusion

In a few weeks, I will be taking my first RTW which I was able to "finance" with the miles I received from a few credit card sign-ups. Last year, I applied and was approved for the Citi AAdvantage Visa and AMEX personal cards which each had a bonus of 75,000 American Airlines (AA) miles and the Chase Sapphire Preferred which had a bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. The UR points can be transferred to United/Continental at a 1:1 ratio which meant the 50,000 UR points became 50,000 Continental (CO) miles. I had some other points that I didn't need which I transferred into CO which topped off the account to 70,000 CO miles.

In terms of hotels, I decided to pay for a few nights while using Starwood's (SPG) Cash+Points option on the other nights. Since Bangkok, Thailand is my final destination, I decided to pay for my hotel since the rates are cheap for a four/five star property compared to other Asian cities such as Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong. I decided to choose the VIE Bangkok which is part of Accor since it looks like a nice property and I have Platinum status with Accor. Since I will be doing a layover at Narita, Japan I decided to take advantage of a promotion the Hilton Narita had on Facebook which had rooms for $62 USD. Fortunately, my A|Club Platinum status and Hilton Gold status allowed me to confirm my upgrades for my upcoming stays. The other property I will be staying at will be the Westin Grand Frankfurt which was a C+P reservation. Unfortunately, I do not have SPG status other than "SPG Preferred" since I am an AMEX SPG cardholder so I doubt I will get a "real" upgrade.

My itinerary for this trip will be:
New York (JFK) - Hong Kong (HKG) in Cathay Pacific First Class

Hong Kong (HKG) - Bangkok (BKK)  in Cathay Pacific First Class

Bangkok (BKK) - Tokyo (NRT) in Thai Airways First Class (Suites)

Narita (NRT) to Frankfurt (FRA) in Lufthansa First Class

Frankfurt (FRA) to Munich (MUC) in Lufthansa Business Class

Frankfurt (MUC) to Newark (EWR) in Lufthansa First Class

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Best Credit Cards as of February 6, 2012

Since my last post, there has been a few sign-up bonuses that have gone away such as the Citi AAdvantage Visa/AMEX and Business card which was giving out 75,000 AAdvantage miles each. The Citi AAdvantage sign-up bonuses dropped to 50,000 AAdvantage miles which isn't bad at all either. I will now list what I believe are the best credit card sign-up bonuses as of right now:

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred 
Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points which could be "cashed in" or transferred to programs such as United MileagePlus or Hyatt Gold Passport at a 1:1 ratio. 

2. Chase Ink Bold
Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points which could be "cashed in" or transferred to programs such as United MileagePlus or Hyatt Gold Passport at a 1:1 ratio. 

3. Chase United Explorer 
Bonus: 60,000 United MileagePlus miles. 

4. Citi AAdvantage Visa/AMEX/Business
Bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles for each card. You can apply for the personal Visa and AMEX card with one credit pull if you follow Million Mile Secrets' post on it here

5. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
Bonus: 25,000 SPG points. If you would like to apply for this card, I could send you a referral if you send me an e-mail at jxyoon0927@gmail.com. I would be receiving an referral bonus if you were to apply under my link which I would e-mail to you and get approved. 

On another note, I will be doing my first Round-the-World trip in almost a month so it will most likely be my next few posts. Once I finalize my routing since I'm waiting on a few segments to open space, I will post it here.