r/churning Dec 27 '21

Weekly Off Topic Thread - Week of December 27, 2021 Anything Goes

This is the Weekly Off-Topic thread

There's more to this hobby than just credit cards - it spreads out into travel aspirations, what luggage or wallet you're using, or what flavor kombucha your local WeWork is serving. Please use this thread to talk about all things even tangentially related to churning. Memes, jokes, and off-topic content are allowed (and encouraged) here. Please use our regular threads to ask basic questions, ask questions about what card to get, or talk about MS. But if it's off-topic elsewhere, you're on-topic here.

Regular rules still apply.

Have fun!

Note: Posting and soliciting referrals are still not allowed.

17 Upvotes

1

u/LooseTone Jan 02 '22

The debit card for the Amex biz checking comes in a cool package. Someone actually put a few minutes of thought into this.

Interestingly though, it has an Amex style card # not a 16-digit card #. So I wonder what limitations this might have.

2

u/sg77 RFS Jan 02 '22

I can't think of a situation where I would want to use that debit card anyway.

2

u/TheJohnWickening Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

The more useful Amex coupons are back!

No idea what to do with $400 in Dell credits. I might get a printer instead of the Xbox GC.

I want a hand blender, so I may scoop this one up at Saks. They have a $55 version with just the blender as well.

https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/product/braun-multiquick-5-vario-hand-blender-with-21-speeds--whisk--amp--1.5-cup-chopper-0400013166352.html?dwvar_0400013166352_color=NO%20COLOR

3

u/stealth550 SYN, ACK Jan 01 '22

Hooray! I can finally finish spend on my Southwest cards and not have horrible anxiety I'm going to hit it early

2

u/leetommy Jan 01 '22

Caesars Rewards - Celebration Dinner https://caesarsrewards.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2226/~/caesars-rewards---celebration-dinner

The 2020 Celebration Dinner is valid 2/1/20 - 1/31/22. The 2021 Celebration Dinner is valid 2/1/21 - 1/31/22.

Can these two $100 benefits be combined for one dinner?

6

u/xyzzy321 Dec 31 '21

It is BULLSHIT that I have to pay taxes on the pre-insurance costs on a pair of prescription glasses.

Example, glasses were $300 before insurance but only $65 after insurance. But I pay taxes on the original $300 (11% where I live!!)

What the fucking fuck this is so annoying lol

-1

u/435880Churnz Dec 31 '21

When you get a subsidized iPhone, you have to pay taxes on the price of the iPhone, I don't see how this is any different.

1

u/LooseTone Jan 02 '22

When you get a subsidized iPhone, you have to pay taxes on the price of the iPhone

which is also bullshit, but slightly less egregious since a phone is not medically necessary.

2

u/MobileMagician5487 Dec 31 '21

You never pay tax on prescriptions and medical services. I don't understand the point of paying taxes on prescription glasses. This is for your health, so it should be different from your iphone.

1

u/xyzzy321 Dec 31 '21

Exactly this! I'm not buying it for fun

1

u/beer68 Jan 03 '22

So the complaint is that the glasses are taxed, not that the tax is based on the full cost of the glasses?

1

u/xyzzy321 Jan 03 '22

That they're taxed on the full amount

2

u/atojbk JFK Dec 30 '21

Someone stole my identity and they keep unfreezing my experian via telephone ‘forgot my pin’ Any idea? I’ve done everything and everything

1

u/forthelurkin AAA, MCO Dec 31 '21 edited Jan 01 '22

CFPB?

Edit: against Experian, for allowing the perps to continually unfreeze fraudulently with their flawed system.

2

u/ProverbialFunk Dec 31 '21

It's amazing how easy it seems to be for them. My brother got hacked in San Francisco and a they bought straight up. Mercedes.... Just to leave it covered in parking tickets a month later.

2

u/TheJohnWickening Jan 01 '22

Identity Theft Remorse

2

u/Isavethings DTW Dec 30 '21

Staying at the Renaissance Vendome for 6 nights. Morning #1 at about 6am and just now, the fire alarm has gone off for an extended period. There is no fire, just a problem with their system. Y'all think it's wrong to ask for points? Tbh, I don't care about the latest alarm but the first morning was our first in Paris so jet lag was a real issue.

BTW, I'm titanium and they accepted our SNAs and put us in a suite. I saw lots of folks on FT saying they weren't great with upgrades. Really nice hotel in a great location in case anyone is interested.

3

u/chrumbles Dec 30 '21

we thought their breakfast was great, but yes stingy on room upgrades. yes, worth asking for compensation for the trouble.

1

u/Isavethings DTW Dec 31 '21

Yeah I guess the worst that can happen is a "no"

5

u/chrumbles Dec 30 '21

Tried the United cocktail exclusive thing for 5k miles. It was OK. the Zoom was just 30 minutes and not interactive, pretty much a pre-recorded video.

It was a rum kit with a colada and old fashioned. MSRP on the rum is ~$33 plus some garnishes and stuff so total cost is probably $50-60 with shipping. So at 1 CPP..... eh. idk if I'd do it again. But worth a try!

2

u/lenin1991 HOT, DOG Dec 31 '21 edited Dec 31 '21

Yeah, all the virtual things have been entirely prerecorded. They definitely have been a declining value since the early pandemic days.

EDIT: Also, the relative value is YMMV by location: I checked a few stores near me, that rum had a regular price of $45 and was on sale at one place for $40. But still, I hesitated on this one.

1

u/log4jazzle Dec 29 '21

Does eBay trigger Shop Small? Looked on their map and see EBAY COMMERCE but wanted to see if anyone has a DP. Search doesn’t come up with anything

2

u/Very_Sadly_True PIE, BOI Dec 29 '21

I thought I was talking to an Amex chatbot but then they spelled "cancellation" as "cnacdelation". Hope the CSR is going okay...

19

u/dennis_the_menace253 ATL, DEN Dec 29 '21

P2 and I had flight booked with Delta to visit my mom in Jackson Hole, got offered $3k each, 3 meal vouchers each and a hotel for the night in ATL. Quite a haul for a 24hr delay on tickets we spent 34k delta miles on each.

6

u/carpethediem5 BUR Dec 30 '21

$3k

OMG! Good for you!!

5

u/dennis_the_menace253 ATL, DEN Dec 30 '21

Yea insane. $6k total. They actually let you choose from a variety of gift cards, not just Delta. Never seen that before.

2

u/liquor_in_the_front CIP, PPK Dec 30 '21

think they let you get like amex gift cards right? yeah it's insane

2

u/dennis_the_menace253 ATL, DEN Dec 30 '21

Yea I know for sure VGCs were on there.

4

u/ilovetoyap OLD, DRT Dec 29 '21

Received my USB Altitude Reserve card today. I missed the days when the Platinum came packaged very nicely, but dang, this thing came in a big iPad sized box (I know because I'm trading in an iPad using the box it came in, LOL) along with a display case surrounding the card.

I know it's all fluff as I have plenty of cards in this annual fee range but it was interesting. Someone else shared pics from their unboxing here: https://travelwithgrant.boardingarea.com/2019/03/29/unboxing-my-us-bank-altitude-reserve-visa-infinite-credit-card-card-art-welcome-letter-booklet/

3

u/CR3211 Dec 29 '21

I’m looking to use my $200 Amex FHR credit to book a hotel for my honeymoon, and when I find the hotel that I’m looking for through the Amex FHR website it shows me that there is availability, but then when I log in to my Amex account the availability disappears. Anyone know why this happens?

2

u/voscoreddit Dec 28 '21

Anybody know of places (outside of Swagbucks/SimplyMiles) that provide added bonus for charitable giving?

1

u/Econ0mist CSH, OUT Dec 28 '21

PayPal Giving Fund eats the credit card processing fee for the charity, and also lets you donate anonymously

https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/hub

1

u/chrumbles Dec 28 '21 edited Dec 28 '21

/u/voscoreddit Check with your employer too, mine matched donations to certain charities and Paypal was the primary payment option, so I used the Bonvoy Brilliant 10x bonus with it.

14

u/ipod123432 Dec 28 '21

Took UberBlack for the first time because UberX and Lyft were more expensive. When you call from the airport, you can let them know if you have bags, the temperature you want, and most importantly if you want silence, to be chatty, or have no preference. Plus, y'know, a nice black car (Chevrolet Suburban).

Wish they would add the convo preference to all rides.

5

u/chrumbles Dec 28 '21

I think Uber Comfort also has those options less the bag.

4

u/doodler1977 Dec 28 '21

how did the price compare to a regular cab?

1

u/ipod123432 Dec 28 '21

Didn't check a cab at the time, but I looked up an estimate on the web and it would've been $1 cheaper to take a cab. I'm happy taking uber to burn my amex plat credits before the end of the month.

1

u/doodler1977 Dec 28 '21

oh for sure. i'm always looking to gauge Uber vs Cab now that uber's raised its prices in so many cities

1

u/POINTSmetotheMILES Dec 30 '21

Do cabs still have the barrier that makes it feel like the back of a cop car?

-7

u/[deleted] Dec 28 '21

[deleted]

5

u/TheSultan1 EWR, FTW Dec 28 '21

Literally sticks out like a sore thumb. But you do you.

2

u/TT2316 ANY, WRE Dec 28 '21

Anyone have trouble transferring points from Citi to partners? EVERY. SINGLE. TIME i attempt to transfer points Citi’s website says there is an error & i ALWAYS have to call them to transfer points. It’s so annoying.

8

u/Andk56 Dec 28 '21

Check your phone numbers on file in your thankyou.com profile. I used to also get errors every time that didn’t provided any details about the actual issue, and it turns out the problem was that I only had a cell number listed but no home number. I entered the same number in the home number field, and have been able to make online points transfers with no issues since. Their error handling code is just awful, and the reps are usually uninformed so it was hard to figure out what the problem was. Can’t make any guarantees that this will solve your problem because Citi has so many different IT issues, but hope it helps!

2

u/TT2316 ANY, WRE Dec 28 '21

Thanks! I’ll give it a try

2

u/Eurynom0s LAX Dec 28 '21 edited Dec 28 '21

Barclays keeps sending me an offer to pull against my CL on my card to deposit money into a bank account for a 3% transaction fee, and then have 0% interest on the balance until December 2022. Looking at the email today I had the thought, has anyone here ever done of these where they think they can put the money to work getting a return that nets you a profit over the transaction fee and then pay off the balance at the end of the 0% period? Besides the obvious risk of sticking the money into an investment that winds up losing value by the time you have to pay back the loan it seems like the main thing here would be that you'd have the card sitting at a high utilization until you pay the money back in a year, right? But that that's not that big of a deal as long as your overall utilization across all your cards is low and is a non-issue if it's a biz card (although unfortunately I only have a personal card with Barclays)? Just curious if I'm missing something obvious about why this is actually a really dumb idea.

10

u/Econ0mist CSH, OUT Dec 28 '21 edited Dec 28 '21

If I need to borrow money for churning purposes, I take out box spread loans against my taxable brokerage. Current rates are around 1% tax-deductible (look up section 1256 contracts)

3

u/drunken_man_whore Dec 28 '21

I do this, but would never if there's 3% fee. Also I would never invest it. I use it for bank account bonuses.

2

u/Eurynom0s LAX Dec 28 '21

Where are you getting this kind of offer without a fee attached?

And yeah I normally wouldn't do investment with this sort of thing, but what I want to put the money into is QYLD. ETF with a pretty stable price and monthly dividends that works out to about a 10%-12% annual return. So basically just thinking of it as a HYSA, stick the money in, accrue the dividends, sell enough to cover the capital, keep the profit invested and continuing to reinvest dividends.

6

u/drunken_man_whore Dec 28 '21

Few different ways, but most common is 15 months 0% interest. I spend as normal and just don't pay it off.

Still would never do an ETF. Risk and transaction cost aside, that's a puny return and not worth my time. A bank account bonus might be $500 for $1500 DD, FDIC insured and no transaction cost.

24

u/Very_Sadly_True PIE, BOI Dec 28 '21

FYI for anyone else scrambling to use a Saks credit: they sell vibrators

(in weird finds: "nightcap" kit which is a really expensive set of condoms/lube and ingredients for an old fashioned - sans the bourbon)

5

u/OnTheUtilityOfPants Dec 28 '21

For those as dense as I was, look under Women > Beauty > The Wellness Shop > Sexual Wellness.

They also have some Ugg products (at regular retail price). I can recommend their house slippers. YMMV on what's in stock or will actually ship before Jan 1, of course.

2

u/tfurgeson23 Dec 27 '21

gopuff is headquartered in philly and i still could barely find anything worth purchasing with the free chase credits. EVERYTHING is sold out.

7

u/Churnobull SNA, KEE Dec 27 '21

How many people use hotel award bookings as a stepping stone then pay to upgrade?

We’re in Cancun right now and the Wyndham Alltra is OK but we were given the option to upgrade to (IMO) the best room in the hotel (beachfront, swim up pool, top shelf alcohol) for $130/night so we took it and now I’m really happy about the stay - so in this case, worth it.

We just headed over to Hyatt Ziva Cancun to do a tour and the 25k/night is available for the next 3 nights (resort view) but I don’t know if I’d be super excited because the hotel looks a little dated and the surroundings are not great. But for the $150/night upcharge to Aqua tower (adults only/bathtub on balcony/butler service), that’s probably worth it.

Keep in mind it’s just me and P2, no kids, so obviously people with families are going to have different opinions

1

u/charlie_bit_my_finge Jan 04 '22

Do you mind sharing a review of the Alltra? Considering the Viva Azteca in Cancun but the Alltra seems to have better location

2

u/martyconlonontherun Dec 28 '21

Sorry to derail, but why ziva over zilara if you are adults only and that seems to be a preference? Just curious

6

u/Churnobull SNA, KEE Dec 28 '21

Until today there was no availability other than 40k/night and everywhere I looked online suggested Ziva over Zilara - happy to be persuaded to go that route next time

1

u/Aapudding Dec 29 '21

Cancun zilara is so much smaller than ziva, everything is close and convenient and room upgrades become much less valuable (unless swim up is your thing).

Service at the zilara is amazing, I don’t think you’ll find ziva could be differentiating in that regard

11

u/Eurynom0s LAX Dec 27 '21

I never have but I don't go on trips where the attraction is hanging out at the hotel/resort, I'm more of a "as long as the hotel is clean and in a good location I'm happy" kind of person.

5

u/Churnobull SNA, KEE Dec 28 '21

That's a good point. I would say I'm the same unless it's on a beach somewhere and the attraction is the weather/beach/hotel amenities. At a typical place in a city, as long as the room is decent I wouldn't think about upgrades

5

u/braclark BOS Dec 28 '21

And this is Ziva. They have the North beach and the East beach, a bunch of pools, many bars, and even more restaurants. At this price per night and everything is included, why leave the resort. Next time we go, we're going to get a cheap place for the first couple nights to explore Cancun, them check into Ziva for the rest and never leave.

5

u/braclark BOS Dec 27 '21

Turquoise Tower can be very worth it, especially if you have spend offers on the Hyatt card. One nice benefit, all rooms overlook the ocean directly into the sunrise. No alarm clock needed, and it keeps you from sleeping in and wasting part of the day. And the balcony hot tub was a great touch. Oh, and don't forget to help yourself to a mezcal shot in the lobby every time you pass through (if they still do that).

-5

u/435880Churnz Dec 27 '21

I don’t.

12

u/435880Churnz Dec 27 '21

Just checked into the JW Marriott Miami brickell using a 35k FNC and a suite night upgrade that actually got applied (wow). This has got to be one of the best uses for a 35k fnc. Beautiful room. It has a powder room and it has a big balcony.

1

u/iotanerves Dec 29 '21

Look forward to your trip report!

2

u/435880Churnz Dec 29 '21

Me too! Although I think it's going to ruffle a few feathers regarding covid, but I don't care. South Florida is excellent.

2

u/bigheadsoftbody BOI, SEA Dec 27 '21

Anyone else excited to put together their YE balance sheets??

Adding P2 this year. Do you others typically include cc and other travel points?

3

u/CasinoAccountant Dec 27 '21

I track it all- but I do not include it in NW calc or anything

7

u/OnTheUtilityOfPants Dec 27 '21 edited Dec 27 '21

I do a quarterly update to total all cash/investment/retirement accounts and pencil in updated tax numbers. I'm impatient but any more frequently and I'd drive myself nuts. End of the year I do all the net worth, total income, true savings rate stuff.

Q4 has been pretty generous on bank bonuses but minimal CC redemptions, plus it's Amex AF season. Still I'm excited to do the final tally.

I churn mostly for cash out, so points don't get valued until they're redeemed. Inks+PYB was a good haul this year, and I'm looking forward to being able to deposit at least a million MR next year.

5

u/Very_Sadly_True PIE, BOI Dec 27 '21

What do you typically report on your balance sheets? I have a net worth spreadsheet (cash + investments) I plug numbers into once every few months but I've never considered adding points/miles to that as they're essentially worth "nothing" (AA shutdown, devals, etc.) until I can get any sort of tangible benefit.

5

u/bigheadsoftbody BOI, SEA Dec 27 '21

Checking, Savings, 401k, HSA, IRA, etc. Those i just pull the 12/31 balances. Prepaids. Debt balances (student loans, car loan) i pull directly from applicable statements. Current liabs are pretty much just whatever CC bals i have not yet paid that month and if i have any other one off short term payables i"ll include them as well.

The rest gets a lil fuzzy, i put a conservative point value estimate on pretty much every type of point i have. Look up the kbb value of my car and gross up the asset and liab.

I think thats about it.

3

u/Very_Sadly_True PIE, BOI Dec 27 '21

Ah I pool my 401k/HSA/IRA into my investments and my various bank accounts into cash. Using Personal Capital it's easy - cash/debits/investments are all pooled automatically. I don't end up factoring in my cars/property/anything churning so I suppose mine is more of a semi-liquid net worth than any sort of balance sheet!

5

u/jrob30 ONT Dec 27 '21

I include points that I can at least somewhat easily convert to cash (UR, MR, cash back, etc.), but not hotel or airline points.

I'm not sure if this is the best system, but it is what I've landed on.

2

u/liquor_in_the_front CIP, PPK Dec 27 '21

i don't wait until year end for that. If I didn't have my spreadsheet, I'd be like a fish out of water. dead. so it's easily available to see what I've earned this year and what I have currently without having to sign into my various award log ins.

1

u/nadogm1 JAX Dec 27 '21

I track most things in google sheets throughout the year so its readily available but I do like looking at totals at the end of the year. I personally track all types of points and group them as Transferable, Hotel, Airline, and Misc for other things. I also include everything for P2-5 since I control the points and cards.

9

u/BleedBlue__ Dec 27 '21

Might be more award travel than churning, but it looks like Qatar is not releasing Award Space on AA (Economy or Business) after 11/14/22. I’m guessing this is likely due to the World Cup in Qatar that begins on 11/21.

I had a feeling this may happen and it’s especially tough for me as I have 8 nights booked at the PH Maldives, Flights in QSuites to the Maldives, but now no return option home on Qatar. Will either burn some MR on a return flight or push the entire trip to January 2023.

1

u/SurvivinginLA Dec 27 '21

Thanks for this. I have the same issue, but will likely burn AA miles instead.

3

u/BleedBlue__ Dec 27 '21

I’ve got 1,000,000 miles on AA, but the only option currently is to fly DOH-JFK on AA’s new route for 180k PP for Biz. Then there’s the matter of getting to DOH from MLE

1

u/SurvivinginLA Dec 27 '21

Yeah, I’m lucky in that I already planned a Dubai stopover so I can get to LAX on BA via AA or via my Finnair stash.

13

u/Aarvard Dec 27 '21

3 free AS MVP gold upgrade codes available. PM me if your flight has upgrade availability and your fare bucket is eligible!