New Features in AwardWallet | Balance Watch & Credit Card Optimization Tools!


Hey, how’s it going everyone? It’s Ernest
from Trip Astute. Hope you all are having a great week. In this video, we’re going
to review some of the exciting new features of one of our favorite tools —
AwardWallet, and how they can benefit those of you in the points and miles
hobby. A few weeks ago, we did a video on AwardWallet and why we think it’s one
of the best tools for points and miles collectors. If you haven’t watched the
video, make sure to check it out. AwardWallet is one of those tools that’s
been around since I started collecting points and has served this community for
many years by simplifying the way we track our various point currencies. The
other week, I noticed that AwardWallet started to roll out some new features, so
I thought I’d do a video on what they are and show you how to use them. The
service already does a lot more than just tracking your points, but these new
features are ones that I believe address a lot of the issues that I’ve seen or
heard, especially from those of you in the points of miles community. Before we dig
into the features, if you’re new here, welcome to our channel. Trip Astute is a
travel channel that is focused on sharing ways to make travel easier,
affordable, and more enjoyable. Traveling can be stressful and expensive, so we’re
looking for ways to help you maximize your experience through travel tips,
points and miles, and innovative gear. If that sounds interesting to you, please
consider subscribing. Today I want to talk about AwardWallet’s new credit
card optimization tools and balance watch feature. These are new enhancements
to their service that should be extremely useful for those of you that
collect points and miles. So, let’s run through each one. If you log into your
AwardWallet account, you’ll notice that there are some new features on the upper
left-hand side of the dashboard. The three new tools listed are under a
section called Credit Card Optimization Tools, and includes a Credit Card Spend
Analysis, Merchant Lookup Tool, and Reverse Merchant Lookup. These tools rely
on crowd-sourced data from AwardWallet and they can help give you some
additional insight. The Credit Card Spend Analysis Tool allows you to see where
the bulk of your spending occurs and whether you’re maximizing your point
earnings. AwardWallet shows you a breakdown of where you’re spending money
and what you’ve earned in terms of points. The tool also recommends other
cards that might help you earn more points. One thing that I didn’t realize
is that AwardWallet isn’t just comparing the multiplication factor. When
researching the topic, I actually reached out to the AwardWallet team and found
out that they assigned values for each of the major point currencies. For
example, they value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.65 cents and American Express Membership Rewards points at 2.5 cents.
What’s cool is that they’re looking to eventually evolve the system to allow
you to designate your own customized point values for each currency. As you
all know, measuring a points value is very subjective and it can differ from
person to person, so check out our Points Value video for a more detailed breakdown
on how to measure points and also calculate the adjusted earning rate on
credit cards. If you only want AwardWallet to give you recommendations based
on cards that you already have, then you can simply click on the “Cards Used to
Make Recommendations” section and uncheck any card so you don’t have or
not interested in. For example, suppose you’re trying to build Chase Ultimate Rewards
points but you notice that the tool recommends higher bonus categories using
American Express and Citi cards, you might consider unchecking those cards
from the list if you don’t have any interest in building those points
programs. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have your credit card accounts added
to AwardWallet to see this analysis. Though I think the tool can help you in
many ways, especially if you’re trying to see how you could be earning more points.
I also think the tool will be valuable over time to help us determine where we are
spending money so we can make informed decisions when applying for new credit
cards. In fact, whenever I do a credit card consultation, one of the most
important questions that I ask is “what are your highest categories of spend?”
This helps me to develop a card strategy since we can match up cards or programs
that will maximize bonuses on those categories of spend. The second Credit
Card Optimization Tool is the Merchant Lookup Tool. I absolutely love this tool!
It allows you to search for merchants and see how they’re coded. Remember AwardWallet is crowdsourcing this data from their users, so you’re pulling from
a fairly large and diverse data source. The merchant lookup tool allows you to
see how a merchant is coded when it comes to your credit cards. This is
useful to know for those of you that pursue credit card bonus categories. I
know that I’ve sometimes wondered how a smaller and independent store in my area
codes if I were to use a credit card. For example, in my area, there’s a smaller
drugstore and gift store called Dana Drug Store. You would assume it’s a
drug store but it’s more of a gift store that also happens to sell drug store
supplies. When I look up the merchants on AwardWallet, I can confirm that the
business codes as a drug store. This can also be an issue with stores or delis
that not only serve food but also have groceries or a bakery. For example,
there’s a popular bakery in the Los Angeles area called Porto’s. It’s a Cuban
bakery and it’s always crowded, no matter what time the
day. They have all sorts of incredible pastries but there’s also a cafe inside
of the bakery where you can order sandwiches, lunch plates, coffee, and more
pastries. Since you’re able to order food and eat at Porto’s, you probably would
assume that it would code as a restaurant or cafe. Though if you search
on Porto’s using the Merchant Lookup Tool, you would see that the merchant
actually codes as a grocery store. I actually wish I knew this information
earlier since I remember not getting my points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card
last year when I ate there. I suspected that this was the case since the receipt
didn’t have a section for tip. However, had I known it coded as a grocery store,
I probably would have used my American Express Gold Card when I went there last
month since it earns 4 points per dollar on groceries. The last Credit Card
Optimization Tool is the Reverse Merchant Lookup. This is basically
searching for merchants that qualify for a bonus category based on a specific
card. This tool is still in beta but it’s yet another way to review common
merchants that can earn you a bonus with these cards. Finally, there’s one more
feature that AwardWallet has released called Balance Watch. This is a
very useful tool that was inspired by requests from other AwardWallet users.
Basically, the tool can alert you as soon as the balance is updated on a specific
account from a points transfer or points purchase. Now you might be wondering, “why
would you even need it?” Well, oftentimes when you’re trying to make an award
booking you’ll need to transfer points to a specific airline or hotel from
another points program like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, American Express’
Membership Rewards, and Citi’s ThankYou Rewards. Since there can be a delay in
the transfer, it can prevent you from completing the booking. This can be both
frustrating and scary, especially if the airline or hotel shows limited
availability for your booking. AwardWallet already tracks point balances, but
enabling a Balance Watch on a specific account makes it track your account
every hour and send you a notification via desktop, mobile, and email when
the balance is updated. AwardWallet lists out the transfers that typically do not
occur instantaneously which is extremely useful to know. However, technical issues
can also delay point transfers that are usually instantaneous, so keep that in
mind. Also, folks on FlyerTalk claim that if you recently created a new loyalty
account, it can cause delays when transferring points. In order to use this
feature, you have to be an AwardWallet Plus subscriber. You get one free Balance
Watch credit for just being a subscriber. very time
you renew AwardWallet Plus, you receive one credit for free as well. You can also
purchase more Balance Watch credits if you need them. The cost is $5 or less,
depending on how many credits you purchase at a time. Since it’s taxing on
AwardWallet’s system to constantly monitor an account, they want to make
sure to prevent misuse of the feature. If you anticipate using this feature a lot,
then you might want to consider buying several credits at a time. That way you
take advantage of the discount. To activate it, you want to make sure that
the account that requires tracking is added to your AwardWallet account
without any issues. You also want to check your AwardWallet notifications to
ensure that you have them set up to your preferred methods. I recommend also
installing the app on your smartphone so you’ll be able to get mobile
notifications. You’ll then want to click on the edit button next to the account
that you want monitored. Keep in mind that you want to click on the account
that is receiving the points and not the one that is losing points. For example, if
I’m transferring points from American Express to ANA, I want to make sure that
I’m clicking on the edit button on my ANA account. You’ll then enable Balance
Watch by clicking on the checkbox, then adding details about the transfer. You’ll
need to specify where the points or miles are coming from and the expected
amount. The tool will also ask you when you requested the transfer, which will help
AwardWallet track and create metrics to help other users who might be doing the
same in the future. You’ll then need to acknowledge the terms and conditions and
click the update account button. The account will then show in the main
screen that it’s being tracked. A notification will be sent as soon as the
points transfer over, allowing you to complete your booking as soon as
possible. There are a few things that you need to be aware of when using Balance
Watch. AwardWallet says that this shouldn’t be used to track when a welcome offer
posts to your credit card account since it can often take a few weeks or a full
statement cycle for these points to show up on your account. You’ll want to rely
on the standard monitoring tools on AwardWallet. The Balance Watch tool is
intended for transfers that are scheduled to occur within a few days.
Even though this feature costs extra, I think it can definitely be worth the
cost. If you think about the time and effort to constantly check your account
in order to make a booking with points, this could simplify the process.
Oftentimes you have to log out and log back in to see updates to your points on
your loyalty accounts. Just refreshing the screen usually doesn’t work. And if
you were to successfully book a flight with miles and points and save money,
then the extra five dollars or less is probably worth the cost and
convenience. Overall, I love that AwardWallet is constantly working to improve
its service to provide additional value to their users. I think it’s also smart
that they’re leveraging the crowdsourced data that they already have in order to help
travelers, especially points and miles enthusiasts, with getting the most value from
their points. I’m excited to see what other new features are released in the
future by the company. What are your thoughts on these tools? Have you tried
any of these new features? If so, let me know how it’s working for you. If you’re
interested in applying for a new credit card, we would love it if you used our
link in the video description or on our website. It’s an easy way to support our
channel, especially if you found our content to be valuable and helpful. Also,
if you need the help with determining what your next credit card should be,
sign up for a free credit card consultation service. You’ll basically
fill out the questionnaire and schedule a 15-minute call with me to review your
recommendation. If you enjoyed the video and found it useful, please give us a
thumbs up and consider hitting the notification bell next to the subscribe
button. You’ll not only get notifications on new videos, but also content that I’m
posting on our community tab. That way you’ll be up-to-date on any important
announcements or offers that get released during the week. Until next time,
travel safe and travel smart.

7 thoughts on “New Features in AwardWallet | Balance Watch & Credit Card Optimization Tools!

  • Have you ever had to wait for a points transfer in order to complete a booking, or wondered how a merchant codes a credit card transaction? If so, please share your experience! 😊

  • These features are definitely worth the upgrade fee (that I have been avoiding). 🤣 I’m signing up!

  • Hi Trip astute so which bank is the retart is it chase, citi or a bank that I missed? since when does Porto's become the same as Shop Rite, Acme, Publix or Safeway? the way you described it sounds like a café so however that category codes is what Porto's should be? on my us bank card the Walmart up in Orange county counts as a grocery store but it sells the same things as the discount store but has more aisles ? some people just don't know how to categorize?

  • Ernest this is a super great tool ! Thank you for the overview ! Hope your weekend is going great !

    Jose P.

  • Hey Earnest!
    I got a my first chase freedom unlimited 6 months ago.But i don’t see any chase inquiry in credit karma.
    Does it mean that Chase didn’t do a hard pull?

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