What Credit Cards Are in Fiona’s Wallet (July 2019) | How We Balance Our Points as a Couple

One of the challenges that many of you experience
is getting into the points and miles hobby, but realizing that your significant other
may not share the same level of excitement and enthusiasm when it comes to tracking their
spending and determining which card to use. Hey, how’s it going, everyone? It’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In this video, we’ll be reviewing the credit
cards in Fiona’s wallet, and sharing her strategy and approach to points and miles. Also, we’ll discuss how we manage our cards
and points as a household given that we have a different level of passion and interest
for this hobby. A few weeks ago, I did a video on the credit
cards in my wallet. I mentioned that I was thinking of doing the
same video on Fiona’s wallet, and asked if that might be interesting to you all. Several of you responded, so I thought we
would review her credit cards. I’m hoping this gives you another perspective
and approach, and perhaps help you if you have a significant other who is interested
in travel, but perhaps not as excited about having to track bonus categories on different
cards. But first, 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. I should first start out by explaining Fiona’s
background. She is from the UK and moved to the US with
her work several years ago. Since Fiona didn’t live in the US beforehand,
she had to build her credit from scratch. That meant getting secured cards and slowly
building her credit. She now has a credit score close to 800, which
is very impressive. And she’s been able to get several premium
cards, despite only having a few years of credit history. So, let’s review the credit cards that are
currently in Fiona’s wallet. 1. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest
(SPG): This card is no longer available to new applicants. American Express has replaced it with a new
premium card called the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. Fiona got this card due to the free annual
night certificate, Silver Elite status, and elite night credits. Since she is traveling more for work and able
to stay at Marriott hotels, it made sense to build her Marriott Bonvoy account. Fiona also has United Airlines Gold status
which she able to status match with Marriott. The card earns two Bonvoy points per dollar
spent and is Fiona’s primary spending card for purchases outside of dining and groceries. She is interested in getting the new American
Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, but she’s hoping to get a targeted offer to
upgrade. American Express has been targeting SPG cardholders
who have had the card for at least a year, so we’re hoping that the offer to upgrade
still stands once she gets to the one year mark. 2. American Express Gold: Fiona got the American
Express Gold card around the same time as me, except her card is in Rose Gold because,
well, she’s cooler than me. Despite the fact that we take advantage of
all the credits on the card, she’s not sure she wants to keep it. We do enjoy our monthly date nights at Shake
Shack, but Fiona shares the same frustration as me with the restrictions on redeeming credits
and points. We’re both on the fence about whether we
are going to keep the card. Though one important reason why it might be
worth keeping is that Fiona can transfer Membership Rewards points to her Marriott Bonvoy account. It’s definitely not the most valuable use
of American Express points, but if she can earn four points per dollar toward Marriott
stays, it might make sense to keep it. Plus, the fact that she loves the look and
feel of the card doesn’t hurt either. Did I mention she has the Rose Gold version? 3. American Express Blue Cash Everyday: Similar
to my situation, Fiona has this no annual fee card because she downgraded her Blue Cash
Preferred once she got the Gold card. The Blue Cash Preferred is a powerhouse cashback
card with its 6% earning rate on groceries and streaming services, and 3% on gas station
and transit purchases. However, since the Gold card offered 4 points
per dollar on groceries and dining, it didn’t make sense to pay the annual fee on the Blue
Cash Preferred. So she product changed it to the Blue Cash
Everyday, which earns less and has no annual fee. If she decides to cancel or downgrade the
Gold card, then it’s likely she’ll also upgrade this card back to the Blue Cash Preferred
since it’s an awesome gas and fuel card. 4. Capital One Venture Rewards: This was Fiona’s
go-to card for non-bonus spend. In fact, the only reason she isn’t using
it as much is because she is intentionally trying to build her Marriott Bonvoy points. Though the points that she has earned in her
Capital One Venture account have been extremely useful at reducing some of the other travel
expenses on our trips. This was especially the case with Airbnb stays
where we used her Capital One account to “erase” purchases using points. She also received a 50,000 points welcome
offer with the card and made the minimum spend on a lot of the expenses for our upcoming
wedding. 5. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Fiona used to have
the Sapphire Reserve, but she downgraded to the Sapphire Preferred since we both didn’t
need to have the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the lounge benefits. Though since she also got the Amex Gold, she
really isn’t using this card as much. I thought about making her an authorized user
on my Sapphire Reserve in case she needed lounge access during her business travels. However, many of her trips seem to be far
enough that she flies business class and has access to a lounge. So, I’m probably going to recommend that
she downgrade it to the Freedom Unlimited or the basic Sapphire card before her next
annual fee is due. 6. Chase Freedom: Those of you that watch this
channel regularly know that I love the Freedom card since it’s an easy way to earn a lot
of points when maximizing the quarterly bonus categories. Though if I can be honest, I think Fiona struggles
with remembering the bonus categories, mostly because she isn’t as interested in it. I saw her use the card for a grocery purchase
this month, and I was shaking my head. But I completely understand … you have to
really love this stuff in order to want to keep track of all the bonus categories. 7. Banana Republic: You all know how I feel about
department store cards. While they are usually not worth it, I have
to admit that Fiona has received quite a bit of value from this card. On our 4th of July trip to Palm Springs, we
stopped by the outlet stores and bought some new work clothes at the Banana Republic store. Not only were the items discounted since we
were at the outlet store, but we also received an additional 10% off the total price because
of a special offer for Banana Republic cardmembers. Since it’s one of her oldest accounts, she
keeps the card open. And despite my general dislike for store cards,
I have to admit that it does seem to provide value. So those are the cards currently in Fiona’s
wallet. In terms of her strategy, Fiona was putting
the bulk of her spending on the Capital One Venture and American Express Gold. Since the Capital One Venture card earns a
flat-rate of 2% that can be redeemed on travel purchases, it was a great way to offset other
travel costs that were covered by our bookings, primarily from my Chase and American Express
account. Since dining out and groceries are major categories
of spend for her as well, she would put it on the American Express Gold Card. Things have shifted a bit this year. Since Fiona got the American Express SPG card
before it was discontinued, she has become more interested in earning Marriott Bonvoy
points. She’s also traveling more for work, so she
has had some opportunities to earn Marriott Bonvoy points through her stays. We are planning to do a trip to Hawaii next
year, so Fiona’s goal is to build enough points for a five-night stay. Right now, we’re interested in the Ritz
Carlton at Kapalua on Maui. The stay requires 240,000 points, which includes
a fifth night free as part of our award redemption. Since Fiona has 125,000 points right now,
we still need around 115,000 points. Though we’re thinking that we can use some
of our flexible points to cover the difference. The cash price for five nights at this hotel
is around $4,500, so our per point value is about 1.9 cents per point, which is just ok. I still think anything above 1.5 cents is
a decent redemption. The cool thing with Marriott Bonvoy is that
they are a travel partner for both Chase and American Express, so both flexible points
programs offer transfer to them. However, most hardcore points collectors will
say that the redemption rate is not as good as other travel partners on both platforms. I imagine that for many households, there
is usually one person that is the primary points collector. In this case, that person is me. Though that’s only because I have a passion
for this hobby. And for a lot of my friends and family who
are in similar situations, I usually recommend focusing your partner toward a hotel or airline
program, or even a flat-rate travel card. This makes it less cumbersome to remember
bonus categories. While I would love Fiona to build out Chase
Ultimate Rewards, I know it’s annoying to always have to remember which card to use
every quarter. So, I think her focus on Marriott Bonvoy is
great, and if we end up staying at a Ritz Carlton in Hawaii next year for free, I don’t
think I’ll be moaning about the point values and redemption rates. What do you think of the cards in Fiona’s
wallet? Do you think she should continue focusing
on Marriott Bonvoy, or should she go back to flexible or flat-rate points? Also, if you’re the primary points collector
in your household, let me know how you handle your strategy. If you’re interested in applying for a 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’ve found our content to be valuable and helpful. Also, if you need any help with picking the
right credit card or developing a card strategy, sign-up for our free card consultation service. You basically fill out a questionnaire and
schedule a 15-minute video or audio call with me to review your recommendation. As always, we hope you enjoyed the video and
found it useful. If so, please give us a thumbs up and consider
sharing the video with others. It really helps us with growing our channel
and community. Until next time, travel safe and travel smart.

22 thoughts on “What Credit Cards Are in Fiona’s Wallet (July 2019) | How We Balance Our Points as a Couple

  • Figured you’d make her transfer all her points to you 😂. Lol great video! Awesome to get so many perspectives.

  • What do you think of Fiona's card set-up? Also, how do you manage points with your significant other? 😏

  • Could you please please do the Hawaii planning video as you book the trip? I am traveling to Hawaii next summer (party of 5), so would love to see your strategy.

  • Great video. I like to look at what the best redemption for me is on the trip I want to take so that doesn't always work out to be the ultimate use of points numbers wise. A $4500 hotel stay for no money out of pocket is a win in my book.

  • Great vid….as I was watching received what I think maybe a targeted offer:

    Your Citi Double Cash Card



    CASH BACK UNTIL 1/31/21

    Earn More Cash Back on Credit Card Purchases When You Open a Citi Priority Package

    Get 1.5% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay. That’s an additional 0.5% on all purchases.

  • I’m completely shocked. I thought she would be big on Chase UR points like you. I’m surprised to see she doesn’t have a Chase Trifecta set up yet.

  • Great videos. I’m glad that you learned not to always sell store cards short. My store card of choice is the Ann Taylor Mastercard. This card gets me extra points on gas and groceries and other categories as well. When you shop at the right times there’s always a sale. I have received many items for free. It’s a win for me.

  • My wife bit^^ at me when I got sapphire proffered and Hilton cards and ihg screams at me always wanted to used debit card saying I was dumb and stupid …well 2 weeks ago we went out town with all 4 kids I booked a suit 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms small kitchen and livinroom for 3 nights price per night was 365 so wife new it was going to be a lil over 1000 didn't tell her we got there they ask me if I wanted water or points I said points wife goes here we go don't start this point bs on our vacation lol then lady goes mr Garcia you are all set wife goes did you pay lady goes no is free on points lmfao my wife jaw drops I go now from now on leave me the faaaak alone lol and tonight ur a$$ is mine…..now we got a Hilton for her she's a bit into it now ………I have her watch some of you videos ……

  • I’m also on the fence with my rose gold card, lol. I’m probably going to upgrade my everyday and drop the gold card. Department store cards helped me build my credit until I could earn better. I’ll put it on my Amex now unless they offer me a stellar reason to use the store card (depends on the perks). Yes, I would love to see how you guts set up your trip. I’m wanting to go to Israel, but the concepts are the same. I always learn things watching you, Sebby and the pack explain your process.

  • My wife is from New Zealand 🇳🇿 so she also had to build-up her credit history her in United States

  • Personally I would keep the personal SPG card and also get the Bonvoy Brilliant card just for those annual free nights. If she upgrades to the brilliant I don't believe she can ever get that $95 annual fee card again. I had my player 2 grab the SPG personal card before it disappeared because we want that free night. Also, check out the Bonvoy business card as a co replacement for the gold card. Card offers annual free night and 4x back on dining and gas(as well as a few other things). I will throw dining and gas on this business card when I am working on adding Marriott points. I believe hotel cards have their place in front of UR and MR points cards only when you are working on something specific. Here is a tip for business travel. When I travel for work I stay at hotels that have restaurants. I will then charge my meals to the room so I can get my loyalty program points and my cc points. Right now just with the hotel loyalty program I get 30x Hilton points(double base point promotion), 20x IHG points, and 18x Marriott points for dining. Since the meals are charged to the room they code as hotel charges, not dining, so I get an additional 3x on CIP, 6x on Marriott, 12x on Hilton, or 10x on IHG on top of the loyalty program points.

  • "Fiona struggles to remember which card to use…"

    Trip Astute sleeps on the couch for 3 days. Struggles to remember how this happened. 😬

  • Fiona's pretty balanced between the Chase and Amex ecosystems. Just one more card from each and she'd complete both trifectas.

    Player 2 strategies are so interesting but they just emphasize my singlehood LOL

  • Fiona's cards are remarkably similar to mine. After 1 year with a starter card from my credit union I got a Chase Sapphire Preferred. Then I got the AMEX Gold (rose gold) card a month later. A couple of months after that I got the Chase Freedom card followed by the SPG card for the annual free night at only $95. That was five months ago. Yesterday my two years were up on the Chase 5/24 rule and I got a Chase Freedom Unlimited (which will be a great general spend card at 3X for the first year) and the AMEX Platinum Card (the ultimate lounge card) on the same day. I now have a seven card core that I think will be hard to beat as long as I travel at least 3 or 4 times a year. While not many people in the space talk up Marriott (SPG), I have found their program to be very generous. They run lots of special points promotions that are easy to take advantage of and often have cash back discounts through the other AMEX cards, like $40 off. I have been able to obtain Gold status and accumulate 144,000 plus points with Marriott in only five months. And with Ritz Carlton and St. Regis hotels as well as the new Homes & Villas the sky is the limit. Fiona is right to consider transferring AMEX Gold points to Marriott because hotel stays these days are typically much more expensive than economy flights and more points are needed for hotels at your destination than for the flight to and from.

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