Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

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Joolz
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby Joolz » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:11 am

DoingHomework wrote:
Bichon Frise wrote:Re: travel, nice meals. Think outside of the box. My spouse and I have excellent credit, and we tap it to travel in more luxurious style than we can afford and cheaper than we would normally pay.


Indeed. When we fly farther than about 2 hours we usually fly first class. My wife refuses to fly to Europe (or Australia) unless we are in business class. But you know what? We rarely pay much if anything extra for that because we exploit all kinds of credit card and other gimmicks (miles, free upgrades, etc.) and then stay loyal to one airline so that we are high on the upgrade list. We do pay a couple of high annual fees on credit cards but easily get the money back. Most of these are tangible. Example: $450 a year for an Amex platinum card = $200 back from airlines, 2 nice android tablets from miles ($800) just this year PLUS lounge access when traveling, a nice concierge to call when I don't have the time to look for something myself or, when I can't find something hard to get available (like some primo sports tickets last year). People might criticize for paying that fee but I have always gotten it back at least 2-fold just in tangible benefits and then get the intangibles for nothing.


I don't want to hijack the OPs thread, but can you expand a little on how you both accomplish this? We travel abroad about twice a year and while I am okay with flying coach to Europe we want to start traveling to Asia and it is just too long to suffer through in coach, but I can’t stomach the prices to fly business/first.

Bichon Frise
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby Bichon Frise » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:01 am

Joolz wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
Bichon Frise wrote:Re: travel, nice meals. Think outside of the box. My spouse and I have excellent credit, and we tap it to travel in more luxurious style than we can afford and cheaper than we would normally pay.


Indeed. When we fly farther than about 2 hours we usually fly first class. My wife refuses to fly to Europe (or Australia) unless we are in business class. But you know what? We rarely pay much if anything extra for that because we exploit all kinds of credit card and other gimmicks (miles, free upgrades, etc.) and then stay loyal to one airline so that we are high on the upgrade list. We do pay a couple of high annual fees on credit cards but easily get the money back. Most of these are tangible. Example: $450 a year for an Amex platinum card = $200 back from airlines, 2 nice android tablets from miles ($800) just this year PLUS lounge access when traveling, a nice concierge to call when I don't have the time to look for something myself or, when I can't find something hard to get available (like some primo sports tickets last year). People might criticize for paying that fee but I have always gotten it back at least 2-fold just in tangible benefits and then get the intangibles for nothing.


I don't want to hijack the OPs thread, but can you expand a little on how you both accomplish this? We travel abroad about twice a year and while I am okay with flying coach to Europe we want to start traveling to Asia and it is just too long to suffer through in coach, but I can’t stomach the prices to fly business/first.


This is like drinking from a firehose, but everything you need is written here. Study and come back with specific questions.

http://www.flyertalk.com/

PS, my 1st class tickets to asia were $160 for the pair. :)
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."

avocado wrote:Good to see you back, I was starting to miss your incisive commentary!

ambition
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby ambition » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:05 pm

DoingHomework wrote:
Bichon Frise wrote:Re: travel, nice meals. Think outside of the box. My spouse and I have excellent credit, and we tap it to travel in more luxurious style than we can afford and cheaper than we would normally pay.


Indeed. When we fly farther than about 2 hours we usually fly first class. My wife refuses to fly to Europe (or Australia) unless we are in business class. But you know what? We rarely pay much if anything extra for that because we exploit all kinds of credit card and other gimmicks (miles, free upgrades, etc.) and then stay loyal to one airline so that we are high on the upgrade list. We do pay a couple of high annual fees on credit cards but easily get the money back. Most of these are tangible. Example: $450 a year for an Amex platinum card = $200 back from airlines, 2 nice android tablets from miles ($800) just this year PLUS lounge access when traveling, a nice concierge to call when I don't have the time to look for something myself or, when I can't find something hard to get available (like some primo sports tickets last year). People might criticize for paying that fee but I have always gotten it back at least 2-fold just in tangible benefits and then get the intangibles for nothing.


Couldn't agree more with you DoingHomework! Also, have you looked into Global Entry? It is $100 but Amex (with a platinum card) will reimburse you and it is good for 5 years. Even if you don't travel international too much, it is a nice benefit and they are starting to accept it for domestic travel to pass through security quicker and easier (separate line & don't have to take off your shoes, belt, etc). Plus, with Amex, you can transfer points (1-1, sometimes better) directly to many airlines. It has come in really handy!

Bichon Frise
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby Bichon Frise » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:43 pm

For those interested in the "free" global entry proposed by ambition, they neglected to mention the fee for the Amex Plat card is $475/yr. There are some perks, but it is still a pricey card. It is way down on the list for me in terms of a travel rewards CC, as I don't like their "partners."
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."

avocado wrote:Good to see you back, I was starting to miss your incisive commentary!

ambition
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby ambition » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:45 pm

Bichon Frise wrote:For those interested in the "free" global entry proposed by ambition, they neglected to mention the fee for the Amex Plat card is $475/yr. There are some perks, but it is still a pricey card. It is way down on the list for me in terms of a travel rewards CC, as I don't like their "partners."


Certainly, as acknowledged by DoingHomework. It is not a cheap card but when you add up the benefits, for some, it can easily pay for itself and then some.

DoingHomework
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby DoingHomework » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:23 pm

ambition wrote:Couldn't agree more with you DoingHomework! Also, have you looked into Global Entry? It is $100 but Amex (with a platinum card) will reimburse you and it is good for 5 years. Even if you don't travel international too much, it is a nice benefit and they are starting to accept it for domestic travel to pass through security quicker and easier (separate line & don't have to take off your shoes, belt, etc). Plus, with Amex, you can transfer points (1-1, sometimes better) directly to many airlines. It has come in really handy!


I've looked at it, and I think it is a great program. But I was in Europe twice this spring/summer and sailed through customs/emigre faster than the people using the kiosks. I think it is because I've come through Houston and they are very efficient and underused. Previously I mostly went through Dulles and it was not too bad either. LAX was a little worse but still not more than 5 minute wait.

If I did the global entry thing it would be for domestic access but my podunk home airport doesn't have it so no benefit there either.

DoingHomework
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby DoingHomework » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:43 pm

ambition wrote:
Bichon Frise wrote:For those interested in the "free" global entry proposed by ambition, they neglected to mention the fee for the Amex Plat card is $475/yr. There are some perks, but it is still a pricey card. It is way down on the list for me in terms of a travel rewards CC, as I don't like their "partners."


Certainly, as acknowledged by DoingHomework. It is not a cheap card but when you add up the benefits, for some, it can easily pay for itself and then some.



I won't pitch Amex platinum to you because they aren't paying me for that! It is expensive, no doubt about that. But they pay you $200 in airline fees back every year which is not hard to rack up if you travel. If your favorite partner is United, well, it's true they don't play with United in general but you can get the $200 in United fees. Or Southwest for that matter. My home airport is mostly served by United so they are my choice as well.

Basically, it was a tough decision pulling the trigger on the platinum card. But after about three years I've averaged about $800 a year in "benefits" that I would have spent anyway so that easily exceeds the cost. Then the "soft" benefits are free.

For example, this year I used points to buy 2 tablets on Amazon. I was buying them anyway but instead got them for points rather than $400 each. Last year I bought an airline ticket for $400. Both years also got the full $200 airline credit. I also got some concert tickets with points ($150) and bought NFL tickets for less than what the NFL "scalping" site charges. These were not cheap, ~ 40 yard line box seats at a major team...but an early season game so I'm not sure how to value the savings. And, I've used the concierge about 3 times but don't count that. We also usually use the lounges when we fly. It used to work in a roundabout way with United but I now have to do that differently. Plus, I rent cars almost exclusively from Hertz and get a 20% discount there which adds up.

Honestly, if you don't travel much it probably is a waste. But if you travel even a little by plane it can be very worthwhile. I travel 2-3 trips a years for work and about the same personally and definitely get my money's worth out of it.

DoingHomework
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby DoingHomework » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:05 pm

Joolz wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
Bichon Frise wrote:Re: travel, nice meals. Think outside of the box. My spouse and I have excellent credit, and we tap it to travel in more luxurious style than we can afford and cheaper than we would normally pay.


Indeed. When we fly farther than about 2 hours we usually fly first class. My wife refuses to fly to Europe (or Australia) unless we are in business class. But you know what? We rarely pay much if anything extra for that because we exploit all kinds of credit card and other gimmicks (miles, free upgrades, etc.) and then stay loyal to one airline so that we are high on the upgrade list. We do pay a couple of high annual fees on credit cards but easily get the money back. Most of these are tangible. Example: $450 a year for an Amex platinum card = $200 back from airlines, 2 nice android tablets from miles ($800) just this year PLUS lounge access when traveling, a nice concierge to call when I don't have the time to look for something myself or, when I can't find something hard to get available (like some primo sports tickets last year). People might criticize for paying that fee but I have always gotten it back at least 2-fold just in tangible benefits and then get the intangibles for nothing.


I don't want to hijack the OPs thread, but can you expand a little on how you both accomplish this? We travel abroad about twice a year and while I am okay with flying coach to Europe we want to start traveling to Asia and it is just too long to suffer through in coach, but I can’t stomach the prices to fly business/first.


As BF said, it's like drinking from a firehose.

In my case we have two cards, AMEX platinum and a United card and almost all spending goes on those. We spend everything we can on credit card but have not paid a dime in interest for several years (except one month a few years ago when I had a brain fart and cost us about $10 in interest but whined enough to get the late fee removed!). The points from spending are enough to get a couple of first class upgrades per year even to Europe or Australia. Plus about half the time we've gone overseas, work has paid for one of us, at least the coach part. The upgrades might have to be "supersaver" so that you might have to be flexible with schedule. And if you buy a ticket at priceline, expedia and so forth, it won't be upgradable or will be at the end of the list.

We don't fly all that much as I said in another message. It's basically enough to keep me at the lowest tier frequent flyer and my wife just below it, on United. We now have a United premium card that gets us lounge access, waived bag fees, and higher on the upgrade list. Since we have had the card I have gotten free first class upgrade on every flight that I have been on that had it except international.

I used to fly quite a bit more for business. The airlines have quite a steep area of benefits. I remember one trip to europe for work a few years ago. I was almost literally begging to get out of a crowded middle seat in the last row near the engines on teh way over and couldn't. But along the way I crossed some magic threshold and when I was coming back they automatically upgraded me to business class! I flew more that year and was treated very well and was frequently upgraded for free, but then again, I put in more that 100,000 miles for work that year and the next.

It took United about 2 years to figure out I switched jobs, that is, to start treating me like a peon again. I have been flying a bit more recently so maybe they have decided I am worthy again and started offering me upgrades. But I think instead that it is just that I am a little higher n the list because of the card I carry and I intentionally fly at times with cheap tickets, which of course means low demand and empty flights.

So, that's my stream from the firehose. PM me if you want to hear more or have any specific questions.

Bichon Frise
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Re: Another should I invest or pay debt off scenario.

Postby Bichon Frise » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:02 pm

DoingHomework wrote:
ambition wrote:Couldn't agree more with you DoingHomework! Also, have you looked into Global Entry? It is $100 but Amex (with a platinum card) will reimburse you and it is good for 5 years. Even if you don't travel international too much, it is a nice benefit and they are starting to accept it for domestic travel to pass through security quicker and easier (separate line & don't have to take off your shoes, belt, etc). Plus, with Amex, you can transfer points (1-1, sometimes better) directly to many airlines. It has come in really handy!


I've looked at it, and I think it is a great program. But I was in Europe twice this spring/summer and sailed through customs/emigre faster than the people using the kiosks. I think it is because I've come through Houston and they are very efficient and underused. Previously I mostly went through Dulles and it was not too bad either. LAX was a little worse but still not more than 5 minute wait.

If I did the global entry thing it would be for domestic access but my podunk home airport doesn't have it so no benefit there either.


you must of come through a totally different houston. I've always found lines to be annoyingly long and the CBP officers to be inefficient. Fortunately, I usually came in flying in the front, and I would literally run to clear immigration, usually with my bladder bursting at the seams. GE also "qualifies" you for pre-check (no more stripping down to your skimmies when going through security).
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."

avocado wrote:Good to see you back, I was starting to miss your incisive commentary!


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