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.