What's In My Wallet? February 2019 Edition

“What’s In My Wallet?” is a monthly series on the cards I have in my card rotation for the month. The cards vary depending on if I open a new card or if I’m trying to optimize for 5x categories.

Chase Freedom

For Q1 2019 (Jan-March), the Chase Freedom earns 5x points on gas stations, tolls, and drug stores.

My plan to maximize the quarter is to buy merchant-branded gift cards from drug stores like hotels.com and amazon.com gift cards.

Remember to activate the quarter to receive 5x on the select categories.

If you’re trying to optimize for value, pool the UR points from the Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred and transfer them to Hyatt.

Freedom 5x Math:

  • $1,500/quarter * 5x = 7,500 Chase Ultimate Reward (UR)

  • 7,500 Chase UR = 7,500 Hyatt

7,500 Hyatt can usually yield:

     a) $150 in value (2 cents per point)

     b) $225 in value (3 cents per point) 

List of Category 1 Hyatt properties for 5,000 points/night: hyatt.com/en-US/explore-hotels?regionGroup=0-All&categories=1

Cents Per Point (CPP) = [$ cost] / [points cost]

Places I’ve used it at / would consider (random dates):

a) Hyatt Place Phoenix/Chandler-Fashion Center = $142 / 5,000 = 2.8 CPP

b) Hyatt House Colorado Springs = $197 / 5,000 = 3.9 CPP

c) Hyatt Regency Bali = $175 / 5,000 = 3.5 CPP

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

The Hilton Ascend card is in my wallet because I’m using it for upcoming rent and tax payments. One of the benefits is that you can earn a free weekend night each $15,000 you put on the card.

My plan is to redeem the free weekend night at the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives that opens in Summer 2019. The property retails for $2,000/night or 120,000 points/night.

  • $15,000 spend (calendar year) = free weekend night

  • $15,000 * Plastiq 2.5% in fees = $375 in fees

  • $375 for a $2,000+ / night room

Try Plastiq and get $500 in fee-free payments after you spend $500 (referral link): http://bit.ly/asksebbyplastiq

American Express® Gold Card

The Amex Gold card is my go-to for grocery shopping at stores like Trader Joe’s and Safeway. It earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets.

Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige was recently revamped and relaunched at the end of January 2019.

Revamped categories:

  • 5x points on restaurants

  • 5x points on air travel

  • 3x points on cruise lines

  • 3x points on hotels

  • 2x on entertainment (through 8/31/19)

Since the card earns 5x on dining, which is the highest out of all my cards, it’s now my default for when I pay at restaurants.



Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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