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Topics - DoB

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I'm looking at hotel rooms in Europe in the Chase UR booking tool.

First - each listing includes the line, "Taxes and Fees not included." Will the hotel collect this from me in cash? Is there a general guideline of how much I should expect this to run?

Second - even if I'm looking at refundable rooms, the terms always include the line, "Change or cancellation fees may apply." If the listing shows the room as refundable, do I need to be concerned about cancellation fees?


Credit Cards / AGC to Serve?
« on: August 31, 2015, 10:34:39 PM »
My apologies if this is already answered here - I haven't been able to find it.

I recently bought $4000 in Amex Gift Cards (to quickly meet the Amex SPG spend threshold). I was planning to use the AGC's to buy VGC's and then cash them out through my REDcard, but it looks like and no longer accept AGC's. So I'm in a bit of a pickle.

If I closed my REDcard account (I haven't used it since May) and opened a Serve account, would I be able to fund it online with my AGC's (over the course of four months)?

Any other suggestions? It isn't urgent that I wipe out the AGC's immediately, but I'd rather not have them lingering around longer than necessary.

Credit Cards / Citi ThankYou Preferred - 5x categories
« on: March 24, 2015, 10:00:04 PM »
I received a (probably targeted) email in January inviting me to sign up for 5x points in for categories - clothing stores, electronics and computer stores, toy stores, and department stores - through the end of March.

Is Target classified as a department store?  I still have a $2500 load to make at Target this month. (Probably going to Marble Hill, if it varies from store to store.)

Up In The Air / CX business class: JFK-YVR or YVR-JFK?
« on: March 15, 2015, 01:27:53 AM »
Planning a one way flight, either JFK-YVR or YVR-JFK, on CX business class.  I've never flown business before (on any airline).  Is one direction a better experience than the other?  (Better lounge?  KSML?  Anything else?)

Up In The Air / NYC-Italy: Avios or cash? And which airline?
« on: January 27, 2015, 11:34:25 PM »
I'm planning a trip from NYC to Italy. I can get to Milan or Florence via Dusseldorf or Berlin for 49,000 Avios (i.e., 35,000 MR points if transferred by the end of the week) plus $163 (or perhaps a few dollars less) on Air Berlin, or I can get to Milan nonstop for $632.30 on United or for $658.30 on Delta, Alitalia, or Emirates. (All prices round trip in economy.) So spending 49,000 Avios would save me $469.30 if I fly United or $495.30 if I fly one of the others.

Am I correct that, at these prices, the AB flight is no bargain at all, assuming Florence isn't considerably more convenient than Milan (it probably is not)?

So which airline do I pick? From what I've read (I haven't flown any of them myself aside from United, which didn't impress), I'm leaning toward Emirates. Thoughts? How do the KSML's compare?

If I use my Amex PRG to pay one of the non-U.S.-based airlines, will I be hit with the 2.7% foreign transaction fee? I wouldn't mind picking up 1975 MR points, but it's probably not worth paying $17.77 in fees to get that. (I could alternatively use the Barclaycard Arrival+, netting me $14.48 with no risk of a fee.)

Pardon the potentially obvious questions; I'm new to this stuff. Thanks.

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