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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?

Thanks.

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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 giftcardmall.com and giftcards.com 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.

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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.)

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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?)

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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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