I’m excited to be heading out to Nashville tomorrow on a last minute jaunt for a long weekend. For those of you in New York right now you know how bad the weather is getting, and I felt like my ears were going to fall off on the way home from the Subway tonight!
For my trip I will be adjusting my wallet for maximum effect (excuse me while I run off to do that right now so I don’t forget!) My big 3 cards are as follows, and I might just bring along a 4th as I am flying on American, though I doubt I will buy anything onboard.
Card No.1 The Most Important Card for Travel. The American Express Platinum Card. Comes with a hefty $450 fee, which thankfully is deductible as it is a Business Card and a valid business expense, so I get about $150 back from that fee. This Amex is my favorite card if I fly anywhere, and that is the only time I dust it off and use it. Tomorrow we are using British Airways Avios on American Airlines and flying in Coach (I know it is an outrage, but Avios makes you pay double, or sometimes triple miles for First domestically so that is out of the question for me on a 2 and a bit hour flight.
The funny thing about flying domestic First Class is that you often don’t even get access to the Admirals Club Airport Lounge! They say domestic doesn’t qualify. So you are paying (hopefully not cash) a whopping amount more for a slightly bigger seat and a free drink on the plane… no thank you. I would take Coach every day of the week for a short hop like this. Back to the Amex Platinum – I can access the Lounge even in Coach, even using BA miles. My boarding pass will be printed by American Airlines, I flash that and my Amex at the entry and it is free Bloody Mary’s and nasty bagels for the family. The Lounge Access makes a super difference to any flight, and we will appreciate it more on the way back as we fly around midday so can enjoy a drink or two and relax before boarding.
Once the airport is over, I put the Amex away, but I still get 2 excellent benefits from it that I will use this trip:
- Starwoods’ SPG Gold Status – including upgraded rooms, free wifi, late checkout etc – will be very nice to add to our stay in the Sheraton (the leading SPG property in Nashville)
- Hertz Gold – Various perks that are too subtle to notice generally, though they have a standout option which is a 4hr grace period on returning your car, a wonderful amenity as I always seem to be needing a card slightly over 24hrs at a time.
If you have the Amex Platinum please note you have to actually call them to activate these Status bonuses otherwise they won’t show up on your record.
Card No.2 Starwoods’ SPG American Express (Amex strikes again!) I love this card for everyday spend. Not only does it earn points for great stays, such as erm.. the Sheraton Nashville Downtown… but it also has a great transfer partnership with the airlines, for every 20,000 SPG you transfer to your airline you get a bonus 5,000 effectively making this a 1.25 mile per dollar card at the airline of your choice. On top of that awesomeness, by using it at a SPG Property you get BRAND BONUS this means a category bonus for any spending at the SPG Brand, that is worth 2 points per dollar now, and my SPG Gold is worth 3 points per dollar so anything I spend on the hotel, such as food or drinks etc will be earning me 5 SPG per dollar or 6.25 Airmiles if I choose to transfer them.
I will use the SPG for any other purchases outside of the hotel other than Travel and Dining. And let’s face it there will be a lot of travel and dining on a long weekend in Nashville! Here is when the Chase Sapphire Proffered comes in, they offer 2x points on Travel and Dining, including lower end things like Public Transport and cheap lunches, these points transfer into my United Airlines account and build up my miles for future international travel.
The 4th Card that I might bring is the Aadvantage Card from Citibank – it is a BRAND BONUS card for American Airlines so if I get any nasty fees for whatever reason, or need to buy anything at least I get multiplied miles for this. I will be bringing it for only American Airlines related disasters..
Quite excited to get going on this adventure and over eat, drink and sing along to the Country folk… apologies in advance to anyone in the vicinity!
Related Post – Last minute trip to Nashville