Donny Anderson – The Cincinnati Kid

FullSizeRenderDonnie Anderson died May 1.  You may know him as the Cincinnati Kid.  I knew him as dad.  He loved me and I miss him. He was a bit of a celebrity in Cincinnati thanks to his mad pool skills and quick wit.  He was the first Bank Pool World Championship in 1974 and was proud to be inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in 2009.

We will have a memorial service to honor him on Tuesday, May 5.  If you knew him, you surely loved him.  If you didn’t know him you missed out.  But you can read a little bit about him here.

Oakland Spam

femme_stress_telephoneOk, I don’t know what’s going on in Oakland, but somehow someone (I assume someone sucky) got a hold of my cell phone number.  Every day I get a call from Oakland, CA.  I don’t answer.  They don’t leave a message.  I block them.  The next day, same thing, but with a slightly different number.  I’ve googled them all and I don’t get any kind of results.  Maybe the power of the interwebs will eventually solve this mystery:

  • 510-496-4290 Saturday 4/18/15 at 12:45pm MDT
  • 510-496-5544 Friday 4/17/15 at 4:19pm
  • 510-496-4361 Thursday 4/16/15 at 12:08 EDT
  • 510-496-4396 Wednesday 4/15/15 at 1:19 EDT
  • 510-858-7815 Tuesday 4/14/15 at 12:49pm EDT
  • 510-496-4361 Saturday 4/11/15 at 1:32 MDT

Whoever you are, either stop calling me or leave a message.  I will never answer a call from an unknown phone number.

Update:  And they just keep calling!

510-496-8970 4/19/15 2:20pm MDT

Either BA can’t add, or I can’t add

So the hubs and I are looking at spending a bit of time in Monterey, CA.  Flying there from ABQ is expensive so I went to British Airways to use up some of my Avios that are laying around.

I can get to MRY via either LAX or PHX, but the shorter flights through PHX aren’t available on the days I want to fly.  I can get there through LAX, with some seriously weird addition.

For domestic flights, especially ones on teeny planes, I always book in economy.  It’s super cheap with Avios thanks to their distance based mileage program.  ABQ-LAX is 7500 avios.  LAX-MRY is 4500 avios.  When I add those together I get 12,000 avios.  Considering the flight costs over $500, I thought I’d book it.  But when I went through the process, BA tried to charge me 30,000 avios.

bawth2

I thought well, maybe MRY has some crazy surcharge associated with it.  But when I check ABQ-PHX-MRY the price is 9,000 avios.

So my conclusion can only be, if I want to layover in LAX then I’m going to be charged an extra 18,000 avios.  I thought about booking the two flights separately, but with only a 45 minute layover, and the odds of me checking a bag high, that seemed risky.  I certainly hope BA isn’t changing their award chart and this is just the beginning of a massive devaluation!

I tweeted my dilemma to British Airways but they didn’t respond.  They have no option to contact them via email that I could find.  I posted a question on The Point’s Guy’s Facebook but I’m sure he has better things to do than answer my questions for free.  So I am currently (and painfully) on hold with British Airways.  27 minutes so far.  And if past experience is any indicator, when someone does finally pick up (I’ve waited well over an hour before), they will just transfer me to someone else and I’ll be on hold for another God-knows-how-long.

I used to recommend British Airways to my friends for their generous credit card signup bonuses and American Express transfer bonuses, but once I deplete my household account, if I am ever able to deplete my household account, this may be the end of our bittersweet relationship.

But I digress.  If anyone happens to stumble across this post and can explain how 4500 and 7500 add up to 30,000 please comment!  I’ll probably still be on hold.

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Update:  A helpful man answered the line after 35 minutes.  He didn’t know why this award was pricing out so high, so he booked the flight for me.  To charge me properly, he said he would take 30,000 avios out of my account, then would refund 30,000 avios, then would debit 12,000 avios.  I foresee this not going as smoothly as I’d like.  I think I’ll be buying Berkshire Hathaway travel insurance just in case!

 

Churning, Churning, Churning

So with my upcoming travels and limited time bonuses, I think it’s time for a credit card churn.  These will be the first credit cards that I’ve used my new (married) name with which to apply.  I’ll be curious to see how the credit agencies handled my name change.

There are three cards that I’m looking at:

IHG® Rewards Club Select Visa

IHG hotels:  Intercontinental, Crown Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, Indigo, Hualuxe, Even, and Staybridge

IHG offered me 91,900 points to complete this quarter’s Big Win Promo.  Since I have some travels coming up and loaded up on their misc promo codes just the other day, I’m going to register for the IHG card and see if I can complete the challenge.  They sent me a targeted credit card offer with my Gold Elite Membership card last week … I earned 1,000 points for watching their video, then was moved on to a credit card application.  Once accepted I will earn 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months and Platinum Elite Status.

I have Gold status now thanks to the promo codes that fellow travelers have shared.  I love status.  It makes me feel special to get perks that the Average Joe doesn’t.  With Platinum Elite I will earn a 50% bonus on point earnings, elite rollover nights, and complimentary room upgrades.  I may have to join the Ambassador’s Club next time I stay at an Intercontinental and go for broke!  I think this card will be a permanent keeper if only for the upgrades and free yearly room

Per the Credit Card Pull Database, Chase in NM pulls from Experian.  I applied online and received the message:  

Thank you for applying!  Your application requires further processing and is currently being reviewed.   You will be notified in writing about the status of your application within 30 days.  

Gah.  I had to call the Chase reconsideration line.   I answered a few questions and juggled some balances but that was no problem since I have a Southwest Airlines Visa that I never use.  I really should just close that Southwest Visa so I have the all clear for another bonus and companion pass in a few years.  I may do that next time I call.  

A few days later I received a confirmation email that I was approved.  Here are the perks they described:

  • Annual free night certificate good for a free night at over 4,600 hotels worldwide
  • Automatic 10% point rebate on redemptions
  • Earn points on every purchase
  • 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at any of our hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you are a Select cardmember
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year; thereafter $49
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Hyatt Credit Card

After I didn’t receive an instant approval from Chase, I decided to not to apply for this card.  I don’t stay at Hyatt’s enough to need status and am already a Gold Member somehow anyway.

Citi Executive® / AAdvantage®World EliteTM MasterCard®

Since there was a 100,000 bonus on this card I just had to jump on it.  100k points will cover our spring 2015 trip to Europe on AA economy reduced awards with 20k points left over!  I completed the application online via The Points Guy‘s link  and received this message:

Your application is pending further review and we need additional information from you. Please call 800-695-5171 now to receive an immediate decision. Agents are available now to quickly complete the processing of your application.

Aadvantage screenshotI called, and was approved in about 5 minutes.  $450 annual fee card but I will get


  • 100,000 American Aadvantage miles
  • $200 in American Airline reimbursements,
  • Admiral’s lounge access
  • First checked bag free
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority boarding.

I already have a Citi Aadvantage personal card that gives me free checked bags and priority boarding.  I pay $95 for it.  I will see if they will waive that fee the next time it comes around or I’ll likely cancel that card.  Bottom line, $250 for 100,000 miles which is a nice, cushy international flight or 4 crappy domestic ones.  Not bad for a half hour’s worth of work!  I thought this was a business card (after all it’s an executive card) but they didn’t ask me for my EIN so this is apparently a personal card.  I will have to ask my accountant if I can use this for business purposes (and write off the fee for even more savings).

I received my confirmation email yesterday so we are all good to go.  Let the 2014 travels begin!