Advice

Does A Business Credit Card Count Towards Your Personal Credit Score?

Credit-Score

Credit scores can be complicated, and it goes without saying that there are a lot of misconceptions about how they work. Everyone obviously wants the best score possible, and there are ways to help maximize that.

In writing about the increased sign-up bonuses on the Delta SkyMiles credit cards — in particular the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express — there have been a lot of questions about how credit scores show up on your personal credit report. So I figured I’d clarify a few things, in the form of some FAQs.

Yes it does. A credit inquiry typically temporarily lowers your credit score by a couple of points, which isn’t a big deal. The inquiry generally falls off your credit report after 24 months. There are lots of other metrics of your credit score which can improve as a result of having more cards, like your credit utilization and payment history, which make up a much larger percentage of your credit score.

But for this there’s no differentiation between a personal card and a business card — a hard pull has the same impact, whether it’s from a personal or business card.

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Is Delta “Pay With Miles” A Good Deal?

Delta-First-Class

As I’ve explained in great detail, there are presently limited time increased sign-up bonuses on the co-branded Delta American Express cards.

I’ve shared what I consider to be the best strategy for applying for these cards, and experience with getting approved. While some like to call SkyMiles worthless, I think there are lots of great uses of these miles. The reality is that SkyMiles remain extremely useful for business class travel to Europe and Asia, which are two of the most popular destinations which people try to redeem miles to.

For those who think SkyMiles are worthless, I do think it’s worth pointing out a way you can redeem your miles without any restrictions, and it’s a way to get at least $500 worth of value out of the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card or Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card, or at least $600 worth of value out of the 60,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card or Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card.

This is a method Nick mentioned he takes advantage of in his post in defense of Delta a while back.

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How To Easily Look Up Passport & Visa Requirements

I may not have the passport on the right, but I still can't be late....

While the internet can be a great resource, it can also be the source of a lot of misinformation. Not intentionally, necessarily, but rather because not all information is updated.

Along those lines, it can sometimes be a bit of a pain to figure out passport and visa requirements for various countries. That’s not to say that it’s actually complicated, but sometimes it takes several minutes of searching before you find out the real requirements, and it’s a process which could certainly be simplified. That’s largely due to the fact that many consulates have horrible websites.

Perhaps it can be a bit trickier in my situation, since I have both a US and German passport, so I’ll often easily find visa requirements for my US passport, but not for my German passport, since consulates often have different websites for nationals of different countries.

Back in the day, the Star Alliance’s website used to have a great built in tool offered by Timatic, which showed visa and passport requirements based on your nationality, country of residency, destination country, and transit country. However, that seems to have been removed last year.

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Here Are The Best Uses Of Delta SkyMiles

China-Airlines-Business-Class

This post has nothing to do with the changes which were made to American AAdvantage yesterday, and/or whether or not Delta SkyMiles has a decent elite program. Instead this post is purely about earning redeemable miles through credit card spend.

As I posted about last week, there are limited time increased 50,000-60,000 mile sign-up bonuses being offered on the American Express co-branded Delta credit cards, including the following:

— Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
— Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
— Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
— Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card From American Express

If you haven’t had any of these cards before you can potentially pick them all up, and earn up to 220,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles.

Personally I value Delta SkyMiles at 1.3 cents each, which is marginally less than I value American AAdvantage miles (1.5 cents) and United MileagePlus miles (1.4 cents).

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Why Doesn’t Four Seasons Have A Loyalty Program?

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Reader DhilJ asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

“Recently my family and I haven been staying at a couple of FS around the world and this got me thinking m: if practically every other hotel company in the world has a rewards programme – how does the FS manage without one and then how does it ensure customer keep on returning? I just think that in this day in age surely they would be at a huge disadvantage for not being able to guarantee customer loyalty? Also, do you think that FS will have a loyalty programme in the near future?”

It’s a great question — why doesn’t Four Seasons have a loyalty program? A vast majority of other hospitality groups (and hell, many businesses in general) have loyalty programs, so what makes Four Seasons different?

Many of Four Seasons’ high end competitors have loyalty programs — think Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Shangri-La Golden Circle, St. Regis Starwood Preferred Guest, Park Hyatt Gold Passport, etc.

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Appropriate Compensation For A False Hotel Fire Alarm?

Sheraton-Frankfurt-Airport-Suite - 9

Reader steven k asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

“i was staying at a sheraton. at around 11:45 pm, i was awoken by fire alarm. all the guests had to evacuate from the hotel. we had to spend next 30 minutes outside until the fire department reset the false alarm.
i tried going back to sleep but was unable.
the hotel gave me 1000 star points for compensation but i thought this was inadequate. should i call up the spg customer service to get more compensation? do i have legitimate case?”

I’m passing this question on here because I’m curious how others have dealt with similar situations. I’ve frequently seen people post about hotel fire alarms going off, though it’s not something I’ve ever faced. Or at least I don’t remember ever dealing with a hotel fire alarm, which is sort of surprising.

Steven indicates that it was a “false alarm.” I’m not sure if that means it was a system error, if a guest pulled it accidentally, or what. Honestly I doubt a guest will necessarily find out the real reason either.

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11 Features That Make Business Class Great — Or Not

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I feel like I should change my mailing address to “business class on your nearest flight,” based on the amount of time I’ve spent in business class lately. This is by design, as I’ve been doing what I can to review new business class products, given that I focused so heavily on first class in the past.

I’ve been disappointed by some airlines and pleasantly surprised by others, though they all have room for improvement. I’ve walked away from most of carriers basically saying “they’re a fine option if they operate the route you need to fly nonstop, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly them.” That’s a stark contrast to my favorite first class products in the world, which I’d go out of my way to fly.

So it got me thinking as to what I value most in business class. What makes for a great business class product?

Everyone has very different preferences, so this simply reflects what I care about. I figured I’d share the 11 top things for me, more or less ranked, starting with the most important. The order can vary based on the individual flight, since I have different priorities based on the type of flight.

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The 6 Biggest Differences Between First & Business Class

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This year I’ve been making an effort to fly business class rather than first class, which is motivated by a couple of factors:

— I’ve reviewed the world’s best first class products over and over, and you guys wanted reviews of new products
— With the recent devaluations to several frequent flyer programs, the sweet spot for redemptions is quickly becoming business class, rather than first class; in many cases it’s no longer a small mileage premium for first class

Given that I’ve been flying a lot of business class lately, I figured I’d reflect on what I consider to be the six biggest differences between first class and business class. Here they are, in no particular order:

For many airlines, the first class experience starts the moment you check-in. That’s especially true if you’re visiting one of the world’s best first class lounges.

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Aegean’s Frequent Flyer Program Really Is Amazing!

Air-Canada-Business-2

A couple of days ago I wrote a post asking which Star Alliance frequent flyer program I should credit my miles to. I’m on a paid business class ticket on Air Canada and South African Airways to Cape Town, which has me flying 24,000+ miles.

While I fly a fair bit on Star Alliance, it’s almost exclusively on award tickets, so I don’t actively maintain status with Star Alliance. I do presently have Star Alliance Gold status through Copa ConnectMiles, given that they were offering status matches last year. But it doesn’t seem worth requalifying for.

So for this trip the first programs I thought of were Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer, given that those are the three Star Alliance programs I tend to use most for my redemptions.

However, most people recommended I credit to Aegean Miles+Bonus.

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Does It Make Sense To Have Both The Citi Prestige And AAdvantage Executive Card?

Admirals-Club-2

I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige Card, which I consider to be the single most compelling credit card out there.

The card has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within three months, and those points can be transferred to an airline or hotel partner, or be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of a revenue ticket on American. That means the sign-up bonus alone gets you ~$800 towards travel on American.

The card has a $450 annual fee, which seems high, but is a bargain when you look at what you get. The benefits include the following:

— A $250 annual airline credit
— Access to American Admirals Clubs
— A fourth night free hotel benefit
— The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
— A $100 Global Entry fee credit

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Airline Lounge Etiquette: Would You Have F*cking Said Something?

Air-Canada-Lounge-Frankfurt-1

I’m presently in the Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt (more on why I’m here in a bit), which is a beautiful lounge overall. However, unfortunately the ambiance is being ruined by a couple of guys in here, and I’m curious what you guys would do.

The lounge has a quiet zone, consisting of a small seating area, as well as several semi-private cubicles with reclining seats.

After a long day of flying I managed to snag one of those reclining seats, which I quite enjoyed… for about 30 seconds.

Seated in the quiet area are two guys who are possibly the most vulgar human beings I’ve ever witnessed at an airport. I’ve overheard a lot of people using colorful language at airports (and I’m by no means a prude, and do my fair share of cussing), but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. These guys would make the cast of “Mob Wives” cringe with their language.

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Which Star Alliance Program Should I Credit Miles To?!?

Air-Canada-787-Business-Class - 2

When it comes to revenue flying, I travel almost exclusively with oneworld, and credit those flights to American AAdvantage.

I fly a good amount of Star Alliance and SkyTeam as well, but typically on awards, which doesn’t earn me any status.

As I wrote about last month, I booked a cheap business class fare between Vancouver and Cape Town, which takes me via Toronto, London, and Johannesburg. The entire trip is about 24,000 flown miles, and since it’s in paid business class, I can potentially earn significantly more miles than that.

While I don’t generally care about Star Alliance status, I’m trying to decide where to credit these flights… and just realized that I need to adjust my strategy.

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Why I Don’t Choose Airlines Based On Their Safety Record

Kuwait-Airways-747

Earlier I wrote a post about how I’m considering flying Saudia from Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur via Riyadh, thanks to a super cheap first class fare they have published in the market. Reader Samoa asked the following question on the blog post, which I figured I’d address in a post:

“Is safety standards ever a concern for you when picking airlines????”

The short answer is “no.”

Perhaps it’s the long answer which is more interesting. Ironically I don’t make decisions based on an airline’s safety record despite the fact that I once had a fear of flying, and despite the fact that I almost religiously look at airlines’ safety records (I’ve seen every episode of “Air Crash Investigation”), and despite the fact that I constantly think of all the things which could go wrong on a plane.

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Why You Should Use A MasterCard When Traveling Internationally

Citi-Prestige-Premier

Over the past several years we’ve seen the number of credit cards in the market with no foreign transaction fees increase drastically. This is great news for frequent travelers, and couples nicely with the global acceptance of credit cards increasing as well.

Not only can I now make credit card purchases abroad without incurring foreign transaction fees, but in many cases I can also earn a huge number of bonus points. For example, with the Citi Prestige® Card you can earn triple points on international airfare and hotel purchases (with great travel protection), while with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card you can earn triple points on all travel purchases abroad, including parking, taxis, public transportation, etc.

While a lot of cards have no foreign transaction fees, that doesn’t actually mean you’re getting the same deal on all cards. The exchange rate can vary based on which card you’re using.

MileValue links to the online tools which allow you to see the daily exchange rates being used by MasterCard and Visa:

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