Best Hotel Cards for Military Families | Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 18

14,542 grads of the Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course already know why
The Platinum Card® from American Express is my #1 recommended card

Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the cards that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Listen to The Military Money Manual Podcast on SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicAudible, YouTube, or Stitcher.

The best hotel credit cards for military families are:

You can learn everything you need to get started with military annual fee waivers in the 5 day, 100% free Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course.

All of these cards are annual fee waived for military and come with annual free night certificates.

In this episode Jamie and Spencer talk about the 4 best hotel credit cards for active duty militay and their civilian spouses. We cover:

  • How to get annual fee waivers and check the MLA database
  • Value of hotel points
  • Value of free night certificates
  • Which cards to start with
  • How to maximize your benefits
  • Elite status with the hotel cards

Let me show you how to earn thousands of dollars of hotel free nights every year in the Ultimate Military Credit Cards course at militarymoneymanual.com/umc3

Relevant articles:

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #18 Links

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #18 Transcript

[00:00:00] Spencer: Hello and welcome to another episode of the military money manual podcast. I'm your host, Spencer, the founder of militarymoneymanual.com. And today in the podcast, we're going to be talking about the best hotel credit cards for military service members and their spouses. 

So with these cards, you can get free hotel stays, amazing room upgrades, sometimes even suite upgrades and other elite status benefits.

So Jamie, what makes this episode special today?

[00:00:34] Jamie: Hey Spencer. So this is our first international episode, actually. Spencer's overseas right now on a TDY. So bear with us a little bit. If the audio quality sounds different than normal. Thanks for understanding. One thing I want to start off with is in order to really understand and learn more about the cards we're going to talk about today, I recommend signing up for the Ultimate Military Credit Card Course, which I was one of the first beta students to go through a little bit ago. It's a great course. It's free, no spam or anything. Spencer will send you one email a day for five days and you can learn about a credit card strategy, how to build your portfolio and how to get into travel hacking or just to get a credit card or two, whatever you want to take out of it is great.

So Spencer, give us an overview of what we're going to be talking about today.

[00:01:26] Spencer: So my main takeaway for today before we get too far in this episode is that hotel credit cards are an often overlooked part of military travel hacking. Active duty service members and their spouses can earn free nights every year without paying annual fees on the card.

Like I said earlier, they can get upgraded rooms. You can get free breakfast executive lounge access. There's so many benefits that come with these cards and some of the cards offer the highest level of elite status just for holding the card. So we'll talk about it a little bit, but with the Hilton Honors Aspire card you get diamond status just for holding the card And you don't have to ever stay a single night in a Hilton. But the first night you check in they're going to treat you like you've stayed in the 100 nights in a Hilton last year.

Yeah so and then just for example some of the benefits that you can unlock here now, this is mostly due to the number of cards I have and thanks to Covid and the travel restrictions a lot of the hotel hotels are extending their free annual night certificates. Right now in my travel bank, i've got $10 annual free nights and depending on how I redeem them I mean that could be worth anywhere between a thousand dollars and twenty thousand dollars. 

So right now i've got six hilton free nights two maria an ihg And a hyatt And, just this Christmas coming up, I'm traveling to Florida and Colorado, my wife and I are staying at Ritz Carlton in Miami, a Grand Hyatt in Colorado, Two Marriott's in Denver, and a Kimpton hotel in Denver as well. And all of that is being covered by points and free nights that we got from opening up these credit cards. So if you wanna learn more about how to get these kinds of benefits for yourself, military money manual.com/umc three send up for the course there.

I'll send you five emails, no spam unsubscribe at any time, and I'll stop emailing you and you can get all the course content for free military money manual.com/umc. Three. The total value of all those hotel rooms that. We booked over $3,000. So that's incredible.

[00:03:34] Jamie: Yeah. Pretty stoked about that for all would you or your wife?

No annual fee for either.

[00:03:43] Spencer: That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I guess I should say those, those 10 year old free nights are between me. And my wife. I've got several, I think two Hilton honors, Aspire cards, two Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Actually it might be three Aspire cards, but anyways, we'll get into that in just a second here, getting a little sidetracked

[00:04:01] Jamie: you're too excited.

All right. Simmer down.

[00:04:03] Spencer: I know, uh, once you just walk us through. So four main hotel chains. That offer cards essentially in the U S. 

What are the big four?

[00:04:15] Jamie: Okay. Yeah. The big four we're going to talk about today are Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG. We'll go through each of them, compare and contrast and give the benefits of each card and explain which ones we use, which ones we like, and what are some of our favorite benefits and things like that.

As with all the personal cards from both Chase and Amex, we're going to be bouncing between both companies today. Annual fees are waived for both the service member and the spouse. As long as each spouse has to appear in the MLA database. So remember, make sure your spouse's name is in DEERS and it's fully loaded into the MLA database before applying for the card, and we've mentioned it several times, but just to give it to you again, it's MLA.dmdc.osd.mil, or just Google “DoD MLA database”. And you'll find that just put in your information, make sure the spouse is in the database, and then you should be good to go to apply for free cards under the MLA benefits at both Chase and Amex offer. 

Before we jump into the cards, one quick disclaimer is we're gonna talk about current offers as of today, as of the time of recording.

And they change often they may change by the time you listen to this or if you're listening to this in another year or two, or a couple months down the road. So be sure to check out the militarymoneymanual.com for the best and latest credit card offers credit for military members and their spouses.

A quick overview on the cards we talk about. The Amex Hilton Aspire is going to be one we're going to talk about. Your total value on that card, Spencer, $1,900. And that is the best of the four that we're going to talk about today. Do you want to break that down and talk about that one in the next one in line?

Yeah, sure.

[00:05:56] Spencer: Yeah, the Hilton honors or the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire card, it's a $450 annual fee normally, but like all the cards weren't talked about today all those fees are waived for active duty military and their spouses. Also, if you're a guard reserve on title $10 orders for at least 30 days, you should also be eligible for the annual fee waiver.

And that's a $450 annual fee waiver. So you can already tell Amex thinks this card is worth $450 a year, at least of benefits and you're getting that waived. So you're starting, right off the bat, you're starting a positive $450 right now. And this has been a pretty consistent offer.

But like we mentioned earlier, offers are always subject to change. They're offering $150,000 Hilton honors points after $4,000 in three months. I guess one thing we should talk about Jamie before we get too far into this is we're gonna talk about Hilton honors points. We're going to talk about Marriott points, IHG points, Hyatt points, but they're not one to one, they're not apples to apples or apples to apples here, that is kind of an apples to oranges comparison.

So for myself personally, and you can Google, the value of Hilton honors points, but in my head, I think of Hilton honors points as being worth about half a cent each, same thing with Marriott points. And then. Same thing with IHG points, really anywhere between a half a cent and a penny. And then for the higher points, those are the ones, the most valuable ones.

And I think of those as two cents a piece. Is there a points valuation that guy that you like to use or is that kind of check with you?

[00:07:31] Jamie: It's pretty close. So I, if you Google it, you're going to find the points guy. Hate him, love him or hate him. He's got the hold on the SEO for this question.

World of Hyatt, it's pretty good. Like 1.7 points value, Bonvoy 0.8, IHG 0.5, and Hilton 0.6. So like you said, about half a point or I'm sorry, half a cent per point for a lot of those credit card hotel, except for the high is a little more valuable, right?

[00:07:59] Spencer: Yep. So on the Hilton, they're offering $150,000 Hilton honors points, which depending on how you redeem them could be worth anywhere between $750 and $1,500 or even more, sometimes there are really good redemptions out there and we'll talk about some of those redemptions.

Those really good redemptions that Jamie and I have received on our Hilton points in just a little bit. But right now, $150,000 Hilton points after $4,000 spend in three months. So that's a little bit higher spending. Again, sign up for my ultimate military credit cards course. I'll walk you through how to meet minimum spends very easily.

But if your natural spend on a credit card doesn't exceed, in this case, $1,500 a month, It's probably not the card that you want to start with. There's probably other cards out there that you can take your time. And you don't want to get into any credit card debt and you can go look at, listen to all of our other episodes about that, but we're not advocating for credit card debt here.

We're advocating for maximizing the utility, maximizing the points and the benefits that you can get from these cards. While you're in the military, while you're getting your annual fees waived. So besides the welcome bonus, the annual fee waiver, the biggest thing about the Amex Aspire card is the diamond status.

So with the diamond status you're going to get complimentary room upgrades, sometimes even sweet upgrades upon check in breakfast and food benefits, and it depends on the brand of hotel you're staying in. The other thing we should mention here too, for the absolute beginner is when we say Hilton, we're talking about the overall Hilton brand.

So under that you have, you have DoubleTree, you have let me just pull up the app here and see what pops up. Hampton Inn, Embassy Suite, the actual Hiltons. Yeah, exactly. Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Conrad, Hilton Conrad was the guy who started the Hilton. Curio, Embassy Suites, you mentioned, Motto, Hilton Garden Inn, True, Home 2 Suites, and Hilton Grand Vacations.

Those are just some of the bigger ones. I would say At least in my mind, I think Marriott has the more recognizable brands, but Hilton definitely has some great brands and, some very family friendly brands, the home two suites are great, really spacious rooms. You usually get a kitchen. They're pretty good to use with the family or if you're a, if you're TDY and you want to have a kitchen and then all the way up to, Conrad hotels are super luxurious and those can go for hundreds if not thousands of dollars a night.

[00:10:22] Jamie: Yeah, we like the one other one that wasn't on that list. The Homewood Suites are really nice for the family. We stayed there during our last PCS this year and we're in a lot of Hilton points during this last PCS for sure.

[00:10:36] Spencer: Yeah, that's awesome. So another, this, I'm just going to run through the benefits here quickly, but the Aspire card is an amazing card.

It offers a tremendous amount of benefits. So you get so far we've talked about, you get the annual fee waiver. If you're active duty military and you're in the ML, MLA database, you get the diamond status, you get the $150,000 points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months, you're also going to get it every year, and this is where I think a lot of people miss is, they see the welcome bonus and they're like, okay, that's great and all, but just for holding the card and again, remember you're not paying an annual fee. But just for holding the card, you're going to be getting one free weekend night every year after your first anniversary of opening.

And it's, it is amazing. Like I mentioned earlier, I've got six Hilton free nights between me and my wife right now. That's almost a week's vacation just on free annual night certificates. And the great thing about amazing hotels. Exactly. You could go stay in the Maldives. I can't remember, I think it's, is it the Conrad or the, no, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives.

And that's $3,000 a night. And as long as there's a standard room available, that's the one gotcha is you can't book a suite with the free annual night certificate, but you can book a standard room rate and. That could be $3,000 times. That can be an $18,000 redemption right there with the six annual free nights.

So you get a 250 Hilton resort credit. This one is a little bit tricky to use and is a little bit trickier to use in the Marriott credit. If you Google Hilton resorts, there's going to be a web page that pops up. I think there's about $700 to 800 of them and it doesn't necessarily have to have  resort in the name.

So that's one thing that I urge people to do no matter what, when you're going to stay somewhere, just Google Hilton resorts and then look at the page and you can sort it by location or name. And see if the place that you're staying is a Hilton resort. And if it is, then your $250 Hilton credit will work for anything that you can charge your room, basically.

So spa room service if the restaurant is in the hotel and is a part of the property, then that counts as well.

[00:12:32] Jamie: Yeah. All great points. I was going to just share a story that we did to downtown Waikiki, the Hilton Hawaiian villages. It's pretty touristy, but we would stay there when we had family come in and wanted to get a little staycation.

So if you're in a place like Hawaii or anywhere where there's a resort area nearby, we did the same thing. We booked our room, and we used our free night certificates. We used our resort credit for things like parking for dinner, for spa treatment. So there's a lot of amazing benefits if you're near a resort, but like you mentioned, it is a little trickier to find when you got to do the homework to make sure it's a resort before you go there. It's not just any Hilton. One of the other great ones that I really like is the airline fee credit. There's a lot of data points online about what can work for it, but basically it's intended to cover things like a seat assignment or baggage fees or any kind of incidental expenses while you're traveling.

If you're not military and you have to pay for a seat assignment and you want to get an exit row or usually something like main cabin extra or Premium economy, as long as you don't change this, the class of service tends to work. There's a lot of data points out there on forums like Flyer Talk and things like that, but the airline fee credit can be greatly used on any U.S. airline, anything from Southwest to Delta to American United. I think spirit is even an option. I'm not sure who has an Amex platinum and fly spirit. I'm not sure what demographic that would serve.

[00:13:55] Spencer: There's definitely, that person is definitely out there and they're going to write to us. If it's not me, I don't know who would be true.

If it's not you, Jamie, it would be me. It would be me. You would be flying spirit. You don't. So I guess I shouldn't say it, but even if you had a Centurion card, I think you'd still be, you still be flying Southwest at least. Okay. 

Yeah great point about the airline fee credit there.

The card also gives you 14 X Hilton points on Hilton spending, and this can be combined. Sometimes they do 3X multiplier bonuses and all of a sudden between the card getting 14 X points. And if you're a diamond, you get a certain number of points. I know sometimes a hundred percent bonus for Diamond.

Yeah. Oh, a hundred percent. Okay. And then and then sometimes they do a three X multiplier.

I know sometimes. When I stay at Hilton's, I'm earning 54 points per dollar spent at the Hilton. Wow. And if you're TDY and the per diem rates like $170 bucks, you could be earning almost 10,000 points a day staying at various Hilton's.

And that's what, one of the ways that I racked up over a million Hilton points just in the last year. A couple of the benefits we'll run through real quick. No foreign transaction fees. I think that's true for all of these cards. So that's barely even a benefit, but it's good. You shouldn't, especially with an ultra premium card like this, never be paying a foreign transaction fee.

[00:15:13] Jamie: There's so many of them that do. Never pay for it.

[00:15:15] Spencer: Yeah, exactly. And then they're going to extend warranty on purchases, lost luggage coverage, and purchase protection. If the item is damaged or stolen within 90 days, return protection, trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption, trip delay insurance obviously check the terms and conditions because some of these can be really tricky and things that you think may be covered aren't covered.

And then they just recently added tyo Hilton.com, you can track where you've used your free annual night, which I think is a super cool benefit. And I can't wait for Marriott to respond and do the same thing. And it's just a nice way to look back and be like, Oh yeah, we did stay there. And, remember the good times and the good trips that you had.

[00:15:55] Jamie: One other cool thing Hilton just added is when you're going to get an upgrade, just, they just recently added within 72 hours of your check in, they, if there's one available, they'll email you and say, you've been upgraded instead of showing up at the front desk, wondering if you're going to get upgraded or not.

And again, that only applies to certain chains of hotels. So you can look up those terms if you want more details but you can also see your certificates, your free night certificates. You do have in your account, the current ones, not just your past ones. They stole that from Marriott's been doing that for a while.

So that is, it is, makes it a little bit easier for the people that aren't big on spreadsheets. It makes it easier to track for them.

[00:16:35] Spencer: Yeah, that was one of the most annoying things about the Hilton annual free night certificate is they would send you this email with a code in it, but they wouldn't be stored in the call.

And you still have to call, but it wasn't stored online at all. So you, like literally I have a little notepad thing on my phone and I had to record when it expires what the and with COVID they kept extending the expiration, so I have to figure out what's the code, when does it expire? Is it mine?

Is it my wife's? Now that it's all online, it's a lot simpler and I'm really glad Hilton made that change recently. 

One other thing I'm going to mention here is Hilton has multiple tiers of cards. So they have, not only do they have the Aspire card, but they have the Hilton Honor surpass card, and then just the vanilla Hilton honors card, all issued by Amex.

And what you can do, and what I've done, this is how I have three Amex Aspire. I think earlier I said I had two, I'm pretty sure I have three, sorry. It's hard to keep track when you've got 30, you've got 30 cards. And if you want to see them, just Google Military Money Manual current cards and you can see all the cards that I currently am carrying.

But yeah, I think we just hit 30. With the surpass card, so with the lower tier cards, you can open these up and there, there are separate accounts, right? So you can earn the spending bonus on them. And really if you wanted to optimize this, what I would do is find a friend or a spouse and have them refer you from one of their cards, whether, and you can refer from Let's say an Amex platinum card or an Amex gold card.

And the person can open up a Hilton card and the referrer will earn Amex points, which can be a lot more valuable than Hilton points. You don't necessarily have to, this is a pro tip here. You don't necessarily have to refer from a Hilton card to another Hilton card you can refer from a card that earns Amex membership reward points whether it's gold card platinum card green card And the person can open up a hilton card and the referrer will earn Amex points and the referee Will earn the hilton welcome bonus But like I was saying you can get the Amex surpass card and the Hilton Honors card hold them for a year And then upgrade them to another Aspire card.

So this is how I was able to open up three Hilton Honors Aspire cards. I get three annual free nights from those cards. My wife, I think, has two Hilton cards, Hilton Aspire cards right now. And so she gets two annual free nights there. And then you also get the resort credits, the $250 resort credits, airline fee credits, and you don't get triple diamond status, unfortunately, but you also get the welcome bonuses on the card, right?

So sometimes I'm not sure what the Surpass is offering at the moment. It's probably like over a hundred thousand points and the Hilton honors card is usually anywhere between 80,000 and a hundred thousand points. with a required spend, minimum spend as well. And yeah, so you can earn over 300,000 Hilton honors points from opening up these three cards, the Hilton Aspire card, the Hilton surpass card, and the Vanilla Hilton honors cards all issued by Amex, and then upgrade the lower tier cards to the Aspire card.

And now you have three Aspire cards. You've earned 300,000 points and you're well on your way to many trips and staying at many Hilton's for free. 

Anything to to finish up there, Jamie, are you ready to move on to the next card?

[00:19:59] Jamie: I think it looks like 130,000 right now for the surpass.

Yeah. But yeah, that's it.

[00:20:04] Spencer: For good, for the latest offers you can just go to my website, militarymoneymanual.com. And at the top, There is a link for military credit cards. Just click that and it'll have a little drop down and you can click on the best bonus offers this month, best military credit cards, or you can click on or just search Amex Aspire military and my website should pop up top of top of Google.

So next up, Jamie, why don't you walk us through the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, another American express card. I would say. Probably number two in terms of most valuable cards. And again, that's a Hilton number one, the Bonvoy Brilliant number two, and then probably the Hyatt and then the IHG card. So walk us through the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.

[00:20:53] Jamie: Yeah. So the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Is the hardest one to say for some reason that it is an Amex card, like you mentioned Marriott actually has both Amex and Chase cards available, but I think we think that this one is the best one. The Bonvoy Brilliant is a $450 annual fee that's waived for military members and their spouses under MLA, like the Hilton one we mentioned.

[00:21:18] Spencer: Yeah, I just want to mention. LIke Jamie said, Marriott plays both teams. They have Amex cards and chase cards. The. Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is the best one, and then there's the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, and then the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold. Both of those, though, are not as good.

But, I've got links on my website if you want to check those out. There's lots of restrictions, though. If you open one, you can't open the other. I'm not going to get into that. There's a whole chart on my website. If you just Google Marriott credit cards military, it should pop up on top of Google and I've got the chart on there that says which, if you've had this card, you can open up this card, et cetera, but sorry for the sidebar, Jamie, go ahead.

[00:21:58] Jamie: Good points. So the Current offers are usually somewhere around 75,000 or I'm sorry, 75,000 Bonvoy points after spending about $3,000 in your first three months. So again, make sure you can meet that with normal spending and you're not going to stretch yourself. If you, if it's too much for you, just wait another year or another promotion or whatever would get you to the point where that's a natural spend for you.

You can get $200, this kind of comes and goes $200 in restaurant credit in the first six months, that's probably a temporary offer that won't be around forever. They also have a 300 annual Marriott statement credit, and this can be, this is much more flexible than the Hilton resort credit it's any room, spa restaurant, bar charges, anything you charge your room, but it's not limited to the resort. So it's any Marriott chain. Things like that. You also get a free night each year after your first anniversary, and that can be up to the 50,000 point redemption level. So if you're searching on the website, you can search with your free night certificates selected, or you can just look for anything that's 50,000 or less with your points.

It's 6X on a Marriott hotel chain for spending. And then for the rest of spending, it's usually one X or sometimes with the restaurants, they give you a little bit more on some of these cards, but it's pretty negligible. If it's not saying at a Marriott chain, you should use one of your other cards that maximizes your benefits a little bit better.

And your earnings potential this card comes with automatic gold elite status just for holding it. It's not their top tier but it's pretty good and does get you some benefits, some extra redemption earning options and things like that, but not quite as good as the Hilton that goes to their highest tier of diamond.

They also have a litany of other benefits like extended warranty, lost luggage, return protection, trip cancellation, things like that. And for the people who need TSA pre check coverage, this is one of the cards that covers TSA pre check reimbursement. It's usually once every five years or however often you have to renew your TSA pre-check if you don't have the known traveler number through the DOD.

[00:24:05] Spencer: I think all four of these cards, the Amex Hilton Aspire, the Marriott, the Chase Hyatt and the Chase IHG. They all have TSA pre-check or global entry reimbursement. And if you do any international travel, or if you're stationed overseas and you come back to the States on a commercial flight, I can't recommend it enough to get the global entry.

It's good for five years. It costs a hundred dollars, but with any of these cards, it's reimbursed. So you, you just pay for it. Signing up with the card and then the reimbursement of the fee credit will just show up on your account within a couple of days. As an active duty military service member, you get TSA PreCheck just with your DOD ID number.

It's on the back of your CAC. If you Google the TSA PreCheck Military Money Manual, I've got an article that walks you through. You just have to add it to the known traveler number when you buy your ticket. And then if you have a military or a civilian spouse, Then one of these cards is great because the spouse can open up the card, get the annual fee waiver, sign up for global entry and with global entry they get TSA pre-check and then they get global entry as well. And what global entry allows you to do is when you come back to the states Instead of waiting in like a three hour long immigration line you get to go straight to the front There's some automated computers you fill them out You scan your global entry card and you're through immigration in a couple minutes versus a couple of hours.

I cannot stress It enough that it is such a benefit, especially if you have kids. Yeah especially if or you know If you just value your time If you don't like waiting in line if you don't want to lay in line, especially right now with coronavirus wearing a mask in that line is just It's not, it's no fun.

[00:25:49] Jamie: Yeah, and just remember to, you can also add your known traveler number.

If you're booking official travel through DTS or your CTO commercial travel office or whatever it may be called for your branch, put your known traveler number in there and you get the TSA precheck benefits, but the global entry for international travel is where it's at. For sure. Thanks for highlighting that.

Alright, so anything else on the Marriott? Are you ready to move to Chase?

[00:26:13] Spencer: Yeah, I just want to mention, one more thing about the Marriott card is again, if you're new to the game, you think Marriott, you may have think like this, local kind of rundown hotel and, downtown Cleveland, but nope, it's a massive global brand.

They, I think they own like 6,000 hotels or something, or they, they manage 6,000 hotels. And we're talking about. Brands that you probably heard of like Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, JW Marriott, , Ritz Carlton Reserve, Luxury collection, W Hotels edition. Let's see, classic Marriott, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels.

[00:26:51] Jamie: Don't forget about the Residence Inn.

[00:26:52] Spencer: Residence Inn, Le Meridien, West End.

[00:26:54] Jamie: On sale for $85 a night probably.

[00:26:58] Spencer: The Renaissance, the Gaylord Hotels, those are really cool. They're usually like

[00:27:02] Jamie: Renaissance? Is it that fancy? 

[00:27:05] Spencer: One of us grew up in New England. So you fancy Courtyard Marriott, Four Points by Sheridan, SpringHill suites, Protea hotels.

Never heard of that one. Fairfield Inn and Suites, AC hotels, man. They have a lot, Aloft hotels are pretty cool. I've stayed at a few of those. Moxie let's see, you said the Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites, Element. Home. Oh, this is Cool. Homes and Villas by Marriott. I don't know if you've seen any of this, but they're basically like Airbnbs.

Yeah. Yeah. And then autograph Collection hotels, design Hotels, tribute profile or Tribute Portfolio. And that's me just reading the marriott.com Marriott brands list right there. But yeah, lots of, I think I'm preferential to Marriott personally. I've had some great experiences at Ritz Carlton's.

And a lot of their other, the JW have always, I don't know, JW Marriott, it's just it has a certain cache in my mind, it's great. Yeah,

[00:28:04] Jamie: Actually Spencer, the JW in. Is it Tucson or Scottsdale? It was the first time I stayed at a nice hotel. We broke on a TDY and it was like graduation weekend for ASU in whatever town that's in, if that helps you figure out where we were, but it was amazing.

I was like a brand new co pilot. Had been overseas like three times. I was like, this is amazing. I love my life is so good right now. So that's, that was one of the things where I was like, okay, I could get used to living like this.

[00:28:38] Spencer: Yeah.

[00:28:38] Jamie: And it was paid for. I didn't pay a dime. It was all government rate. 

[00:28:41] Spencer: It is amazing when you rate.

When you do, when you've stayed in like the Hilton garden in or whatever, and you're like, that was your experience staying in a hotel. And then you start traveling for the military or for the government or for your work or for fun. And you stay in that, actually a nice hotel that first time you're like Oh, okay.

I think I get it now.

[00:29:02] Jamie:  We grew up, the Comfort Inn on the side of the road where it advertises like $47 a night or whatever. It's like anything was an upgrade from that.

[00:29:13] Spencer: I want to wash my feet right now. Just thinking about it. 

[00:29:17] Jamie: Okay. Let's go to the Hyatt. Let's go to the Hyatt.

[00:29:21] Spencer: Let's talk about the Hyatt. So I'm a huge fan of the Hyatt. And I think the Chase Hyatt card is way undervalued. A lot of military service members have the Aspire card. They have the, some of them even have, the Marriott card. I think it's because people have it in their minds that the Amex platinum card is an annual fee waived.

That's just like a meme. That's an idea that's taken hold in the military, but people aren't as aware about Chase military fee waivers. And then they're high. It's just not as big as a brand. Especially overseas, you definitely run into a lot more. Hilton and Marriott owned properties, but the Hyatt card is just an awesome card.

It's only a $95 annual fee to begin with. So even if you're a civilian and you're listening to this podcast, first of all, welcome. I don't know why you are, but we love you. Yeah, you are most welcome here. $95 annual fee. And, but again, for military service members and their spouses that's completely waived under MLA.

And in fact I don't even have a world of Hyatt cards because I got locked out of Chase because I went over five out of 24, which we've got. I think our military FAQ military travel, hiking FAQ episode goes into chase five out of 24. Yeah. But I don't even have a Chase, a Hyatt card. My wife does, and I'm an authorized user on it.

So thanks, honey. But currently right now, I think it's 30,000 World of Hyatt points are offering. And again, now that sounds like a lot less than the other cards. thE $150 000 points that you can get with the Hilton Aspire card, but remember that Hilton Aspire points or sorry Hilton points can only be worth half a cent.

So that's only a $750 Welcome bonus. Whereas with the chase Hyatt card, 30,000 points could be worth 60 or sorry six, $600. And I've done redemptions that were, I've gotten 3 cents per point. So that could be a 900. And that's 30,000 points after spending 3,000 in the first three months.

[00:31:18] Jamie: That's exactly what I was saying. Hyatt rooms are priced differently. So you might see a room that's only five, seven, 8,000. Maybe if you're in Hawaii, you might pay 10 or 20,000 for a Hyatt room. Whereas at a Hilton, it's going to start at probably 25 at a Hampton Inn on the side of the road.

And for a nice hotel, you're going to pay. More like 60 or 120, so it's not a even comparison on the number of points you're getting.

[00:31:44] Spencer: T other for me the nice recurring benefit of the Chase Hyatt card is you do get explorers status or sorry, discoverist, they have the funniest tier names, but that's basically tier four out of tier two out of four.

So you are just better than I think signing up for the program. But it's nice to have a little bit of status with Hyatt. If you can get to their global status, it's insane. Like guaranteed suite upgrades, you can actually, you can book. It's called the guest of honor program.

So you can book rooms for family and friends and they get to use your globalist status, which includes free breakfast, welcome amenity, like all this other stuff. So if you can ever get to globalist status with Hyatt, it's very valuable, I would say much more valuable than Diamond status with Hilton.

You also get the free annual night certificate that's only good for category one through four. At Hyatt I would say most of their like their nice hotels start conveniently start at category five. I think it goes all the way up to category eight for Hyatt and again, so every year you have the card open, you get a free night.

You can use it at any category one through four hotel. Currently I'm stationed in Hawaii. It's a little bit more difficult to use that because there's not as many category one through four hotels near us in Hawaii, but we're going to the mainland for Christmas this year and we might be able to use our free annual night over there. If you spend fifteen thousand dollars on the card, you get a second free night. But again, that's only good for category one through four.

So it depends on what your goal is spending fifteen thousand dollars. That could be like four welcome bonuses right there. I mean you spent fifteen thousand dollars. You could earn the welcome bonus on all of these cards that we're talking about today. Yeah, so unless you have a really good reason to need to stay at a category four or higher, it's probably going to cost 300, 200. So it probably makes a lot more sense just to either pay cash for it or or transfer points. I think you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards into Hyatt. Just a real quick, again, Standard benefits that come with all these cards.

No foreign transaction fee, baggage delay, insurance, extended warranty, lost luggage, trip cancellation, trip insurance, trip delay, trip interruption, purchase protection, TSA pre check, and global entry credit, like we talked about earlier. And you can earn 4x points. When you stay at Hyatt properties and pay with your card and then 2x points on dining.

[00:34:22] Jamie: One of the last things I want to mention on this one is that it is a Visa card, not an Amex. Sometimes if you're overseas or small businesses, sometimes don't like to accept Amex. So it is nice to have a Visa option. My go to is normally the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which we'll talk about in a later episode, but it's nice to have some other non Amex options.

Sometimes this one is a Visa.

[00:34:46] Spencer: Yeah, that's a really good point. I always make sure that even if I'm trying to meet the minimum spend on one of my Amex cards, I always carry a Visa card because you just don't it's. Amex likes to say that they're accepted by 99% of places.

[00:35:00] Jamie: Except for the 1% you use .

[00:35:02] Spencer: Exactly. Except for, all my favorite places. Yeah. But no, I would say in the states, Amex is, they've definitely reached parody, especially now that you have Square and all those other services that you can, that accept any card. Yeah, but Amex is definitely very widely accepted and with, tap to pay in a lot of places you can use your Amex card pretty much anywhere in the States, but overseas, definitely not true.

Visa and MasterCard are still king. 

All right, Jamie, the last chain we're going to talk about is the International Hotel Group, also known as IHG. So I think a lot of people's first impression of IHG is when they stay at that random army base in the middle of nowhere and they have an IHG on property because the Army turned over all of their lodging operations to IHG.

Or maybe you think of the Holiday Inn Express on the side of the highway that you stayed at once that had that dirty pool, that dirty pool. 

[00:36:01] Jamie: Why are you calling me out right now? Yeah. My childhood is offended.

[00:36:08] Spencer: But IHGs, especially overseas, are some of the best hotels you can stay at.

So Six Senses, that's one of the brands they own. They own Kimpton, which are mostly in the States and they are so much fun. I've stayed at a lot of Kimpton's. We stayed at a Kimpton once in Denver and they gave us a goldfish on check in, like we had to say this secret password. And then the check in lady was all excited and she reached under the counter and handed me a bag with a goldfish in it.

And then in the room, there was a little bowl and you poured the goldfish into the bowl. And then you had a goldfish in your room and they gave you food and stuff. That's cool. So yeah, I love Kimptons. There's so much fun. International hotels and resorts are also part of IHG.

Holiday Inn. Let's see, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites. So lots of good, lots of good brands there. And like I would say, you stay at any IHG property in Thailand or in Europe or basically anywhere overseas and it's going to be, it's going to be pretty lux.

They really, I don't know why they don't in the States, but they really turn it up overseas. Yeah. Let's see, they yeah, so don't rule out this brand. And I think they have, do they have two cards? I think they might have a no annual fee card.

[00:37:38] Jamie: Yeah, I believe so. Hey, look it up. I'll start talking about the benefits of it on your phone there. So our favorite card is the IHG card is the Chase IHG Premier card. This one is an $89 annual fee. And again, it's waived for military members and their spouses under MLA right now. You can earn a welcome bonus, like 150,000 IHG points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months.

This one also gives you a free night after your first anniversary from card opening. So that's literally for whenever we talk about after your, after the anniversary of opening, it's 365 days after opening your card, you'll get your first reward certificate. And then they'll tell you, they'll tell you how long it's good for.

Every fourth night is free when you redeem points for a four night stay or longer. So that's neat. That's a unique offer. You'd have to stack up a pretty decent amount of points to stay at a nicer hotel for four nights, but maybe have somewhere or a nice Kempton you want to stay at and get lots of goldfish for you and your family.

Your earning on this card is 25 points per dollar at IHG properties. And it comes with platinum elite status, which is their second highest tier. As with the other ones, it has a litany of benefits, TSA pre-check. This one is a Mastercard. It has baggage delay, extended warranty, lost luggage, return protection within 120 days.

So a little bit longer trip cancellation and trip insurance on the Chase IHG premier card. 

Did you find something?

[00:39:05] Spencer: Yeah, they have the traveler card, um, which I don't think earns. The you don't get the annual free night with that one. But you do with the premier card, just Google chase IHG credit card military, and my website will pop right up.

Or I've also just Google best hotel credit cards for the military. And you should see the article there. Yeah. I, again, think this is a sleeper card. I definitely think there's a lot better cards to get before this card, but as you're making your way through your military travel hacking journey.

Don't skip the chase IHG card, especially because it's a chase card. And if you don't get it while you're still under chase 5 out of 24, then you're going to miss out. So with the two chase 24, I think, the two cards you really have to target. Obviously you got to get a Chase Sapphire Reserve, a Chase Sapphire Preferred, and then eventually upgrade it to a Chase Sapphire Reserve.

And then the other two cards I would implore you to get are the Chase Hyatt card and the Chase IHG card. If you fly Southwest, take a look at the Southwest cards to round out your You know because you can earn a companion pass.

[00:40:15] Jamie: Yeah, we did that my wife and I have done that in the past

[00:40:17] Spencer: If you really want to maximize your benefits, it might be worth just opening up Chase Freedom cards And then upgrading them to more chess sapphire reserve cards.

I just talked I just got an email from a guy who he has a Chase Sapphire Preferred card opened up a Chase Freedom, but he'd opened up a Chase Freedom card a little bit before, and he successfully upgraded the Chase Freedom Card to a reserve card, and then once the Preferred card hit a year, he upgraded that one to a Reserve.

Oh, nice. So he's got two reserve cards now, two Sapphire reserve cards now, that's a way to do it. Yeah, that's a great way to do it. And if you want to learn more about that card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Military, Our Chase Sapphire preferred military and my site should pop right up.

[00:40:59] Jamie: Yeah.

One of the nice things about the course we mentioned earlier, the Ultimate Military Credit Card Course, is that it walks you through the strategy of not ruining a spot on your 5/24 with Chase and which ones to get first. And if you're brand new with no credit, which card do you get first, do you have to start with a secured credit card or whatever?

All those details are in the course and building a strategy is a great thing. Some of these things like upgrading a cheaper card or a no annual fee card to a premier card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Amex Platinum are great advanced strategies that we would love to help you do as you get more advanced in your journey.

That's where it can be real, really start piling on the benefits. When, how much Uber credit do you have this month, Spencer? Oh, between all. Oh my gosh. Did I send you the screenshot? No, it's probably, let me guess. It's probably like $350.

[00:41:46] Spencer: I bet it's $200. And wait, I think I sent it to my wife.

Lemme see if I can find it. $255 . 'cause you have Uber.

[00:41:54] Jamie: So many platinums.

[00:41:56] Spencer: Yeah, from up them all. It's seven Platinums and one Amex Gold. So $255 of Uber credit. Yeah. My wife the other day was like, can you order me buttermilk pancakes for $5? I was like, yes, honey.

[00:42:11] Jamie: Do you have all of your cards, yours and hers on one Uber account?

[00:42:15] Spencer: I have all my cards. I thought I had 8 Amex Platinums, so I better go check this. I might be missing one in there, but yeah, I've got all of my cards, I think all of her cards, and then I've got my Amex Gold card as well. I think you can add up to 10 cards into an Uber account. Yeah, into your Uber wallet.

And then, so yeah, to maximize, you could have 350 in December, which would be $35 from All 10 cards.

[00:42:43] Jamie: I got one $115 and, but on her account as well. So if we put them together, I'm trying to remember what she has. She probably, we probably about one $150 on Uber this month, which is anyway, back to hotels.

So we talked about Hilton, Marriott, Chase Hyatt, and IHG. Do you have any good redemptions either past or upcoming that you've had that you want to share for kind of success stories?

[00:43:07] Spencer: Yeah. So I'll share one for each category. How about that? And then we'll talk about it.

So Hilton I think the best redemption with the annual free night certificate so far has been the Hilton Grand Wailea, or sorry, the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea. It's on Maui in the Hawaiian Island chain. We booked at, I think it was 80,000, the room was 80,000 points, but we use the free annual night certificate.

Yeah. And then when, and it was an $800 a night room, but then when we checked in because I was diamond, they upgraded us to an elite suite, which we looked on the website and that was like, I think it was a $1,700 a night room. Yeah. And it was the room. It was, it wasn't a room. It was a suite. It was bigger than our, it's bigger than our house that we'd rent.

And it was on the corner. It was, let's see, it was on a corner. It was. Did you get an ocean view? It looked over the gardens, yep, and it had an ocean view, and we sat on the lanai. We sat outside on the patio, and we ordered room service, and this was in January, February. Oh, you saw the whale.

And we watched whales go up and down the channel between Lanai and Molokai and Maui, and it was, it's still one of our favorite Hawaiian memories ever. And that was cool.

[00:44:21] Jamie: I'm glad you had such a good experience at that hotel and made up for the not so great one we had there.

That was, it's still a great hotel. All of our other friends, Tyler, like everyone that's gone there and with their Hilton benefits has loved it. We must've just caught them on a bad day. We did not have a great experience here, but Maui is amazing. It was a great redemption for us as well.

[00:44:44] Spencer: The other thing about the, since we used our Hilton Honors and Aspire card is we've got 250 of resort credit because the Grand Wailea is a. Hilton resort. And so we stayed, we went to the spa. This was before COVID. So the spa was fully open and we got room service as well. And after $500 of charges, we only paid for $250 worth of it actually.

And I think I split the transaction over. Yeah, I think I did. Yep. I split the transaction over to aspire cards. And so I don't think we paid for anything on that. I think that other than our, no, I think our airfare was free, too, because we had Southwest credit. Yeah just some ridiculous ridiculous redemptions available.

All right, so that was Hilton, Marriott. Ritz Carlton, Geneva, absolutely amazing. Fantastic. One of my wife's favorite hotels. We checked in, and they gave us free chocolate. There was like a wine and chocolate tasting. Our dinner that night was like, they had this Parmesan cheese bowl that they like lit on fire.

I don't even know what was going on, but Ritz Carlton, Ras Al Khaimah, iRas Al Khaimah is one of the United Arab Emirates Emirates and, and it's just north of Dubai. We stayed there for a night. It's got a private bungalow. There's no hotel. It's all just bungalows on the beach.

Not over water, but you have a private pool, an outdoor shower, an outdoor bathtub, and a private beach. It's completely secluded. $1,600 a night. I think when we did it, and I think now it's up to like over $2,000. And that was great, and that was just a I think we had, it was like discounted at 50,000 points.

So we just use, Oh, that might've been before they implemented the 50,000 point limit. With the Marriott, but yeah, we ended up staying there. IHG Kemptons, absolutely love Kemptons, love the goldfish. You don't get a goldfish every time. I should specify that I want my goldfish. I know everyone's going to be checking in.

They'll ask for the goldfish. Hotel Van Zandt was where we stayed in Austin. When I was down when I was training in Texas and that's such a fun hotel, It's very dog friendly. Every Kempton has a half. Oh, yeah, that's the other thing. I forgot to mention a manager special happy hour from five to seven or like six to five or five to six or something and no, no time traveling, but The great hotel right downtown near Rainy street Sixth Avenue 6th Street.

6th Street. So if you're in college, you can go to 6th Street. And if you're a little bit older, you can go to Rainy street. If you wish you were still in college. And then finally, Hyatt, I must have used the annual free night certificate last year, but I don't remember when or where actually, but we used Hyatt, we've been really lucky.

We've been really good with using the points. So when we signed up for the Hyatt card, it was 75,000 points. And we did a couple of referrals as well off the card, family and friends. And so we earned, I think it was like 5,000 points or no, maybe it was 25,000 points per refuel referral. And we ended up booking the Grand Hyatt Vale, which is like right around.

It was a peak time. So it was like $800 a night. So it was like 2,400. Total redemption for, yeah, for $75, 000 high up points. So that's a couple of the success stories there. There's plenty, I just Google like maximizing value, usually what I do when I go to book an annual free night is I'll check how many points it would be.

So that's especially relevant for Hilton, which, you can use the annual free night certificate. on any property up to any point value. So sometimes if you're looking at a Hilton and it's saying, Hey, this room is going to be 120,000 points a night then you should probably look at using your free annual night certificate.

But the other thing I'll do as well is I'll look at the cash value of the room. So if the cash value is, if I can pay $200 for the room and, or, and it's 120, 000 points then I'm just going to pay $200. You just got to do a little bit of math and figure it out. Is this above or below what I'm willing to accept for the cash rate or for the points redemption rate, and then apply that to your free annual night certificate and figure out what's the optimal solution here? Should I use points cash or the free meal night certificate? 

Yeah, any good redemption stories? You want to share Jamie?

[00:49:02] Jamie: I think the best one is the Grand Wailea in Maui. That's our best. What one of the strategies we use on our hotels, especially it's harder for us to travel with three kids and get you know Rich Carlton, Geneva type vacations and things like that is just being generous with them.

So if I have family members that want to travel or friends or my wife wants to get together with some friends, I would just be like, okay, we got the hotel covered. You guys just meet us here and then enjoy your girls weekend and things like that. So even if I'm using the free night certificate out of embassy suites or something that's not as fancy for them, it still is a great way to take advantage of the benefits because they are free.

So you want to maximize them, but. It's nice to be generous as well. So today we talked a little bit of the credit cards. You might not think of the hotel cards, but offer points to be used for, free nights, free travel credit or for hotel status, but don't forget the, these cards might not be the best fit for all of your spending and your earning potential don't rule out cards like the Amex Platinum, which we have its own episode on.

The chase Sapphire reserve or the chase Sapphire preferred cards that we'll have a whole episode on in the future, or the new Capital One Venture X that we talked about last week, which is not waived under MLA Capital One Venture X not waived under MLA, but still has $300 travel credit and some nice benefits there.

One of the cards I wanted to point out was the Amex Green, which a lot of times when we talk about the Amex green, we just use it as a stepping stone to upgrade to another. Platinum card, but the Amex green has 3X earning on travel purchases, which is very valuable. Amex it's better earning on travel than the Amex platinum or the Amex Gold card.

Even if you're staying at a Hilton, it might be better to put your spending on an Amex Green card and earn 3X membership reward points instead of earning 14X Hilton points. So keep that in mind too, as if you have a lot of cards, it can become difficult to track, but try to maximize them.

Where you can on some earning potentials like that, I have two other closing thoughts. 

Spencer, do you have anything before? Before we get to that.

[00:51:06] Spencer: No, I think that mentioning the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are great because while people don't traditionally think of them as hotel credit cards.

The Amex platinum now comes with a $200 fine hotels and resort credit. So every year with all, with every Amex platinum that you have, you can book Through the Amextravel.com, the Amex travel portal. And with your Amex Platinum, when you use your Amex platinum card, you get a $200 credit. And when you book any fine hotels and resort through the portal and then I think it's $100 per night if you book the other hotel collection, that's what they call it.

[00:51:44] Jamie: it has to be a two night stay for the hotel collection, though, like you said

[00:51:47] Spencer: yeah, two nights a, yeah, two nights a for the hotel collection to use the full 200 credit, but again, that's per card.

So if you've got multiple platinum or Amex platinum cards, then you're looking at multiple $200. hotel credits right there which can be great. You might have to make multiple bookings to, let's say you're staying in a place for two or three nights. You might have to use three different cards to make the booking, but you can really maximize the $200 credit there.

And then with the Chase Sapphire Reserve that earns 3X points, 3X ultimate reward points. When you use it to pay for any hotels, you don't have to book through the Chase portal. If you do, I think you actually earn 10X or 5X Chase Sapphire Reserve points. It's 10, 10 now.

Yeah. And that's the same with the Capital One Venture X. So if you book through the Capital One travel portal, which I think I mentioned in a previous episode is my, it's currently my favorite travel portal. I think they've done a really nice job. Again, Capital One Venture X not annual fee waived, but I did open up one recently.

For a couple of reasons. One, they're offering 100,000 welcome bonus points right now. And they've, they're adding tons of transfer partners. So I think this is going to be, this is a great card especially if you're tapped out, like I am out of I've opened up every Amex card, I can every Chase card.

I can, and I've got to, I've got to find another bank that will keep feeding my addiction. But yeah, Capital One Venture X has a $300 travel credit every year when you book the travel through the Capital One portal. So that one is that could be, you can consider that a hotel card there as well.

If you booked, let's say, a You book a hotel through the Capital One travel portal and you're going to get $300 off. And then Chase Sapphire Reserve has the 300 annual travel credit as well. So if you're, if you travel, if hotels are in your future or you're trying to plan a vacation with a combination of multiples of these cards, I mean you can be, hotel stays, if I'm paying for a hotel stay, usually somebody else is paying for it.

Let's just say that. Yeah. There's so many points out there. There's so many credits out there that it can be pretty easy to get most of your nights free every year. Yeah.

[00:54:04] Jamie: All right. Two other things I want to highlight before you wrap it up, Spencer, is It's really worth the investment of some time.

If you have a PCS, an off base deployment, if you're lucky enough to nab one of those in a good deal location, or a long term TDY for maybe some kind of initial training or something where you're going to be off base for a while, taking the time to research kind of a earning strategy for what hotel you're going to stay at and how you can get status.

So maybe I'll open up a Hilton card to get diamond status. Cause I know I'm going to be staying at the embassy suites when I PCS to Hawaii or leave Hawaii or things like that recently on my PCS from Hawaii to Alabama, we earned 165,000 Hilton Honors points from the PCS. And that's in addition to some of the Amex points and stuff.

That obviously is a little bit more expensive PCS and hotel stay with TLA and all that. But really what it worked out for me is the Diamond bonus. It had 3X Promotion at the time. So it just added up really fast. And we did Hilton hotel brand Embassy Suites and Homewood suites on both ends of the PCS.

So 165,000 Hilton honors points from our last. PCS hotel stays, and then this is a perfect opportunity for you to branch out a little bit. A lot of people like to, I'm a Hilton guy, I'm a Marriott guy, but maybe consider expanding your options a little bit by checking out the Hyatt hotels, which I really enjoy.

I hadn't really stayed at them much before getting the card. And it brought me to a different hotel option. Diversified my travel hacking portfolio a little bit, if you will. And then like Spencer mentioned before, not referring yourself, but getting a referral from a spouse or from a friend.

And exchanging the favor. If you're not going to use the militarymoneymanual.com links is a great way to get some bonus points there. If you and your spouse are both open up cards. Getting status is huge. If you show up to a TDY in a group and you're the one that gets an upgrade and the other, eight people with you don't, that everyone's gonna be like, how'd you do that?

And then you can take the opportunity to evangelize them and spread the good news

[00:56:05] Spencer: And share your referral link. One, one other success story. You mentioned the Hilton when you were in Hawaii, but I got an email from JP here. 

He tells a success story. I opened the Hilton Aspire card and just visited Hawaii on orders where I stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian village.

The eight day trip scored me 250,000 points between the signup bonus, paying for the rooms and getting the resort credit, et cetera. It's awesome. That's awesome. Yeah, so just right there, Yeah. He turned an eight day trip into 250,000 Hilton points. That's anywhere between, let's say $1,200 to $2,500.

That's a huge score right there. Well done JP. So like I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, my main takeaway for you today is that the hotel credit cards are an often overlooked part of military travel hacking. After you've hit the main cards, the Amex Platinum, the Amex Gold and the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve and you're looking for, okay, what's next? Take a good look at the hotel credit cards. I would say probably definitely over airline credit cards. I would prefer the hotel credit card just because it's the, you're only going to be on that flight for a couple hours and no one's going to put you into business class unless you paid for it.

Sorry, or use points obviously. Or, you upgrade yourself. But with the hotel credit cards, especially, the Hilton Honors Aspire card. You're going to get automatic diamond status. You're going to get upgraded. You're going to get those free breakfasts and it's a very tangible benefit.

And I'd say it's especially beneficial for families, military families with children. If you and your spouse both open up the card. All of a sudden you're unlocking a lot of benefits, a lot of free breakfasts, and that can save you a lot of money. And with inflation, the way it is right now, and the PCS cycle is always expensive.

It's always nice. Just, when you check into a hotel, when they hand you a couple bottles of water, it's a small thing, it's a small thing

[00:58:08] Jamie: But a lifelong fan because they gave Spencer chocolate in Geneva.

[00:58:12] Spencer: I will never stop. Hey, that was like the easiest promotion marketing they've ever bought was that 2 chocolate.

And now I've, I will rave about the Ritz Carlton, Geneva for the rest of my life. But yeah, that's my takeaway. My message for you is take a good look. Best hotel credit cards for the military. Just, shoot that into Google and find the militarymoneymanual.com and take a look, I've got a great comparison article there.

But really I you know, I don't think you really have to compare them. If you're in the military and you're in the travel hacking game, open up all of them, start, I would start with the Aspire card and then I would open up the two Chase cards. So you don't run out of Chase 5 out of 24 spots.

And then I would circle back to the Marriott only with the caveat that a lot of military travel, whether it's PCS or TDY, you usually stay in a Hilton or Marriott in my experience. And that might be, I know when I was in the Middle East, like the CENTCOM policy was essentially we stay in Marriott. It's an American company and everyone had signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy program.

[00:59:24] Jamie: And so unofficial disclaimer, no government endorsement.

[00:59:28] Spencer: So that's my takeaway is to open up those cards and make sure that you're going to get your annual fees waived, check the MLA database and really maximize the benefits that are out there.

And don't just stop at the Amex Platinum. There's so many more cards out there and you can really. Really untap a lot of benefits from these cards. So once again, I'm Spencer, founder of the militarymoneymanual.com joined today, as always by my good friend, Jamie, this was our first international episode.

Hope the audio quality is good and we'll see you next Monday as always. On the Military Money Manual podcast.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.