I moved. What did I miss?

Well, faithful readers, I'm back. For the past week I've been packing all my earthly possessions and transporting them 904 miles eastward. They're now, mostly, unpacked, and life should be very slowly returning to normal. Here's what I've learned in the past week.

Pay people to load and unload trucks for you

Packing your possessions into boxes for transport is a long, hard, chore, with a correspondingly high payoff. You can discover long-lost mementos, dispose of mountains of clutter, and get the opportunity to thank your old clothes and books for their service before disposing of them.

Loading and unloading trucks is an utterly thankless task that has no redeeming value. Pay someone else to do it for you. Don't try to help. Just watch.

There are only 81 Ritz-Carlton properties where you can use their new free night bonus

The new Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card has a signup bonus of 3 nights at any "participating" Tier 1 to Tier 4 Ritz-Carlton property after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

According to my brute force calculations (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4), that leaves you with 81 properties in the world where you can use your 3 free night certificates.

Maybe you're planning to visit one of the 81 locations where you can use your free night certificates anyway. That makes the credit card a no-brainer, with a signup bonus worth thousands of dollars.

But if you aren't already planning to visit a Ritz-Carlton property, why would you be interested in a credit card that forces you to plan a whole vacation around it?

Travel is too cheap to chase signup bonuses that make you play by the loyalty industry's rules.

Chase Sapphire Reserve seems fine

Now that the details of the Chase Sapphire Reserve have been more-or-less-or-more officially confirmed, I can say with absolute conviction that it seems fine.

The 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining seems fine.

The $300 in annual statement credits seems fine.

The ability to get 1.5 cents per Ultimate Rewards point when redeeming them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal seems fine.

I personally don't chase signup bonuses. But I know a lot of people do! They'll no doubt enjoy the 100,000-point signup bonus after spending $4,000 within 3 months. That seems fine too.

I apply for cards that either help me earn more points or help me leverage the points I already have. The Chase Sapphire Reserve does neither, so I won't be getting it.


I'm sure I'll have more to say about all this (well, probably not about moving trucks) as time goes on and the affiliates continue harping on these cards' supposed benefits. But since I've been out of touch for over a week, I thought I'd get started by sharing my 10,000-foot view of these latest fads in the credit card marketing blogosphere.