Episode 3 — Milenomics² No Annual Fee Edition: Cringeworthy Credit Cards Also: Amex Gold Business Redesign, Citi 4th Night free changes, $0 Fee Visa Gift Cards, Stop & Shop $20 off Gift Cards.

Welcome to the latest episode of the Milenomics² No Annual Fee Podcast.

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Today’s Topics Include:

  • 0:45 Amex Biz Gold Revamp
    • $295 annual fee, not waived the first year
    • 4x in airfare, “select media”, “select technology providers”, gas, dining, shipping (link with more detail)
    • Signup bonus is currently G Suite Basic and ZipRecruiter
    • What signup bonus will it require for you to get this card?
  • 2:05 Amex 1:1 Avianca
    • US-Europe on Star Alliance 63k/87k
    • This should help add options w/o fuel surcharges.
    • Long Haul Coach rates are reasonable and could be a hedge against high ticket prices
    • Intra-US ‘short haul’ 7500 points.  CA to WA, TX to FL, Bos to DC. Very nice
    • No Close in Ticketing fee (BYOE for United flights).
  • 5:10 Citi Prestige eliminates concierge bookings in Sept ‘19 (link)
    • This means you can’t realize status benefits/earn points at loyalty hotels
    • But 4th night free stacking with Premier/Prestige is still possible (example)
    • Though, you’re beholden to the sometimes bad prices in the TYP portal
  • 7:20 Staples fee-free $200 VGCs in-store 11/11-11/17 (link)
    • Technically limited to 1 per person, but not limited by register
  • 7:55 Stop & Shop $20 voucher towards groceries when buying $100 3rd Party GCs (link)
  • 8:30 Listener Question: My friends frequently use co-branded cards like Marriott, United, and AA for all their spend, including restaurants. Help me convince them that they would be significantly better off with a different credit card strategy?

In this week’s Premium (subscription required) version of the podcast we discuss: An attempt to Cash Out Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1.5¢ per point, and how to Reinstate Expired United (or AA) miles for “Free.”



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About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.


  1. Great stuff, guys. A few thoughts, some tongue in cheek, some not.

    1) Totally agree wouldn’t touch that question unless with a very, very close friend.
    2) From “cringeworthy credit cards” I thought you were gonna list the “worst” cards people normally use. Mildly disappointed 🙂
    3) Sam, just admit Double Cash earns you commission and be done with it lol
    4) I think one point to explore is the power of “rewards” psychologically. Of course most people will be better off with the Double Cash, but most people are like, who cares? I want to get something that feels good – two cents per point doesn’t feel good, redeeming marriott points for “free” does. So there’s that psychology there that keeps driving people towards rewards (and keeps credit card companies in business).

    1. Joe: Thanks for the reply here. 1)It seems harder with close friends for me…finances are things I discuss with complete strangers but not friends. (weird, right?) 2)Maybe a future episode? 3) I WISH it did. Although I finally figured out how to generate a referral link for it. 4)That’s actually a fascinating point–and one which I like to attack from the other side. Those people doing that is what let people like us do what we do. If everyone was redeeming their Amex MR for Business/First class awards (that’s physically not possible because there aren’t enough award seats, but still, if it was) that entire ecosystem would die so quick. It is those guys buying shoes on Amazon with their Amex MR which subsidize us. I think we covered that a little in the paid episodes.

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