I have been a long time holder of the Amex SPG card, Marriott Premier Visa and Marriot Business Visa. With all the changes from the program integration I had 3 priorities: Reach LTPP, purchasing four 5 night travel packages, each with 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points and finally, evaluate my credit cards.
I did my first TP in May 2018 and attached it to the JW Marriott Santa Monica, I did 3 unattached TPs: a Cat 6 in early July and another Cat 6 in late July and a Cat 1-5 on Aug 13. Unless Marriott decides to allow TP upgrades, I will down grade the Cat 6s in June and July to extend them another year. Not sure what to do with the Cat 1-5 yet.
I made it to LTPP in late July and started to think about credit cards. During the last 5 years I was able to use previous Travel Packages to get Southwest Airlines Companion Passes for my wife. Since SWA no longer allows hotel points to count towards CP, I started looking at the Southwest Visa personal and business credit cards. Since these cards are from Chase and the Marriott cards are from Chase I planned to move credit from Marriott to SWA, so I would not have to request more credit. To get a CP that would last until 12/31/2020 the $3,000 and $2,000 “spend” requirements on the new cards had to hit in January 2019 so I had to delay applying for the cards until late October. While I was waiting for late October I decided to upgrade my Amex SPG card to the Amex Luxury card. I have never done one of these high cost cards before, but the annual $300 credit to Marriott charges (Including MVC maintenance fees.) and the free unlimited Priority Pass lounge access (with a guest) made it a no brainer. The card has lost some of its value since Priority Pass closed their PHX lounge on Dec 1st. (I am hoping they are working on a newer/better lounge at PHX.)
The 3rd week of Oct. I applied for the SWA Business Visa which would provide 60,000 SWA Rapid Reward points after $3K of spend. The next week I checked the Chase web page for the SWA personal card that was showing 40,000 points after $2K of spend. That would be 100,000 RR points with $5K of spend points and I would only need another $5K of spend for the Companion Pass. While I was thinking about it I was remembering that I had seen 50,000 points being offered for the personal card the last time I flew. I jumped on the light rail to the airport to see if the 50,000 points was still available. There was a sign that said it was available, but only past the security gate. I booked a 1 way flight to San Diego for the afternoon using points and put the $11.20 taxes on my Marriott CC. I used my boarding pass to get into the boarding area and found the Southwest booth selling the SWA credit cards and signed up for the personal card with 50,000 points after $2K of spend in 3 months.
With that done, I went down to the Priority Pass lounge (Not yet closed) and had a Bloody Mary, grabbed a Wall Street Journal and then took the light rail home. While I was riding the light rail home I canceled the flight to San Diego and immediately got all my points back and the taxes returned to my credit card. The second week of Jan. 71K+ points hit my SWA account from the business Visa. This week another 53K+ points posted to my SWA account from the personal Visa and SWA informed me that I qualified for a Companion Pass and I obviously signed up my wife. I have been waiting for this so that I could book 3 flights to LAX and 1 to San Diego for some 3, 4 and 5 day weekends. Now, I am waiting for SWA to open up the flights to Hawaii. I am guessing that this will be the last CP for my wife. But, who knows what will happen in the next 2 years?