A few people have asked about my credit card strategy for maximizing the return on my dollar spent and minimizing the fees for my bank accounts, so I thought I'd do a formal write up.

My recommendations make the following assumptions:

You're interested in mainly redeeming your points for travel (flights, car rentals, hotels, etc.) You want to maximize the return on each dollar spent on your credit cards, maximize your risk-free rate of returns on cash held, and minimize bank fees You don't have an aversion to Chase, Charles Schwab, or Synchrony banks. Credit card strategy:

Chase Freedom: get this no fee credit card for its 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on purchases in categories that rotate quarterly. Once you reach the maximum quarterly rewards limit, stop using this card.

To kick off my 2018 Asia trip, I decided to splurge a bit and go for the business class on ANA's 787 Dreamliner. (I also needed to hit the minimum spend limit for a new credit card, so why not?) Flying NH171 out of SJC, I was treated to a half-empty business cabin for the 10.5-hour trip to NRT. I prefer flying out of SJC because compared to SFO, it's cleaner, less busy, and still has good flights.

For full-resolution photos/videos, see here.

I returned to SFO from YYZ today and it was the perfect opportunity for me to check out Toronto's Priority Pass lounge - Plaza Premium. According to the Priority Pass website, there are 3 lounges, divided by flight destination: domestic, USA, and international.

The USA departures location is near gate F82, immediately after security.

I normally wouldn't expect a credit card lounge card like Priority Pass to have above-average lounges, yet Philadelphia Airport's Minute Suites has delivered. Tucked away on the walkway from security to concourse A, this is a series of private rooms measuring roughly 2 m by 2 m from my estimation.

A photosphere link to the image above is available here. Priority Pass members have 1 hour free at this location.

On my recent trip to the Grand Canyon over the Canada Day weekend, I tried out my Priority Pass Select for the 1st time ever at the PHX airport. Following the pictures will be a brief review of the lounge and service.

The lounge is "The Club", located in PHX Terminal 4 near gate B25. International departures, such as to Canada, take off from here. My flight took off from A23, so it was quite a walk.

I've recently had the opportunity of flying business class on both Philippine Airlines and United. Despite having a personal United boycott, it was the flight of choice due to my employer's travel policy. The PAL flight was SFO to SIN with a layover in MNL, while the UA flight was from HKG to SFO (UA 862, Boeing 777).

It's common advice for people moving from Canada to the USA to sell their cars before crossing the border and purchase 1 down South. However, due to my car's young age and my somewhat emotional attachment to it, I've decided to bring it along with me and see why no one seemed to do it.

Before we get started, here are some quick pointers that may sway your decision 1 way or another.

It's common for Canadians moving to the USA either temporarily or permanently to sell their vehicle in Canada, purchase a new one south of the border, and take advantage of the price difference. I went the road less traveled by shipping my car and am here to share my experience. (My car is relatively new and the USD-CAD exchange rate is particularly unfavourable right now.)

The shipping company my employer chose was Hansen's Forwarding.
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I've always been a fan of pre-release software. The excitement of trying out new features and never knowing when a bug will bite never gets old. Typically, I've always been quite receptive to Microsoft's new betas and releases; I am probably one of the few proponents of Windows Vista and 8 and saw the potential of the Ribbon UI when it was introduced in Office 2007. With this track record, the bar was high when I decided to try the Windows 10 developer build back in March.

Near the end of December last year my Nexus 4's battery decided to crap out on me after I returned from a Mexico trip; it wouldn't hold a charge and no matter what I did, the battery life would be a maximum of 5 minutes. Given that the battery life was slowly deteriorating over its 2-year life, this was a sad but expected result. The phone itself is otherwise fine; somewhat scratched on the rear glass but perfectly functional.
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