...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Travel Stats 2023

Happy New Years Eve!  2024 is upon us and it's been another fun year of travel.  I saw a shift in my flying frequency this fall though still ended with many fun trips home and around the world. 

I ended the year with just over 148,000 miles flown across 106 flights (with 142,618 BIS on United).  I was grateful for limited travel impacts - weather always seems to be a question though I missed most major storms.  I only had one SSSS experience in Zurich and my visits through PreCheck and Global Entry were generally fast.  I also was able to fly on one of the last United BOS-LHR flights, visited Longyearbyen, and made it across the United Island Hopper. 

My time spent with Hyatt was also similar to last year - nights credited were 104 not including free nights from the credit card.  

I hope everyone has a happy start to their New Year with many future travel opportunities!

Friday, December 22, 2023

When PreCheck or Clear doesn't matter

Years ago the TSA introduced PreCheck and GlobalEntry as a way to expedite security for travelers.  While the process involves a fee plus additional security checks and background evaluations, the overall effect was positive especially for frequent flyers and those with regular international itineraries.

However, it seems as though the promise of a quick security check before flying may have passed.

This recent article speaks to the shift that is occurring for those who have signed up for these programs, including the newest program Clear (I've decided not to take part in that for now - you can't have my retinas!):  https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/22/travel/tsa-precheck-clear-airport-security/index.html

It was only a matter of time before this happened - the increasing number of travelers post-pandemic has overwhelmed the lines at times.  Is it possible that eventually we see the primary security line noted for flyers with PreCheck??  

I'm flying out of Logan today and expected to see crazy security lines since this was said to be the busiest day to fly before Christmas.  My wait was all of one minute (not including the time needed to address the facial recognition software which never likes my driver's license).  I'll take the win.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Sapphire Lounge Visit - Boston Logan

One of the newest perks for holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is access to Sapphire Lounge locations.  Similar to other clubs hosted by airlines, the Sapphire Lounge is a location for travelers to take a break and recharge before a flight.  You can find more direct information on the Lounges here:


Future locations include Phoenix, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

The amenities offered include dining, bar, work locations, complimentary wifi, and private bathrooms.  At Logan, the lounge is open from 5am-11pm and is located in the Terminal B to C connector. 

I had a chance to visit the lounge recently and was very impressed!

For complete details on this location, visit this link:


Friday, December 1, 2023

Thanksgiving Week Visit to Longyearbyen, Svalbard

We made it!  Part 1 of our Thanksgiving trip was a trip to Longyearbyen, the northernmost settlement in the world.  After a day in Oslo due to flight timing, we were on our way with a brief land in Tromso.  The Tromso airport deplanes on the tarmac so we got a few good pictures of the setting sun.


After takeoff, it wasn’t long before we caught the polar night.  Landing in LYR was smooth with no issue on arrival – it was definitely dark!

The hotel shuttle bus was waiting when we arrived, and the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is only a short drive into the main settlement. From there you can walk to just about all restaurants and other locations.

For this trip our places of choice:

Afternoon drinks at CafĂ© Huskies: https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/caf%C3%A9-huskies/252587/

Nuga for dinner on the first evening (reservation needed): https://www.nugasushi.com/

Drinks at Karlsburger Pub where there is an extensive whiskey/bourbon selection – we tried the Hankey Bannister varietals and the 1792 Small Barrel: https://www.karlsbergerpub.no/homepage/

Dinner at Kroa Restaurant (reservation needed): https://www.kroa-svalbard.no/?lang=en#


One of our primary hopes was to see the Northern Lights – unfortunately, the polar night included cloud cover and snow which prevented any views.  We’ll hope to be back again for another try and to get some exploring via snowmobile. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Trip Start...

 ...is a bit delayed.

Originally I thought it would be good to book an early afternoon United flight to give us time to relax in the Newark UA Lounge.  However, I was not expecting a cracked windshield on our plane to cause a delay! 

Different plane enroute.  This will reduce our time at Newark though we should make the connect.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Hilton Surpass Card Changes

I was disappointed to see that Hilton and American Express are making changes to several products including the Surpass card - I've been using this card over the last few years for multiple stays when needed and the benefits overall have been excellent.  However, the upcoming changes are not favorable in my opinion.

Business Insider has the update here.

Annual fee increase to $150 (from $95)
Priority Pass Lounge access no longer available
4x bonus points on Online Retail Purchases in the US
$50 Quarterly statement credits on Hilton purchases
Complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Exec status

While adding some bonus categories seems positive, it assumes multiple stays at Hilton properties.  Since my stay pattern has drastically decreased, this won't be much of an offset.  

Overall I don't see these changes to warrant the increase in annual fee, and I'll likely be canceling this card in the next year.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

November 2023 travel

November is here!  I'm looking forward to another fun month of having trips scheduled.  

Thankfully I have an additional day off which means I will be flying back to WI for a weekend to be at home.  Hunting may be on the schedule!

And our annual Thanksgiving trip is also planned and ready - the itinerary map looks something like this courtesy of gcmap:

More info to come!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Updated Star Alliance Airline list

It's been a while since I challenged myself to see whether I could fly on most, if not all, Star Alliance airlines.  I've made some progress though I still have a ways to go!

Here's my updated list:

Adria ceased operations some years ago and SAS just announced they would likely be leaving Star Alliance for OneWorld.  I'm hoping to have more opportunities to fly on these partners soon.  

Saturday, October 28, 2023

New United Promotion In-App

I was surprised to discover a new United promotion in-app this week while I was reviewing upcoming trip details.  A banner appeared with information about fall travel and the ability to earn up to 50,000 bonus miles on flights to Europe in economy:

Bonus miles are awarded at 5x the fare in addition your regular miles earned by status - meaning a 1K earning 11x miles will actually earn 16x miles for the flights.  That's a nice bonus!

Curiously the only cities noted for this promotion are London, Amsterdam, and Paris - maybe there are low travel trends to those cities?

The promotion expires 12/13/23. 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Review: Plaza Premium Lounge YVR

During my return to the US from the International Leadership Association Global Conference in Vancouver, I had the opportunity to visit the Plaza Premium Lounge located in the International Terminal at YVR airport.  Unfortunately there are no United Club's, and the only Star Alliance Lounge was for Air Canada at some distance from my assigned gate.  

The Plaza Premium Lounge is accessible via Priority Pass - if you already have a membership, have your card ready to scan.  

The lounge is not large and was quite busy when I arrived.  Near departure it was almost standing room only.  Both hot/cold food options are available - they ran out of the hot food and plates at one point and some patiently waited for the refresh.

There are not many restrooms in this lounge - additional locations are near the gates.  

This was a serviceable lounge prior to departure, though I wouldn't recommend a long stay.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Hyatt 4th Quarter Promotion: Bonus Journeys

Bonus Journeys is back!

Hyatt's 4th Quarter promo is now active:

You can earn 3,000 Bonus Points for every three qualifying nights, up to 21 nights, at 1,250+ hotels worldwide across 25+ brands—including participating Andaz, Dream Hotels, JdV by Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Thompson Hotels and more. ​

​Plus, as a World of Hyatt Credit Cardmember, you can earn an additional 1,000 Bonus Points when those nights are at 550+ participating hotels worldwide.​

​Register by November 10, 2023, and complete your qualifying nights between October 6 and November 30, 2023, to start earning. ​

Saturday, October 7, 2023

4th Quarter 2023 Chase Bonuses

I always look forward to the new quarter which means new Chase Freedom bonus earning categories: 

The fall quarter has the following for purchases:

  • PayPal
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Select Charities

Unfortunately I won't make use of most of these.  However, if you have a vendor that accepts Paypal for purchases you can leverage the that category for 5x points.  Airlines such as United and American do accept Paypal for flight purchases.  Amazon, however, does not accept Paypal for payments.  

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Ready for October!

I'm not sure if anyone else felt this way, but September seemed to be an expanded month - I'm so glad that October is here.  And for me that also means travel opportunities are back on the docket!  I have a number of trips planned this month include a brief run to Zurich, attending and Chairing a session at the International Leadership Conference in Vancouver, and a trip home for a Confirmation celebration.  

See you in flight!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Visit to Muir Woods National Monument

It has been on my list to visit the redwoods in CA - I never made it while I lived in San Diego, and when I looked at the calendar I realized I still hadn't visited while being in the Bay area.  But where to go?

The Sequoias are near the Yosemite area and the other Redwoods are along the coast.  I did a quick search and found that the Muir Woods National Monument was just north of San Francisco and within an easy drive.  The main website is here.  Parking here

Parking reservations are required - I was lucky during the search for the weekend of 7/8 to find one open spot left for the afternoon!  If you're ever in the area I highly recommend this park - while there were quite a few people, it was very peaceful and green while on the trails. 

Friday, September 1, 2023

New Marriott Promo: Go Your Way

Marriott has introduced a new fall promo - if you have any stays on the horizon, be sure to register as soon as possible!

1500 points per stay is good but not super.  The addition of a 3 brand goal helps but I don't think I'll be prioritizing stays based on this alone.  

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Mid-Year 2023 Travel Check

Travel is back!  The airlines have returned most planes into service and flights are packed. Summer fares have been high again with many people opting to fly for vacations - the int'l airlines have even brought back the A380 into service after previously planning to retire them.  I've been flying each week through the first part of the year though that will be coming to an end as I start a new role on the east coast. 


I was offered a promo these past months with escalating status if you fly or meet certain point thresholds on American - the credit card helped for some points and I had a few flights home as well.  I ended up reaching Gold status for the rest of this year and next, which is perfect for the times I need to fly home.  


United is still my first choice for flights and I've re-qualified for 1K next year.  I've had limited upgrades out of SFO in the first part of the year - with my flight frequency declining for the rest of 2023, I'm hoping to utilize the status when I can for using pluspoints.  I acquired the Club Card a few months ago which has been useful for longer layovers and international flight staging. 


My weekly stays have exclusively focused on Hyatt, and I've already requal'd as Globalist for this year and next.  Point redemptions have changed a bit with the recent deval of Category 7/8 properties though I'm still finding excellent deals for the locations we typically visit.  Suite upgrades have also been successful this year at selected properties including the Park Hyatt Zurich. 


I successfully re-qualified for Diamond status last year and was able to use it as a great rate alternative when needed.  Higher rates will mean that I won't reach Diamond status next year.    

Have you had any exciting travel plans this year?  

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Grand Club at the Grand Hyatt at SFO is open!

I'm excited to share that the Grand Club is now open!  And the food choices were excellent.

If you have passes or are a Globalist, make sure to stop by on your next visit.

Friday, August 11, 2023

OAK airport changing name?

I find this story fascinating...seriously?  San Francisco Easy Bay International Airport?


The City of Oakland just can't catch a break.  The Raiders left.  The A's are likely leaving.  And now a poll about changing the airport name to SF?? 

My typical campus walk

I wanted to capture a few pictures of my normal morning walk on campus:

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Newark flight reductions for fall

After all the recent consternation about delays and cancellations via Newark, United has decided to reduce schedules as a way to address these challenges.  The full list of expected flight changes is here:


I'm not sure this is really going to address the issue - it does mean there will be a few less options for connects via Newark if needed.

Monday, July 17, 2023

New Partnership for MGM/Marriott

Well...that didn't take long.

Today MGM and Marriott announced a new partnership - this takes the place of the recently ended joint venture between Hyatt and MGM properties.  

Details from the announcement:

Of the 17 MGM resorts that will join MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy, four properties will also be affiliated with existing Marriott collection brands: Bellagio Resort & Casino will join The Luxury Collection, ARIA Resort & Casino will join Autograph Collection, Park MGM will become part of Tribute Portfolio, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will continue its affiliation with Autograph Collection.

Eight MGM resorts in Las Vegas will join MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy: Vdara Hotel & Spa, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, NoMad Las Vegas, The Signature at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Luxor Hotel and Casino, and Excalibur Hotel & Casino.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this affects stays and points earning possibilities.  While I've typically focused on Caesar's locations, it's always nice to have options for any future stays.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Looking for a United credit card? Use my referral link!

I've had very good success flying United over the past years - despite recent weather related delays in the system, I'm happy with how service and flight times have held over the past few years.  

And...redeeming miles has been easy since the options are usually good (recent deval news notwithstanding).  

If you're looking for a new card, and live near a United hub, please feel free to use my referral link!


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Hyatt/MGM Partnership Ending

I was disappointed to read today that Hyatt and MGM have decided to end their partnership - this was a nice option for stays in Las Vegas (especially with reciprocal benefits and earning for Hyatt).   

You can read more here.

Generally I stay at Caesar's properties in Vegas since they typically have deals that align with my conferences or planned activities.  The occasions where I've stayed with MGM I've used the Hyatt links with success.  It's unfortunate to see this option end!

Monday, July 10, 2023

Best/Worst European Airports Summer 2023

I enjoy reading these lists when they are published given my current travel hobby - I've been through many of the European airports and am always curious about the criteria for how these are generated. 

Do you agree/disagree?  Kudos to Helsinki!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

NE weather and MW Fires

An unfortunate string of rough weather in the Northeast combined with smoke due to the Canadian wildfires is affecting travel across the country.  United has issued ongoing waivers for flights and there have been many delays and cancellations.  


Make sure to build enough time into your planned travels over this upcoming holiday weekend. Stay safe!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Summer travel is here!

Happy June!

Summer travel is here, and hopefully everyone has been successful finding deals for flights.  My usual travel pattern has not changed and so far summer is shaping up to be busy.  

United has been in the news the past week or so with a significant devaluation of miles for their program.  OneMileAtaTime has a story here.  Suffice it to say this is disappointing for future redemptions.  While there still seems to be value for last minute bookings and shorter connects, the value for longhaul business redemptions has decreased considerably based on initial searches.  I haven't given up on trying to find deals though I suspect I'll need to plan much more in advance and set alerts for changes.  

If you use transferrable points programs such as Chase UR or Citi Thankyou, there still seems to be value in other programs such as Avianca and Aeroplan.  

Monday, May 29, 2023

United ending BOS-LHR route

As reported this past week by Ishrion Aviation on Twitter (https://twitter.com/IshrionA/status/1662280706305986560):

I'm disappointed to see United leaving this route behind though most of the other carriers already have service and competition was high.  One less redemption option from Boston!

Friday, April 28, 2023

United Island Hopper: Recap

I was thrilled to be able to take the United Island Hopper eastbound from Guam to Honolulu – United 155 was a 737-800 series with no internet, however, I had plenty to see and do.  The views overall were excellent with some weather occasionally along the way.  I arrived to Guam Airport plenty early and visited the United Club for breakfast (checkout from the Hyatt Regency Guam was very fast).  There won’t be much food on the flights today so I will snack as we go. 

GUM-TKK (Chuuk):

The plane was fairly full for this segment, although I ended up having a middle seat open next to me which was nice. I reserved 8F for this trip hoping to get good window views.  They didn’t disappoint on arrival and departure:

Our ground time was about an hour with light rain throughout. The reports on landing weren’t kidding – it was a touch hard with heavy breaking though I was ready.  Fire trucks were waiting as scheduled.

TKK-PNI (Pohnpei):

Just an hour or so to get to Pohnpei.  Fast taxi and takeoff from Chuuk was no issue though the flight attendants were asked to stay seated for the first part.  Another bonus of an open middle seat!  Arrival had low clouds…and driving rain.  I attempted a passport stamp but was told no – after a brief wait I was back on the plane and we were ready to depart for Kosrae.  Making the run for a stamp was memorable!

PNI-KSA (Kosrae):

Due to weather our flight path was slightly adjusted after departure – this did not result in any major delay.  Overcast skies meant a limited view during this segment.  On approach there was a bit of clearing so I was able to take some pictures.  And then before we could takeoff, more rain.  We were slightly delayed leaving due to ATC clearance (crazy in my opinion…we’re the only flight out here!).  Best laugher: it was due to Oakland Center.  Only annoyance of the trip – a father and small girl joined my row, child in the middle seat who spent much of the segment kicking.  Patience!

KSA-KWA (Kwajalein):

“Welcome to Kwaj” - no pictures allowed during this stop – Army base!

KWA-MAJ (Majuro):

The sun had already set by the time we landed in Majuro, so no pictures possible.  Overall a quick turn though quite a number of embarking passengers. 


Full flight for this segment so my open middle seat was gone.  I took a nap which was helpful given the late hour.  When I arrived Honolulu at 3am, I quickly ran through Global Entry but didn't realize there wasn't access to the gates once through.  I had to wait for the 4:30am opening of PreCheck and ended up first in line - good to know for the future. 

Overall this was a fun excursion!  I’m so glad my schedule worked out in order to experience the United Island Hopper.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Bucket List Trip - Island Hopper!

Today is the day!  I'm off to Guam and then back via the United Island Hopper visiting some of the remotest places on the planet.  As a reminder, this trip will take me SFO-HNL-GUM and then back via a 5-stop itinerary through HNL to San Francisco.  I have one overnight planned at the Hyatt Regency Guam, so another new Hyatt property to add to my list!  I used a combination of miles and regular fares to fly in Polaris westbound, and then Econ+ back.

I'll be uploading pictures and updates as I go, however, there is no connectivity between GUM-HNL.  

Total flight miles for the excursion - 12,963!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

2nd Quarter 2023 Chase Bonuses

Chase is once again offering targeted bonus point earning opportunities for the second quarter of the year - I received offers for both my United Select and IHG cards.  The promotion runs from April 1 through June 30 where you can earn 5x miles for gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases.

Don't forget to activate these offers if you receive them!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

New Terminal A at Newark

First time flying through the new Terminal A at Newark - very impressed!  Finally space to walk and plenty of power outlets.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Upcoming Hyatt Award changes

I was disappointed to see recent updates on Hyatt Award redemptions - while this is a yearly occurrence, the number of properties changing is substantial. 

Our annual award chart updates will take effect on March 28, meaning the number of points required for a free night at some hotels is changing. No new Categories have been added, and the points required for each Category will remain the same.

We wanted to be sure to let you know ahead of time so that you can plan ahead and get the most out of your points. The chart below includes only the hotels that are moving up (requiring more points) or moving down (requiring fewer points) starting March 28.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • When you book before March 28, your reservations will follow the current free night award chart found here.
  • Reservations made on or after March 28 will follow the new free night award chart and incorporate the updates noted below.
  • Existing reservations for nights on or after March 28 will receive a refund for the point difference if the hotel moved to a lower category

The changes that will likely affect me the most are at the Park Hyatt Vienna (moving to Cat7) and Park Hyatt Zurich (moving to Cat8). 

Link for release here: https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/landing/award-category-chart-updates.html

Friday, March 3, 2023

March travel ahead

My current schedule has me in the air every week, though I'm looking forward to some downtime coming up at the end of the month where I'll be going back to Zurich and Bellinzona for a bunch of days.  I've always found the spring trips to be very cost effective with easy access to restaurants and activities. I was also able to find a pluspoints option on the way home in Polaris, so I'm looking forward to that flight as well.  United for the win!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

New All-Inclusive Brands join Hyatt

I'm always interested when programs expand offerings since it gives travelers more options for stays and redemptions.  I recently received an email about Hyatt once again expanding their portfolio - great news for new properties!

Link for more info is here: https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/landing/new-brands.html

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

New Hyatt Promo 2023 - Bonus Journeys

Bonus Journeys is back!  Hyatt is once again offering a promo for the first part of 2023, and I'm looking forward to taking part in the coming weeks.  Effective dates are March 20 and May 26.

Some details: Earn 3,000 Bonus Points every two qualifying nights, up to 30 nights, during the promotion period, starting with your second eligible stay at 1,200+ hotels worldwide across 25+ brands—including participating Andaz, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Thompson Hotels and more.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Island Hopper planning

I've got quite a few places on my travel bucket list, and one of them seems fairly straightforward - the United "Island Hopper".  For those who don't know, this is a special service in place by United to provide supplies and access to several remote islands in the Pacific.  There is a great article about it here if interested.  

Finding the time needed for this is one challenge - the other is the relative cost of points or miles if available.  Since you need to fly and cross the international date line, you lose then gain hours back if departing from the west coast.  And since the Island Hopper only flies on certain days, you have to make sure there is space for connections and the turn.

Here's an example of what you'll find when you search for this special trip on United.com:

It will be quite the day after visiting all the islands!  I'm hoping that I can find a scheduling option that works. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

New Marriott Promo 2023 - Points and Bonus nights

Marriott has released their first 2023 promotion and it includes additional bonus points as well as night earning credit:

  • Register now, then earn from February 7 through April 23, 2023. Registration ends April 9, 2023.
  • Get 1,000 bonus points and 1 additional Elite Night Credit on each eligible paid night — all with no earning limits.
  • Achieve Elite status and elevated benefits faster with twice the Elite Night Credits.

I don't find this to be as lucrative as the promotions I typically see from Hyatt, though it's great to see no earning limits!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

United Status Buy-up Offers 2023

If you're a frequent flyer on United with some level of status, you may want to check this new page for an individual offer to potentially buy-up to the next level:


I'm not planning to use this option for 2023, though it's good to know there may be a path for anyone interested!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Bit of FAA chaos...

Unfortunately I was not able to escape last week's FAA Notam outage - my expected overnight flight was unable to take off for nearly three hours before cancelling in the 2am hour.  A mad scramble for phones and agents occurred thereafter, and after one disconnect on the United 1K line I was able to secure the last seat on the next flight.  Very fortunate!  What wasn't fortunate was sleeping in my car for a few hours though it definitely was better than the airport floor!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Cards in my Wallet Right now (2023)

Happy New Year!

My card list has not had any changes in the last year.  I've tried to keep things stable given my current travel patterns and work obligations, and I suspect that will be the case for now.  I may keep an eye on a new option if my work schedule stays the same.  If anyone is interested in referrals, please let me know!

Cards in my Wallet:

Chase Sapphire Reserve - one of the best earning cards with 3x points for travel and 3x for dining; No Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase Freedom - Quarterly bonus categories give 5x points and pairs with Sapphire

Chase World of Hyatt - 4x Hyatt points per stay make this one of the best for hotel stays, 2x for restaurant/transit; No Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase IHG Rewards Club Select (no longer available) - Platinum Elite status plus free night every cardmember year

Chase United Mileage Plus Select (no longer available) - 3x miles on United purchases plus EQM, 2x gas/grocery/dining + Star Alliance purchases

Chase Biz Plus (replaced with Business Preferred) - 5x points at office supply and phone, 2x on gas station and hotel; No Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase Biz Cash - 5x points at office supply and phone, 2x points on gas stations and restaurants

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless - 6x points at Marriott properties; 3x Gas/Grocery/Dining up to $6k, 1 Elite Night credit per $5k spent; 2x points on other purchases; No Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase British Airways - 3x Avios on BA purchases; 2x on hotels; No Foreign Transaction Fee

Citibank Premier - 3x points on travel including gas stations and grocery; 2x on dining/entertainment, No Foreign Transaction Fee

Citibank AA Biz Platinum - 2x American Airlines miles on purchases plus free checked bag and priority boarding; 2x on gas stations, No Foreign Transaction Fee

Citibank AA Mileup - 2x American Airlines miles on flights, plus 2x miles for grocery purchases, No Annual Fee

Citibank Double Cash - 2% cash back on all purchases, though the transfer option to Citi ThankYou Points makes this card strong for all non-category spend, No Annual Fee

American Express Hilton card - 7x Hilton points on stays, 5x points dining/gas/grocery, 3x all other purchases, complimentary Silver status, No Annual Fee, No Foreign Transaction Fee

American Express Hilton Surpass - 12x Hilton points on stays, 6x points on dining/grocery/gas, 3x points on all other purchases; complimentary Gold status, No Foreign Transaction Fee

Discover It card - 5x points/cash on quarterly bonus categories, link to Amazon.com purchases, No Annual Fee

Bank of American Alaska Airlines card - 3x miles on Alaska purchases, $99 companion fare

I still value many of these for the no annual fee, and others have perks/free nights that make them excellent to hold. 

Are you planning to acquire any new cards this year?