The topics of “independence” and “travel,” got my mind going a bit. I thought about “free agents”: people who shop around for the best deal and don’t stick to just one airline or hotel loyalty program.

Many Rene’s Points readers are very loyal — or at least rather partial — to Delta Air Lines. Because I’m a Delta Medallion and fly the mothership during 90% of my travels, really I’m not an airline free agent per se.

At least not yet, though the mothership sometimes does cute things to test us (like upgrade people in Basic Economy, sell first class seats for $2, devalue SkyMiles…)

Hotel-wise, that’s a different story. That’s where I am a free agent and I must say — I kind of like it.

Like most things in life, it has its pros and cons.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

I have around 18 open credit cards in my name right now (René tells me he has 22 after getting 3 new ones approved on Monday).

Still on the fence about taking advantage of some of the highest ever welcome bonuses (OFFER EXPIRED — SEE CURRENT OFFER) we’ve seen for Delta American Express cards? Can’t think of how you’ll meet the minimum spend in just three months? Don’t worry. We’re here to brainstorm! There are plenty of ways to meet your minimum spend requirements in the next three months. Remember this very important rule: never buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase or go over your budget. Interest fees could easily negate the points you earn. Also, keep in mind that your minimum spend period begins the day your card application is approved, not the day you receive or activate your card. If your card application is instantly approved, Amex generally provides you a card number, expiration date, and CVV you can use to start shopping online right away. Make sure to take advantage of that! All…

What AMEX card(s) am I going for next? Do you need an EIN number for business cards? Do business cards show up on your credit report? What Qualifies for the $50 Statement Credit on the Delta Gold Card(s)? Does the AMEX 4/5 card rule count business cards? What impact does a Delta business card have on MQD exempt spending? <- Coming soon I am constantly stunned how many times readers make simple mistakes that cost them so many points. The first mistake is NOT reading this post that, if you do screen shots, gives you the in print proof you need, that is, what cards does AMEX says you have ever had (since the new card bonus is now just 1x ever in your lifetime with AMEX). The next major failing so many just dismiss out of hand are business travel cards. Notice a trend in my shot above and…

This one does not surprise me at all. The $150/year fee for the Delta Skymiles AMEX Platinum card was/is a flat out bargain for the price. I did a great comparison post on this a while back and this card with any Medallion level is a great combo for max perks. Also, the BOGOF in coach cert alone can offset the fee for a year or sometimes more. An alert reader pointed out to me that this fee is going up as of 1MAY2014 for both the personal as well as the business card. Now if you apply before 1MAY2014 you get the first year fee at the lower amount and then after that year you get the new higher fee per year. Is this a game changer for the card? I don’t think so as you are still getting all the same great perks and the value is still…