United dabbles in the cruise world

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Fun fact: the country of Monaco is smaller than central park in New York City.

Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop! I’ve got some serious goodies to share with you today, so let’s get down to brass tacks:

  • ✈️/🛳️ United decides to dabble in the cruise game

  • 🙋‍♀️ Reader question answered

  • 🏨 Marriott Homes & Villas: the sequel

✈️/🛳️ United decides to dabble in the cruise game

If you’re a United MileagePlus member and cardholder and have decided you feel like cruisin’ this year, you’ll get your cruise deposit waived and earn up to 70,000 United miles… if you book by Friday.

But before you frantically close this newsletter and run for your laptop to snag this deal…

…take a deep breath. Let me first tell you how you can even get this deal in the first place, silly 😚

Most of us know United Airlines as, well… an airline. But did you know that United Cruises is a portal that allows you to book cruises and earn MileagePlus miles while you do it? They’ve got their hands on just about every cruise line you can imagine, so there are plenty of options.

The great news is that MileagePlus members will always earn up to 25,000 United miles when they book a cruise through this portal. That could be a (nearly) free flight to Europe, y’all!

But it gets better. If you’re a United credit card holder, you could rack up 45,000 additional miles (on top of the 25,000) depending on the type of stateroom you book. Obvi, the higher the category (e.g. fancier room), the more miles you’ll earn.

Here’s that breakdown:

And it’s STILL getting better. Not only will you earn these United miles, but you can also spend ‘em to book your cruise, if you choose.

THE BEST NEWS is that these mileage bonuses aren’t time-sensitive. You’ll always get a varying number of miles when you book just for being a member of United. However, if you want an extra $500 or so waived in the form of your booking deposit, you’ll need to act quickly.

United Cruises is running this promo as part of a Presidents’ Day Sale, so it’ll be gone by the weekend.

Get after it, and happy cruisin’ everyone!

🙋‍♀️ Reader question answered: how do you protect your credit score when applying for cards?

A reader wrote in recently asking the following question:

“I'd love to open more cards I just hate that my score decreases so dramatically when they do a credit check. Any hacks for that? Thanks so much for these emails - I look forward to them every day and have made use of some amazing deals!”

Daily Drop reader

I think this is a great opportunity to address a couple of important points in the credit card world and also give you the exact type of tip you were looking for. 😉

So let’s start off with the elephant in the room:

Yes, your credit score decreases when you apply for a new account. 

Toward the beginning of your credit journey, it might be a pretty noticeable hit, because you don’t have many accounts, available credit, variety of credit, history of payments, or long credit history in general.

However, as time goes on and you establish good credit, the hit your score takes when opening a new account gets smaller and smaller. 

Credit scores are complicated, so most people might not realize exactly how this mysterious scoring system works.

Personally, my score dips just a few points when I open a new card.

However, by holding on to the card long-term, I’m increasing the length of my credit history, adding more on-time payments every month, having a more diverse credit mix, and still keeping a low utilization.

Usually, this means that my credit score recovers those few points in just a month or two; and then continues to go up.

I want to take a quick break to ask:

How many credit cards do you own?

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

All of that aside, there are ways to open more cards without taking as many hits to your credit score. Here are the two that come to mind:

  1. Apply for business cards, which don’t get reported to credit bureaus (at least not in the U.S.). And if you don’t own a business… well… let’s just say… just wait for an upcoming newsletter on the topic. 😉

  2. Apply for multiple cards on the same day. This isn’t ALWAYS true, but in my experience (and data points from hundreds of others over the years), applying for multiple cards on the same day from the same issuer results in just one hard inquiry on your credit report.

You should only do that last one if you have two cards that you really want to get, and only if you haven’t applied for many cards in the recent past.

Hopefully that helps to understand how applications affect your credit score and how you can get creative with minimizing the number of hard inquiries you incur.

🏨 Marriott Homes and Villas: the sequel

Last week I told you about a pretty good Marriott Bonvoy promo to earn some bonus points and double elite night credits. Well, as it turns out, there is actually another interesting Marriott promo, this time dealing with their Marriott Homes & Villas business.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Marriott Homes & Villas is almost like Airbnb. People can list their homes (and villas, obvs), though most properties listed are owned by bigger companies with multiple homes.

What makes the program different from Airbnb is that you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points on your stays, earn nights toward Marriott elite status, and even redeem Marriott points for stays at these properties.

Basically, you can earn 10,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points on stays of 4 nights or longer if you book by March 11th, 2023, and complete your stay before May 14th.

You may remember when I told you about this promotion back in September, which I took advantage of for my 5-night stay in Athens. I ended up booking this beautiful property and getting a really good deal.

So let’s run the numbers here. It cost me $277 for five nights at a 2-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, work area, and living room in the heart of Athens. I’ll also earn 12,139 points (including the 10k promo) which are worth about $105.

That means that the net cost of this booking is only $172 or about $34 per night. For a clean, private place in a city where accommodations are otherwise pricey, that is a STEAL.

Some things to keep in mind before jumping on this deal:

  • Marriott Homes and Villas earn fewer points than normal Marriott hotels (5 points per dollar as opposed to 10)

  • The bonus points take a long time to show up… Mine took almost two months, so just be aware of this

This promo is great because it’s so simple. No need to register, easy 10,000 points and a variety of properties and places to book. Why not get some free travel from your already cheap travel?

That’s gonna wrap things up for today!

Oh, and I almost forgot; remember last week when we said that Babbel was offering 55% off for their Presidents’ Day sale? Turns out we were wrong… It’s actually 60% 🤯

The deal is only good for a couple more days, so check it out ASAP.

Have you ever applied for multiple credit cards in a single day? Does that notion seem completely crazy to you? Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.

Have a great day and I’ll see you all tomorrow,

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W

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