Credit Card/Points/Travel Consultation with Adam Garrett
Updated: May 6
Above: Part of Adam's 2020 collection of cards
Above, part of Adam's collection of credit cards and status in 2020, with some exceptions: (2nd Freedom, 2nd Business Gold, 2nd Blue Business Plus, Spark Cash, Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum Select, & the Ink Unlimited). 3 cards pictured are ones I recommended for my wife that she got: the Bonvoy Boundless, <$50 annual fee legacy IHG card, & Penfed Pathfinder. It also doesn't include my Gold status with Hilton, Gold status with Marriott, & Gold status with Radisson. Not long after the picture I acquired platinum status with Marriott for a few years, Delta silver status, & additional credit cards such as the Wyndham Business Earner (during historic high initial Sign Up Bonus), Citi Premier (during 80k SUB), & Choice Hotels card (during historic high SUB including but not limited to unlimited 4x points on general spending).
Subjects Available in Consultations in the Realm of Credit Cards
Credit Boost (not including dispute letters which you can do after signing up for free DIY credit instructions here)
Trip Planning with Acquired Points/Certificates
Advice on Points/Certificate/credit card Management (i.e. Mint, Nav, Award Wallet, Expert Flyer)
About Adam & Disclosure
I have been reaping the benefits of points for domestic & international travel since I was a kid, with my dad having his 1st Amex as early as 1980. I've flown as far as India in business class on points and stayed at some of the top 100 hotels in the country (i.e. Ritz Carlton Central Park, the Willard InterContinental, The Salamander in Middleburg, though ratings change over time) as well as low-cost well-rated hotels on points or free night certificates. The year of my engagement & marriage I saved around $10,000 in travel expenses by using credit card benefits/ points, covering the majority of my Disney engagement & honeymoon (lounge access, the mostly 1st class flights, rental car, most of the 12-night stay at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort up until a few nights before Christmas, etc.).
I also am employed part-time by my real estate company on the side of my full-time real estate to advise in strategy for our accounting department with credit card acquisitions, points usage (which I manage directly for travel), etc.
I am not a certified public accountant or certified financial planner. I am giving my opinion on matters rather than certified professional advice. My primary business certification is in real estate where I am a licensed consultant.
My primary setting for consultations is via Zoom including my ability to use screen share. I have a paid account. I can do in person sessions for an additional fee.
Fees & Basic Discounts
I integrated a required fee structure after I found that I wasn't responding to free requests on my request form because of the other responsibilities I have, the value of my time spent in my other work, and the low incentive for me to respond as long as those requests were free & the only way for me to be compensated was via a referral link, with many occasions where a referral link isn't the best option for someone but me still feeling as though I should provide whatever is best for the client, regardless of referral fee or not.
$125/hr for any research, communication, & transit time for Adam if applicable, limited up front by the one requesting Adam's services & itemized by Adam including dates and times.
Christian organizations or non-religious non-profits with high life-saving impact in 2/3 world (i.e. well drilling, human trafficking alleviation, orphanages, juvenile detention centers, charitable hospitals in 2/3 world, etc.):
Free 1 hr consultation
Typical non-religious nonprofits:
Free 30-minute consultation
When reaching out from a charity, be sure to use your charity-based email address with the charity's website within the email address (i.e. Greg@orphanhelping.org) or message me from your charity's social media account. In the email or message, be sure to include a link to the about section of your organization.
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I can do up to 3 hrs of research for my family (as distantly related as 2nd cousins) in preparation for honeymoons, 10-year anniversaries, 20-year anniversaries, and 50-year anniversaries freely.
The maximum time I can commit to free options is 1 hr every month, so prior to filling out the form, you may want to ask me if I have a backlog of free service 1st.
These fees can be reduced at times by referral bonuses, which will be priced at the TPG valuation value if applicable. At times Adam may receive compensation from clients being approved for credit cards. Sometimes these are available for the best cards for you and sometimes they are not. When available, sometimes the referral link offer will have a typical bonus for you, while in other cases the offer to you may be greater than or less than the public offer. Even if a referral bonus is available, if the referral bonus link is inferior to the public offer, it won't be provided as an option unless the net TPG valuation for a reduced fee to you would be present. In those cases, I would provide both the referral link and the public link as options with full disclosure. The highest referral bonus Adam recalls is worth, by TPG valuation, $600.
If a response involves writing a new blog, creating a new map, adding to an existing map, or otherwise accompanying your request in a better presentation form than a mere email, & better for quick reference than merely putting everything into a Zoom session, any time towards blog creation & map creation that could be helpful for others as well receives a 25% discount. If you'd prefer that no blogs or map additions be created even if it's warranted in your case, let me know, and I can be sure not to dedicate any time on that.
Rebates for Referrals & Real Estate Rebates
Referral Rebates of 25% of the fee incurred (if applicable, i.e. charitable exclusions for first 30 minutes or hr) by those referred (whether from $ or from points) is available for those who refer clients to Adam for credit card consultations. These amounts may exceed the cost of your own fee, and any excess amount will still be paid to you.
Full real estate rebates up to $1k & up to the full cost of any fees incurred are available for those who:
Close on a home (purchase or sale) or other real estate of $150k or more where they receive a referral from Adam for the real estate agent they use unless prohibited by law (i.e. in Oregon, Alaska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee which all prohibit rebates.)
Close on a home (purchase or sale) or other real estate of $150k or more where they reached out directly to Adam and Adam is their real estate agent with no other discount & Adam doesn't need to pay a referral fee to any other party. Related: Adam's coverage map in SE VA.
Rebates are not available for real estate referrals to other people unless you are a licensed agent. While most states permit them if you are the buyer or seller, those are illegal in the United States to unlicensed agents if you are not the buyer or seller but point me to someone else you know who is.
Alternatives to Consultations with Adam
Here are some free options, though you'll notice that none of the forms are as thorough as my form & sometimes you'll find that the person doesn't do them anymore or is taking a break from it. Also keep in mind that because free options are incentivized primarily by referral links, you're more likely to get recommendations with referral links as the exclusive options presented as recommendations, meaning further distance from the "best" for you:
Ask Sebby (not doing them at time of publication): https://www.asksebby.com/free-card-consultation https://www.asksebby.com/card-consultation-break
Points Pointers: https://pointspointers.com/free-credit-card-consultation/
Kara & Nate: https://karaandnate.com/free-credit-card-consultation/
This article goes over a number of paid alternatives for points advice on travel with your existing points. For example, Savanti Travel has a monthly subscription model, with rates starting at $599/month. I didn't notice any rates by the hour mentioned in the article, however, so there's less of an incentive to be thorough when flat rates are involved.
Another thing you can do is to look at the Doctor of Credit Sign Up Bonuses, combined with the TPG valuations of the SUBs, combined with historic high offers on the US Credit Card Guide (example). That said, just doing that you would not be aware of a number of ways to maximize even if you memorized each of those websites, and that wouldn't be very helpful in determining the best cards for your ongoing spend when factoring in your spending levels and goals.
Limiting the Hours with Consultations with Adam
Prior to a consultation with Adam, it is best for those seeking assistance to fill out Adam's credit card form as long as their credit is 680+ on Experian.com . For those below 680, Adam can help, but it's typically best to consult a credit-boosting expert 1st even though Adam can certainly help with that as well in many cases. Free & Paid Credit Help
It is also best to limit the amount of time available to Adam for the consultation up front, i.e. 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hr, 1.5 hrs, 2 hrs, 3 hrs, 4 hrs, 5 hrs, 10 hrs, etc. Below 30 minutes is not available since it's often difficult for me to make an assessment in less time than that at this time, but if you'd like less than 30 minutes if possible, let me know.
It's also best to go through the links under "Subjects Available in Consultations in the Realm of Credit Cards" for any subjects where you have any interest prior to discussion with Adam.
There are people that are better than me and cheaper than me in a number of subjects. For instance, those of low income have free budgeting options available to them and credit-building options available via non-profits. Especially those of low-income should seek out free options from those who specialize and can provide free advice. For more options for free and reduced costs, go to my low-income/frugal website with plenty of free information & links to outside resources including non-profits here.
Even small spenders have many reasons to maximize their credit card spending. Some credit cards have sign-up bonuses available after the first purchase. The bigger your spending, the more reasons you have to maximize ongoing expenses beyond the sign-up bonuses. Also, big spenders have sign-up bonuses that wouldn't otherwise be available to typical people, i.e. those that require $50k in spending in 6 months.
Maximizing credit card rewards is lucrative enough for me to have a part-time job doing it at my main company, Garrett Realty Partners. A company that was maximizing credit cards better than most companies long before I ever started helping saw the increased value possible for me to direct acquisitions of credit cards, credit card spending, and credit card redemptions. Before I ever started helping, they already had cards like the Delta Platinum, Delta Reserve, Amex Platinum, and legacy SPG card (that used to earn effectively 3 Marriott Rewards per dollar spent on general spending).
Who Shouldn't Get Credit Cards?
Credit cards are obviously a problem if you're racking up credit card debt, but less obviously a problem if you're not carrying a balance but are spending more than you would otherwise if using debit cards. Credit cards should be treated as a privilege for those who are making otherwise wise financial decisions like insurance, savings, budgeting, investing, etc..
For more information in my separate article on the subject, go here.
For those where credit cards are not an advisable option, I recommend looking into cashback debit cards & free debit cards with perks and otherwise getting in a better place financially before pursuing credit cards. See my secured card recommendations here rather than filling out the form for travel hacking.
Adam's Suggested Credit Card Application Process
International Credit Card Suggestions (for those not based in the US)
Where Can I Get My Free Credit Score?