Sunday, August 31, 2014

Citi Hilton Reserve Challenge

About a year ago, my mother applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve Visa card. We had plans to travel to Hong Kong that following March and wanted to use the 2 free weekend night certificates that came with the card after spending $2,500 in three months. We completed the minimum spend requirement by September 2013.

We redeemed our free night certificates for a 2 night stay at the Conrad Hong Kong, which was pricing out at about $400+ per night. Because the card also comes with Gold status in their Hilton HHonors loyalty program, we also received complimentary breakfast at their lobby restaurant - an amazing spread of Western and Chinese breakfast foods.

But after we reached the $2,500 (and received our 2 free weekend nights), we pretty much put the Reserve card away and didn't spend on it any more, with the one exception of our 1 day stay at the Hilton Zurich Airport hotel ($201 USD).

The less popular benefit of the Hilton Reserve card is that you can earn another free weekend night certificate each year if you spend $10,000 on that card in a cardmember year. However, for my father, it just seemed like so much more spending for minimal benefit and he was happy with the 2 free nights after the first $2,500.

Then a few months ago, my father read a compelling post on explaining why it could be worth it to spend an additional $7,500 on the card to earn a third free night certificate - relative to using other cards to spend that much with. So while we were in Greece enjoying our July vacation, my father decided to go for the third free night certificate.

Unfortunately, he found out that his cardmember year would be ending with the September 4, 2014 statement. So with about 5 weeks, he crafted a plan to "spend" another $7,300 in the month of August to hit the $10,000 annual goal and earn an additional 22,500 Hilton HHonors points and a free weekend night certificate.

The real challenge was complicated by my father's OCD on "optimizing everything." He refused to use the Hilton Reserve card (and earn just a 1% rebate in Hilton points) on spending categories where we would otherwise earn 2-5x bonus points if we used a different credit card. For example, spending on restaurants earned us 3x Citi Thank You points (valued at a 4% rebate) when using our Citi Thank You Premier card and spending on groceries earned us a 5% cash back rebate when using our Amex Blue card. So what was left to use this Reserve card?

1. Daycare - $1,060
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my daycare used to allow payment using a Visa or Mastercard without any additional fees. So we made about 3 weeks worth of payments (2 regular payments and we prepaid the first week in September).

2. Charitable Donations - $200
Now, to be clear, we did not make a donation just for the purpose of meeting this minimum spend requirement nor was this related to any buckets of ice. Each month, we support a handful of organizations, including our church, the nonprofit my father sits on the board of, as well as individuals through Kiva microlending. Again, we're not spending more than we do normally.

3. Public Transportation - $72
We used to have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card that would earn us 2x Ultimate Reward points (worth about a 4% rebate), but we cancelled that when the $95 annual came due, so we were without a card that gave a bonus on transportation.

So we used our Citi Hilton Reserve for a $60 metrocard reload and a $12 taxi fare. Now we didn't need to refill our metrocard, but figured that we'd definitely use up the full value over the next few weeks. So we were just prepaying something we were certain that we were going to use.

4. TD Bank Go Card Reloads - $4,004
My friend Peyton's parents told my parents about a neat little scheme where you could get a TD Bank Go prepaid debit card and load it up using a credit card. You were allowed up to three $1,000 loads in a rolling 30 day period, for just $1 fee per load. The way the calendar rolled out, we were able to get 4 loads in (three in August and one on September 1st).

The true beauty of this scheme (no longer working as of Sept 3) was that you could load the TD Go card using a point earning credit card and then use it to pay off any Citi credit card. And our Hilton Reserve card just so happened to be issued by Citi. So we'd use our Citi Hilton Reserve to load our TD Go, then call up to use our TD Go Debit card to pay off the Citi Hilton Reserve. The only "loss" was $1 each load cycle, so $4 total.

5. Paypal Reload Cards - $2,016
Photo from Million Mile Secrets
Now, after figuring out the math, we were going to fall short, so we had to compromise on my father's "always optimize" mandate. So we took the easy route and went to a few nearby pharmacies that sold Paypal Reload cards. First, we gave up on earning 5% cash back on $2,016, which was about $100 of cash rebate. Second, we had to pay a $3.95 fee on each of the 4 cards we loaded with $500, so another $16 of fee leakage.

However, we did achieve the annual $10,000 goal earning 22,500 Hilton HHonors points (worth up to $225 of redemption value) and a free weekend night certificate at just about any Hilton property in the world, including the stunning Conrad Koh Samui we visited last year which retails for $800-1000/night.

Final Tally
  • Hilton HHonors Points:  $180-225 of value (at 0.8-1.0 cents/Hilton point)
  • Free Weekend Night Certificate:  $400-800 of value
  • Less: Fees Incurred:   $20 loss
  • TOTAL:   $560-1,005 of net value
If we had to replicate the same spending on the "optimal" cards instead of our Hilton Reserve Visa, then we'd probably have used the Amex Blue for drugstore spend, Starwood Amex for everything else - unless they only took Visa/Mastercard where we'd use our Barclays Arrival+.

Tallying those totals up using our point valuations, we'd get to about $219 of value, so it's pretty clear that we were better off going for the Free Weekend Night certificate. Now, the fun part of finding a Hilton property to redeem it at!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Credit Card Discipline

As you should know by now, my parents try their best to optimize their regular spending by using reward credit cards without spending any more than they would normally.

Let me repeat that last part of the sentence again for dramatic effect.

"without spending any more than they would normally."

Statistics show that the average American will indeed spend 12-15% more if they use credit cards over cash. After all, there's something about reaching into your pocket and not having money that keeps people from buying impulse things like another Starbucks coffee or an extra appetizer.

Additionally, having a piece of plastic often makes us feel psychologically richer than we actually are. Your financial situation is, after all, a dirty little secret between you and your credit card company. Haven't saved up the cash for the new iPhone6 coming out next month? Well, you do have your Visa/Mastercard that will let you "buy now, pay later." But if you didn't have the cash this month, why do you assume you will next month?

Remember, getting charged 15-30% interest on your outstanding balances will destroy both the value of any frequent flyer miles you earn, as well as eat away at your checking account and your future financial well-being.

We bring this topic up, because my daycare just implemented a policy where they will charge us a higher price (additional 3%) if we decide to pay with a credit card.

Legally, there's a few things to consider if you run into a similar situation. Whenever you swipe your credit card, the merchant (store, restaurant, service provider) loses about 2-3% of the charge to pay for the credit card processing (banks and transaction processor). While this 2-3% may not seem like a lot to you, you have to remember that oftentimes some merchants like grocery stores ONLY make 3-5% profit after paying for all their expenses. So the processing fee is about half of their income!

Up until 2013, the massive credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, etc) didn't allow their merchant partners to charge additional fees when customers would use their credit card. After all, the credit card companies wanted to encourage usage of their products, not discourage it.

But in January 2013, a US District (federal) court ruled that merchants were now allowed to pass along these processing fees to customers by charging them up to an additional 4% on their purchases if they transact using plastic.

However, 10 states imposed Consumer Protection Laws which continue to prohibit these surcharges. These wonderful 10 states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. The New York version of the law subjects retailers to a potential one-year prison sentence and $500 fine for imposing surcharges (i.e., charging $102 for a $100 purchase using a credit card).

Then in October 2013, a Manhattan Federal Judge issued a temporary injunction that blocked enforcement of the New York state law that banned merchants from imposing credit card surcharges. He claimed it violated the merchant's First Amendment right to inform the customer of the true costs of credit card usage. Apparently, the First Amendment's a pretty big deal...after all, it's the first one.

So the injunction allows merchants to add surcharges for now until the final decision is reached.

All if this is somewhat moot, however, because (a) merchants could always just price all their products/services higher by 2-3% assuming everyone will pay using a credit card and (b) offer customers a 2-3% discount if they use cash. This is a legal way to get around the "No Surcharge" prohibition, because a "cash discount" is apparently legally different than a "credit card surcharge."

I know all this stuff, because our friend's painting business Five Star Painting IL signed up with a processor to accept credit cards from clients. And you know he did his research before signing up.

This Week
So on Tuesday, my Manhattan daycare that I've been going to for the past year sent around a tuition increase memo asking parents to sign an agreement to a 4% increase. However, they also separated the pricing so that there was a price if you were paying in cash/check and a 3% higher price if you were paying with a credit card. So for us, that'd be about a 7% increase if we wanted to keep paying with a card.

Prior to this memo, we had been paying the same weekly price ($340 for 3 days/week - ugh, don't ask) regardless of our method of payment. So my parents had been racking up some frequent flyer miles and hotel points for something they were going to pay for anyway. This was the ideal situation. Earning points "without spending any more than they would normally."

Now, we have to face a choice. Pay 3% more to earn points/miles or use cash to avoid the $11/week surcharge. Some of you may wonder why 3% is such an issue.

"Baby Songer, that's not a big deal either way." Trust me, when you do the math (I'm half-Asian after all), it adds up to over $500 annually. Now I'm not sure about your situation, but personally, I'd rather have an extra $500 every year to spend on ice cream instead of extra fees.

"Baby Songer, won't you come out ahead, because you get more value out of the miles/points?" While many of our award mile/point redemptions come in at around 2-4% or higher, paying a surcharge essentially puts us in a hole to dig out of.  For example, for a $100 charge, we'd pay $103 using our credit card to earn 103 miles. After all, if we paid $100 in cash, we'd get 0 miles. So we're basically buying 103 miles for $3. Buying the miles upfront for ~3 cents/mile and then hoping we can redeem them for more in the future isn't how we like to play this game.

So if you're not good at following our train of logic, we're going to pay cash (by check) to avoid the 3% fee and stay disciplined to our rule earning points "without spending any more than they would normally."

UPDATE: After successful negotations, we were able to remove the 3% surcharge. So now we're paying the same amount as the "cash" price but able to use our credit cards.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Father's Fall Application Round

Typically, August is when everyone in NYC goes on their final summer vacations - especially this week heading into Labor Day Weekend.

However, we did most of our traveling already in June (Switzerland and Israel) and July (Italy and Greece), so we've been enjoying our own New York and the amazing weather the past few weeks.

So with the extra free time not spent at the airport nor in hotel rooms, my father has been reviewing our frequent flyer miles and hotel point balances. He's trying to figure out which ones we need to re-stock, now that our big 2014 trips are over.

We seem to be OK on hotel points (a healthy stash of 110,000 Starwood SPG points, 100,000 IHG Reward points and 97,500 Club Carlson points). Frequent flyer miles seem to be good as well (500,000 American Airline AAdvantage miles 300,000 United MileagePlus miles, and 222,000 British Airways Avois). In addition, we have another 288,000 Chase UR points that can be transferred into United Airlines or Hyatt Hotels instantly.

But since it had been about 5-6 months since my father's last credit card application round, he thought he should get in one last set of travel reward credit cards before 2014 closed out. Luckily, there were some decent limited time offers available, including:

1. Chase United Explorer Visa (50,000 miles) - fee waived first year
2. Citi American Airlines Mastercard (50,000 miles) - fee waived first year
3. American Express Everyday (10,000 points) - no annual fee
Big Warning If you have any debt at all (student loans, credit card, personal loans or mob gambling debt), then you're better off not opening more credit cards, because you're probably spending more than you're making and ruining your future. The last thing you need is another credit card. 
  • The credit card companies will only issue these premium reward credit cards to individuals with high credit scores (above 700 FICO). Applying and getting rejected hurts your score even more, so don't try until you're confident you'll get approved. 
  • The points and miles you earn (valued at up to 2-4% of your spend) will be negated if you carry a balance and have to pay 15-25% interest. All that money you're paying in interest and late charges could pay for the trips you're trying to get for free. 
  • And if you have trouble overspending, keep in mind that the average person spends 15% more when they use a convenient plastic credit card to make purchases instead of using hard earned cash. Something about seeing your empty wallet makes you thing twice about buying that extra Starbucks.
Given we were so flush in miles/points, we didn't think it made sense to apply for cards with an annual fee, so we skipped the Amex Business Platinum card ($450 fee for 100,000 points), the Bank of America Alaska Airlines card ($75 for 25,000 miles) and the Barclays US Airways card ($89 fee for 40,000 miles).

We didn't have any strong needs for specific points, so we just went with the best available offers in the loyalty programs we liked having (United, American and Amex). So here's how he fared on his no/waived fee applications:

Chase United Explorer Visa
Type: Personal card
Bonus: 50,000 United miles
Min Spend: $2,000 in 3 months
Other: $50 statement credit after first purchase and 5,000 additional miles for adding authorized user

My father actually had this card twice before already. Back sometime around 2005 he had the Chase Continental Explorer card (before the United merger). Then in 2011, he applied for the Chase United Explorer card and received a 50,000 mile sign up bonus plus an additional 5,000 for adding my mother as an authorized user. Now Chase typically only gives sign up bonuses once per card, but they added language in the terms and conditions that states that you can be eligible for the bonus again IF you have not received the bonus within the past 2 years. Since 2014 minus 2011 is > 2, my father's prospects were looking good!

Unfortunately, he was not instantly approved online. So he waited an hour and then called the Chase Reconsideration Line to "offer any additional information regarding his application." In addition to confirming his annual income and rent expense, he dropped in some facts about his 100% on time payment history and long relationship with Chase Bank. The representative said everything looked good and that he would re-submit the application with his recommendation, but then it went to "a final review" that would require a few weeks.

Now, my father knows that no one wants to give bad news to applicants. So most company's standard operating procedures call for the "you will receive our decision in the mail" message to let the poor representatives from having to get yelled at. But then again, a similar process happened with his Chase Hyatt Visa card back in Feb 2013 as well and he was ultimately approved for that. So it's a bit of a toss up how things will play out.

OUTCOME:  Pending

[UPDATE: 8/29/14 - My father's Online Chase account now shows the new Explorer card, so looks like he was approved]

Citi American Airlines Mastercard
Type: Personal card
Bonus: 50,000 American miles
Min Spend: $3,000 in 3 months

My father had applied for the Visa and Amex versions of this card back in July 2012. Then in 2013, he negotiated another free year for the Visa, but closed his Amex before the $95 annual fee hit. So this past summer, when the Visa fee was hitting, he ended up downgrading it to a no fee Citi Dividend card to keep the credit line open. But now, he was without an American Airlines card.

Of course, LCD readers should know by now that my family usually flies on United Airlines domestically and their Star Alliance partners internationally, but we do fly American Airlines from time to time when we redeem our British Airways Avios for flights on AA. If that last sentence made your head spin, then be thankful you're not a points/miles nerd like my father.

With this card, we get additional perks such as 10% mileage award rebates (which will come in handy should we redeem any of our our 500,000 AA miles), free checked bags and priority boarding. Since we have NO status whatsoever with American, these perks definitely come in handy when we fly American to Chicago to visit our friend's painting business (Five Star Painting IL) next month.

The online application went to Decision Pending, but there was a popup window offering an Online Chat with one of their representatives. This feature is great since it saves my father from having to call the Reconsideration line and can offer him a written transcript of the conversation. After answering a few questions and moving some credit lines around, he was approved on the spot!

OUTCOME: Approved!

American Express EveryDay
Type: Personal card
Bonus: 10,000 Membership Reward points
Min Spend: $1,000 in 3 months

Compared to the other 50,000 mile bonuses, this sign up offer was pretty sub-standard by all accounts. However, the card itself has no annual fee and therefore allows my father to keep it indefinitely.

If you recall, last January 2013 he applied for a 100,000 MR offer for the Platinum Amex card which he then closed in January 2014 before the $450 annual fee was due. He also had applied for a 75,000 MR offer for a Gold Business Amex in May 2013 that he closed in May 2014. Since he didn't value paying a $175 annual fee just to keep his Amex MR points, he had to redeem or transfer all of them to airlines before closing his last Amex MR card. But since this Amex EveryDay card has no annual fee, he can house all his future MR points without having to unnecessarily redeem or transfer.

Plus, now my parents have another two American Express cards to use for Small Business Saturday in November! If it's anything like last year, that's another $20 of free stuff...hopefully $50!

This would be his fourth active Amex credit card (others being SPG Personal, SPG Business and Hilton).

OUTCOME: Approved!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hyatt Place Twitter Contest

Hyatt Place is celebrating the opening of their 200th location and has been giving away 200 free nights in 200 hours (Aug 18-26).

The contest called See It Share It is on Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. Contestants were asked to post a photo of their favorite Hyatt Place. If the photos are chosen, the winners will be awarded a free night certificate.

We've actually been to several Hyatt Places in the past few years, including Hyatt Places in Riverside (CA), Ontario (CA), Boise (ID)Riverhead (NY), and Mohegan Sun (CT). The beauty of the Hyatt Place brand is that every property is almost identically consistent. So you know exactly what you're getting - a very large comfortable room a flat screen tv, free wifi and free breakfast every morning at a reasonable price. It caters to frequent business travelers and families who just need a place to sleep at night when they're traveling. In fact, it's probably going to be the official corporate hotel of our friend's small business, Five Star Painting IL.

To be a winner in the contest, you need to submit a photo that is representative of the Hyatt Place brand and tag it with #HyattPlace and #HPEntry.

We actually didn't have that many photos from our Hyatt Place stays, but I found one decent one from our 13 night stay in Boise, Idaho that gave you a sense of how large the room is. In fact, the photo doesn't even show you the equally large "livingroom" area with the full couch, desk and mini fridge/sink area.

It's not a first come-first serve situation as they select winners based on the quality of your photo, so make sure you have a pretty decent submission. As you can see from our winning submission, you don't need to be Ansel Adams to win.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mixed Retention

Back in February, I wrote about how my father was able to secure a few extra points and waived fees by simply calling up the banks when his credit cards were due for their annual fee to hit.

This past July, it was time for another round of closure or retention. The lineup was as follows:
  1. Chase Ink Bold Mastercard
  2. American Express Starwood Business
  3. Citi Thank You Premier Visa
  4. Citi American AAdvantage Visa
Chase Ink Bold Mastercard
My mother had opened up this card back in June 2013 and earned 60,000 Chase UR points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. This was one of the cards that helped us earn enough UR points to transfer to United Airlines for our business class flights on Lufthansa to Italy.

It gave us a great 5x on our spend on our Time Warner cable TV and Verizon Wireless bills each month. We also found some creative ways to spend at Staples (ordering our bottled water, buying gift cards for Old Navy shopping and Amazon shopping) for another 5x on office supply expenditures as well. Over the course of the 1st year (with no annual fee), we definitely generated at least another 20,000+ UR points in addition to the 60,000 sign up bonus. Valuing UR points at about 2 cents/pt, we earned a tax free $1,600 in rebates for spending the same amount as we would have normally but by using the right credit card.

But now that it was time to renew the card, but pay $95 for the upcoming year. Given my father also had another Chase Ink Bold card for his small business, we didn't see the need for paying a fee for a second Ink Bold card with duplicate benefits. So we called up Chase to see if we could close the account (or if they would make us an offer to keep it open).

Some people on Flyertalk reported getting 10,000 points for keeping the card (and paying the $95 fee). When we called, they made no such offer. We then asked if we could "downgrade" the card to the Chase Ink Cash card (no annual fee, but a similar 5% earning on telecom/office supply stores). They declined as well.

At some point during calls like this, we would expect to hear, "Mr. Songer, you've been a great customer with us since 20XX, so we'd hate to lose your business..." But this call, there was nothing. Apparently, they wouldn't hate to lose this business at all.

Left with no options, we decided to close the card outright and avoid the $95 fee.

Outcome: FAIL

American Express Starwood Business
This was going to be a bit of a gamble. Most of the time, when we're threatening to close the card, we're more than happy to follow through. Sometimes, however, we're just playing chicken and will balk if they call our bluff. The Starwood Amex is one of those situations.

My mother opened this card this card in June 2013 when there was a 30,000 SPG point offer for spending $5,000 in 3 months. Now, my family (a) loves Starwood hotel properties and (b) values a SPG point at about 2.5 cents/pt - the highest of any point/mile currency. But most importantly, my family achieved Starwood Platinum status thanks to the help of getting the 2 stay / 5 night elite credit just for holding the card.

Since we actually had a lot of Starwood Amex cards (between my two parents with both personal and business versions, we actually didn't need to keep this one to earn our SPG points. We had plenty of available credit with the handful of open SPG Amex cards.

However, the fact that this card gave my father the additional 2 stay / 5 night credit definitely helped us reach 50 nights last year to earn both Starwood Platinum status as well as 10 Suite Night Award coupons - which we definitely used this past year. Without the elite credit, we would have fallen short last year and this year.

My Father: "We enjoy the card, but I'm just not sure it warrants another $65 fee to use the card another year."

Representative: "I"m sorry, but I cannot waive the fee."

My Father: "Um, OK. Then I'd like to cancel the card..." (long drawn out, waiting to be interrupted with a counteroffer)

Representative: "OK, I can help you with that!"

So when the agent quickly confirmed his request so quickly, my father called an audible and stopped the Representative. "Um, actually wait one second, I want to make sure with my wife. I'll give you a call back."

Representative: "Sure thing. Have a nice day!"

We kept the card open and paid the $65 fee, rationalizing that 2 stays at a Starwood hotel would cost at least $150 out of pocket and time.

Outcome: FAIL

Citi Thank You Premier Visa
This Citi credit card was actually 2 years old. My mother opened it in June 2012 when they were offering 50,000 Citi Thank You points for $3,000 spending in 3 months with no annual fee the first year.

But when the $125 annual fee came due the following year (2013), we called and were able to negotiate a $75 statement credit to partially offset the fee. Though we'd have to pay $50 net, we took that offer, because we still had my father generating a ton of Citi Thank You points using his 5x earning Citi TY Preferred card for another 7 months.

The Premier version card gives you 1.25 cents/point value when redeemed for flights, but the Preferred card only gave you 1.00 cent/point. So redeeming for an extra 0.25 cents would be worth paying $50 out of pocket for, if and only if we would redeem for at least 20,000 Citi Thank You points during the year. We ended up redeeming over 514,000!

So for paying the reduced annual fee of $50, we were able to redeem for an additional $1,285 of flight value. Smart move, Dad!

But now, it was July 2014 and we no longer had the benefit of the 5x Preferred card to generate massive amounts of Citi TY points. So we redeemed all the rest of our Citi TY points (at a 1.25 cent/pt rate) on our upcoming October flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico and were prepared to close the card. But when we called Citi, they were reasonably accommodating.

Instead of just waiving the fee outright, they proposed a spending challenge. If we spent $1,000 in each of the next 3 billing statements, we would receive an additional 1,000 Citi Thank You points and a $125 statement credit - enough to offset the annual fee. Of course, we'd still be charged (and have to pay) the $125 annual fee upfront, but at least we have an opportunity to earn it all back in the form of a statement credit. We accepted.

Outcome: SUCCESS!

Citi American Airlines Visa
This was another Citi card that we've had since 2012. At that time, we were able to apply for 2 Citi AA cards (one Amex and one Visa) at the same time. It was called the "Two Browser Trick" and we were able to earn 50,000 AA miles on each card for 100,000 total.

Fast forward to 2013, we called to get retention offers on both cards. But interestingly enough, my father received no offer on his AA Amex, but did get a fee waiver on his AA Visa. So he kept the Visa for another year until this past July when the annual fee came up.

There are a ton of travel perks by having/using these Citi AA credit cards, including Priority Boarding, 2 AA Lounge Passes, Free Checked Bag, and 10% Mileage Rebate when redeeming AA award miles. Unfortunately, we didn't fly American Airlines that much and didn't end up redeeming any of our 480,000+ AA miles either.

But nevertheless, at some point, we would be redeeming our miles and likely would want one of these Citi AA cards, but it was foolish to pay $85 for speculative optionality. So we called to see what offers we could get, but they didn't offer us any. No waived fee. No statement credit. No AA miles. No challenges.

But given my father had a $20,000 credit limit on this card (valuable asset for future trades), he didn't want to close outright. Instead, he asked to downgrade the card to a no-fee Citi Dividend card. The representative processed the product change and told him that the $85 due on his monthly statement would be reversed before his statement balance was due.

The Citi Dividend card isn't that amazing (straight 1% cash back on all purchases, no ability to transfer to airline miles or hotel points), but they do offer quarterly 5% cash back categories where you can get up to $300/year (ie, spending $6,000 in bonus categories).

But unlike Chase Freedom or Discover IT quarterly bonuses, there's no quarterly $75 cap on bonus earning - you just have an annual cap of $300 in rebates. So if there's a quarter with a particularly great category (i.e., drugstores), then my father can surely find a way to maximize his window of opportunity.

Outcome: SUCCESS!