Category Archive for 'Credit Cards'

4 Delta Credit Cards With Limited Time 50K-70K Signup Bonuses, Enough Miles For Up To 14 Flights With One Card!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Related: A Comparison Of AA, Delta, And United Saver Award Space: Is AAdvantage The New SkyPesos?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.


American Express has released 4 limited time offers on Delta credit cards that are valid until November 9th. The Delta Platinum cards now have 70K signup bonuses, the largest public offer ever.

There is also a 50K limited time offer for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN which you can read more about here.

Signup bonuses are valid for the first time you’ve had each type of Delta card, so you can get the bonus for each of the 4 card versions below.

-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-Eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, and more.
-$0 intro annual fee, then $95.

-Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months and a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
-This card includes an annual Companion Certificate that is valid for a round-trip Economy Class Companion ticket with the payment of applicable taxes and fees within the 48 contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI.
-Eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, and more.
-$195 annual fee.

-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: 
-Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-$0 intro annual fee, then $95.

-Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months and a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
-This card includes an annual Companion Certificate that is valid for a round-trip Economy Class Companion ticket with the payment of applicable taxes and fees within the 48 contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI.
-$195 annual fee.

Business vs Consumer cards:

AMEX business cards don’t appear on your credit report. That’s good for several reasons.

First of all they won’t count against your 5/24 count for opening new Chase cards. Only cards on your report that have been opened within the past 24 months count for that.

Second, when you spend money on personal cards your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card bill before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a couple dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month. On an AMEX business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score.

Third, if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.

You may already have a business that needs a card to keep track of expenses. For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

Triggering the $50 or $100 statement credit:

Any Delta purchase will trigger the statement credit. There is no minimum Delta purchase required, even a $2 snack or drink on a Delta flight will trigger the full $50 or $100 credit!

Sample purchases include Delta gift cards or eGift cards, food or drinks on a Delta flight, baggage fees, tickets, upgrades, change fees, club entrance fees, etc.

Delta Miles:

I have mixed feelings about Delta miles or “Skypesos.”

Traditionally they have had terrible saver award availability. However that has improved of late and it’s now significantly better than American’s availability, though it’s not as good as United’s.

Delta’s miles also never expire!

However Delta doesn’t publish award charts anymore as they feel than an uneducated customer is their best customer. That’s beyond frustrating.

They don’t charge a close-in award fee, but it can be tough to find saver award space available within 3 weeks.

However there are still plenty of good uses of Delta miles, especially as American’s award availability has gone down the drain.

Delta’s one-way flexible award calendar that can be set to search for 5 weeks at a time is also a marked improvement over their old buggy award calendar.

Delta has also lowered the cost of some domestic saver awards from a flat 12.5K to 10K, 7.5K, and 5K, depending on the route.

For example NYC to Fort Lauderdale is now 7.5K miles:

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Los Angeles to Seattle is now 5K miles:

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Cleveland to NYC is now 10K miles:

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For example if you open a Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card and spend $5,000 you’ll have 75,000 miles. That’s enough for 10 one-way tickets between NYC and Florida!

All 4 Delta cards:

-Offer a free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to 8 companions on the same reservation.
-Have no foreign transaction fees.
-Offer Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights for the primary cardholder and up to 8 companions on the same reservation so that you won’t have to gate-check your carry-ons.
-Offer 2 Delta miles per dollar on flight purchases from Delta.
-Offer a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible pre-purchased meals, in-flight purchases of food,alcoholic beverages and audio headsets, and movies, shows and video games accessed via Delta’s seatback in-flight entertainment system, on Delta-operated flights.
-Waive the Medallion Qualification Dollar requirement to reach Medallion status if you spend $25,000 on the cards in that calendar year. Eligible Purchases will be combined across multiple Delta cards of the primary cardholder if those accounts are linked to the same SkyMiles number.
-Offer $29 per person discounted SkyClub lounge access for the cardmember and up to 2 guests.
-Offer return protection that allows you to return items to AMEX for a full refund when a store won’t take an item back within 90 days of the date of purchase, up to $300 per item and $1,000 per card per calendar year. If AMEX requests that the item be returned they will provide a free shipping label, though in most people’s experience you don’t typically have to actually send the item back for a refund.
-Offer AMEX protections like purchase protection, extended warranty, dispute resolution, CDW car rental insurance, and more.
-Offer free Shoprunner membership for 2nd day free shipping and returns.
-Offer free additional cardholders (up to 99 per account). Additional cardholders are each eligible for American promotions like Small Business Saturday, Twitter offers, etc.

If you actually want to collect Delta miles you’ll do better spending on the  Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX as 20,000 Starpoints transfers into 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines, including Delta or Delta partners like Air France and Alaska. Though there are better airlines that Starwood points can transfer into unless you need a specific Delta award.

Alternatively you can earn 1.5 miles per dollar (transferable to Delta) everywhere with The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express. If you have 30 transactions per month it offers 4.5 miles per dollar at US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar at US gas stations, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar everywhere else.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and earns 1.2 miles per dollar (transferable to Delta) by making 20 transactions per month. Purchases like groceries and Uber and will earn 2.2-2.4 miles per dollar.

For Delta purchases you can earn 3 points per dollar on the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card versus 2 per dollar on the Delta card.

However the MQM bonuses can make it worth spending on the Platinum Delta cards if you can hit the $25K or $50K spend threshold bonuses.

Additionally if you are gunning for Delta medallion status, then spending $25,000 on Delta cards in a year will waive the requirement to spend a minimum amount on Delta flights to earn that status ($3,000 for Silver, $6,000 for Gold, $9,000 for Platinum, and $15,000 for Diamond if you don’t spend $25K in a year across all of your Delta cards).

But the cards are great for the signup bonus and benefits that they come with for both Delta Medallions and non-Medallions alike.

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On Additional Sapphire Reserve Cards Without A Fee And Keeping Sapphire Reserve For Additional Years; Earning $4,250 In Travel Credit

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Related posts (Read these first):
Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!
-What Should You Do With Your Sapphire Preferred Card After Getting A Sapphire Reserve Card?
-On The Topic Of Chase 5/24

-Expedite Your 100,000 Point Sapphire Reserve Signup Bonus; Can You Get The Signup Bonus With Only $3,700 In Spending?

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Sapphire Reserve mania is everywhere. I still get Bloomberg Businessweek for free thanks to combining a few magazine subscriptions from this deal and there it is on this week’s front cover. When dollar coins from the Mint made the front page of the WSJ we all knew that it would come to an end, so I’m not sure how I feel about the cover story…

At any rate, I’d like to tackle a couple of common questions with the Sapphire Reserve.

People often ask me about the $75 additional cardholder fee. And it’s true, this is indeed a disadvantage compared to Sapphire Preferred which has free additional cardholders.

Both myself and my wife signed up for our own Sapphire Reserve cards, so we have no need for an additional user card. It was a no-brainer for both of us to signup. In our first cardmebership year (August 2016-2017) we’ll pay $900 in annual fees, but we’ll get a total of 200,000 bonus points that are worth at least $3,000 of travel credit (though likely much more than that by transferring those points into miles). Additionally we’ll get $1,200 in automatic travel refunds for airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, parking, and more. You can even buy airline or hotel gift cards or just prepay your E-ZPass account to trigger the credit. The $1,200 is made up of $300 in credits on each of cards in 2016 and then another $300 of credits on each card in 2017.

Chase even awards 900 points for that $300 in spending despite it being refunded. That’s another 3,600 in bonus points on free spending between our 2 cards, good for at least $54 in free flights.

Between our 2 cards that’s a minimum of $4,250 in travel credit in our first cardmembership year. That’s well worth paying $900 in annual fees. And that’s not even counting the triple points on travel and dining, the Priority Pass lounge membership, the 5 year Global Entry membership, and the ability to redeem all Chase points for 1.5 cents towards travel, including on cards like Freedom Unlimited where you earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere (effective 2.25% minimum rebate everywhere) or Freedom/Ink cards that can earn 5 points per dollar (effective 7.5% minimum rebate in select categories).

The reason that Sapphire Reserve has a $75 additional cardholder fee is to cover the primary Priority Pass membership that each additional cardholder receives. With Chase’s Priority Pass membership you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge for free.

If your additional cardholder travels with you then it’s not worth paying the $75 as they can enter as your guest. But if they travel by themselves it can make sense to pay the $75.

Previously 2 Chase online SM reps and a phone rep told me that additional cardholders would also qualify for Global Entry credits, but it turns out that is not the case.

If you just need an extra Sapphire Reserve card for travel and dining spending you can get a duplicate card by just calling Chase and asking for an extra metal or plastic version of the card.

Or if you still have the old Chase.com interface you can request a replacement card online. I have 2 Chase logins, 1 only has my personal accounts and has been upgraded to the new interface. The other login has both my personal and business accounts and still uses the old interface. After logging in to an account with the old interface just click on “Customer Center” and then “Card replacement:”

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I haven’t been able to find that option in the new Chase.com interface.

I now have 2 identical Sapphire Reserve cards in my name that both work, no $75 fee required. Even if a store asks for ID, Visa does not allow a store to refuse to swipe your credit card if you refuse to show it…

Another common question is whether it’s worth keeping the Sapphire Reserve for subsequent years.

Chase has done a good job making a strong value proposition to keep the card despite its $450 annual fee.

My 2nd cardmembership year will run from August 2017-2018. In 2018 I’ll get another $300 in travel credits. Chase also awards 900 points for that $300 in spending, so that’s $313.50 of annual credit.

The credit will apply in every subsequent cardmembership year and it makes the effective annual fee just $136.50 per year. That’s only $41.50 per year more than Sapphire Preferred and is a bargain considering what you get for that.

If you spend $233 per month on travel and dining you’ll already pay for that difference in the annual fee thanks to the 3 points per dollar awarded with Sapphire Reserve compared to 2 points per dollar with Sapphire Preferred. That level of spending means an extra 2,800 annual points that are worth at least $42 thanks to the minimum 1.5 cents per point travel redemption value if you have a Sapphire Reserve card.

Of course the additional benefits are much more than just the extra point per dollar. You also get the lounge membership with unlimited guesting, the Global Entry credit every 4 years, and the ability to use all of your Chase points for 1.5 cents each towards travel.

Other Sapphire Reserve benefits include roadside assistance, free trip cancellation insurance, primary CDW insurance, rental car discounts, price protection, return protection, purchase protection, warranty protection, lost luggage Protection, trip delay protection, baggage delay protection, travel accident insurance, and Visa Infinite Concierge. You can read more about those here.

As always you can transfer points to someone else in your household, so if one person in the household uses cards like Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink to earn between 1.5-5 points per dollar everywhere they can transfer those points to the another person in the household who has a Sapphire Reserve to transfer into miles or use at a value of 1.5 cents each. And you even can get extra Sapphire Reserve cards to earn 3 points per dollar for travel and dining purchases without paying the $75 annual fee as shown above.

I’m just hoping that these levels of benefits will be sustainable despite the mainstream media coverage…

Have you signed up for a Sapphire Reserve yet?

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Expedite Your 100,000 Point Sapphire Reserve Signup Bonus; Can You Get The Signup Bonus With Only $3,700 In Spending?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Related posts:
Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!
-What Should You Do With Your Sapphire Preferred Card After Getting A Sapphire Reserve Card?
-On The Topic Of Chase 5/24


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Chase launched the Sapphire Reserve card 4 weeks ago and it’s been a wildly successful card launch. Within a week they ran out of the metal that the cards were supposed to be made out of and started sending out temporary plastic cards to new signups.

The card offers 100,000 points for spending $4,000 as well as $300 in automatic travel refunds every calendar year. 100,000 points is worth a minimum of $1,500 towards travel with this card.

The first year’s annual fee is $450, but the actual out of pocket fee for the first year is negative $150 due to $300 of refunds in 2016 and $300 of refunds in 2017. Purchases that can be refunded include any charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking. Every time you charge one of those items to your card you’ll get an automatic credit until you’ve used $300 in credits that calendar year.

A common question has been whether you will get the signup bonus if you spend $4,000 but it falls to just $3,700 in charges due to the automatic travel refunds. People were also wondering if you will receive the 3 points per dollar on travel spending that is refunded.

I just received my 100,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 including $300 of travel spending and can confirm that you will get the bonus even if you spend falls to $3,700 after the $300 is refunded. You also will earn 900 points from the $300 of travel spending even though Chase refunds it. That’s another $13.50 of free travel just for using the $300 annual free travel benefit!

Chase awards the 100,000 points either on the statement on which you complete the spending or on the following statement if you complete the spending requirement too close to the statement close date.

You can check if your next statement will include the 100,000 bonus by going to the Sapphire Reserve’s Ultimate Rewards page:

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I was also able to get those points added to my account within a few days by just changing my bill’s due date. To do that from the old Chase.com interface click on “See more information” under the Sapphire Reserve and then “Change bill due date.” To do that from the new Chase.com interface click on “things you can do,” then “Update settings and preferences” and then “Payment due date.” Or you can just call the number on the back of your card.

I got a statement on September 3rd for my Sapphire Reserve with a bill due date of the 28th of the month. On 9/16 I noticed that my 100,000 points were pending. I changed my due date to the 16th of the month and the bill printed yesterday along with the 100,000 points:

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-I was able to help a friend apply for and get approved for a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Plus via 3BM for over 200K signup points!

-If you haven’t yet applied for Sapphire Reserve you should read the post on 5/24. It contains important information about what you should do about additional user cards that may hinder an approval.

Dozens of DDF’ers have been able to get approved after becoming Chase Private Clients by requesting that status from a Chase banker.

Sapphire Reserve offers 3 points per dollar on:
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Car rentals.
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, and lounges.
-Cruises
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

There are no foreign transaction fees.

You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide with Priority Pass and you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge for free! That includes lounges with kosher food and wine in Newark and Tel Aviv. You can call Chase to enroll in Priority Pass or you can enroll online here.

Every 4 years you can get a $100 credit for a 5 year Global Entry membership which also includes TSA pre-check. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US.

Additional cardholders cost $75/year and include a Priority Pass membership with free guesting privileges as well.

Increased cash back or miles:
The Sapphire Reserve allows you to use all your Chase points for 1.5 cents each per dollar towards travel. You can transfer points from any Chase card to Sapphire Reserve to make them more valuable.
Previously it’s always been worth transferring Chase points into real airline miles and hotel points.
But at about 1.5 cents per dollar it can start making sense to consider redeeming points directly for paid travel without transferring them into miles. That’s especially true as those fares, as opposed to traditional mileage tickets, also earn additional miles. You can still do much better with miles when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.

The ability to choose between 1.5 cents per dollar or mileage transfers make Sapphire Reserve an incredibly versatile credit card.

The 1.5 cents per dollar redemption option also means the travel and dining categories on this card earn at least 4.5% per dollar.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Having the Sapphire Reserve makes everyday spending on that card worth at least 2.25%. I downgraded my old Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited and use it for everyday purchases.

Chase Freedom and Ink cards also have 5 point category bonuses and those will be worth at least 7.5% if you have the Sapphire Reserve.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals (including 30% off Silvercar).

Sapphire Reserve comes with primary rental car CDW insurance in every country in the world. Most other cards only have secondary coverage when you rent a car in your home country. This means that if you damage your rental vehicle you must file the claim with your own personal insurance policy first, and only if they won’t cover the damage will the credit card cover the damage. Even additional cardholders get primary coverage when they rent.

Most credit cards also exclude countries like Israel from coverage, however all Chase cards cover you worldwide, including in Israel. And they will give you a letter of coverage stating that you are covered in Israel so that you don’t have to argue at the rental car counter that your Chase Visa does give CDW coverage.

Plus you get triple points on car rentals, meaning there is no better card out there for car rentals!

-Trip cancellation insurance is free.
Trip cancellation reimburses up to $10,000 per person, up to $20,000 per trip, and up to $40,000 per year if you need to cancel for injury, death, or sickness experienced by you, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member of you or your traveling companion. Other covered reasons include severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, home dwelling becoming inhabitable, quarantine, or financial insolvency of the travel agency or operator of your trip.

Other card benefits include:
-Price protection. Find a lower price in a store or online on a non-auction site within 90 days and get back up to $500/item and $2,500/year.
-Return protection. Return an item to a store that won’t take back an item for up to 90 days ($500/item, $1,000/year)
-Purchase protection: 120 days of protection in case of damage or theft on items you buy ($10,000/item, $50K/year)
-Warranty protection: An extra year of warranty coverage on purchases ($10K/item, $50K/account)
-Lost Luggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost you can be reimbursed by up to $3,000 per person.
-Trip Delay Protection: If you are delayed that either requires an overnight stay or is more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses per person.
-Baggage Delay Protection: If your bags are delayed by more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $100 in expenses per person per day, for up to $500 per person.
-Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage if you are injured or killed on a trip.
-Roadside Assistance: Coverage for up to 4 incidents per year.

-Visa Infinite Concierge is included free of charge.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points and has the ability to transfer points into miles.  It also gives you the ability to transfer points from fantastic no annual fee cards like Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash into miles as well, as those cards can’t transfer points directly into miles without having the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Plus card.

You can also transfer points at an equal ratio to your own or to one authorized user’s airline and hotel programs:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Korean (Skyteam)
-Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
-Southwest
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hyatt
-Marriott
-Ritz Carlton
-IHG

Point Currency:

Chase Ultimate Rewards offer instant and fee-free transfers to top-notch mileage and points programs at a 1:1 ratio.

You can transfer points to a household member’s Chase card or to an authorized user’s airline/hotel programs.

You can also transfer points to Chase business Ink cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash where you can transfer from there to other business owner’s cards and/or programs.

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is an excellent currency. They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they often run discounted award promotions, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards, though partner American has been stingy with award space of late. Awards start from just 4.5K miles. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on American within the western hemisphere, on Qantas from or within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in this post on everything you need to know about BA Avios. And you can see 110 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska! If there is Delta saver award space you can fly to Hawaii round-trip for just 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in business.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam) offers promo awards from rotating North American cities to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 12,500 miles each way. Regular awards to Israel are just 25K miles each way, though some fuel surcharges apply on most airlines except for Delta.
Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel, though that rate can now vary. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down.
Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta and often has sales for discounted awards to London.
Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have a cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.

Generally speaking you’ll want to use the 1.5 cents per point option when redeeming for round-trip coach tickets booked in advance. You’ll generally want to transfer to miles for business class, first class, last minute and one-way coach awards. You’ll be better off with 1.5 cents per points for IHG and Marriott hotels, but Hyatt points can often be worth more than 1.5 cents each, so you’ll want to transfer points to Hyatt in those cases.

 

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2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Starwood Consumer Card

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Update: This offer ends today!


Originally posted on 7/25:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
-Check To See If You Are Targeted For A Starwood Spend Bonus
Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!


2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Starwood Consumer Card

If you add a free additional user to your Starwood account via the link above by 9/19 you will get 2,500 bonus Starpoints. There is a limit of 1 bonus per primary Starwood account.

This deal was posted to the DansDeals Forums on Friday and members that added a card on that day are already reporting that the bonus points are in their account despite the terms saying that it will take 8-12 weeks!

Additional AMEX cards qualify for AMEX Offers and promotions like Small Business Saturday. You can have up to 99 additional users on a primary card account, but the bonus is only for adding 1 card.

Additional Card Members must be at least 15 years of age. You are able to add yourself, a family member, or a friend as an additional user.

A social security number is required for this offer. There is no hard credit pull for adding an additional user.

However the account will show up on their credit report, which means that spending on the card can help or hurt their credit score depending on your credit utilization and payments.

An additional user card will also count against the user with Chase, which limits approvals for many of their cards if you have had more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months. It is possible to appeal that decision based on it being an authorized user account if you say that you don’t use it and aren’t responsible for payment on the card, but some have been turned down because of that approval guideline. It is possible to have the additional user account removed from the credit report by closing it and requesting removal from all 3 credit bureaus.

You can read more about the SPG cards in this post.

HT: Baruch, via DDF

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Limited Time Offer: 50K Points For Spending $3,000 On The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard!

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Related: You can also apply for other Barclay cards the same day with 1 credit pull, such as the JetBlue World Mastercard, the JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard, or the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard. You can read more about the JetBlue cards here.


Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard 50K Limited Time Offer

For a limited time the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is offering a 50K signup bonus for spending $3,000 in 3 months. That’s 25% higher than the previous 40K bonus.

The $89 annual fee is waived for the first year and people have reported being able to get it waived for subsequent years as well.

You can receive the bonus even if you have received it in the past.

The card gives 2 “miles” for every dollar you spend on anything plus a 5% refund when you redeem miles so that you effectively earn 2.11 “miles” per dollar spent.  The 5% refund means that the 50,000 points signup bonus is really more valuable as you’ll get 2,500 of those points back after you redeem the points for a cash refund.  Of course when you redeem those points you’ll also get a refund, etc. The 5% refund posts within 1-2 weeks of making a redemption.

Miles is a misnomer, really they just mean cents with each mile being worth 1 cent. The way it works is you book travel via any booking site and then you can just go online to your Barclays account and request that the purchase be refunded using your points. You can refund any purchase that is categorized as “Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies.”

There are no foreign transaction fees.

This card will only require 1 hard pull as opposed to cards from Capital One which cost 3 hard pulls. Best of all Barclay will typically pull from your Transunion credit report.  Most banks pull from Experian though this does vary by state.  If you are NJ or NY based you shouldn’t have almost any credit pulls on your Transunion report if you don’t have Barclays bank cards. If you are denied you can call reconsideration at 866-408-4064.

If you want to convert your points into cash you could just book a refundable ticket like a Southwest Anytime airfare, select to redeem points to give you a check equal to that purchase, and then just refund the Southwest ticket.  All of your points can be redeemed for cash back that way.

After spending $3,000 on a new card you’ll have 56,000 points. If you then spend $560 on a plane ticket you can redeem points to have the full purchase price refunded and you’ll also get back 2,800 points.

Personally I prefer real airline miles over bank miles due to their versatility. Having a combination of Freedom Unlimited plus Sapphire Reserve gives you the ability to choose between 2.25%-4.5% cash back everywhere or 1.5-3 real airline miles per dollar spend everywhere. However the Arrival Plus card has no annual fee the first year and a much lower annual fee than that combo in subsequent years and it now has a lucrative signup bonus that makes it well worth the signup.

You can also apply for other Barclay cards the same day with 1 credit pull, such as the JetBlue World Mastercard, the JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard, or the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard.

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Limited Time Offer: 50,000 Point Signup Bonus On The Business Gold Rewards Card From American Express

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Signup bonus:
For a limited time only you can earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. The normal bonus is 25K. The end date for this promotion is not yet known.

You can get this signup bonus if you haven’t had a business gold charge card in the past.

Annual fee:
The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Spending categories:
Choose to earn 3 points per dollar in one of the following categories and 2 points per dollar in the other categories:
-Airfare purchased directly from airlines (Tickets bought from sites like Orbitz and Priceline are processed directly by the airline and also qualify).
-U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
-U.S. purchases at gas stations
-U.S. purchases for shipping
-U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
You can earn 2 or 3 points per dollar on up to $100,000 of spending in each category per year.
Other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.

AMEX business cards offer a 5% automatic statement credit in addition to points earned for purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, and 1-800-Flowers.

AMEX charge cards also offer 2 points per dollar on Uber.

Business charge card:

As this is a business card it won’t show up on your personal credit report. That means it won’t against you for Chase’s 5/24 guideline. It also means that spending on the card won’t hurt your credit score like it would on a consumer card.

As it’s a charge card without a defined credit line it’s not subject the limit of 5 American Express credit cards per person.

You don’t need to be a traditional “business owner” as you might think of one to get a business card.

For example if Joe Smith sells items on Ebay or on Amazon, or has any other side business/hobby and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

American Express Benefits:
-American Express offers excellent online dispute resolution.
-With return protection you can return items up to $300 to AMEX for 90 days if the merchant won’t accept the return due to an item being final sale or the return policy being shorter than 90 days. Return protection will also refund any restocking fees that a merchant charges. Typically you won’t have to send the item back, but if you do AMEX will give you a prepaid return label for it.
-With purchase protection your items are covered if they break or are stolen within 90 days.
-With extended warranty you will have double the manufacturers warranty, up to one additional year, for free. Plus the AMEX warranty year is incredible as they will refund your purchase price if you have problems with your item!

Membership Rewards points transfer to:
Transfers are at 1K:1K ratios or are otherwise listed.
Airlines:
Aeromexico (Skyteam)
Air Canada (Star Alliance)
Alitalia (Skyteam)
ANA (Star Alliance)
Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific (OneWorld)
Avios, British Airways and Iberia (OneWorld, (1K MR:800 BA ratio, currently 1K:1.2K ratio through 10/10)
Delta (Skyteam)
El Al (1,000 MR:20 El Al ratio)
Emirates
Etihad
Flying Blue, Air France/KLM (Skyteam)
Hawaiian
Jetblue (250 MR:200 Jetblue ratio)
Singapore (Star Alliance)
Virgin America (200 MR:100 Virgin ratio, currently 200:125 ratio through 10/10)
Virgin Atlantic

Hotels:
Choice
Hilton: (1,000 MR:1,500 Hilton ratio)
Starwood: (1,000 MR:333 Starwood ratio)

Other programs:
Plenti (1K:1.5K ratio through 12/31)


You can apply for both consumer and business American Express cards on the same day with just 1 credit pull. Other cards from American Express include:

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $3K in 3 months, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee.)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee.)

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on restaurants, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. $100 annual airline fee credit. No foreign transaction fees. $195 annual fee waived for first year.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express 50K points for spending $750 within 3 months. Earn 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. Silver elite status for as long as you are a cardmember that gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status. No annual fee)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood and Hilton gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($100 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 3% cash back on groceries, 2% cash back on gas and department stores, no annual fee.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($150 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas and department stores, $95 annual fee or $75 annual fee if you apply by 8/3/16.)

Business cards:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $5K in 3 months, free Sheraton lounge access, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. 10 free annual Gogo in-flight internet passes. Free Hilton and Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

SimplyCash® Plus Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, Computer hardware/software/cloud computing, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, or shipping. No annual fee.)

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (5K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

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Final Day To Register For Chase Freedom Q3 Spending, Q4 Registration Begins Tomorrow

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


Today is the final day to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

You must register for Q3 bonus spending at restaurants and wholesale clubs by today and complete spending by September 30th.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent). If you or your spouse also has a Chase Sapphire Reserve card you’ll actually be earning 7.5% cash back towards travel expenses or real airline/hotel miles for spending on Freedom bonus categories.

While Chase Freedom is a great card for the bonus categories, it’s not a great card for everyday spending. However the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is excellent for everyday spending.

2016 Chase Freedom bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and Wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sams Club.
Q3: Restaurants and Wholesale clubs.
Q4: Department stores, Drug stores, Wholesale clubs.

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Chase Quietly Removes 3 Dining Bonus Categories

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

I was surprised when I noticed that I didn’t get triple points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve for a recent dinner at Chef Dave’s Catering in Cleveland. Chef Dave’s runs upscale restaurant nights several nights per month and I had been used to getting double points on my old Sapphire Preferred card. Did that card have an advantage over Sapphire Reserve?

I sent Chase a secure message and first they responded with this nonsense,

“Thank you for contacting Chase to inquire about the reward points on your account.
Let me share that the rewards adjustment on your Sapphire Reserve card you requested cannot be made because the merchant is not in an eligible category.

Visa and MasterCard systems assign a category code to each merchant, based on the kinds of products and services they sell. Sometimes the system places merchants in a generalized category, like “superstores” instead of “grocery stores” or “gas stations.”
Since the merchant in question did not assigned an appropriate category for your purchase, your purchase did not qualify for this reward.”

 

I confirmed that the charge was categorized as catering on Chase’s site. The front-line SM agents aren’t very good, so I replied asking that they have their supervisor read my original question and get back to me.

A senior agent then replied,

“Thank you for contacting Chase about rewards points earned on your Chase Sapphire Reserve account.
I have researched the account and determined that the charge of $147.50 from Chef Dave’s Catering bills as “Caterers”.

I would like to explain that as of 8/30/2016 transactions billed as Bakeries, Caterers, & Dairy product stores will no longer qualify as accelerated rewards earnings. This is for all Chase products to remain fair and consistent.

I have added 443 points to your rewards balance for this purchase. These points are available for immediate use and will appear on the next billing statement for review.

Please keep in mind that going forward, transactions billed as Caterers will only qualify to earn 1 reward per $1 spent.”

 

Bummer. I’m quite surprised that they didn’t send out a notice about this, though because of that if you do have any charges in those categories you should be able to send a secure message or call to get triple points for it.

For those keeping score at home, triple point categories for Sapphire Reserve now include:
Dining:
Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, and bars.
Travel (Valid for $300 in annual automatic refunds and triple points):
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Car rentals.
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Cruises
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, taxis, Uber, Lyft, Gett, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

 

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On The Topic Of Chase 5/24

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

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In May 2015 Chase started making it more difficult to get approved for Freedom or Sapphire cards if you have been approved for 5 credit cards in the past 24 months. It was dubbed the “5/24 rule.”

In May 2016 “5/24” started applying to more cards, including Ink and United, though others like British Airways, Hyatt, and IHG aren’t affected.

2 weeks ago Chase won the internets with the launch of the incredible Sapphire Reserve card. The card was so wildly popular that they ran out of metal cards and started sending out plastic cards temporarily.

This past weekend this language appeared on the Sapphire Reserve application page. It was the first time Chase has ever acknowledged the 5/24 “rule”:

CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then suddenly the application page was taken down for several hours and when it returned the “5/24” language was gone.

I’m not surprised that the language was removed.

For starters, it made it sound that there was a 5/24 “rule.” In fact it’s more of a guideline. Thousands of people that were above 5/24 have indeed been approved for the card. Then again, thousands of people were also rejected due to 5/24.

5/24 itself is misunderstood by many. It has nothing to do with how many hard pulls you have for card applications. It only counts the number of credit cards (on the single report that they pull) that have been opened within the past 24 months. The report that Chase pulls can vary from card to card and state to state.

You can get all 3 of your reports (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) for free on annualcreditreport.com to see how many cards you have that have been opened within the past 24 months.

You’ll notice that business cards from AMEX, Chase, and Citi don’t show up on your report. Spending on these cards don’t affect your credit as they’re not on your report. They also don’t affect 5/24. Business cards from Barclays, Capital One, and Discover do show up on your report and will affect 5/24.

Store cards that only work at that store reportedly don’t count for 5/24, though if they can be used everywhere it would count towards 5/24.

Authorized user cards do show up on your report and can cause the system or a reconsideration rep to deny you for a card as they do count towards 5/24 by default.

The key with authorized user cards is that reconsideration reps want to know if you are liable for payment on authorized user cards. They can tell which cards are primary and which are authorized user cards. Some people have answered that they share responsibility for payment and have been denied due to 5/24, while others have answered that they are not responsible and have been approved despite being over 5/24 with authorized user cards.

For example, DDF member ae123 indicated that he and his wife pay the bill for his authorized user card, so the reconsideration rep noted in his file that the authorized user card was his responsibility and counted for 5/24. He tried to HUCA, but every rep told him that the previous rep noted that he was responsible for the authorized user card.

In the end he closed the authorized user card and was approved. The reconsideration rep even noted his account that he would be approved for the Sapphire Reserve after closing that authorized user card and calling back in.

You should be able to ask for a reconsideration manager and explain that you aren’t responsible for payment on your authorized user cards and have them excluded from 5/24.

Some reconsideration reps will consider authorized user cards part of 5/24 if they are used frequently. If you let them know that you don’t spend on them then you’ll have better odds of them not counting towards 5/24.

If you run into a brick wall you can call the bank to have your authorized user cards closed and then call Experian, Equifax, and Transunion to have the cards removed from your report.

Having more than $10,000 credit on other cards than can be shifted to a new card can help get approved for Sapphire Reserve.

If you have Chase Private Client (CPC) then you can get approved even if you are over 5/24. Officially CPC is intended for people with $250K with Chase, but a banker can give anyone Private Client status, especially if you promise to move funds from another bank to Chase. You can also share CPC status with family members.

Reconsideration is generally willing to overlook 5/24 for CPC. Private Client bankers can also call reconsideration to push for an approval.

People have also had luck by going into a branch to check if they are pre-approved for card offers despite being over 5/24.

Then again there have been CPC and/or who have been “pre-approved” in the bank who have been denied. And there are regular people over 5/24 who have been approved. The only sure rule here is that there is no hard and fast rule, everything else is YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

Share your 5/24 experience in the comments!

cc

 

 

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What Should You Do With Your Sapphire Preferred Card After Getting A Sapphire Reserve Card?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


Related posts (Read these first!):
Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!
-Chase Sapphire Reserve Additional User Benefits And Lounge Guesting Policy Are Awesome, Plus Application And Spending Strategies!


Chase took the mileage world by storm last week with the launch of the Sapphire Reserve card.

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With an unprecedented 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus, $300 in automatic annual credits and triple points at an extremely broad swath of travel categories, a lounge membership that allows for unlimited free guests, free Global Entry/PreCheck, primary car rental insurance for every country in the world, no foreign transaction fees, and a redemption system that allows all Chase points to be used as real airline/hotel miles or as a travel credit with a generous 50% bonus, the Sapphire Reserve really can be called the ultimate travel credit card.

Of course many people previously had a $95/year Sapphire Preferred card. That card becomes redundant once you have a Sapphire Reserve card. Sapphire Reserve costs an extra $55/year after the $300 annual travel credit, but the benefits are worth far more than that.

Many people have asked if they should be cancelling their Sapphire Preferred card.

A better idea is to downgrade the card to a no annual fee Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card. You can downgrade it once you have had it for 12 months. You don’t get a signup bonus when you upgrade or downgrade a card, but you’re better off applying for cards that have higher signup bonuses anyway.

-With Freedom Unlimited you’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. You can then transfer points earned on that card to Sapphire Reserve in order to transfer those points into real airline/hotel miles or to use with Sapphire Reserve’s 50% bonus for redeeming points for travel. In fact all of your everyday purchases should be made on Freedom Unlimited and only dining/travel purchases or purchases made outside of the USA should be made on Sapphire Reserve. By doing that you’ll earn at least 2.25% off everyday purchases and at least 4.5% off dining/travel purchases.

You can pay your taxes for a 1.87% fee and still come out ahead thanks to the guaranteed minimum value of 2.25% due to earning 1.5 points per dollar on Freedom Unlimited multiplied by the minimum travel redemption value of 1.5 cents per point for Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

-With Freedom you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. Maxing out those $6,000 in category bonuses will net 30,000 points per year. This year those categories included:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sams Club.
Q3: Restaurants and wholesale clubs.
Q4: Wholesale clubs, Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com) and more to be announced.

In July there was even a bonus 10 points per dollar category for Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.

Last year there was also a “Q5” bonus that earned 10 points per dollar on Freedom.

If you have multiple Freedom cards you can earn the 5x bonus for spending $1,500 per quarter on each of them.

Which Freedom card should you downgrade to?

It really depends on how much you spend on everyday purchases and how likely you are to maximize the Freedom’s rotating category spending.

The true advantage of Freedom over Freedom Unlimited is the extra 3.5 points per dollar on those rotating categories. In other words spending $6,000 on Freedom bonus categories per year would net 30K points on Freedom versus 9K points on Freedom Unlimited or a potential 21K bonus points. You would have to spend more than $42,000 per year for Freedom Unlimited to come out ahead of Freedom.

However not everyone will max out their Freedom bonus category spending, which makes the math much cloudier. Limited time 10 points per dollar bonuses also cloud the math. Tax payments that will make sense on Freedom Unlimited won’t make sense on Freedom.

I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. That wasn’t a major decision for me though as I already have 3 Freedom cards.

Have you been approved for Sapphire Reserve? What will you do with your Sapphire Preferred card?

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Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


Update: My Sapphire Reserve came in the mail today and it’s a great looking card with even better benefits, have you received yours yet?

Originally posted on 08/22:


Related posts:
-30 Awesome Things You Can You Do With Ultimate Rewards Points
Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered


Signup Bonus:

For a limited time only, Chase is offering an unprecedented 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4K on the brand new Sapphire Reserve card within 3 months. You can use those points for $1,500 in travel or you can transfer them into airline miles or hotel points.

Note that if you have opened up 5 or more cards in the past 2 years it can be difficult to get approved for most cards from Chase unless you have a banking relationship like Chase Private Client. If you have opened additional user cards in the past 2 years you can request from the bank or credit bureaus to have those removed from your credit report so that it doesn’t negatively impact your ability to get approved for a new credit card.

Annual fee:

The card has a $450 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. The effective annual fee though is just a third of that thanks to the travel credit.

Travel credit:

The Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset the annual fee. The first $300 of any travel charged to your card each calendar year will be refunded. That includes any charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

As the credit is per calendar year that means you’ll get $600 of travel refunds in your first cardmembership year with a $300 credit in 2016 and a $300 credit in 2017. That’s far more generous than other travel refunds that only officially refund things like airline change and baggage fees.

Combined with the signup bonus that means you can get $2,100 in travel.

The annual travel credit effectively lowers the annual fee of the card to $150 per year. That’s only $55 per year more than Sapphire Preferred and it comes with a lot of valuable benefits that make the card a keeper:

Sapphire Reserve offers 3 points per dollar on:
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Car rentals.
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.
-Catering
-Cruises
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

That’s 50% more points than the Sapphire Preferred offers in these categories.

There are no foreign transaction fees.

You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide with Priority Pass and you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge for free! That includes lounges with kosher food and wine in Newark and Tel Aviv. You can call Chase to enroll in Priority Pass or you can enroll online here.

Every 4 years you can get a $100 credit for a 5 year Global Entry membership which also includes TSA pre-check. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US.

Additional cardholders cost $75/year and include a Priority Pass membership with free guesting privileges as well.

Increased cash back or miles:
The Sapphire Reserve allows you to use all your Chase points for 1.5 cents each per dollar towards travel.
Previously it’s always been worth transferring Chase points into real airline miles and hotel points.
But at about 1.5 cents per dollar it can start making sense to consider redeeming points directly for paid travel without transferring them into miles. That’s especially true as those fares, as opposed to traditional mileage tickets, also earn additional miles. You can still do much better with miles when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.

The ability to choose between 1.5 cents per dollar or mileage transfers make Sapphire Reserve an incredibly versatile credit card.

The 1.5 cents per dollar redemption option also means the travel and dining categories on this card earn at least 4.5% per dollar.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Having the Sapphire Reserve makes everyday spending on that card worth at least 2.25%.

Chase Freedom and Ink cards also have 5 point category bonuses and those will be worth at least 7.5% if you have the Sapphire Reserve.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals (including Silvercar), though apparently the card won’t have the Visa Infinite benefit of $100 off companion airfare.

Sapphire Reserve comes with primary rental car CDW insurance in every country in the world. Most other cards only have secondary coverage when you rent a car in your home country. This means that if you damage your rental vehicle you must file the claim with your own personal insurance policy first, and only if they won’t cover the damage will the credit card cover the damage. Even additional cardholders get primary coverage when they rent.

Most credit cards also exclude countries like Israel from coverage, however all Chase cards cover you worldwide, including in Israel. And they will give you a letter of coverage stating that you are covered in Israel so that you don’t have to argue at the rental car counter that your Chase Visa does give CDW coverage.

Plus you get triple points on car rentals, meaning there is no better card out there for car rentals!

-Trip cancellation insurance is free.
Trip cancellation reimburses up to $10,000 per person, up to $20,000 per trip, and up to $40,000 per year if you need to cancel for injury, death, or sickness experienced by you, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member of you or your traveling companion. Other covered reasons include severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, home dwelling becoming inhabitable, quarantine, or financial insolvency of the travel agency or operator of your trip.

Other card benefits include:
-Price protection. Find a lower price in a store or online on a non-auction site within 90 days and get back up to $500/item and $2,500/year.
-Return protection. Return an item to a store that won’t take back an item for up to 90 days ($500/item, $1,000/year)
-Purchase protection: 120 days of protection in case of damage or theft on items you buy ($10,000/item, $50K/year)
-Warranty protection: An extra year of warranty coverage on purchases ($10K/item, $50K/account)
-Lost Luggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost you can be reimbursed by up to $3,000 per person.
-Trip Delay Protection: If you are delayed that either requires an overnight stay or is more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses per person.
-Baggage Delay Protection: If your bags are delayed by more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $100 in expenses per person per day, for up to $500 per person.
-Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage if you are injured or killed on a trip.
-Roadside Assistance: Coverage for up to 4 incidents per year.

-Visa Infinite Concierge is included free of charge.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points and has the ability to transfer points into miles.  It also gives you the ability to transfer points from fantastic no annual fee cards like Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash into miles as well, as those cards can’t transfer points directly into miles without having the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Plus card.

You can also transfer points at an equal ratio to your own or to one authorized user’s airline and hotel programs:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Korean (Skyteam)
-Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
-Southwest
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hyatt
-Marriott
-Ritz Carlton
-IHG

Point Currency:

Chase Ultimate Rewards offer instant and fee-free transfers to top-notch mileage and points programs at a 1:1 ratio.

You can transfer points to a household member’s Chase card or to an authorized user’s airline/hotel programs.

You can also transfer points to Chase business Ink cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash where you can transfer from there to other business owner’s cards and/or programs.

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is an excellent currency. They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they often run discounted award promotions, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards, though partner American has been stingy with award space of late. Awards start from just 4.5K miles. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on American within the western hemisphere, on Qantas from or within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in this post on everything you need to know about BA Avios. And you can see 110 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska! If you can find Delta saver availability you can fly to Hawaii round-trip for just 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in business.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam) offers promo awards from rotating North American cities to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 12,500 miles each way. Regular awards to Israel are just 25K miles each way, though some fuel surcharges apply on most airlines except for Delta.
Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel, though that rate can now vary. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down.
Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta.
Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have a cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.

Generally speaking you’ll want to use the 1.5 cents per point option when redeeming for round-trip coach tickets booked in advance. You’ll generally want to transfer to miles for business class, first class, last minute and one-way coach awards. You’ll be better off with 1.5 cents per points for IHG and Marriott hotels, but Hyatt points can often be worth more than 1.5 cents each, so you’ll want to transfer points to Hyatt in those cases.

Will you be signing up for Sapphire Reserve? Hit the comments!

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1 More Day For Citi Applications Under The Old Rules?

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Earlier this month Citi updated their applications to say that if you have opened or closed a card within a brand family (like American consumer cards, Hilton cards, or ThankYou cards) that you can’t get a bonus on another card within that family for 24 months.

DoC notes that Citi’s media team confirmed that these new rules actually go into place effective Sunday, 8/28, so you can still apply today under the old rules.

Additionally the Citi Prestige card is ending several benefits on 7/23/17, but if you apply by 8/30 you can still get AA club access until 7/23/17. Applications made afterward won’t get club access.

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

What cards should you get before Sunday?

The Hilton cards are part of one card family, so effective Sunday you won’t be able to get a bonus for either if you have either opened a new Hilton card or closed a Hilton card within 24 months:

-The Citi Hilton HHonors card is offering 75K Hilton points for spending $2K in 3 months for a limited time only.  There’s no annual fee. You’ll also get Silver elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $20K/year you’ll get Gold status.

There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it which gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world (including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem). It also gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This card has a $95 annual fee.


The American consumer cards are part of one card family, so effective Sunday you won’t be able to get a bonus for either if you have either opened a new AA consumer card or closed a AA consumer card within 24 months:

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 60K AA miles for spending $5K in 3 months for a limited time only.

Cardholders can save up to 7.5K off round-trip awards to rotating destinations. With the card, discounted short-haul awards are just 6.5K miles one-way. After spending $5,000 on the card you’ll have 65K miles, or enough for up to 10 short-haul flights.

The card carries a whopping $450 annual fee, though it’s refundable if you close it within 37 days of that being billed. Sometimes the fee is billed on the first statement, sometimes its on the second statement.

Cardholders receive a full Admirals Club membership which allows you to bring your entire immediate family or 2 guests into the lounge. Up to 10 additional cardholders are free and they can also can access AA lounges and bring in their own guests or families for free as well. Membership alone is normally $550/year and this is the only card that gives a full Admirals Club membership that works for access even when you’re not flying on American (The Citi Prestige card doesn’t give access if you’re not flying American and Prestige cardholders will lose access to AA clubs effective 7/23/17).

Admirals Club members can also access partner lounges from Alaska, Qantas, and other airlines.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You and 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American as well as priority checkin, security, and boarding. You’ll also get 25% off in-flight food, beverages, and headsets.

If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership, which are amazing time savers for even infrequent flyers.


The Citi ThankYou cards are part of one card family, so effective Sunday you won’t be able to get a bonus for either if you have either opened a new ThankYou card or closed a ThankYou card within 24 months.

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

-The Citi Prestige card offers 40K ThankYou points for spending $4,000 in 3 months.  The points are transferable to several airlines and hotels or 40K points can be used for a $400 gift card, $532 of airline purchases at a value of 1.33 cents per point (this will be lowered to 1.25 cents per point or $500 on 7/23/17), or $640 of travel on American (this will be lowered to 1.25 cents per point or $500 on 7/23/17).

The Prestige card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies, and double points on dining and entertainment.

There is a $450 annual fee. However the Prestige card comes packed with awesome benefits:

1. $250 annual air travel credit. No need to pick an airline. Just a straight credit for up to $250 of whatever you spend from any airline including tickets, bag fees, seat fees, etc. In your first cardmembership year you can get $250 back in 2016 and $250 back in 2017, which more than covers the annual fee.

2. Free American Admirals Club lounge access for you and your family or you and 2 guests when flying American. This applies for cards that are applied for by 8/30. AA club access is ending for all cardholders on 7/23/17.

3. Priority Pass lounge membership with free guest access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional Prestige cardmembers are just $50 and they also get their own Priority Club lounge membership with free guest privileges. Click here to search for lounges in airports across the world.

4. Global Entry or Pre-Check reimbursement. A 5 year Global Entry membership is normally $100 but will be free when paid with the Prestige card. Skip the lines when returning to the US and get Pre-Check included as well. Pre-Check allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on, skip the nude-o-scope, and leave your laptop in the bag.  It makes traveling a whole lot easier.

5. A 4th night free on all paid hotel stays. When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights you’ll get the 4th night of the reservation rebated back to your for free. The rates will be the same as on the hotel website and the rates do qualify for hotel elite status and points. Note that the 4th night of the stay will be the rebated night. In some cases the 4th night may cost significantly more or less than the rest of the nights, so always check to see the actual rate for each night. There is no limit to how many times you can take advantage of this offer. You need to use your Prestige card, but you get triple points for hotel spending, so that’s not a bad thing. Effective 7/23/17 the average nightly rate excluding taxes will be refunded on 4+ night stays.

6. 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year. You can search for courses here and make reservations here. That’s 6 free rounds of golf in your first cardmembership year. This benefit will end 7/23/17.

Getting more than one Citi card and repeat bonuses:

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs anymore, though some people have reported success. You can apply for one card, wait 8 days, and then apply for another Citi card. You would have to wait 60 days from the date of your first card application before you can apply for a 3rd Citi card and 60 days from the date of your second card application before you can apply for a 4th Citi card.

Most Citi card applications now require an 24 month waiting period from when you last had that exact card before you can get the signup bonus again.

Citi phone reconsideration (888-201-4523) can be tough if denied, but many people (myself included) have had great luck reconsidering via snail mail! Just write a short letter explaining why you want the card to: Mr. Ken Stork, Office of the President, PO Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

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Chase Sapphire Reserve Additional User Benefits And Lounge Guesting Policy Are Awesome!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


I wrote about the incredible Chase Sapphire Reserve on Monday and I’ve answered hundreds of questions in that post, so if you have questions I’d recommend reading through the comments there first.

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The card offers 100,000 points for spending $4,000 as well as $300 in automatic cash back for the first $300 that you spend each calendar year on triple point categories like airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking. It also gives you the option to transfer your points to miles or use your points at a value of 1.5 cents per point, which means in your first cardmembership year you’ll get $2,100 in travel credit.

-I confirmed over the phone and via secure message that the Priority Pass Select lounge membership that comes with this card includes unlimited free guests that can accompany the member into the lounge! That includes access to over 900 clubs worldwide including lounges with kosher food and wine in Newark and Tel Aviv.

-You can call Chase to enroll in Priority Pass or you can enroll online here.

-Additional users cost $75/year and they also get their own Priority Pass lounge membership with unlimited free guests.

-I confirmed over the phone and via secure message that each additional user also gets their own $100 Global Entry credit every 4 years.

-There are numerous posters in the comments here and on DDF who have been approved for this card despite opening more than 5 cards in the past 24 months but there are also many who have been denied. Many were able to call reconsideration and move over credit lines for the minimum $10,000 line required for this card, while many others have hit brick walls. Some people had luck checking in-branch to see if they were pre-approved while others were denied even when pre-approved. As always, YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

-If you have authorized user cards on your report, some reps will allow you to be reconsidered without counting them as part of the 5 cards, just say that you are not financially responsible for the card. You can always HUCA if a rep insists on counting those or you can work with the bank or credit bureaus to have them removed from your report.

-People with Chase Private Client (CPC) status have reported having much better luck with approvals via calling Chase and by having their banker call for them. Officially CPC is for people with $250K in assets with Chase, however if you have a relationship with a banker they can give you CPC status regardless of the assets that you keep with Chase. If you have a family member with CPC they can also make your account have CPC status. If you share an account or a safety deposit box with a CPC member you’ll also get CPC status.

-I recently got CPC from a banker and was able to get approved via 3BM for a Sapphire Reserve, Ink Plus, and United card, bringing my current total primary Chase cards to 13. I only had to shift my credit lines around to get approvals for those cards.

-With my Sapphire Preferred card rendered redundant by the superior Sapphire Reserve, I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred card to Freedom Unlimited. That means I’ll get 1.5 points per dollar on regular spending with my Freedom Unlimited card, 2 points per dollar on gas with my Ink Plus card, 3 points per dollar on travel and dining spend with my Sapphire Reserve card, 5 points per dollar on rotating categories with my Freedom card, 5 points per dollar on Cell Phones/Internet with my Ink Plus card, and 5 points per dollar on office supplies and gift cards with my Ink Plus card. I’ll still use AMEX for groceries, possibly for gas (though right now I’m using Costco Cash bought on Freedom for 5 points per dollar), and for any items that might need warranty or return protection.

-I was able to transfer points from Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Cash, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold cards to Sapphire Reserve and immediately my points were able to be used for 1.5 cents each towards travel, or 1 cent each as cash back (please don’t try this at home!), or transferable to miles.

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Pay Your Rent With A Credit Card Without Fees Via RadPad And Android Pay

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Update 2: RadPad is backing out of their free rent payment through 2016 offer.


Update: I’ve been able to use my United Club card with RadPad as it was grandfathered in with Google Wallet, but others haven’t been able to add their Chase cards to Android Pay. However Android Pay will support Chase cards effective September 7th.

That means you’ll be able to pay your rent to meet the spend threshold for Sapphire Reserve without fees!

HT: Aerial Dag, via DDF and Android Police.


Originally posted on 8/9:
Pay Your Rent With A Credit Card Without Fees Via RadPad And Android Pay

Download RadPad for Android and Android Pay and you can pay your rent with a credit card without paying any fees for the rest of 2016.

You’ll need to setup Android Pay with your credit card of choice before trying to pay your rent in the RadPad app. Then just enter your rent, type in your landlord’s address, and select Android Pay as your method of payment. At the final payment page you should only see your rent and not the normal 3.49% fee. RadPad will mail your landlord a check.

RadPad has been known to verify that they’re sending money to a real landlord and they may require your rental agreement.

HT: doctorofcredit, via DDF

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DDFB Question Of The Day: Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck?

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

In 2008 the DansDeals Forums (DDF) was launched for people to be able to discuss deals, miles, and destinations at length and the DansDeals Facebook group (DDFB) was founded to provide email alerts about hot deals. Facebook took away the ability to send out email alerts, so Twitter took over that feature and the Facebook group has remained as an alternate, far messier version of DDF. Eventually I also made a Facebook page for people looking for Facebook notifications of new deals and finally opened an Instagram account where I post some pictures from my travels.

I spend hours every day browsing DDF and DDFB looking for tips and trying to help people out. I’ve occasionally featured questions here that are relevant to a wide audience, and perhaps I should do that more often.

Today this question on DDFB caught my eye,

“Should I get the global entry or the TSA pre? I could either one for free with my platinum AMEX”

TSA PreCheck is the best thing since sliced bread. It makes flying bearable once again and I can’t imagine not having it.

Without a doubt, it’s better than having low-tier elite status on an airline.

After an in-person interview you are assigned a known travel number. You just enter that number into your reservation and PreCheck will appear on your boarding passes when flying on domestic airlines (except for Frontier and Spirit currently).

PreCheck lines are significantly shorter than regular lines. I’ve walked right through security when the regular lines have been over an hour long. Without a doubt I’ve made flights that I would have otherwise missed thanks to PreCheck.

In San Francisco, after watching the Cavs win their first NBA Finals, the PreCheck line seemed significantly longer than the already long regular line. I had never seen that before and was almost tempted to join the regular line with my brother JJ who didn’t have Pre-Check. I stuck with Pre-Check though and finished a full half an hour before he came through security.

But aside from that, PreCheck allows you to keep your shoes, belt, and jacket on. You can keep your laptop in your bag. And you get to go through the old style metal detectors rather than assuming the position for a nude-o-scope.

Adults that have PreCheck can also bring their kids with them even if their kids don’t have PreCheck.

PreCheck costs $85 for a 5 year membership. Many premium credit cards, including the AMEX Platinum Consumer Card, AMEX Platinum Business Card, Citi PrestigeCiti Executive AAdvantage, Chase Ritz Carlton, and the upcoming Chase Sapphire Reserve will refund that fee.

But you shouldn’t use that credit to signup for PreCheck.

Global Entry offers everything that PreCheck offers and it also allows you to skip the lines when you return from abroad.

With Global Entry you don’t need to fill out the blue form when you return to the US, you skip the long line and go right to special Global Entry kiosks where you just scan your passport.

You also get a Global Entry card, though you don’t need that when you fly, it only helps when you drive into the US as it allows you to use the Nexus lane when returning from Canada to the US or Sentri lanes from Mexico to the US.

I still carry the card with me when I fly and it came in handy earlier this month when flying on Cathay Pacific from Vancouver to JFK. That flight has customs and immigration after you land in JFK, but the regular security line in Vancouver airport had a 30 minute wait. There was a no first class line, but there was a Nexus line with no waiting and they accepted our Global Entry cards to use the Nexus line.

Kids of any age are required to have their own Global Entry membership in order to use the kiosks when returning from abroad. However you can still bring kids that don’t have their own memberships with you in the PreCheck security line even if you have a Global Entry membership rather than a PreCheck membership.

Global Entry costs $100 for 5 years and is also refunded by those premium credit cards.

You can even add 3 additional users to your AMEX Platinum Consumer Card for $175 total ($58.33 each) and each of those cards will also get a Global Entry/PreCheck fee refund in addition to full Airspace, Centurion, Delta, and Priority Pass lounge access.

The only advantage to PreCheck over Global Entry is if you are paying for them out of pocket to save $15 over 5 years. But that savins will only be worthwhile if you never leave the country. Aside from that, PreCheck also allows walk-in applications while Global Entry applications must be scheduled in advance.

Finally there’s also Nexus. Nexus allows expedited entry into Canada in addition to full Global Entry and PreCheck privileges.

And get this, despite offering the most benefits of all 3 memberships, it only costs $50 every 5 years!

However for whatever reason, the credit cards don’t officially refund Nexus membership fees.

I originally enrolled in Nexus on my AMEX Platinum card. Of course it didn’t automatically credit the $50, however a chat agent was able to manually refund the $50 fee.

The main caveat of Nexus is that you must apply for it at the Canadian border. I had planned to apply in Detroit or Buffalo, but in the end I wasn’t able to make it up there. I wound up applying for Global Entry for myself, my wife, and our 2 kids as we were able to apply for it locally in Cleveland and those fees were automatically refunded.

It’s the best money I never spent.

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Chase Is About To Launch The Sapphire Reserve Card, Do The Card’s Benefits Outweigh The Fee?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

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Chase will soon be launching the Sapphire Reserve card and it’s shaping up to be a very solid card.

1. It will offer a whopping 100,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 within 3 months.

2. It will have a $450 fee, however it offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset that. The first $300 of of any travel charged to your card each calendar year will be refunded. That includes charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, or transportation which includes trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking.

As the credit is per calendar year that means you’ll get $600 of travel refunds in your first cardmembership year. That’s far more generous than other travel refunds that only officially refund things like airline change and baggage fees.

If you travel at all, it effectively lowers the annual fee to $150 per year.

3. It offers 3 points per dollar on:
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Car rentals.
-Hotels.
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.
-Catering
-Transportation including trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking.

That’s 50% more points than the Sapphire Preferred offers in these categories, though the value of this will depend on how much much you spend in these categories per year, whether you have a card like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card that also offers generous travel and dining spend bonuses, and how you value each currency.

4. It allows you to use all your Chase points for 1.5 cents each per dollar towards travel.
Previously it’s always been worth transferring Chase points into real airline miles and hotel points.
But at about 1.5 cents per dollar it can start making sense to consider redeeming points directly for paid travel without transferring them into miles. That’s especially true as those fares, as opposed to traditional mileage tickets, also earn additional miles. You can still do much better when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.

This also means the travel and dining categories earn at least 4.5% per dollar.

The Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Having the Sapphire Reserve makes everyday spending on that card worth at least 2.25%.

Freedom and Ink cards also have 5 point category bonuses and those will be worth at least 7.5% if you have the Sapphire Reserve.

5. Priority Pass Select Membership.

You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide, though it’s not yet known if you’ll be able to bring guests into lounges as well and it’s unknown if the $75 annual fee for additional users will include their own membership.

Unfortunately the lounge selection in the USA isn’t comparable to what the AMEX Platinum offers and it’s too bad that Chase couldn’t leverage some sort of United Club access for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. Of course United would not want this card to sabotage the Chase United Club card, but surely there could have been ways to mitigate that risk by only allowing Sapphire Reserve cardholders access when flying United or by not allowing guest access.

6. Global Entry credit.
Every 4 years you can get a $100 credit for a 5 year Global Entry membership which also includes TSA pre-check. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US.

And of course it comes with the other benefits of the Sapphire Preferred card like no foreign transaction fees, primary rental car insurance, and other travel and purchase protections.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals (including Silvercar), though apparently the card won’t have the Visa Infinite benefit of $100 off companion airfare.

For an effective $55 annual premium over the Sapphire Preferred I plan on applying for and keeping the Sapphire Reserve in my wallet. Do you plan on adding it to yours?

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Are We Nearing The End Of The Road? A Brief History Of The Game We Play, Changes To AMEX+Chase+Citi Card Rules

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Update, 8/11: I wrote this “pre-obituary” back in February. Since then the new Chase rules went into effect on most of their cards making it far more difficult to signup for new cards if you don’t have Private Client status.

Tonight DoC shares that Citi cards now have harsh new rules.

From his post on DDF,

“American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Expedia+ Points Bonus Offer is not available if you have had any Expedia+ or Expedia+ Voyager card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Bonus Hilton HHonors points are not available if you have had any Citi®Hilton HHonors™ card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was 3BMing Citi American cards every 30 days racking up lifetime elite status and millions upon millions of miles.

With the new rules you can’t alternate between types of American cards or types of cards that earn ThankYou points for example. Once you’ve opened a card you’ll need to wait 24 months from that point or from when you close it to get another bonus within that brand.

For now business cards and consumer cards are not considered within the same brand, so you can still get a bonus for a Citi American business card despite having opened or closed a consumer card within 24 months.

Like I said, it’s been a fun ride. I still cashed out $5,000 of gift cards today for a quick 25K miles, but the game gets harder with each passing month. Enjoy the rest of it while it lasts!


Originally posted on 2/25/16:

It’s been a really fun run since I started blogging in 2004.

Even before I was blogging I was using eBay to flip beanie babies as a 13 year old at big profits and generated 7 figures of miles for free.

I pioneered credit card application techniques like the 2BM which became 3BM and eventually got as high as a 24BM. I typically kept the specifics limited to the 15 seminars that I ran from 2012-2015. Over the years we’ve been able to travel the world while burning over 10 million miles and banking tens of millions more along with lifetime elite statuses and other perks. Like I said in an interview last month, my problem is finding the time to burn them, not earn them. With G-ds grace, that’s an amazing problem to have and it’s one of things that I was so thankful for.

Alas, other bloggers that attended some of those seminars have taken the stories for their own. They often dumbed them down in scale and strategy, I suppose as a way to not outright break a promise to keep their lips sealed. But in the process they wound up killing many of those methods in random posts of selfishness. There’s such a fine line when deciding what things are safe to write about and what things aren’t and I’ve been guilty of poor judgement at times. But there have been posts that are so misguided that they sting. #CestLaVie

There’s no doubt that this game is on the downward slope of the bell-curve here.

It used to be easy as pie to keep applying for the same cards again and again with bonuses that just kept on growing with each passing year. It used to be really easy to meet the minimum spending requirement (Back in the day most cards only required $1 in spending) and manufacture spend by buying dollar coins or sending your spouse payments with Amazon Payments. Now those things have become increasingly difficult to do so.

Banks have gotten stricter with approvals and have policies that limit how often you can signup for the same card. And while there have always been loopholes for those in the know, those too are winnowing down.

There are still ways to manufacture spend, but in places like NYC it can be tough, especially if your Serve card was shut down.

Am I being a bit dramatic here? After all there are hundreds of avid DDF users who maximize the system, rack up millions of miles, and fly around the world in first class at a greater frequency than I do. If law school student CS91 can go from mileage newbie to racking up and burning 1.7 million miles this year, then surely all hope is not yet lost in this game. But there’s no denying that things are getting more difficult and require more time to master.

This blog has always been an odd convergence of bargain, travel/miles deals and information. It’s funny to see them come together as more and more people move into reselling as a method of manufacturing spend. That’s when people buy bargains on their credit cards and try to sell them on places like Amazon or eBay at a profit or at least break-even in order to earn miles in the process. Perhaps this will be the only way forward to keep manufacturing miles on the cheap? It’s funny to see it come full circle from the old days when I sold beanie babies and generated Cathay Pacific miles via eBay.

The airlines themselves have tried to take the gaming aspect out of the earning side of the equation as they move to reward flying based on revenue instead of flying distance. While in the past you could fly on a mileage run and earn miles worth more than the cost of the flight, those opportunities and few and far between these days. In 2004 we earned 8 tickets valid anywhere in the world on American by flying on a couple flights between NYC and California or Florida.   In 2006 I flew on a dozen AA flights in Texas and for a couple hundred bucks I had elite status and 6 figures of miles. Those days aren’t returning, though there are still ways to earn miles based on distance by crediting flights to partner airlines.

Airline consolidation has made lucrative promotions fewer and farther between as there is less need to compete. In 2005 Airtran ran a promotion to earn miles for Wendy’s cups. I sent in thousands of cups and they bought me tickets on Continental that I’m still using for free flights on United. Those were the golden days. Now airlines and hubs have been eliminated and loyalty is taken for granted.

Same goes for hotels. Not long ago I was earning 13,500 United miles+6,000 Hyatt points+1 free night at any Hyatt in the world for every 2 stays that I made. That was extremely lucrative thanks to $60 Hyatt Place stays that I was able to checkin to over the phone for every day of the promotion. Those Faster Free Nights promotions ran from about 2002 through 2010 but are gone for good. Even Starwood got in on the action and that allowed me to stay at the S. Regis Princeville in Kauai for dirt cheap in 2011. If airline mergers were the big story of the past 15 years, the ongoing hotel mergers will be the big thing. We’ll see what Marriott does with Starwood and what Accor does with my precious Fairmont, but I’m not very hopeful.

Heck, even Starbucks is moving from a “gameable” frequent user rewards based system (use their mobile app to make separate orders for every item you buy to quickly rack up free drinks) to a non-gameable revenue based system in April. The rewards landscape is changing as blogs proliferate and people maximize the benefits farther than the programs intended.

The redemption side has also become tougher with unprecedented devaluations from the likes of Hilton and United. Delta went so far as to delete their award charts and now American is poised to copy United’s devaluation in a month.

The good news from that end is that the major airlines know if they switch from an opaque system where savvy customers can game it and win to a non-gameable revenue based system, that they will lose billions of dollars in revenue as consumers switch from earning airline miles to earning cash back. The banks and their steady revenue stream won’t let that happen anytime soon.

In March of 2014 I broke the news that AMEX consumer cards would be much harder to churn. Officially most offers are once per lifetime now, though some don’t have that language and others have reported that after a number of years they’ve been able to get a signup bonus again on the same card. It’s hard to say exactly how many years it takes for that though.

Effective today AMEX Business card applications now have this language as well.

Citi started cracking down later in 2014 as I first reported here as well.

Bank of America went from one of the easiest to one of the hardest banks for multiple applications thanks to some blogs.

Chase’s approval guidelines on their Freedom and Sapphire cards got much more rigid last May when they started giving a tough time to people who have been approved for more than 5 credit cards within the previous 24 months. Some people have had success with reconsideration, others with $10K+ in a Chase checking account or with Private Client status have had luck by asking a banker to fill out a special reconsideration form for them, but it’s much tougher than it used to be.

Chuck from DoC has an inside source that says those same guidelines will begin to apply to Ink cards sometime in March and to all Chase cards sometime in April. With the way things have been heading that doesn’t surprise me at all.

 

What are you thoughts on where things are heading? Sound off in the comments!

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Small Business Saturday Will Coincide With This Site’s 12th Anniversary, But What Will Be This Year’s Offer?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AMEX has announced that Small Business Saturday will be back on 11/26/16.

If you signup as a “Neighborhood Champion” to rally local businesses to participate you can also receive AMEX branded merchandise.

That date coincides with the 12th anniversary of the day I started blogging here, back on 11/26/04 in Sao Paulo, on my 20th birthday. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what the site and the next 12 years of my life would turn into…

For those keeping score at home, here is a history of when Small Business Saturday offers were announced and held:

2010, Launch year: $25 off $25 offer announced on 11/8. Registration form opened 11/8. Spending valid 11/27-12/31.
2011: $25 off $25 offer announced on 10/6. Registration form opened 11/1. Spending valid 11/26.
2012: $25 off $25 offer announced on 9/24. Registration form opened 11/17. Spending valid 11/24.
2013: $10 off $10 offer announced on 10/1. Registration form opened 11/24. Spending valid 11/30.
2014: $10 off $10 valid 3 times per card announced on 09/27. Registration form opened 11/16. Spending valid 11/29.
2015: On 9/30 it was announced that there would be no credit for Small Business Saturday. However on 11/1 people started finding that most primary personal cards were targeted for $10 off $10 in their AMEX Offers and most business primary and secondary cards were targeted for $20 off $100. Spending was valid anytime from 11/1-11/28.

I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as there is news about the 2016 offer.


Don’t want to miss out on SBS and AMEX Offers?

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $3K in 3 months, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Special offer: Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200. Plus, earn $100 cash back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.  3% cash back on groceries, 2% cash back on gas and department stores, no annual fee.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Special offer: Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200. Plus, earn $150 cash back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas and department stores, $95 annual fee or $75 annual fee if you apply by 8/3/16.)

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee.)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee.)

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on restaurants, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. $100 annual airline fee credit. No foreign transaction fees. $195 annual fee waived for first year.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express 50K points for spending $750 within 3 months. Earn 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. Silver elite status for as long as you are a cardmember that gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status. No annual fee)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood and Hilton gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.)

 

Business cards:

All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $5K in 3 months, free Sheraton lounge access, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25K AMEX MR points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar in your choice of one of the following categories and 2 points in the other categories: Airfare, advertising, gas stations, shipping, or hardware+software+cloud computing. 2 points per dollar on Uber. $175 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. 10 free annual Gogo in-flight internet passes. Free Hilton and Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

SimplyCash® Plus Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, Computer hardware/software/cloud computing, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, or shipping. No annual fee.)

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (5K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

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Final Day To Lock In A Lower Annual Fee On A 6% Cash Back Grocery Card And For An Increased Signup Bonus On The No Annual Fee Simply Cash Card

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Today is the final day to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and pay a $75 annual fee. After today the annual fee for new applicants will be $95.

The card offers 6% cash back on US grocery stores and 3% cash back on US gas and department stores. You’ll also get $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months.


-Today is the final day to apply for the no-annual fee SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express and earn a $250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months.

The card also offers 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom and 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, shipping, or computer hardware/software/cloud services.

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Freedom Q3 Bonus Spending Now Live, Plus A 10x Freedom+Freedom Unlimited Category Announced!

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Update: The 10 points per dollar for car rentals and hotels ends 7/31. It can take a couple of days for charges to post, so take advantage of it now rather than waiting for Sunday. 


Originally posted on 7/1:

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

For Q3 you can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at restaurants (which includes caterers, cafes, etc) and at wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sam’s Club. That’s 7,500 potential points this quarter.

Gas stations at these clubs won’t earn 5 points per dollar, but you can buy gift cards from the clubs that will earn 5 points per dollar and then use the gift cards to pay for gas. For example you can buy Costco Cash cards online to earn 5 points per dollar that are useable online, in-store, or at Costco gas stations.

Additionally you can earn 10 points per dollar on up to $2,500 in spending on hotels and car rentals that are booked through Chase on your Freedom card. This 10x promotion also applies to the Freedom Unlimited card. You must use cash and not redeem points for the hotel stay or car rental in order to earn 10 points per dollar. This 10x promotion is only valid for travel booked in July, though travel can take place at any time. That’s another 25,000 potential points this quarter.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

While Chase Freedom is a great card for the bonus categories, it’s not a great card for everyday spending. However the brand new Chase Freedom Unlimited card is excellent for everyday spending.

2016 Chase Freedom bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sams Club.
Q3: Restaurants and wholesale clubs.
Q4: Wholesale clubs, Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com) and more to be announced.

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this postwhich currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

HT: coralsnake, via DDF

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Here’s How To Pro-Rate The Annual Fees On AMEX Cards After September 1st, Besides For Moving To Boston

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AMEX is making changes to their annual fee policy on September 1st:

amex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently you can cancel a card for up to 60 days from the date the fee was billed. That will switch to 30 days from the closing date of the statement on which the fee appears.

But the bigger deal is that annual fees will no longer be pro-rated if you cancel a card after that 30 day period. Currently annual fees are pro-rated, so if for example you cancel a card after 5 months of paying an annual fee you would receive a a refund for 7/12ths of the annual fee.

Apparently these new rules don’t apply if you live in MA, so there’s always the option of moving to Beantown. (I don’t think day-tripping to Bahston for more than 300,000 miles will count even if it is wicked smaht 😉 )

Otherwise, I reached out to AMEX and confirmed that you will still be able to downgrade your card and receive a pro-rated refund after these new rules go into effect.

That mean if you have a $450/year Platinum card for example, you’ll still be able to downgrade to a $195/year Premier Rewards Gold card or $95/year Green card and receive a pro-rated refund for the higher priced card.

You just won’t receive any refund if you cancel the card. Unless you Pahk the Caa in Hahvahd Yahd.

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4 Delta Credit Cards With Limited Time 50K-60K Signup Bonuses!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Update: Offer expired!

Related: A Comparison Of AA, Delta, And United Saver Award Space: Is AAdvantage The New SkyPesos?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.


Originally posted on 6/2:

American Express has released 4 limited time offers on Delta credit cards that are valid until July 6th. Signup bonuses are valid for the first time you’ve had each type of Delta card, so you can get the bonus for each of the 4 card versions below.

1. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: 
-Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-$0 intro annual fee, then $95.

2. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
-This card includes an annual Companion Certificate that is valid for a round-trip Economy Class Companion ticket with the payment of applicable taxes and fees within the 48 contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI.
-$195 annual fee.

3. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-Eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, and more.
-$0 intro annual fee, then $95.

4. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express:
-Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and a $100 statement creditafter making a Delta purchase in the first three months.
-If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
-This card includes an annual Companion Certificate that is valid for a round-trip Economy Class Companion ticket with the payment of applicable taxes and fees within the 48 contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI.
-Eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, and more.
-$195 annual fee.

-There are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.  You may already have a business that needs a card to keep track of expenses. For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

AMEX business cards don’t report your spending on your personal credit report. On personal cards if you spend money on your card your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a couple dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month.

On a business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. Plus if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.

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All 4 Delta cards:

-Offer a free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to 8 companions on the same reservation.
-Have no foreign transaction fees.
-Offer Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights for the primary cardholder and up to 8 companions on the same reservation so that you won’t have to gate-check your carry-ons.
-Offer 2 Delta miles per dollar on flight purchases from Delta.
-Offer a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible pre-purchased meals, in-flight purchases of food,alcoholic beverages and audio headsets, and movies, shows and video games accessed via Delta’s seatback in-flight entertainment system, on Delta-operated flights.
-Waive the Medallion Qualification Dollar requirement to reach Medallion status if you spend $25,000 on the cards in that calendar year. Eligible Purchases will be combined across multiple Delta cards of the primary cardholder if those accounts are linked to the same SkyMiles number.
-Offer $29 per person discounted SkyClub lounge access for the cardmember and up to 2 guests.
-Offer return protection that allows you to return items to AMEX for a full refund when a store won’t take an item back within 90 days of the date of purchase, up to $300 per item and $1,000 per card per calendar year. If AMEX requests that the item be returned they will provide a free shipping label, though in most people’s experience you don’t typically have to actually send the item back for a refund.
-Offer AMEX protections like purchase protection, extended warranty, dispute resolution, CDW car rental insurance, and more.
-Offer free Shoprunner membership.
-Offer free additional cardholders (up to 99 per account). Additional cardholders are each eligible for American promotions like Small Business Saturday, Twitter offers, etc.

Delta’s miles aren’t my favorite, but they do have their uses. Their one-way flexible award calendar that can be set to search for 5 weeks at a time is a marked improvement over their old buggy award calendar. And award space has markedly improved from what it’s been in the past. It’s now significantly better than AA award space.

They got rid of their award charts, though I saved screenshots of them here.

However since then they’ve changed some rates since then for the better and the worse. The biggest improvement has been their short-haul award, which now can be found for 5K, 7.5K, or 10K miles for a one-way. I’ve found tickets selling for $500 for 10K miles one-way, so there are still deals to be found.

However they are very stingy with saver international business class awards, though their partners are somewhat better and partners always price at saver rates versus the high rates often charged for Delta flights.

If you actually want to collect Delta miles you’ll do better spending on the  Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX as 20,000 Starpoints transfers into 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines, including Delta or Delta partners like Air France and Alaska. Though there are better airlines that Starwood points can transfer into unless you need a specific Delta award.

Alternatively you can earn 1.5 miles per dollar (transferable to Delta) everywhere by making 30 transactions per month with The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express. Purchases like gas, Uber, and groceries will earn 3-4.5 miles per dollar.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and earns 1.2 miles per dollar (transferable to Delta) by making 20 transactions per month. Purchases like groceries and Uber and will earn 2.2-2.4 miles per dollar.

For Delta purchases you can earn 3 points per dollar on the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card versus 2 per dollar on the Delta card.

However the MQM bonuses can make it worth spending on the Platinum Delta cards if you can hit the $25K or $50K spend threshold bonuses.

Additionally if you are gunning for Delta medallion status, then spending $25,000 on Delta cards in a year will waive the requirement to spend a minimum amount on Delta flights to earn that status ($3,000 for Silver, $6,000 for Gold, $9,000 for Platinum, and $15,000 for Diamond if you don’t spend $25K in a year across all of your Delta cards).

But the cards are great for the signup bonus and benefits that they come with for both Delta Medallions and non-Medallions alike.

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Roundup Of Limited Time Increased Credit Card Signup Bonuses From AMEX, Capital One, Chase, And Citibank

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Related: Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered

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American Express Limited Time Offers:
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

 

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

 

Until July 6th, the consumer and business Gold cards are offering 50K miles for spending $2,000 in 3 months plus a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

The consumer and business Platinum cards are offering 60K miles and 10K Medallion Qualifying Miles for spending $2,000 in 3 months plus a $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. These cards also provide an annual companion certificate, bonus MQMs based on threshold spending, and have a $195 annual fee.

All 4 cards provide free checked baggage, priority boarding, and other Delta benefits.

Delta miles have significantly improved  of late and are now more useable than American miles.

Read more about the cards in this post.


-The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months, 6% cash back on US grocery stores (up to $6K/year), and 3% cash back on US gas and department stores. If you apply by 8/3/16 the annual fee will be $75 annual fee, otherwise it will be $95.


-The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express offers 10K MR points for spending $1 and another 10K MR points for spending $5K in 6 months if you apply by 7/29. It offers a 30% bonus on all points earned annually. You must have a Everyday, Green, Gold, or Platinum card to transfer these points to airlines or hotels. No annual fee.


-The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers a $250 statement credit for spending $5,000 in 6 months if you apply by 8/3. It also offers 5% cash back at office supply stores and wireless phone bills. You also get 3% cash back on your choice of: Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, shipping, or computer hardware/software/cloud services.. There is no annual fee.


Capital One Limited Time Offers:

Note that Capital One does a credit pull from all 3 credit bureaus when applying for cards, though some have had success getting a card with 1 pull by freezing the reports by 2 of the 3 credit bureaus. More info on freezing from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

However Capital One cards are still fully churnable, so you can earn the bonus on the same card multiple times without any waiting period.

-Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers $500 cash back for spending $4,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.  This card offers 2% cash back everywhere and there are no foreign transaction fees. $59 annual fee is waived for the first year.


-Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a free Uber ride (up to $15) for every 9 rides that you take through 3/31/17. This card offers $100 cash back for spending $500 in 3 months, 1.5% cash back everywhere, and there are no foreign transaction fees. No annual fee.


-Capital One Venture offers 40K points for spending $3K in 3 months for a limited time only, plus 2 points per dollar everywhere, and there are no foreign transaction fees.  $59 annual fee is waived for the first year.


Chase Limited Time Offers:

-Chase Marriott is offering 80K points for spending $3K in 3 months plus 7.5K points for adding an additional user for a limited time only. There is an $85 annual fee. You’ll also get a free night at a category 1-5 hotel every anniversary.

The Marriott program is split into “categories” and “tiers.”

Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

When you stay 4 nights you get the 5th night free.  You can browse hotels in each of those categories and tiers via the find button on this page. While there you can look at the additional free night you receive at signup besides for the bonus points at category 1-4 hotels.

You can also transfer points into miles here. The ratios aren’t great, but if you need some Southwest points for Companion pass status that can be worthwhile.

Marriott also offers miles+nights packages.

Read more about using Marriott points in Israel in this post.


Citi Limited Time Offers:

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 60K AA miles for spending $5K in 3 months for a limited time only.

Cardholders can save up to 7.5K off round-trip awards to rotating destinations. With the card, discounted short-haul awards are just 6.5K miles one-way. After spending $5,000 on the card you’ll have 65K miles, or enough for up to 10 short-haul flights.

The card carries a whopping $450 annual fee, though it’s refundable if you close it within 37 days of that being billed. Sometimes the fee is billed on the first statement, sometimes its on the second statement.

Cardholders receive a full Admirals Club membership which allows you to bring your entire immediate family or 2 guests into the lounge. Up to 10 additional cardholders are free and they can also can access AA lounges and bring in their own guests or families for free as well.Membership alone is normally $550/year and this is the only card that gives a full Admirals Club membership that works for access even when you’re not flying on American (The Citi Prestige card doesn’t give access if you’re not flying American).

Admirals Club members can also access partner lounges from Alaska, Qantas, and other airlines.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You and 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American as well as priority checkin, security, and boarding. You’ll also get 25% off in-flight food, beverages, and headsets.

If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership, which are amazing time savers for even infrequent flyers.


 

-The Citi Hilton HHonors card is offering 75K Hilton points for spending $2K in 3 months for a limited time only.  There’s no annual fee. You’ll also get Silver elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $20K/year you’ll get Gold status.

There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it which gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world (including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem). It also gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This card has a $95 annual fee.


 

-The Citi Prestige card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 months for a limited time only.  The points are transferrable to several airlines and hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card,  $665 of airline purchases, or $800 of travel on American.

The Prestige card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies, and double points on dining and entertainment.

There is a $450 annual fee. However the Prestige card comes packed with awesome benefits:

1. $250 annual air travel credit. No need to pick an airline. No need to buy a gift card. Just a straight credit for up to $250 of whatever you spend from any airline including tickets, bag fees, seat fees, etc. In your first cardmembership year you can get $250 back in 2016 and $250 back in 2017, which more than covers the annual fee.

2. Free American Admirals Club lounge access for you and your family or you and 2 guests when flying American.

3. Priority Pass lounge membership with free guest access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional Prestige cardmembers are just $50 and they also get their own Priority Club lounge membership with free guest privileges. The Priority pass membership that comes with the AMEX Platinum card doesn’t include free guests access, so that’s a nice perk of this membership. Click here to search for lounges in airports across the world.

4. Global Entry or Pre-Check reimbursement. A 5 year Global Entry membership is normally $100 but will be free when paid with the Prestige card. Skip the lines when returning to the US and get Pre-Check included as well. Pre-Check allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on, skip the nude-o-scope, and leave your laptop in the bag.  It makes traveling a whole lot easier.

5. A 4th night free on all paid hotel stays. When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights you’ll get the 4th night of the reservation rebated back to your for free. The rates will be the same as on the hotel website and the rates do qualify for hotel elite status and points. Note that the 4th night of the stay will be the rebated night. In some cases the 4th night may cost significantly more or less than the rest of the nights, so always check to see the actual rate for each night. There is no limit to how many times you can take advantage of this offer. You need to use your Prestige card, but you get triple points for hotel spending, so that’s not a bad thing.

6. 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year. You can search for courses here and make reservations here. That’s 6 free rounds of golf in your first cardmembership year.

Getting more than one Citi card and repeat bonuses:

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs anymore, though some people have reported success. You can apply for one card, wait 8 days, and then apply for another Citi card. You would have to wait 60 days from the date of your first card application before you can apply for a 3rd Citi card and 60 days from the date of your second card application before you can apply for a 4th Citi card.

Most Citi card applications now require an 24 month waiting period from when you last had that exact card before you can get the signup bonus again.

Citi phone reconsideration (888-201-4523) can be tough if denied, but many people (myself included) have had great luck reconsidering via snail mail! Just write a short letter explaining why you want the card to: Mr. Ken Stork, Office of the President, PO Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

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Which Credit Card Should You Be Using At Costco? Here Are 10 Great Options (Including AMEX And Mastercard Options)

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Last week Costco stopped accepting AMEX cards. You can only use Visa cards in stores now, so which card should you be using?

1. If you live in an area with Google Express you can still pay with AMEX and have in-store Costco items delivered to your front door by Google. And you can even get $15 off $15 for signing up and another $15 off $30 for each AMEX offer that you have.

Google Express even gives prepaid shipping labels if you need to return an item.

You do need a Costco membership to shop at Costco via Google Express. Unlike Instacart, prices for items are the same as they are in-store and in-store coupons and promotions are reflected in Google Express prices.

I have dozens of cards with the AMEX Offer and it’s hard to beat half off at Costco!

Unfortunately they only offer perishable items in select locations, so I still need to go to Costco for those items and for gasoline.

2. The Chase Freedom Visa has been aggressively going after Costco shoppers. You can earn 5 points per dollar for up to $1,500 in spending in Q2, another $1,500 of spending in Q3, and another $1,500 of spending in Q4. If you don’t have the card yet you will get 17,500 points for opening it, adding an additional user, and spending $500 in 3 months.

There’s no annual fee.

It’s important to note that you won’t earn 5 points per dollar if you swipe your Freedom card at Costco gas stations, as those are coded as gas stations and not warehouse clubs. However you can buy a Costco cash card online or in-store with your Freedom card to earn 5 points per dollar and then you can use that cash card at the Costco pump.

My local Costco gas station is often 20-50 cents cheaper per gallon than other gas stations. In Hawaii earlier this year I paid a full dollar per gallon less than other gas stations!

In fact, you can even give those Costco Cash cards to someone without a membership and they’ll be able to buy gas at the pump or shop in the store without needing to buy a membership.

You can lock in savings by stocking up on Costco cash cards each quarter.

By itself, 5 Freedom points are worth 5% cash back as Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you, your spouse, or business partner has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this post which currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them. On the grey market they can sell for around 1.6 cents each (making for an 8% rebate on Costco purchases), but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

3. The new Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card offers 4% back on gas stations, including Costco gas stations (up to $7,000 annually), 3% cash back on restaurants and travel, 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com, and 1% cash back elsewhere.

There’s no annual fee other than your Costco membership dues.

That’s a solid card, especially for the 3% and 4% categories. However rewards are only paid out once per year via a check that can only be cashed in Costco stores.

4. The Chase Ink Plus Visa or Ink Cash Visa offer 5 points per dollar at office supply stores and telecom and 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels or gas and dining. Ink Plus offers 60K points for spending $5K in 3 months and Ink Cash offers 20K points for spending $3K in 3 months.

These cards won’t be good for regular Costco shopping, but you’ll earn 2 points per dollar at Costco gas stations which will be worth even more when transferred into airline miles or hotel points. I’d consider that to be a 3.2% value on the grey market or a 4% value when used for travel.

5. The Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. You’ll get 17,500 points for signing up, adding an additional user, and spending $500 in 3 months.

There’s no annual fee.

If you, your spouse, or business partner has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card those points can be transferred into miles. That makes your effective rebate 2.4%-3% everywhere.

6. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back on gas (including Costco gas) and 2% cash back on wholesale clubs and groceries on up to $2,500 per quarter. Plus you’ll get a bonus 10% cash back if you deposit your reward into a BOFA checking or savings account. You’ll also get $100 cash back for opening the card if you spend $500 within 3 months.

7. The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature offers 2% cash back everywhere if you open a Fidelity brokerage account for the refund to be deposited into. There’s no annual fee.

8. The Barclay Arrival Plus World Mastercard offers 2 points per dollar everywhere plus 5% of your points back every time you use them. It also gives 40K bonus points for signing up and spending $3K in 90 days. The $89 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Costco stores only take Visa cards, however Costco.com still accepts Discover and Mastercards. You can buy Costco Cash cards on Costco.com and then use them for any in-store purchases or at Costco gas stations.

9. The Citi Double Cash Mastercard offers 2% cash back everywhere with no annual fee.

You can buy Costco Cash cards on Costco.com and then use them for any in-store purchases or at Costco gas stations.

10. You can buy Visa gift cards at office supply stores with a Chase Ink Plus Visa or Ink Cash Visa to earn 5 points per dollar. If you, your spouse, or business partner has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card those points can be transferred into miles.

Staples.com sells $300 gift cards for $308.95, which will earn 1,545 points. If you value the points at the grey market rate of 1.6 cents each that means you’ll earn $24.72 worth of points. After backing out the $8.95 fee you’re left with a $15.77 profit or a 5.26% rebate. If you value the points at a rate of 2 cents each when using them as airline miles or hotel points that means you’ll earn $30.90 worth of points. After backing out the $8.95 fee you’re left with a $21.95 profit or a 7.32% rebate.

You can then use those Visa gift cards at Costco.

Of course if you buy Visa gift cards when there’s a promotion that makes them cost less than face value you’ll do even better than that.

What card will you be using at Costco?

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Final Day To Register For Chase Freedom Q2 Spending, Bonus Points For Wholesale Clubs Extended Through End Of 2016

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Chase Freedom Visa

You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

Costco will switch from AMEX cards to Visa cards on June 20, but if you want to lock in savings without going to a store, you can buy Costco Cash cards to earn 5 points per dollar. It takes Costco about a week to actually charge you for cash card orders, so be sure to order those now and don’t wait until the end of the month.

You must register for Q2 bonus spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs by today and complete spending by June 30th.

Additionally, Chase has announced that wholesale clubs will be included in Q3 and Q4 spend categories, so you can earn 5 points per dollar at BJs, Costco, and Sams Club throughout 2016.

Q3 bonus spending will include restaurants (which includes caterers, cafes, etc) and wholesale clubs and you can spend up to $1,500 for 7,500 points in those categories.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

While Chase Freedom is a great card for the bonus categories, it’s not a great card for everyday spending. However the brand new Chase Freedom Unlimited card is excellent for everyday spending.

2016 Chase Freedom bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sams Club.
Q3: Restaurants and wholesale clubs.
Q4: Wholesale clubs, Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com) and more to be announced.

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this post which currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

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Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard Now Offering A 60K Signup Bonus: Earn Up To 10 Free Flights!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


For a limited time only, the Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 60K AA miles for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

You can earn the bonus if you haven’t had this particular card in the past 24 months.

Cardholders can save up to 7.5K off round-trip awards to rotating destinations. With the card, discounted short-haul awards are just 6.5K miles one-way. After spending $5,000 on the card you’ll have 65K miles, or enough for up to 10 short-haul flights.

The card carries a whopping $450 annual fee, though it’s refundable if you close it within 37 days of that being billed. Sometimes the fee is billed on the first statement, sometimes its on the second statement.

Cardholders receive a full Admirals Club membership which allows you to bring your entire immediate family or 2 guests into the lounge. Up to 10 additional cardholders are free and they can also can access AA lounges and bring in their own guests or families for free as well. Membership alone is normally $550/year and this is the only card that gives a full Admirals Club membership that works for access even when you’re not flying on American (The Citi Prestige card doesn’t give access if you’re not flying American).

Admirals Club members can also access partner lounges from Alaska, Qantas, and other airlines.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You and 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American as well as priority checkin, security, and boarding. You’ll also get 25% off in-flight food, beverages, and headsets.

If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership, which are amazing time savers for even infrequent flyers.

It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Berlin, Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, and LATAM) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

If you actually want to collect AA miles and don’t care about the elite qualifying miles, you’ll do better spending on the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX as 20,000 Starpoints transfers into 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines, including American.

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Has Chase’s 5/24 Rule Gone Into Effect On All Cards?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

A few months ago I gave a brief “pre-obituary” for the credit card game and noted new rules that went into effect for AMEX cards and rumored new rules for Chase cards that would go into effect in March and April. Those months passed without incident.

However DDF member Jkhein notes that he applied for a Chase Ink Cash business card on May 22nd and was told by reconsideration that effective for applications made on May 22nd that they could no longer approve an Ink card if you have received 5 cards from any banks in the previous 24 months. He was told that had he applied on May 21st that he would have been approved. Previously the 5/24 rule only applied to the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Sapphire cards. Another member related a similar experience in that thread and DoC notes there that he was told by a source that the rule is now in effect for Ink, Marriott, Southwest, and United cards.

Does that leave the IHG card, Hyatt card, and British Airways card unscathed? Seems unlikely, but anything is possible. Of course it’s also possible that the rule hasn’t gone into effect on the co-branded airline and hotel cards as I’ve yet to hear firsthand reports about those.

Previously, some people have had success overturning a denial with HUCA’ing (Hang up, call again) reconsideration, while others with $10K+ in a Chase checking account or with Private Client status have had luck by asking a banker to fill out a special reconsideration form for them, but we’ll have to wait and see what reports come in with the latest rule.

Like I said in that post, there’s no doubt that this game is on the downward slope of the bell-curve here.

Post your experience with Chase applications made on or after May 22nd in the comments!

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Discover Now Offering Free FICO Score Access To Everyone

Friday, May 20th, 2016

There are lots of services out there that give free credit scores, but they all simulate scores based on their own models. These are called FAKO scores that aren’t going to be used in a credit approval decision. A FAKO score can be significantly different than your FICO score, discrepancies of more than 100 points aren’t uncommon.

Discover is launching Credit Scorecard and it gives a real Experian 8 FICO score. It does not hurt your score if you check your own score. You don’t need a Discover card to join and check your FICO score for free.

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AMEX also gives Experian 8 FICO scores to their cardholders and indeed it was an exact match:

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Interestingly if you have a Discover credit card they provide you with another FICO score, the Transunion 8:

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Barclays also provides a Transunion 8 FICO score to its cardholders, it was taken a day later and was 1 points higher than the score Discover gave:

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Other programs that you signup for aren’t giving you a real FICO score.

You can keep tabs on all 3 of your reports with annualcreditreport.com, the only government sanctioned credit report site. If there are mistakes there be sure to dispute them! If there are hard pulls that shouldn’t be there, if there are duplicate hard pulls, or if there are pulls older than 24 months old you should dispute those as well. Unfortunately that site only shows your report, it does not give you a credit score.

One trick to get your score higher is to pay off what you spend, besides for a buck or 2, before your monthly statement prints. Once your statement is generated even if you pay it off on time you will lose up to 30% of your score depending on how much you owe that month. You can call your credit card bank to have all your card’s statements print on the same day of the month to keeps things organized.

If you can’t swing that, then try spending on a business card where the spending doesn’t affect your personal credit score. Some other tips can be found in this post from the DD archives.

HT: emak, via DDF and Yanky K, via DDFB

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100K American Express Platinum Signup Bonus

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Update: DEAD!


This card offer link isn’t my affiliate link, so I can’t personally vouch for its legitimacy, but the landing page says you’ll get 100K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

A $450 annual fee applies.

The bonus will only be awarded if you haven’t previously had a Platinum card.

You can read more about the card in this post.

HT: cohen220, via DDF

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Last Chance For Hilton American Express 100K and 75K Limited Time Offers

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Update: These offers are no longer available.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100K points for spending $3,000 within 3 months.  It offers 12 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 6 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has a $75 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which gets confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. You’ll also get discounted 4 night award stays and the 5th night free on award stays.


-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express is offering 75K points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.  It offers 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has no annual fee and offers Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. You’ll also get discounted 4 night award stays and the 5th night free on award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status.


-There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world when you spend $2,500 in 4 months, including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, the Conrad Maldives, the Grand Wailea Maui, or the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Citi Hilton card in the past 24 months.

It offers 10 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar on airline and car rental spending, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere.

It has a $95 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. You’ll get the 5th night free on award stays.  You’ll also get an additional free night for spending $10K in a calendar year. This card has a $95 annual fee.


The Hilton award chart can be found here.

Rooms range from 5K to 95K points per night depending on which of the 10 categories it falls into. If you have any Hilton credit card you’ll have elite status which also get the 5th award night for free. There are also point and money awards which are a great way to stretch your points, though those awards are capacity controlled.

As long as a standard room is for sale you can use points for the room without capacity controls or blackout dates.

The awesome Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is a category 9 property requiring 80K points per night. As a Hilton cardholder the 5th award night is free, so the cost for a 5 night stay is 320K points or effectively 64K points per night.

Alternatively, AMEX Hilton cardholders can also book discounted 4 night award stays as follows:
Category 5: 130,000 points
Category 6: 160,000 points
Category 7: 190,000 points
Category 8: 220,000 points
Category 9: 260,000 points
Category 10: 300,000 points

These discounted 4 night awards are called AXON awards and can only be booked over the phone (800-920-5649), but will have the same availability as regular awards.

Hilton is a tough currency to love due to the high point requirements, but we absolutely loved our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem last year and hope to stay there again. These limited time offers are all some of the richest that have ever been offered for these cards.

At the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem we were treated to a fantastic daily breakfast, which is free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. There is a mind-boggling quantity of awesome kosher food there, from dozens of daily hot dishes to hard cheeses, fresh fruits and pastries to fresh squeezed juices, as well as on-demand dishes like french toast, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. Unlimited wine, hot or cold chocolate drinks, and espresso drinks are included as well!

Gold and Diamond members get upgrades, food and drink amenities, late checkout, and other great benefits. Their Friday night Shabbos meals are pricey, but are well worth the expense (DDFers agree with that take as well), and the in-house restaurants are excellent as well.

With a breakfast like this, you may not even be hungry for dinner…

 

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Many, many more pictures when I get around to writing the trip report 😉


If you need more points for a discounted 4 night or 5 night stay you can also buy Hilton points at half price through June 3rd here.

You can purchase anywhere from 2K points for $10 to 160K points for $800, effectively 0.5 cents per point. If you need more points you can open additional Hilton accounts in your name and then combine the accounts by clicking here.

In other words if you have 240K Hilton points you could spend 3 nights in the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. With this deal you can buy an additional 20K points for $100 and have enough points for a 4 night stay for AMEX cardholders. Or you can buy an additional 80K points for $400 and have enough points for a 5 night stay if you are a Hilton cardholder or elite.

Even if you don’t have any points in can make sense to buy points.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem rooms range from $450-$650 per night (plus 18% VAT for locals). If you were to buy 80K points at 0.5 cents each that would make the effective cost per night $400.  If you have a Hilton AMEX you can stay for 4 nights for 260K points (65K points per night) that would make the effective cost per night $325. If you have Hilton elite status (it’s free with any Hilton card) they you can get the 5th award night for free, so 320K points (64K points per night) at the sale price of 0.5 cents each would make the effective cost per night just $320. No tax is owed on award stays.

Or for example a top-tier category 10 hotel like the Conrad Maldives goes for $700-$1,000 per night. It costs 95K points per night ($475/night with this sale), 300K points for 4 nights for Hilton AMEX cardholders ($375/night with this sale), or 380K points for 5 nights for Hilton elites ($380/night with this sale).


Do you have any Hilton cards or do you have plans to take advantage of these limited time offers? Which aspirational hotel do you have your eyes set on? Hit the comments!

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Which New JetBlue Card Is Right For You?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

JetBlue World Mastercard
JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard

JetBlue has moved their credit card portfolio from AMEX to Barclaycard, and with the move comes new cards and new benefits.

-The base card has no annual fee and offers 10K points for spending $1,000 in 90 days.
-The Plus card has a $99 annual fee and offers 30K points for spending $1,000 in 90 days.

What’s that signup bonus worth? It all depends on the flights you take, but here are 3 examples:
1. JFK-Chicago on 5/11 is $63.10 or 3.7K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.55 cents per point (63.10-5.60/3,700).
2. JFK-Los Angeles on 5/11 is $138.10 or 9.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.44 cents per point.
3. JFK-Fort Lauderdale on 5/11 is $85.10 or 5.3K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.5 cents per point.

Assuming a value of 1.5 cents per point that would make the 10K bonus worth about $150 and the 30K bonus worth about $450.

-The Plus card also offers a 10% points rebate every time you redeem your points. The rebate will post within 1 business day of using points. That effectively makes your points about 10% more valuable and bumps up the signup bonus value of the Plus card to about $500. It means that the JFK-ORD example will really only cost Plus cardholders 3,330 points, the JFK-LAX flight will cost 8,280 points, and the JFK-FLL flight will cost just 4,770 points after the 10% rebate.

-JetBlue points never expire. JetBlue also allows families to pool their points together.

-The Plus card offers a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to 3 passengers on the same reservation. That’s a value of up to $160 in waived checked bag fees per round-trip.

-The Plus card offers 5,000 points upon every card anniversary. Combined with the 10% rebate that’s 5,500 points that are worth about $83 towards JetBlue flights. That drops the effective annual fee from $99 down to just $16.

-The Plus card offers an annual $100 statement credit when you book a $100+ JetBlue vacation package.

-If you spend $50K in a calendar year on the Plus card then you’ll get JetBlue Mosaic status for the remainder of the calendar year and for the following calendar year.
Mosaic status includes free changes and cancellations on JetBlue tickets for the Mosaic member and for everyone on their itinerary, 2 free checked bags, 15K bonus points for earning Mosaic status every year, free even more speed checkin and security access, early boarding, 3 additional points per dollar spent, free alcoholic beverages onboard, and a dedicated Mosaic 24/7 customer service line.

-Both cards offer 2 points per dollar on groceries and restaurants as well as 1 point per dollar everywhere else. The Plus card also offers 6 points per dollar on JetBlue purchases while the base card offers 3 points per dollar. That’s on top of the 3-11 points per dollar that you earn for the flight itself, which makes for a nice rebate on JetBlue flights.

-Both cards also offer a 50% rebate for in-flight purchases of cocktails, food, JetBlue movies and other eligible purchases.

-Both cards offer no foreign transaction fees.

It’s nice that they are offering a no-annual fee base card, but the benefits are pretty spartan when compared to fee-free cards like Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and AMEX Everyday. The main advantage is the lack of foreign transactions fees, but other than that it’s slim pickings.

The Plus card on the other hand is a no-brainer, even for once-per-year JetBlue flyers. The signup bonus makes it well worth the initial $99 annual fee and the anniversary bonus makes it worth keeping the card despite the $99 annual fee. The free checked bags and the 10% rebate on award tickets seal the deal on a very solid card offering. And the very generous bonus points offered on JetBlue purchases is icing on the cake.

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Confirmed: Freedom Q2 Bonus Works At Costco

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Chase Freedom Visa

On April 1st I bought a $25 Costco Cash card on Costco.com with one of my 3 Freedom Visa cards. The charge finally posted to my account and I can confirm that it earned 5 points per dollar:

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While you can use any card type to shop on Costco.com, you won’t be able to use a Visa in Costco stores until 6/20 when Costco switches from AMEX only to Visa only. But you can buy cash cards online with free shipping and use those in Costco stores.

Be sure not to wait until the end of June to try this, as it took a week for Costco to actually make the charge.

You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

While Chase Freedom is a great card for the bonus categories, it’s not a great card for everyday spending. However the brand new Chase Freedom Unlimited card is excellent for everyday spending.

2016 Chase Freedom bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs and Sams Club. Effective 6/20 Costco will also start accepting Visa cards and should qualify as a wholesale club.
Q3: Restaurants and more to be announced.
Q4: Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com and more to be announced)

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this post which currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Now Available Online, Is It The Best Card For Everyday Spending?

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited advertises a $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months, but in reality that comes in the form of 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll get an additional 2,500 points for adding a free additional user which will leave you with a total of 18,250 points after spending $500.

It has no annual fee.

The real kicker is that although it advertises 1.5% cash back, that too comes in the form of 1.5 points per dollar. When used properly those points are worth far more than 1% each.

The beauty of miles is that the sky is the limit (see the end of this post for more on that or see this post for ideas for your miles). I’ve had redemptions where my miles have been worth 50 cents each. If you’re good at the game, it’s not difficult to get a value of at least 2 cents from your miles, which would mean this card would be worth 3% cash back everywhere for you. That’s tough to beat.

If you value Chase points at 1.7 cents each then earning 1.5 points per dollar everywhere is like earning 2.55% cash back. It shouldn’t be hard to attain a value like that between Hyatt and airlines like British Airways, Iberia, Korean, Singapore, Southwest, and United.
If you value them at 1.6 cents each you would be earning 2.4% cash back. Even if you value them at just 1.5 cents each it would still be like getting 2.25% cash back and still beats a 2% cash back card.

You can pay your federal taxes for a 1.87% fee, so it can make sense to use this card to pay your taxes as long as you value Chase points at a paltry 1.2 cents each.

The only catch is that you, your spouse, or an authorized user on your account must have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card in order to transfer these points into miles.

The good news is that you can convert this card into a Sapphire Preferred card and then convert it back. You can also convert your Freedom or Sapphire Preferred card into a Freedom Unlimited card, though you don’t get signup bonuses for card conversions. If you do convert your Freedom card into a Freedom Unlimited card, be sure to first finish the $1,500 in Q2 bonus spending.

It can be tough to get cards like Freedom or Sapphire if you have received 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, but exceptions have been made and bankers have been able to help some people with Chase checking accounts appeal a denial.

There are lots of cards that offer bonuses for spending in specific categories:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-I always max out the $1,500 of 5x quarterly spending on the Chase Freedom Visa. That’s an easy way to pickup 30K miles per year. Last year it even offered up to 11 points per dollar in December as a special “5th quarter” promotion. It has no annual fee.

-The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on dining, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. It is free for a year and is $195 afterward, but if comes with a $100 airline fee credit that helps offset that fee.

-The Ink Plus card offers 5 points per dollar on office supplies (including hundreds of gift cards sold by office supply stores), cell phone, internet, and telecom bills, and 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels. It has a $95 annual fee.

-The Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals, hotels, and dining, plus it comes with travel insurance and free primary car rental insurance. It’s free for the first year and then has a $95 annual fee.

-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card is one of the best hybrid card offerings because it offers a great value for everyday spending and spending in select categories. If you have 30 transactions per month it offers 4.5 miles per dollar at US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar at US gas stations, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar everywhere else. That’s an excellent all-around card, but it requires discipline to make sure that you reach 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card has no annual fee and if you make 20 transactions per month earns 2.4 points per dollar at US supermarkets and Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. It’s the only no-fee card that allows you to transfer points into miles.

-For everyday spending without needing 20 or 30 transactions per month the long-time gold standard has been the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX. The built-in 25% bonus when transferring points into miles means that you effectively earn 1.25 miles per dollar and Starwood has an awesome array of airlines. Alas transfers from Starwood take a few days and while SPG is safe for now, it won’t be around for more than a couple of years due to Marriott taking it over. And the Starwood card’s only bonus category is for spending money at Starwood hotels.

-For my everyday spending I’ve been using a United Club card as that earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent. That card normally has a whopping $450 annual fee, though I only pay $40/year for it as a lifetime club member and a United 1K. It’s a great card, but the miles are locked into United.

So the Freedom Unlimited offers a unique value proposition. It has no annual fee. It doesn’t require that you make a certain number of transactions per month. And it offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Its’ only Achilles heel is that it requires that you, a spouse, or an authorized user on your account has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus in order to transfer its points into hotel points or airline miles. As Chase allows you to upgrade to Sapphire Preferred and downgrade back to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited that’s a not a big deal though. It even has a huge advantage over the $450/year United Club card in that the points can be transferred to Chase’s other excellent airline and hotel partners and aren’t locked into United miles.

Will you switch your everyday spending to Freedom Unlimited?

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Roundup Of Limited Time Hilton Credit Card Offers: Earn Up To 100K Points Per Card!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


-Ending tomorrow morning, the Citi Hilton card is offering 75K points for spending $2,000 within 3 months. It offers 6 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 3 points per dollar at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Citi Hilton card in the past 18 months.

It has no annual fee and offers Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. That gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays.

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-There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world when you spend $2,500 in 3 months, including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, the Conrad Maldives, the Grand Wailea Maui, or the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Citi Hilton card in the past 18 months.

It offers 10 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar on airline and car rental spending, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere.

It has a $95 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which gets confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. You’ll also get an additional free night for spending $10K in a calendar year. This card has a $95 annual fee.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express is offering 75K points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.  It offers 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has no annual fee and offers Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. That gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status.

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-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100K points for spending $3,000 within 3 months.  It offers 12 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 6 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has a $75 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status.

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The Hilton award chart can be found here.

Rooms range from 5K to 95K points per night depending on which of the 10 categories it falls into. If you have any Hilton credit card you’ll have elite status which also get the 5th award night for free. There are also point and money awards which are a great way to stretch your points, though those awards are capacity controlled.

As long as a standard room is for sale you can use points for the room without capacity controls or blackout dates.

The awesome Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is a category 9 property requiring 80K points per night. If you stay for 5 nights the effective cost per night is 64K, or 320K points for a 5 night stay.

AMEX Hilton cardholders can also book discounted 4 night award stays as follows:
Category 5: 130,000 points
Category 6: 160,000 points
Category 7: 190,000 points
Category 8: 220,000 points
Category 9: 260,000 points
Category 10: 300,000 points

These discounted 4 night awards are called AXON awards and can only be booked over the phone (800-920-5649), but will have the same availability as regular awards.

Hilton is a tough currency to love due to the high point requirements, but we absolutely loved our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem last year and hope to stay there again. These limited time offers are all some of the richest that have ever been offered for these cards.

At the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem we were treated to a fantastic daily breakfast, which is free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. There is a mind-boggling quantity of awesome kosher food there, from dozens of daily hot dishes to hard cheeses, fresh fruits and pastries to fresh squeezed juices, as well as on-demand dishes like french toast, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. Unlimited wine, hot or cold chocolate drinks, and espresso drinks are included as well!

Gold and Diamond members get upgrades, food and drink amenities, late checkout, and other great benefits. Their Friday night Shabbos meals are pricey, but are well worth the expense (DDFers agree with that take as well), and the in-house restaurants are excellent as well.

 

With a breakfast like this, you may not even be hungry for dinner…

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Many, many more pictures when I get around to writing the trip report 😉

 

Do you have any Hilton cards or do you have plans to take advantage of these limited time offers? Which aspirational hotel do you have your eyes set on? Hit the comments!

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Highest Public Offer Ever: Earn 35,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Update: Offer Expired!
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Originally posted on 3/3/16:

Related posts:
The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood Adds A 34th Airline Transfer Partner And It’s Excellent For Awards To Israel!
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Consumer 35K Limited Time Offer:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Business 35K Limited Time Offer:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

This is a limited time offer scheduled to run until 03/30.  It offers 40% more points than the standard offer and there has never been a better public offer for this card.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year on both cards.

For the consumer card you will get 35,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 within 3 months. The terms state that if you have had the consumer card before you will not get the bonus for the consumer card again.

For the business card you will get 35,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 within 3 months. The brand new business card terms state that if you have had the business card before you will not get the bonus for the business card again.

If you have only had a consumer card you can get the points for business card and if you have only had the business card you can get the points for the consumer card.

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Spending on the Starwood card and comparison to Freedom Unlimited.

The Starwood card remains a very good card for general spending.

While there are other cards with better bonus categories, the Starwood card is strong for general spending as Starpoints continue to be the most valuable mileage currency thanks to valuable hotel usage and the 25% bonus for transfers into dozens of airlines.

The upcoming Freedom Unlimited card will give the Starwood card a run for its money for everyday spending, but Starwood offers no foreign transaction fees compared to 3% for the Freedom Unlimited card. Starwood also offers far more airline transfer options, though it effectively earns 1.25 airline miles per dollar compared to 1.5 on Freedom Unlimited. On the other hand Freedom Unlimited will require that you either upgrade your card or have a premium card like Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to transfer points into miles, while the Starwood card doesn’t have a requirement like that.

Starwood also allows members at the same address to transfer points between their accounts for free.

There are thousands of uses for Starpoints, some of which have been over 50 cents each for me at hotels, but I aim for a minimum value of about 2.2 cents per point and am happy when I’m able to exceed that level. It’s not hard to reach a value of that level at hotels and you can transfer 20K miles into 25K valuable miles from airlines like Aegean, Alaska, American, and dozens of other programs. If you are able to obtain a value of 1.75 cents from those airlines then that imputes a 2.2 cent value for Starpoints as well. The miles won’t sell on the grey market for that price, but miles are always more valuable when you use them yourself for travel.

The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.4% rebate at a value of 2.2 cents per Starpoint. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.2% rebate at a value of 2.2 cents per Starpoint.

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Marriott merger:

Starwood is in the process of merging with Marriott, but it will be a while until the programs are merged. Marriott’s CEO has promised multiple times not to mess with SPG’s value proposition, but we’ll see what that means when the full details come out. At this point nothing is known and there are lots of possibilities. The programs could be run separately or either loyalty program could win out. Ideally they’d realize the passion that SPG members have for Starpoints and simply convert Marriott points into an SPG type of loyalty program with something like a 50% haircut in points for Marriott members. But ideally doesn’t always happen.

Will the SPG AMEX or the Chase Marriott card survive? Might both survive? Those are all questions we might not know answers to until next year.

Chase is also currently offering a limited time 87.5K signup bonus on the Marriott card. Of course Starpoints are worth far more than Marriott points and it remains to be seen how exactly and at what ratio they’ll be combined.

But in the meantime you can pickup the signup bonus on both limited time offers.

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American Express Benefits and the annual fee:

The card also carries American Express’ awesome top-notch protections that are light-years better than any other banks. Most other banks always look for a way to get out, but that’s not the case with American Express.
-If you need to return an item up to $300 they will gladly refund you. Most of the time you’ll be able to keep the item, but if you do need to send it back the return shipping will be free.
-You get an additional year of warranty coverage and if you have any issue in the extended warranty year they’ll pay to have it fixed or refund your entire purchase price without a hassle.
-If you need to dispute a charge there’s nobody who makes it easier or as pain-free as American Express does. It’s the best in the industry by leaps and bounds and you can do it all online.
-If your item is stolen or broken within 90 days you’ll be covered.

See this post to see just how amazing AMEX benefits can be.

There’s no fee on the Starwood card for the first year and $95 thereafter though you can often get bonus points or account credits for keeping it open for additional years. If you cancel a card within 60 days of being charged the fee on your statement you will receive a full refund of the fee. If you cancel after 60 days you get a pro-rated refund based on how many months you had the card.

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Spending $3K or $5K in 3 months:

You can pay your federal taxes for a 1.87% fee. The Starpoints are worth more than 1.87 cents each, so that’s a no-brainer if you’re trying to meet a spend threshold. If you overpay you can request a cash refund or apply it to your next year’s taxes.

My local gas company allows me to prepay up to $1,000 on a credit card for a $1.65 flat fee. That’s a great way to earn miles and help meet a spend threshold. My electricity supplier allows me to pay with a credit card for free as long as I am enrolled in autopay. I used to prepay 5 months of rent on a my credit card (it’s easier in Cleveland where that’s just $800/month) for a $19 flat fee. You’d be surprised to see what you can charge to your credit card!

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Sheraton Club Lounge Access:

The Starwood business card now gives free club lounge access when staying at Sheraton hotels.

There have been rave reviews of the Sheraton Club lounge in Tel Aviv for example.  If you have a Starwood business card you’ll get free access to it and its free food, beverages, and sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea. A free night at the Sheraton Tel Aviv is 12K points, 6K points+$110, or 9.6K points per night on a 5 night stay.

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Premium Internet Access:

With either Starwood card you now get free premium in-room internet at Starwood hotels. All SPG guests get free internet, but cardholders will now get the faster version for free.

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Unlimited worldwide Boingo WiFi:

With either Starwood card you now get free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide, perfect for avoiding confiscatory rates at airports when traveling.  Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.

Enroll for free Boingo access here.

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Elite Status and Crossover benefits with Delta and Uber:

Just by having a Starwood card you earn Preferred Plus status.  This status earns you the right to checkout at 4pm at Starwood hotels and get upgraded to preferred rooms.

If you spend $30,000 in a year on either Starwood card you earn Gold status.  Gold status gets you more points per dollar spent at SPG hotels and a 250 point amenity on stays, even when redeeming points.  You can also get gold status for free with no spending requirement by opening The Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

When you have the Starwood card you also get 5 elite qualifying nights and 2 stays for each Starwood card that you have that count towards earning Gold or Platinum status!

Starwood Gold and Platinum elites can also register here to earn Starpoints on Delta flights on top of the regular Delta miles in addition to other benefits while Delta elites can get benefits at SPG hotels.

And all members can earn bonus Starpoints for Uber rides as well after making a single SPG stay.

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Using Starpoints:

Points are deposited directly into your Starwood account, so you do not lose your points if you cancel your card like you would with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citibank ThankYou points.  You do need to maintain some activity in your Starwood account every 18 months to keep it active, though Starwood is very good about reactivating accounts that have been closed due to inactivity.

Award nights count towards elite status. Gold members receive 250 points back and Platinum members receive 500 points back per stay.

How can you use your points?

1. Hotel award nights with no blackouts or capacity controls. If a standard room is for sale you can use points to book it:

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2. If you book 5 consecutive hotel award nights at category 3-7 hotels then the 5th night will be free:

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For example:
-5 nights at the category 7 blinged out S. Regis Bal Harbour is 120,000 points, still that’s not a bad value when you consider that the cheapest rooms during peak season go for more than $1,000 per night.
-At the category 6 ultra-modern W Hong Kong with a 76th floor rooftop infinity pool or at the breathtaking Le Meridien Bora Bora or Westin Venice would cost 80,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 5 Sheraton Kauai or the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv will be 48,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 4 Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii, Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will be 40,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 3 Le Meridien Chiang Mai Thailand over an awesome Shabbos at the nearby Chabad House. would set you back 28,000 points. Same goes for the popular Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek or the Sheraton Mahwah near Monsey.
-The category 2 Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview is just 3K points on weekends or 4K points on weekdays. Same goes for the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel near Lakewood, NJ.
-A night at the category 1 Aloft S. Jose Costa Rica or Le Méridien N’Fis, Morocco starts at just 2,000 points.

Click on the category links to explore other hotels that can be obtained for those rates.

3. Cash and points allows you stretch your points when reserving a standard room, upgraded room, or suite:

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Starwood’s cash and points chart make expensive hotel stays cheap. Take the Sheraton at my hometown Cleveland airport for example. The rate there for tonight is $219+tax=$260. Using Starpoints you can either pay 4,000 points for a value of 6.5 cents per Starpoint. With cash and points a category 2 hotel would be 2,000 points and $35 cash for a value of 11.3 cents per Starpoint! A weekend night is just 3,000 points.

4. Nights and Flights allow you to combine a 5 night hotel stay and get 50,000 miles for less than the cost of booking a 5 night stay and transferring points separately:

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In other words you can stay 5 nights at a category 4 hotel like the Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii or Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and get 50,000 miles transferred into the airline of your choice for just 70,000 Starpoints.

When done separately that 5 night stay would cost 40,000 Starpoints and the airline transfer would cost 40,000 Starpoints.

5. SPG Moments allows you to  purchase or bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences with Starpoints.

Throw out the first pitch at a ballgame, watch the game from a suite, etc. Starwood will even cater their suite with kosher food upon request with no additional charge! People have done that at the US Open, Cubs, Knicks, Rangers, and more games.

6. Keep your eyes peeled for promotions like this 50% off promotion where I spent 5 nights in the S. Regis Bal Harbour for just 48,000 points.

You can currently save 35% off at select resorts.

7. Of course you can transfer your Starpoints into miles with dozens of airlines at great ratios. 20,000 Starpoints becomes 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines thanks to the 25% bonus.

Airlines also often incentivize transfers, like American did last year by offering a 50% bonus for transfersAir Canada and United also offered promotions last year.

Curious about the 34 Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are!

With so may different airlines to transfer to it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go. I’ve separated them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines. Of course airlines also have lots of non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.

In parenthesis you can see if American Express Membership Rewards (MR), Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), or Citibank Thank You (TY) points transfers to the airline as well.

OneWorld Alliance:
Air Berlin: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
American: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
British Airways Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
JAL: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
LAN: 20,000 Starpoints=37,500 kms (No other transfers)
Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)

Skyteam Alliance:
AeroMexico: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Korean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (UR)
Saudia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Star Alliance:
ANA: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Aegean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air Canada/Aeroplan: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points (No other transfers)
Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
United: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (UR)

Unaligned:
Alaska (Partners with several airlines from different alliances): 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
Gol/Varig Smiles: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (No other transfers)
Hainan: 20,000 Starpoints==25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Jet Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Virgin Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Points can also transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio.

You can view the expiration policies for each transfer program here. Remember that points can only transfer from Starwood to an airline, they can never transfer from an airline to Starwood.

I don’t recommend using the SPG Flights or the SPG Merchandise/Gift Card programs as the value per point is way too low.

How do you normally redeem your Starpoints? Hit the comments!

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Chase Is Launching A Game-Changing Credit Card This Spring

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Last week I wrote the pre-obituary on the mileage game. But every now and then something comes up that proves rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

We don’t have reports yet of people applying for new Chase or AMEX cards under the new rules. And airlines will continue to devalue their miles. But as I wrote in that post, the banks and airlines have good reason to continue allowing exceptional mileage redemptions as otherwise they would never be able to compete with a 2% cash back card.

I always max out the $1,500 of 5x quarterly spending on the Chase Freedom Visa. That’s an easy way to pickup 30K miles per year. Last year it even offered up to 11 points per dollar in December as a special “5th quarter” promotion.

I use a United Club card for my everyday purchases as that earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent. That card has a whopping $450 annual fee, though I only pay $40/year for it as a lifetime club member and a United 1K. It’s a great card, but the miles are locked into United.

The only other card that gives 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere is the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card. That card has a $95 annual fee and if you make 30 transactions per month you’ll earn 4.5 miles per dollar at US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar at US gas stations and Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar everywhere else. That card launched together with the Amex EveryDay Credit Card which has no annual fee and if you make 20 transactions per month earns 2.4 points per dollar at US supermarkets and Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere.
Both of those cards can directly transfer points into miles, so they each offered something unprecedented between a card offering a transferable 1.5 miles per dollar and a no annual fee card offering transferable miles.

While the banks are trying their hardest to avoid card churning, they are increasing the stakes in earning points for spending. Chase clearly smells blood in the water and hopes to offer a knockout punch with the Freedom Unlimited Visa. 

I’ve personally confirmed the following details about the Freedom Unlimited Visa with a Chase PR rep:
1. It will have no annual fee.
2. It will earn 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent everywhere without limits. It won’t have any category bonuses. You can cash the points out for 1.5% cash back or you can transfer them to cards like Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus in order to convert these points into airline miles or hotel points.
3. It will launch sometime this spring, the exact date is not yet known.
4. You will be able to convert existing Freedom or Sapphire cards to Freedom Unlimited.
5. You will be able to apply for a Freedom Unlimited card even if you have an existing Freedom card.
6. Both the Freedom card and Freedom Unlimited card will continue to be offered by Chase for new applicants.
7. The signup bonus for Freedom Unlimited will be identical to the current Freedom promotion, 15K points (marketed as $150 cash back) for spending $500 in 3 months plus 2.5K points (marketed as $25 cash back) for adding a free additional user card.

If you value Chase points at 1.7 cents each then earning 1.5 points per dollar everywhere is like earning 2.55% cash back. It shouldn’t be hard to attain a value like that between Hyatt and airlines like British Airways, Iberia, Korean, Singapore, Southwest, and United.
If you value them at 1.6 cents each you would be earning 2.4% cash back. Even if you value them at just 1.5 cents each it would still be like getting 2.25% cash back.

Of course the beauty of miles is that the sky is the limit (see the end of this post for more on that or see this post for ideas for your miles). I’ve had redemptions where my miles have been worth 50 cents each. If you’re good at the game, it’s not difficult to get a value of at least 2 cents from your miles, which would mean this card would be worth 3% cash back everywhere for you.

You can pay your federal taxes for a 1.87% fee, so it can make sense to use this card to pay your taxes as long as you value Chase points at a paltry 1.2 cents each.

It won’t be worth using the card when you can get a better bonus elsewhere. In other words dining and travel purchases will still earn more with Sapphire Preferred‘s 2 points per dollar. Office supply and telecom spending will still earn more with Ink Plus‘ 5 points per dollar. The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express will still make sense for 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on dining, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. But for everyday purchases, the Freedom Unlimited is a game-changer. Its’ only Achilles heel is that it requires that you, a spouse, or an authorized user on your account has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus in order to transfer its points into hotel points or airline miles. As Chase allows you to upgrade to Sapphire Preferred and downgrade back to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited that’s a not a big deal though.

Will this launch a new wave of cards offering more miles per dollar for everyday spending?

Will you switch your everyday spending to Freedom Unlimited or will you keep it on a card like the Starwood AMEXor Amex EveryDay Preferred, or Citi Double Cash?

Hit the comments!

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Citi AA 50K Offers Ending Tomorrow; Roundup Of Citi Credit Card Limited Time And Expiring Offers

Monday, February 29th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


-Ending this afternoon, the Citi AAdvantage Consumer Mastercard and Citi AAdvantage Business Mastercard are offering 50K AA miles for spending $3,000 in 3 months. The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard also offers 50K AA miles for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

The AAdvantage consumer and business cards have their $95 annual fee waived for the first year. They both offer priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and 4 companions. The consumer card also offers a 10% rebate of miles spent on award tickets-up to 10K miles rebated per year.

All 3 of these cards qualify for 7.5K off discounted awards to rotating destinations.

All 3 cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Note that AA is devaluing their miles on 03/22.

The AAdvantage Executive card has a $450 annual fee, but that includes an Admirals Club membership. Additional cardholders are free and they can also can access AA lounges and bring in their own guests or families for free as well. You don’t need to be flying on American to access the lounge with this card.

The Executive card offers priority checking, security, boarding, and you and 8 companions can bring a free checked bag. If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The Executive card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership.

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There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it which gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world, including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. It also gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which gets confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This card has a $95 annual fee.

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-Like no-annual fee cards but prefer cash over miles? The Citi Double Cash card offers 2% cash back on all purchases.  There’s no signup bonus for the card, but if you want cold hard cash instead of miles it’s hard to top the earning value of this card.

There’s also 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months.

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The Citi Premier card offers 40K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 month. The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $400 gift card or $500 of travel purchases. If you also have a Citi Prestige card the points can be worth much more, as can be seen below.

The Premier card has very strong spend categories. It offers triple points for travel and gas and double points on dining and entertainment. The travel category on the Premier card includes airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, travel agencies, public transportation, boat rentals, taxis, tolls, parking, etc. Entertainment includes sporting events, amusement parks, tourist attractions, theater, concerts, movies, etc.

There are no foreign transaction fees and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.  More info in this post.

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-The Citi Prestige card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 months for a limited time only.  The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card,  $665 of airline purchases, or $800 of travel on American or USAirways. More info in this post.

The Prestige card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies, and double points on dining and entertainment.  Note that the less expensive Premier card actually has better bonus categories.

There is a $450 annual fee. However the Prestige card comes packed with awesome benefits:

1. $250 annual air travel credit. No need to pick an airline. No need to buy a gift card. Just a straight credit for up to $250 of whatever you spend from any airline including tickets, bag fees, seat fees, etc. In your first cardmembership year you can get $250 back in 2015 and $250 back in 2016, which more than covers the annual fee.

2. Free American Admirals Club lounge access for you and your family or you and 2 guests when flying American.

3. Priority Pass lounge membership with free guest access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional Prestige cardmembers are just $50 and they also get their own Priority Club lounge membership with free guest privileges. The Priority pass membership that comes with the AMEX Platinum card doesn’t include free guests access, so that’s a nice perk of this membership. Click here to search for lounges in airports across the world.

4. Global Entry or Pre-Check reimbursement. A 5 year Global Entry membership is normally $100 but will be free when paid with the Prestige card. Skip the lines when returning to the US and get Pre-Check included as well. Pre-Check allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on, skip the nude-o-scope, and leave your laptop in the bag.  It makes traveling a whole lot easier.

5. A 4th night free on all paid hotel stays. When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights you’ll get the 4th night of the reservation rebated back to your for free. The rates will be the same as on the hotel website and the rates do qualify for hotel elite status and points. Note that the 4th night of the stay will be the rebated night. In some cases the 4th night may cost significantly more or less than the rest of the nights, so always check to see the actual rate for each night. There is no limit to how many times you can take advantage of this offer. You need to use your Prestige card, but you get triple points for hotel spending, so that’s not a bad thing.

6. 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year. You can search for courses here and make reservations here. That’s 6 free rounds of golf in your first cardmembership year.

CitiGold benefits:

Several folks who have CitiGold accounts have gotten notices that their annual fee on the Prestige account has been adjusted down from $450 to just $350. CitiGold customers also get 15% bonus points on the Prestige card. Citigold checking is free for 2 months after which point you can downgrade to a free checking account or keep $50K in it, but benefits typically stay even after your downgrade. CitiGold customers can also signup for the card in-branch with the $350 fee, but the in-branch offer requires $15,000 in spending.  If you have a CitiBusiness Preferred checking account you can get a personal CitiGold account for free.  CitiBusiness Preferred requires you to maintain $15K in the account to waive the fees.

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The advantage of having both the Premier and the Prestige cards:

When you have a Prestige card you can also redeem ThankYou points for 1.33 cents towards airfare or 1.6 cents towards airfare on American or USAirways. That means you can book $800 of free travel (and earn miles for the flights) with the 50K signup bonus if you would rather go down that route as opposed to transferring points into miles.

If you have both the Prestige and Premier cards all of your points will be able to be used at the 1.6 cents per point value towards American or USAirways airfare.  From just the signup bonuses alone that’s at least $1,600 in free travel from the points plus $500 in free travel from the Prestige airline credit in your first cardmembership year.

The cheaper Premier card actually has better bonus categories including triple points on all travel expenses and on gas, but the Prestige card makes all of your ThankYou points worth more.

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Getting more than one Citi card and repeat bonuses:

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs anymore, though some people have reported success. You can apply for one card, wait 8 days, and then apply for another Citi card. You would have to wait 60 days from the date of your first card application before you can apply for a 3rd Citi card and 60 days from the date of your second card application before you can apply for a 4th Citi card.

Most Citi card applications now require an 18 month waiting period from when you last had that exact card before you can get the signup bonus again.

Citi phone reconsideration (888-201-4523) can be tough if denied, but many people (myself included) have had great luck reconsidering via snail mail! Just write a short letter explaining why you want the card to: Mr. Ken Stork, Office of the President, PO Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

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Chase Marriott 87.5K Limited Time Signup Bonus; Starwood Implications And How Far Will It Go For Hotels In Israel?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Signup offer:

Chase is running a limited time offer on the Chase Marriott Visa for 80K bonus points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Plus you’ll get another 7.5K points for adding a free additional user card, for a total of 87.5K points.

The normal signup bonus for this card is 50K.

You also get a free night at a category 1-5 hotel every year that you renew the card, which takes the sting out of the $85 annual fee. If only the Starwood card offered that!

There are no foreign transaction fees and you earn 2 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals, and restaurants and 5 points per dollar at Marriott hotels.

Marriott allows free point transfers between spouses, so if 2 spouses both get a Marriott card and spend $3,000 on each they would have at least 181K points.

The Marriott program is split into “categories” and “tiers.”

Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

When you stay 4 nights you get the 5th night free.  You can browse hotels in each of those categories and tiers via the find button on this page.

You can also transfer points into miles here. The ratios aren’t great, but if you need some Southwest points for Companion pass status that can be worthwhile. If you collect 110K Southwest points in a year you can bring a companion with your for free for the rest of the year and all of the following year on both paid and award tickets. The ratios to United are also better than most other airlines.

Marriott also offers excellent miles+nights packages.

SPG considerations:

Of course Starwood is in the process of merging with Marriott, but it will be a while until the programs are merged. Marriott’s CEO has promised multiple times not to mess with SPG’s value proposition, but we’ll see what that means when the full details come out. At this point nothing is known and there are lots of possibilities. The programs could be run separately or either loyalty program could win out. Ideally they’d realize the passion that SPG members have for Starpoints and simply convert Marriott points into an SPG type of loyalty program with something like a 50% haircut in points for Marriott members. But ideally doesn’t always happen.

Will the SPG AMEX or the Chase Marriott card survive? Might both survive? Those are all questions we might not know answers to until next year.

But in the meantime it can definitely make sense for both Marriott members and SPG members to take advantage of an offer like this as the points are very likely to be combinable in the future.

Marriott hotels in Israel:

Point hotels in Israel are hard to come by.

Not long ago Starwood had 13 properties that were all bargains with Starpoints. I stayed in many of them on a month-long trek across the holy land in August of 2007 spending just a couple thousand Starpoints per night to stay in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea.  Now there’s just 1 left, the Sheraton Tel Aviv, and at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was. Though with the SPG business card you’ll get free access to their lounge starting next month.  The W Tel Aviv-Jaffa was slated to open fall 2015 but that has been pushed back to November 2016. By the time that Starwood merges with Marriott you will be able to use points at both of those hotels.

Hyatt had a Jerusalem hotel but now has nothing.

Hilton has had several hotels in Jerusalem over the years that have come and gone. The David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem in 1998 but left Hilton in 2001.  The Waldorf Astoria is an awesome addition to the scene, though it’s 64K-80K points per night. Citi gives 2 free nights there with the Citi Hilton Reserve card. The Reserve card even gives Gold status which earns you free breakfast, a real treat at the Waldorf.

 

Israel currently has 2 Marriott hotels:
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a new luxury hotel that has been getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor and on DDF, where they’ve nicknamed it the Ritzaliya. They even provide complimentary rides in the hotel’s Jaguar.

It is a Ritz-Carlton tier 3 hotel which means that it’s 50,000 points per night or 200,000 points for a 5 night stay (40,000 points per night).

A superior room on 04/21 is $660 or 50K points, a value of 1.32 cents per point.  Or you can use 200,000 points for 5 nights, a value of 1.65 cents per point.  The 87.5K signup bonus can be worth $1,443.75 for a redemption at that value per point.

If you need more points you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, but in most cases there are better uses for Ultimate Rewards points.  After all you can buy increments of 1,000 points for $12.50 and Ultimate Rewards are worth more than that.

The Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel is a category 7 hotel that goes for 35,000 points per night or 140,000 points for a 5 night stay (28,000 points per night.)

A standard room on 06/19 is $300 or 35K points, a value of .86 cents per point.  Or you can use 140,000 points for 5 nights, a value of 1.07 cents per point.  The 87.5K signup bonus can be worth $936.25 for a redemption at that value per point.

What’s your favorite Marriott redemption?

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Roundup Of Citi Credit Card Limited Time And Expiring Offers

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

To signup for any of the cards below you can click on the “Other Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Citi Limited Time Offers:

Scheduled to end tomorrow, the Citi Premier card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 month. The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card or $625 of travel purchases. If you also have a Citi Prestige card the points can be worth much more, as can be seen below.

The Premier card has very strong spend categories. It offers triple points for travel and gas and double points on dining and entertainment. The travel category on the Premier card includes airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, travel agencies, public transportation, boat rentals, taxis, tolls, parking, etc. Entertainment includes sporting events, amusement parks, tourist attractions, theater, concerts, movies, etc.

There are no foreign transaction fees and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.  More info in this post.

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-For a limited time only, the Citi AAdvantage Consumer Mastercard and Citi AAdvantage Business Mastercard are offering 50K AA miles for spending $3,000 in 3 months, while the Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 50K AA miles for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

The AAdvantage consumer and business cards have their $95 annual fee waived for the first year. They both offer priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and 4 companions. The consumer card also offers a 10% rebate of miles spent on award tickets-up to 10K miles rebated per year.

All 3 of these cards qualify for 7.5K off discounted awards to rotating destinations.

All 3 cards have no foreign transaction fees.

If you act fast you can even get the miles to lock in awards at pre-devaluation rates.

The AAdvantage Executive card has a $450 annual fee, but that includes an Admirals Club membership. Additional cardholders are free and they can also can access AA lounges and bring in their own guests or families for free as well. You don’t need to be flying on American to access the lounge with this card.

The Executive card offers priority checking, security, boarding, and you and 8 companions can bring a free checked bag. If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The Executive card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership.

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There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it which gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world, including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. It also gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which gets confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This card has a $95 annual fee.

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-Like no-annual fee cards but prefer cash over miles? The Citi Double Cash card offers 2% cash back on all purchases.  There’s no signup bonus for the card, but if you want cold hard cash instead of miles it’s hard to top the earning value of this card.

There’s also 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months.

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-The Citi Prestige card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 months for a limited time only.  The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card,  $665 of airline purchases, or $800 of travel on American or USAirways. More info in this post.

The Prestige card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies, and double points on dining and entertainment.  Note that the less expensive Premier card actually has better bonus categories.

There is a $450 annual fee. However the Prestige card comes packed with awesome benefits:

1. $250 annual air travel credit. No need to pick an airline. No need to buy a gift card. Just a straight credit for up to $250 of whatever you spend from any airline including tickets, bag fees, seat fees, etc. In your first cardmembership year you can get $250 back in 2015 and $250 back in 2016, which more than covers the annual fee.

2. Free American Admirals Club lounge access for you and your family or you and 2 guests when flying American.

3. Priority Pass lounge membership with free guest access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional Prestige cardmembers are just $50 and they also get their own Priority Club lounge membership with free guest privileges. The Priority pass membership that comes with the AMEX Platinum card doesn’t include free guests access, so that’s a nice perk of this membership. Click here to search for lounges in airports across the world.

4. Global Entry or Pre-Check reimbursement. A 5 year Global Entry membership is normally $100 but will be free when paid with the Prestige card. Skip the lines when returning to the US and get Pre-Check included as well. Pre-Check allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on, skip the nude-o-scope, and leave your laptop in the bag.  It makes traveling a whole lot easier.

5. A 4th night free on all paid hotel stays. When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights you’ll get the 4th night of the reservation rebated back to your for free. The rates will be the same as on the hotel website and the rates do qualify for hotel elite status and points. Note that the 4th night of the stay will be the rebated night. In some cases the 4th night may cost significantly more or less than the rest of the nights, so always check to see the actual rate for each night. There is no limit to how many times you can take advantage of this offer. You need to use your Prestige card, but you get triple points for hotel spending, so that’s not a bad thing.

6. 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year. You can search for courses here and make reservations here. That’s 6 free rounds of golf in your first cardmembership year.

CitiGold benefits:

Several folks who have CitiGold accounts have gotten notices that their annual fee on the Prestige account has been adjusted down from $450 to just $350. CitiGold customers also get 15% bonus points on the Prestige card. Citigold checking is free for 2 months after which point you can downgrade to a free checking account or keep $50K in it, but benefits typically stay even after your downgrade. CitiGold customers can also signup for the card in-branch with the $350 fee, but the in-branch offer requires $15,000 in spending.  If you have a CitiBusiness Preferred checking account you can get a personal CitiGold account for free.  CitiBusiness Preferred requires you to maintain $15K in the account to waive the fees.

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The advantage of having both the Premier and the Prestige cards:

When you have a Prestige card you can also redeem ThankYou points for 1.33 cents towards airfare or 1.6 cents towards airfare on American or USAirways. That means you can book $800 of free travel (and earn miles for the flights) with the 50K signup bonus if you would rather go down that route as opposed to transferring points into miles.

If you have both the Prestige and Premier cards all of your points will be able to be used at the 1.6 cents per point value towards American or USAirways airfare.  From just the signup bonuses alone that’s at least $1,600 in free travel from the points plus $500 in free travel from the Prestige airline credit in your first cardmembership year.

The cheaper Premier card actually has better bonus categories including triple points on all travel expenses and on gas, but the Prestige card makes all of your ThankYou points worth more.

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Getting more than one Citi card and repeat bonuses:

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs anymore, though some people have reported success. You can apply for one card, wait 8 days, and then apply for another Citi card. You would have to wait 60 days from the date of your first card application before you can apply for a 3rd Citi card and 60 days from the date of your second card application before you can apply for a 4th Citi card.

Most Citi card applications now require an 18 month waiting period from when you last had that exact card before you can get the signup bonus again.

Citi phone reconsideration (888-201-4523) can be tough if denied, but many people (myself included) have had great luck reconsidering via snail mail! Just write a short letter explaining why you want the card to: Mr. Ken Stork, Office of the President, PO Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Related post (Read this first!): -Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

This promotion applies for Canadian cards only.  Through 03/28, transfers from Membership Rewards Canada to British Airways will be at a 1K:1.25K ratio.

This promotion does not apply for transfers from US based AMEX Membership Rewards cards.

Destination charts for nonstop flights from Montreal and Toronto that can be booked with Avios can be found in this post.  With flights starting at just 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios for a lie-flat business seat there are some real bargains.  With the 25% bonus that means that a coach award will start at just 3.6K AMEX points and a business award will start at 7.2K AMEX points.

Note that you’ll need to act fast though as effective 02/02 those awards go up to 7.5K Avios each way. However you can transfer BA Avios into Iberia Avios where those round-trips are 12K Avios round-trip.

HT: jstu, via DDF

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