Category Archive for 'Credit Cards'

Are 2 Chase Limited Time Card Offers Ending Today?

Monday, August 31st, 2015

-Until sometime this afternoon, you can get 80K points for signing up for the Chase Marriott Visa and spending $3K in 3 months. The normal bonus is 50K.

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

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.

5 free nights start at 30K points thanks to 5th night free, and spouses are allowed to combine their points. You can read more about the program and learn about Marriott hotels in Israel in this post.

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The Chase British Airways Visa is offering 50K miles for spending $2K in 3 months, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year and it was being advertised as ending today as well:

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I’m no longer seeing that language, but regardless of whether the annual fee waiver continues, it’s a valuable offer.

50K points is enough for more than 11 free zone 1 short-haul flights, more than 6 free zone 2 short-hauls flights, or 5 free zone 3 flights with no fuel surcharges, no close-in fees, and cancellations that cost just $5.60.

Zone 1 includes flight between New York and places like Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Montreal, Pittsburgh, or Toronto or between Miami and the Bahamas or Cancun. It’s also enough to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, or to many cities within Europe. Zone 2 includes flights between New York and Chicago or Florida, from LA to Cabo, or from JFK to Bermuda. Zone 3 includes flights between Tel Aviv and Germany or Austria, Chicago to LA, Hong Kong to Singapore, or JFK to Cancun, S. Maarten, or S. Juan.

You can learn everything you need to know about the British Airways program in this post.

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Can’t View Your FICO Score From AMEX? Try These 2 Simple Tricks…

Monday, August 24th, 2015

-Related posts (Read this first!): -Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
-My FICO Scores From All 3 Credit Bureaus, Obtained Monthly Free Of Charge Thanks To Credit Cards

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab. View AMEX consumer card offers, AMEX business card offers in the tabs above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

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Most services that advertise free credit scores are only providing you with a FAKO score. That’s not something of much use as lenders don’t ever see those scores. A FAKO score can be significantly different than your FICO score, discrepancies of more than 100 points aren’t uncommon.

I’ve been tracking my Transunion FICO 8 score for free from Barclays and Discover. I had been getting my Experian FICO 8 score from AMEX. That stopped recently when my AMEX profile changed from the newer version to the older version.

I was kind of happy with that as it also took me back to the old AMEX Offers format, which is far easier to use than the new one.

However it also wiped out the option to view my FICO score.

Old version:

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DDFB user Ari R. pointed out a few days ago that if you delete the additional user’s off of your login then it will switch back to the new format and give you the FICO option back and that you can toggle back and forth as needed.

And of course, I realized that adding AU cards for AMEX Express Checkout was the culprit.

So I clicked on Account options>Remove cards from online access and deleted the AUs:

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Once all the AUs were gone the FICO option returned:

 

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And the score is looking as healthy as ever, despite the games I play:

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Several DDF’ers reported that this method worked for them, but it didn’t for a few others.

What worked for some DDF’ers was to remove a primary card from their main login and give the primary card its own login.

DDF hat tip leader and poweruser Marco Polo reported that deleting AUs and making his business platinum card its own dedicated login didn’t work, but when he made a dedicated login for his consumer blue card he finally got the FICO option.

Can you view your FICO score from AMEX? Did either of these tricks work for you? What’s your FICO score? Hit the comments!

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

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Update: The AMEX Plum offer ends at 2:59pm today and 2 Chase offers are set to expire next Monday.

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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.

 

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Consumer Credit Card from American Express offers a 30,000 Starpoint signup bonus for spending $3,000 in 3 months if you apply by 09/14.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers a 30,000 Starpoint signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 3 months if you apply by 09/14.

Both cards earn Starpoints which can transfer to 33 airlines, most of which have a 20K:25K favorable transfer ratio.

Both cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Both cards offer preferred plus status with 4pm late checkout and free premium in-room WiFi at Starwood hotels.

Both cards offer free unlimited Boingo WiFi from over 1 million hotspots around the world, including many airport locations.

Both cards offer up to 99 free additional user cards, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday, AMEX Offers/Twitter offers, and AMEX Express Checkout.

The business card offers free Sheraton club access when staying at Sheraton hotels and Open Savings.  You can earn the signup bonus again on the business card as long as you haven’t had in in the past 12 months.

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

Read more in this post.

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-The SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express offers a $250 statement credit for spending $5,000 in 6 months if you apply by 09/21. 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, or shipping. There is no annual fee.

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 Expired!

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN offers up to 3.5% back on your first $30,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months if you apply by 08/24. When you pay early you get 1.5% back with no cap. Plus, get an additional $200 statement credit for every $10,000 you spend on the Card, up to $600 back. That can be an extra 2%.  The card normally gives 1.5% cash back, $250 annual fee waived for first year.

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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.

-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.

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-Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 21.5% cash back on all Uber rides until 04/30/16 and $100 cash back for spending $500 in 3 months. This card offers 1.5% cash back everywhere and there are no foreign transaction fees. No annual fee. More info in this post.

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Chase Limited Time Offers:

 

-Chase Marriott is offering 80K points for spending $3K in 3 months if you apply by 08/31. 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.

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-Chase British Airways offers 50K Avios for spending $2K in 3 months and normally has a $95 annual fee. If you apply by 08/31 the annual fee is waived for the first year.  Awards start from 4.5K Avios each way and can be cancelled for just $5.60. When used for flights it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.5 cents per point when using, making the signup bonus worth $750, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Everything you want to know about British Airways Avios in this post.

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Citi Limited Time Offers:

 

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 75K AA miles for spending $7,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.

There’s a $450 annual fee. After meeting the spend requirement you’ll have at least 82.5K miles which is more than enough for 2 round-trip awards to Europe or a round-trip award to Israel.

You’ll get a full Admirals Club membership that you can use regardless of what airline you’re flying for free access for you and your spouse and kids or 2 guests. Membership alone is normally $500/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).

American has an excellent award chart with awesome one-way values from the US48/Canada like:
-12.5K to Alaska (versus 17.5K on United)
-12.5K to the Caribbean and Mexico during off-peak times (17.5K on United)
-17.5K to Hawaii during off-peak times (22.5K on United)
-20K to South America during off-peak times (30K on United)
-20K to Europe between October-May (30K on United)
-25K to Japan/Korea during off-peak times (35K on United)
-55K business class to Hong Kong (70K-80K on United)
-67.5K first class to China (80K-120K on United)

-A business class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is 25K (versus 37.5K BA Avios)
-A first class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is just 32.5K (versus 50K BA Avios)

-A first class flight on Etihad from JFK to the Maldives in your own first class apartment with a shower onboard is 90K miles.

While a flight from the US to Israel via Philadelphia is 45K miles each way you can fly to Israel via Europe for just 40K miles each way between October-May and you can stopover in Europe for as long as you want.

From Israel there are many bargains as well, a few examples include:
-25K to the Maldives in business (35K on United)
-30K to Thailand in business (60K on United)
-45K to Australia in business (60K on United)

Fuel surcharges only apply for flights on British Airways. It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, LAN, and TAM) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

 

Yes, 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 on the second statement.   Sometimes the first statement comes right away, sometimes it takes a month. YMMV.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You ad 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American or USAirways 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.

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-The Citi Hilton HHonors card normally offers 50K, but 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.

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-The Citi Premier 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 or $625 of travel purchases. If you have a Prestige card the points can be worth even more.

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 just call 561-922-0158 to make the reservation and 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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Get $15 Off $300 Or $30 Off $600 For Purchasing Visa Gift Cards From Office Max This Week

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Office Max by 08/29 you’ll get $15 back instantly. If you buy $600+ you’ll get $30 back instantly. Valid in-store only.

Some stores will set limits to these offers, while others will let you make multiple transactions to save $15 or $30 on each transaction. In the same store itself some cashiers may allow multiple purchases while others may not.

If you buy 3 $200 Visa gift cards in store you’ll pay $20.85 in card fees and get back $30 instantly. A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees and get back $15 instantly.

But the real reason to bother with these if that when you use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card you get 5 points per dollar spent.

Even without the instant rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday items. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free. You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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It’s Back: 30,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards! Plus: New Benefits For Existing Cardholders!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Update: Numerous people who signed up under the old offer are reporting getting matched to the 30K offer by calling or chatting with AMEX.

Additionally all Starwood cardholders can now signup for Boingo unlimited for free via this link.

Originally posted on 08/11:

Related posts:
-Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
Using Points To Get To Israel

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

This is a limited time offer scheduled to run until 09/14.  It offers 20% more points than the standard offer and there has never been a better public offer for this card.

For the consumer card you will get 30,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 within 3 months. The consumer offer is for first time Starwood consumer cardholder’s only.

For the business card you will get 30,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 within 3 months. The business offer is available as long as you haven’t had a Starwood business card in the past 12 months.

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

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Spending on the Starwood card:

The Starwood card remains a very good card for general spending. Best of all, as of 08/11 there are no longer any foreign transaction fees on the Starwood card!

While other cards have 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.

They also generously allow members at the same address to transfer points between their accounts for free.

The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.4% rebate at a value of roughly 2.2 cents per Starpoint. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.2% rebate.  There are thousands of uses for Starpoints, some of which have been over 50 cents each for me, 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.

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American Express Benefits:

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.
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Annual fee: Making it pay for itself.

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.

That small annual fee is nothing compared to what you can make from promotions like Small Business Saturday, AMEX Offers/Twitter offers, and other promotions that American Express runs all year long such as AMEX Express Checkout. Up to 99 additional cardholders are free on the Starwood card, and each one qualifies for their own promotion credits! 9 months later and we still haven’t spent through all of our prepaid credit at my local pizza shop or grocery stores thanks to SBS.  And it will be quite a while before we finish our collection of free diapers and wipes.

You can also always downgrade the card to a card with no annual fee.

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Spending $3K or $5K in 3 months:

With cards like Bluebird, Serve, and REDcard, it’s not hard to hit a spend threshold.

You can buy gift cards with your Starwood card and then cash out the gift cards with Bluebird, Serve, or REDcard.

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Business cards and Open Savings:

With the Starwood business card you will get Starpoints AND automatic cash back on purchases from these select retailers with Open Savings.  That means an additional 5% off at HP, Hertz, Hyatt, Barnes & Noble online, and Fedex.

In other words if you use your Starwood business card at a participating Hyatt hotel you’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spend plus 5% cash back.  That’s better than the triple points that the Hyatt card awards for Hyatt spending!

Getting a business card is simple. 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.
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.

A perk of business card spending is that it doesn’t count against your credit utilization. On a personal card you should pay off your spending before the statement is even printed so that you don’t cost yourself points on your credit score. On a business card that’s not necessary and the spending isn’t reported as long as you pay your bills.

It’s also worth remembering that the credit line (and utilization) of business cards are not reported on your personal credit report, thus closing them also won’t effect your score.
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Sheraton Club Lounge Access:

Effective 08/11, with the Starwood business card you will get 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:

Effective 08/11 with either Starwood card you will 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:

Effective 08/11 with either Starwood card you will 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 Westin Venice would cost 80,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 5 Westin Maui, Sheraton Kauai, W Hollywood, or the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv will be 48,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 4 Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii or Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will be 40,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 3 Sheraton Agoura Hills (great base for eating out at Tierra Sur, arguably the best kosher restaurant in the world) would set you back 28,000 points.
-The fantastic category 2 Le Meridien Chiang Mai Thailand would set you back just 3K points over an awesome Shabbos at the nearby Chabad House.
-A night at the category 1 Aloft S. Jose Costa Rica 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. Other point savings promotions have included this one for 35% off 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 is doing now by offering a 50% bonus for transfers to them through 08/31.  Air Canada and United are also currently offering promotions.

Curious about the 33 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 (currently 30K, 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)
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. Amtrak rides on select routes are just 1,500 points in coach or 2,000 points in business. Within the Northeast corridor a ride is 4,000 points in coach, 6,500 points in business class, 8,000 points in Acela Express business class, or 12,000 points in Acela Express first class.  A private bedroom and bathroom with kosher meals from NYC-Miami would be just 12,500 points per adult. More about these options in this post.

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 Ink Unboldened

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” in the tabs above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

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I have a couple Chase Ink Bold cards currently.

One is from the old Exclusives program that went away in 2011. It’s an awesome card that earns up to 1.675 points per dollar everywhere. And I’ve been able to nab annual retention bonuses to keep that card going as well.

Another is for another business that I got last year before the Bold card was completely discontinued. That card earns 5 points per dollar on office supplies/telecom and 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels. Essentially it’s identical to the Ink Plus (and similar to my Ink Classic and Ink Cash cards) that I also have, except that it’s a charge card. That means that the credit line is flexible and able to be easily adjusted as needed and that you can’t carry a balance on the card (not that you should even carry a balance with interest on a card). It was unique in the Chase portfolio as was intended to compete with the AMEX stranglehold on the charge card market.

However effective 08/31 my Bold cards are being “unboldended.” Meaning that they will be converted to regular credit card with a credit line. Everyone who has a Bold card will receive a letter in the mail and a secure message with the details of their new hard credit line.

It’s unfortunate to lose that flexible spending line. But on the other hand, the additional hard credit line will be able to used as leverage to get approved for other cards. Essentially the cards become Ink Plus cards.

The best news is that there was no word on any changes to the old Exclusives rewards program, which is surprising given that on 12/31/15 the Chase Freedom card is losing its Exclusives benefits and Sapphire Preferred is losing its 7% dividend program then as well. Here’s hoping that no news is good news…

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Buy $300 In Mastercard Gift Cards From Office Max And Get $15 Off Instantly

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Mastercard gift cards from Office Max by 08/08 you’ll get $15 back instantly.  If you buy $600+ you’ll get $30 back instantly. Valid in-store only.

In my local store there was no information about the sale in the circular or anywhere else, but to the cashier’s surprise, at checkout it took $15 off $300.

I had the cashier try it on a Visa gift card, but it didn’t work.

Some stores will set limits to these offers, while others will let you make multiple transactions to save $15 on each transaction.

If you buy 3 $200 Mastercard gift cards in store you’ll pay $20.85 in card fees and get back $30 instantly. A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees and get back $15 instantly.

But the real reason to bother with these if that when you use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card you get 5 points per dollar spent.

Even without the instant rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday items. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

You can call the number on the back of the Mastercard to set up a PIN.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.  You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee, though with a Mastercard you’ll be limited to under $50 per load at Walmart.
-You can load gift cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee, though with a Mastercard you’ll be limited to under $50 per load at Walmart. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: mendy613, via DDF

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

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

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.

-The SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express offers a $250 statement credit for spending $5,000 in 6 months if you apply by 09/21. 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, or shipping. There is no annual fee.

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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.

-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 21.5% cash back on all Uber rides until 04/30/16 and $100 cash back for spending $500 in 3 months. This card offers 1.5% cash back everywhere and there are no foreign transaction fees. No annual fee. More info in this post.

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Chase Limited Time Offers:

 

-Chase Marriott is offering 80K points for spending $3K in 3 months if you apply by 08/31. 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.

 

-Chase British Airways offers 50K Avios for spending $2K in 3 months and normally has a $95 annual fee. If you apply by 08/31 the annual fee is waived for the first year.  Awards start from 4.5K Avios each way and can be cancelled for just $5.60. When used for flights it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.5 cents per point when using, making the signup bonus worth $750, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Everything you want to know about British Airways Avios in this post.

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Citi Limited Time Offers:

 

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 75K AA miles for spending $7,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.

There’s a $450 annual fee. After meeting the spend requirement you’ll have at least 82.5K miles which is more than enough for 2 round-trip awards to Europe or a round-trip award to Israel.

You’ll get a full Admirals Club membership that you can use regardless of what airline you’re flying for free access for you and your spouse and kids or 2 guests. Membership alone is normally $500/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).

American has an excellent award chart with awesome one-way values from the US48/Canada like:
-12.5K to Alaska (versus 17.5K on United)
-12.5K to the Caribbean and Mexico during off-peak times (17.5K on United)
-17.5K to Hawaii during off-peak times (22.5K on United)
-20K to South America during off-peak times (30K on United)
-20K to Europe between October-May (30K on United)
-25K to Japan/Korea during off-peak times (35K on United)
-55K business class to Hong Kong (70K-80K on United)
-67.5K first class to China (80K-120K on United)

-A business class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is 25K (versus 37.5K BA Avios)
-A first class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is just 32.5K (versus 50K BA Avios)

-A first class flight on Etihad from JFK to the Maldives in your own first class apartment with a shower onboard is 90K miles.

While a flight from the US to Israel via Philadelphia is 45K miles each way you can fly to Israel via Europe for just 40K miles each way between October-May and you can stopover in Europe for as long as you want.

From Israel there are many bargains as well, a few examples include:
-25K to the Maldives in business (35K on United)
-30K to Thailand in business (60K on United)
-45K to Australia in business (60K on United)

Fuel surcharges only apply for flights on British Airways. It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, LAN, and TAM) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

 

Yes, 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 on the second statement.   Sometimes the first statement comes right away, sometimes it takes a month. YMMV.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You ad 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American or USAirways 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.

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-The Citi Hilton HHonors card normally offers 50K, but 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.

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-The Citi Premier 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 or $625 of travel purchases. If you have a Prestige card the points can be worth even more.

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 just call 561-922-0158 to make the reservation and 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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How Far Will The Chase Marriott 80K Limited Time Signup Bonus Go For Hotels In Israel?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

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 fall 2016.

It seems hotels don’t need to stay part of a loyalty program to fill up their rooms in Israel.

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 has a 75K limited time offer on the Citi Hilton card plus they give 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.

Chase recently released a limited time offer on the Chase Marriott card for 80K bonus points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

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.

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.

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.

Israel has 2 Marriott hotels:
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a luxury hotel that opened 7 months ago and has been getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor and on DDF. 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 standard room for a tourist from 08/09-08/14 is $2,875 or $575 per night.  Or you can use 200,000 points, a value of 1.44 cents per point.  The 80K signup bonus would be worth over $1,125 for a redemption at that value per point.

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 166,000 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 for a tourist from 08/09-08/14 is $1,465 or $293 per night.  Or you can use 140,000 points, a value of 1.05 cents per point. The 80K signup bonus would be worth $540 for a redemption at that value per point.

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Roundup Of Credit Cards And Limited Time Offers From Citibank, 2 Cards With 75K Signup Bonuses

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 75K AA miles for spending $7,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.

There’s a $450 annual fee. After meeting the spend requirement you’ll have at least 82.5K miles which is more than enough for 2 round-trip awards to Europe or a round-trip award to Israel.

You’ll get a full Admirals Club membership that you can use regardless of what airline you’re flying for free access for you and your spouse and kids or 2 guests. Membership alone is normally $500/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).

American has an excellent award chart with awesome one-way values from the US48/Canada like:
-12.5K to Alaska (versus 17.5K on United)
-12.5K to the Caribbean and Mexico during off-peak times (17.5K on United)
-17.5K to Hawaii during off-peak times (22.5K on United)
-20K to South America during off-peak times (30K on United)
-20K to Europe between October-May (30K on United)
-25K to Japan/Korea during off-peak times (35K on United)
-55K business class to Hong Kong (70K-80K on United)
-67.5K first class to China (80K-120K on United)

-A business class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is 25K (versus 37.5K BA Avios)
-A first class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is just 32.5K (versus 50K BA Avios)

-A first class flight on Etihad from JFK to the Maldives in your own first class apartment with a shower onboard is 90K miles.

While a flight from the US to Israel via Philadelphia is 45K miles each way you can fly to Israel via Europe for just 40K miles each way between October-May and you can stopover in Europe for as long as you want.

From Israel there are many bargains as well, a few examples include:
-25K to the Maldives in business (35K on United)
-30K to Thailand in business (60K on United)
-45K to Australia in business (60K on United)

Fuel surcharges only apply for flights on British Airways. It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, LAN, and TAM) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

 

Yes, 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 on the second statement.   Sometimes the first statement comes right away, sometimes it takes a month. YMMV.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You ad 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American or USAirways 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.

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-The Citi Hilton HHonors card normally offers 50K, but 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.

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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 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 or $625 of travel purchases. If you have a Prestige card the points can be worth even more.

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 just call 561-922-0158 to make the reservation and 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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Roundup Of Changes To American Express Gold And Starwood Consumer And Business Cards

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Update: American Express has confirmed that all holders of the Premier Rewards Gold card will receive 15K bonus points for spending $30K in 2015.

That comes on top of double points on restaurants, gas, and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.  If you can spend $30K this year that bumps up the double point categories to 2.5 points per dollar and the triple points category to 3.5 points per dollar.

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Originally posted on 06/03:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Effective June 1st AMEX made some excellent changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card.  The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will see a positive change on July 28th.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card will be refreshed on August 11th.

Here’s a recap of the details:

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The Premier Rewards Gold card’s annual fee has increased from $175/year to $195/year. The fee is waived for the first year.

But the benefits provided for that $20 increase are awesome:

1. You can register here for a $100 airline fee credit per calendar year. That means in your first cardmember year you can get $200 back with $100 in 2015 and $100 in 2016. Officially these are intended to be used for bag fees, seat upgrades, and lounge passes/memberships. However they also work for items like $100 American Airlines gift cards or $100 United gift registry contributions and more.

In my mind that effectively drops the annual fee to a far more palatable $95/year.

2. The card no longer charges a foreign transaction fee.

3. The card will now give double points at restaurants in addition to double points on gas and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.
That’s a very nice mix of bonus spend categories and comes out top of Membership Rewards promotions like the one earlier this year that offered 40% bonus points for transfer to British Airways Avios.

4. Officially this card was supposed to stop offering a 15K point bonus for spending $30K in a calendar year, but there have been numerous reports that it’s still working in 2015.  That’s pretty sweet as it bumps the effective earn rates of the double point categories to 3x and the triple point category to 4.5x.

5. The card also continues to offer 5 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday. Last year SBS gave a $30 per card credit, so someone who had a Premier Gold card with 5 additional users was able to get $180 in free spending.

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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee effective 07/28.

The card offers triple points in one of these categories of your choice and the other 4 categories get double points:
-Airfare purchased directly from airlines
-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
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DDF user Maurice broke the news 2 weeks ago about upcoming Starwood changes and AMEX has now confirmed that information.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card’s annual fees will increase from $65/year to $95/year. The fee is waived for the first year.  The spend threshold to get the signup bonus on the consumer card has dropped from $5K to $3K.

The new benefits that will take effect on 08/11 include:

1. The cards will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee.  It will finally make sense to pay for Starwood hotels overseas with your Starwood credit card :)

2. Free premium in-room internet. All SPG guests get free internet, but elites and cardholders get the faster version for free.

3. Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide.  Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.

4. The Starwood business card will now provide free access to Sheraton Club lounges.  The business card is also eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, Hyatt, and more. (1 Starpoint per dollar + 5% cash back at Hyatt makes this card better for Hyatt stays than the Hyatt card…oh the irony.)

5. Both cards continue to offer Preferred Plus status which gives complimentary 4pm checkout at SPG hotels.  If you spend $30K you’ll get Starwood gold status, though that status comes free with the Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card. Some people even get it free for asking nicely 😀

6. Both cards continue to offer up to 99 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday.  It’s not hard to make up the annual fee thanks to these promotions (you should see how many diapers I now have thanks to the recent Sam’s Club promotion 😉 )

While the Starwood card still only offers 1 point per dollar (except at Starwood hotels where you’ll earn 2 points per dollar), you do earn a 25% bonus when you transfer Starpoints into miles from dozens of airlines at a 20K:25K ratio.  Of course Starpoints can also be used at SPG hotels starting at 2K points for a free night or with other redemption options like nights & flights, cash & points, and 5th night free awards.

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

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Update: Offer expired.

-Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express has released 4 limited time offers on Delta credit cards that are valid until June 30th.

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.
-This offer is available to first-time Gold Delta applicants only.

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.
-This offer is available to first-time Platinum Delta applicants only.

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, Hyatt, and more.
-$0 intro annual fee, then $95.
-This offer is only available if you haven’t had the Gold Delta Business card within the past 12 months.

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 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.
-This offer is only available if you haven’t had the Platinum Delta Business card within the past 12 months.

-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 few 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 limited uses.  They started allowing one-way award redemptions, and the online award flexible calendar is a big improvement over the previous calendar.

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

The best use of their miles is an aspirational one, a 160K round-trip lie-flat business class award to Australia on Virgin America, one of the easier business class award that you can snag when heading down under.

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.

Or 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 or 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 gas, Uber, and groceries will earn 2.4 or 3 miles per dollar.

The exception to that is for purchases on Delta which earn double miles and for purchases on the Platinum Delta card 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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1 Week Left For Freedom Q2 Bonus Spending, Register Now For Q3 Bonus Spending

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Tuesday, June 30th is the last day to earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at Restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, H&M, and Overstock.com.  Lock in savings by buying a gift card to your favorite restaurants, paying for a catering bill, buying Visa gift cards from BB&B, etc.

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

You can earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at gas stations and at Kohl’s between 07/01-09/30. You can buy gift cards to other stores at gas stations and at Kohls.

Visa counts all 7-Eleven’s as gas stations, even if they don’t sell gas!

Until June 24th, the Chase Freedom Visa is offering 20,000 point signup bonus for spending $500 within 3 months plus another 2,500 bonus points for adding a free additional user, for a total of 22,500 points.

This is marketed as a $200 signup bonus and $25 for adding an additional user, but you’ll actually get 22,500 points that can be used for $225 cash back, though the points are far more valuable when transferred into airline/hotel/train miles.

Previously the signup bonus was 10,000 points. Typically if you applied within the past 90 days Chase will match your bonus to the current bonus offer.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card. It’s an easier card to get that most other Chase cards as it doesn’t require a Signature level $5,000 credit line. The real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, 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 (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

2015 bonus categories:
Q1: Grocery stores, Movie theaters, Starbucks
Q2: Restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, H&M, and Overstock.com
Q3: Gas stations and Kohl’s.
Q4: Amazon.com and more to be announced.

Through the end of 2015, the Freedom card also earns a 10% annual point dividend. The final dividend will be paid out in February 2016 for 2015 purchases. That means you’ll earn an effective 5.5 points per dollar on purchases from the 5 point categories and you’ll earn an effective 1.1 points per dollar everywhere else.

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline/hotel/train currencies, 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.

If you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each and then you’ll have effectively earned 10-11% 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.

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Buy $300 In Visa Gift Cards From Staples This Week And Get A Free $20 Visa Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 06/21 and 06/27 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

This is valid in-store only. Officially there is a limit of 1 rebate per household.

If you buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees).

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

Even without the rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the Visa gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.  You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Chase Freedom Limited Time Increased Signup Bonus

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Until June 24th, the Chase Freedom Visa is offering 20,000 point signup bonus for spending $500 within 3 months plus another 2,500 bonus points for adding a free additional user, for a total of 22,500 points.

This is marketed as a $200 signup bonus and $25 for adding an additional user, but you’ll actually get 22,500 points that can be used for $225 cash back, though the points are far more valuable when transferred into airline/hotel/train miles.

Previously the signup bonus was 10,000 points. Typically if you applied within the past 90 days Chase will match your bonus to the current bonus offer.

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card.  It’s an easier card to get that most other Chase cards as it doesn’t require a Signature level $5,000 credit line. The real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, 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 (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

2015 bonus categories:
Q1: Grocery stores, Movie theaters, Starbucks
Q2: Restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, H&M, and Overstock.com
Q3: Gas stations and more to be announced.
Q4: Amazon.com and more to be announced.

Click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

Through the end of 2015, the Freedom card also earns a 10% annual point dividend. The final dividend will be paid out in February 2016 for 2015 purchases.  That means you’ll earn an effective 5.5 points per dollar on purchases from the 5 point categories and you’ll earn an effective 1.1 points per dollar everywhere else.

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline/hotel/train currencies, 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.

If you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each and then you’ll have effectively earned 10-11% 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.

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Roundup Of Limited Time Increased Credit Card Offers From Chase

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Update: The IHG, Ink Plus, and Ink Cash limited time offers have ended.

-The United limited time offer is set to end on Tuesday, June 2nd
-The BA limited time offer is advertised as running until June 30th.
-The Southwest limited time offer doesn’t have a published end date.

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

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-Chase Ink Plus normally offers 50K points for spending $5K in 3 months, but is offering 60K points if you apply by 05/25.  There is a $95 annual fee. This card earns 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply purchases and can transfer points into airline miles and hotel points.  When transferring the points into miles for travel it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.75 cents per point, making the signup bonus worth $1,050, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. There are no foreign transaction fees. Read more about the Ink Plus offer and applying for a business card here.

-Chase Ink Cash normally offers 20K points for spending $3K in 3 months, but is offering 30K points if you apply by 05/25.  There is no annual fee. The Ink Cash card offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, and best of all balances on business cards won’t hurt your credit score.  This card earns 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply purchases.  You or a spouse need an Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred to transfer points earned from this card into more valuable airline miles and hotel points. When transferring the points into miles for travel it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.75 cents per point, making the signup bonus worth $525, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. Read more about the Ink Plus offer and applying for a business card here.

-Chase Southwest Premier normally offers 25K points for spending $2K in 3 months, but is offering 50K points for a limited time. There is a $99 annual fee.  There are 4 versions of this card. The points have a variable value that can fluctuate between 1.5-1.9 cents each towards Southwest travel, making the bonus worth $750-$950.  50K points can also be used for $500 of gift cards to dozens of other stores.  Every anniversary you’ll also get a 6,000 point bonus.  Award flights can be cancelled without penalty. All flights allow 2 free checked bags. Earn 110K points in a calendar year and get a companion pass good for unlimited free travel for a companion until the end of the following calendar year. There are no foreign transaction fees. More info on the program in this post.

-Chase United Explorer normally offers 30K miles for spending $3K in 3 months plus 5K miles for adding a free additional user, but is currently offering 50K miles for spending $2K in 3 months plus 5K miles for adding a free additional user if you apply by 06/02.  The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.  When used for flights it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.7 cents per point when using, making the signup bonus worth $935, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles.  Just by having the card you’ll have expanded saver award availability, last seat standard award availability, free checked baggage, priority boarding, and 2 free United Club passes per year. Your miles will never expire for as long as you are a cardholder. Elite members become eligible for upgrades on award tickets by being a cardholder.  Short-haul awards start at 10K miles and unlike most other major airlines, awards never have fuel surcharges.  Spend $25K in a year and get a 10K mileage bonus and waive the flight spend requirement to earn elite status. There are no foreign transaction fees. More info in this post.

-Chase British Airways offers 50K Avios for spending $2K in 3 months and normally has a $95 annual fee. If you apply by 06/30 the annual fee is waived for the first year.  Awards start from 4.5K Avios each way and can be cancelled for just $5.60. When used for flights it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.5 cents per point when using, making the signup bonus worth $750, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. There are no foreign transaction fees.  Everything you want to know about British Airways Avios in this post.

-Chase IHG normally offers 60K points for spending $1K in 3 months, but is currently offering 70K points if you apply by 05/31.. The $49 annual fee is waived for the first year. Every anniversary you’ll also get a free night at any IHG hotel (even in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora).  You get Platinum elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. You’ll also get a 10% point rebate on your redemptions, up to a 100K rebate per year. There are no foreign transaction fees. Awards start at 5K per night.

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Buy $300 In Visa Gift Cards From Staples Next Week And Get A Free $20 Visa Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 05/24 and 05/30 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

This is valid in-store only. Officially there is a limit of 1 rebate per household.

If you buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees).

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

Even without the Staples gift card the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the Visa gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.  You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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When A DDF’ers 150K-200K Credit Card Invite Offer Code Goes Viral…

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

DDF, or the DansDeals Forums, is a great place to keep up to date in the nitty-gritty of the latest news on miles, credit cards, travel, and pretty much everything else under the sun.  Is it overwhelming? If you try to read all of the 1.1+ million posts, of course.  But if you start slowly and take the time to digest the info you’ll be wiser for the effort.

Case in point. Back in March DDF member “coralsnake” generously invited DDF members to send him a private message for a code that would allow them to apply for a $450/year Business Platinum card that awards 100K AMEX MR points for spending $10K within 3 months or 150K for spending $20K within 3 months.  While it’s not official, people who applied with the offer have also been able to call after getting the card to get an additional 50K points for adding 5 additional users to their account (10K per card). Additional user Business Platinum cards carry a $300/year annual fee each.

I respected coralsnake’s wishes and kept it on the down low, but people don’t always keep things private when asked and now his targeted invite code that he has been sharing to DDFers since March has gone viral across other blogs.

The genie is already out of the bottle and coralsnake confirmed to me that he has resigned himself to his code going public and is OK with me posting it (though he’s sparred in the comments sections of some of the offenders), so anyone can get the offer by calling 877-628-6736 and using RSVP code: L081-994-816-5743
The offer officially expires 05/15. If you do apply you can also apply for other consumer cards and business cards on the same day with just 1 credit pull.

I can’t say I’m surprised about the lack of honor though. I’ve already seen 2 DansDeals seminar secrets (though both not to the full extent) that I always ask not to be shared online show up on the blog of one of my seminar attendees. C’est la vie?

I may get flak for posting this, but once this info has gone viral it only seems fair that DansDeals readers be in the loop as well.

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I’m Not Switching Back From REDcard To Serve. Yet.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

I broke the news last week that Target would no longer allow REDcards to be loaded with a credit card.

That took a lot of the luster off the card, but at least you are still able to load gift cards to it.

Promotions like the current Office Max and Office Depot deal make this very lucrative.  While Visa gift cards normally carry fees, they are actually sold below face value when they have promotions like this.

Loading $10,000 on gift cards onto 2 REDcards in 2 days is a quick 50,000 miles when you buy those gift cards on an Ink card earning 5 points per dollar.  Of course if you and your spouse did that spending on 2 new Chase Ink Plus cards that would mean 170,000 points with the current limited time offer for the cards that runs until 05/25.

Loading the gift cards onto REDcard isn’t a major pain because you can load them all in one transaction.

If you have 5 of the $200 Visa gift cards from Office Max just give your REDcard to the Target cashier and ask to load $1,000 from your debit card. Then swipe one of the gift cards (which function just like a debit card) and enter the last 4 digits of the card number as the PIN code. The machine will then ask you if you want to load the full amount from that card. Just select no and tell the cashier that you want to load $200 from the card.  Do the same thing with the rest of your gift cards until you get to $1,000.

The funding limits are the same as with a credit card, $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, $5,000 per month per REDcard.

Even without a gift card promotion it’s still worth paying for gift cards. You can buy $200 Visa gift cards online from Staples for $206.95.  Buying 1,035 miles for a $6.95 is still a ridiculously good deal.  That like paying $200 for a lie-flat business class seat nonstop from Newark to Hawaii (30K Singapore miles to fly on United at a cost of 0.67 cents per mile), $200 for a night at normally $1,500/night Park Hyatt hotels from Sydney to the Maldives, or $384 for a Singapore suite from JFK to Frankfurt.

So REDcard still works fine for my purposes. However Serve does has advantages over REDcard.

The biggest one is that Serve comes with 4 additional users and each qualify for AMEX Offers and Small Business Saturday.

Serve can also be loaded via gift cards at WalMart ATM machines, but those machines are often permanently down in many Walmart stores.

You can also load $1,000 from AMEX cards onto Serve online. You don’t earn miles for AMEX issued cards, but the spending does count towards meeting the threshold for signup bonuses.  There are also non AMEX-issued AMEX cards, like the Citibank American Airlines AMEX that would earn miles for online loads to Serve.

The major advantage of REDcard over Serve for me is that Target employees are happy to load my giftcards onto REDcard.  At Walmart they make it seem like I’m a criminal for doing so.

REDcard can also accept loads from Mastercard and Vanilla Visa gift cards that are difficult to load to Serve.

So for now I’ll stick with REDcard.  But when my local Target stores decide to disallow gift card funding I’ll make the switch without a doubt.

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Chase Ink Plus 60K And Ink Cash 30K Signup Limited Time Signup Bonuses Return

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Still catching up on news from the past week while I was checking off bucket list items on this wild and crazy trip (Some pictures can be found on Instagram):

 

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

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Offer Details:

The Chase Ink Plus card is offering a 60K signup bonus for spending $5K within 3 months. The Chase Ink Cash card is offering a 30K signup bonus for spending $3K within 3 months.

The increased signup offers will run until May 25th.

It’s not difficult at all to get a value of 1.75 cents per point when using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel by transferring them into airline miles or hotel points. That would make the Ink Plus signup bonus worth over $1,000 and the Ink Cash signup bonus worth over $500.

You’ll also earn up to 25,000 points for the base spending depending on whether you spend in 1, 2, or 5 point per dollar categories. So after spending $5,000 on the Ink Plus card you’ll have between 65,000-85,000 Ultimate Rewards points at your disposal.

With a Target REDcard you can spend $5,000 in a single month for free.

The Ink Cash card has no annual fee but carries a 3% foreign exchange fee when used outside of the US.  If you only have the Ink Cash card you can’t transfer your points into miles, but if you or a spouse have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card than all of your points will be transferable into miles.

The Ink Plus card has a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign exchange fees on the Ink Plus card.

Insurance coverage on car rentals in every country outside of the US is primary on leisure or business rentals. Within the US coverage is primary for business rentals and secondary on leisure rentals.

Applying for a business card and the benefits of business card spending:

The Ink cards are business cards. But you may be already running a business that qualifies for a business card and there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.

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.

If you’re like me and you run more than one business you can signup for multiple of the same card for each business to manage each businesses expenses separately.

A great thing about these business cards is that they 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 few 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.

0% APR:

The Ink Cash card offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, and best of all those balances won’t hurt your credit score.

Cash back:

Ink cards are now all issued as Visa cards, so you can register them for Visa Savings Edge.

With that program you earn cash back on top of points. You’ll earn 1% cash back at Chevron, and Texaco, 2% cash back at TigerDirect, 4% cash back at Alamo and National, 5% cash back at Lenovo, Sony, and several hotel brands, etc.

Bonus points:

Ink cards offer 5 points per dollar on internet/cable service and telecom purchases, so that’s a nice rebate when you purchase a new cell phone and off your cable bill.

They also earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores. There are hundreds of gift cards sold by office supply stores.

-Upgrading on your carrier’s website to an iPhone or Galaxy? 5 points per dollar.
-Buying gift cards for gas? 5 points per dollar plus you’ll pay the lower cash rates at the pump.
-Buying gift cards for Amazon, Gap, Groupon, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, TJMaxx, etc? 5 points per dollar.

The Ink Plus card caps those bonuses to $50K of purchases per year while the Ink Cash card caps those bonuses to $25K of purchases per year.

The Ink Plus card also offers 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels while the Ink Cash card offers 2 points per dollar on gas and dining.

Gift card uses:

Your local school or other charity will be more than happy to accept donations of Amazon gift cards for supplies or any other useful gift cards for chinese auctions, raffles, fundraisers, etc.

They will give you a tax deductible receipt for the full face value-the price you paid for the gift cards. And at the same time you’ll earn 5 points per dollar. So while doing good you can still get a nice chunk of points and you’ll save on your taxes.

Or you can use Visa gift cards for everyday spending thereby getting 5 points per dollar on everything you buy anywhere via the Visa gift cards. You can read how lucrative that can be in this post on where you should be using each of your cards.

Point Currency:

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

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is still an excellent currency, even after their devaluation earlier this year. 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 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. Just 9,000 miles for a round-trip zone 1 or 15,000 miles for zone 2 short-haul award. The zone 3 award for 25,000 miles round-trip can also be a bargain, for example a flight between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands or between Boston and Ireland is just 25K miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles 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 AA/USAirways within the western hemisphere, on Qantas 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 103 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.
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, Priority Club, and Amtrak. I’ve never been on an Amtrak in my life, but you can get some really nice bargains on Amtrak travel via their program.

The beauty of miles over points or cash-back:
The great thing about being able to transfer points into airlines or hotels are the incredible values you can attain.
-A coach ticket to Hawaii can cost $1,000 and a first class ticket to Hawaii can cost $3,000 but you can use 25K or 45K miles for that same ticket. If you were using Capital One points you would need 100,000-300,000 points per ticket.
-A last minute ticket or a ticket where you don’t stay for 3 nights from New York to Detroit costs $1,500 in coach but just 9,000 miles. That’s a value of 16.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per ticket.
-A first class ticket to Asia can cost $27,000 but you can use 135,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 20 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 2,700,000 points per ticket.
-A night at a Park Hyatt in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives can run $1,500 with tax but you can use 30K points for that room, a value of 5 cents per point. Or you can use less points and get even better values with cash and points. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per night.
And that’s all besides for the fact that getting a Capital One card costs a minimum of 3 credit pulls whereas you can get several cards from other banks with just 1 credit pull.

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1 Month Left To Enroll Your Ink Card For A Free Lounge Club Membership

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Update: Today is the final day to enroll!
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Originally posted on 03/29:

Letter sent to cardholders without an existing membership (Thanks MC):
 

LC

 

 

 

 

 

 
Letter sent to cardholders with an existing membership (Thanks yls2011):
 
lc1

 

 

 

 

The Chase Ink cards come with a free Lounge Club membership that gives 2 free annual lounge visits. Here is a link to find valid lounges worldwide. Lounges include the Dan Lounge in Tel Aviv and the Art & Lounge in Newark which both have kosher food.

Unfortunately that relationship is being discontinued.  As the letters above that were posted by DDF members show, existing members can use their card until the expiration date.  Existing memberships will not be renewed past that point.

If you have any primary or secondary Ink cards that aren’t yet enrolled you can enroll them here by 04/30/15 and they will each get a free 1 year membership.

If you don’t yet have an Ink card yet there is still time to take advantage of this benefit.  You can add free additional users to your account who can each get their own membership.

Or you can apply for a new Ink card.

The Ink Cash and Ink Plus cards are business cards, so after clicking on “business credit card offers” just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer that you’re looking for.

Of course the main benefit of the Ink cards (aside from the 20K or 50K signup bonus) are the 5 point per dollar categories good for shopping at office supply stores and on wireless, landline, and cable bills.  Staples sells everything from Amazon to Whole Foods gift cards and $200 Visa gift cards that can be loaded onto a REDcard while earning 5 points per dollar.

Oddly enough in my experience you also get 5 points per dollar when using Paypal to purchase gift cards via GiftCardMall on eBay or Paypal Digital Gift Cards. If there are other places where you find yourself earning 5 points per dollar please post a comment!

Another benefit of the Ink cards is that spending on business cards (aside from Capital One business cards) doesn’t hurt your credit score when you don’t pay off your bill before the statement generates.

HT: mochada, yls2011, and MC, via DDF

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Chase United Explorer: 50,000 Miles For Spending $3,000 Plus 5,000 More Miles For Adding An Additional User

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Currently posting from Palau, follow the trip on Instagram!

The Chase United 50K+5K signup bonus has long been a targeted offer (and also available for matching via a secure message request) but is now available publicly once again. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 within 3 months and an additional 5,000 miles for adding a free additional user card and making a purchase within 3 months.

This is avaialble on the consumer and business card.  For the business card just click on the consumer link and then click on  the link under “Are you a business owner?”

Spend $3,000 on a new card and add an additional user and you’ll have 58,000 miles.

A short-haul United domestic award under 700 miles in distance is just 10,000 miles.  That’s a lot more than the BA 4.5K short-haul, but it allow for a longer distance and you are allowed to have connections for the same rate, something that BA doesn’t allow.  And if you’ve been to a DD Seminar you know how to maximize that!

A round-trip ticket to 2 European or South American cities is just 60,000 miles round-trip thanks to a free stopover.  You’re even allowed a free open jaw on the same itinerary as a free stopover to really maximize your travel.

A ticket to Israel is 85K miles round-trip, though a flight to Israel and Japan for example is just 75K miles. More on hacks like that in this post and at DD seminars 😉

Best of all United never charges any fuel surcharges. Other airlines like American collect massive fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways. Delta charges fuel surcharges to fly on some partners and if you originate in Europe and other regions. United will never collect a fuel surcharge and they have access to awards on 36 partner airlines which means better availability on more awards.

The United card is easily my favorite of all of the airline cards:

-It is the only card that gives expanded award ticket availability. Cardholders have access to expanded saver coach award availability (XN class), last seat standard coach award availability (YN class), and last seat standard business/first class award availability (JN class).

-You can read about examples of expanded availability in this post.
-You can learn more about searching for those classes in expert mode in this post.

-As you have better access to saver coach awards you’ll also have better ability to do Plan B awards. Plan B allows you to redeem for saver business and first class awards when there’s only saver coach available. Read more about Plan B in this post.

No airline besides United offers a Plan B redemption.

-The United card offers primary rental car CDW insurance. 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.

With primary rental car CDW insurance you will not have to file anything with your own insurance company. Chase will cover the entire bill for any damage to your rental car. Just be sure to decline the rental agency’s CDW coverage.  This primary coverage applies in every country in the world.

-The United Explorer card gives 2 free United Club passes every year for being a cardmember.

-The United Explorer card gives a 10K mileage bonus every year in which you spend $25K.  That means you’ll earn at least 1.4 miles per dollar spent everywhere if you spend $25K in a year. Spending $25K in a year also waives the requirement to spend $2.5K on United flights to get Silver status, $5K on United flights to get Gold status, and $7.5K on United flights to get Platinum status. You only need to fly the 25K, 50K, or 75K miles like in the good old days.

-Your miles will never expire as long as you are a United cardholder even if you don’t have any activity.

-A massive benefit for United elite members is that they can get free upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes if they have a United card.

Other card benefits:
-No foreign exchange fees
-Double miles on United purchases.
-Priority boarding so that you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-First checked bag is free.

United has 36 partner airlines which means lots of award opportunities. However not all of them are currently bookable online, you’ll have to call (or use the Aeroplan or ANA sites) to get the full picture:

United partners that currently must be booked over the phone:
-Air India
-Brussels Airlines
-Cape Air
-Great Lakes Airlines
-Jet Airways
-Shenzhen
-Singapore

Brussels is an excellent option for Israel flights with great award availability, but you usually won’t find those flights on United.com.

And here’s the list of partners currently bookable on United.com:
-Adria Airlines
-Aegean Airlines
-Aer Lingus
-Air Canada
-Air China
-Air New Zealand
-ANA
-Asiana Airlines
-Austrian Airlines
-Avianca Airlines
-Azul Brazilian Airlines
-Copa Airlines
-Croatia Airlines
-Egyptair
-Ethiopian Airlines
-EVA Air
-Germanwings
-Hawaiian Airlines
-Island Air
-LOT Polish
-Lufthansa
-Scandinavian Airlines
-Shenzhen Airlines
-Silver Airways
-South African Airways
-Swiss International Airlines
-TAP Portugal
-THAI
-Turkish Airlines

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The Citi AT&T ThankYou Card Looks Sweet, Now Which Bank Will Come Up With Co-Brand Cards For Sprint, T-Mobile, Or Verizon?

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Yesterday I covered 4 Citibank cards offering a 50K signup bonus.  Between those offerings, the ability to transfer points to airlines, and the Double Cash card that offers 2% cash back with no annual fee, Citibank continues to ramp up their credit card portfolio in a big way,

Citibank has now launched a co-brand card with AT&T Wireless called the AT&T Access More Card and it’s actually a surprisingly rich offering.

With all of the major airlines and hotels locked up, it’s not a surprise that banks are looking for more co-brand partners.  I never understood why the car rental agencies don’t have more robust point programs with co-brand cards. I’m sure that they’ll figure it out soon enough though.

Aside from airline and hotel cards though, co-brand cards aren’t usually great cards. They typically have mediocre signup bonuses and spend categories. That’s what surprising about this AT&T offering.

As for the telecom industry, the only question is which banks lock each one up for a deal. If this card was for Verizon, I’d be all over it!

When you signup for the new AT&T card you’ll get a unique link to use to buy a phone at full price with no contract. If you spend $2,000 within 3 months you’ll get a credit for the price of the phone, up to $650. Plus the $650 counts towards the $2,000 spend requirement even though it will be rebated back to you! Or you can save the $650 credit to purchase the phone later on if you don’t need a new one right away.

You must activate the phone with AT&T postpaid wireless service, keep the phone, and remain active and in good-standing for at least 15 days in order to get the $650 credited back to you.

The earning structure on the card is excellent:
You earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar on “Retail websites,” “travel websites,” and for products and services from AT&T.
“Retail websites are websites that sell goods directly to the consumer through an online website and include department store websites, specialty store websites, warehouse store websites and boutique websites.
Travel websites are websites that allow you to book travel and include online travel agencies, hotel websites and airline websites.”

The real question is how do they categories retail websites?
I’d assume Amazon is a retail website, but is eBay?  I guess time will tell when people signup for the card and start experimenting.

You’ll also get 10K points every card anniversary when you spend $10K in the previous year, so if you spend $10K online you’ll have earned 4 points per dollar.

There is a $95 annual fee, though if you actually use the card, the anniversary bonus more than covers the fee.

This card can’t transfer points to airlines or hotels, but if you have a Premier or Prestige card then the points earned on this card will also be transferable.
If you have the Premier card you can also use the points for 1.25 cents towards paid airfare. If you have the Prestige card you can use the points for 1.33 cents towards paid airfare or 1.6 cents towards paid airfare on American or USAirways flights.

3-4 points per dollar that are worth 1.6 cents each means that you can get back 4.8%-6.4% on your online purchases, a most generous rebate indeed!

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Which Citi 50K Limited Time Credit Card Offer Is Right For You?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Citi has really been getting aggressive with their credit card portfolio over the past year.

They stole the Costco co-brand card away from AMEX by offering to process credit card transactions for Costco for free.

After years of rumors, they finally added the ability to transfer ThankYou points to airline and hotel partners. Those currently include:
-Air France/KLM Flying Blue
-Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
-EVA
-Etihad
-Garuda Indonesia
-Malaysia Airlines
-Qantas
-Qatar
-Singapore
-Thai
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hilton
The transfer ratio is 1K:1K except for Hilton where you get 1,500 points for every 1,000 points transferred.

Flying Blue offers promo awards from rotating cities that allow travel to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 25,000 miles round-trip plus relatively small fuel surcharges in coach.  They charge just 50,000 miles regularly for round-trip travel to Europe, Israel, and Russia and there are no fuel surcharges at all when you fly on Delta.

Singapore has a great Star Alliance award chart, with bargains on United that have no fuel surcharges.  One-way flights are available at half the listed rates.  Domestic business class, with lie-flat seats on some routes, is just 20K each way.  United charges more of their own miles for awards to Alaska, but Singapore will book you on United to Alaska for the domestic rate. A flight to Hawaii is just 17.5K in coach or 30K in lie-flat business each way.  A flight to Israel is just 37.5K in coach or 57.5K in business each way. A Singapore A380 enclosed suite or double suite from JFK to Frankfurt is just 57K miles each way and a suite from LA to Tokyo is just 74K each way.

Plus Singapore only charges $20 for a date change ($12 for Singapore flight changes made online) or $30 to cancel a flight and redeposit your miles. And there are no close-in booking fees.

Points transfers require that you have a Premier, Prestige, or Chairman card.

And now they are increasing the signup bonuses on their cards to very competitive levels.

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The Citi Premier card previously offered 20,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months and another 30,000 points for holding onto the card for a 2nd year, paying the annual fee, and spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of the 2nd cardmembership year.

That was a whole lot of hoops.

For a limited time the card only requires $3,000 of spending within 3 months to land 50,000 Citi ThankYou bonus points.  The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year and there are no foreign transaction fees.

The card has very strong spend categories, triple points for travel and gas and double points on dining and entertainment.  Travel 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.

The 50K points can be transferred to an airline, used for $500 of gift cards, or used for $625 of travel purchases.  They can be worth even more if you also have a Citi Prestige card.

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The Citi Prestige card previously offered 30,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months.

For a limited time the card offers 50,000 Citi ThankYou bonus points for $3,000 of spending within 3 months.

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

The card has a hefty $450 annual fee, but it has a ton of benefits that make up for that and then some:

-$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 airfare, bag fees, seat fees, etc. That’s $250 back in 2015 and $250 back in 2016, which more than covers the annual fee.

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

-Priority Club lounge membership with free guests access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional 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.

-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.

-When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights just call 561-922-0158 to make the reservation and 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.

-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.

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 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…

The advantage of having both the Premier and the Prestige cards and how to do it:

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, but the Prestige card makes all of your ThankYou points worth more.

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs, though 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.

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Both the consumer and business American AAdvantage cards offer 50,000 AA miles for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

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

As with most airline cards, these cards get you a free checked bag and priority boarding.  There’s no need to actually buy the ticket on the card, just having the card and providing your AAdvantage number will get you and your companions a free checked bag and group 1 boarding.  This even works when using Avios to fly on American.

You’ll also get 25% back on in-flight purchases.

The biggest benefit of the consumer card is that it also saves you miles.  You get a 10% rebate of miles used, up to a 10K mileage rebate per year.

On both the business and consumer card you can save 7.5K miles on rotating awards.  With those discounts combined a 25K award would be just 15,750 miles if you have the consumer card.

The business card gives a companion certificate for spending $30,000 in a year on the card, a 5% mileage dividend for purchases made the previous cardmembership year, and double miles on car rentals, office supplies, and telecom spending.

Both cards give double miles for American and USAirways purchases.

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Another Citi card that doesn’t have a limited time 50K bonus but is still worth discussing is the Hilton Reserve card with 2 free nights worldwide.  I used that card to get free nights at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem last month. Forget about the $1,300/night room that I got there with the nights, it was worth signing up for the card just for the mind-boggling over-the-top kosher breakfast that is included even on award stays. But that’s something I’ll talk about more when I type up trip notes from that vacation…

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Is It Worth Paying 1.87% To Pay Your Taxes Via Credit Card?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab. View AMEX consumer card offers and AMEX business card offers in the tabs above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site. American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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“Pinay” joined the DansDeals Forums to ask which credit card he should use to pay his taxes.

The IRS website lists several processors that charge 1.87% to process your tax payment via credit card.

If you are trying to reach a spend threshold that you won’t be able to reach it without some help, then it will almost always make sense to pay 1.87% to get the signup miles.

But what about if you don’t have any spend thresholds to meet?

-The United Club card earns 1.5 United miles per dollar spent.  If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your United Club card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 30,561 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.22 cents each.

That $374 fee may be tax-deductible, you should speak to your tax preparer about that.

Is it worth it? It all depends on what you do with your miles.

A round-trip ticket from LaGuardia to Cleveland with a one-night stay to see LeBron try to bring a championship to a city that hasn’t seen one in 51 years would run you $1,100.  That same ticket would be 20,000 United miles round-trip, a value of 5.5 cents per mile.

Yes, there are other cards that earn 1.5 or 2 “miles” per dollar, but if they’re not airline miles they’re likely only worth 1 cent towards travel.  You would need 110,000 Capital One “miles” for that same LGA-CLE flight that costs 20,000 United miles.

The value is much greater if you fly business or first class internationally, but the value on a round-trip ticket from NYC to Fort Lauderdale will be much less.

There are much cheaper ways of manufacturing spend to buy miles for much less than 1.246 cents each, but considering that this takes zero effort, it’s not a bad deal.

Of course you need to have the United Club card which carries a steep $395 annual fee.  It has benefits besides for 1.5 miles per dollar spent, like club membership and waived expedite fees, but it’s still a pricey card.

-If you have the more affordable United Explorer card you get just 1 mile per dollar, but that card gives a 10K mile bonus for spending $25K in a year.

Pay $25K to the IRS on the United Explorer card and you’ll get 35,468 miles for a $467.50 fee.  That’s like buying miles for 1.32 cents each.

Both United cards give access to expanded saver award availability, priority boarding, and keep your miles from expiring for as long as you’re a cardholder.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere if you have 30 total transactions that billing period. It and the United Club card are the only cards that give 1.5 real airline miles per dollar spent everywhere without limits. With an annual fee that is $300 less than the United Club, it brings lots of mileage earning potential to the masses.

If you do pay your taxes on this card you’ll want to make sure that you have 30 transactions that month.  In this post I wrote about an easy way to get up to 30 transactions if you need some help in that department.  The card also offers up to 4.5 points per dollar in categories like groceries, gas, and Uber.

If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Everyday Preferred card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 30,561 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.222 cents each.

Those points can transfer to airlines like Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, and Singapore.

Earlier this year there was a 40% bonus transfer for British Airways.  With each dollar spent earning 1.5 points and multiplying that by 40% means that the effective earning was 2.1 points per dollar everywhere.  Assuming you transfer with a similar bonus, that’s like buying Avios for 0.87 cents each.

That same LaGuardia-Cleveland flight costs just 9,000 Avios round-trip, a value of 12.2 cents per Avios.  Your cost would have been $78 for the round-trip award.

A first class ticket on a United lie-flat bed one-way from Newark or Washington DC nonstop to Honolulu can be booked with 30K Singapore miles instead of 40K United miles. Either are an excellent value for your miles on a ticket that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars.

57.3K AMEX points transferred to Singapore is enough for a private suite on an A380 one-way from JFK to Frankfurt. Double the miles and fly together with someone special in a couple’s suite across the pond.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card is the only no-annual fee card that can transfer points into airline miles.  It offers 1.2 miles per dollar spent. If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Everyday card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 24,449 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.53 cents each.

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX have the ability to transfer points into dozens of different airlines (Alaska and American are 2 unique SPG transfer partners) at a 20K:25K ratio, effectively 1.25 miles per dollar spent everywhere. If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Starwood card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 20,374 Starpoints which can be transferred into 25,374 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.47 cents each.

80K Starpoints transfers into 100K Alaska miles. 90K Alaska miles is enough to fly one-way to the Maldives on Emirates first class, where you’ll be able to rest in a suite and have a shower at 35K feet in the sky on an A380.  Or I suppose you could redeem 1.5 million Capital One points for the same experience if you’d like…

60K Starpoints transfers into 75K American miles. 67.5K AA miles is enough to fly one-way to Asia on Cathay Pacific’s award winning first class that would otherwise set you back $15,000.

-The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is still offering a 15K bonus for spending $30K in 2015.  If you spend exactly $30K in 2015 than those numbers will look similar to the calculatios for the Everyday Preferred card with its 50% bonus.

-The Discover it Miles card gives 3 “miles” per dollar everywhere for the first year that you have the card.  They’re worth 1 cent each, so you’ll come out 1.13% ahead of the 1.87% tax processing fee.

If you have any mileage earning debit cards, those can also be great for tax payments.

Of course you don’t have to wait for April 15th to come around to pay your taxes, you can make quarterly estimates at any time. If you pay too much you can get a cash refund from the IRS, the refund doesn’t go back to your credit card.

Do you pay your taxes with a credit or debit card? Or is it too pricey of a method to buy miles? Sound off in the comments!

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AMEX Twitter Offers Roundup

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Related:
-Today is the final day to finish $150 off $150 AT&T Wireless spending.
-Check Your AMEX Account For A Targeted Amazon $20 Free Spend Offer

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Signup for Twitter and you can save money with AMEX.

All you have to do is sync your American Express card with your twitter account to save money at rotating stores.

Then tweet the codes listed below to enroll, so for example just write #AmexSurLaTable and then click tweet. Then wait a minute and you should have a message in your notifications bar that you have successfully enrolled along with the offer terms.

In the image below you can see where to write the tweet and where to check for the confirmation.

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You can register all of your primary and secondary AMEX cards on Twitter, it just entails either: Unsyncing and resyncing cards via this link or making a Twitter account for each card. If you do unsync and resync multiple cards on the same Twitter account you must change the tweet slightly each time like:
#AmexSurLaTable
#AmexSurLaTable 1
#AmexSurLaTable 2
And so on.

When resyncing there is no need to fill out your billing address, just fill out the first half of the form with your name, email, and your credit card number. You can skip the optional fields asking for your billing address, card expiration, and the 4 digit code. You can use the same email address for all of your cards.

Forgot which card you registered? Just unsync and resync.

You can even bulk tweet for all of your cards with multiple Twitter accounts via TweetDeck.

Offers valid once per card:

Some offers may also be available by logging into your AMEX account and looking under my offers.

-Tweet #AmexSmartFinal, get $25 back on $50+ at Smart & Final stores through 06/30. Valid 3 times per card.

Smart & Final is a great warehouse type store with no membership required. Stores are locates in AZ, CA, and NV.

-Tweet #AmexSurLaTable, get $10 back on $50+ at Sur La Table’s stores or at SurLaTable.com through 05/31.

-Tweet #AmexBW, get $20 back on $100+ at BestWestern.com through 05/18.

-Tweet #AmexPCGifts, get $15 back on $49+ at PersonalCreations.com through 05/31.

-Tweet #AmexPharmaca, get $10 back on $40+ at Pharmaca.com through 06/24.

-Tweet #AmexLegalZoom, get $20 back on $100+ at Legalzoom.com through 05/31.

-Tweet #AmexDiesel, get $50 back on 150+ at Diesel.com through 05/21.

Find more Twitter offers here.

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Don’t want to miss out on AMEX Offers? Want to get ready for SBS 2015 with free spending at small businesses for each primary and secondary cardholder?

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (10K Starpoints for spending $1 plus another 15K bonus Starpoints for spending $5K in 6 months. 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. $65 annual fee waived for first year. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 US supermarkets and Uber (enrollment required, see instructions here) and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar on US gas stations and Uber (enrollment required, see instructions here) and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on Uber (enrollment required, see instructions here), US gas stations and US supermarkets (2 points on dining, $100 airline fee credit, and no foreign transaction fees effective 06/01). $175 annual fee waived for first year. 5 free additional cardholders are free, 6+ additional cards cost $35/year each.)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free 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 cash back 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.)

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. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($50 cash back plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 3% cash back on US supermarkets, 2% cash back on US gas stations and department stores, no annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($100 cash back plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 6% cash back on US supermarkets, 3% cash back on US gas stations and department stores, $75 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express (3% cash back on US gas stations, 2% cash back on travel and restaurants, no annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Business cards:

Business card signup bonuses can be earned if you haven’t had the card within the past 12 months. All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (10K Starpoints for spending $1 plus another 15K bonus Starpoints for spending $5K in 6 months. 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. $65 annual fee waived for first year. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 (enrollment required, see instructions here). $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 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 cash back 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.)

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 3 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, 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.)

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. 30% annual point bonus. No annual fee.)

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN (1.5% cash back, $250 annual fee waived for first year.)

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Join the 55,400+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Poll: Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use? A Recap Of All The Different Options

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Update 04/14: Tomorrow will be the last day to load Serve cards from Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards online.

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Update 03/15: Another one bites the dust…

From https://www.serve.com/help/#add-money-5
“Starting April 16, 2015 you will only be able to use an American Express® Card if you want to load your account with a credit card. Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards will no longer be supported after April 16.”

AMEX issued cards don’t earn miles on Serve loads (though they do count towards signup bonus threshold spending). However other banks that issue AMEX cards (like the Citi AA AMEX and the Fidelity AMEX) do award miles and should still work after 04/16.

Softcard itself is ceasing operations 03/31.

I’m still sitting pretty and taking full advantage of several Target REDcards for now, but like everything else, it too shall pass.
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Originally posted on 12/21/14:

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

AMEX’s array of prepaid cards make it easy to generate spend on your credit cards. However you can only have one prepaid card as they track it by your social security number.  You will have to empty out the funds and cancel your prepaid card to switch to another prepaid card product.
There is no credit check to get a prepaid card, but you do need to provide your social security number.

Here’s the rundown of the options:

Bluebird:
-Getting it: You can get a Bluebird card on Bluebird.com for free.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load Bluebird online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online. There are some debit cards that still award miles for purchases.
-In-store loading: You can load Bluebird from select gift cards at WalMart ATMs or with WalMart cashiers for free. The limits are $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month per Bluebird card. In other words you can buy Visa gift cards from grocery stores or from Staples or Office Max (buy with Ink Plus or Ink Cash and earn 5 points per dollar) and then use them to add funds to Bluebird in WalMart stores. The pin is the last 4 digits of the card number. On some gift cards when loading with a cashier you’ll need to press cancel on the pin pad after swiping the card and then click to change the payment method from credit to debit.
Note that ATMs are often are broken (though you can call WalMart corporate to complain about that) and in some stores cashiers won’t load gift cards to fund Bluebird.
You can also load funds via Vanilla Reloads, but it can difficult to find stores that will sell those with a credit card and they are being discontinued effective 04/01/15.
Cashing out: You can get a free checkbook to write checks from your Bluebird account or you can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Bluebird send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Bluebird for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday and you can take advantage of 2x savings catcher on WalMart purchases.

REDCard AMEX:
-Getting it: You can currently only get a REDCard AMEX at these select Target stores. You can only purchase 1 REDCard per day per social, but if you have other people’s social security numbers then you can buy a REDCard for each of them on the same day. Once you have a REDCard any Target store in the nation can load funds to it.
The nearest Target selling REDCards to NYC is apparently in Aberdeen, MD. You can also use 9K Avios to fly round-trip to Baltimore, Boston, or Pittsburgh to pick some up.
The card sold in-store is only a temporary card. You must register the account online and then you will be sent a permanent card in the mail. Once you activate the permanent card you will unlock full usage of the card.
-Fees: In some markets there is a $5 purchase fee while in other markets there is no purchase fee. There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load REDCard online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
In-store loading: You can fund REDCard from any credit card or gift card with any Target cashier for free. When you first purchase the REDCard you can load it with $500. Once you get your permanent card the limits are $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, and $5,000 per month per REDCard.  You can load as many REDCards as you want, though you’ll probably need to call your credit card company to unfreeze your card when they freeze it due to suspicious activity.
Cashing out:  You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have REDCard send anyone a check for free. You can also make free withdrawals at Target ATM machines.
-Other benefits: 5% off everything you buy from Target with the card, free shipping on all Target.com orders, and an additional 30 days to return items to Target. REDCard does not qualify for AMEX Offers.

 

REDCard makes life easy:

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Serve:
-Getting it: You can get a Serve card on Serve.com for free.
-Fees: There is a $1/month fee that is waived if you add $500 to your account that month. It’s also waived for residents of NY, TX, and VT even without loading $500.
-Online loading: You can load $200 per day and up to $1,000/month to Serve online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well.  Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $200 per day up to $1,000/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday.

Serve with Softcard:
-Getting it: You must apply for Serve with Softcard in the Softcard app.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can load $500 per day and up to $1,500/month to Serve with Softcard online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well. Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $500 per day up to $1,500/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday. You can also take advantage of numerous Softcard promotions.

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Fee-Free Visa Gift Cards At Office Depot And Office Max

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Update 2: This appears to be dead.

Update: AMEX and Mastercard gift cards are fee-free as well.
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Office Depot and Office Max stores aren’t currently charging the normal $5.95 or $6.95 fee for purchasing $100 or $200 Visa gift cards.

Office Depot sells $100 and $200 Vanilla Visa cards that you can pay with a credit card.  The variable Vanilla cards are cash only, but the ones with a fixed amount are payable with a credit card.

Office Max sells $100 and $200 Metabank Visa gift cards that you can pay with a credit card.

While reports are that the Office Depot fee-free cards are working nationwide, the Office Max cards are fee-free in some stores while other stores are still charging a fee.  You’ll know if it’s fee-free when you bring it to the register to pay…but I can confirm that both stores are fee-free in Kansas 😀

This is valid in-store only and can end at any time.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card to get 5 points per dollar spent.

That’s 1,000 points for each $200 card purchased.

You can then use those gift cards on everyday purchases to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere.

Or you can liquidate the cards by loading them onto REDcard or by buying money orders to cash them out.  You can upload a MetaBank Visa to Serve or Bluebird at a Walmart ATM (or a willing cashier) without limits but when uploading Vanilla Visa cards to Serve or Bluebird at a WalMart ATM machine you may need to limit it to $49.99 per transaction.

HT: MilesNpoints, via DDF

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With The Chase British Airways Credit Card Being Devalued, What’s The Best Credit Card To Use For Everyday Spending To Earn British Airways Avios?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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British Airways Avios are one of the most useful mileage currencies for short-haul travel.  With domestic free flights on American or USAirways for just 4,500 points plus $5.60 that don’t have any close-in booking fees and that can be cancelled for just $5.60, the program is an easy way to rapidly accumulate free travel.  I’ve used 9,000 Avios for last minute round-trips that would have otherwise cost more than $1,000, so the value of their points can be stratospheric.

Effective 04/30 the Chase British Airways card will go down from earning 1.25 Avios per dollar spent to 1 per dollar spent.  As a consolation prize, purchases on British Airways will now earn 3 Avios per dollar, but there are other cards that earn 3 points per dollar on airfare.

There are still cards that you can use to earn more than 1 Avios per dollar spent on everyday purchases.

You can transfer points from Starwood, Membership Rewards, or Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Avios.

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX earn 1 Starpoint per dollar, but when you transfer 20K points into airline miles you get a 25% bonus, effectively making the earn rate 1.25 miles per dollar spent.  There are dozens of airlines to choose from, including British Airways.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card earns 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries when you make at least 30 transactions per month.

The Amex EveryDay Card has no annual fee and earns 1.2 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber when you make at least 20 transactions per month.

It’s easy to track the number of your transactions and it’s easy to hit 30 with painless Amazon reloads or even parking meters.

-The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card and the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card offer 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare from all airlines, not just British Airways. The Premier Rewards card also gives double points on gas and groceries and will give double points on dining effective 06/01.  It will also give a $100 airline fee credit and have no foreign transaction fee effective 06/01.

Several reports confirm that the Premier Rewards Gold card is also still giving 15K points for spending $30K in 2015.  That means you can earn up to 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas, groceries, and dining, and 4.5 points per dollar on airfare if you can reach the $30K hurdle in 2015.

Membership Rewards points from all of those cards can transfer to 16 airlines, including British Airways.  However AMEX also runs occasional transfer promotions to British Airways that range between 20-50%.  A 40% promotion ran earlier this year.  People who earned 1.2 or 1.5 points per dollar on everyday purchases with the everyday cards who transferred points into Avios during the 40% bonus transfer period effectively earned 1.7 or 2.1 Avios per dollar everywhere.

Of course once you start looking into categories besides everyday spend there are more opportunities.  Chase cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at office supply stores and on wireless, landline, and cable bills.  Freedom earns 5 or 5.5 points per dollar in rotating categories. And Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points per dollar on all dining and travel spending.

In summary, there are lots of great cards to use to rack up those Avios.  The Chase British Airways card offers a sweet 50K signup bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year for a limited time, but with the upcoming card downgrade they’ve taken away the incentive to use the card on everyday spend.

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Activate Freedom Q1 And Start Bonus Spending Now; How To Find If Your Local Grocery Will Qualify And How Much Bonus Spending You’ve Done This Quarter

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Update: Tomorrow is the final day to finish Q1 bonus spending at grocery stores, movie theaters, and Starbucks.  You can also buy gift cards at any of these places to lock in 5 points per dollar.

You can now register for Q2 bonus spending as well. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar between 04/01-06/30 at restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, H&M, and Overstock.com.

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Originally posted on 01/05/15:

The Chase Freedom Visa is an excellent no annual fee card.  They market the signup bonus as $100 for spending $500 in 3 months, but really it comes in the form of 10,000 bonus points which are worth much more than $100 when transferred into miles.  Plus if you add an additional user and make a purchase within 3 months you’ll get another 2,500 bonus points, for a total of 12,500 points.

The real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, 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 (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

I say at least because if you have a Chase checking account active by December you’ll get a 10% bonus on all points earned this year.  So if you spend the $1,500 per quarter and have Chase checking you will earn 33,000 points per year, or 5.5 points per dollar.  You’ll also earn 1.1 points per dollar on all other purchases that you make.

If you and your spouse only has a Freedom card you won’t be able to transfer points to airlines and hotels. However if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card (or will get one in the future) you can transfer Freedom points over to one of those cards and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio into much more valuable airline miles (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, etc) or hotel points (Hyatt, etc).

Click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

The 5 point categories for 2015 are as follows:
Q1: Grocery stores, Movie theaters, Starbucks
Q2: Restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, H&M, and Overstock.com
Q3: Gas stations and more to be announced.
Q4: Amazon.com and more to be announced.

So shop at your favorite grocery store from now until March 31st and you’ll earn a whopping 5 or 5.5 points per dollar spent.

Many grocery stores sell gift cards that can be cashed out as well.

Target and WalMart are excluded from bonuses.

Starbucks purchases and reloads online, in-store, and in-app all qualify.

There are 4 ways to tell if a grocery store will qualify.

1. Chase has a listed of qualifying merchants.  However it just shows national chains that will qualify like Pathmark and ShopRite.

As long as the store is categorized as grocery you’ll get the 5 points per dollar even if it’s not on that list.

2 You can lookup the merchant code on Visa’s site.

It’s a useful site and you can search for grocery stores only, but it’s far from perfect and it’s not an exhaustive list.

3. If you purchased from the store in the past you can click on any card to see your account activity, click on the “I’d like to” menu, and click on dispute a charge:

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Then click on all transactions and scroll down to the last time you shopped at the store.

For example Tibor’s butcher shop in Cleveland would qualify:

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But Boris’ butcher shop would not:

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(For Clevelanders: GFS, Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, and Ungers would all qualify as well according to this method).

4. Make a small test purchase to see if you get 5x points for the transaction.  Once your purchase switches from pending status to posted status you can click on the purchase to see how many points you earned.  This same method works for other Chase cards with bonus categories.

Note that different terminals in the same store can have different classifications.  If you purchase something in a specific department or at customer service in can have a different category than at the regular cashiers.

DDF user “clear thinker” points out that his purchase from the coffee counter at Breadberry only shows 1 point per dollar, while the regular grocery purchase shows as 5 points per dollar:

 

Coffee counter purchase:

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Regular grocery purchase:

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The coffee counter register is categorized as dining and therefore didn’t get the 5 points per dollar even though both charges posted from the same exact store.

 

Chase now also shows you how much you have earned for the current quarter. 

Just click on Ultimate Rewards under your Freedom card and you’ll be redirected to a page showing how much you’ve earned this quarter:

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The maximum earnings is 7,500 points per quarter for $1,500 of spending. In “Freedom-speak” that’s $75 cash back even though the rewards come in the form of points.  Just multiply your rewards by 20 to see how much you have already spent this quarter. If you have $30 in rewards showing that mean you’ve spent $600 so far and can earn 5 points per dollar on another $900 in spending this quarter.

Don’t use the points for cash back as they’re worth significantly more when transferred into airline miles, hotel points, or Amtrak points!

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My FICO Scores From All 3 Credit Bureaus, Obtained Monthly Free Of Charge Thanks To Credit Cards

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Update: As commenters have pointed out, the Citi score is technically a FICO score, but it is a FICO Bankcard Score 8 instead of FICO score 8 as the other scores are.

The FICO Bankcard Score 8 model has a FICO Score range from 250 through 900.

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-Related post (Read this first!!!): Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered

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It used to be quite hard to obtain your FICO score for free.

Online services that advertise cute or obnoxious jingles to give you your credit score for free are only giving you a FAKO score, not something that’s of much use as lenders don’t ever see those scores. A FAKO score can be significantly different than your FICO score, discrepancies of more than 100 points aren’t uncommon.

The most widely used version of credit score is the FICO score 8.  As there are 3 credit bureaus, you will have 3 of these FICO scores.

Luckily many banks are now providing free FICO scores and between them you can access all 3 of your FICO 8 scores for free.

-Citi allows most of its cardholders free Equifax FICO score access.  After clicking on the card account there should be a link for the FICO score or you can look under card benefits for the FICO score link.

It’s not surprising that this is my strongest score as it has the least amount of hard pulls:

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-Barclays bank allows its cardholders to view your Transunion FICO score by logging in here.

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-Discover prints your Transunion FICO score on your monthly statement. It matches my Barclay score as they are both Transunion FICO 8 scores.

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-And now American Express is rolling out free access to your Experian 8 score.  Just click on a card and look on the right side to see if you have the new interface with the option to view your FICO score.  Not everyone has the new interface yet, but it will be rolled out to everyone:

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Credit card banks love to check your Experian report, so it’s no surprise that my Experian score is the lowest of the bunch:

 

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Still that means even with a lot of hard pulls, the difference between my “clean” Equifax report and my “dirty” Experian report is just 31 points. That’s not a surprise as the new credit category only makes up a total 85 of your 850 points.  You can read more about that in this article.

BOFA is also rolling out free FICO scores and Chase will be giving free FICO scores to their Slate cardholders.

Do you have access to all 3 of your FICO scores for free?  Want to share your scores? Sound off in the comments!

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I Just Got A $305.70 Check For Having Used One Of The Most Underrated Credit Card Fringe Benefits; A Roundup Of Awesome AMEX Protections

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

I got a nice surprise from AMEX in the mail today, a check for $305.70 to cover the return shipping charges on 6 return protection claims I made in the past.

Return protection is one of the many fringe benefits that make AMEX cards awesome.  If a store won’t accept a return on an item within 90 days of purchase you can file a return protection claim with AMEX.  AMEX has a very easy to use Online Claims Center

Return protection is awesome with retailers that have a 30 day, 14 day, or even non-existent return policy and it works great for final sale items as well. Return protection works for items that cost $300 or less and can be used to return up to $1,000 of items per card per year.  If an item costs more than $300 you can still file a claim, but you would only be reimbursed for up to $300 (plus tax in my experience).

If the item is under $100 AMEX will typically issue an immediate refund.  If it’s between $100-$300 usually an examiner will review the claim to ensure that the item isn’t on the excluded list.  Usually the examiner will then issue a refund though on occasion AMEX will request that you email a photo of the item or mail the item in for a refund.

The current return protection policy is that AMEX will pay for return shipping if they do require that you actually return the item to them.  In the past AMEX didn’t used to cover the return shipping and they more inclined back then to request that the item be returned.

Apparently I made 6 return protection claims back when the old policy was still in effect.  And for that I got a check for $305.70!  I’m not sure how they figured that return shipping cost me $50.95 per claim, but I’m not going to complain 😀

It’s incredibly generous as I was more than happy to pay the return shipping costs in order to get a refund for an item that I would otherwise be stuck with.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express consumer cards with return protection include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

Platinum Card® from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

-Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

 

American Express business cards with return protection include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN

 

Other fringe benefits of using AMEX:

The difference between dispute resolution and return protection is that when you dispute a transaction the merchant actually has the money clawed back from them.  With return protection the merchant isn’t affected.

There are times when a dispute is called for of course, and AMEX is by far the best bank for consumers.  While other banks will drag you through tons of paperwork and will rarely side with the consumer, AMEX makes it easy to file a claim online and almost always sides with the consumer.

Frankly they may be too good, I had one person dispute the $13 they paid for a DansDeals seminar by AMEX.  When I asked the attendee why they disputed the charge they said that they just didn’t recognize the charge, so they disputed it.  He called AMEX right away to drop the dispute, but by that point it was too late and they refunded him the money and I got hit with a chargeback fee on money I had already donated.

Yes, the person made up for the chargeback fees I was hit with in the end, but just be careful to only dispute things after attempting to contact the merchant to make things right or clarify what the charge is for as AMEX dispute resolution works incredibly well for consumers. If you ever receive a good or service that you’re not happy with just let the merchant know that you do plan on disputing the purchase and see if they will come to a compromise without that. But if they won’t AMEX will have you back more than any other bank.

Other AMEX fringe benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty.  And they are awesome.

Purchase protection covers items that break or get stolen within 90 days of purchase.  On most cards you’re covered for items up to $1,000 but if you use a Platinum or Delta Reserve card it covers items up to $10,000 and it will even cover you for items that get lost!

Extended warranty matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to an extra year of warranty coverage on items up to $10,000. The irony is that most manufacturer’s warranties stink. They make you send in your item and typically have long turn-around times. Or they find reasons why the warranty doesn’t cover your problem.
Wait it out until the manufacturer’s warranty ends and you’ll be in luck. Often times you’ll receive a refund of your entire purchase price within a few days of making a claim without even hassling you at all.   DDF members report this happening often for cameras, cell phones, and computers. For some more expensive items they may ask for a repair quote but when you send in the quote you’ll typically be credited with that amount (up to the purchase price paid) within a few days.  People on DDF have even reported getting refunded for computers with cracked screens and other physical damage during the AMEX warranty bonus year, something that the manufacturer would never cover.

Of course these benefits make the equation on which card to use even more complicated. It’s important to remember that although another card may give you extra points in some categories, what is the ability to return, dispute, or have extended warranty coverage worth?

More reasons I love American Express?
1. They post an opening date for your cards of when you got your first AMEX card.  That means that every time you open an AMEX you are instantly improving your FICO score as you are greatly increasing your average account age. (And even when you close a card it still helps average account age for at least 10 more years). Check your report for free at annualcreditreport.com to see for yourself.
2. Typically just 1 pull to get consumer and business cards on the same day.
3. Twitter promotions!
4. Small Business Saturday. Need I say more :D

Share your experiences with purchase protections and American Express in the comments!

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Current AMEX Offers Roundup: Lowe’s, Chevron, Hotels, eBags, Targeted Free $25 Gift Card, And More

Monday, March 16th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

1. Targeted email offers
Check your inbox for an email with the subject “Receive a Complimentary American Express Gift Card‏”
Usually these require you to signup for a membership, but this is a straight out free $25 gift card offer just for receiving info from Inspirato!

I got this email yesterday, others got it last week, so search for it or keep an eye out for it!

2. Registration forms:

-$50 off $250 statement credit at select Los Angeles hotels for charges through 04/15/15.
Full list of participating hotels here.

You can enroll mutiple primary or secondary cards, so if you are spending $500, be sure to have the front desk split the charges onto 2 separate registered cards.

3. AMEX Twitter offers:

Signup for Twitter and you can save money with AMEX.

All you have to do is sync your American Express card with your twitter account to save money at rotating stores.

Then tweet the codes listed below to enroll, so for example just write #AmexLowes and then click tweet. Then wait a minute and you should have a message in your notifications bar that you have successfully enrolled along with the offer terms.

In the image below you can see where to write the tweet and where to check for the confirmation.

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You can register all of your primary and secondary AMEX cards on Twitter, it just entails either: Unsyncing and resyncing cards via this link or making a Twitter account for each card. If you do unsync and resync multiple cards on the same Twitter account you must change the tweet slightly each time like:
#AmexLowes
#AmexLowes 1
#AmexLowes 2
And so on.

When resyncing there is no need to fill out your billing address, just fill out the first half of the form with your name, email, and your credit card number. You can skip the optional fields asking for your billing address, card expiration, and the 4 digit code. You can use the same email address for all of your cards.

Forgot which card you registered? Just unsync and resync.

You can even bulk tweet for all of your cards with multiple Twitter accounts via TweetDeck.

Offers valid once per card:

-Tweet #AmexLowes, get $10 back on $50+ at Lowe’s stores or at Lowes.com through 04/17.  Lowe’s stores sell gift cards to other stores like BP and Amazon.

-Tweet #AmexChevron, get $5 back on $25+ at the pump at Chevron or Texaco through 05/15.

-Tweet #AmexSoap, get $10 back on $50+ at Diapers.com or Soap.com through 03/27.

Find more Twitter offers here.

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3. Online account offers:

There are a couple offers that I found in my account that I couldn’t find a working Twitter code for.  Offers in your account will vary by card, so check all of your cards.

To see if you have this offer in your account just login to your AMEX account, click on any of your cards to go the activity page, click on “AMEX Offers For You,” and save the offer to your account. Offers are also available on the AMEX iPhone app.

If you also have multiple cards with the offer don’t rush to save the offer to your account!  Open up the Offers page for each card in a separate tab in the same browser.  Then go between the tabs to save the offer to each of your targeted cards.  Otherwise once you save the offer to one card it disappears from your other cards.

You can also register your secondary cards for their own AMEX login and register each of those cards as well.  Sometimes secondary cards registered on their own account will have different offers than the primary card.

Sample targeted offers (be sure to check all of your primary and secondary cards as offers vary by card!)

-Save $5 Off $10 at Fedex Office

-Save $50 off $250 at Bloomingdale’s

-Save $15 off $75 at eBags.com

-Save $25 off $75 Verizon FiOS through 05/31/15

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Don’t want to miss out on AMEX Offers? Want to get ready for SBS 2015 with free spending at small businesses for each primary and secondary cardholder?

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (10K Starpoints for spending $1 plus another 15K bonus Starpoints for spending $5K in 6 months. 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. $65 annual fee waived for first year. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 and Uber and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 and Uber and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on Uber, gas and groceries (2 points on dining, $100 airline fee credit, and no foreign transaction fees effective 06/01). $175 annual fee waived for first year. 5 free additional cardholders are free, 6+ additional cards cost $35/year each.)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free 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 cash back 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.)

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. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($50 cash back plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 3% cash back on groceries, 2% cash back on gas and department stores, no annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($100 cash back plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas and department stores, $75 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express (3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back on travel and restaurants, no annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)

Business cards:

Business card signup bonuses can be earned if you haven’t had the card within the past 12 months. All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (10K Starpoints for spending $1 plus another 15K bonus Starpoints for spending $5K in 6 months. 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. $65 annual fee waived for first year. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 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 cash back 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.)

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 3 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, 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.)

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. 30% annual point bonus. No annual fee.)

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN (1.5% cash back, $250 annual fee waived for first year.)

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Chase Ink Plus 60,000 Point Signup Bonus Returns

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Update: Today is the final day to apply for the 60K signup offer.  The offer is slated to fall back down to 50K tomorrow.

Originally posted on 02/09:

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

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Note: You can use the tabs on top of the DansDeals logo banner to signup for AMEX card offers.

The Ink Plus is a business credit card and you will need to scroll through the pages of the business credit cards to find the offer.

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Offer Details:

Spend $5,000 in 3 months on a new Chase Ink Plus business card and get a 60,000 point signup bonus.  The previous signup bonus was 50,000 points, though this card has offered a signup bonus as high as 70,000 points in the past.

The current 60K bonus offer will run until March 1st.

It’s not difficult at all to get a value of 1.75 cents per point when using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel by transferring them into airline miles or hotel points. That would make this signup bonus worth over $1,000.

You’ll also earn between 5,000 and 25,000 bonus points for the base spending depending on whether you spend in 1, 2, or 5 point per dollar categories.  So after spending $5,000 you’ll have between 65,000-85,000 Ultimate Rewards points at your disposal.

With a Target REDcard you can spend $5,000 in a single month for free.

There is a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign exchange fees on the Ink Plus card. Insurance coverage on car rentals in every country outside of the US is primary on leisure or business rentals. Within the US coverage is primary for business rentals and secondary on leisure rentals.

Applying for a business card and the benefits of business card spending:

The Ink cards are business cards. But you may be already running a business that qualifies for a business card and there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.

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.

If you’re like me and you run more than one business you can signup for multiple of the same card for each business to manage each businesses expenses separately.

A great thing about these business cards is that they 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 few 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.

Lounge Club:

You’ll also getive 2 free lounge visits per user, even on free additional user cards. Here is a link to find valid lounges worldwide. Lounges include the Dan Lounge in Tel Aviv and the Art & Lounge in Newark which both have kosher food.

Cash back:

Ink cards are now all issued as Visa cards, so you can register them for Visa Savings Edge.

With that program you earn cash back on top of points.  You’ll earn 1% cash back at Chevron, and Texaco, 2% cash back at TigerDirect, 4% cash back at Alamo and National, 5% cash back at Lenovo, Sony, and several hotel brands, etc.

Bonus points:

Ink cards offer 5 points per dollar on internet/cable service and telecom purchases, so that’s a nice rebate when you purchase a new cell phone and off your cable bill.

They also earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores. There are hundreds of gift cards sold by office supply stores.

-Upgrading on your carrier’s website to an iPhone or Galaxy? 5 points per dollar.
-Buying gift cards for gas? 5 points per dollar plus you’ll pay the lower cash rates at the pump.
-Buying gift cards for Amazon, Gap, Groupon, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, TJMaxx, etc? 5 points per dollar.

Gift card uses:

Your local school or other charity will be more than happy to accept donations of Amazon gift cards for supplies or any other useful gift cards for chinese auctions, raffles, fundraisers, etc.

They will give you a tax deductible receipt for the full face value-the price you paid for the gift cards. And at the same time you’ll earn 5 points per dollar. So while doing good you can still get a nice chunk of points and you’ll save on your taxes.

Or you can use Visa gift cards for everyday spending thereby getting 5 points per dollar on everything you buy anywhere via the Visa gift cards.  You can read how lucrative that can be in this post on where you should be using each of your cards.

Point Currency:

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

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is still an excellent currency, even after their devaluation earlier this year.  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 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. Just 9,000 miles for a round-trip zone 1 or 15,000 miles for zone 2 short-haul award. The zone 3 award for 25,000 miles round-trip can also be a bargain, for example a flight between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands or between Boston and Ireland is just 25K miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles 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 AA/USAirways within the western hemisphere, on Qantas 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 103 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.
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.  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. You can also transfer points to Airtran for flat-rate awards like business class upgrades or free tickets at a flat rate instead of a rate that corresponds to the ticket price. From Airtran they can even be converted back into the old Southwest program that also offers flat rate awards.
Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta.
Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have finally added 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, a $1,500/night villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives would run just 25,000 points or 12,500 points+$150.
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, Priority Club, and Amtrak. I’ve never been on an Amtrak in my life, but some people have reported getting some really nice bargains on Amtrak travel via their program.

The beauty of miles over points or cash-back:
The great thing about being able to transfer points into airlines or hotels are the incredible values you can attain.
-A coach ticket to Hawaii can cost $1,000 and a first class ticket to Hawaii can cost $3,000 but you can use 25K or 45K miles for that same ticket. If you were using Capital One points you would need 100,000-300,000 points per ticket.
-A last minute ticket or a ticket where you don’t stay for 3 nights from New York to Detroit costs $1,500 in coach but just 9,000 miles. That’s a value of 16.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per ticket.
-A first class ticket to Asia can cost $27,000 but you can use 135,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 20 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 2,700,000 points per ticket.
-A night at a Park Hyatt in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives can run $1,500 with tax but you can use 30K points for that room, a value of 5 cents per point. Or you can use less points and get even better values with cash and points. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per night.
And that’s all besides for the fact that getting a Capital One card costs a minimum of 3 credit pulls whereas you can get several Chase cards with just 1 credit pull.

HT: TimT, via DDF

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American Express Significantly Improves The Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card; Reports Of The 15K Spend Threshold Bonus Posting In 2015

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Effective June 1st American Express is making some nice changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card, though the annual fee (after the first free year) will be going up from $175 to $195.

-The card will qualify for a $100 airline fee credit per calendar year. That means in your first cardmember year you can get $200 back with $100 in 2015 and $100 in 2016. Officially these are intended to be used for bag fees, seat upgrades, and lounge passes/memberships. However they also work for items like $100 American Airlines gift cards or $100 United gift registry contributions.

-The card will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee.

-The card will now give double points at restaurants in addition to double points on gas and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.

Officially this card stopped offering a 15K point bonus for spending $30K in a calendar year, but DDF member hvaces42 reports that he already spent $30K on the card in 2015 and he still got the 15K bonus.  That’s pretty sweet as it bumps the effective earn rates of the double point categories to 3x and the triple point category to 4.5x. Of course you can’t count on that, but for now it appears to still be working.

The card also offers 5 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday. Last year SBS gave a $30 per card credit, so someone who had a Premier Gold card with 5 additional users was able to get $180 in free spending.  With that (and other AMEX promotions that run throughout the year) combined with the $100 per calendar year refund, carrying this card just became a no-brainer.

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A Slightly Easier Way To Hit 20-30 Transactions On The Lucrative Everyday Cards

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card and The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card offer big bonuses for making a certain amount of transactions per month.

The Everyday card offers 20% bonus points if you make 20 transactions in a month, which means you earn 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber.  That’s excellent for a card with no annual fee.  In fact this is the only no-annual fee card that exists that allows points to be directly transferred into real airline miles and hotel points.

The Everyday Preferred card offers 50% bonus points if you make 30 transactions in a month, which means you earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries.  The only other card that gives 1.5 real airline miles per dollar is the Chase United Club card. The United Club card has a $395 annual fee while the Everyday Preferred card has a $95 annual fee.

How lucrative is the Everyday Preferred card when you make 30 transactions per month?

I value my AMEX points at 1.6 cents each.  That’s a pretty conservative value if you travel.  A private walled suite on Singapore from JFK to Europe is 57K miles.  That’s valuing that suite at just $912.  Earlier this month I flew from Miami to Cancun for 4.5K points.  That’s valuing the flight at just $72.

Multiply the 1.6 cents value per point by 1.5-4.5 points earned per dollar everywhere and that’s 2.4%-7.2% back everywhere.

AMEX often has transfer bonuses as well. Last month there was an offer for 40% more points for transfers into British Airways.  That increases the points earned per dollar to 2.1-6.3 points per dollar everywhere, multiplied by a 1.6 cents per points value and that’s 3.36%-10.08% back everywhere.

In other words, quite lucrative.

The AMEX site has a counter for these cards that makes it easy to keep track of your monthly purchases.  All you need to do is check it 2 days before the end of your billing cycle to see how many purchases you need to get up to 20 or 30.

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Previously I recommended buying $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.  However if you need to buy 10 gift cards you then have to manually apply each gift card code to your Amazon account.

That’s a bit time consuming so I was happy to learn that there’s an easier way to accomplish the same thing.

You can just go to this link to directly add funds onto your Amazon account.  Just type in $0.50 as the amount you wish to add to your account and 50 cents will be added to your Amazon account. No need to copy and paste the gift card code into your account, it just goes directly there.  Don’t bother with the auto-reload option.

You can check your Amazon gift card balance here. It says it takes 5 minutes for the balance to be updated but it only seems to take 1 minute for me. Your Amazon gift card balance never expires.

Have a better way to get up to 20 or 30 transactions? Hit the comments!

HT: DP7, via DDF

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Posting From 35K Feet For Free, Thanks To AMEX

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

GoGo in-flight internet isn’t cheap. I’m currently on a 4.5K BA Avios award and the price for internet access on this one hour flight is $9.95.

Luckily I have an AMEX Business Platinum card which now comes with 10 free annual GoGo internet passes. You can signup for your 10 free passes via this link.

Of course it’s not worth having the card just for the GoGo passes, but it’s always nice to have a valuable perk added to a card.

Note that only the business platinum card has the free GoGo passes, the consumer platinum card does not.

Is Business Platinum worth it?

It definitely is for the first year with the 40K signup bonus.  You can earn the bonus if you haven’t had the card within the past 12 months.

Plus in your first cardmembership year you can get $400 in airline fee credits thanks to a $200 credit in 2015 and a $200 credit in 2016 if you signup now.

But what benefits does the card have?

-Centurion lounge access:

American Express has operated Centurion lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Mexico for some time.  Now they are expanding in the US market with lounges operating in Dallas, Las Vegas, LaGuardia, San Francisco, and more to come. Miami will be the next to open.

Originally the US lounges were designed for free access only for Centurion cardholders, you know them as those black cards that cost a ridiculous $2,500 per year with a $7,500 initiation fee that used to give elite status on airline like Continental and USAirways but no longer do.

But once the Platinum card started losing airline lounges they opened it up to Platinum cardholders for free as well. You can bring your spouse and kids into the lounge for free. Or you can bring in any 2 other people with you for free.

The lounges offer varying amenities like premium drinks, showers, and massages.  And as they are staffed by AMEX you can even get help with account issues and access the lounge even if you forget your Platinum card.

-Priority Pass membership.

There are over 600 lounges worldwide that accept Priority Pass and you can access all of them for free.

For example:

-In Newark you can access the Art & Lounge.  That’s the same lounge that El Al provides for their business and first class passengers. It has offers kosher food and Israeli art.

-In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.

See the Priority Pass site for their complete list of lounges. Note that you can’t access United lounges with the Priority Pass membership that you get from the Platinum card.

You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.

Airspace lounges:

Currently there are Airspace lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, JFK (JetBlue terminal), and San Diego.

These are modern lounges with free premium coffee, bottles water, and self service soft drinks.  Additionally you and every guest also gets a gift card valid towards purchasing premium alcohol, local craft beers, cocktails, and meals.

You can access these even with an inactive Platinum card until the card expires 5 years from the date of issue.

I just used the Cleveland lounge this morning where I got free bottles of still and sparking water and a newspaper.

Delta SkyClub:

You can access Delta lounges for free with a Platinum card when flying on Delta.  You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can access Delta lounges for free as well.

The Delta SkyClub in JFK even sells kosher meals if you need one!

You can access Delta lounge with an inactive Platinum card until the card expires 5 years from the date of issue.

Annual fee:

The annual fee on this card is a doozie, $450.  But it’s not as painful as it sounds.

As with annual fees from most banks, they are refundable if cancelled within 60 days.  It is also pro-rated if cancelled after 60 days and you have another American Express card (i.e. if you have the card for 3 months and then cancel you would get a $337.50 refund), and it is pro-rated if you downgrade the card even if you have no other American Express card.

Global Entry/Pre-Check Fee Refund

It costs $85 to apply for a 5 year TSA Pre-Check membership which makes flying pleasant again. Shorter lines, no need to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, or hat. You can keep your laptop and freedom baggie with liquids in your carry-on. And you go through a good old fashioned metal detector instead of assuming the position in a nude-o-scope.  If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.

I breezed by 50 people in line this morning thanks to pre-check.  Left my jacket and shoes on, my laptop in my bag, and went from walking into the airport to sitting in the lounge in less than 3 minutes.

It costs $100 to apply for a 5 year Global Entry membership which lets you bypass the customs line. If you have Global Entry you also get TSA Pre-Check, which allows you to avoid the nude-o-scope machines and lets you leave your shoes on and laptop in your bag. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.

Additional cardholders qualify for a Pre-Check or Global Entry fee refund as well.

Starwood Gold Elite Status:

Platinum cardholders get Gold elite status for free.  That gets you free premium Wi-Fi and a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!

It also gets you 50% bonus points on paid stays, and room upgrades and 4pm late checkout on all stays.

Lost Item Protection:

If you buy something on your Platinum card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered.  No other card I’m aware of offers lost item protection.  Many cards offer stolen item protection, but that requires a police report to be filed and often it has a cap of just $1,000.

Car Rental Perks:

A 4 hour late return fee-free grace period at Hertz and fee-waived Gold Plus membership and National Executive guarantee upgrades and faster free award rentals.

The card also comes with free checked baggage insurance and it has no foreign exchange fees.  And of course it comes with all of the amazing purchase protections that other American Express cards have as well.

Boingo Internet access:

In addition to 10 free GoGo in-flight internet passes per year you also get unlimited access to over 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide.  These are located throughout airports and cities across the globe.

So, is it all worthwhile? It’s not for spending.

I value Starpoints earned from the Starwood American Express more than Membership Rewards points.

Credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card simply earn more Membership Rewards points per dollar than the Platinum card.  The Premier Rewards Gold Card is a charge card like the Platinum card but earns more points on airfare, gas, and groceries than the Platinum card.

But the Platinum card does continue to have and add very unique benefits. I’ve laid most of them out for you and you’ll just have to decide for yourself if its worth it based on your own situation.

Applying for a business card and the benefits of business card spending:

Even if your business doesn’t have a Tax ID number it can still qualify for a business card and there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.

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.

A great thing about these business cards is that they 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 few 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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1 Year Of Amazon Prime Membership Included When Signing Up For Select AMEX Cards For A Limited Time; Is The AMEX EveryDay Preferred Card The Best Bang For Your Buck?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Update 2: The Amazon Prime offer is expired.

—————————————————————–Update: I just got word that the signup offer for all 4 of the cards below will be changing tomorrow.

I don’t know what the exact changes will be, but I would assume that the Amazon Prime limited time offer will be coming to an end. 

If you want to take advantage of that offer you should apply for any of the cards below by 2:59pm EST today.

Related post: The Most Underrated Credit Card?

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Originally posted on 10/28/14

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express is now offering a year of Amazon Prime when signing up and meeting the spend requirement for the following cards:

-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express: Get 10K Membership Rewards points plus 1 year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 within 3 months.

-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express Get 15K Membership Rewards points plus 1 year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 within 3 months.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Get $50 cash back plus 1 year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 within 3 months.

-Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Get $100 cash back plus 1 year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 within 3 months.

Once you complete the spend requirement you will get the regular signup bonus and a code via email for a year of Amazon Prime, a $99 value.
If you already have Amazon Prime the code will extend your Prime membership by a year.

All 4 cards offer 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

All 4 cards also offer additional user cards with no annual fee.  Each additional user card that you have qualifies for $30 of spending on Small Business Saturday.

AMEX EveryDay Preferred:

I recently picked up the EveryDay Preferred card and love it. It’s an awesome card.
Both the EveryDay and the EveryDay Preferred card offer full Membership Rewards access, which means the ability to transfer points to lots of airlines programs.

The EveryDay Preferred card offers 3 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year at grocery stores, and 2 points per dollar on gas and Uber.
But the killer aspect of the EveryDay Preferred is the whopping 50% bonus if you make 30 transactions per billing cycle.  That bumps up the 3 points categories to 4.5 points, the 2 point categories to 3 points, and everything else to 1.5 points per dollar spent.

You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month. Or just swipe to add a quarter to people’s parking meters. Share in the comments what you do to get to 30 transactions!

Note that if you return an item it doesn’t subtract the original transaction.

The EveryDay Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, but that’s low considering it’s the only card that gives 1.5 real airline miles per dollar everywhere. The only other card that does that is the United Club card which costs $395 per year.

AMEX EveryDay:

The EveryDay card is a no annual fee card.  It offers 2 points per dollar on groceries and Uber and a 20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month.

Those earnings are probably outclassed by the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express which earns an effective 1.25 miles per dollar, but unlike the Starwood card the Everyday card has no annual fee, doesn’t require transfers in 20K increments to get the bonus, and points generally transfer instantly.

The unique thing about the Everyday card is that it’s the only no-annual fee card that can transfer points into real airline miles.

Blue Cash/Blue Card Preferred:
Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 per year), 3% cash back on gas and department stores, 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Blue Cash Everyday earns 3% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 per year), 2% cash back on gas and department stores, 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Amazon Prime offers free 2 day shipping, unlimited music streaming, free Prime Instant Video, early access for Amazon Lightning Deals and MyHabit.com, access to over over 500,000 free eBooks, and more. Join Amazon Mom with Prime (no extra cost) to get 20% off diapers and 15% off baby items on your registry.

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The Most Underrated Credit Card?

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Update: The Amazon Prime offer is expired.

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

A few weeks ago a fellow blogger asked my opinion of what is the most underrated credit card.

It’s always tough to single one card out.

For card benefits I answered with the United Explorer. It’s no secret I’m a fan of the card as I wrote about in this post.

But for spending I wrote that it’s the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Assuming you can make 30 transactions per month, it offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries.

It’s really even more than that, as Membership Rewards often offers bonuses for point transfers. Currently there is a 35% bonus for transfers to Virgin America and more crucially, a 40% bonus for transfers to British Airways.  In the past transfer bonuses to BA have ranged between 20-50%.

With a 40% transfer bonus, you have effectively earned 2.1 BA Avios per dollar spent everywhere, 4.2 Avios per dollar spend on gas and Uber, and 6.3 Avios per dollar spent on groceries.

If you value BA Avios at 1.5 cents each that’s like getting 3.15% back everywhere, 6.3% back on gas and Uber, and 9.45% back on groceries.  It’s really easy to get that kind of value out of a BA award flight. If a paid one-way flight is $67 and you use Avios for it then you’ll have achieved this value.  If the paid flight is $134 then you can double those values in each of those categories. No close-in fees and $5.60 flight cancellations only sweeten the pot.

Spend $715 on groceries and you’ll get 3,218 points. Transfer them to BA during a 40% bonus and you’ll have enough Avios for a free flight. The grocery bonus is capped at $6,000/year (which would earn 27,000 points).

Fly one-way from NYC to Montreal or Detroit this week and a ticket on American will set you back up to $800. Or you can use 4.5K BA Avios. That means the points reward from buying $715 of groceries can be worth more than you paid for the groceries! And it’s why I love real miles over cashback cards because the cost of an award isn’t tied to the actual cost of the ticket. That applies even more so on business and first class awards where awards can also be very lucrative.

If you don’t have 30 transactions in any given month you’ll only get 1 point per dollar everywhere, 2 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 3 points per dollar on groceries. Just have your statement close on the first of every month and set your calendar to remind you on the 29th of the month to check your account to see how many transactions you made that month. If it’s under 30 you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

Even if you return an item it doesn’t subtract the original transaction.

The EveryDay Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, but that’s low considering it’s the only card other than the $395/year United Club card that gives 1.5 real airline miles per dollar everywhere. (Yes Ink cards can potentially earn more, but you’d have to first buy gift cards and then use those gift cards everywhere which will wind up costing you valuable purchase protections that credit cards offer).

The fee is also negated by the fee-free additional user cards you can get that each qualify for AMEX promotions such as Small Business Saturday.

It also offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

The signup bonus is 15K Membership Rewards points plus 1 year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 within 3 months.

The Amazon Prime offer is a limited time offer. It will come as a code sent to you via email after you meet the $1,000 spend threshold. If you already have Amazon Prime the code will extend your Prime membership by a year.

Don’t want to pay an annual fee? You can downgrade the card to the non-preferred version of the card or you can apply for the fee-free Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.  However that card only earns 1.2 miles everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber. On the plus side it’s the only fee-free card that can transfer points into real airline miles without having to first transfer the points to a card with an annual fee.

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Are You Maximizing All Of The Benefits Your Cards Give You? A Look At The Published And Unpublished Perks Of 11 Chase Credit Cards

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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

-Do You Maximize Your Credit Card Spending? Here’s Where Should You Be Using Each Of Your Credit Cards.
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People are always asking me what the best credit card is. If only it were that easy.

Different cards have different things they excel at. But if you know what the benefits are for each card then you’ll be able to maximize what’s in your wallet.

Here are the top benefits of cards from Chase.

Airline cards:

-Chase United Explorer
Signup Bonus:
30K miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months plus 5K miles for adding a free additional user.
Spend benefits:
1. 2 miles per dollar on United flights and United award taxes.
2. 10K annual mileage bonus for spending $25K on the card. An effective 40% bonus everywhere if you can spend $25K in a calendar year.
3. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
Travel benefits:
1. Added benefits for non-elite travelers: Free checked bag, expanded coach saver award availability, expanded Plan B business saver award availability, last seat coach and business standard award availability, priority boarding.
2. Added benefits for elite travelers: Upgrades on award tickets, waived PQD spend requirement on flights if you spend $25K on United cards annually.
3. 2 annual United Club passes
4. Primary rental car insurance worldwide.
5. Miles will never expire as long you remain a cardholder.
Annual fee:
$95, waived for the first year.
Learn more about:
-Expanded award space
United Plan B
-United expert mode.
-Primary rental car insurance.
-Benefits of the card.

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-Chase British Airways Visa
Signup Bonus:
50K Avios for spending $2,000 in 3 months. Good for more than 11 free award flights.
Spend benefits:
1. 1.25 Avios per dollar spend everywhere and 2.5 Avios on per dollar spent on BA flights and Avios awards.
2. Spend $30K in a calendar year and get a free companion pass for use on award travel on BA flights in any class of service.
3. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
Travel benefits:
10% off paid BA flights.
Annual fee:
$95, waived for the first year for a limited time only.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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-Chase Southwest Premier
Signup Bonus:
For a limited time only, 50K points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. Points are good for up to $960 of Southwest flights or $500 in gift cards to dozens of stores.
Spend benefits:
1. 2 points per dollar on Southwest flights and on Southwest award taxes.
2. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
3. 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases up to 15K points per year.
Travel benefits:
1. Earn 110,000 points in a calendar year from signup bonuses and spending on the Southwest card and get an unlimited use companion pass good on paid and award flights for the remainder of the calendar year and for the following calendar year.
2. As always, 2 free bags, free changes, free cancellations of all award travel, and free refunds of points if cost of award travel goes down.
Annual fee:
$99.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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Chase United Club (Click on Club option on the right side of the page)
Signup Bonus:
$100 after first purchase.
Spend benefits:
1. 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere plus 2 miles per dollar on United flights.
2. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
Travel benefits:
1. Full United Club membership valid at United lounges and hundreds of partners lounges worldwide. Access is free for you and your spouse and kids or you and 2 companions even when not flying.
2. TSA security passes for gate access even when you aren’t flying at airports with a United Club.
3. 2 free checked bags.
4. Waived award expedite/close-in fees.
5. Priority check-in, priority baggage handling (your bags will arrive ahead of the general public), priority security line access, and priority boarding with elites ahead of Explorer cardholders.
6. Hyatt Platinum status
7. Hertz President’s Circle status
8. Added benefits for non-elite travelers: Expanded coach saver award availability, expanded Plan B business saver award availability, last seat coach and business standard award availability.
9. Added benefits for elite travelers: Upgrades on award tickets, waived PQD spend requirement on flights if you spend $25K on United cards annually.
10. Primary rental car insurance worldwide.
11. Miles will never expire as long you remain a cardholder.
Annual fee:
$395.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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Ultimate Rewards cards with transferable point currencies:

-Chase Ink Plus
Signup Bonus:
50K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.
Spend benefits:
1. 5 points per dollar on landline, cellular, cable, and internet provider spending.
2. 5 points per dollar on office supply spending, including gift cards for hundreds of other stores sold by office supply stores.
3. 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas.
4. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
5. Spending won’t hurt your credit score.
Travel benefits:
1. Free Lounge Club membership with 2 free lounge entries annually for primary and secondary cardholders.
2. Points transfer instantly to airlines, hotels, and Amtrak and allows the transfer of points from cards like Freedom and Ink Cash into miles as well.
Annual fee:
$95, waived for the first year.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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-Chase Sapphire Preferred
Signup Bonus:
40K points for spending $4,000 in 3 months plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user.
Spend benefits:
1. 2 points per dollar on all travel including airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, restaurants, catering, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, cafes, taxis, Uber, parking, limos, buses, trains, EZPass, bridges, ferries, timeshares, etc.
2. 3 points per dollar on the first Friday of every month at restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.
3. Price protection, return protection, purchase protection, and warranty protection
Travel benefits:
1. Trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage protection, trip delay protection, baggage delay protection, and travel accident insurance
2. Points transfer instantly to airlines, hotels, and Amtrak and allows the transfer of points from cards like Freedom and Ink Cash into miles as well.
3. Primary rental car insurance worldwide.
Annual fee:
$95, waived for the first year.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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-Chase Freedom
Signup Bonus:
10K points (marketed as $100, but comes in the form of points) for spending $500 in 3 months plus 2,500 points for adding a free additional user.
Spend benefits:
1. 5 points per dollar in rotating categories such as grocery, gas, restaurants, and Amazon.com
2. 10% bonus points on top of all points earned in 2015 if you have a Chase checking account.
3. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months.
Annual fee:
None.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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-Chase Ink Cash
Signup Bonus:
20K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.
Spend benefits:
1. 5 points per dollar on landline, cellular, cable, and internet provider spending.
2. 5 points per dollar on office supply spending, including gift cards for hundreds of other stores sold by office supply stores.
3. 2 points per dollar on dining and gas.
4. Spending won’t hurt your credit score.
5. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months.
Travel benefits:
1. Free Lounge Club membership with 2 free lounge entries annually for primary and secondary cardholders.
Annual fee:
None.
Learn more about the card’s benefits here.

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$0 and 0% BT fees:

-Chase Slate
Spend benefits:
1. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months.
2. No balance transfer fees.
Annual fee:
None.

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Hotel cards:

-Chase Marriott Premier
Signup Bonus:
1 free night at Category 1-4 hotels upon approval and another 50K points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.
Spend benefits:
1. 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott
2. 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, car rentals, and dining.
3. 1 Elite credit for every $3,000 spent
4. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
Travel benefits:
1. Receive 1 free night at Category 1-5 hotels every account anniversary.
2. 15 credits toward elite status every account anniversary.
Annual fee:
$85, waived for the first year.

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-Chase Hyatt
Signup Bonus:
2 free nights for spending $1,000 within 3 months. Nights must be booked and used within 12 months or they will expire.
Spend benefits:
1. 3 points per dollar spent at Hyatt.
2. 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, car rentals, and dining.
3. No foreign exchange/transaction fees.
Travel benefits:
1. Receive 1 free night at Category 1-4 hotels every account anniversary.
2. Platinum status, though it doesn’t do much now that the bed type guarantee has been eliminated and internet is free for all guests. You do get a 15% point bonus on paid stays.
Annual fee:
$75, waived for the first year.

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