News I haven’t covered yet…
-The Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa now has a EMV chip version available so that you’ll be able to use your card in more places when abroad. Definitely a useful feature for a card with no foreign exchange fee.
It’s not available in a Mastercard so you’ll need to apply for the Visa or have them switch your Mastercard into a Visa to get a card with a chip. A week ago that would be a bad idea, but now all Chase credit cards give rental car coverage worldwide so there’s no benefit difference between Visa and MC.
-If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express you can have your Hilton status upgraded to Gold by calling the number on the back of your Platinum card by 12/31/13. The status will last until 02/28/15.
With Hilton Gold you get free breakfast, WiFi, and upgrades.
If you have a stay on the account you can also match it to top-tier Hyatt Diamond status where you can get confirmed suite upgrades and even free kosher breakfast in some hotels.
Now is a great time to get a Platinum card as you can get a $200 airline fee refund for 2013 and a $200 refund for 2014. See this thread for more on that topic.
It also comes with a $100 global entry expedited customs (5 year membership) refund, platinum card airline club access (American, Delta, and USAirways) for you and your entire family for at least 4 years, priority pass worldwide unlimited lounge membership, Starwood gold elite status with a point rebate even on award stays, car rental perks at Avis, Hertz, and National, lost item (up to $10,000/item) refund protection, checked baggage protection, 3 additional Platinum users (with 4 years of free platinum card lounge access, priority pass membership, and global entry refund) for just $58 each on the consumer card, no foreign exchange fees, and many more free benefits. There is a $450 annual fee. As with all annual fees they are refundable if cancelled within 60 days, they are pro-rated if cancelled after 60 days.
The Platinum card also now gives free entry to top-of-the-line Centurion lounges worldwide including in Dallas and Las Vegas and other US airports coming soon. There are also lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Mexico. You can even get a free spa treatment in the DFW lounge!
-There is an offer for 100K Avios with BA again though it requires $10K spend to get up to 75K and $20K spend to get up to 100K. Several DDF’ers have had success getting matched to the new offer. Gone are the days when just $2,500 in spend got 100K I suppose. Whether it’s worth spending an extra $10K to earn a 25K bonus will probably depends on whether you have other spend requirements to meet to earn a bonus with a lower threshold.
-You can now transfer American Express points over to Emirates. Though if you really want to fly on their planes with a shower spa onboard you will do better transferring Starpoints to Alaska or JAL or Chase UR points to Korean as they generally charge fewer miles and it should help avoid paying fuel surcharges.
-You can now see exactly how many points you earn with each charge on the Sapphire Preferred card. Just click on a transaction online and you’ll see if you correctly earned double or triple points. For example I was able to tell that The Bagel Shoppe in Cleveland isn’t properly coded as dining but a quick SM earned points to compensate for that and then some, so it’s definitely worth checking your online activity.
-Select Barclay cards are now giving cardholders their Transunion FICO score free of charge. Just login to your account and check it out. It will update automatically when there is a change. Note that this is TU-08 which is the score that Barclays uses but not many other banks do. Still it’s useful to know and it is a legit FICO score. The ’98 and ’04 FICO models are still more commonly used that ’08.
The ’08 model FICO:
-Penalizes you even more for a high utilization ratio both individually and collectively for your cards.
-Lessens the effects of a single late payment but increases the effect of multiple late payments.
-Debts that were originally under $100 will no longer have a negative effect on score.
-Gives more weight to the variety of credit accounts that you have.
-Takes away the benefit of being an authorized user on a non-family account.
-Gives more points for having more accounts in good standing and takes away points for having only a few total accounts.
-Accounts that have ended the month with a 0 balance for a long time will factor less into your score.