Citi ThankYou Premier Card Review – 50,000 Bonus Points

Citi Premier CardThe Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has re-launched from our partner Citi, with an improved sign-up bonus and purchase rewards structure. You can now earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  The highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months the account of account opening.*
  • 50,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou travel center or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out and Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year. $95 annual fee afterward. $0 fee for additional users.

Triple points include both air/hotel/car rental and daily commute items. The triple (3X) points on on travel includes hotels, airfare, taxis, car rental, public transportation, parking, cruises, and even gas. When combined with the 25% travel premium, makes that equivalent to a 3.75% reward towards gas and travel booked through Citi Travel Center. The double (2X) on restaurants (includes bars and fast food) and entertainment (sporting events) makes that 2.5% towards travel booked through Citi Travel Center.

Bonus details. The initial sign-up bonus was formerly 30,000 ThankYou points, and while we have seen 50,000 and 60,000 for short periods before, it is a historically high number. Note the following fine print:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Note there is talk that the Citi Prestige card will change their sign-up bonus soon to 75,000 ThankYou points, but there will also be a $450 annual fee that is not waived (and a $250 airfare fee credit).

What can you do with 50,000 ThankYou Points? Citi has been trying to improve the value and flexibility of ThankYou points, so here is a rundown of what you can do with 50,000 of them. Bonus ThankYou Points not available if you have had a Citi ThankYou Premier card opened or closed in the past 18 months.

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$625 towards flexible airfare, hotel nights, car rentals, and cruises. With the new Citi Premier card, you get a 20% discount on the standard number of points needed for a travel redemption. The reverse math means 1 ThankYou point = 1.25 cents towards travel. Note that this 25% bonus applies all of your points from all Citi cards linked to the same ThankYou account, thus boosting the value of all your other points.

That means 50,000 ThankYou points will get you $625 in airfare, hotel nights, car rentals, and cruises book through the Citi Travel Center, which in my experience had the same total price with taxes as compared to Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Since you can book any flight that can be otherwise purchased with cash, there are “no blackout dates”.

This can be even more flexible because you can use it across multiple flights, multiple passengers, and you can even do partial redemptions. Let’s say you found a ticket that want for $200 = 16,000 points, but only have 10,000 points available. Citi now lets you pay the difference, so in this case you can get your $200 ticket for 10,000 points and $75. This makes it much easier to use up all of your points at a 25% premium.

$500 in gift, $500 check towards student loan or mortgage. You can view your redemption options at ThankYou.com. I took a quick look and it takes 10,000 ThankYou (TY) points to redeem for a $100 gift card to retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Bath and Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cabelas, CVS Pharmacy, Kohl’s, Land’s End, LL Bean, Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Staples, and Walmart. So with 30,000 TY points, you could get five $100 gift cards from different stores.

Want something closer to cash? For a check mailed to you, it is 8,000 points for $50 (1 points = 0.625 cent). The best deal is a check mailed towards your mortgage payment or student loan (made out to your lender), which is 7,500 points for $75 (1 points = 1 cent).

Hotel points and airline miles transfer options. Citi ThankYou points are also now available to transfer to certain airline mileage programs on a 1:1 basis including JetBlue, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways. For example, 50,000 TY points can get you 50,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. If you know how to redeem this points wisely, you can get a lot of value for international flights.

Bottom line. The increased 50,000 point sign-up bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year is historically high. I choose to focus on the flexible value where 50,000 points = $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou travel center. The airline points transfer partners are may get you better value for international flights (or JetBlue for domestic). I like the new rewards structure but a cardholder would need a fair amount of spending in the bonus categories (gas, airfare, hotels, dining out) in order to offset the $95 annual after the first year where they waive it.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Card Review: 80,000 + 5,000 Bonus Points Offer

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The Chase IHG Rewards Club Select card has upped their public sign-up bonus to 80,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You can get an additional 5,000 bonus points when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first three months from account opening. The annual fee is waived for the first year, then $49 a year afterward.

Sign-up bonus details. 80k is a solid offer historically, but I should mention that there is also a targeted link for 100,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months. The problem is that if you click on “Apply Now” you probably won’t get an actual application. However, there are reports that if you ask Chase nicely to match a better offer that you happened to see, they will agree. Worth a shot, but don’t count on it. Use their secure online messaging and create a digital paper trail.

This card is NOT subject to any “5/24” restrictions (where Chase limits you to less than 5 credit cards opened in the last 24 months. Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. You must not have had this specific IHG card within the last 24 months, however:

This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

IHG stands for Intercontinental Hotel Group which has over 5,000 hotels including the following brands:

  • Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza®
  • Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express
  • Staybridge Suites®
  • Candlewood Suites®
  • Hotel Indigo®
  • EVEN Hotels

Free hotel night upon annual card renewal. Upon paying the $49 annual fee, you will get a free night certificate good at any IHG hotel worldwide. Assuming you can use it within 12 months, it is actually a good deal for $49.

Anniversary Free Night is valid at hotels in the IHG® Rewards Club Family of Brands and must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue. Anniversary Free Night is valid for one standard room night rate and applicable taxes only. Rooms are limited, subject to prior sale and availability of allocated resources and may be unavailable during high demand periods.

Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a credit cardmember. Perks include priority check-in and complimentary room upgrades (that actually happen). You also get 10% back when you redeem your points, up to 100,000 points each year.

Rewards on card purchases. Here’s the tiered rewards structure:

  • Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at IHG hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Earn 1 point for $1 spent on everything else.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Based on the value estimates below, I would not put all your everyday spending on this card.

IHG point value estimates. IHG Rewards Club puts out a new list of PointBreaks hotels every few months where you can redeem a hotel night for only 5,000 points. That means 80,000 points could technically earn you 16 free nights! If those hotel rooms would otherwise cost $100 a night including taxes, you’d be getting $1,600 value from 80,000 points. This is how you can see valuations anywhere between 1.5 cents and 2 cents per IHG point.

But that’s not very realistic. There are some nice hotels on the list, but the locations are very specific and few people are sufficiently flexible with their travel to constantly take advantage of these deals.

I spent a week at a Staybridge Suites in Austin with my family and it was great. The room felt like an apartment with a living room, full kitchen, and separate bedroom. Every morning there was a buffet breakfast with eggs, bacon, cereal, bagels, fruit, yogurt, juice, and so on that I could grab and bring back into my suite where the kids could run around. I’ll be returning and willing to pay the going rate again, so how much would it cost me in points?

Here’s an actual rate quote for 8/9 to 8/16 for the same Staybridge Suites:

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Keep in mind that the quote doesn’t include taxes, which would make the $138 average nightly rate into $159 with taxes. The 30,000 points per night does include taxes, so that work outs to roughly 0.53 cents per IHG point. At that rate, 80,000 points would be worth $424.

You can perform the same calculations for hotels that fit your needs. I tried a bunch of other various combinations and always got between 0.5 cents and 1.1 cents per point equivalent value.

Bottom line. The 80,000 upfront sign-up bonus can be conservatively valued at $400 in hotel stays (although you may do much better). Grab the easy 5,000 points for first authorized user as well. IHG has a wide selection of hotels around the world, from Holiday Inns and Staybridge Suites to luxury InterContinental hotels. The annual fee is waived the first year, but upon $49 annual fee renewal you get a free night certificate good at any IHG hotel (based on availability).

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2017

5percentbackUpdated; Activation for 3rd Quarter 2017 is live. The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without changing my spending habits. I usually focus on the low-hanging fruit: groceries, restaurants, and Amazon.com. You can also buy gift cards with the 5% back now but spend the gift cards later.

None of these have an annual fee, so it costs me nothing to keep them around. New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus.

Discover it ImageDiscover it® Card

From July 1st through September 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants

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Enroll after logging into your online account (look on the right-hand side). 5% rewards won’t apply until after you activate your rewards, so it is best to activate now before you forget.

If you are a new applicant and sign up via my Discover Card referral link, you will get a $50 Cashback Bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. You will also get Cashback Match for an entire year – a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. That means for the first year your 5% cash back purchases becomes 10% cash back, and your 1% cash back purchases become 2% cash back. Plus, at the end of the year that $50 sign-up bonus will also be doubled to $100.

You can verify all this on the application page by clicking on “See rates, rewards and other info” and looking for this text:

TERMS OF CASHBACK BONUS OFFER: Get a $50 Cashback Bonus after you make your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks. The promotional award is in addition to the Cashback Bonus earned on all purchases.

Cashback MatchTM: If your account is closed or no longer in the cash back reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your cash back will not be matched. You’ve earned cash back rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

Chase Freedom VisaChase Freedom Card

From July 1st through September 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Movie Theaters

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Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter the rewards are retroactive. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which can also be converted to frequent flier miles instead of cash. Currently, the Chase Freedom card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa CardCiti Dividend Platinum Card (Not open to new applicants)

From July 1st through September 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories: (calendar):

  • Hilton properties
  • Airlines

This a grandfathered card that is no longer available to new applicants. Log into your online account or call 1-800-231-0891 to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The total cash back limit is $300 earned per calendar year.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. This card unique in that you get to choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of niche categories like “Fast Food” or “Department Stores”. You also get to choose a single 2% cash back category from a preset selection of broader categories like “Gas Stations” or “Grocery Stores”. 1% cash back on everything else. No limit on total cash back earned.

As you’ll see below, getting 2% is not that special, so this card is only really good if you spend significantly in the available niche categories. Also, you must remember to choose your categories each quarter! If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter.

Don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer. Get 2% cash back or higher. The following cards currently have the ability to offer cash back rewards as high as 2% or even greater. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

Southwest Companion Pass: 3 Chase Credit Cards with 60k Bonus Points Each

swa_logoUpdated. Southwest Airlines offers a unique feature called the Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly free with you on both paid and award flights. If you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Qualifying Points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year plus the following full calendar year. For example, if you earned it in March 2017, you would have the benefit for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018. You can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

As of March 31st, 2017, Southwest ended the ability to transfer hotel points to qualify for the Companion Pass. Therefore, I have removed a big chunk of this original post.

However, points earned from credit cards still count, including sign-up bonuses. As such, it is notable that all three Chase credit cards currently have a limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus points. Picking any two cards and qualifying for the bonus will get you there with no flying at all with an upfront cost as low as 69 + 99 = $168 in annual fees.

  • Chase Southwest Plus consumer card is offering 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $69 annual fee applies. 3,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee).
  • Chase Southwest Premier consumer card is offering 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $99 annual fee applies. 6,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee). No foreign transaction fees.
  • Chase Southwest Premier Business card offers 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $99 annual fee applies. 6,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee). No foreign transaction fees.

Restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are subject to “5/24” restrictions, which means that your application will be automatically denied if you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months (check your credit reports). Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. There is also this language:

This product is available if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Because the companion pass counts for the calendar year of qualification and the next full calendar year, you can still time things so that you have Companion Pass most of the time (assuming these credit card bonuses stay this high).

In addition, you can use all those points for free flights alongside your new Companion Pass. 110,000 Rapid Rewards points transfers roughly to $1,700 in Wanna Get Away airfare (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). If $1,700 would have theoretically covered 16 free one-way flights, then with the Companion Pass you’d be getting 16 free one-way flights for two people.

Bottom line. Right now, you can earn 120,000 Southwest points from signing up for just two credit cards with required total annual fees as low as $168. That’s enough points to automatically qualify for the Southwest Companion pass. With the 120k bonus points and Companion Pass, you’d have roughly 16 free one-way flights for two people. Not bad for $170. Explore the country!

Hyatt Credit Card – Two Free Nights Offer Changing to 40,000 Points on 6/29

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The Hyatt Credit Card is changing their sign-up bonus on 6/29/17. For now, you can get two free night awards after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. The free nights are valid for a standard room at any Hyatt hotel worldwide with no blackout dates, no resort fees, but expire within one year of issuance. You can also get 5,000 Hyatt points after adding an authorized user and having them make a first purchase in the first 3 months from account opening. This alternate link adds a $50 statement credit but says nothing about an authorized user bonus. Take your pick.

The new offer is supposed to be 40,000 Hyatt points after spending $2,000 within your first 3 months of cardmembership. The question is then:

What is better: Two free nights at any Hyatt hotel or 40,000 Hyatt points?

The overall answer is you should apply for the current offer if you have an aspirational hotel you want to stay at within the next year or so. Here is a screenshot of their award chart:

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As you can see, the best Hyatt hotels cost more than 20,000 Hyatt points per night, with a cash cost of $500+ per night. Some examples of these Category 6 and 7 properties:

There are about 50 hotels worldwide that at Cat 6 and Cat 7. If you don’t want to stay at one of those, then you should take the flexibility of the 40,000 Hyatt points. You don’t need to use them within a year, and you can also use Points + Cash redemptions if you want.

If you have any problems booking your award nights, I would first try using the phone and calling. If that doesn’t work, use the power of social media and contact their Gold Passport “Concierges” @hyattconcierge on Twitter.

Card highlights.

  • $75 annual fee. Not waived the first year.
  • Free Category 1-4 award night upon renewal. Upon annual fee renewal, you will also receive a free night certificate valid for Category 1-4 hotels. Category 3-4 hotels can easily run $200 to $300 per night.
  • Free Discoverist member status. Automatic as long as your card is open. This gets you minor room upgrades when available, premium internet access, and late 2pm checkout.
  • Explorist status after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases in a calendar year. Perks include guaranteed room availability up to 72 hours in advance, 4 Club lounge access awards and more.
  • 3 Bonus Points per $1 spent at all Hyatt hotels and resorts. 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies. 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Restrictions. This Chase Hyatt card is not subject to “5/24” restrictions, although it will count as an opened card for other 5/24 cards. Our strategy is to have one person apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else like these. However, there is this language:

This product is available if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Bottom line. I enjoy using hotel awards to stay at luxurious places where I would balk at paying the full cash cost. Nights-based awards are nice for such aspirational stays. You can get $1,000+ value out of two free unrestricted night awards. The award certificates do expire after a year though, so you might prefer to wait for a points award with additional flexibility. I might even wait for an improved limited-time offer or something. But if you’ve been waiting on this bonus, you need to make a decision soon.

Existing Discover Cardholders: Free $10 Kohl’s Cash

kohlsIf you have a Discover credit card and shop at Kohl’s, follow the quick instructions below and check if you have $10 in Kohl’s Cash credit available in your account. There is no purchase required. Availability varies and you might see again next month; this one expires 7/2/17. Found via SD.

  • Log into your Discover card account.
  • Go to the Rewards tab and click on Discover Deals
  • In the Search Merchants box, enter and click on “Kohl’s” (not “Kohl’s online”)
  • Look for the $10 off $30 offer as shown below.

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The “deal” here is that because the code and PIN effectively work as “Kohl’s Cash”, the $30 minimum is not actually enforced. Therefore, it’s similar to $10 in free store credit (subject to certain brand exclusions). Just provide the cashier the barcode number, or use the barcode and 4-digit PIN online at Kohls.com. In addition, you can transfer these codes to other people, or stack up to 4 codes on your own purchase (if a family member has a Discover card too, for example).

Blue Business Plus Card from American Express Review: 2X Points on All Purchases Up to $50k/Year

bbpamexAmerican Express has rolled out the new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. This card is unique in that it offers double Membership Rewards points on all purchases with no annual fee. Therefore, if you can redeem for more than 1 cent per point of value, this card has the potential to beat a flat 2% cash back card. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited-time offer: Earn 20,000 extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend at least $3,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 2X Membership Points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. 1X Points on purchases thereafter.
  • 0.0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 11.99%, 15.99% or 19.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • No annual fee

Note the usual language regarding the sign-up bonus. This is a new card so nobody should have this card already, but you can only get the sign-up bonus once so try to apply during a limited-time offer.

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

Better than 2% cash back? Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline miles (there are more, this is just a selection):

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
  • Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
  • British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
  • FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin America

If you value any of these miles at more than 1 cent per mile, then you would be getting more value than a 2% cash back card. For example, this card can earn the equivalent of 2 Delta miles per dollar spent.

Unfortunately, there are many redemption options for Membership Rewards points that are worse than 1 cent per point value. Here are a few examples:

  • Shop with Membership Rewards Points (~0.5 cents per point)
  • Shop with Points at Amazon.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Use points at BestBuy.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Gift Cards (varies from 0.5 up to 1 cent per point max)

If you don’t expect to get at least 1 cent per mile value, then you should stick with a 2% cash back card. If it’s close, then I would probably lean towards simplicity. Consider the following:

Business credit card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

This card will require you to personally guarantee that you’ll pay them back what you charge on the card, which means they’ll check your personal credit score like any other consumer card. However, as the card is a business card, American Express won’t have it show up on your personal credit report, so it won’t change things like your credit limits, average account age, or credit utilization ratio.

Bottom line. The new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a unique card that will be very attractive for a certain subset of travelers who know how to maximize their frequent flier miles. If you don’t know how to do this, I would stick with a 2% flat cash back card. Finally, linking this card also allows you keep Membership Rewards points earned from other AmEx cards active while having no annual fee (even if you no longer have the other cards anymore) .

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards (Limited-Time Offer)

amexdeltaplatAmerican Express and Delta are running limited-time offers on four of their co-branded credit cards. Since you can only get the sign-up bonuses once on each of these cards per person per lifetime (each card is considered different), it’s best to wait for one of these temporary bumps to maximize your bonus miles. These offers are indicated to end on July 5, 2017.

Here are the bonus highlights for the two consumer cards and two business cards. Note that each of the offers are slightly different in terms of bonus amounts and spending requirements. I list common benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding at the bottom.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited-Time Offer: 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 4 months. (Not just airfare – buying a Delta gift card online or buying an in-flight drink counts.)
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

You can find a list of all available American Express credit cards at CardRatings.com

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited-Time Offer: 70,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 4 months. (Not just airfare – buying a Delta gift card online or buying an in-flight drink counts.)
  • $195 Annual Fee.
  • Companion certificate for a domestic economy roundtrip flight each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Miles Boost® lets you earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on the Card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $50,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in a Calendar year for a total of 20,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

  • Limited-Time Offer: 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 4 months. (Not just airfare – buying a Delta gift card online or buying an in-flight drink counts.)
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

  • Limited-Time Offer: 70,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 4 months. (Not just airfare – buying a Delta gift card online or buying an in-flight drink counts.)
  • $195 Annual Fee.
  • Companion certificate for a domestic economy roundtrip flight each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Miles Boost® lets you earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on the Card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $50,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in a Calendar year for a total of 20,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs.

The above cards all include the following benefits:

  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases directly with Delta including flights booked on Delta.com, Sky Club® membership or passes, Delta Vacations® packages, seat upgrades, or in-flight purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights. Savings of up to $50 on a round-trip per person. (Savings of up to $200 on a round-trip for a family of four.)
  • Priority Boarding. You can board your flight when Zone 1 priority boarding is called, so that you find room for your carry-on bag and settle into your seat sooner.

Best No Fee 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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Whether you need to save interest on your existing balances or you’d like an interest-free loan, many credit cards offer 0% APR balance transfers for an initial period of up to 21 months. I’ve looked at hundreds of cards online, scoured the “Terms & Conditions” fine print, and the listed ones below are the best that I’ve found with the longest 0% APR periods and the lowest fees.

It’s been harder to avoid all fees these days, but they can still be found. Also remember that stretched across a longer time period, the overall effective APR can still be very low even with a small fee. I’ve tried to include a variety of card issuers as that allows you to spread your balance across multiple cards if needed. Updated as of JULY 2017.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards – July 2017

BarclayCard Ring MasterCard 1) Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. No balance transfer fees.  All balance transfers must be made within 45 days of account opening to get the 0% Intro APR but you can make as many balance transfers as you’d like and keep the 0% rate. Unlike the other cards on this list, after the intro rate has expired this card offers a static, variable APR of 13.99%. Cardholders will also receive free online access to their FICO score. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard does not have any annual fee.

Slate from Chase Card Art 2) Chase Slate® – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. Once the intro rate has expired, a variable APR of 15.74% – 24.49% applies. Cardholders will also receive a free FICO score updated monthly. No annual fee.

Citi Simplicity Card Art3) Citi Simplicity® Card – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 21 months. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. From our partner Citi, this is an exceptionally long 0% intro terms of nearly 2 years and is three months longer than any other card on our list.  The added balance transfer time can save hundreds of dollars in interest if you aren’t able to take advantage of the fee free options and pay the full balances off in time. Additional unique features on this card include no over-limit fees or late payment fees.  The Citi Simplicity Card has no annual fee.

alliantcc4) Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. No balance transfer fees. After that, a variable rate applies ranging from 9.74%-21.74% APR. A small catch is that you must be an Alliant CU member to obtain this card, but membership is open to anyone who makes a one-time $10 donation to Foster Care to Success. You can also receive card approval first before joining. No annual fee.

Discover it Balance Transfer5) Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer – 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. Balance transfer fee is 3%.  The Discover it 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer also includes a robust rewards program, that offers 5% cash back on rotating categories throughout the year (like gas, groceries and restaurants) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.  As an added bonus, for the first year, all new cardholders will receive double cashback through their Cashback Match program.  There is no annual fee, over-limit fees or late payment fees associated with the Discover it 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer and all cardmembers also receive their free FICO credit score.

ejworld 6) Edward Jones Mastercard® – 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. No balance transfer fee on balances transferred within 60 days of opening your account. A catch is that you must be an Edward Jones client and thus talk to an Edward Jones advisor first to get this card. Watch out for high fees and hidden commissions in their investment management services. This hassle may be offset by the offer of a $100 Loyalty Invest™ Deposit after you spend $500 on your card within 90 days of opening your account. No annual fee.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Cash Back on Groceries

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Limited-time offer. If you apply by 5/3/17, you can earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. This is in addition to the $150 back after you spend $1,000 on all purchases within the first 3 months, for a total of $350 in sign-up incentives. Details below.

Full review:

Let’s get right to it. The best feature of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is getting 6% cash back at US stand-alone supermarkets, for up to $6,000 per year in purchases. That’s works out to an average of $500 a month. If you spend $500 a month on qualifying groceries at 6% cash back, that alone will get you $360 a year in rewards.

Other highlights including sign-up bonuses:

  • Limited Time Offer: Apply by 5/3/17 – Earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back.
  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • 6% Cash Back at US stand-alone supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 3% Cash Back on gasoline at at US stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back at select major US department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

Supermarkets details. “US stand-alone supermarkets” means that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets. This means no Super Wal-Mart, no Super Target, no Costco. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Safeway, Meijer, Vons, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Gasoline details. “US stand-alone gas stations” means that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations. This means no Target, no Costco, no Sam’s Club. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell, Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express.

Major US Department stores details. These are the only stores that qualify:

• Bealls
• Belk
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bon Ton Stores
• Boscov’s
• Century 21 Department Stores
• Dillard’s
• J.C. Penney (JCP)
• Kohl’s
• Lord & Taylor
• Macy’s
• Neiman Marcus
• Nordstrom
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Sears
• Stein Mart

Annual fee. The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. However, spending just $31 per week at supermarkets at 6% cash back will result in over $95 Reward Dollars per year to cover the annual fee.

If you don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases with no annual fee. It also has a sign-up bonus.

If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, at 6% back that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back. Note that you can find gift cards to many popular retailers at your local supermarket these days. We usually try to max out the $6,000 annual limit. We usually spend closer to $100 a week on food groceries, or about $5,000 a year. Then the rest of the annual limit we use to buy gift cards at the end of the year for holiday presents.

There are no rotating categories, no quarterly enrollments, and no point systems to learn. Not that I would mind if they also allow me to earn more than 1%.

Intro 0% APR offer. The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.74% to 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Limited-time 10% offer. To get the full $200 max from the 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, you’d have to spend an average of $334 a month at restaurants. That might be easy or really hard, depending on your spending habits. You might also spend a lot more on restaurants than you think if you haven’t been tracking it via Mint or Personal Capital.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Trim Savings: Connect Your Visa Card For $40 Cashback Towards Everyday Purchases

trimsavings0Financial chatbot Trim has a new feature called Trim Savings. (Here’s a previous review of Trim’s subscription cancellation service.) You link your existing Visa card and they will come up with cashback coupons. The offers are linked to your Visa card number so that when you swipe your card, the coupon is automatically applied as a statement credit on your account. No paper coupons. No codes to show. It sounds very similar to the AmEx Offers feature on American Express cards.

Limited-time promotion. They are currently offering $40 in cashback coupons towards “everyday purchases” like groceries, dining, shopping, and movies. While supplies last. Here’s how that $40 breaks down:

  • Groceries: $1 on any purchase > $5 (you’ll receive 10 of these–a total of $10)
  • Dining: $1 on any purchase > $5 (you’ll receive 10 of these–a total of $10)
  • Movies: $10 on any purchase > $20 (you will receive only once)
  • Shopping: $10 on any purchase > $50 (you will receive only once)

From their site:

For example: You sign up for Trim. We send you a $10 cashback coupon offer for shopping. You go to the Gap and spend $50 on your Chase Visa card. The moment after you swipe at the register, you’ll get a message saying “Trim saved you $10!” You’ll receive a statement credit for $10 on your Chase account.

Requirements. You’ll need both a Visa card and Facebook Messenger account in order to receive and activate cashback coupons from Trim Savings. When I did it, Trim only wanted access to my public Facebook profile. They say that SMS will be supported in the future. Here’s a screenshot from my Messenger account:

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What you’re giving up. The service is free, but you must agree that “Trim and Visa can share my card and transaction details to identify qualifying purchases, provide rewards and personalize offers based on my past and ongoing transactions.” Basically, you are signing up for targeted advertising in the form of coupons based on your spending history.

Bottom line. If you are comfortable sharing your Visa purchase history and have a Facebook Messenger account, Trim Savings seems like an easy $10-$40 bucks upfront for buying the same things you would have otherwise. We’ll have to see what other good coupons come up. Keep it afterward if you like it; unlink your card later if you don’t.

Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard Review: 1.5% Cash Back + $200 Bonus

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Updated with improved offer. Barclaycard has improved this offer by increasing the sign-up bonus to $200 after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. The $200 flat bonus makes this card work out better for those folks that don’t put a lot of purchases on their cards. For example, if you were to compare this card’s 1.5% cash back with a 2% cashback card with no sign-up bonus, you would have to spend $40,000 for the 2% card to catch up and break even. That could take years for some users. This offer now also has a 0% intro APR interest on purchases for the first 15 months.

Full Review:

Barclaycard has introduced a new cash back rewards card called the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® which earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no earnings cap. There is also no annual fee and an upfront sign-up bonus. Here are the highlights:

  • Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers for each balance transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 15.99%, 20.99% or 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee

I suppose the 5% cash rewards redemption bonus could be used to think of this card as a 1.575% cash back card (1.5% times 105%), but keep in mind that it is structured as an incentive to keep you using the card. For example, if you redeem $100 in cash rewards, you will get $5 added to your rewards balance good towards your next redemption. You have to reach $50 to cash out again. As noted in the comments, you could maximize your redemptions by leaving $50 in rewards so that you can cash everything out next time easily. Keep that in mind as your $200 bonus will also get that 5% bonus to become $210.

The competition. Chase and Capital One also have their own versions of 1.5% flat cash back:

These competitors have higher effective cash back rates. Some have a few additional requirements which you may or may not find too much trouble.

If you put a lot of purchases on your credit cards, the gap between a 1.5% and 2% card widens. However, if you are a relatively light spender, it can pay to focus more on the upfront bonus than the cash back rate. For example, if you were to compare a card with 1.5% cashback + $200 upfront bonus with a 2% cashback card + no sign-up bonus, you would have to spend $40,000 to earn an additional $200 in cashback (and thus breakeven with the bonus). If you only charge $500 a month, that would take nearly 7 years. If you charge $1,000 a month, that would take over 3 years.

Bottom line. The CashForward World MasterCard is Barclaycard’s entry into the “simple, no hassle cash back rewards” category. The 1.5% cash back is competitive with similar no-annual-fee offerings from Capital One and Chase (with this card offering an additional small redemption bonus on top), but I would also compare it with the offerings from Citibank and other issuers listed above (especially if you are a big spender). Keep in mind that Barclaycard is currently offering the largest sign-up bonus in this category. You also receive a free FICO score updates from Barclaycard.