Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: 105,000 Bonus Points + $50 Statement Credit

The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is a new-ish card with a (temporarily?) improved bonus offer. There is a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 IHG points + $50 statement credit + $5,000 more IHG points for adding a new authorized user. Here are the highlights:

  • 100,000 bonus IHG points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening + $50 statement credit after first purchase.
  • 5,000 bonus IHG points after you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within 3 months from account opening.
  • Free night certificate at card anniversary. Valid at IHG® Hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. Stay must be completed within 12 months from date of issue.
  • Free status upgrade to IHG® Rewards Club Platinum Elite for as long as you remain a Premier credit cardmember.
  • For each standard room Reward Night stay of 4 or more nights, every 4th night is free.
  • Earn 10,000 bonus IHG points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each account anniversary year.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $89 annual fee.

This total bonus level is the highest that I’ve seen on any IHG card. This is a pretty new card, but if you’ve gotten a bonus from this card within the last 2 years, please note the following:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

Note that this is the new “IGH Club Premier” card, so this language should mean that if you have the older and different “IHG Club Select” card, you can still apply for this card and get the sign-up bonus.

For now, the 5/24 rule does not apply to this card. On many Chase cards, there is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This is applied on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers. As of right now, the 5/24 rule does not apply to this card.

What can you get with 100,000 IHG points? The best redemption value for IHG points is for free hotel nights. The other options offer significantly less value. While the points don’t translate directly to a dollar value, but overall you should expect around 0.60 cents of value per point. This would place 100,000 IHG points at a $600 value. You can perform the calculations for hotels that fit your needs. I tried a bunch of other various combinations and got between 0.5 cents and 0.8 cents per point equivalent value. Personally, I assign the points a more conservative value of 0.50 cents per IHG point based on my past award redemptions. (I don’t stay at the fancy places much anymore.)

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

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 to 15,00 points. 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. However, you could get value of over 1 cent per IHG point with a hotel on this list.

IHG points expire after 24 months of inactivity, so if you keep up your activity then you can save up these free nights for later. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also convert to IHG points.

Ongoing rewards structure. I might book my IHG nights on this card, but the rest of the rewards are pretty bad. Remember that IHG points are worth less than other points like Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

  • 10 IHG points total per $1 spent at IHG properties.
  • 2 IHG points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • 1 IHG point per $1 spent on all other card purchases

I would only consider keeping this card if you can use the anniversary night certificate with the 40,000 point maximum value.

Bottom line. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has a current sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 IHG points + $50 statement credit + $5,000 more IHG points for adding a new authorized user. As with most of these co-branded cards, the best value is obtained by regular IHG hotel customers. After accounting for the $89 annual fee, the total first-year value of this card is still over $500 if you value IHG points at 0.55 cents per point.

As it does not fall under the Chase 5/24 restrictions, I plan on applying for this card later on if it’s still available. I already applied for the Chase World of Hyatt card (review) as I think it is a better offer, and am currently fulfilling the spending requirements on that one.

Citi ThankYou Premier Card Review – 60,000 Bonus Points Redeemable For $750 in Airfare on Any Airline

Citi Premier CardLimited-time offer bump. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card from our partner Citi has a limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points (worth $750 in airfare towards any airline) plus a waived annual fee for the first year. This is the highest bonus that I’ve ever seen on this card. Here are the highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out and Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • 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*

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 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 sign-up bonus was is usually around 30,000 ThankYou points with a few bumps to 50,000. The current combination of 60,000 bonus points and first year annual fee waiver is the highest that I’ve seen. If you got a lower bonus recently, it doesn’t hurt to ask Citi to match the current bonus via their secure message system. The worst they could say is no.

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.

What can you do with 60,000 ThankYou Points? Citi has been trying to improve the value and flexibility of ThankYou points.

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$750 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. That is the same as saying 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 60,000 ThankYou points will get you $750 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 easy to use up all of your points at a 25% premium.

$600 in gift cards, $600 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 50,000 TY points, you could get five $100 gift cards from different stores.

For a check mailed to you, it is 8,000 points for $50 (1 points = 0.625 cent). A better conversion ratio comes from a check mailed towards your mortgage payment or student loan (it arrives 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 these points wisely, you can get a lot of value. For example, Singapore Airlines has some very nice award options and great customer service.

Bottom line.  60,000 ThankYou points = $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou travel center. The $95 annual fee is also waived for the first 12 months, so you can “try before you buy”. That brings the total first year value to $750. Now that I am booking family travel around school schedules, I appreciate the ability to redeem ThankYou points towards any airline without worrying about using a specific airline or hunting for “saver awards”. If you are willing to do the legwork, the airline transfer partners may get you better value.

“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.”

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Review

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, from our partner Citi, is the new no annual fee co-branded American Airlines credit card.   It replaces the former (little-publicized) Citi/AAdvantage Bronze card and adds a few new features. Here are the card highlights:

  • NEW: Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • No Annual Fee*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*

I view this is a niche card for those that want to earn American Airlines, but don’t fly or spend enough to justify the annual fee of the other cards. Some folks just aren’t willing to pay an annual fee, no matter how good the perks are.

Bonus details. If you find the spending requirement too high on many cards, note that this one only requires $500 in purchases to earn the account opening bonus. Note the following language:

Statement credit and American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had an AAdvantage MileUp? card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

This means that yes, you can still get the bonus on this card if you’ve had another co-branded American Airlines card from Citi in the last 24 months like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard or the CitiBusiness® version designed for businesses.

No waived baggage fees. As you might expect, being the no annual fee version also means less perks. Notably, this card does not include any baggage fee waivers, which was a big potential source of savings from the other cards mentioned above (with annual fees). Also missing are priority boarding and the ability to book discounted award tickets (“Reduced Mileage Awards”).

Redemption tips. American Airlines MileSAAver awards are still 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket within the contiguous 48 states. Their online system is pretty good for looking for domestic AA awards. If the trip is less than 500 miles, then it is only 15,000 miles round-trip within the contiguous 48 states. Under-500 miles routes include Las Vegas to/from Los Angeles, Charleston to/from Miami, New York to/from Washington DC, Philadelphia to Boston, and many others.

Bottom-line.  The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is the new no annual fee credit card from Citi and American Airlines. This card is a good fit for folks that don’t want to pay an annual fee for extra features, but still want to earn American miles on purchases (and keep their miles from expiring from inactivity). As such, you may consider “downgrading” your other Citi/American cards to this card if you stop wanting to pay the annual fee. Note that if you downgrade you don’t get the sign-up bonus, and getting the bonus from this card is independent of the bonuses from other Citi/American cards anyway.

“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.”

Limited-Time Offer: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® 75,000 Mile Bonus

Citi AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard Art

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, is their premium American Airlines co-branded card that includes Admirals Club lounge access. There is now a limited-time 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus, which you can think of as offsetting the annual fee. Here are the full details.

  • Limited time offer: Earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you*
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge Access for authorized users
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*

Note the following fine print:

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

As mentioned, this is the highest level Citi/American Airlines card. The 75,000 miles are nice and can be converted to several hundred dollars (or more) worth of airfare. $100 for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry is nice. The reason for the $450 annual fee is the Admirals Club lounge membership and the opportunity to earn Elite Qualifying Miles towards status.

Admirals Club lounge membership value and details. Admirals Club membership usually costs ~$500 a year on its own, and this is now the only card that gives it to you as a complimentary feature. Here’s the full cost chart:

aa_clubcost

This membership allows both you and your immediate family (or up to two traveling guests that accompany you) to access over 50 Admirals Club locations worldwide. You don’t even need to be on an American Airlines flight! You can even give your spouse or trusted friend/family an authorized user card and they’ll get lounge access too, even while traveling separately from you. (Authorized user cards have no additional fee.)

You can be flying on any airline, and if that airport has an Admirals Club you and your family can go inside. Lounge access might save you money on certain things like comfortable seats, free food/drink, WiFi, and sometimes hot showers. Mostly it just makes the overall flying experience more pleasant. I’ve been to Admiral’s Clubs with special kids rooms; perfect for families during delays or layovers.

American Airlines elite qualifying miles. For those that know you can generate the required $40,000 in spending in a calendar year . I’ve given up status chasing for the time being, but if you’re an elite on American, you probably already know the value of accumulating these type of miles. 10,000 elite qualifying flight miles is like going from Honolulu to Los Angeles, roundtrip, twice.

Bottom line. The 75,000 bonus miles is definitely higher than normal, but the key to this premium card is if you can take advantage of the Admiral Club lounge access and the help in achieving/maintaining elite status on American. If you don’t need these things, I would consider the Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard with a current 50,000 mile bonus and annual fee waived for the first year.

“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.”

“The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Review: 60,000 Bonus Miles

AFB_ARF_card_rRGB_ArrivalPlus_Fee_WE (1)

(Updated. The sign-up bonus has been raised to 60,000 points, the highest ever. $89 annual fee. Details below.)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus(TM) World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card with 60,000 miles sign-up bonus (worth $600 toward travel statement credits) and 2X miles on every purchase. Note that this card is different from the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard. Here are the card highlights:

  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • $89 annual fee

Rewards program details. With this card, you earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. There are no special categories. These miles (easier to think of them as points, really) are then redeemable towards travel booked from any merchant or retailer classified as Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies. You can redeem towards any airline on any date.

First, visit any booking site (Delta.com, Expedia.com, Hilton.com, Hotels.com, etc) and buy a ticket with this credit card. You don’t need to use any specific portal. Let’s say you buy an airplane ticket for $250. Then, you visit your Barclaycard account website and you’ll offset your purchase. You’ll redeem 25,000 “miles” and see a $250 statement credit on your statement. I’ve done this multiple times, and it always went smoothly with no issues.

Travel statement credit redemptions start at 10,000 miles for $100 toward a qualifying travel purchase of $100 or more made within the last 120 days. For example, you could use 10,000 points for a $100 credit towards a $200 plane ticket, if you wished.

On top of that, the card gives you a 5% miles rebate when you redeem for any travel. So if you redeemed 50,000 miles, you would get 2,500 back in your account after about a week. Although this adds a layer of complexity, you can calculate that technically getting $500 of value out of 47,500 miles at 2X miles/$ spent works out to 2.11% cash back towards any travel. Everything else (gift cards, merchandise) offers a worse redemption ratio, so don’t bother.

Comparison with alternatives. 2X miles is nice and the rebate adds a bit extra. However, this card also has an $89 annual fee. So for the first year you’re good, but the competition offers multiple cards earning 2% cash back with no annual fee. A few examples:

You would have to put over $80,000 in purchases on this card annually in order to get the 0.11% advantage to offset the $89 annual fee (after the 1st-year waiver). That’s a big number. Now, I could have used 8,900 miles out of my 60,000 point bonus to offset the $89 annual fee. You can also ask them to downgrade your card into the “plain” Arrival card with no annual fee (and no 2X miles).

Bottom line. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus(TM) World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card that earns double miles on all purchases (even more with the 5% rebate). The sign-up bonus has been raised to 60,000 points – worth $600 in travel statement credits – the highest ever for this card. This is offset by the $89 annual fee. I like to see a $500 net value over the first year to get me to try out a new card, and this card satisfies that hurdle.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard Review: Up to 3% Back Towards Travel During First Year At $15,000 Annual Spending

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(Updated. They just started waiving the annual fee for the first year. This means you can get the full 3% back towards travel for the first year when you hit $15,000 and $25,000 in annual spend.)

The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is a new hybrid travel/cashback rewards card with miles that can be redeemed for both cash or transferred to select mileage partners. Note that this card is different from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. Here are the highlights:

  • 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases.
  • After that, keep earning unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • Global Entry – $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years.
  • Book the best travel deal, no airline, seat or hotel restrictions, and redeem your miles for travel statement credits.
  • Access to over 800 lounges worldwide with Mastercard® Airport Experience provided by LoungeKey, fees apply.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world.
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits, which allow you to book the best travel deal with no airline blackout dates, seat limits, or hotel restrictions.
  • Transfer your miles to participating travel loyalty programs.
  • Complimentary online FICO® score access.
  • $150 annual fee (waived first year).
  • Terms and conditions

Bonus details. Currently, there is no upfront sign-up bonus. Instead, they have spending bonuses – Spend $15,000 on purchases and get 15,000 miles. Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases and get an additional 10,000 miles, for a total of 25,000 miles after $25,000 in purchases.

Up to 3% cash back towards travel analysis. You can redeem 10,000 miles for $100 toward all or a portion of your qualifying travel purchase of $100 or more made within the last 120 days. Basically, you pay for any eligible travel purchase on your card (buy airfare, book a hotel, rent a car, etc) and then you use your “miles” afterward to get a cash credit towards that purchase. Travel purchases eligible for redemptions are defined as “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries and your account annual fee”.

So if you spent $15,000 in a year, you could get the 2x miles (30,000 miles) plus the 15,000 miles bonus for a total of 45,000 miles worth $450 towards travel. That’s effective 3% back towards travel on all purchases. The same thing occurs at $25,000 in annual total spending (50,000 miles + 25,000 bonus = 75,000 miles total). In between, at worst you’d hit 2.6% back towards travel. 2.6% to 3% back towards travel is a very high rate for rewards cards. The $150 annual fee is also waived for the first year.

Here are the calculations that take into account the annual fee (after the first year). At $15,000 annual spend, you would net $300 towards travel (2% back overall). At $25,000 annual spend, you would net $600 towards travel (2.4% back overall). Therefore, if you spend exactly $25,000 a year (average $2,083 a month), then you could get 2.4% back on travel on all purchases. I’m a geek, so I plugged the numbers into a spreadsheet to get the chart above of effective cash back towards travel vs. annual spending. There are basically three zones.

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  • If you don’t spend at least $15,000 a year on this card, you will net worse than 1% cash back towards travel! This card offers very little rewards to light spenders.
  • If you spend between $15,000 and $25,000 a year on this card, you will net a flat 2% cash back towards travel. Not bad, but there are other cards that earn 2% flat with no annual fee.
  • If you spend exactly $25,000 a year on this card, you will net exactly 2.4% cash back towards travel. As you go above that level, your cash back will start to drop slowly but always remain above 2%.

Miles transfer options. The transfer ratio is 1.4 Arrival “miles” to 1 airline mile for the following partners. You may only transfer miles if you are a primary cardmember, and only to a participating travel loyalty program account belonging to you. Note that you earn 2x miles per dollar spent, so that works out to earning 1.43 airline miles per dollar spent. If you spend $15,000 a year on this card, the bonus results in a total of 2.14 airline miles per dollar spent. These numbers do not include the $150 annual fee.

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • China Eastern
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas

The transfer ratio is 1.7 Arrival “miles” to 1 airline mile for the following partners. Note that you earn 2x miles per dollar spent, so that works out to earning 1.18 airline miles per dollar spent. If you spend $15,000 a year on this card, the bonus results in a total of 1.76 airline miles per dollar spent. These numbers do not include the $150 annual fee.

  • Japan Airlines
  • Air Canada Aeroplan

If you are knowledgeable about the airline miles game and can use one of the internationally-based airlines listed above (no domestic airlines), these rates can be higher than other cards. You’ll still want to hit the $15,000 or $25,000 annual spending marks.

Bottom line. The new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® card is best suited for higher spenders. During the first year, you can get unlimited 3% back towards travel at $15,000 and $25,000 in annual spending. Other notable perks are the ability to convert to select airline miles, and a $100 Global Entry fee credit.

After the first year, a $150 annual fee will apply. Taking the annual fee into account, if you spend more than $15,000 annually on the card ($1,250/month average), you will always net 2% or higher cash back towards travel. Between $25,000 and $33,000 annual spend, you’ll get between 2.3% to 2.4% net cash back towards travel even after taking into account the annual fee. If you do not spend at least $15,000 a year on this year, there are better travel card alternatives.

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card Review – 60,000 Bonus Points

Chase has launched a new Chase World of Hyatt card, which replaces their previous Hyatt co-branded card. There is a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 Hyatt points and a $95 annual fee. Here are the highlights:

  • Earn up to 60,000 bonus points – 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Additional 20,000 bonus points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort.
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
  • Get automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open and 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year.
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

If you’ve gotten a bonus from any Hyatt Card within the last 2 years, please note the following:

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Hyatt Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Hyatt Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.

If you have the old Chase Hyatt card, you can call them up and ask for upgrade options. Supposedly they will offer you 2,000 Hyatt points to upgrade to this new card, although this new card also has a higher annual fee ($95 vs. $75).

For now, the 5/24 rule does not apply to this card. On many Chase cards, there is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This is applied on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers. As of right now, the 5/24 rule does not apply to this card. I think Chase is working to apply it to all their cards, but it needs to wait for certain agreements to expire.

What can you get with 60,000 Hyatt points? Here are all the Hyatt redemption options, but the most popular options are for free hotel nights, points+cash hotel combinations, or room upgrades. Hyatt allows you the flexibility of combining your points with any other World of Hyatt member to redeem an award.

Below is their points award chart along with points+cash option, and here is their award search tool. Free rooms start at 5,000 points. A suite upgrade is 6,000 points.

Essentially, 60,000 points can get you two free nights at the fanciest Category 7 properties like Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Paris, or Park Hyatt Sydney, which can cost $500 to $900 per night. Alternatively, you could get 5 free nights at a Category 3 like Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Honolulu or Hyatt Regency Tokyo. Finally, you can get 12 nights at 5,000 points per Category 1 night. Keep in mind there is that $95 annual fee (although you get a free Cat 1-4 night award at renewal).

Hyatt points expire after 24 months of inactivity, so if you keep up your activity then you can save up these free nights for later. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also convert to Hyatt points.

Ongoing rewards structure. I might book my Hyatt nights on this card, but the rest of the rewards aren’t terribly exciting to me.

  • 9 points total per $1 spent at Hyatt – 4 Bonus Points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member.
  • 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other card purchasesoffer details reference link*

Bottom line. The Chase World of Hyatt card is the new co-branded Hyatt credit card. As with most of these types of card, the best value is obtained by regular Hyatt customers. There is currently a 60,000 point sign-up bonus, an anniversary free night award, and a $95 annual fee. The total first-year value of this card is easily over $500, so it is worthy of a mention. Also, it currently does not fall under 5/24 restrictions.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Review – 50,000 Bonus Miles

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Art

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, has updated the offer on their co-branded American Airlines credit cards.  Here are the updated card highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • New: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations*
  • New: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • New: Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*

The annual fee is $99, waived for the first 12 months.

Bonus details. Note the following language for the personal card. Basically, to get the personal card bonus, you can’t have had the personal card opened or closed within the last 24 months. Having the business version is okay.

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

To clarify, you can have one of both the consumer version of this card and the CitiBusiness® version designed for businesses under your name. The bonuses are also separate. You can get one consumer bonus every 24 months, and you can also get one business bonus every 24 months.

Baggage fee value. Currently, American Airlines charges $25 one-way for the first checked bag and $35 one-way for the second checked bag in Economy. That’s $50 roundtrip for a single checked bag, per person. With this card, your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.

Redemption tips. American Airlines MileSAAver awards are still 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket within the contiguous 48 states. Their online system is pretty good for looking for domestic AA awards. If the trip is less than 500 miles, then it is only 15,000 miles round-trip within the contiguous 48 states. Under-500 miles routes include Las Vegas to/from Los Angeles, Charleston to/from Miami, New York to/from Washington DC, Philadelphia to Boston, and many others.

This card also makes you eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards, where you save up to 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver® awards to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights.

Bottom-line.  The 50,000 bonus American miles is a good promotion when paired with the annual fee being waived for the first year. As with most of these co-branded cards, a lot of the ongoing value comes when you fly on American and utilize the free first checked bag benefit for you and up to 4 companions ($50 per person, round-trip) and also when you redeem miles for award flights. If you plan to fly American in the next 12 months, this offer can bring good value.

“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.”

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® Review – 70,000 bonus miles

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The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, is running a limited-time offer on their co-branded American Airlines credit cards. Here are the details:

  • Designed for businesses
  • For a limited time, earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line*
  • New: 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*

Note the following fine print:

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

To clarify, you can have one of both the consumer version of this card and this business version under your name. The bonuses are also separate. You can get one consumer bonus every 24 months, and you can also get one business bonus every 24 months.

Annual fee is $99, waived for the first 12 months.

American Airlines MileSAAver awards are still 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket within the contiguous 48 states. If the trip is less than 500 miles, then it is only 15,000 miles roundtrip within the contiguous 48 states. Under-500 miles routes include Las Vegas to/from Los Angeles, Charleston to/from Miami, New York to/from Washington DC, Philadelphia to Boston, and many others.

There are some small differences between this and the consumer version of this card. This business card offers 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations. The consumer version does not. I also do not see any mention of the ability to earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back on this business card.

However, this business card does make you eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards, where you save up to 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver® awards to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights.

Business 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.

Bottom-line. If you fly American a lot, get some miles for your business purchases. Due to the 24-month waiting periods, it is best to apply during a limited-time offer such as now. The annual fee is waived during the first year. As with most of these co-branded cards, a lot of the potential value comes when you fly on American and use the early boarding and free first checked bag benefit ($50 per person, roundtrip) and also when you redeem miles.

Please note this a business card, designed specifically for businesses. Click here for the consumer version.

“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.”

Target REDcard Promotion: $25 off $100 Coupon For New Applicants

Speaking of 5% cash back cards, the Target REDcard gets you 5% off Target purchases every day, with a few exclusions like prescription medicine and Target gift cards. There is usually no sign-up bonus, but this week from 6/17-6/23, Target will mail you a $25 off $100 coupon for new applicants to a debit or credit REDcard. Apply online or in-store. Here’s the fine print:

Get a coupon for $25 off a $100 qualifying purchase when you are approved for a debit or credit REDcard in-stores and Target.com between 6/17 – 6/23. The coupon will be mailed to approved cardholders with their REDcard and will be valid through July 31, 2018. Excludes alcohol, Apple products, Bose, CVS clinic & pharmacy, DSLR cameras & lenses, Elf on the Shelf, gift cards, Google products, GoPro, LEGO, LG OLED TV, mobile contracts, prepaid cards, Sonos, Target Optical, Tylenol pain relief, and Weber. To qualify for coupon discount, the total must not include excluded products.

The debit card version connects directly to a designated checking account, letting you avoid a “hard” credit check (and new credit account) on one of the 3 major bureaus. A reader told me a few years back that Target uses ID Analytics (now SageStream), another consumer reporting agency. Note that you may give up the perks of your previous credit card, though, like extended warranty and/or purchase protections.

Bottom line. If you’ve been waiting to get a Target REDcard, this may be a good time as there is usually no promotion. If you do shop regularly at Target, it shouldn’t be hard to bunch up your purchases and use the $25 off $100 coupon.

5% Cash Back Cards: Gas Stations, Restaurants, Amazon – July to September 2018

5percentback3rd Quarter 2018 registration is now open. The credit cards below offer up to 5% cash back on specific categories that often 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. 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.

Chase Freedom VisaChase Freedom – $150 Bonus

From July 1st through September 30th, 2018 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Gas Stations
  • Lyft
  • Walgreens

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.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it – Cashback Match

From July 1st through September 30th, 2018 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.

New cardmember bonus. 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. During those 12 months, your $50 Cashback Bonus becomes $100, your 5% cash back rewards becomes 10% cash back, and your 1% cash back rewards become 2% cash back. You can verify this on the application by clicking on “See rates, rewards and other info” and searching for this text:

Cashback MatchTM: : No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. 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.

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.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods all year long. Prime membership required.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. 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 have to manually choose your categories each quarter, even if you want it to stay the same. If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter.

Citi Dividend Card. This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you still have the grandfathered card you can activate to get 5% cash back at airlines and movie theaters from 7/1 to 9/30. You are capped at $300 cash back for the calendar year.

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.

Plastiq Promotion: Pay Bills w/ No Fee with Masterpass ($250 Max Per Bill)

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New promo. Plastiq has a new promotion where you can pay a bill using a Mastercard in Masterpass with no fee. Expires 9/30/18. Thanks to readers Jon and Bill. Here are the restrictions and details:

From now until September 30, 2018, we will waive the Plastiq fee when you use Mastercard in Masterpass for the payment. This promotion applies to any bills or invoices up to a maximum of $250 each.

To qualify for this promotion, you must:

Use a Mastercard in Masterpass for the payments (read here on how to add a Mastercard in Masterpass to your Plastiq account).
Submit or schedule payments between June 1, 2018 12:00 a.m. ET and September 30, 2018 11:59 p.m. ET.
The payments’ delivery date must be before or on September 30, 2018.
There is no minimum or maximum amount required for the transaction.
If the amount is over $250, you will incur a Plastiq fee on the remaining amount over $250.
If you have signed up with a referral code, you will need to hit the required minimum of $500 in successful payments and receive the fee-free dollar credit in order to be eligible for this promotion.

To clarify, there is a $250 limit per payment, but no limit on the number of payments. You could split up a larger bill into $250 increments if the payee accepts that. You could convert a mortgage, home equity loan, student loan, tuition, or property tax payment into a credit card payment that earns rewards or fulfill a sign-up bonus. For example, with the Citi Double Cash Card, the 2% cash back means every $5,000 in purchases could earn $100 cash back.

Original post:

Plastiq.com lets you pay bills and invoices with a credit or debit card, even if they don’t usually accept them. The standard service fee is 2.5% for credit cards and 1% for Visa and MasterCard debit cards. However, they run limited-time promotion with lower fees. They will charge your card and send out a paper check to the payee (direct bank transfers to a few), so you’d want to plan ahead for any snail mail delays. They recommend 10 business days to be safe. More ideas from their site:

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) dues
  • Tuition
  • Childcare costs
  • Buying a car, RV, or ATV
  • Income or business taxes

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(Note: This was only an example given during a 1.5% fee promotion. The current fee may be higher or lower.) Why would I want to pay a 1.5% service fee?

Sign-up bonus spending requirements. Sign-up bonuses often having spending requirements. For example, you might get a $500 value bonus but need to spend $5,000. Well, that’s effectively 10% back so if you need a little help to get over that hurdle, it’s okay to pay a 1.5% fee. Here are some recent cards with big $500 value bonuses but also spending requirements:

2% cash back credit cards, or similar. If you have a rewards credit card that offers 2% cash back (or equivalent value in points), then you can still make a slight profit by putting them on your credit card. A simple example is the Citi Double Cash Card. For example, if you have a tuition bill or tax bill of $5,000 and you earned 2% cash back while paying a 1.5% fee, your net 0.5% is $25.

Combine a rewards card + 0% APR on purchases. Many credit cards offer 0% APR on purchases for an introductory period of 12 months or longer. If the card also has a half-decent rewards program on purchases, the combination of purchase rewards and spreading out the payments over a year at no interest could be attractive.

Referral program. Plastiq has a somewhat confusing referral program. If a new user signs up via a referral link and pays $500 worth of bills, they will then get $500 “fee-free dollars”. So first you’d have to pay the fee on a bill, and then on your next bill, $500 of it will be “fee-free” (at 2.5% that’s a $12.50 savings). The referrer will get $1,000 in fee-free dollars. If you take advantage of the promo above, that should trigger the bonus. Here’s my referral link. Thanks if you use it.