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.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card Review: $500 Cash Bonus, 1.5% Flat Cash Back, No Annual Fee

inkunlimited2018Chase has freshened up their line-up of small business credit cards. The new Ink Business Unlimited Card is offering a $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. The special feature of this card is a flat, unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Here are the details:

  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit. Simple.
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • No annual fee.

Ultimate Rewards points. The cash sign-up bonus actually comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points at 1 point = 1 cent in cash. 50,000 points = $500 cash. If you have one of the other annual fee cards that offer a boost in value like the Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your points between Ultimate Rewards accounts and redeem using that other card’s 25% travel bonus. This can increase the value of your points.

You could think of this card as the small business version of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

Prefer airline and/or hotel points? If you transfer over your Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (or Ink Plus business card), then you can use that card to transfer into hotel and/or airline miles. If you value those miles/points at more than 1 cent per point, then your 1.5X rewards from this card can be significantly higher. Examples:

– You could earn 1.5 United miles per dollar spent.
– You could earn 1.5 Hyatt points per dollar spent.
– You could earn 1.5 British Airways Avios per dollar spent.
– You could earn 1.5 Southwest Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent.

For example, if you placed a perceived value of 1.5 cents on each United mile or Southwest Rapid Rewards point, then you’d receive 2.25 cents of perceived value per dollar spent with this card. Your actual numbers will depend on your own specific redemption choices.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, or other one-person business owners. 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.

Note that Chase has 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 rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

Bottom line. This Chase small business card has a large sign-up bonus and flat 1.5% cash back with no annual fee. If you have certain other Chase credit cards, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points over to those cards and increase your value. Be sure to compare with other Chase small business cards – Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Cash.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card Review: 80,000 Point Bonus, Travel Rewards

inkpreferred2018Chase has freshened up their line-up of small business credit cards. The Ink Business Preferred Card is offering a 80,000 point bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This flavor is their “premium travel card” with 3X points on travel purchases and the ability to redeem points at a 25% premium through their travel portal. This feature makes 80,000 points worth $1,000 towards travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Here are the details:

  • 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.

Ultimate Rewards points. This card offers a 25% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Ultimate Rewards travel website. 80,000 Ultimate Rewards = $1,000 in travel. Similar to Expedia or Travelocity, you can book flights on most major airlines and hotel chains. This makes it much more flexible to spend your points. You can even buy something more expensive and pay the difference.

If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, you can transfer points into this card account and take advantage of the 25% premium. However, if you happen to have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could transfer your points out to grab the better 50% premium.

You could think of this card as the small business version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Prefer airline and/or hotel points? This card also allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into hotel and/or airline miles. Transfer to United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, and Marriott Hotels at a ratio of 1 Ultimate Rewards point = 1 mile/hotel point. Miles redemption continue to offer great value for savvy travelers, especially for last-minute travel and business class seats.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, or other one-person business owners. 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.

Note that Chase has 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 rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

Bottom line. This Chase small business card has a large sign-up bonus and premium travel features with a $95 annual fee. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from other Chase cards to increase your value. Be sure to compare with other Chase small business cards – Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card Review: $500 Cash Bonus, 5% Back Categories, No Annual Fee

inkcash2018Chase has freshened up their line-up of small business credit cards. The Ink Business Cash Card is offering a $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. The special feature of this card is are 5%/2% bonus categories targeted towards small business expenses. Here are the details:

  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
  • 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • No annual fee.

Ultimate Rewards points. The cash sign-up bonus actually comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points at 1 point = 1 cent in cash. 50,000 points = $500 cash. If you have one of the other annual fee cards that offer a boost in value like the Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your points between Ultimate Rewards accounts and redeem using that other card’s 25% travel bonus. This can increase the value of your points.

You could think of this card as the small business version of the Chase Freedom card.

Leveraging the 5% back bonus categories. Putting all of your small business cell phone, landline, and internet bills on the card and getting 5% back is pretty handy. For example, even just $200 a month x 12 months x 5% back is $120 back a year without changing your spending habits. Now let’s take the office supply store category and the fact that you can buy gifts cards to Amazon.com and other retailers at such office supply stores like Staples and OfficeMax… now you can effectively discount many of your other purchasing needs by 5% as well. Putting those purchases on such gift cards upfront can also help you meet the spending requirement for the bonus.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, or other one-person business owners. 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.

Note that Chase has 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 rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

Bottom line. This Chase small business card has a large sign-up bonus and ongoing features of 5X/2X categories with no annual fee. If you have certain other Chase credit cards, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points over to those cards and increase your value. Be sure to compare with other Chase small business cards – Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Unlimited.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Review – 60,000 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:

  • For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 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 in-flight 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.

The offer matches the highest bonus that I have ever seen on this card of 60,000 bonus miles + first year annual fee waived, and is signficantly better than their standard offer (usually around 30,000 miles).

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. Combine this with the 10% rebate on redeemed AAdvantage miles, and you can stretch your miles a lot further.

Bottom-line.  The 60,000 bonus American miles is a great 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 a lot in the next 12 months, this offers brings 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

citibusiness

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 for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, care rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases.*

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 $95, 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.”

Hilton American Express Cards Limited Time Offers (75k, 100k, 125k Points)

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The following Hilton Hotel co-branded credit cards with American Express have limited-time offers. The current AmEx policy is that applicants can only get one welcome offer, per card in your entire lifetime, so if you’re going to get one you might as well wait until one of these temporary bump-ups.

Hilton Honors Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 06/27/2018.
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Complimentary Hilton HHonors Silver status.
  • Spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • No annual fee.

Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn a free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer ends 06/27/2018.
  • 12X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly directly at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn HHonors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 6/27/2018.
  • Plus, earn a free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer ends 06/27/2018.
  • 12X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly directly at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points at Select Business & Travel Purchases (ex. U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines)
  • 3X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • $95 annual fee.

Hilton has some really nice properties, but the value of Hilton points depends greatly on what kind of hotels you are looking to book with them. I’ve seen some valuations around 0.6 cents per point, but I mentally mark them at 0.5 cent a point. That would make my personal valuation of 100,000 points at $500.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express: 100,000 Point Limited-Time Offer

amexbusplatLMThe Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN is the premium AmEx business card with a variety of perks, including the best airline lounge access program (American Express now has their own Centurion lounges too). Right now, they are running a limited-time offer of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points. Offer ends 8/8/18. Here are the details:

  • 100,000 Membership Rewards Points Welcome Bonus. Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.
  • 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • 1.5X points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. Up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a calendar year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • $100 Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Free Unlimited Boingo WiFi access + 10 Free Gogo inflight internet passes annually.
  • $450 annual fee.

American Express Global Lounge Collection. Some other travel cards give you Priority Pass Select, which is nice but not as inclusive as this card’s list of partners. Domestically, you get Delta Skyclub access (Individual Skyclub membership costs $495 from Delta) as well as the new Centurion Lounge network built specifically for American Express cardholders.

  • The Centurion® Lounge
  • The International American Express Lounges
  • Delta SkyClub®
  • Priority Pass Select
  • Airspace Lounge
  • Escape Lounges

Other benefits:

  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • Automatic Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott) Gold status.
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.

Note the following language: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

35% Airline Bonus details. Let’s say your selected airline is Delta, and you want to buy a couple economy Delta tickets for $1,000 using their Pay with Points features. This means that $1,000 ticket booked through AmEx Travel will only cost you 65,000 Membership Rewards points net (100,000 points and then 35,000 point rebated back). This improves the 1 cent per point value to 1.54 cents per point value. This means that 100,000 Membership Rewards points can be worth $1,540 in airfare on your selected airline.

Transfer partners. You can transfer Membership Rewards points to 16 airline and 3 hotel partners including Delta, British Airways, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Air Canada, Hilton, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Choice Hotels. If you’re good at snagging award tickets, you can get even better value this way.

Overall, this small business card is meant for big spenders that travel regularly and value convenience and comfort. Spending $25,000 within 3 months is a relatively high spending hurdle. (Given the 5X bonus category, it would be perfect if you needed to book some business flights/hotels soon.) If you can swing that, then this card can offer a lot of value in a year. In addition to the 100,000 membership rewards points (see above for value), the $450 annual fee can be offset by the $200 annual credit towards airline fees and the $100 Global Entry credit. I think the biggest value factor is the wide lounge access which includes more domestic lounges than Priority Pass Select alone.

Bottom line. The Business Platinum Card from American Express card tries to make your air travel more pleasant by addressing things like baggage fees, economy plus upgrade fees, TSA PreCheck security lines, Global Entry customs lines, inflight WiFi, free snacks and drinks at airline lounges, etc. Right now, they have a limited-time 100,000 point welcome offer if you meet the qualifying spending requirements for new cardholders.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card: New 100,000 Point Bonus

marriottpremplus2

The new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is now available from Chase and the newly-merged Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton rewards program. They are launching with a limited-time offer of 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. Here are the card highlights:

  • Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year.
  • Get upgraded to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • Coming in 2019, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • $95 Annual Fee.

Note: If you have the old Marriott Premier card, click here for a targeted upgrade offer to this card. You can also call the number on the back of your card.

The Marriott and Starwood merger isn’t fully complete, and so you can use these points at either Marriott properties (Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites) or Starwood Properties (Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, Aloft). Transfer points between the two programss at the ratio of 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott points.

View the Starwood hotel category list here. You can still do airline miles transfers at a 1:1 ratio, with the bonus of 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 airline miles.

View the Marriott hotel award chart and category list here. Redeem 4 nights, and get the 5th night free. Hotels on their PointSavers list have temporarily reduced redemption costs. Also, don’t overlook the Marriott Hotels + Miles travel packages that include a week of hotel accommodations and airline miles.

In August 2018, there will be a new merged hotel night redemption chart. All Starwood points will converted be Marriott points, permanently. Each of the 6,500+ hotels will be assigned a Category number. There will be no blackout dates, but there will be seasons (off-peak, standard, and peak) from 2019 onward (just standard for 2018). Here’s the new chart:

marriott_new

In August 2018, Marriott Rewards points will also transfer to various airline frequent flier miles (3 Marriott points = 1 mile). Similar to the Starwood bonus structure, they will add 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles. 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 airline miles.

Finally, Marriott points are also convertible to gift cards, but it takes 60,000 points to redeem for a $200 gift card for Marriott or retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Nordstrom. That ratio isn’t all that great so you’ll definitely get the most value via hotel night redemptions or airline miles transfer.

If you’ve gotten a bonus from this Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card within the last 2 years, please note the following:

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of the Marriott Rewards Premier or Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of the Marriott Rewards Premier or Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. If you are an existing Marriott Rewards Premier customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change.

After your account anniversary and paying the $95 annual fee, you’ll get an Anniversary Free Night Award automatically deposited into your account within 8 weeks. The Anniversary Free Night Award is valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points. Getting $95 value out of hotel night is pretty easy to achieve, as long as you use it before it expires after 12 months.

marriottpremplusBottom line. The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is a newer version of their Premier card and is currently offering 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. As with all hotel cards, the value is dependent on your unique travel preferences. This new offer is better than the previous one, so if you have the old card you may be able to get a bonus for upgrading.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Avios

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Updated with new 100k offer. The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a co-branded travel card (issued by Chase) that is currently offering up to 100,000 total bonus Avios if you make enough qualifying purchases as a new cardholder. Highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
  • Earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

The spending hurdles are relatively high, but it is a quick way to rack up a lot of Avios which I can then use to book multiple award tickets together. The Avios reward chart is now based on how far you want to travel in terms of miles. So what can you do with all those points?

Redeem awards domestically on partner American Airlines. Within the US, it’s usually easiest to find flights on partner American Airlines. There are no fuel surcharges when booking with American. Seating availability will be limited, but if you are flexible there is decent inventory.

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii using only 25,000 Avios points roundtrip. I ran a quote in Fall and it cost $659 broken down to $621 fare and only $38 in taxes. So in this case you could save $621 in exchange for 25,000 points, which is 2.5 cents per point. You can also do JFK to LAX for 25k points roundtrip.
  • Shorter-distance flights can be a good deal as well. Round Trip from Chicago to New York City is only 15,000 Avios points + about $30 in taxes. Charlotte, NC to New York City is only 9,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Las Vegas is also 9,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon is 15,000 Avios roundtrip.

Finding partner awards on BA.com is better than is was in the past, so try it first. Type in your to/from cities within the US, choose to book flights with Avios points, and then click to include partners:

If you have the flexibility, you can also search for additional dates for more available seats. You may find more space going business class in the US.

Use the American Airlines AA.com website and look for “MileSAAver” awards. Record the exact flight dates and numbers, and then call at British Airways at 1-800-452-1201 to book them. If you can’t find the same flight on BA.com, they should waive the phone book fee (they did for me). Don’t be discouraged if you have to use this method, especially if you aren’t flying nonstop. Also, call back and talk with a different agent if they aren’t helpful initially.

Beware of fuel surcharges on British Airways flights. Don’t use Avios for a economy British Airways flight from USA to Europe, because you’ll still be subject to taxes and fees on award redemptions, which are often half the entire cost of the ticket. I ran a quick search for a random New York City (JFK) to London (LHR) flight that cost $1,050, the taxes and fees alone were $650. You can get the $400 “fare” for 40,000 Avios points, but that’s only 1 cent a point value.

Note the following language:

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.

Bottom line. The British Airways has brought back their sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 Avios if you make qualifying purchases. 100,000 Avios is enough for 4 economy tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii (or West Coast to NYC) roundtrip on American or Alaska Airlines. Look at your award options, make a plan for the redeeming the Avios points, and see if this offer works for your travel needs.