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

amexbcpUpdate: There is a new link for this card which is offering a $50 statement credit after first purchase within 3 months of card membership, plus another $150 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of card membership. The sign-up bonus is not available to applicants who have or have had this product before.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers:

  • 6% Cash Back at US stand-alone supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3% Cash Back on gasoline at at US stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back at select major US department stores
  • and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

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

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

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

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

The card has a $75 annual fee, but keep in mind that spending $25 per week at supermarkets, that 6% back can earn over $75 Reward Dollars per year ($78) to pay for the annual fee by itself.

If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back or $120 at 2% cash back. You should remember that you can find gift cards to many popular retailers at your local supermarket these days. I would put my non-bonus-category charges on a card earning more than 1%.

The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% – 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

“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.”

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2015

2nd quarter activation for 2015 now open! The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without changing my spending habits. None of these have an annual fee, so it costs me nothing to keep them all around. New cardmembers often also get an initial sign-on bonus.

Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus
Chase Freedom Image

From April 1st through June 30th, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • H&M
  • Overstock.com

Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com, it’s quick and 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. Currently, the Chase Freedom® card is offering $100 bonus cash back if you sign up and make just $500 in purchases in your first three months and a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period. No annual fee.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa CardCiti® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card

From April 1st through June 30th, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Home Depot
  • Home & Garden Stores

Log into your online account or call 1-800-231-0891 to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year.  See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information for details. Full 1% cash back on all other purchases and eligible cash advances and rewards do not expire as long as you have activity once every 12 months.

Discover it® CardDiscover it 14 Month BT (RED)

Right now, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants (including full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations)
  • Movies (including movie theaters, video rental stores, and online movie ticket services)

Login into your online account to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The new Discover it® card now has a flat 1% cash back (no more tiers), free FICO score every month, late-payment forgiveness, and direct-to-human, 100% US-based customer service reps. No annual fee. (If you have an old Discover More card, you should call in and convert it to a Discover It card for free and get the new perks.)

Finally, don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer, get 2% back on everything else with either the Citi Double Cash or Fidelity American Express credit cards:

“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.”

Discover it Miles Card Review: 3% Cash Back During First 12 Months

discomiles

Discover started with one credit card. Over the years, they expanded to a bunch of different cards. Back in 2013, they nuked all of them and started fresh again with the Discover it Card. But you know that simplicity never suits large organizations…

So they are growing again, with the addition of the new Discover it® Miles card. (Not to be confused with the old Discover Miles card… are you following?) Here are the copy-and-pasted highlights, followed by my commentary:

  • No annual fee & unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months-then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%.
  • Exclusive Double Miles Offer: At the end of your first year—when other Miles cards charge an annual fee—Discover doubles all the Miles you’ve earned.*
  • 100 Miles = $1 value. Redeem Miles in any amount toward travel purchases on your statement. Or get cash as a direct deposit to your bank account.*
  • Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees—up to $30 a year—with an automatic statement credit.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statements, on mobile app and online*.
  • 100% U.S. based service at your dedicated phone number—day and night.
  • Free overnight shipping of replacement cards to any U.S. street address at your request. And you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.*
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking “Apply Now.” See complete Discover it® Miles details.

Effectively, this is an ongoing flat 1.5% cash back card with no annual fee and a few added perks. The rewards structure is relatively simple. The card earns 1.5 Miles on all purchases, with no special categories. There is no annual fee. 100 Miles = $1 cash direct deposited into your bank account. You can also redeem at the same value towards any travel purchases, but why bother? As long as you have a bank account, I say go with the cash. So I would call this a flat 1.5% cash back card.

But for the entire first 12 months, you can earn unlimited 3% cash back! The “sign-up bonus” here is that you get double miles at the end of your first year. Since you can convert directly to cash, that means 3% cash back for an entire year. That’s a rare offer, as 3% is probably more than Discover even rakes in through merchant fees. If you put a lot of spending on your credit cards, this can be a big deal.

At 3% back, many bill payment options that charge around 2% fee start looking much better. For example, if you pay estimated taxes to the IRS every quarter like I do and paying by credit card only costs 1.87% (Discover accepted). That means I can get 1.13% back on all my tax payments.

Perks include a $30 inflight WiFi credit and free FICO score every month. They also threw in no foreign transaction fees, and Discover card is pretty well-accepted in Asia (works as UnionPay in China, JCB in Japan). Discover continues other features from its non-Miles card like the free FICO, US-based phone reps, and no late fees on first late payment.

In terms of comparison, recall that I just wrote about the best 2% flat cash back cardsCiti Double Cash and Fidelity American Express. So for the first year this card wins with 3% vs. 2%, but on an ongoing basis you’ll fall behind at 1.5% vs. 2%. Like I said, the 2% cards offer a solid minimum baseline, but there will often be situations where you can beat 2% like this limited-time offer or specific cards with special categories.

If you are comparing against the Capital One Venture Rewards card which is another travel-oriented card that offers 2 “miles” per dollar, the major differences are that it has a $59 annual fee and no $30 inflight WiFi credit. The no annual fee version only offers 1.25 miles per dollar.

Existing Discover cardholder? Discover’s policy in the past had been to only allow one card per person, but now you can have two (i.e. you can have both a Discover it and a Discover it Miles.)

Costco Switches to Citi and Visa in April 2016

Follow-up on Costco dropping American Express. Costco has announced that it will only accept Visa credit cards at its stores starting April 1, 2016. American Express credit cards will no longer be accepted on that date. Customers can still use Visa and MasterCard debit cards, write checks, or pay in cash. Costco members can also still purchase Costco Cash cards online and then use those gift cards to make warehouse purchases.

Costco has also made a deal with Citi for their co-branded credit card. However, I don’t really understand this paragraph from an AP article:

Costco hasn’t said yet whether people will have to reapply for its rewards credit card. Citigroup says it plans to make the transition from AmEx to the Citi’s Visa card as “seamless” as possible. Costco card holders probably won’t need to reapply, industry experts say. However, a small number of Costco card holders won’t be approved for a Citi card. American Express and Citi have different credit standards and a person who may have qualified under AmEx may not be approved under Citi.

I have never heard of anyone switching over issuers like that. I’ve seen people switch from one American Express flavor to another, or one Citibank flavor to another, but never from and American Express to a Citicard. To me, no reapplication means no new credit check on my report. We’ll have to see.

Based on this comment from someone claiming to be a Costco warehouse manager, my prediction is that the new Citi Costco Visa card will offer a tiered rewards system that offers something like 5% back on gas, 3% back at restaurants, and 1% back on everything else. They won’t do bonus groceries as they already sell that kind of stuff in the warehouse. Basically, slightly better than the old Costco AmEx rewards structure and closer to what Sam’s Club offers.

The Best Credit Cards For Millionaires Who Count Their Miles… and The Rest of Us

millThe sales pitch for American Express has always been that their cardholders are wealthy and thus big spenders, which in turn justifies their above-average transaction fees charged to merchants. The theory is a merchant won’t mind paying more in fees if it is offset by higher average receipts (and thus profits). This is why Tiffany & Co takes AmEx and my favorite Indian food truck does not.

However, this recent Bloomberg article suggests that American Express is losing their millionaires because they are actually doing the math on their credit card rewards and finding the perks are better elsewhere. The title in the Businessweek magazine version is “Even Millionaires Count Their Miles“. To which I say, of course they do!

As less-affluent consumers cut spending during the recession and a 2009 law known as the CARD Act limited lenders’ ability to raise interest rates and charge late fees, banks revved up their pursuit of customers with top credit scores who pay their bills on time.

The article quotes hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, who switched from using American Express for 30 years over to the new Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard (my review). He states:

The difference between getting 1 percent and 2 percent cash back is thousands of dollars and for that amount of money, Barclaycard has a better offer […]

(I should mention that Tilson is well-known as a disciple of the Graham-Dodd-Buffett-Munger school of value investing. You would think value investors would know a good deal. :) Of course, you could also flip that as the largest shareholder of American Express is… Berkshire Hathaway.)

The problem is that the American Express Platinum used to be “the” card for affluent travelers because it got you into any of the airport lounges from all major carriers. But now if you want access to all American lounges, you need the premium Citi co-branded credit card. To get access to United lounges, you need the premium co-branded Chase card. And so on. AmEx even started building their own airport lounges, but so far there are only four of them. Nowadays, unless you redeem Membership Rewards for frequent flier miles and use them wisely, it is hard to get even 1 cent of cash for 1 MR point these days. Even a plain-vanilla rewards card will pay you 1% cash back and more importantly their direct competitor Chase Ultimate Rewards will get you 1 cent back or 1.25 cents towards travel.

Here’s the Bloomberg graphic of credit cards that cater to “affluent consumers”:

amexmil_small

I want to point out that the graphic is misleading because the AmEx gives a $200 travel credit every year while the Barclaycard $400 statement credit is one-time only. I do agree the Barclaycard at 2.2% back towards travel is good if you have travel charges that you redeem against, and the $400 upfront bonus counters the $89 annual fee.

Not mentioned in the article are two cards that I think are solid no-brainer cards for anyone. Both earn double the cash back from ordinary 1% cards and have no annual fee. Unless you are redeeming frequent flier miles for business class tickets or hotel points for luxury stays (which I try to do with part of my credit card rewards), it is unlikely you are getting more than 2 cents a point.

If you charged $100,000 a year, getting 2% instead of 1% would be an extra $1,000 a year back. Even if you charged $10,000 a year, that is an extra 100 bucks. You don’t need to be wealthy to appreciate simple cold, hard cash. Because there is no annual fee, I think everyone, including millionaires, should have one of these in their wallet.

Costco No Longer Accepting American Express in 2016

Starting in early 2016, you will no longer need an American Express card to pay with a credit card at Costco. Not earth-shattering news (although I do buy a lot of stuff at Costco), but as a credit card geek I thought some of the details that came out were interesting:

  • American Express and Costco are ending their 16-year partnership when their current contract ends on March 31, 2016. After that, American Express will no longer be accepted at Costco wholesale stores.
  • The relationship accounted for 8% of AmEx’s revenue last year, 20% of its worldwide loans, and 10% of its cards in force. That’s a pretty sizable chunk of their business, but American Express had to offer deeply-discounted transaction fees to get it. I guess they didn’t think it was worth it anymore.
  • In Canada, Costco has already dropped AmEx and replaced them with Capital One and Mastercard. Reportedly, Costco is also in talks with CapOne and Mastercard for their US stores as well (though they state they are also talking with other issuers).
  • The co-branded Costco TrueEarnings American Express card is expected to be discontinued, and American Express will probably be offering cardholders an alternative card. It really wouldn’t make sense to keep it around if you couldn’t even use it at Costco.

Sources: WSJ, AP, Marketwatch

Citi Credit Cards: Free FICO Score from Equifax

After announcing their plans last year, Citibank has starting giving out free FICO credit scores. Available to “Citi-branded consumer credit cardmembers”, visit citi.com/creditscore and log into your account to view your score. You should also find it under Card Benefits. The FICO scores will be updated monthly and are based on your Equifax credit bureau data. According to the press release, you can also request that the score be mailed to you by contacting customer service. You’ll also get:

FICO® Score with two key factors impacting their score
FICO® Score Meter to show cardmembers where they fall within the credit score range
A visual of the score range to help them understand what each range means to lenders
A breakdown of the factors that contribute to FICO® scores

For those curious about the specific score model (range 250-900):

Your FICO® Score is calculated based on data from Equifax using the FICO® Bankcard Score 8 model and may be different from other credit scores.

That means this is a industry-specific FICO score, but not a “classic” FICO. From their FICO Score FAQ:

The classic FICO® Score which is in use today by the vast majority of lenders fall within the 300-850 score range. This score range was introduced to establish an easy-to-understand, common frame of reference for lenders and consumers. Industry-specific FICO® Scores, such as those for auto lending or credit card lending, were developed to accommodate the unique characteristics of their respective industry and range from 250-900. Some lenders also use FICO® Score NG, which ranges from 150-950.

As always, checking your own score will not affect the score itself. Reports are that Citi American Airlines consumer cards are included, in addition to Double Cash, Dividend, ThankYou, Forward, Prestige, Simplicity, etc. You may find yourself having to wait a bit (maybe as my cards are new?) as this is what I got:

No score is available for us to provide to you right now. Please check again later.

Screenshot (click to enlarge):

citificosmall

Citi® Double Cash Card Review: 1.99 or 2% Cash Back Credit Card

citidouble200Our partner Citi has an all-new cash back credit card and it is actually quite compelling. With the Citi® Double Cash Card, as the name suggests you earn cash back twice:

  • 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make
  • An additional 1% unlimited cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time.

This all comes with no caps, no tiers, no category restrictions, no quarterly enrollment hoops, no rotating categories. All with no annual fee. The only way you don’t get your 1% + 1% total is if you default on your bill and don’t even make the minimum payments. You can redeem your cash rewards in full as soon as it totals $25 or more, via check, direct deposit, or statement credit (i.e. if you have $31.44, you can get a check for $31.44).

You say that if pay your bill, then this is either a 1.99% or 2% cash back card. Why? Imagine you put $100 on the charge, 1% is earned so you have $1. Then you redeem that $1 (ignore minimums for this example) for a statement credit (as opposed to paper check) which means Citi actually “paid” for $1 of the $100. So you pay the remaining $99 and get an additional 1% or $0.99 back. Final tally: $1.99 back on $100 in purchases, or 1.99% back.

  • If you ask for your cash rewards in the form of an electronic funds transfer into a linked bank account, you’ll get the full 2% total cash back. The bank account can be a checking account from any bank from which you have paid a Citi Credit Card bill at least two times, or any Citi savings/checking account.
  • If you ask for your cash rewards in the form of a check, you’ll get the full 2% total cash back.
  • If you ask for your cash rewards in the form if a statement credit, you’ll get 1.99% effective cash back.

If you charged $1,000 per month, the difference between 1.99% and 2% per month would be a whopping 10 cents per month, or 1.20 per year.

There have been flat 2% cards in the past (Fidelity Mastercard, Sallie Mae, Priceline) but they are all no longer open to new applicants. However, most existing cardholders were grandfathered in, so based on that precedent you may want to get this card while it is still offered. According to varying reports, certain cardholders can call in and try to convert their existing Citi cards over, but you may or may not be successful. Converted cards are not eligible for the 0% interest for 15 months mentioned below.

Obviously, you’ll want to pay in full every month (unless taking advantage of the 0% APR promo rate on purchases) as to not rack up interest charges which can quickly offset your cashback rewards.

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%, 15.99%, 18.99%, 20.99%, and 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Bottom line. Given the combination of the ability to get 2% flat cashback on all purchases, no annual fee, and the fact that it is a Mastercard which has the widest acceptance, the Citi Double Cash is a great rewards card to keep in your wallet, both for those who prefer simplicity and just want one card and for those who like optimizing multiple cards and can now establish a 2% minimum on everything. I don’t know of any other card that offers this combination of features.

Citi Double Cash Leaderboard

US Airways Premier World MasterCard Review: 50,000 Mile Bonus (Updated)

Bonus improved from 40k to 50k miles for limited time. American Airlines and US Airways have announced new details about their upcoming merger. As expected, the two frequent flier programs will merge and all the miles will become American AAdvantage miles in 2015. (US Airways Dividend miles will convert at a 1:1 ratio.) Along with that, they have updated both the Citi American Airlines card and Barclaycard US Airways card slightly.

Here are the updated features of the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®. I got the bonus myself (unfortunately at only 40k miles) and have posted details on that below as well.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights only.
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees.
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights only.
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • New! Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

Again, the unique thing about this card is that American Airlines and US Airways are merging and these bonus miles will become American miles. You can already book reward flights on American with US Airways miles. That also means this Barclaycard-issued card will no longer be accepting applications and you won’t be able to get its sign-up bonus or other unique perks ever again. It is reported that this card will eventually convert essentially into a Barclaycard American Airlines card. So these are miles I didn’t want to leave on the table.

Note that 50,000 mile bonus does not require any minimum purchase amount and that there is an $89 annual fee that is not waived for the first year. 50,000 miles for example is more than enough for a roundtrip from the US to Hawaii or even two roundtrips within the continental US, so that is worth it for me. The US Airways companion certificate is also a unique feature which would be awesome if it eventually applied to American flights (though it probably won’t).

My bonus experience. Applied on 7/14. Approved on 7/21. First statement closed on 8/12, in which I charged $10 and also paid the $89 annual fee. I read some stories about other people making only a single purchase (the minimum technically required) but having to call in about the bonus. Thus, I put on another 4 small charges during the second statement period which ended 9/12 totaling about $49. My 40,000 bonus miles posted 9/13, one day after the closing of my second statement period. Here is a screenshot:

usair40k

The card is issued by Barclaycard, which means you also get a free FICO score every couple months.

American Express Small Business Saturday 2014 – $30 Total Bonus Per Card

sbs180

Reminder: Registration is now live on Shopsmall.com. You will get e-mail confirmation. I would highly recommend registering sometime on Sunday to guarantee your spot, as the number of registrations is limited. The actual day that you must make your purchases is Saturday, Nov 29, 2014. Details are below.

Have you made your SBS Game Plan? Remember that authorized users of eligible cards are also eligible for this promotion. Given that it is three separate $10 credits per card, it’ll make your live easier if you plan out your purchases ahead of time. Here’s my list:

  • Local grocery stores. There’s one where I can find the sunflower seed butter for my kid, and the one with the good raw lasagna.
  • Local restaurants and coffee shops. Just make sure they take AmEx!
  • Local doggie bakery. Usually too pricey for me, but a good place for gifts!
  • Local sporting goods stores and bike shops. Buy some tennis balls, some little things for my bike, etc.
  • Local hardware stores. These are a dying breed, but there are still some non-Home Depot small business hardware stores in my area.
  • Local bookstore. Another rarity, but there happens to be one next to a local restaurant we like!

If they sell gift certificates, buy them! If you only want to spend $10, you can say those can make good stocking stuffers. If you would otherwise buy a $25 certificate for a gift, hey that’s still 40% off what you would have paid. Also don’t be shy about using more than one card at a place. AmEx is paying those $10 credits, not them, so the merchants should still appreciate your patronage.

Original Small Business Saturday 2014 post:

American Express has confirmed that they will bring back Small Business Saturday (SBS) on Saturday, November 29th – two days after Thanksgiving.

The significant change this year is that now it is up to three separate $10 statement credits, for a total of up to $30 per eligible card. Details from the Official Terms and Conditions [pdf]:

  • Limit three (3) $10 statement credits per eligible American Express Card. To receive the offer, Card Members must register any eligible American Express Card for this offer. Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve® and Bluebird®) are not eligible.
  • The number of registrations is limited. Registration opens at 12:00 A.M. MST (“Mountain Standard Time”) on Nov 16, 2014 and will continue until 11:59 P.M. MST on Nov 29, 2014, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.
  • To receive the $10 statement credit, the Card Member must use his or her registered Card to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday, Nov 29, 2014.

Other important terms and tips:

  • Qualifying small business locations appear on the Shop Small Map.
  • If you don’t have anything specific in mind, even gift cards to a local non-chain restaurant, grocer, hardware store, or clothing boutique count.
  • In all previous years, additional authorized user cards have been eligible for their own $10 credit. (Authorized user cards with AmEx get their own unique card number.) I see nothing that changes that in this year’s rules. Many American Express cards offer additional cards for free to authorized users like your spouse, partner, or older children.
  • Most prepaid cards are not eligible, but American Express Bluebird and Serve cards are eligible. Given that these cards are free to obtain (officially you can only have one or the other, though) this is another path to an additional free $30 of small business patronage in 2014.

Small Business Saturday remains a very creative way for American Express to tell the public that they’ve greatly increased acceptance of their cards at small businesses, which has always been their relative weak spot due to their slightly higher fees for the merchant. (It also makes small business that aren’t accepting AmEx to think twice…)

This is a great perk for American Express cardholders. With a little advance planning multiple credits are very easy to get… I’ve gotten them every year without issue.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review: Roundtip Flight + Companion Pass INFO

Southwest Premier Card ImageSouthwest has brought back their 50,000 bonus point promo for the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. That’s worth two Round trip Flight (over $700 in airfare with no limited-capacity seating hoops or $500 in Amazon.com gift cards) after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account.  There is a $99 annual fee that is not waived the first year.

2015/2016 Companion Pass
Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Companion Pass allows you to designate one person to fly with you for free (person can be changed 3 times). To qualify, you must earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, and yes credit card points count! If you are careful with when you meet the spending requirement (wait until January), you can earn the status in very early 2015 and then you can use the Companion Pass for the rest of 2015 and all of 2016. The companion pass even works on award tickets!

Besides a lot of spending or flying, the small business version of this card has a 50,000 point bonus. Spend $2,000 on each of these two cards and you’ll qualify for both the 50k bonus and 50k bonus plus the 4k from spending for a total of 104,000 Rapid Rewards points. Spend a little more on the card or take some Southwest flights to make up the last 6,000 points and you’ll have 110,000. Those 110k points will be worth over $1,400 in Wanna Get Away airfare split up into however many flights you want + a free companion pass which can effectively double the value.

More Details
An “average” round-trip $357 Wanna Get Away fare would cost about 25,000 points. In reality, the value of the bonus is $714 in Southwest airfare broken up however you like. Any Wanna Get Away fare is eligible, so this bonus is very useful for Southwest fliers. If you take shorter flights or wait for a fare sale, this could easily be worth multiple roundtrip flights. 25,000 points can also be converted to $250 in gift cards to Amazon.com, Wal-mart, and other retailers.

Currently 70 points = $1 worth of Wanna Get Away airfare, which means you get 1.43 cents of value per point. Southwest is still offering two free checked bags, which can be a significant roundtrip savings. Here are the rest of the details:

  • Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Points Don’t Expire, No Blackout Dates
  • 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • 2 pts/$1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases
  • 2 pts/$1 spent on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1 pt/$1 spent on all other purchases

Southwest Banner

“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.”

Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Mastercard Review: 30,000 Bonus Miles

citinewaaAmerican Airlines and US Airways have announced new details about their upcoming merger. As expected, the two frequent flier programs will merge and all the miles will become American AAdvantage miles in 2015. (US Airways Dividend miles will convert at a 1:1 ratio.) Along with that, they have slightly updated both the Citi American Airlines card and Barclaycard US Airways card.

Here are the updated details on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® from our partner Citi:

New cardholder bonus:

  • For a limited time, earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Annual fee is $95, waived for first 12 months.

American Airlines and US Airways perks:

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines and US Airways flights for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy boarding privileges with Group 1 on American Airlines flights and Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines and US Airways flights*
  • Double AAdvantage(R) miles on eligible American Airlines and US Airways purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® application page