Merrill Edge + Preferred Rewards = Up to $600 Bonus For Moving Brokerage Assets, Improved Credit Card Rewards

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated. Merrill Edge is the self-directed brokerage arm formed after Bank of America and Merrill Lynch merged together. They are currently offering an increased cash bonus of up to $600 for moving “new money” or assets over to them from another brokerage firm. This new bonus is linked to the Preferred Rewards program, which is another reason to consider using them as it gets you waived banking fees and extra credit card rewards. Here’s an overview along with my personal experience as I’ve had an account with them for a few years now.

Cash bonus. Brokerage firms love to collect assets. The good news is they don’t require cash that will be earning zero interest, and Edge has no management fees if you stick with DIY. If you are holding shares of stock, ETFs, or mutual funds elsewhere, you can simply perform an “in-kind” ACAT transfer over to Merrill Edge. Your 100 shares of AAPL will remain 100 shares of AAPL, so you don’t even have to worry about price changes, lost dividends, or tax consequences. Any cost basis should transfer over as well.

This specific offer is better than the standard offer:

  • $100 bonus with $20,000 to $49,999 in new assets
  • $150 bonus with $50,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $250 bonus with $100,000 to $199,999 in new assets
  • $600 bonus with $200,000 or more in new assets

Note that you must keep the assets there for 180 days.

This offer includes both IRAs and regular taxable (CMA) accounts:

Offer valid for new individual Merrill IRAs or Cash Management Accounts (CMAs). Cash bonus offers, in the aggregate, are limited to one CMA and one IRA per accountholder. Eligible Merrill IRAs limited to Rollover, Traditional, Roth and owner-only SEP IRA. The Merrill IRA or CMA may be a Merrill Edge Self-Directed account, Merrill Edge Advisory Account, Merrill Guided Investing or Merrill Guided Investing with an Advisor account. You may be eligible for a different or better offer. Please contact us for more information.

Note that last sentence! After I did this bonus once with a partial transfer (just enough to satisfy one of the tiers), a Merrill Edge rep contacted me and offered me a custom bonus to move even more assets over. (The bonus ratios were about the same, but higher limits.) Therefore, if you are considering this and happen to have more than $200,000 to transfer over, you may want to give them a call and see if they can offer even more money.

You can even transfer in Admiral Shares of Vanguard mutual funds – they won’t let you buy any additional shares, but you can only hold or sell them. You can, however, buy more shares of the corresponding Vanguard ETF if you wish. (Alternatively, you should consider having Vanguard convert your Admiral share into ETFs on a one-time basis that will preserve your original cost basis. After you have ETFs, you can move those over to Merrill Edge and trade them as you wish.)

Preferred Rewards bonus. The Preferred Rewards program is designed to rewards clients with multiple account and higher assets located at Bank of America banking, Merrill Edge online brokerage, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Here is a partial table taken from their comparison chart (click to enlarge):

At the Platinum and Platinum Plus levels, Merrill Edge used to offer 30 and 100 free online stock trades every month, respectively. These days, everyone gets unlimited $0 trades. Bank of America’s interest rates on cash accounts tend to be quite low, so moving cash over to qualify may result in earning less interest on your cash deposits. Merrill Lynch advisory accounts also usually come with management fees. The sweet spot is Edge with self-directed brokerage assets like stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs.

BofA checking accounts. With Gold status ($20k in assets) and above, you’ll get the monthly maintenance fee on up to 4 checking or savings accounts waived. That means you no longer have to worry about a minimum balance or maintaining direct deposit, depending on your account type. You’ll also get waived ATM fees at non-BofA ATMs at Platinum and above (12/year at $50k assets, unlimited at $100k). Free cashier’s checks.

Credit card rewards. With the Preferred Rewards boost, you can get up to 2.6% cash back on all your purchases with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card, or 2.6% towards travel and no foreign transaction fees with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. You can also get 5.2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card.

My personal experience. In terms of Merrill Edge, I’ve had an account with them for a few years now and my lightning review is that they have a “okay/good” user interface and solidly “good” customer service (i.e. real, informed humans available 24/7 on the phone, not email-only customer service that takes hours to days like Robinhood). I would add that I am not an active trader and only make about 10-15 trades a year. I have been quite satisfied with the account. I can also move money instantly between my Merrill Edge and Bank of America checking accounts, making it relatively easy to sweep out idle cash into an external savings account.

The biggest financial benefit to this BofA/Merrill Edge combo has probably been the 75% boost to their credit card rewards, allowing me to get a flat 2.625% cash back on virtually all my daily purchases. The second biggest benefit has probably been this cash bonus, and the third is the occasional waived checking or ATM fee. One negative is that the cash sweep options are not very good, but right now the interest difference is quite small.

Bottom line. Merrill Edge is currently offering up to $600 if you move over a significant amount of assets to their self-directed brokerage. This can simply be mutual fund or ETFs shares currently being held elsewhere. When you keep enough assets across Bank of America and Merrill Edge, their Preferred Rewards program can offer ongoing perks like waived bank account fees and boosted credit card rewards.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

MMB Free IRA Contribution 2021 Challenge: $5,327 (So Far)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

via GIPHY

With about six weeks left in 2021, I wanted to check in on my claim that I could max out the annual IRA contribution limit of $6,000 using the profits from various promotions alone. If you had put $6,000 into your IRA every year for the last 10 years (2011-2020) and invested in a simple Target Date retirement fund, you would have turned small deals into a $100,000+ nest egg.

Example. I was just approved for the new Capital One Venture X card, and I was hoping the $1,000+ value would put me over the $6,000 threshold. I’m very confident that I’ll get at least $1,000 out of this card, as (1) we have multiple upcoming trips planned, (2) are renewing Global Entry for $100, and (2) this is the rare card that lets us gain lounge access for a family of 5. Each cardholder is free plus 2 guests, but additional cardholders are free 😉. I will offset $1,000 in travel expenses I would have incurred anyway, and invest it instead.

The ground rules: Real-world results for one person only. As following with My Money Blog tradition, this will track my personal, real-world results. It would be quite easy to list a bunch of promotions that add up to $6,000, but these will be promotions that I personally sign up for and complete the requirements (even though I’ve already opened so many bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts over the years). I will track my individual results only (no spouse/partner). I quickly ran through all posts in the Deals and Offers category:

One-time bonuses for 2021 so far.

Total from one-time bonuses: $5,327

I’m pretty close to $6,000 without counting the money from higher bank interest or other credit card rewards like 5% cash back categories. Hopefully the holiday season has a few more gifts for me in that regard! 🤑 I did multiple US Mint coin deals this year, but also much fewer credit card applications than in a normal year. My wife and I were thinking of trying to get dual Southwest Companion passes, but we decided not to go for it yet.

Bank interest accounts. With a simple direct deposit change, I am earning 3.5% APY on $100,000 at HM Bradley, FDIC-insured and with no interest rate risk. (I have the HM Bradley credit card as well.) This is money that could be earning 0% at BofA/Chase/Wells Fargo, 0.50% at a “high yield” savings account, or about 0.40%-1% in short-term US Treasury bonds as part of an investment portfolio. Even calling it only 2.5% APY above what 99% of people earn on the same thing, that works out to a difference of $2,500 in interest per year.

I could hold even more cash at high interest rates via other fintech like One Finance and Porte. US Savings bonds are paying 7.12% interest for the next six months. I track these in my monthly best interest rate updates. I view this is a legitimate form of “profit”, but the value is dependent on the size your cash/bond holdings. Thus, I’ve kept it separate.

Total from higher bank interest: $2,500

These are all deals with minimal downside risk, but they also tend to be both sporadic and temporary. Some months had zero lucrative deals, and some months had several. I try to only share the ones that will last at least a few days, but it’s a bit like value investing where you have to be ready to jump on an opportunity when it shows up, because it usually won’t last long. For example, HM Bradley now requires a referral to join, and each person can only refer three people.

Total for 2021 so far: $7,827

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – November 2021 (Updated)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated November 2021. That space in your wallet or purse is valuable, and you should be the one to get that value. By being smart and picky, you can find offers worth $500+ for a single card, all to encourage you to apply and try it out. We do this multiple times a year for thousands of dollars in extra income. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would personally apply for right now (or have already). Notable recent changes:

  • Added Venture X 100k, Southwest 100k, Hawaiian 80k, Delta 70k, IHG 150k.
  • Removed Wyndam 90k, United Quest 100k, JetBlue 60k, Hyatt 50k, United 70k.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Capital One® Venture® X Rewards Card

  • 100,000 miles (worth $1,000 towards travel) after $10,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • $200 vacation rental credit. Get up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals within your first year.
  • $300 annual travel credit. Get up to $300 in statement credits when booking through Capital One Travel.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $395 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • Up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points. 50,000 points after $2,000 on purchases in first 3 months, plus 50,000 more points after $12,000 in total purchases in first 12 months.
  • Southwest still gives everyone two free checked bags.
  • Companion Pass. The timing might be perfect to qualify for a Companion Pass in 2022/2023.
  • $69 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

The Platinum Card from American Express

  • 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $6,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. Plus 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months. See link for details.
  • $200 Hotel Credits, $240 Streaming Credits, $200 Airline Fee Credits, $200 Uber Cash, $179 CLEAR Credit, $300 Equinox credit, $100 Shop Saks credit and more annually!
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit.
  • Premium airport lounge access through the American Express Global Lounge Collection®.
  • $695 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 minimum towards travel and more) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Up to 25% boost in Ultimate Rewards redemptions. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.*
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. 50k bonus worth $750 towards UR travel. Up to 50% boost on Ultimate Rewards redemptions, 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $550 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • 70,000 Delta Skymiles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Limited-time offer expires 11/10/2021. See link for details.
  • 70,000 Skymiles are worth at least $700 in Delta airfare with “Pay with Miles” option.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • There is also a 90k limited-time offer on the Platinum version.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • Up to 80,000 Hawaiian miles. 60k after $2,000 in purchases within 90 days + additional 20k after $4,000 in total purchases within first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember.
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

Chase United Explorer Card

  • 60,000 bonus United miles after $3,000 in purchases within 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your United ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

  • 50,000 bonus points (worth $500 in statement credits) after $3,000 in purchases within 120 days. See link for details.
  • 4X points on travel and gas stations, 2X points on dining and grocery stores.
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $30 annual streaming bonus.
  • $0 annual fee the first year, $95/year thereafter.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Up to 130,000 Hilton Honors points. 80k points after $1,000 in purchases in first 3 months, plus another 50k points after a total of $5,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Free Honors Silver status (5th standard reward night free, 2 bottles of water in your room).
  • No annual fee.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

  • 150,000 IHG Rewards club points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 40,000 IHG points).
  • 4th Award Night Free (Book 3 nights in a row with points, 4th is free)
  • $0 intro annual fee first year, then $89.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.*

American Express® Rose Gold Card

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $4,000 in purchases in first 6 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • $120 in Uber Cash annually (good towards Uber Eats or Uber rides in the US).
  • $120 in annual dining credit at Grubhub, Seamless, and more.
  • 4X points at at restaurants.
  • 4X points at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year.
  • $250 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 80,000 points (worth $800 in gift cards at ThankYou.com) after $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • Must not have gotten bonus from or closed a Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, Premier, or Prestige card in the past 24 months.
  • $95 annual fee.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 3 Free Night Certificates (worth up to 50,000 points each) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 35,000 Marriott points).
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-range hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

* 5/24 Rule? Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which 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 24 months (2 years). This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Review: Over $1,000 In First-Year Value

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card is the newest entry into the ultra-premium credit card category. It has a large new-cardholder bonus, loads of perks, and a hefty annual fee. The net result is a first-year value of well over $1,000! Let’s take a look at what it offers:

  • 100,000 bonus miles (equal to $1,000 towards travel) when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening.
  • Limited-time offer: $200 vacation rental credit. Get up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals charged to your account within your first year. Eligible vacation rental merchants include Airbnb, Turnkey, Vacasa, and VRBO.
  • $300 annual travel credit. Get up to $300 in statement credits when booking through Capital One Travel. You can redeem these in partial amounts over the course of the year.
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
  • Airport lounge access. Unlimited access to all-inclusive amenities at Capital One Lounges and at 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges internationally.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary.
  • Annual fee is $395.

Here is the rewards structure on purchases:

  • 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 2X miles on all other purchases.
  • Redeem miles for any airline, any hotel, rental cars, and more.
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs.

Redemption details. Capital One “miles” can be redeemed directly for a cash statement credit on a 1 mile = $0.01 basis when offsetting any travel purchase made on the card within the past 90 days. In other words, 100,000 miles = $1,000 toward travel. That means you can fly on any airline or stay at any hotel, pay with this card, and then “erase” that purchase using your miles balance later. This even includes AirBNB vacation rentals, car rentals, and Uber rides.

This means that earning 2 miles on on every $1 in purchases essentially makes this a 2% back card when applied towards travel. Earn even higher rewards of 5 miles per $1 spent on on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 10 miles per $1 spent on on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

The Capital One Travel portal offers price matching: if you find a better price on another website within 24 hours of booking, they will refund you the difference.

New: Miles transfer options. Capital One now allows you to transfer your “miles” into select airline miles programs as well. Here are the transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM
  • Accor Hotels
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Choice Hotels
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • EVA
  • Finnair
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Wyndham Hotel Rewards

The bolded ones are my favorite. I would use these to top off an account to reach a specific award level. If you know how to leverage one of these international airline miles programs, this can be a good option, but it’s still nice to have the worst-case scenario of effectively earning 2% back towards travel.

Airport lounge access details. Capital One is creating their own lounges within select airports (currently only DFW). Venture X cardholders get unlimited access and can bring 2 free guest per visit. Additional cardholders are also free (no extra annual fee) and have the same benefits of bringing 2 free guests per visit.

As a Visa Infinite card, you also get Priority Pass membership, which includes access to 1,300+ participating VIP lounges, in more than 600 cities and more than 148 countries. You can bring yourself and up to 2 free guests.

Various other perks.

  • Cell phone protection. Protect your cell phone every time you pay your bill with your Venture X card. If it’s stolen or damaged, you’ll get reimbursed up to $800 per claim with a $50 deductible.
  • Primary rental car collision-damage waiver insurance.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Hertz President’s Circle® status.

Bottom line. The Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card is an ultra-premium rewards card that earns a minimum of 2x miles on all purchases, which you can either redeem against any travel purchase or transfer to one of their airline/hotel partners. There is an new-customer offer of 100,000 bonus miles (worth $1,000 towards travel) plus a $200 annual vacation rental credit for the first year. If you can take advantage of the $300 annual travel credit, and add the 10,000 miles on every anniversary, then you’ve effectively offset the $395 annual fee in all future years.

Due to the $1,000+ first-year value, I will be adding this card to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon: Pay with Citi ThankYou Points, Get Up to 50% Off (Targeted)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Check again to see if targeted for latest promo. If you have a Citi credit card that earns ThankYou points, you can redeem them to buy eligible items at Amazon.com. The redemption rate is 1 ThankYou points = 0.8 cents to spend at Amazon, which may not be the best value available. However, here are targeted promotions where you can save money after redeeming just 1 single MR point (a penny’s worth). (To see the link, you may need to visit this page on the internet if viewing this via e-mail or RSS.)

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you haven’t linked yet, you can link your ThankYou points balance to your Amazon account here.
  • If you have already linked your cards and aren’t targeted, you may consider removing your Citi card from your account completely, and then linking it again after a day, and then checking the offer page(s) again after another day.
  • Items must be marked as both sold AND shipped by Amazon.com.
  • Be sure to select your Citi credit card as your payment method and redeem at least 1 point or $0.01 in value of ThankYou points.
  • Savings should be reflected on the final order checkout page, before you commit to purchase.

Notably, the Citi Double Cash card, Citi Custom Cash card, and Citi Rewards+ all now earn ThankYou points. You may want to try linking them to see if you qualify for this promotion now or in the future. For redemptions, I’d probably stick with the 2% cash back option for the Double Cash, and look at the new airline transfer options for the premium travel cards like Citi Premier.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon: Pay with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Get Up to 50% Off (Targeted)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Check again to see if targeted for newest discount. If you have Ultimate Rewards points from Chase credit cards, you can use them to buy eligible items at Amazon.com. The redemption rate is 1 Ultimate Rewards points = 1 cent at Amazon, which is the same rate as their statement credit redemptions. However, here are targeted promotions where you can save money after redeeming just 1 single MR point (a penny’s worth). (To see the link, you may need to visit this page on the internet if viewing this via e-mail or RSS.)

  • Get 50% off (max discount $15), valid on items shipped and sold by Amazon. Must redeem at least 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point. You may be eligible even if you’ve done similar promos before.

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you haven’t linked yet, you can link your Ultimate Rewards points balance to your Amazon account here.
  • If you have already linked your cards and aren’t targeted, you may consider removing your Chase card from your account completely, and then linking it again after a day, and then checking the offer page(s) again after another day.
  • Items must be marked as both sold AND shipped by Amazon.com.
  • Be sure to select your Chase credit card as your payment method and redeem at least 1 point or $0.01 in value of Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Savings should be reflected on the final order checkout page, before you commit to purchase.

Keep in mind that you have options to earn 25% more value (1.25 cents per Ultimate Rewards point) from travel redemptions via the Chase portal and the Pay Yourself Bank tools if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and 50% more value (1.5 cents per UR point) with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can transfer over any UR points earned elsewhere from the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited. You may get even better value by converting them to frequent flier miles like United Airlines or hotel points like Hyatt.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Synchrony Premier World Mastercard Review: 2% Cash Back + Free Cell Phone Protection

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

The Synchrony Premier World Mastercard is a rewards credit card that earns 2% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee. There are no rotating categories, activation deadlines, no earning caps, or miles/points to redeem. It was previously invite-only, but is now open to public applications subject to credit approval.

Here are a few minor but notable ways that make this 2% cash back card unique from the competition.

Cash back is credited automatically to your statement every month. Other competitors may require you to accrue either a minimum like $25 before you can redeem, or require you to manually request the rewards. With this card, your cash back gets credited to your statement every month, automatically. You don’t have to do anything.

World Mastercard perks. As a “World Mastercard” – a notch above the standard Mastercard – it includes a few unique benefits that most other 2% cash back cards don’t have. These include cell phone protection, DoorDash, Lyft, and Shoprunner benefits. Details at the World Mastercard official page, but here the perks I found most useful:

  • Cell phone protection. World Mastercard comes with $1,000 in yearly coverage ($600 max per claim, 2 claims per year) should your cell phone get stolen or need certain repairs. Simply pay for your cell phone bill with your World Mastercard to activate coverage. There is a $50 deductible.
  • DoorDash DashPass perks. Get free delivery, reduced fees and exclusive offers with DashPass, the monthly subscription service from DoorDash. New members get 3 free months of membership. In addition, World Mastercard DashPass members get $5 off their first 2 orders per month until 9/30/2022. Details.

If you aren’t into chasing bonuses or maximizing the value of points and miles, I recommend that everyone get some sort of flat 2% cash back credit card. Many people I know who prefer simplicity use a debit card with at most 1% cash back, while they could be earning double the cash back while getting better consumer fraud protections and still paying off the balance each month. For example, $2,000 in credit card spending a month is easily calculated at $40 month in cash back rewards, or $480 a year.

If you do like juggling multiple rewards cards, it’s still good to have a 2% cash back card as your “catch-all” back-up card. Traditional, for me this has been my Citi Double Cash card.

Bottom line. The Synchrony Premier World Mastercard offers 2% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee. This simple, flat structure minimizes any work on your end – even the cash back is automatically credited to your statement every month.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon: Pay with American Express Membership Rewards Points, Get 15%/30% Off (Targeted)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Check to see if eligible again for this new round. If you have an American Express card with Membership Rewards (MR) points, you can redeem them to buy eligible items at Amazon.com. The redemption rate is 1 MR points = 0.7 cents to spend at Amazon, which unfortunately is less than a cent per point and thus not really the ideal use of MR points. (I get 1 cent per point minimum on Delta flights.) However, here are targeted promotions where you can save money after redeeming just 1 single MR point (a penny’s worth). (To see the link, you may need to visit this page on the internet if viewing this via e-mail or RSS.)

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you haven’t linked yet, you can link your Membership Rewards points balance to your Amazon account here.
  • If you have already linked your cards and aren’t targeted, you may consider removing your American Express card from your account completely, and then linking it again after a day, and then checking the offer page(s) again after another day.
  • Items must be marked as both sold AND shipped by Amazon.com.
  • Be sure to select your American Express as your payment method and redeem at least 1 point or $0.01 in value of Membership Rewards points.
  • Savings should be reflected on the final order checkout page, before you commit to purchase.

This is a recurring perk for existing American Express cardholders, which is why one of my two “keeper” consumer American Express cards is the Amex EveryDay Card (keeps my Membership Rewards points active with no annual fee, helps qualify for various Amazon promotions). The other is the Blue Cash Preferred from AmEx (6% cash back on US supermarkets, up to $6,000 annually).

You can also earn and keep Membership Rewards points active with a small business card. My favorite business American Express card is the Blue Business Plus Card – Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases, of up to $50,000/year. There is also the Blue Business Cash Card that earns a flat 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in purchases each year. Both have no annual fee.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon: Pay with Discover Card Points, Get 30%/40% Off (Targeted)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Discover it 14 ImageCheck to see if eligible again for this new round. If you have a Discover card with cash back rewards, you can redeem them to buy eligible items at Amazon.com. The redemption rate is $1 in Cash Back Bonus = $1 to spend at Amazon, which is the same rate as their statement credit redemptions. Check each of these targeted promotions and activate for an additional discount for redeeming a single penny’s worth of points. (To see the link, you may need to visit this page on the internet if viewing this via e-mail or RSS.)

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you haven’t linked your Discover yet, you can link your Discover Cashback points balance to your Amazon account here. Try again in a day or two.
  • If you have already linked your Discover card previously and aren’t targeted, consider removing your Discover card from your account completely, and then linking it again after a day. Try again in a day or two.
  • Items must be marked as both sold AND shipped by Amazon.com.
  • Be sure to select your Discover Card as your payment method and redeem at least 1 point or $0.01 in value of Discover points.
  • You should see the promo credit on final order checkout page, right before final purchase.

This is a recurring perk for existing Discover cardholders, which is why I never cancel a card with no annual fee. Check out my Discover it credit card review, one of my keeper 5% cash back cards.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Finally Time to Start Redeeming Miles and Points Again!

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

It’s been a while since I’ve redeemed any airline miles or hotel points, so I’m excited to start doing so again. We still had thousands of dollars in airline credit balances from early 2020, and I just booked a flight and two hotel nights in Vancouver, Canada. This also gave me an opportunity to check out the current value of some of my currency. I have to work around school schedules so it’s hard to fully maximize the value of every point.

The cash price for a junior suite during Spring Break at the Hilton Vancouver Airport for our family of 5 was CAD $343, which is US $$277 per night.

The same room with the same cancellation policy costs 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night, which equates to a value of 0.55 cents per Hilton point. This compares well to my standard valuation of 0.5 cents per Hilton point. This is making me take a second look at the current Hilton Honors American Express offer of up to 130,000 Hilton points with no annual fee.

American Express is currently running a transfer bonus to Hilton Honors points, such that 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 2,600 Hilton Honors points. The promo ends soon, but the transferred points posted instantly for me.

This means that 20,000 Membership Rewards points would equal 52,000 Hilton points. That equates to a value of 1.4 cents per Membership Rewards point, much better than my standard valuation of 1.0 cents per MR point. (I would have gotten about 1.1 cents much without the transfer bonus.) Even better, I already had around 30,000 Hilton points lying around, so I only needed another 8,000 Membership Rewards points to reach the first night award. Later, I made another transfer of 19,000 Membership Rewards for the second night since I had about 1,000 Hilton points left over. This ability to “top off” a variety of accounts is why people love the flexible points so much.

In the end, I’m happy to finally convert some points into cash savings (and then into family memories). I’ve still got more planning to do, more hotel nights to book with my IHG/Hyatt stash, and I have a few award night certificates that I hope I can use up as well.

My point is that sure, I’d rather get $1,000 cash than 100,000 Membership Rewards points, but the fact is that it is a lot easier to get a big pile of points and miles for trying out a new credit card while never carrying a balance. I try to value them conservatively, but they definitely still hold value for me. I hope that you all are able to redeem your points and miles for memories soon as well.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

5% Cash Back Cards: Walmart, PayPal, Amazon.com, Target.com – October through December 2021

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

5percentbackAdded new Chase Freedom Flex offer. The credit cards below offer up to 5% cash back on specific categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but it can add up to hundreds of dollars in additional rewards per year without changing your spending habits. You can also buy gift cards at places with 5% back now but spend the gift cards later. New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom Flex Card

From October 1st through December 31st, 2021 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Walmart including Walmart Discount Stores, SuperCenters, Neighborhood Markets, Walmart.com, Walmart branded gas stations operated by Walmart, and Walmart Pay.
  • PayPal purchases paid using your Freedom Flex. Friends and Family or Person-to-Person (P2P) transactions are excluded.

(The categories are also the same for the old Chase Freedom card, which is no longer available to new applicants.)

(Added: Chase is also adding a “Top Spend Category Bonus” where you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 in total spend in the eligible rewards category where you spend the most from October 1 – December 31, 2021. See link for details on the stacking possibilities.)

Enroll each quarter online in your Chase account or at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by December 14th, the rewards are retroactive. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which can also be converted to airline miles or hotel points instead of cash if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You could also use the Pay Yourself Back tool to get 25% to 50% more than 1 cent/point value. Currently, the Chase Freedom Flex card is offering new applicants a $200 bonus if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months. No annual fee.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it Card

From October 1st through December 31st, 2021, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Amazon.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Target.com

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. No annual fee.

Discover it $100 bonus details. If you are a new applicant and sign up via my Discover Card referral link, you will get a $50 improved $100 Cashback Bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of being account opening. 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 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 looking under “Terms and Conditions” or searching for “cashback match” and “statement credit offer”:

Cashback Match: We’ll match all the cash back rewards you’ve earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods.

* You will receive a $100 Statement Credit after making a purchase that posts to your account within three months of account opening. You must apply through your friend’s referral link and be approved by December 31, 2021 in order to be eligible for the $100 Statement Credit offer. Offer may not be combined with any other introductory offer. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card.

  • 6% cash back at US supermarkets all year long (on up to $6,000 per year)
  • 6% cash back at select US streaming subscriptions (includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube TV, and more).
  • 3% cash back at US gas stations and transit (taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).

I use this card all year long for groceries and put all my streaming services on it, and then in December use up the $6k annual limit on gift cards bought in the supermarket aisle. New cardholders are also eligible for a sizeable welcome offer. See details in link.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. You must choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of specific categories:

  • Fast Food
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Home Utilities
  • Ground Transportation
  • Select Clothing Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Car Rentals
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers
  • Sporting Goods Stores
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie Theaters
  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services

Unfortunately, you can’t pick a broad category like gas stations, restaurants, or grocery stores. Make sure to choose your categories each and every quarter, even if you want them to stay the same. If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter. No annual fee.

Amazon Prime Rewards Card. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods all year long. Prime membership required. New cardholder bonus varies by person. No annual fee.

Citi Custom Cash Card. This new card offers 5% cash back on your top eligible spending category up to $500 spent each month. The maximum amount of $500 per month is less than the $1,500 per month of many cards above, but the category shifts according to your spending. You could, for example, only use this card for gas all year long.

Citi Dividend Card. This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you still have the grandfathered card you can view and activate your quarterly 5% category here. Limit of $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. Check out the card-specific reviews for details.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase Freedom Flex Review: $200 Bonus, 5% Back on Groceries For First Year, 5% Rotating Categories, No Annual Fee

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

New “Top Spend Category 5% Offer” for October-December 2021: The Chase Freedom Flex has a new promotion in addition to the 5% quarterly category for Q4 2021:

This offer is separate from your quarterly bonus category offer, but automatically added to your account when you activate your Q4 bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 in total spend in the eligible rewards category where you spend the most from October 1 – December 31, 2021. That’s 4% additional cash back on top of the 1% cash back per $1 USD spent that you earn on all purchases.

Here are the eligible rewards categories:

Travel (including Transit), Dining, Home Improvement Stores, Grocery Stores (not including Target and Walmart purchases), Drugstores, Gas Stations, Select Live Entertainment, Select Streaming Services, Fitness Clubs.

This means if dining is your top spending category for Q4 2021, you would get a total of 7% cash back (or 7X Ultimate Rewards points) on your dining. If you are still in the new customer offer (see below) and grocery stores is your top spending category for Q4 2021, you would get a total of 9% cash back (or 9X Ultimate Rewards points) on your grocery store purchase. Also stackable with the PayPal 5% below if you used PayPal to buy something in your top spend category. A little confusing, but could be an interesting promo. Unfortunately, not available on older Freedom cards, only Freedom Flex.

Full review:

The Chase Freedom Flex Card application is the new 5% cash back rotating category card for Chase, including the notable addition of 3% cash back on dining out and drugstore purchases. All of the popular features from the old Freedom remain as well: Up to 5% cash back on select categories throughout the year, no annual fee, and the ability to earn Ultimate Rewards points (useful in combination with Chase Sapphire cards). Highlights:

  • $200 cash bonus (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after $500 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Intro offer: 5X points (5% cash back) on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.

Here are the ongoing features of the Freedom Flex:

  • 5X points (5% cash back) on rotating quarterly categories.
  • 5X points (5% cash back) on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R).
  • 3X points on dining out, take-out, and eligible delivery services.
  • 3X points on drugstore purchases.
  • 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Cell phone insurance is one of the noteworthy World Elite Mastercard benefits. “Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill.”
  • 5% total cash back on all Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass for the first three months*, followed by a 50% discount price at the current rate for the next nine months.
  • No annual fee.

From October 1st through December 31st, 2021 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Walmart including Walmart Discount Stores, SuperCenters, Neighborhood Markets, Walmart.com, Walmart branded gas stations operated by Walmart, and Walmart Pay.
  • PayPal purchases paid using your Freedom Flex. Friends and Family or Person-to-Person (P2P) transactions are excluded.

Activate each quarter in your online account or at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of each quarterly window, the rewards apply retroactively.

Remember that these cards earn Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, which can then be redeemed for cash at 1 UR point = $0.01. Therefore, you can either view a category as 3X points per dollar points, or 3% cash back. When UR points are transferred to a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, they can become much more valuable when converted to frequent flier miles or hotel points. For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 5x points = 5 United miles per dollar spent, 5 Hyatt points per dollar spent, or 7.5% value back towards travel redeemed at the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

This is a new card (different than the regular Chase Freedom Visa), so everyone should be eligible for the bonus, but Chase does have 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.

If you have an existing Chase card like the original Freedom card, you may be able to convert to this card by calling them directly. You won’t get the sign-up offer, but you will get the new ongoing features.

Bottom line. The Chase Freedom Flex Card application is a unique rewards card that lets you earn 5% cash back on select categories each quarter, in addition to a constant 3% cash back on dining out and drugstore purchases. If you have a Chase Sapphire card, the “flexibility” is even greater.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.