Chase United Explorer Card Review – 60,000 Miles Offer + Annual Fee Waived First Year

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.

60k limited-time offer. The United Explorer Card is a Chase-issued credit card that offers unique perks on United Airlines including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Right now, the offer is a higher 60,000 bonus miles (previously 40k) with the annual fee waived during the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
  • Priority boarding + 2 United Club one-time passes every year for your anniversary.
  • 2X miles at restaurants and on hotel stays.
  • 2X miles per on purchases from United.
  • 25% Back on United inflight purchases (Wi-Fi, Food and Drinks).
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • Annual fee waived for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

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

This card is very focused on making it a better experience to fly on United. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The bag fee is usually $35 per person, each way, so that adds up to $140 each roundtrip. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on. While onboard, you get 25% back on your inflight purchases of WiFi, food, and drinks.

Expanded award seat availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and I’ve found a very significant difference when searching. If you’re constantly trying to find economy tickets for the entire family like me, this is a big deal. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On most other consumer cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Card offers great perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. There are bonus categories to earn more miles, and special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for flights. Right now, the offer is 60,000 bonus United miles with the annual fee waived during the first year.

I’ll be adding this higher offer 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 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Get $15 off $50 (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.

New version of promo, check if eligible! 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. The only added benefit is that there is no minimum redemption size. In general, you check if you can get a better value by converting them to frequent flier miles like United Airlines or hotel points like Hyatt.

However, there are also targeted limited-time offers like this one:

Even if you have done a similar promotion before, you may be eligible for this one too for a relatively easy $15 off $50 purchase (I was).

Be sure to click on the Activate button. Products must be shipped and sold by Amazon. You only need to redeem 1 Ultimate Rewards point ($0.01) to trigger the offer. You should see the discount on the final page of checkout. Promotion begins on 7/28/2020 and end on the earlier of (a) 11:59pm PT on 10/31/2020, or (b) the time at which 46,667 customers have redeemed the offer.

I have the useful combination of Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom cards, although the Chase Freedom Unlimited is also a great pairing for many people.

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 Unlimited Review – $200 Cash Bonus + 5% Back on Groceries (Up to $600 Cash Back in First Year)

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 limited-time offer. The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a no-annual-fee rewards card which earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases (or a possibly more valuable 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent). This is a different card from the popular Chase Freedom, which has 5% cash back on rotating categories, on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter. Right now, this card has a higher-yet-attainable limited-time offer:

  • $200 cash bonus (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after $500 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 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. That’s up to $600 cash back the first year (and you can buy many gift cards at grocery stores).
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Redeem for cash – any amount, anytime.
  • Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3.5% cash back in addition to the 1.5% cash back you already earn.
  • Cash back does not expire as long as your card is open.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases.
  • No annual fee.

1.5% cash back on all purchases is better than the 1% cash back you see from a lot of cards, but there are competitors with higher effective cash back rates.

But wait, you actually get Ultimate Rewards Points! The lesser-known perk of this card is that you actually earn Ultimate Rewards points, which are in turn redeemable for cash back at a rate of 100 points = $1 in cash back, or 1 cent per point. But you don’t have to do that. Ultimate Rewards points are worth collecting because of their flexibility. (I hope Chase doesn’t forget this fact.) This is important because there are many ways in which Ultimate Rewards points can be worth much more than 1 cent per point.

If you have also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Card, then you can pool all of your Ultimate Rewards points together (even with your spouse/partner as an authorized user) and thus utilize all of the same transfer partners with the following results:

  • Earn 1.5 United Mileageplus miles per dollar spent on ALL purchases.
  • Earn 1.5 Hyatt points per dollar spent on ALL purchases.
  • Earn 1.5 British Airways Avios per dollar spent on ALL purchases.
  • Earn 1.5 Southwest Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on ALL purchases.

Notice that you are earning more miles and points on ALL purchases than even the specific co-branded cards from United or Hyatt themselves! Most of them just offer 1 point/mile per dollar spent on all purchases.

If you placed a perceived value of 1.5 cents on each United Airlines mile or Hyatt hotel 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, but you can see that you can definitely exceed 2% cash back value on an ongoing basis with the Sapphire Preferred/Freedom Unlimited combo.

With the Sapphire Reserve, you can also redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal at 1.5 cents per point value, which means 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points = $300 towards airfare, hotel, car rentals booked through Ultimate Rewards. 5% cash back on groceries turns into 7.5% potential value back, and so on.

If you would like the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter, compare with the Chase Freedom card. You can have both a Freedom and a Freedom Unlimited card, but you’ll have to apply for each card separately. I think this is actually a great idea if you plan to keep a Sapphire Preferred/Sapphire Reserve/Ink Preferred cards as well.

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

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 Chase Freedom Unlimited is a unique card that works best in combination with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred Business cards. The combination of earning 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all purchases plus the unique redemption options from those other cards can create a value exceeding that of 2% cash back.

Right now, there is a limited-time offer for $200 cash back with a relatively low $500 in purchases, in addition to 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. That’s up to $600 in cash back in the first year if you spend a lot on groceries these days.

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.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Review: 100,000 Point Limited Time Offer

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.

Limited-time offer. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card arose from the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card). This card offers unique perks for regular Marriott customers, and right now there is a limited-time offer bump to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (a 25k increase to their previous 75k offer) with a lower spending requirement. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited time offer: 100,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2X Bonvoy points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

Keep in mind the following:

The bonus is not available to you if you:

(1) are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express);

(2) are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months; or

(3) applied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) within the last 90 days.

That’s a lot of long card names, but note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include Marriott business cards. (See my Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review.) This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer) if you do apply.

The Marriott and Starwood merger is now complete, and you can use these points at either Marriott properties (Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites) or former Starwood Properties (Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, Aloft).

Here’s the new award chart information:

You could use 70,000 points on two free nights at a Category 5 hotel like the Courtyard Waikiki Beach in Hawaii on a standard date, or you could get 4 free nights at a Category 3 hotel like the Residence Inn Austin Arboretum.

You can still turn your points into airline miles with a bonus. 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 airline miles. Similar to the old Starwood bonus structure, they will add 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to 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.

Free Night Award. At your card anniversary (when you pay the annual fee), you will receive a Free Night Award that is good for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. This excludes the very top properties, but for regular travelers it will be very easy to get your $95 value. Many W Hotels, Westin, and even some Ritz-Carltons worldwide are included. Here are some sample hotels that qualify under the 35,000 point limit:

  • Sheraton Kona Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Courtyard Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Oahu)
  • Sheraton Kauai Resort (Kauai, Hawaii)
  • W Atlanta
  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • W Chicago
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, China
  • The S. Regis Bangkok, Thailand

Bottom line. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card) has a limited-time offer of 100,000 bonus Marriott points. Previously the standard offer was 75,000 points, so you may consider this a good time to apply. As with all hotel cards, the value is dependent on your unique travel preferences. If you stay at Marriott/Starwood properties regularly, the free annual night award should easily cover the annual fee.

During the limited-time offer, I will add this 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.

Merrill Edge + Preferred Rewards = Up to $1,000 Bonus For Moving 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 again July 2020: Let’s try this again with a non-expired link! BofA has new promotion for up to $1,000, even higher than the previous offer and worth considering if you have adequate brokerage assets to move over to Merrill Edge. Thanks to comment Ken Nand for the pointer. See updated full review below.)

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 $1,000 for moving “new money” or assets over to them from another brokerage firm. This new bonus is linked to the BofA/Merrill Preferred Rewards program, which is another reason to consider using them as it gets you waived banking fees and better 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 too.

This specific offer is better than the standard offer:

  • $50 bonus with $20,000 to $49,999 in new assets
  • $250 bonus with $50,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $500 bonus with $100,000 to $199,999 in new assets
  • $1,000 bonus with $200,000 or more in new assets

Note that you must keep the assets there for 180 days. For comparison, here is an expired offer that was the highest I’ve seen. Here is the standard offer that has been around for a while.

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

Offer valid for new individual Merrill IRAs or Cash Management Accounts (CMAs). Offer is limited to one CMA and one IRA, with no more than two enrolled accounts per accountholder. Eligible Merrill Edge IRAs limited to Rollover, Traditional, Roth and Sole-Proprietor SEP only. The Merrill IRA or CMA may be a Merrill Edge Self-Directed account, Merrill Edge Advisory Account or Merrill Guided Investing account. You may be eligible for a different or better offer. Please contact us for more information.

Note that last sentence! It’s not just boilerplate. After I did this bonus once with a partial transfer (just enough to satisfy the requirements), 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 that they don’t let you trade there, but you can only hold or sell them. You can’t buy more shares. 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. However, now 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 if you have brokerage assets like stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs.

Checking accounts. With Gold status ($20k in assets) and above, you’ll get the monthly maintenance fee on up to 4 checking or savings account 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 certain levels (12/year at $50k assets, unlimited at $100k). Free cashier’s checks.

Credit cards rewards. With the Preferred Rewards boost, you can get up to 2.6% cash back towards travel on all your purchases on the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. You can also get up to 5.25% cash back (on up to $2,500 per quarter) on your choice of gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings with the Bank of America 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 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 2.625% cash back on basically 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 as of July 2020 the interest difference is quite small.

Bottom line. Merrill Edge is currently offering up to $1,000 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.

Target REDcard 5% Off, $40 off $40+ Purchase For New Approvals

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. In my area, Target currently has the best setup for ordering via app and picking up at the store. No markups, well-organized, dedicated parking area, and minimal waiting. Walmart was a mess, and so was the grocery store. We were always missing something and/or were given someone else’s items. Here’s a quick update on ways to save at Target.

Newly approved REDcard applicants can currently receive a coupon good for $40 off $40+ purchase (valid in-store or online) along with their new card in the mail. Restrictions listed below. Apply online or in-store from 7/12-7/25.

The Target REDcard offers an ongoing 5% off all Target purchases both online and in-store (Target gift cards excluded, in-store Starbucks included) and free 2-day shipping on qualifying items. Available as either as a credit card or debit card. The REDcard debit card version connects directly to a designated checking account. Instead of a credit check at one of the 3 major bureaus, a reader reports that Target uses SageStream (formerly ID Analytics) for debit cards, another consumer reporting agency.

Target also has a Circle rewards program that offers 1% cash back, but only on non-REDcard purchases (no stacking, bummer). They will also offer various discounts and coupon that are targeted to you. You need to opt-in in order for them to track your purchases.

You can earn 1% to redeem at Target later when you use non-RedCard payment types on eligible purchases. (To earn 1%, a RedCard can’t be used for any portion of the purchase.) Just scan Wallet in the Target app or enter your mobile number in store, or make a purchase online. Restrictions apply.

Here’s the list of restrictions on that $40 off $40 coupon.

RedCard $40 offer: Get a coupon for $40 off a $40+ qualifying purchase when you are approved for a debit or credit RedCard in-stores and at Target.com between 7/12/20-7/25/20. The coupon will be mailed to approved cardholders with their RedCard and will be valid through 8/29/20. Excludes items sold & shipped by Target PlusTM Partners, alcohol, Apple products, Barbie Dreamhouse, Bose, Casper, clinic & pharmacy, dairy milk, DockATot, Disney Frozen Castle, DSLR cameras & lenses, Elvie, Fitbit, gift cards, Google, HALO baby, Hasbro games (Classic Monopoly, Connect Four, Jenga, Rubik’s Cube, Sorry, Trouble), Hot Wheels id, HP, Infant Optics, JBL, LEGO, Levi’s Red Label, LG OLED TV, limited-time designer partnerships, Mega Bloks, mobile contracts, Motrin pain relief, Nerf Ultra, Nintendo hardware and Switch games, Polder, Peg Perego, Philips Avent, power shave, power dental, Harry’s and Flamingo, prepaid cards, PS4 hardware, Samsung TVs, simplehuman, Sonos, Sony electronics, Target Optical, Thomas and Friends Wood, Traeger, Tylenol pain relief, 23andMe, Weber, and Xbox One hardware.

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.

Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards – July 2020

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.

0apr

Updated. I enjoy my credit card rewards, but they simply aren’t worth it if you are carrying a balance at 18%+ interest! If you are ready to pay down that debt, consider transferring your balance to another issuer at a lower rate. Shopping around can save you thousands of dollars in interest. Below is an updated list of the best 0% APR balance transfer offers from a variety of issuers (since you can’t transfer balances within the same issuer). Unfortunately, the selection has gotten much slimmer since the onset of the pandemic with Chase, Bank of America, American Express cards no longer on this list.

You’ll want the best combination of the longest 0% APR period and the lowest balance transfer fees. For example, if you are paying 18% APR, that’s like paying 1.5% on your balance every month. Paying a 3% upfront fee for an 18 month period of 0% would be like paying your existing 18% interest rate for 2 months longer and then getting 0% interest for the remaining 16 months. That may be preferable to 12 months at 0% with no balance transfer fee, especially if you spread out your payments over the entire period and use that additional time to pay it all off by the end. If you are sure you can pay it all off within a shorter 0% period, then should pick the no balance transfer fee option.

1) Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. You also get 0% Intro APR on purchases for 18 months from date of account opening. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR will apply. This card provides a longer term, but note that there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer or $5, whichever is greater. No annual fee.

2) Wells Fargo Platinum Card – 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of account account opening. (Note this is not the same as starting the countdown from the time of transfer.) Introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening. After that, it is of 5% each credit card balance transfer or $5, whichever is greater. No annual fee.

3) Citi® Double Cash Card – 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. This card provides a longer term, but note that there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer or $5, whichever is greater. You also get 2% cash back on all purchases with 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. No annual fee.

4) First Tech Fed Choice Rewards Card0% Introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers and no balance transfer fee during the first 90 days after account opening. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR will apply. You must be an First Tech Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card, but membership is open to everyone who joins a partner organization for as little as $8 (Financial Fitness Association). No annual fee.

5) Navy Federal Platinum Card0% introductory APR for 12 months after account opening for balance transfers requested within 30 days of account opening. No balance transfer fee. You must be an Navy Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card, and membership eligibility is restricted primarily to military personnel including Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, but includes veterans and family members. No annual fee.

6) ETFCU Platinum Rewards Card0% introductory APR for 6 months after account opening on balance transfers and no balance transfer fee. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR will apply. You must be an Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card, but membership is open to everyone who joins a partner organization for as little as $5 (Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association). 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve: New Benefits July 2020

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 added benefits as of July 2020. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card have been very popular for their generous travel and dining perks, but right now travel and dining aren’t really happening. Chase has wisely adjusted their rewards program for this new environment, in addition to the recently-added Doordash benefits. I will definitely be taking advantage of these new earning perks, although I’m still leaning slightly towards keeping my points to redeem toward a Hyatt hotel vacation one day…

Chase Sapphire Preferred new changes:

  • 3x points at Instacart. Earn 3x total points on all Instacart deliveries and pick-ups—groceries, household items, pharmacy and more—on up to $3,000 in purchases from July 1 to September 30, 2020. No activation required, just use your Sapphire card and you’ll earn points automatically.
  • Up to $50 towards Instacart Express membership. Earn up to $50 in statement credits toward a yearly or monthly Instacart Express membership, which provides unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $35. Just use your Sapphire card to pay for the Express membership fee between July 1 and September 30, 2020 to receive the credit. Membership auto-renewal can be changed or canceled at any time before renewal.
  • 3x points at gas stations. Earn 3x total points on gas station purchases on up to $1,500 in spend from July 1 to September 30, 2020. There’s no activation required—you’ll earn points automatically.
  • 5x points on select streaming. Earn 5x total points on select streaming services on up to $1,500 in spend from July 1 to September 30, 2020. Includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube TV.
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points at 1.25 cents per points towards grocery store, dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and home improvement stores such as Home Depo® and Lowes. (Previously only travel through their portal.) “With the Pay Yourself BackSM tool, your Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for statement credits against purchases in our current categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services), and home improvement stores such as Home Depot® and Lowes®. Just choose an eligible purchase you made in the past 90 days, apply points for all or part of the purchase, and you’ll get a statement credit. Take advantage of this promotion through September 30, 2020.1”

Chase Sapphire Reserve new changes:

  • 5x points at Instacart. Earn 5x total points on all Instacart deliveries and pick-ups—groceries, household items, pharmacy and more—on up to $3,000 in purchases from July 1 to September 30, 2020. No activation required, just use your Sapphire card and you’ll earn points automatically.
  • Up to $50 towards Instacart Express membership. Earn up to $50 in statement credits toward a yearly or monthly Instacart Express membership, which provides unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $35. Just use your Sapphire card to pay for the Express membership fee between July 1 and September 30, 2020 to receive the credit. Membership auto-renewal can be changed or canceled at any time before renewal.
  • 5x points at gas stations. Earn 5x total points on gas station purchases on up to $1,500 in spend from July 1 to September 30, 2020. There’s no activation required—you’ll earn points automatically.
  • 10x points on select streaming. Earn 10x total points on select streaming services on up to $1,500 in spend from July 1 to September 30, 2020. Includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube TV.
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents per points towards grocery store, dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and home improvement stores such as Home Depo® and Lowes. (Previously only travel through their portal.) “With the Pay Yourself BackSM tool, your Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for statement credits against purchases in our current categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services), and home improvement stores such as Home Depot® and Lowes®. Just choose an eligible purchase you made in the past 90 days, apply points for all or part of the purchase, and you’ll get a statement credit. Take advantage of this promotion through September 30, 2020.”
  • $300 annual travel credit counts towards gas station and grocery store purchases. “Now enjoy more flexibility with your annual $300 Travel Credit. From June 1 through December 31, 2020, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count toward earning your Travel Credit. You’ll also earn points on these purchases (and, as always, after your first $300 in travel purchases, you’ll immediately start earning 3x points on travel).”
  • Annual fee renewal $100 discount. Sapphire Reserve annual fee renewals through the end of 2020 will be $450 instead of the normal $550. This is only for renewals, not new cardmembers.
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.

AmEx Shop Small Offer: $5 off $10+ At Small Businesses (Up to $50 Savings Total)

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.

If you have any American Express credit cards, check your “Amex Offers” in either your online account or smartphone app. Most people are seeing the offer “Spend $10+, get $5 back, up to 10 times when you Shop Small by 9/20/20”.

Get a $5 statement credit by using your enrolled Card to make a single purchase of $10+ at a US business location on the Shop Small Map (or Online Directory) by 9/20/20. Limit of 10 statement credits (total of $50).

Before you click on that “Add to Card” button, be sure that you have selected the specific AmEx card that you intend to use for this promotion. Once you add this offer to one of your cards, the offer will disappear from the rest of them. You must enroll by 7/26/20. Here’s a screenshot:

You can find eligible businesses at americanexpress.com/shopsmalloffer or americanexpress.com/shopsmallonline.

Not a bad deal, you can support local small businesses and get up to $50 total back. (A couple with two cards in their own names can get $100 back.) Shouldn’t be too hard to support them ten times over the next 11 weeks, even if once-weekly at a local restaurant for take-out.

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 IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: 125,000 Points Offer

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. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is the IHG hotel co-branded card that includes special IHG perks like a free night award every year you keep the card. Here are the highlights:

  • 125,000 bonus IHG points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Free Night award after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Valid at IHG Hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. An additional free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.
  • 25X points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Platinum Elite status included as a Premier card member. IHG points also don’t expire when you are an Elite member.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $89 annual fee.

Please note the following:

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

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

What can you get with IHG points? The best redemption value for IHG points is for free hotel nights. The other options offer significantly less value. While the points don’t translate directly to a dollar value, but overall you should expect around 0.60 cents of value per point, which would make 140,000 IHG points worth an estimated $840 value. You can perform the calculations for hotels that fit your needs. I tried a bunch of other various combinations and got between 0.5 cents and 0.8 cents per point equivalent value.

(IHG points are worth less than other points like Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but you get a lot more of them with this bonus!)

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

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

IHG points expire after 24 months of inactivity, so if you keep up your activity then you can save up these free nights for later. IHG points also don’t expire if you have Elite status, which comes free as long as you have this card. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also convert to IHG points.

Total of 25x points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG. Here’s how this breaks down: Earn 10X points per $1 spent as an IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember + 10X points per $1 spent from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member + 5X points per $1 spent from IHG® with Platinum Elite Status, a benefit of this card = total of 25X points total at 5,400+ IHG® hotels & resorts.

I would book my IHG nights on this card, but not my everyday purchases on an ongoing basis.

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

I would keep this card if you can use the anniversary night certificate with the 40,000 point maximum value. You should be able to get $89 value out of it as long as you need a hotel night. Stay must be completed within 12 months from date of issue.

Bottom line. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card has a current sign-up bonus boost of 125,000 IHG points. As with most of these co-branded hotel cards, the best value is obtained if you can redeem for IHG hotel nights.

Also see: 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.

5% Cash Back Cards: Amazon, Whole Foods, PayPal, Restaurants – July thru September 2020

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.

5percentbackActivation open for 3rd Quarter 2020. 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 with the 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, 2020 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Walmart
  • PayPal

Enroll each quarter online in your Chase account. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter 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. Currently, the Chase Freedom Flex card is offering new applicants $200 if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months. No annual fee.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it Card

From July 1st through September 30th, 2020 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • PayPal
  • Restaurants

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.

New cardmember bonus details. 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 “cashback match” and “statement credit offer”:

Cashback Match: 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 STATEMENT CREDIT OFFER: Get a $50 Statement Credit 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.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Card – $150 Statement Credit Offer

From July 1st through September 30th, 2020 you can earn 5x rewards on up to $1500 in combined purchases this quarter in the following categories:

  • Travel, including gas. Eligible MCC code categories include qualifying airline, cruise, car rental, hotel, travel agency purchases, gas, tolls, and ride share.

You must register each quarter at ABOCRewards.com or in your online account. Currently, the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is offering a $150 statement credit if you sign up and make $1,200 in purchases in your first 90 days. No foreign transaction fees. No annual fee.

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 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 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.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. This card earns 6% cash back at US supermarkets all year long (on up to $6,000 per year) and. 3% cash back at US gas stations. New: 3% cash back on transit and 6% cash back on Netflix/Spotify/Hulu. I use this card all year long for groceries, 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 $250 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. $95 annual fee. See details in link.

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 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.

Amazon: $20 Promo Credit after $50+ Purchase Using American Express

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.

Here is a new Amazon/AmEx promotion that promises “$20 off at Amazon after you make a single purchase of $50 or more using your American Express card”. However, the promotion has a lot of fine print to note:

  • You must purchase products “sold by Amazon.com” or “sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC” by 7/22/20. Amazon e-gift cards do not qualify.
  • You must spend $50+ on a single purchase using “any eligible American Express Consumer Card”.
  • I don’t see any notice that you qualify for the promotion at Checkout. Update: I tried again and when I do the proper things, I see a tiny “Qualifying offers: Promotion applied” message under my Order Total at Checkout. After the order actually ships, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with the promo credit.
  • The $20 promotional credit can only be used at the Amazon Moments store, which are “curated 4-Star & Above items”.
  • Promotional credit must be redeemed by August 22, 2020.
  • Offer limited to one per customer and account only.

This is one of those promotions where if I need to buy $50 of stuff, I’ll definitely try to qualify by using my consumer American Express card and checking out by the deadline, but I won’t go out of my way. (They should more clearly define what is an “eligible” American Express Consumer card.) I’m not quite sure of the point of this “curation” when it consists of a long list of 1,000+ items in every category. Who is going to shop Amazon this way?

My two “keeper” consumer American Express cards are the Blue Cash Preferred from AmEx (6% cash back on US supermarkets, up to $6,000 annually) and the Amex EveryDay Card (keeps my Membership Rewards points active with no annual fee, helps qualify for various Amazon promotions).

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.