Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – June 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

Updated June 2019. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. If you are not a corporation or LLC, you can apply as a sole proprietorship, with your name as the business name and your Social Security number as the Tax ID number. I did this for years successfully before incorporating my business.

Small business credit cards are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to try out a new card. Below are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for (or have applied for already). Recent changes:

  • Business Delta – limited-time 70k and 80k offers.
  • Business Hawaiian – improved 75k offer.
  • Business American – limited-time 75k offer.
  • Improved Alaska Air Business 40k + BOGO offer.
  • Updated CitiBusiness AA card offer.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for personal cards. Notice that small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: 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 on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 towards travel!) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

  • 75,000 American Airlines miles after $5,000 in purchases in first the 5 months. Limited-time offer. 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.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

  • 70,000 Delta Skymiles after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after a Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/2/19. 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.
  • Honorable mention: 80k offer on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $900+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Consumer Card and go for the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

American Express Plum Card

  • $600 cash back. Earn a $200 statement credit after each $10,000 you spend in purchases, up to $30,000, within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 1.5% early pay discount on all purchases which stacks on top of the bonus above.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $250.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard (Barclaycard)

  • Up to 70,000 Hawaiian miles. Earn 60,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles after a purchase is made on an employee card. See link for details.
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and the Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

United Explorer Business Card

  • 50,000 United miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip).
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card

  • 50,000 bonus miles after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. 50,000 miles is redeemable for $500 towards travel. See link for details.
  • Flat 2X miles per dollar on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • 75,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free night award upon card anniversary (worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points). Earn an additional Free Night Award after spending $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Annual fee is $125.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card (Bank of America)

  • 40,000 Alaska miles + Companion Fare Voucher after $2,000 in purchase within 90 days. See link for details.
  • Companion fare voucher is “Buy one ticket, get one for $99 plus taxes and fees” ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22).
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • $50 annual fee for company, plus $25 per card.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Rates Drop Under 4% = Refinance Check! 7 Million People Can Lower Mortgage Rate By 0.75%+

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

A mortgage broker once told me that he didn’t care if rates were high or low. He just wanted them to change. As long as interest rates move enough in either direction, more mortgages will be created. He’s probably getting a lot of calls right now, as the average 30-year fixed mortgage has dropped down to 3.82% from nearly 4.5% over the last 3 months (source).

The result? Nearly 7 million Americans can now refinance and potentially lower their existing rate by at least 0.75% according to mortgage analytics company Black Knight (source):

According to Axios, the average principal and interest payment would be reduced by $268 per month. Your number may differ, but still that’s every month! If you are looking for opportunities with a high return-on-time-invested, this could be a big one.

Bottom line. If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to compare your existing rate with what is available. Run a quick online quote with a big network like LendingTree, or go local and call up your neighborhood broker. If you can save money, lock in the rate as they can pop back up quickly.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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 – June 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

Updated June 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would personally apply for right now, if I didn’t already have most of them. Notable changes:

  • Barclaycard Arrival+ expired.
  • Hawaiian – improved 60k offer.
  • AmEx Delta Gold – 60k + $50 offer.
  • Capital One Venture – replaced Savor.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – improved 60k offer.

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. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class 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.

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.

Note: 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 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 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. 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • 60,000 Delta Skymiles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after a Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Special referral offer expires 7/2/19. See link for details.
  • 60,000 Skymiles are worth at least $600 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.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard

  • 65,000 American Airlines miles after $4,000 in purchases in first the 4 months. Limited-time offer. 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.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

  • 50,000 miles (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2% cash back on ALL purchases. Plus earn 10X miles at Hotels.com through January 2020.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Southwest Credit Card Bonuses (Companion Pass to Hawaii!)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

Southwest Airlines offers a unique feature called the Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly with free when you book either paid or award flights. If you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year plus the following full calendar year. For example, if you earned it in June 2019, you would have the benefit for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. You can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

Points earned from credit cards count toward that 110,000 point requirement, including sign-up bonuses. You can often get very close to that magic number when you add up the potential miles from these Southwest credit cards:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card

  • 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $69 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier card

  • 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority card

  • 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 7,500 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit.
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list status.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $149 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Value of Rapid Rewards points. Redeeming Southwest points for flights varies in a narrow range, but a reasonable approximation from my experience is $900+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 60,000 points (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) . Importantly, Southwest does NOT have blackout dates or seat restrictions when you redeem with points. This means that Southwest points are much easier to use than a “saver award” on traditional airlines.

Now, if you manage to qualify for the the Companion Pass on every trip that you book with those points, that doubles the potential value of each award redemption. In other words, 110,000 Rapid Rewards, would usually get you $1,700 in Wanna Get Away airfare, but with the Companion Pass you’d get an extra companion ticket for every flight booked.

A backup option is gift card redemptions. You can still redeem 5,000 points for a $50 a Amazon.com or Wal-Mart gift certificate. That makes 60,000 points still worth $600 in Amazon or Walmart gift cards.

Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person. The fees on the other airlines have crept up to $30 per bag, each-way. That adds up.

Our family policy is to not try out a new credit card unless it offers us $500 in total value. Just the free award flights from the points are enough to satisfy that rule, and then you can add on the potential value of the companion tickets.

Card restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are 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:

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

Basically, you can get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest consumer card once every 24 months. You can also get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest business card once every 24 months.

Extending your Companion Pass with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest points on a 1:1 basis. The idea is is to book an award flight with those Southwest points while you have the Companion Pass, thus doubling the value of your Ultimate Rewards points as well.

Bottom line. Right now, you can earn up to 60,000 Southwest points from qualifying for a single credit card sign-up, which in itself can be redeemed for a lot of free Southwest flights. However, if you can qualify for two (one personal and one business), you can very close to the 110,000 points needed for the Southwest Companion pass, which provides a free companion ticket on every flight bought with cash or points for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. Finally, Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person on every flight.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard Review – 60,000 Bonus Miles + Annual Fee Waiver

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard is the official co-branded card with perks like Hawaiian miles for purchases, a free checked bag, and companion ticket discounts. Sometimes it has the Bank of Hawaii logo on it, but in all cases it is issued by Barclaycard. If you like to fly to/from Hawaii, right now there is a limited-time offer of up to 60,000 bonus miles + annual fee waived the first year. There was recently an 75k offer but with a $99 annual fee. Here are the highlights:

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • One-Time 50% Off Companion Discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $100 annual companion ticket discount each year for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Free first checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights book with card (primary cardholder only)
  • 3X miles for every $1 spent on purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • 2X miles per $1 spent on gas, dining, and grocery store purchases, and 1X mile per $1 spent on every other purchase.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $99

ShareMiles. A unique feature of Hawaiian Airlines is that with this card, they allow you to receive Hawaiian miles from other members without a fee. This is handy if your family members have a few miles here and there, as you can now pool them all together to reach an award level.

Domestic award travel discount. These are from their standard award chart to help you value these miles if you don’t have this card:

  • Interisland flights: 7,500 miles one-way (SuperSaver), 10,000 (Saver), and 15,000 (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in Coach: 40,000 miles roundtrip (SuperSaver), 60,000 (Saver), and 80,000+ (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in First Class: 80,000 (Saver), and 160,000+ (Flex)

However, if you do have a Hawaiian Airlines card, then you can receive certain discounts:

  • Interisland flights: 8,500 miles one-way (Saver), and 12,500 (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in Coach: 35,000 miles roundtrip (SuperSaver), 50,000 (Saver), and 60,000+ (Flex)

Value. As you might expect, grabbing a SuperSaver award seat means that you’ll have to book early as there are only a limited amount of such seats available per flight. They often also involve a layover on another island, which adds a few couple hours to your total travel time. Still, a quick search found some flights for 40,000 miles + $11.20 in fees that would have cost $541 with cash, for a value of 1.3 cents per mile. You just can’t be too picky with your flight times.

Bottom line. The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard offers a unique set of perks for regular customers of Hawaiian Airlines, including miles for purchases, free checked bags, and companion ticket discounts. Right now, there is a limited-time offer that can get you 60,000 miles with no annual fee during the first year.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that this offer is very similar to the current Southwest Airlines credit card bonuses now that Southwest also flies to Hawaii both from the mainland and interisland. If you like flying to Hawaii, consider that if you can get enough points to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass with a little help from their credit cards, that means those Rapid Rewards award tickets + free companion tickets work on Hawaii flights as well!

I don’t receive a commission for this card. I will be adding this offer to my ongoing list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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 Interest Rates on Cash – June 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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. Thank you for your support.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for June 2019, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Things are pretty dull this month – mostly small rate drops on CDs due to the inverted yield curve. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much extra interest you’d earn if you are moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 6/2/19.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I prioritize banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Purepoint Financial has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.50% APY with a $10,000 minimum deposit. Marcus Bank 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.35% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Comenity Direct has a 12-month CD at 2.86% APY ($1,500 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 6 months of interest. If you have a military relationship, Navy Federal Credit Union has a 10-month special at 2.75% APY with add-on option.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 2.40% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 2.33%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 2.61% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 2.71% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 2.71% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.69% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 6/1/19, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.35% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.22% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 2.30% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 2.24% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2019 and October 2019 will earn a 1.90% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-October 2019, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend or use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore, either.

  • The best one right now is Orion FCU Premium Checking at 4.00% APY on balances up to $30,000 if you meet make $500+ in direct deposits and 8 debit card “signature” purchases each month. The APY goes down to 0.05% APY and they charge you a $5 monthly fee if you miss out on the requirements. There is also the TAB Bank 4% APY Checking, which I don’t like due its vague terms. Find a local rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements then the rate won’t be as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 1.60% APY.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going.

  • Hanscom Federal Credit Union has a 19-month CD special at 3.00% APY ($1,000 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 6 months of interest. WebBank has a 3-year CD at 3.00% APY ($2,500 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 9 months of interest.
  • 5-year CD rates have been dropping at many banks and credit unions, following the overall interest rate curve. A good rate is now about 3.25% APY, with Connexus Credit Union offering 3.40% APY ($5,000 minimum) on a 5-year CD with an early withdrawal penalty of 12 months of interest. Anyone can join this credit union by joining a partner organization for a $5 fee.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You must now log in to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. Nothing special right now. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 2-year non-callable CD at 2.50% APY and a 5-year non-callable CD at 2.70% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10+ years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard not showing any available 10-year CDs. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity. Matching the overall yield curve, current CD rates do not rise much higher as you extend beyond a 5-year maturity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as long-term bond and thus a hedge against deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 6/1/19, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 2.39%.

All rates were checked as of 6/2/19.



My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Review: $700 Towards Any Travel + Annual Fee Waived First Year

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This offer has expired.

AFB_ARF_card_rRGB_ArrivalPlus_Fee_WE (1)The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card that has just increased their sign-up bonus to 70,000 points (worth $700 towards any travel), and the annual fee is also waived for the first year ($89 annual fee after that). This is the highest total incentive ever for this card. Here are the highlights:

  • Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • NEW – Control Your Card – Instantly secure your accounts by locking your cards with Barclays SecurHold™, plus set transaction limits and block certain purchase categories for you or your authorized users. Available only on the Barclays mobile app.
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Annual fee waived for the first year ($89 annual fee after that).

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

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

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

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

During the first year, the $89 annual fee is waived. However, in future years it comes back. So I would take the first year and see how you like it. You would have to put over $80,000 in purchases on this card annually in order to get the 0.11% advantage to offset the $89 annual fee (after the 1st-year waiver) when compared to a 2% cash back card. That’s a big number.

Another option is that you are allowed to use 8,900 miles to offset the $89 annual fee. (Minimum increment is 2,500 points for $25 against annual fee.) Finally, you can also ask them to downgrade your card into the “plain” Arrival card with no annual fee (and no 2X miles).

Bottom line. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is a travel rewards card that earns double miles on all purchases (even more with the 5% rebate). The sign-up bonus has been raised to 70,000 points – worth $700 in travel statement credits – the highest ever for this card. The $89 annual fee is waived for the first year, but applies in subsequent years. This is a very strong offer as there is a $700 net value over the first year.

Applying for this card can cover a huge chunk of your annual vacation travel budget. I have added this offer to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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 Card Review: 5% Cash Back on Quarterly Categories + $150 Sign-Up Bonus

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The Chase Freedom Card is a popular cash back rewards credit card. What makes it unique is the combination having no annual fee and the ability to get 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Here are the highlights:

  • $150 cash bonus after $500 in purchases within your first 3 months.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
  • New 5% categories every 3 months like Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Select Grocery Stores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
  • No annual fee.

Note the following text regarding the sign-up bonus eligibility:

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.

2019 5% Cash Back Category Calendar

From April 1st through June 30th, 2019 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery Stores (excludes Wal-mart and Target)
  • Home Improvement Stores

Activate each quarter at ChaseBonus.com, via your online account page, or call the number on the back of the card.  The categories usually include at least one big-spending area, and seem to go with the seasons (home improvement for spring, gas and travel for the summer). This is another “keeper” card for me, as I can keep it around and use it when the bonus categories fit my spending needs.

If you’d rather have “set it and forget it” rewards, compare with the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which offers a flat 1.5% cash back on everything (no special 5% categories) and no annual fee.

Synergy with Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. 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.

This turns the 5% cash back categories into 5X Ultimate Rewards categories. That’s like earning 5 United miles per dollar spent, or 5 Hyatt points per dollar spent. With the Sapphire Reserve, 5X Ultimate Rewards = 7.5% back towards travel (flights, hotels) booked through the Chase travel portal.

Bottom line. The Chase Freedom Card is a unique cash back rewards card that lets you earn 5% cash back on select categories each quarter. It’s a little extra work to keep track of things, but it allows me to earn hundreds of dollars in extra cash each year without buying extra stuff I don’t need.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards: New Limited-Time Offers Up to 80,000 Miles

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New limited-time offers that expire 7/2/19. American Express and Delta Airlines have various credit cards that offer special perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and the ability to earn Delta Skymiles with card purchases. However, as you can only get the welcome bonuses once on each of these cards per person per lifetime (each card is considered different!), I recommend waiting until a limited-time offer to maximize your benefit. Here are the latest such offers:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/2/19.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

60,000 miles + $50 statement credit is one of the highest welcome offers for this Gold card that I can remember. This card would be my pick for most people who haven’t had any of these cards before. The standard offer has been about 35,000 miles in the past. Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 60,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $600 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value.

Add in the waived annual fee for the first year, and I will be adding this limited-time offer to the Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer Expires 7/2/2019.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee.

A good reason to pick the Platinum over the others is if you can use that companion certificate (the MQMs are nice too). I used to have the Platinum version when I flew on Delta a lot, and it was easy to get $300+ value out of it every year when my wife and I flew together. The MQM boosts also help if you are trying to reach a certain status level.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access. Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee.

A good reason to pick the Reserve over the others is if you fly Delta enough to get value out of lounge access via the Delta Sky Club membership. I am disappointed that the perk doesn’t include family members or companions on the same itinerary, however. The First Class companion certificate is also pretty cool, but I am personally unwilling to pay cash for a First Class seat, even if the second one is free (plus taxes and fees). You may feel differently.

BUSINESS Card Versions

Gold Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/2/19.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Pros: Limited-time offer bump + Annual fee waived for the first year.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $6,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer Expires 7/2/2019.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee.

Pros: Limited-time offer bump + Main Cabin Companion Certificate.
Cons: $195 Annual fee.

Delta Reserve for BUSINESS Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 7/2/2019.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access. Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee.

Pros: Limited-time offer bump + First Class Companion Certificate + Delta Sky Club access.
Cons: $450 Annual fee.

Every card above also offers 2X miles on direct Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. You get 2 miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta. This includes flights booked on Delta.com, seat upgrades, Sky Club membership or day passes, Delta Vacations packages, or in-flight food/entertainment purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

529 Day (5/29) College Savings Plan Promotions

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5/29 is “National 529 College Savings Plan Day” and certain state plans are offering promotions and/or giveaways. Some end on 5/29 and others end on 5/31, so that’s why I’m posting this early. Many are simply sweepstakes drawings which don’t really excite me, but here are some fixed bonuses:

  • California Scholarshare 529$50 bonus when you open a new ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan account with a $50 contribution and sign up for ongoing automatic contributions of $25 or more per month for a minimum of 6 months between May 28, 2019, at 12:01 a.m. and May 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (PST).
  • Florida PrepaidUp to $50 bonus. “Open a Florida 529 Savings Plan, from now through May 29, and we’ll seed your account with $25. Set up an automatic monthly contribution of $25 or more, and we’ll add another $25.”
  • Idaho Ideal$25 bonus. Open an IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program account online between May 1-29, 2019. It only takes a few minutes! Make an initial contribution of $25 or more and we’ll add $25 to your account.”
  • Nebraska NEST 529$10 bonus. Either start a new (or increase an existing) monthly Automatic Investment Plan (“AIP”) into a beneficiary’s account with $25 or more before May 31, and receive a $10 bonus.

Let me know if I’ve missed any.

My brief take on 529 college savings plans in general. I believe that you should worry about having adequate emergency and retirement savings first. Take care of yourself, so your kids won’t have to take care of you financially in old age. That’s a gift to them as well. However, if you are on track otherwise, a 529 plan can be a handy package of automated savings, automated investment, no annual tax paperwork, and valuable tax savings. For example, setting up an auto-deposit of $50 every month could add up to nearly $20,000 at the end of 18 years (assuming 6% return).

In terms of picking a specific plan, remember to first consider your state-specific tax benefits via the tools from Morningstar, SavingForCollege, or Vanguard. Morningstar estimates that an upfront tax break of at least 5% can make it worth investing in your in-state plan even if it is not otherwise a top plan (assuming that is required to get the tax benefit).

If you don’t have anything compelling available, anyone can open a 529 plan from any state. Also, you can roll over your funds into another 529 plan once every rolling 12 months. (Watch out for tax-benefit recapture if you got a tax break initially.) Here are the Morningstar Top 529 College Savings Plan Rankings for 2018. I personally invest in the Utah My529 Plan for my children due to their many DIY features, but would also recommend the Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan if you want something that is more “set-and-forget”. There are other solid plan options, but if you ask me for a quick recommendation, those are mine.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.

Keep Your Hilton Honors Points From Expiring with a $1 Amazon Purchase

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hiltonhonors0Updated with alternative method. My relative lack of travel these days means that I am constantly keeping miles and points from expiring. Here’s the official policy of Hilton Honors point expiration:

Hilton Honors Points do not expire as long as Members remain active in the program. To keep an account active, Members can stay at one of Hilton’s hotels, or earn or redeem Hilton Honors Points within 12 months. [For Hilton Honors credit card holders, Hilton Honors Points will not expire as long as the Member is a cardholder in good standing.]

You need to earn or spend Hilton points every 12 months, which is on the short side. My usual strategy is to use Hilton Honors Dining to earn a few points at my neighborhood burger joint, but I was running short on time. I found that you can redeem Hilton points at Amazon through their Shop with Points program. The redemption ratio is 500 Hilton Honors points = $1 on Amazon.

First, link your Hilton Honors account to Amazon.

az_hilton

Next simply use as little as 5 Hilton Honors points to offset $0.01 of any purchase. If you were planing on buying something for $25, just pay for $0.01 with Hilton points, and $24.99 on your credit card. You used to be able to simply buy a $1 Amazon gift code for 500 points and call it a day, but that is no longer an option. If you have Amazon Prime and no other needs, you can still buy one of the following items that cost only $1 or less:

Checkout and choose to pay with Hilton Points, where you can specify to only use as little as 5 points ($0.01). You would want to make sure that it is in stock, so they charge you immediately.

Check for the activity to show up in your Hilton.com account the same day as it is shipped:

az_hilton2

Bottom line. If you have Hilton points expiring soon, you can redeem as little as 5 Hilton points for $0.01 off any Amazon purchase and create qualifying activity that posts the same day. If you have Amazon Prime, I share some $1 ideas. Hilton points are more valuable when redeemed for a free hotel night, but in this case it can be worth sacrificing a few to keep the rest alive and active.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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® Rewards Credit Card – 50,000 Miles Offer

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(Updated May 2019: Capital One has added new transfer partners where you can turn their “miles” into real airline miles. The options are somewhat limited, but may be useful for topping off an account to reach an award. Details below.)

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card is their premium travel rewards card with unlimited 2x miles per dollars on all purchases. Right now, there is also a 50,000 miles welcome offer after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Those 50,000 miles can be redeemed as a $500 credit towards any travel purchase made with the card (any airline, any hotel, no blackout dates). learnmore_green Here are the highlights:

The highlights:

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles (equal to $500 in travel) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture.
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card’ by CNBC, 2018.
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs.
  • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that.

What does this all mean? 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. In other words, 50,000 miles = $500 toward travel. That means you can fly on any airline or stay at any hotel, pay with this card, and then offset that purchase using your miles balance later.

This means that earning 2 miles on on every $1 in purchases essentially makes this a 2% back card when applied towards travel.

New: Miles transfer options. Capital One now allows you to transfer your “miles” into select airline miles programs as well, on a 2:1.5 ratio (ex. 20,000 Capital One miles = 15,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles) except where indicated. Here are the 15 transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates (2:1)
  • Etihad
  • EVA
  • Finnair
  • Hainan
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1)
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (2:1)

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.

Bottom line. The combination of a 50,000 one-time bonus and the annual fee waiver for the first year makes this a good time to apply for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card. You’ll also get 2X miles on your purchases, so after you spend your $3,000 within 3 months to get the bonus, you can redeem 50,000 + 6,000 = 56,000 miles for $560 toward travel on any airline or hotel. That could be a nice discount on your next vacation.

Due to the high first-year value, I have added this card to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings 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.