Best Interest Rates on Cash – December 2019

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Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for December 2019, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I track these rates because I keep a full 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and also invest in longer-term CDs (often at lesser-known credit unions) when they yield more than bonds. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 12/9/19.

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 list the top rates as well as competitive rates from banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you with a temporary top rate 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. My eBanc has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $100,000 minimum deposit. Marcus Bank has a 7-month No Penalty CD at 1.90% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.90% APY with a $25,000 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.85% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Quontic Bank has a 12-month CD at 2.25% APY ($1,000 minimum).

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 1.72% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 1.60%. 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 2.06% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 2.16% 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 2.05% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.15% 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 12/6/19, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.52% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.57% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 1.83% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 1.44% 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 November 2019 and April 2020 will earn a 2.22% 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-April 2020, 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 nor 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, but the Orion offer is worth consideration.

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking (my review) has up to 5.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you meet make $500+ in ACH deposits, 12 debit card “signature” purchases, and spend $1,000 on their credit card each month. Orion FCU Premium Checking (my review) has 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000 if you meet make $500+ in direct deposits and 8 debit card “signature” purchases each month. Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements, the rate won’t be nearly as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 0.90% 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. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • You could build a CD ladder at Lafayette Federal Credit Union (LFCU) at 3.03% APY for 5-years, 2.78% APY for 4-year, 2.52% APY for 3-year, 2.27% APY for 2-year, and 2.02% APY for 1-year. As with many credit union deals, this likely won’t last long. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • Andrews FCU still had their special 7-year certificate at 3.05% APY. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. The rates are not competitive right now. 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 early withdrawal penalties. I don’t see anything noteworthy. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique 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 a hedge against prolonged deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 12/9/19, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 2.13%.

All rates were checked as of 12/9/19.

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.

Chase United Explorer Card Review – 65,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer + Annual Fee Waived First Year

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.

New 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, there is also a limited-time offer bump up to 65,000 bonus miles with no annual fee during the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited time offer – Up to 65,000 bonus miles. 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your 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.
  • $0 intro annual fee 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 $30 per person, each way, so that adds up to $120 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, there is a limited-time offer up to 65,000 bonus United miles with no annual fee during the first year.

I’ll be adding this limited-time offer to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers. The United Explorer Business credit card also offering a limited-time offer of up to 100,000 United miles.

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 IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card Review: 60,000 Bonus Points, No Annual Fee

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 Chase IHG Rewards Club Traveler card is the IHG hotel co-branded card that includes special IHG perks but now without an annual fee. Here are the highlights:

  • 60,000 bonus IHG points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 15X points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Fourth Reward Night Free when you redeem points for any 4+ night stay.
  • No annual fee.

This is a new card, but 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 Traveler” card, so this language means that if you have the older and different “Premier” or “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 60,000 IHG points worth an estimated $360 value. Not bad for a no annual fee card. 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 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 Rewards Club puts out a new list of PointBreaks hotels every few months where you can redeem a hotel night for only 5,000 to 15,00 points. There are some nice hotels on the list, but the locations are very specific and few people are sufficiently flexible with their travel to constantly take advantage of these deals. However, you could get value of over 1 cent per IHG point with a hotel on this list.

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. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also convert to IHG points.

Total of 15x points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG. Here’s how this breaks down: Earn 5X points per $1 spent as an IHG® Rewards Club Traveler credit cardmember + 10X points per $1 spent from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member, for a total of 15X points total at any of their 5,400+ IHG® hotels & resorts.

Given my 0.6 cent per IHG point valuation, 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

Upgrade to Premier? Downgrade to Traveler? If you can reliably use a anniversary night certificate (40,000 point maximum value) and get $89 value out of it, you should consider going with the IHG Rewards Premier credit card mentioned on the same application page. The Premier card also adds some other small perks like Platinum Elite status and a TSA Precheck fee credit.

If you already have the Premier card and don’t want those added perks, you may consider asking if you can downgrade to this Traveler now without any annual fee.

Bottom line. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card now comes with no annual fee and a current sign-up bonus boost of 60,000 IHG points. As with most of these co-branded 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 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 Spark Cash for Business: $2,000 Bonus Cash Limited-Time Offer

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.

Limited-time offer. The Capital One Spark Cash for Business is a rewards business card offering a big early spend bonus offer in addition to ongoing 2% cash back rewards. They’ve just added a limited-time offer for businesses with sizable spending, boosting the total bonus value to $2,000. Here are the highlights:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • Up to $2,000 cash bonus. First, earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. In addition, you can earn another $1,500 cash bonus if you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. This is a limited-time offer.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee after that.
  • Cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Free additional employee cards.

Consider that if you meet the $5,000 spending requirement within 3 months, you will end up with $500 + $100 from 2% cash back – that’s $600 on $5,000 spending (12% cash back). If you do meet the $50,000 spending requirement, you’ll earn the $2,000 cash bonus from the limited-time offer and 2% cash back for another $1,000. That is a total of $3,000, amounting to a rate of 6% cash back on $50,000.

Note that “Existing or previous Accountholders may not be eligible for this one-time bonus.” For comparison, there is also a Spark Select for Business and Spark Classic that are different cards with lower sign-up bonuses but no annual fee.

The 2% cash back for all purchases is a strong rewards structure, and you get no annual fee during the first year as well. From the second year onward, you’ll have to weigh that against the $95 annual fee after the first year. The math says that you would have to spend more than $19,000 every year ($1,583 a month) to make the 2% back and $95 annual fee (Spark Cash) pay out more rewards than 1.5% cash back and no annual fee (Spark Cash Select).

Here is some info taken from the Terms and Conditions regarding rewards cash back redemptions:

How do I redeem my rewards?
You can get your cash back upon request in the form of a statement credit or a check. You can also set up an automatic redemption preference; options include: (1) at a set time each calendar year or (2) when a specific threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200) has been reached. Just go online to capitalone.com or contact our Rewards Center. You can also redeem for credits for previous purchases, gift cards, and more. Rates for these redemption options may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Alternatively, the Capital One Spark® Miles for Business has a limited-time offer now up to 200,000 miles – redeemable for $2,000 statement credit towards travel, broken down into 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and then another 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 months.

The travel can be booked directly through airlines and hotels, and there are no blackout dates or award seat limits to worry about. $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee after that. No foreign transaction fees. Similar to the offer above, the Spark Miles offers 2 miles per dollar with the $95 annual fee but there is also a Spark Miles Select for Business that offers 1.5 miles per dollar with no annual fee.

Mileage 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). Here are the 12 transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • EVA
  • Finnair
  • Hainan
  • Qantas
  • Qatar

Unless you know how to leverage one of these international airline miles programs, I would prefer earning cash rewards over the “miles”, since these Capital One “miles” only get their maximum value when redeemed against a travel purchase.

If you are looking for a comparison with other strong business cards, check out my updated list of Top 10 Best Small Business 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.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards: New Limited-Time 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. Thank you for your support.

Updated. 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

  • 30,000 bonus Skymiles after $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months AND a $50 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase within your first 3 months.
  • 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 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. That means 30,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $300 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • 35,000 bonus Skymiles and 5,000 Medallion(R) Qualification Miles (MQMs) after $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months AND a $100 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase within your first 3 months.
  • 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.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 75,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $750 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value. Plus the $100 statement credit and minus the $195 annual fee, that makes this offer a $650 estimated net value in the first year, even ignoring the status miles, free companion certificate (which I have used many times), and free checked bags.

BUSINESS Card Versions

Gold Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 30,000 bonus Skymiles after $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months AND a $50 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase within your first 3 months.
  • 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.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 35,000 bonus Skymiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $1,000 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.
  • 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. ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Delta Reserve for BUSINESS Credit Card

  • 40,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
  • Limited-time offer: Additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit.
  • 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. ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

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.

Starting January 30th, 2020, there will be some changes to the Delta cards. You can review the planned changes here. For the Gold Delta card, the notable changes are:

  • 2X miles at restaurants starting 1/30/20.
  • 2X miles at U.S. supermarkets starting 1/30/20.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit for future travel after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year starting 1/30/20.
  • If you earn an MQD Waiver in 2019, it will still count toward your 2020 Medallion® Status. Starting January 1, 2020, you can no longer earn an MQD waiver with the Delta Gold Card.
  • Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer be able to purchase discounted Delta Sky Club access with the Delta Gold Card.
  • Effective January 30, 2020, the annual fee will increase from $95 to $99 (charged at account opening or your Card’s renewal date).

I will still be adding the Delta Gold Skymiles limited-time offer with the 60k bonus miles and annual fee waiver to my list of the 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.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Review: 75,000 Bonus Points

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 Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card emerged after 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 there is a offer of 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points. Here are the highlights:

  • 75,000 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.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,700 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to 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 long list of 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 been refreshed with a new offer of 75,000 bonus Marriott points. 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 offset the annual fee.

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 Toward 2019/2020 Companion Pass

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.

New companion pass rules. 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 (including to Hawaii!). If you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in 2019, you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020. You can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

Change for 2020: Starting on 1/1/2020, you must earn 125,000 miles (or 100 one-way flights) within a calendar year to earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021. In addition, Southwest Rapid Rewards points no longer expire as of 10/17/19.

Points earned from credit cards count toward that 110,000/125,000 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. Earn 40,000 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. Earn 40,000 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 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card

  • 70,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Inflight WiFi Credits of up to 365 x $8 credits.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre?® Fee credit in the form of a statement credit of up to $100 every four years.
  • $199 annual fee.

Value of Rapid Rewards points. Redeeming Southwest points for flights varies in a narrow range, but a very reasonable approximation from my experience is 1.5 cents in Wanna Get Away airfare in per point. That works out to $600+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 40,000 points or $900+ in Wanna Get Away airfare for 60,000 points or $1,200+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 80,000 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 70,000 Southwest points from qualifying for a single credit card sign-up, which in itself can be redeemed for a lot of free Southwest flights (including to Hawaii!). However, if you can qualify for two (one personal and one business), you can surpass the 110,000 (2019) or 125,000 (2020) 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 the current year and all of the next year. Finally, Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person on every flight.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers and also the Top 10 Best Business Card 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.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card Review: 100,000 Point Bonus

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 with new Reward Flight Statement Credit. The British Airways Visa Signature Card is a co-branded travel card (issued by Chase) has brought back their bonus offer of up to 100,000 total Avios points with a split spending hurdle. Here are the highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 50,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • NEW: Reward flight statement credit. Get up to $100 (economy) to $200 (business/first) statement credit against taxes and fees when you book an award flight with Avios. Up to 3x per calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

The Avios reward chart is now based on how far you want to travel in terms of miles. So what can you do with all those points?

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

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii using only 26,000 Avios points roundtrip. I ran a quote in Fall and it cost $659 broken down to $621 fare and only $38 in taxes. So in this case you could save $621 in exchange for 26,000 points, which is 2.4 cents per point. You can also do JFK to LAX for 25k points roundtrip. (Avios chart updated 5/30/19.)
  • Shorter-distance flights can be a good deal as well. Roundtrip from Chicago to New York City is only 18,000 Avios points + about $30 in taxes. Charlotte, NC to New York City is only 12,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Las Vegas is also 12,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon is 18,000 Avios roundtrip.

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

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

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

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

Reward flight statement credit. Pay for your reward flight taxes and fees using your Chase British Airways card and you will automatically receive a statement credit of $100 for an economy or premium economy booking or $200 for a business or first class booking. You can receive one statement credit per reservation, up to 3 times per calendar year ($600 total limit per calendar year). Details here.

Note the following language:

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

Bottom line. The British Airways Visa credit card has a new bonus structure of up to 100,000 Avios, split into two spending requirements for 50,000 each. 100,000 Avios is nearly enough for 4 economy tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii (or West Coast to NYC) roundtrip on American or Alaska Airlines (104,000 Avios). In addition, for every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll also earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

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.

American Express Business Platinum Card Review: 75,000 Bonus Points

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 Business Platinum® Card from American Express is the ultra-premium AmEx business card with a big annual fee and a very long list of perks, including the best airline lounge access program (Delta Sky Club + their own Centurion lounges) and a year of WeWork co-working space membership. Here are the details:

  • 75,000 Membership Rewards points. Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com.
  • 1.5X points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. (Up to 1 million additional points per year.) 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Get 35% back when you redeem points for flights. Use their “Pay with Points” option for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year. See details below.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a calendar year in baggage fees and more at one airline that you pick.
  • $100 Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Free Unlimited Boingo WiFi access + 10 Free Gogo inflight internet passes annually.
  • NEW – Free year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork ($2,700 value). With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities and 22+ countries. This includes access to open workspace and premium amenities, including Wi-Fi, phone booths, and refreshments, like coffee, tea, and fruit water. Enroll by 12/31/2019.
  • NEW – $200 in statement credits at Dell (up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell). Details here.
  • $595 annual fee.

Note the following language: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” You can only get the welcome offer on the Platinum Business AmEx once time per lifetime, so it is best to apply during a limited-time offer.

American Express Global Lounge Collection. Some other travel cards give you Priority Pass Select, which is nice but not as inclusive as the Platinum card’s list of 1,200+ airport lounges across 130 countries. Domestically, you get Delta Skyclub access (an individual Skyclub membership costs $495 from Delta alone) as well as the new Centurion Lounge network built specifically for American Express cardholders.

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

Other benefits:

  • Automatic Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott) Gold status.
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.

35% Airline Bonus details. Let’s say your selected airline is Delta, and you want to buy a couple economy Delta tickets for $1,000 using their Pay with Points features. This means that $1,000 ticket booked through AmEx Travel will only cost you 65,000 Membership Rewards points net (100,000 points and then 35,000 point rebated back). This improves the 1 cent per point value to 1.54 cents per point value. This means that 75,000 Membership Rewards points can be worth $1,155 in airfare on your selected airline.

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

Doing some math with the perks vs. annual fee. Spending $25,000 within 3 months is a relatively high spending hurdle. (Given the 5X bonus category, it would be perfect if you needed to book some business flights/hotels soon. You could also charge your income taxes and pay the 1.87% fee, hopefully offset by the 1.5X points on a $5,000+ purchase.) If you can swing that, then this card can offer a lot of value in a year.

In the perks, column, you would have the 75,000 Membership Rewards points worth $1,155 towards airfare (see above). WeWork Global co-working space membership (they say $2,700 value, but even the most basic WeWork membership runs $45/month). The best lounge access program, with the included Delta Sky Club membership costing $495 on its own. $200 annual airline fee credit. $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit. Unlimited Boingo WiFi access + 10 Free Gogo inflight internet passes annually. All this against a $595 annual fee.

Bottom line. The Business Platinum Card from American Express card tries to make your air travel more pleasant by addressing things like baggage fees, economy plus upgrade fees, TSA PreCheck security lines, Global Entry customs lines, inflight WiFi, free snacks and drinks at airline lounges, and finding a work center (WeWork membership).

I will be adding this limited-time offer to my list of the Top 10 Best Business Card 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 IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: 80,000 Bonus Points Offer

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. 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:

  • 80,000 bonus IHG points after $2,000 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.
  • Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 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.
  • 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.

This is a relatively new card, but 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 80,000 IHG points worth an estimated $480 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 Rewards Club puts out a new list of PointBreaks hotels every few months where you can redeem a hotel night for only 5,000 to 15,00 points. There are some nice hotels on the list, but the locations are very specific and few people are sufficiently flexible with their travel to constantly take advantage of these deals. However, you could get value of over 1 cent per IHG point with a hotel on this list.

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. 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 consider keeping 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 80,000 IHG points. As with most of these co-branded 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 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.

United Explorer Business Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer

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 with 100k limited-time offer. The United Explorer Business Card is the co-branded business credit card between Chase and United Airlines, and it offers unique perks for regular United customers including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Right now, there is also a limited-time offer of up to 100,000 bonus United miles for high spenders:

  • 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Additional 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $25,000 total within the first 6 months your account is open.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Two one-time United Club passes each year ($100+ value)
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Priority boarding for you and companions on the same reservation on United-operated flights.
  • 2X miles at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores.
  • 2X miles on United purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 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.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • $0 intro annual fee 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.

However, you CAN get this card if you had the consumer version of the United Explorer in the past 24 months (or have one now).

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or other one-person business owners. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Note that Chase has an unofficial rule that they will most likely deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

The good news is that small business cards from Chase hardly ever show up on personal credit reports, so getting this card in itself won’t affect your future 5/24 eligibility. This it makes a “free” application if you are already eligible.

This card is very focused on rewarding you for being a United customer. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so that this how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on.

Expanded award 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 it is actually a significant difference. 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 many other 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 Business card offers valuable 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, there is a 100,000 mile limited-time offer.

I have added this card to the Top 10 Best Small Business 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.

Hilton American Express Cards Limited-Time Offers – Up to 125,000 Hilton Points Each

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.

hiltonamex18

Hilton Hotels has two American Express consumer cards, a no annual fee and a $95 annual fee version (with more perks of course). There is also a business card version. Each person can only get one welcome offer, per card in your entire lifetime, so it’s best to apply during one of these temporary bump-ups. (You could get all three of these welcome offers separately, but only one per card per person per lifetime.)

What are Hilton Honor points worth? The best value is from booking free hotel nights or using their “Points & Money” option where you pay with a combination of Hilton points and cash. Hilton has some really nice properties, but the value varies from hotel to hotel. I just ran a search and for the same 60,000 Hilton points, I could book rooms that cost $320 or $532 cash. I’ve seen some valuations around 0.6 cents per point, which I think is fair on average, but I would be more conservative at 0.5 cents a point. That would make 90,000 points = $450 value and 130,000 points = $650 value towards Hilton hotel stays.

The good part of Hilton points is that they have so many different hotel brands, from business-class DoubleTree to luxury Waldorf Astoria. Hilton also lets you transfer and pool points with other with other family or household members. As long as you keep them active (once every 12 months), I do like to keep some around. These credit cards are good at creating activity, but here’s another tip on how to keep Hilton points active.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after $2,000 in purchases within first 3 months.
  • Earn an additional Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Honors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • Spend $40,000 in a calendar year on this card and get Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

(This offer is for first-time Surpass cardmembers only, and not eligible for those who previously had an Ascend Card.)

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 7X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Honors Silver status (5th standard reward night free, 2 bottles of water in your room).
  • Spend $20,000 in a calendar year on this card and get Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on Select Business & Travel Purchases (ex. U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines)
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free upgrade to Honors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bottom line. Hilton American Express cards offer regular Hilton customers a good opportunity to earn additional points towards free Hilton hotel stays as well as additional perks like status upgrades. The best time to apply for a Hilton co-branded American Express card is during a limited-time increase to their welcome offers. This is because American Express has changed their policy to only allow each person to get a welcome bonus once per card per lifetime.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

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