Chase United Explorer Card Review – 60,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer

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New limited-time offer. The United Explorer Card is a co-branded Chase 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 60,000 bonus miles with no annual fee during the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited time offer – Up to 60,000 bonus miles. 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $8,000 total on purchases in 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.
  • 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. 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 quadrupling that is how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. 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 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 there is actually a 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 60,000 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.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express – 60,000 Miles + $50 Statement Credit Referral Offer

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The Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card has a limited-time offer if you are referred. Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Limited Time Offer Ends 05/01/2019.
  • 60,000 Skymiles is worth $600 in Delta airfare minimum. With this card, you get 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.
  • First checked bag free. Delta now charges $30 for the first checked bag, each way. That means this perk is worth $60 per person each roundtrip. For a family of four, this perk is worth $240 per person each roundtrip.
  • Enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year, then $95.

Here is my link for the Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express referral offer. Thanks if you use it.

I will be adding this limited-time offer to the Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Improved Bonus: 60,000 Points = $750 In Travel, 2X Points on Travel and Dining

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Update with improved 60k offer. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a premium travel rewards credit card, now with an improved offer that is the best publicly-available bonus in years. The card earns points that can be redeemed for cash, travel credits, or transferred to airline miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. No blackout dates. As long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named “Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption” – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, June 2018.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • $95 annual fee.

(Quick background: The previous offer was 50,000 bonus points with the annual fee waived during the first year. This one is 60,000 bonus points and a $95 annual fee. Since an extra 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth at least 1.25 cents per point towards travel, that’s still a net $30 minimum improvement with a conservative estimate. Now, I just did an instant transfer to Hyatt last week that got me 2 cents per point value, which shows that the real value of Ultimate Rewards points is in its flexibility in transferring to places like United miles and Hyatt points as needed to reach a free night or flight.)

Note the following text:

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

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

Ultimate Rewards points. This card offers a special 25% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Ultimate Rewards travel website. For example, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards = $750 in travel. Similar to Expedia or Travelocity, you can book flights on most major airlines and hotel chains. This makes it much more flexible to spend your points. You can even buy something more expensive and pay the difference.

If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, you can transfer points into this card account and take advantage of the this higher premium. In other words, your existing Ultimate Rewards points balance could be increased in value by getting this card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is the “ultra-premium” rewards card that offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

Prefer airline and/or hotel points? This card also allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into hotel and/or airline miles. Transfer to United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, and Marriott Hotels at a ratio of 1 Ultimate Rewards point = 1 mile/hotel point. Miles redemption continue to offer great value for savvy travelers, especially for last-minute travel and business class seats. I personally use the transfers to “top off” my account to reach a free coach ticket or free hotel night when I don’t have enough points otherwise. My favorite options are United miles, Southwest miles, and Hyatt hotel points. In this manner, I can often get close to 2 cents per point value.

Cash redemptions are a simple and easy option, but the conversion is a straight 100 points = $1.

Sharing points. Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferable to other accounts like family members, as long as they have their own Chase card with Ultimate Rewards as an authorized user (free with Chase Freedom). This way, you can pool points together for transfers and redemptions if you like.

Additional card benefits:

  • Premium, dedicated customer service line with a live person, 24/7. A real person picks up after a couple rings, no phone trees or typing those darn 16 digits over and over. You can use this feature to redeem cash rewards over the phone for free, although booking rewards tickets over the phone costs $20 (doing so online is free).
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver insurance. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Most other cards only offer secondary coverage that kicks in only after the deductible of your individual insurance policy is used.
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket

Bottom line. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus, 2X points on Dining/Travel, and a $95 annual fee. This card has become quite popular because it is easy on both the earning and redeeming of rewards. Earning double miles on travel and restaurants is a useful category where a lot of people spend a lot of money (that’s not housing or student loans). If you can find a good use for airline miles, you can transfer them over. If you can’t, the 1.25 cent per point value on travel redemptions is easy to use. This is one of the few cards where I think paying the annual fee is worth it.

You can only get one Sapphire bonus every 48 months, so compare with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

I will be updating this improved offer on my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

United Explorer Business Card Review – 50,000 Bonus Miles

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The United Explorer Business Card is the co-branded business credit card between Chase and United Airlines. This card offers unique perks for regular United customers including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 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.
  • 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.

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

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards

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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.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 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).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 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. The annual fee is waived for the first year.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • EXPIRED: This limited-time offer has expired.
  • 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.

In my opinion, a good reason to pick the Platinum over the others is if you can use that companion certificate. 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

  • EXPIRED: This limited-time offer has expired.
  • 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.

In my opinion, the main reason to pick the Reserve over the others is if you fly Delta a lot and get enough 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.

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 our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: Up to 120,000 Bonus Points

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The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is the IHG hotel co-branded card with a new, improved bonus offer of up to 120,000 IHG points. Here are the highlights:

  • Up to 120,000 total bonus points: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening plus an additional 40,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening.
  • 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. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain 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 should mean 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. This would place 80,000 IHG points at a $480 value and IHG points at a $720 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 stands for Intercontinental Hotel Group which has over 5,000 hotels including the following brands:

  • Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza
  • 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.

Ongoing rewards structure. I might book my IHG nights on this card, but not my everyday purchases on an ongoing basis. Remember that IHG points are worth less than other points like Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

  • 10 IHG points total per $1 spent at IHG properties.
  • 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 of up to 120,000 total IHG points. As with most of these co-branded cards, the best value is obtained by regular IHG hotel customers. Even after the annual fee, the total first-year value of this card is still over $630 if you value IHG points at 0.6 cents per point. (Even more if you can use the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck $100 credit.)

I will be adding this new, improved offer to the Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

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

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The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is the rebranded Chase/Marriott card after the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card). This card offers unique perks for regular Marriott customers, and right now there is a limited-time offer bump to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (a 25k increase to their previous 75k offer). Here are the highlights:

  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • An 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 lot of long card names, but note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include Marriott business cards. (See my Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review.) This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer) if you do apply.

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

Here’s the new award chart information:

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

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

Finally, Marriott points are also convertible to gift cards, but it takes 60,000 points to redeem for a $200 gift card for Marriott or retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Nordstrom. That ratio isn’t all that great so you’ll definitely get the most value via hotel night redemptions or airline miles transfer.

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

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

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

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is the re-branded business credit card of the Marriott Bonvoy program (formed after the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest). This card offers unique perks for Marriott customers, but now through 4/24/19, there is a limited-time offer bump to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited time offer: 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. Offer ends 4/24/19.
  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. purchases on shipping, and wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. service providers.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Earn an additional Free Night Award after spending $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel.
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status. Additionally, earn Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year.
  • Elite Night Credit. Each calendar year you can receive credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.
  • Annual fee is $125.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product or The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had the Marriott BonvoyTM Premier Business from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott BonvoyTM Premier from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new cardmember bonus in the last 24 months on the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott BonvoyTM Premier Plus from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase.

This is more specific than before, note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include consumer cards. American Express usually gives you a pop-up warning during the application process if you are ineligible based on their records. This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer and waived annual fee) when you do apply.

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.

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 or even $125 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 Business American Express Card is the new co-branded business card between Marriott/SPG and American Express. Right now there is a limited-time offer. You also get a Free Night Award at card anniversary, which can be worth much more than the annual fee.

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

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Southwest Companion Pass: Chase Southwest Credit Card Bonuses

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Southwest now flies to Hawaii! 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 February 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. After you earn the required 110,000 Rapid Rewards, redeeming them for flight values varies in a narrow range, but a reasonable approximation from my experience is $1,700 in Wanna Get Away airfare (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.

Another option to consider is gift card redemptions. You can still redeem 5,000 points for a $50 a Amazon.com or Wal-Mart gift certificate. That makes 50,000 points still worth $500 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 100,000 Southwest points from qualifying for just two credit card sign-up bonuses (one personal and one business), which is only 10,000 points short of qualifying for the Southwest Companion pass (and a lot of free Southwest flights!). A Companion Pass earned now would get you a free companion ticket on every flight bought with cash or points for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. Plus, Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Capital One Spark Cash for Business: Unlimited 2% Cash Back + $500 Cash Bonus

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The Capital One Spark Cash for Business is a rewards business card offering a $500 cash bonus in addition to ongoing 2% cash back rewards. Here are the highlights:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • One-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • $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 $4,500 spending requirement within 3 months, you will end up with $500 + $90 from 2% cash back – that’s $590 on $4,500 spending (13.1% cash back).

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 offer for 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. 50,000 miles are redeemable for a $500 statement credit towards travel. 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.

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 our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

Chase Bank Bonus: $600 Total Checking + Savings, 60,000 Point Upgrade to Sapphire Banking

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Chase Bank has updated banking promotions for new customers without a Chase Bank account (closed more than 90 days ago and haven’t gotten a bonus in the last 2 years). The first bonus is for their Total Checking and Savings accounts, and if you satisfy that and have a Sapphire credit card, you can upgrade to the Sapphire Banking with higher requirements.

  • Up to $600 for opening a new Total Checking + Savings account. You must move over a direct deposit on the new checking account ($300 bonus), and/or deposit and maintain $15,000 in the savings account for 90 days ($200). Do both, and get another $100, for $600 total. The easiest way to avoid monthly fee is to keep $1,500 in Total Checking and $300 in Savings.
  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for upgrading to a Chase Sapphire bank account. Got a Chase bank account and a Sapphire credit card? They want your business, so take a look at their upgrade offer to Sapphire Banking. You must move over $75,000 in assets (bank deposits or securities) to Chase Bank or Chase You Invest brokerage. You can simply move over some existing stocks, ETFs, or mutual funds via ACAT transfer and your tax cost basis should transfer. Alternatively, you could buy US Treasury bills in the brokerage account as an alternative to Chase Bank’s sad interest rates. You need to also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

Together, this could be up to $1,500 total value. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the 60,000 points are worth $900 towards travel (or 60,000 airline miles). $900 airfare/hotel/car rental value + $600 cash = $1,500. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the 60,000 points are worth $750 towards travel (or 60,000 airline miles).

Here are previous posts on the Chase Total Checking bonus and Chase Sapphire Banking bonus with more details.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”

American Express Gold Card: 40,000 Bonus Points + $120 Dining Credit + $100 Airline Fee Credit

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The refreshed American Express Gold Card is trying to get back to being the “gold standard” with some new perks along with a 40,000 bonus point offer if you apply via a referral link (that’s mine). Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Up to $120 dining credit at Grubhub, Seamless, and more. Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 airline fee credit. Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your AmEx Gold card. Examples are checked baggage fees and inflight meals.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 4X points at US restaurants.
  • 4X points at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year.
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $250 annual fee. Additional cards (authorized users) are free.

Note the following:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline and hotel programs (there are more, this is just a selection):

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
  • Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
  • British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
  • FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Rewards (Starwood)

The bonus math depends on a few factors. I’m going to be conservative and value the 40,000 Membership Rewards points at $400. (There are a lot of mileage transfer bonuses so you could value them much higher.) Spending $10 a month at Grubhub and Seamless will depend on if you’ve become addicted to these hyper-convenient food delivery apps. The airline fee credit will depend on how much you travel, but checked bag fees are everywhere (and rising). Minus the $250 annual fee. If you max out all the perks, the first year value is $370 without taking into account the 4X and 3X bonus categories. I don’t think it’s a perfect fit for me, but worth a look.

Bottom line. The new American Express Gold Card has a bunch of new features more targeted at the young, urban traveler including up to $120 in Grubhub and Seamless credits and $100 in airline fee credits. There is also a 40,000 bonus point offer if you apply via a referral link.

“My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of selected credit card products. My Money Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and the content has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for supporting this independent site.”