American Express

New Hilton Promo – Earn Up To 7500 Bonus Points in Two Stays

Hilton has a new promotion that will give you 7500 points after two stays. While Hilton points are usually valued somewhere in the .4 cents range, every little bit certainly counts. And don’t forget that you can pool Hilton points with up to ten friends and family members which help them stretch even farther.

The Scoop

After you register, earn 2500 bonus points after your first stay. After your second stay you’ll earn 5000 bonus points.

Your stays must be completed between the time you register and January 31, 2020. Note that this excludes stays that are otherwise ineligible to accrue Hilton points. That includes some third-party bookings, like many online travel agencies including Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. Corporate travel agency bookings are allowed.

Since these are bonus points they won’t count toward your qualification for elite status. But with Hilton, the best way to achieve status is by owning their credit card. Hilton offers three card through American Express and right now all three have great signup offers.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

This no-fee card currently has a signup bonus of 90,000 Hilton points once you spend $2000 on the card within the first three months after approval. This signup bonus ends August 28, 2019. You’ll earn 7x points at hotels in the Hilton portfolio, 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations and 3x points everywhere else. This card is one of the few no-fee cards that does not have foreign transaction fees. You’ll get Silver status just for holding the card and you’ll be upgraded to Gold status each year you spend $20,000 on the card.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

With a $95 annual fee, this is one of the best deals in travel. Not only does this card have a great signup bonus of 130,000 points after spending $4000 within the first four months after approval, you automatically earn Gold status just for owning the card. Gold status is enough to get you free breakfast and premium internet and is generally considered to be the best mid-level hotel status out there. Last year I scored an upgrade to a 2-room suite in Germany because the hotel was at capacity and having Gold status earned me the bump up. Spend $40,000 on the card and get upgraded to Diamond status through the end of the following calendar year. The signup bonus ends August 28, 2019. With the Surpass card you’ll earn 12x points at Hilton properties, 6x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations and 3x points everywhere else.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

This is a premium card with a $450 annual fee and a signup bonus of 150,000 points after spending $4000 in the first three months after approval. It also gives the cardholder Diamond status, Hilton’s top level. Enjoy one weekend night reward each year after renewal and an additional night for each $60,000 in spend. You also get a $250 statement credit each year of card membership good for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts. With the Aspire card you’ll earn 14x points at Hilton properties, 7x points on purchases made directly with airlines or hotels and US restaurants and 3x points everywhere else.

If one of these cards looks right for you I’ll be happy to refer you. Just drop me a line at 2BTraveling@gmail.com.

Categories: American Express, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Hilton Amex, Hilton Aspire, Hilton Surpass | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Amex Gold Card Changes Earning Rate When Dining Outside the US

In my last post I detailed which cards I used for each bonus category. I stated that I used the Amex Gold card for the dining category because it earns 4x Membership Rewards points. But Amex only offers the 4x points for US restaurants. When abroad I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve for its 3x Ultimate Rewards points.

Effective June 6th (Thursday), Amex will offer the 4x Membership Rewards points for non-US restaurants as well. Since there are no foreign transaction fees on the Amex Gold card, that’s a great deal!

But I will continue to use my Sapphire Reserve outside the US. Visa has a far greater acceptance rate worldwide than Amex. And the Sapphire Reserve also earns 3x points on other travel categories whereas the Amex Gold only offers bonus points on travel purchases made through the Amex portal. When I’m traveling I prefer to have one card for most of my purchases (hotel-specific cards notwithstanding) so I’ll continue to boost my UR balance with my Sapphire Reserve and will leave my Amex Gold at home.

How will the Amex 4x points on dining worldwide affect your credit card strategy when traveling?

Categories: American Express, Chase, Credit Cards, Premier Rewards Gold Card, Sapphire Reserve | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Wow! 100K Hilton Bonus Points on No-Fee Card

For a limited time American Express is offering an increased sign-up bonus for the no-fee Hilton Honors credit card. The standard offer is 60K points but the increased offer is 100K points after spending just $1000 in the first three months after approval. The card earn 7x points at Hilton properties, 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations and 3x points everywhere else. Unlike many no-fee cards, this card has no foreign transaction fees – though Amex is not as accepted worldwide as Visa and Mastercard.

No referral required on this one! To take advantage of this offer, get started HERE.

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Amex Gold Card Gets an Upgrade

American Express has long had two premier cards: the Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card, which has a $195 fee, and the Platinum card, which carries a $450 fee. Both cards feature travel credits that essentially lower their annual fees. But as time has gone on other card issuers have stepped up their games and the PRG has largely been passed by.

But this week Amex introduced a redesigned version, now called the American Express Gold Card, and though the annual fee has increased, so have the benefits.

If you already have the PRG or have ever had it, you’re not eligible for the sign-up bonus for the new Gold Card but that’s not all bad.

If you’re new to this card, it has a relatively modest 25K point sign-up bonus but you only have to spend $2000 in the first three months. Benefits for this new card include:

You can still enjoy these benefits:

The $250 annual fee isn’t waived the first year but there are credits to help offset that cost:

  • A $100 airline fee credit each year with your selected airline. This cannot be used on airline tickets but is great for checked bag fees, etc.
  • A $10 dining credit each month good for Grubhub, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Seamless.
  • If you book a hotel that’s part of the Hotel Collection you can receive a $75 hotel credit

If you’re new to this card, Amex will also give you 20% back on purchases at US restaurants during the first three months, up to $100. So if you’re like me and dine out a lot that’s an easy $100 back for spending $500 in US restaurants in 3 months.

But since I currently have the PRG I’m not eligible for the sign-up bonus. I will still get the 4x points at US restaurants and supermarkets and I can enroll for the dining credit. My annual fee will be prorated based on my anniversary date.

The card does lose its 2x points at Gas Stations benefit but I can get 2x MR points using my Blue Cash for Business card or 3x Thank You points by using my Citi Premier card.

If you want a more in-depth analysis, including a worksheet to see if this card is right for you, check out Frequent Miler’s post Is 4X worth $250 per year?

As for me, I’ve been using my Chase Sapphire Reserve for dining as it earns me 3x points and I’ll continue to use that for overseas restaurants as the new Gold card is only earns the bonus points for US restaurants. But I will definitely be shifting more of my purchases to the Gold card in the future.

Categories: American Express, Credit Cards, Premier Rewards Gold Card | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hilton Amex 100K Sign-Up Bonus is Back!

Every so often Amex offers a spectacular bonus for signing up for the Hilton Surpass Amex Card and now is one of those times. Sign up now, spend $3000 in purchases within the first three months after approval and earn a whopping 100,000 Hilton Honors points. Plus you earn a free weekend night award on the first year of membership.

This card earns 12x points for charges at participating hotels in the Hilton Portfolio like Hilton, DoubleTree, Hampton Inn, etc. There’s also a 6x bonus on spend at grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations.

While Hilton may charge a lot of Honors points for their award rooms, one nice thing is that you can redeem points for non-standard rooms.  For example, in 2015 I redeemed a boatload of points for what was essentially a 2 BR condo in Fiji.  Many programs only allow point redemptions for standard rooms or suites with only a single bed but we were able to get a room with a king + two twins.

View from the balcony of our unit at the Hilton Fiji

Just by holding this card you get Hilton Gold status and if you spend $40,000 on the card in a year you’ll earn Diamond Status though it’s not recommended to chase Diamond status this way as the benefits aren’t that much better unless you’re staying at Hiltons a lot.

This card does come with a $75 annual fee and it does incur foreign transaction fees so it’s not great for international travel.

Remember that at the present time Amex is limiting bonuses to once per lifetime for a given product so if you’ve already received the bonus for this card, you’re not eligible for it again.

If you’d like to get this card, feel free to use my link. The link is good through October 4, 2017 and I will earn points if you are approved through this link.

Categories: American Express, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Hilton, Hilton Surpass | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

20% Bonus (or more) Converting SPG Points to American Airlines

Starpoints, the currency of the SPG Hotel Chain, are usually considered the most valuable transferable points/miles currency out there. That’s because not only can the points be used at SPG hotels like Radisson, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, etc. but they can be transferred at a 1:3 ratio to Marriott for use at their hotels. In addition, SPG points can be transferred to a host of airlines at a 1:1 ratio – but when you transfer 20,000 points at one time, SPG gives you a 5000 mile bonus. Just take a look at all these partners!

From now through October 15, there is a promotion between SPG and American airlines where when you transfer points to AA, a 20% bonus will apply after the conversion. So if you transfer 20K points to AA, SPG gives you 5000 miles and you end up with 25K AA miles. Then a 20% bonus applies and you get another 5000 miles.

In addition, for each 100K miles transferred during this promotion, you get a 10K AAdvantage mile bonus. Now this must be done in multiple transactions over multiple days because SPG limits you to 79K points converted in a single day. So if on Day 1 you convert 60K points (resulting in 75K AA miles before the bonus) and on Day 2 you convert 20K points (resulting in 25K AA miles before the bonus) you’d not only get the 20% bonus each day (15K on Day 1 and 5K on Day 2), you’d then get an additional 10K bonus resulting in a total of 130K AA miles.

There are minimum transfer amounts based on your SPG status:

  • Preferred (basic) members have a 2500 point minimum
  • Gold members have a 1500 point minimum
  • Platinum members do not have a minimum

If you’re in need of AA miles this is a great way to boost your balance quickly. The transfers are not instant. Research over the past couple of years seems to indicate it takes a minimum of 2 days and perhaps as many as 4 days for the miles to show up in your AA account. But you don’t have to wait for the miles to show up to initiate another transfer. So with the example above you could transfer the 60K points today and the 20K points tomorrow even though you wouldn’t see the miles reflected in your account until mid-week.

If you’re ready to transfer points, follow the link in the email you should have received from American Airlines or click here.

Categories: American Airlines, American Express, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, SPG Amex | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Two Terrific Offers from Amex

If you have Amex cards you know that each card gets targeted offers that can range from fixed dollars off a purchase, percentages off a purchase, bonus reward points for certain purchases or additional points per dollar spent. Recently two offers have shown up that I think are worth mentioning.

Spend $100+ at Supermarkets, get 1,500 Membership Rewards Points

This offer should be a piece of cake for just about anyone. Spend $100 in a single transactions or multiple transactions between now and when the offer expires on 11/30/17 and get 1,500 additional Membership Rewards points. There’s not even a need to do manufactured spending on this as even those of us who don’t cook can spend $100 in three months!

Spend $150 or more, get $100 back at AT&T Small Business Wireless

This one is highly targeted and I’m not 100% sure it will work for me but I’m going to try it anyway. As the title indicates, spend $150 or more in a single transaction with AT&T Small Business Wireless and get a $100 credit. My cell phone is a personal one, not for my small business so I don’t know if it will work or not and my cell phone bill is less than $150 but I’m going to try to pay a month ahead just to see if it will work. At worst I’ll still get one point per dollar but it’s worth a shot for $100.

H/T: Doctor of Credit for both offers

Categories: American Express, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Membership Rewards, Premier Rewards Gold Card | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Increased SPG Card Sign-Up Bonus!

Starwood Preferred Group (SPG) Starpoints are among the most flexible currencies on the market, which is why both Ben of One Mile At A Time and Brian, The Points Guy, value them at over 2 cents apiece.  About once a year they offer an increased sign-up bonus and that time is now!

In addition to using these points at SPG hotels, they can be transferred to over two dozen airlines at a 1:1 ratio – and if you transfer 20K points at a time they’ll tack on a bonus 5K points!  Other airlines are available at less favorable ratios.

SPG points can also be transferred to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio (1 SPG = 3 Marriott) and used either for stays at Marriott hotels or transfer them to other airlines.

Here are the airlines where you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio:
spg-1-to-1-partners
Here are the other airlines:
spg-other-partners
The Air New Zealand transfer rate is a horrific 65 SPG points = 1 Air New Zealand Airpoint so you want to make that a transfer of last resort. GOL Smiles and United MileagePlus both transfer at a rate of 2 SPG points = 1 frequent flyer mile.  Might do in a pinch but again, you’d try to avoid it.  Since LATAM uses kilometers for their currency the transfer rate is 1 SPG point = 1.5 LATAM Pass mile.

If you choose to transfer your points to Marriott, they are best used at Marriott properties but they can be transferred to airlines as well.  However the airline transfers are usually at a terrible transfer rate so I do not recommend this method.

The normal sign-up bonus for this card is 25K points but if you are approved by April 5th and meet the minimum spend, here’s what you can earn:

25,000 bonus Starpoints after using the new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after making an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.

That’s a maximum of 35K Starpoints which is the biggest bonus ever for this card.  Note that those “first 3 months” and “first 6 months” are dated from the date of approval, NOT the day you activate the card.

The card has no foreign transaction fees and the annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

There are business and personal versions of this card though I can only refer you for the personal card.  If you allow me to refer you and are approved, I will receive a 5,000 point bonus for doing so.  Just drop me an email at 2btraveling@gmail.com.  All I need is your first name and an email address!

Categories: American Express, Credit Cards, SPG Amex | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Bonus Starpoints for SPG Amex Cardholders

Today I received an interesting email from Starwood.  By enrolling in their latest promotion I can earn 5,000 bonus Starpoints if I spend $5000 on my SPG American Express between now and the end of the year.  This is a no-brainer for me.  I make sure I put enough spend on my SPG card each year to maintain Gold status with them so I should easily reach this goal by the end of the year, even with time off for vacation and holidays.

Here is the email I received:
2016-10-05-starwood-email

Continue reading

Categories: American Express, Credit Cards, SPG Amex, Starwood | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Get Bonus Miles When Transferring Membership Rewards to Avios

British Airways logo

Avios are the currency of the British Airways Executive Club that can be useful in different ways. Since Avios pricing is distance-based, they’re super-useful on non-stop shorthaul flights as the shortest flights cost only 7500 Avios.  Since each leg of a flight is priced separately, the more connections required, the more Avios required.  For this reason, and the fact that on international flights BA passes along the fuel surcharges, they’re not as useful for international flights.  There are exceptions to this general rule however: BA’s booking window opens up a couple of weeks before American’s does, giving those with Avios first crack at award seats on certain carriers.  For example, I was able to use Avios to book a first class seat on a Qantas flight to Australia before it was available to AA members.  I had to pay the fuel surcharges but since premium cabin seats are so scarce on Qantas, I thought it was worth the cash required to obtain that seat.

Normally you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points to Avios at the rate of 250 MRs to 200 Avios.  But from now through October 10, 2016 you’ll earn a 50% bonus when transferring MRs to Avios. So transfer 250 MRs and get 300 Avios.  To make the transfer, log into your Amex account and indicate the number of MR points you want to transfer.  The website will show you how many Avios you’ll receive.

All transfers are final so if you’re transferring for a specific flight, be sure there is award space available.  If you’re planning to use the Avios on a BA partner flight you’ll need to be sure the available award space is at the saver (cheapest) level.

Categories: American Express, British Airways, Membership Rewards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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