US Bank

Some Q3 Cash-Back Category Selections Available Now

As we are just past the middle of the 2nd quarter of 2017, a couple of cash-back cards have already announced their categories for the 3rd quarter (and even beyond).  As a US Bank Cash+ customer I received an email letting me know I could make my selections now.  Here are the choices for Q3:

I originally got this card because charitable donations were one of the 5% categories but that option went away in mid-February.  I’ve kept this card both because it’s free and because it gives me a 5% discount on my gym membership (which I need to use more often!).

Discover has also announced their categories for both Q3 and Q4, though it looks like the Q4 category list may expand once we get closer to it.

Restaurants is a category where I can certainly do a lot of damage as I eat out a lot.  My only dilemma comes when Chase decides to offer 5 Ultimate Rewards points via their Freedom card during the same quarter.  Since Chase has not yet announced their Q3 categories we’ll have to wait to see what card I will choose.

(h/t: Rapid Travel Chai)

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Register for Q2 Bonus Categories

Today is the 15th of the third month of the quarter and that means it’s time to register your Discover Card and Chase Freedom card for the next quarter’s bonus categories.  You can earn 5% back (Discover) or 5x points (Freedom) on purchases of up to $1500 on each card.  And if you haven’t already registered for your US Bank Cash+ card, here’s a reminder to do that now.

Discover Cards

Discover’s bonus categories this quarter are Home Improvement stores and Wholesale Clubs.  Home improvement stores often sell retail gift cards and perhaps in your area they sell Visa or MasterCard gift cards as well.  While you can’t use Discover at Costco, I know it’s accepted at Sam’s Club and they often sell Visa/MC gift cards too.  That would make it very easy to max out this quarter’s promo.  To register, click on the link in the email you receive – it is tied to your account which makes it super easy – or go to the registration page and log into your account.

Note: You must register for this promo BEFORE any purchases will receive the bonus.  So register now, before the quarter even starts.

 

Chase Freedom

For the Freedom card, this is one of my favorite quarters.  It’s so easy to max out this promo at grocery stores and drug stores as they both sell Visa gift cards as well as other useful items. (Hey, ya gotta eat!)  You must register for this promo by June 14th.

 

US Bank Cash+

US Bank opens up their registration much earlier that Discover or Freedom.  Selection for Q2 bonus categories has been available since mid-February.  As I mentioned in this post in February, the Charity category has gone away which was a great disappointment to me.  These are the US Bank Cash+ categories for Q2:

To register just click on this link and log into your US Bank account and make your selections.

Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

US Bank Cash+ Q2 Category Selections and Reminder

The US Bank Cash+ card has rotating bonus categories each quarter.  You can choose two categories from a large list to earn 5% cash back and from a list of three categories to earn 2% cash back.  All other purchases will earn 1% cash back.  The nice part about it is that you get to select the categories that will help you most!  You may now make your selections for the second quarter of 2017 by visiting the selection site.  Here are the categories for the second quarter of 2017:

2017-02-17-us-bank-q2-categories

As a reminder, effective today, February 17, 2017, you can no longer earn 5% cash back for charity contributions if that was one of the categories you selected for the first quarter.  As I mentioned last month, this is the main reason I got this card and I’m really disappointed US Bank is dropping this category.  I’ll keep the card because it’s free and because I can get 5% back for my gym membership but otherwise I’d let it go.  Hopefully they’ll change their mind at some point in the future.

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US Bank Cash+ Category Changes

US Bank has a couple of credit cards that I’ve found useful.  I’d had their Club Carlson Visa and I got good value from Club Carlson points in Turkey a couple of years ago but since then the card had sat idle in my drawer.  Last year I changed to the Cash+ card.

us-bank-cash-plus
Each quarter the US Bank Cash+ Card allows you to select the cash-back categories that best fit your needs.  There are three categories that are 2% cash back each quarter and you can select which categories you’d like for 5% cash back from a list.  While the 2%/5% categories max out at $1500 in purchases each quarter, you can get unlimited cash back at 1% for all purchases after the $1500 or for any unbonused categories.

When I recently downloaded my latest statement I noted this wording under the Important Messages heading:

Effective February 15, 2017 a new 5% Cash+ Category will be available: Ground Transportation featuring merchants such as Uber and Amtrak®.  Also effective February 15, 2017, the 5% Charity Category will no longer be available.

While that’s great for folks who use Uber and Amtrak, it defeats the main purpose I had for getting the card, namely charitable donations.  I’ve been blessed with a good income and like to give back and this was a real incentive to do so.

It’s a shame that US Bank is removing this category so I’ll be sure to bump up my giving for this quarter so it is completed before February 17.  I find the timing of this odd as it’s smack in the middle of the quarter, instead of waiting until quarter-end. We’ll have to see how they handle the selection of a new 5% category for those of us who’ll be losing this one

Does this category change negatively impact you?

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Register now for Q1 Bonus Categories

Three credit cards have quarterly bonus categories where you can earn bonus points or cash back for purchases in those categories.  Registration for Q1 bonuses for US Bank Cash+ and Discover is now open.  Registration for the Chase Freedom card should open on December 1.

US Bank Cash+

The US Bank Cash+ card allows you to choose one category where you’ll earn unlimited 2% back and 2 categories that will earn 5% back for up to $2000 in purchases.  To activate those categories, see the email you should have received from US Bank.

These are the bonus category selections for the first quarter of 2017:
us-bank-q1-2017-bonus-categories

Discover Card

Discover Card bonus categories for Q1 2017 are Gas Stations, Ground Transportation and Wholesale Clubs.  Click on this link to be taken to the activation page.
discover-q1-2017-bonus-categories

As a reminder, Q4 bonus categories may still be activated if you haven’t done so already and any purchases in the bonus categories will be retroactively applied.  Bonus categories for Q4 2016 are Amazon.com, Department Stores and Sam’s Club.  So don’t forget to activate your bonus categories today!

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Club Carlson Removes Crucial Visa Benefit

Club Carlson Credit CardOne of the great things about Club Carlson is how easy their points are to accrue. The Club Carlson Visa offers 10 points per dollar for purchases at Club Carlson hotels like Radissons, Radisson Blus, Park Inns, and 5 points per dollar everywhere else. The cherry on top of this was that when you have the US Bank Club Carlson Visa and have an award stay of two nights or more, the last night is free. That meant for two people who each had the card, they could make alternating reservations of two nights each and the stay would cost half the points.

Per Frequent Miler’s post this morning, this benefit is going away. In its place is an offer for a free night each year after spending $10,000 on the card and paying the annual fee of $75.

This is a huge devaluation. I hadn’t even had a chance to take advantage of this benefit and it’s already going away. At the time I made my reservations for our stay at the Radisson Blu Bosphorus, I was not a card member and thus couldn’t take advantage of it.

I’m seriously wondering whether or not I should keep this card once the annual fee comes due. Club Carlson is not my go-to hotel chain and their footprint in North America is pretty small. It’s certainly better overseas but my plans for the next few years include places where I expect I’ll be able to find Hyatt, Marriotts and Hiltons. I will definitely have to reconsider keeping this card.

 

Update 13:45 CT – Club Carlson has now sent out an email to holders of the Club Carlson Visa further clarifying the changes:

Beginning June 1, 2015, you can earn a Free Night, good at any Carlson Rezidor hotel in the U.S. This Free Night will replace the current Bonus Award Night benefit. Bonus Award Night stays may not be booked after June 1, 2015. You’ll receive the new Free Night award upon renewal of your card after an annual spend of $10,000. Updated program terms and conditions will apply and be available on June 1, 2015.

As a Club Carlson Visa® cardholder you will continue to enjoy the following benefits:

  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases at Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide – that’s in addition to the 20 points per dollar you earn as a Club Carlson member
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases everywhere else
  • 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card by paying the annual fee
  • Gold Elite Status – which now includes a dining discount at participating hotel restaurants!

And, to thank you for your continued loyalty, you can earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on your next Eligible Stay at a Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide when you pay with your Club Carlson Visa®. Offer ends August 31, 2015. Terms and conditions apply.*

So spending $10,000 on the card each year will net a free night and at least 50,000 points for that spend. Pay the annual fee of $75 and get 40,000 bonus points. If you were to use the card to load the Target Redcard you could get 90,000 points per year for the annual fee of $75 or $0.000833 per point. Even if you bought Visa gift cards for $10,079, you’d only pay $0.00171 per point. Either way that’s a pretty awesome price for points and a free night to boot.

And if you have a stay at a Club Carlson property before the end of August you’ll get an additional 30,000 points. If you can find a room for $90 those 30,000 points will cost $0.003 apiece. Of course, if the cheapest room you can find is more expensive, the points get more expensive too. Ben values these points at 0.4 cents per point while Brian values them at 0.6 cents each. So if you can get the points this cheaply, it may be worth it to you, especially if you have a great use for them.

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Double Points or Double Nights at Club Carlson

Club Carlson is a hotel loyalty program that often gets overlooked here in the US.  The brands we see mostly commonly here are Radisson and Country Inns and Suites.  But overseas you’re more likely to see Radisson, Radisson Blu and Park Inn.  Radisson Blu can be quite nice.  I recently stayed at the Radisson Blu in Istanbul (review forthcoming!) and quite enjoyed it.

Now Club Carlson is running a promotion whereby you can earn your way toward elite status more quickly.  If you’re a member of Club Carlson (and it’s free to join) just register HERE for Double Nights or Double Points.  Then, for each stay between now and December 30, 2014 you’ll earn your selection toward elite status.

Club Carlson Points or Nights

 

Of course, the easiest way to earn Gold status is to pick up the Club Carlson Visa Signature card.  You’ll earn 50,000 points after your first purchase and another 35,000 points if you spend $2500 within 90 days of applying.   This card allows you to earn 10 points per dollar at Club Carlson hotels and 5 points per dollar elsewhere.  Plus you get 40,000 points each year when you pay the $75 annual fee!  And if you need any more incentive to pick up the card, when you make an award reservation of 2 nights or more, the last night is free to all card holders!  It’s a hard deal to beat.

Club Carlson Credit Card

 

Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with Club Carlson or Visa and I do not receive any referral incentives

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