Posts Tagged With: Credit Cards

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

The Cards I Use for Bonus Spending

Yesterday Ben at One Mile At A Time wrote a post about which cards he uses for different bonus categories.  I thought I’d do the same with the cards in my wallet.

Airfare Purchases

I’ll typically use my airline-specific card if I’m flying one of the three US legacy airlines. For flights on other airlines I’ll use my Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) for 3x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points even though I could earn 5x Membership Rewards (MR) points with my Amex Gold card. That’s because I already earn lots of Membership Rewards points on dining and I’m hardly ever using my CSR card these days.

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Changes coming to American Airlines credit cards

Last week we were notified by both Citibank and Barclays that there will be changes coming to their affiliated American Airlines credit cards.

Through the end of April both cards will continue to offer you a 10% rebate on award tickets, up to a maximum of 10,000 miles per year. Starting May 1, 2019, this benefit will be removed from both cards.  So if you were thinking about redeeming AA miles, do it sooner rather than later.  Remember that AA allows you to change dates and routings on award tickets, as long as the starting and ending point remains the same.

There are other changes, both positive and negative as well though they vary by card.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®

(Supposedly) Positive changes:

– If you spend $20,000 on the card during your cardmember year you’ll get a companion certificate for $99 plus taxes and fees.

– You can get up to $25 back on inflight wi-fi purchases each year

– Resuming a trial program they had last year, your final total each month will be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar and for each penny it’s rounded up you’ll be given 1 AAdvantage mile. So if your total spent for the month is $xx0.45 it will be rounded up to $xx1.00 and you’ll earn an addition 55 AA miles.

Negative changes:

– If you (like me) had a version of this card that was converted from the old US Airways president’s card that earned 10,000 miles each year when you renewed your card, that program will be discontinued. You will receive your last 10,000 mile bonus upon the next renewal after May 1, 2019.

– Barclays hands out discount certificates for $100 off an AA flight if you spend $30,000 or more during a cardmember year. This program is also being discontinued effective with your next anniversary date on or after May 1, 2019.

– The annual fee will increase to $99 from $89.

Even the supposedly positive changes are mostly negative to me. I fly to meet up with friends and only very rarely fly an entire route with someone so I don’t need the companion pass. I’ve never used wi-fi on a flight so while that’s nice, it’s not something I’ll likely use. I wouldn’t mind the Flight Cents program but am not lost without it.

As for the negative changes, I’d already concluded that it was a waste of my time to manufacture spend $30,000 for a $100 certificate so I hadn’t planned to do that this year. The annual fee increase is not a deal breaker. The loss of the 10,000 miles per year just for owning the card is the big hit here.

 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select®

The changes here aren’t quite as drastic. The card will not lose any other benefits and if you spend $20,000 per year on the card you’ll get a AA discount certificate whose value is being increased from $100 to $125.

I’ve owned Barclays AAviator card for a number of years and have held on to it primarily for the 10,000 mile bonus each year. With that feature gone, I’ll try to product change this card to something else or cancel it when my cardmember year is up in December. I’ve had the Citi AA card for over 20 years so I’ll hang on to that for the free checked bag and priority boarding.

It’s a real shame these benefits are being removed. As bad as American’s been lately you’d think they’d be looking for ways to entice the public to use their cards but that appears not to be the case.

Categories: AAdvantage Aviator, Barclays, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard, Citibank, Credit Cards | 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.

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

Q4 Bonus Category Registration Now Available

Can you believe we’re almost three-quarters of the way through 2018?  As we approach the end of the third quarter, that can only mean it’s time to register for fourth quarter credit card bonuses.

Discover Card

Discover’s Q4 categories are ones that are handy for the holiday season: Amazon and Wholesale Clubs.  To register, just log into your Discover account online or visit this link to log inNote that to receive the 5% cash back you must register first before making your purchase.  You can earn 5% back on up to $1500 in purchases.

US Bank Cash+

US Bank is offering the same categories as for Q3 though you can choose the ones that work best for you.  Select 1 of the 2% categories and 2 of the 5% categories, based on your needs.  For the 5% category you can earn the 5% on up to $2000 in purchases.  To select your categories, visit the US Bank Cash+ website.

Chase Freedom

For the fourth quarter the Chase Freedom card will earn 5x points at Wholesale Clubs, Department Stores and for using Chase Pay. As in previous quarters this offer is good on up to $1500 in combined purchases for the quarter. I no longer have a warehouse club membership, don’t use mobile payments and can’t remember the last time I bought something at a department store so these categories don’t help me much, sadly.  But be sure to register ASAP so you’ll earn your bonus points!

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

IHG Devalues their Card, Pick Up the Old Card Today

We knew it would happen sooner or later. One of the best card benefits on the market is being reduced. IHG is the Intercontinental Hotel Group, the power behind Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza and others. Their credit card, issued by Chase, had one of the best benefits out there: a free night at any of their properties worldwide. Even better was that the card only cost $49 annually so even if you never spent a dime on it (after meeting minimum spend and getting your sign-up bonus) it was still a great deal.

This week I received a letter from Chase stating that the free night benefit was changing:

Currently, we award this Anniversary Free Night each year after your anniversary date, and it is redeemable at any IHG property. Going forward, Anniversary Free Nights issued after May 1, 2018 will be redeemable at eligible IHG hotels with a redemption value up to and including 40,000 points.

So even though all other benefits remain the same, this is still a huge loss. I’ve got an upcoming trip in October where we’ve already used last year’s certificate for one night, we’re using points for the second night and had planned to use this year’s certificate for the third night. But I won’t get this year’s certificate until July and the hotel costs 50,000 points so I won’t be able to use it there. So we changed our plans and will stay at a different hotel the third night.

Notice the highlighted bit in the quote about eligible IHG hotels? There is a list of excluded properties and some of those go for 40,000 points or less. Summer at Mommy Points has more details in her post though she’s since had an update saying that all 40,000 point (or less) hotels will be available for the certificate. But we’ll have to see. I’m a little skeptical.

If you sign up for the old IHG card by today you can still get the certificate good for any IHG hotel in the world on your anniversary date but only for the first year. Certificates issued after that will have the 40,000 point limit.

Part of the reason for this cut back is that IHG is issuing two new cards, IHG Premier and IHG Traveler. The Traveler is the base card with an annual fee of only $29 and the sign-up bonus is 60K points after spending $2000 in the first 3 months after approval. The Premier card has an $89 annual fee and earns you 80K points after spending $2000 in the first three months. Both cards earn bonus points at IHG hotels (10x for the Premier, 5x for the Traveler), 2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x everywhere else. There are other benefits regarding hotel status, savings on points purchases and bonus points based on spending thresholds. Nick at Frequent Miler has a terrific post today laying out each card’s benefits. But neither of these cards is as good as the current (old) card with it’s $49 annual fee and free night – even capped at 40K points.

Both Frequent Miler and Mommy Points include screen shots of Twitter conversations where the Chase reps say that cards approved today will get the uncapped anniversary night so bookmark those pages and sign up for the new card today. Frequent Miler has a card sign-up link in the post and on the Best Offers page.

Categories: Chase, Credit Cards, IHG Rewards Card | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Q4 Bonus Categories Announced

As happens each quarter, three card issuers offer bonus categories for the following quarter.  As of today you can finally register for all three.

Discover Card

Discover is offering 5% cash back at Amazon.com and at Target.  Just log into to your account at Discover.com to register.  You must register before you’ll receive the 5% cash back. Continue reading

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

Changes coming to Citi Prestige this Sunday

While we’ve known changes were coming to the Citi Prestige, we hadn’t known the exact details. Citi recently released this information and, in my opinion, they’re mostly negative.

1. The new card will be metal. This is to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum, I assume. Change Rating: Neutral

2. Changes to the Fourth Night Free Benefit
a. Today when a booking a hotel for the fourth night free benefit, it must be done by calling or emailing the specified travel agency. Starting next week booking the hotel can be done online.  Change Rating: Positive
b. Today when booking for four nights or more, the fourth night’s stay is refunded, even if it’s the most expensive night of the stay. Starting next week, the average cost of the room for one night will be refunded and taxes will not be refunded. Change rating: Negative

3. When redeeming ThankYou Points for cash, they can be redeemed at a rate of .5 cents per point, so redeeming 50,000 points nets you $250. Next week you’ll be able to redeem points at the rate of a penny per point, so that same 50,000-point redemption will earn you $500. Change rating: Positive

4. Lounge Access: while you’ll still have access to Priority Pass lounges, you’ll no longer have access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs when traveling on AA. Change rating: Negative

5. Redeeming points for flights: Today you may redeem points at the rate of 1.6 cents per point for flights on American Airlines or 1.33 cents per point on other airlines. Effective next week the rate will be 1.25 cents per point on any airline. Change rating: Negative

6. Today the Citi Prestige allows for three complimentary rounds of golf at over 2000 courses worldwide. That benefit ends next week. Change rating: Negative

For people like me who want to use ThankYou Points for travel, these are mostly negative changes. If there’s any good news it’s that there will be a new sign-up bonus of 75K points starting next week. But card holders who have opened or closed the Prestige or Premier card in the last 24 months are not eligible for the bonus. My plan for now is to apply for the Premier card and once I have it then I’ll close my Prestige card. I’ll miss the $250 Air Travel Credit but the Premier is much cheaper than the $450 annual fee for the Prestige.

In the meantime I recently redeemed most of my ThankYou Points for a flight for a ski trip next year.

What are your plans for your ThankYou Points?

Categories: Citi Prestige, Citibank, Credit Cards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

My Experience Applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Though I’ve not mentioned it here, the top bloggers in the world of points & miles have all let us know about Chase’s new offering that’s meant to compete with the Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum.

2016-09-04 CSR Intro

The card comes with a $450 annual fee – not waived the first year – which is similar to those cards.  But whereas the Platinum comes with an annual $200 airline credit (and you must specify which airline) and the Prestige has an annual $250 airline credit, the Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual credit good on any type of travel.  Since these credits are valid for a calendar year, that means that in the first year you have the card you can get $600 in travel credits which totally offsets the annual fee.  In future years it knocks the annual fee down to $150, which is quite reasonable for a card like this.

Like the Freedom cards and the Sapphire Preferred, this new Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points that can be transferred to a number of airlines and hotels:

  • Air France/KLM
  • British Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • Ritz-Carlton

I don’t know if people are applying for this card at record rates or not but they’ve actually run out of card stock for it!  It was supposed to be issued on a metal card, similar to the Sapphire Preferred but apparently the demand has far exceeded Chase’s expectations so people are receiving temporary plastic cards until the metal cards can be issued.
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Categories: Chase, Credit Cards, Sapphire Reserve, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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