Singapore Airlines to Increase Award Ticket Change & Redeposit Fees

Direct Link

These changes go into effect March 1, 2018. For Saver awards, the fee increases are as follows:

  • Award ticket changes for flights with Singapore Airlines or Silkair will now cost $25. Previously, date and time changes were free, and all other changes were $20.
  • Award ticket changes for flights with partner airlines will now cost $50, up from $20.
  • Canceling your ticket and redepositing your miles will now cost $75, up from $30.

See the link above if you’re interested in fees for Standard (being renamed Advantage) awards, among other things. Here I’ve just listed the ones I think most of us will care about.

Buy United MileagePlus Miles for 1.185 Cents per Point

Via OMaaT, there are two current promotions that, when stacked, allow you to purchase United MileagePlus miles for 1.185 cents per point, with a limit of 32,500 miles per account.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Buy up to 50,000 Choice Privileges points (Direct Link).
  2. Register for the United promotion (Direct Link).
  3. Go back to Choice once you have your points and perform the transfer (Direct Link).

Note that the Choice promotion ends on 11:59 PM ET November 17, 2017, and the points could take up to 24 hours to post to your account. Additionally, the United promotion ends on November 30, 2017, and the Choice to United transfer may take up to 5 business days. That means a point transfer initiated as late as November 24, 2017 should work, but I would do it earlier if possible to be on the safe side.

For what it’s worth, I purchased Choice points for both myself and my wife to transfer to our United accounts. We each have about 100,000 United miles, which typically isn’t enough for the types of awards we book, meaning that we would likely have to top off our accounts with Chase UR before redeeming for anything. With that in mind, I thought it was worth paying 1.185 cents/point now to save Chase UR at a future date.

New Uber Visa Card Now Available

Direct Link

Quick Summary

Points can be redeemed for cash back. Other redemption options are not worth considering.

The signup bonus is $100 after spending $500 in 90 days.

  • 4% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on airfare, hotels, travel agencies, and vacation home rentals including AirBnB
  • 2% cash back on online shopping

Among this card’s other benefits, two main highlights are a $600 cell phone insurance benefit ($25 deductible) and a $50 subscription credit (i.e. Netflix), but the latter requires spending $5,000 in a year to activate. Also, there are no annual or foreign transaction fees.

Should You Get This Card?

It is fairly easy to find a credit card with a $400+ signup bonus either with no annual fee or the first year’s annual fee waived. Keeping that in mind, this card’s bonus is a mere $100, so I would rather apply for another card unless I felt that the benefits of this card were worth $300+. Also note that credit cards giving 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee are pretty easy to find too. I’ll spare a lengthier analysis and say the following:

  1. If you travel and dine a lot, especially internationally, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
  2. If you dine a lot (>$400/month) but don’t travel, and have $100,000 to put on deposit with Bank of America or Merrill Edge, consider the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
  3. If you dine a lot (>$400/month) but don’t travel, and the $100,000 requirement in #2 is an issue, consider the Uber card… Unless you already have the Citi Costco Visa card (3% cash back on travel & dining, also 4% cash back on gas), in which case the incremental upgrade on dining purchases probably isn’t worth it.
  4. If you dine out a bit but less than $400/month and don’t travel much, or if you already have the Citi Costco Visa card, consider any number of other cards that just have a large signup bonus ($400+) and cancel those cards later if they have annual fees you don’t want to pay.
  5. If #4 sounds like too much work, or if you break your phone a lot, then fine, get this card.

Personally, I won’t be signing up for this.

[California Only] Free Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Through 12/31/18 After Opening a Southwest Credit Card and Making Any Purchase

Direct Link

What the title says. This promotion applies to all three Southwest cards but is for residents of California only. If you take part in this offer, you are still eligible for the current signup bonuses for all three cards, which are as follows:

A few important points to consider:

  • The Companion Pass earned from this promotion will be valid through 12/31/18, regardless of when the first purchase is made. This is in contrast to earning a Companion Pass the “normal” way (see here), which, if timed properly, can get you a Companion Pass valid for nearly two years.
  • The signup bonus on the personal cards has been as high as 60,000 points in the past, so even though you get a Companion Pass, you do give up a potential 20,000 points if you are signing up for one of the personal cards.
  • You are not eligible for this offer if you currently hold any Southwest Rapid Rewards card or if you’ve earned a signup bonus from any one of them within the past 24 months.
  • All of these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened 5 or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for any of them.

Overall though, this is still a pretty good offer and potentially worth doing if you live in California. Note the promotion ends 11/30/17, so sign up before then if you are interested.

PPDG & Cardcash No Longer Earning 5x or 3x UR with Chase Ink Bold / Cash / Preferred

Via Doctor of Credit, PayPal Digital Gifts (via Ebay) and Cardcash purchases are no longer earning 5x or 3x UR with Chase Ink Bold/Cash/Preferred credit cards as of 10/17/17.

Interestingly, I did make a PayPal Digital Gifts purchase on 10/17/17 directly through their website, not Ebay, and it did earn 5x points. With that said, my guess is that this might have more to do with the timing of the purchase and is probably not an exception. Even it if it were an exception, I doubt it would last long, and there usually aren’t that many deals that involve buying directly from PayPal Digital Gifts.

There are a few other 5x methods that previously worked with Ink that will be worth testing again. In any case, it’s the end of an era, as they say…

Increased Credit Card Offers (Citi AAdvantage Personal & Business / Amex SPG Business) That I’m Not Terribly Excited About

Just posting for completeness’ sake.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard – 60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard – 60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card – 25,000 points after $6,000 spend in 3 months + 10,000 extra points after additional $4,000 spend in 6 months (so $10,000 spend total)

The number of miles and points offered by these cards are relatively good, but personally I’ve been finding AAdvantage miles more difficult to use lately and have thus amassed a pretty large stockpile of them. As for the SPG offer, their points are great, but $10,000 spend is a bit much, especially now that American Express is looking out for manufactured spending techniques and may potentially deny the bonus if you use MS to meet the spend requirement.

Anyway, these offers are still worth doing if you’re looking for more AAdvantage miles or if you can meet the SPG card’s $10,000 spending requirement easily.

New Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card with $500 Signup Bonus ($95 Annual Fee)

Direct Link

Key Benefits

  • 50,000 points (worth $500) after $3,000 spend in 90 days
  • $95 annual fee (not waived the first year)
  • $100 airline incidental statement credit (baggage fees, etc.)
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ credit every four years
  • 2% back on travel and 1.5% back elsewhere
  • No foreign transaction fees

My Take

The signup bonus is good, clearly, but subtracting the annual fee leaves you with a net $405. On the other hand, depending on how easy the $100 airline incidental credit is to redeem, this might bump the card back up to near $505 in value.

2% back on travel and 1.5% back everywhere is only interesting if you have $50,000+ on deposit with Bank of America or Merrill Edge. I’ve covered this on this blog before, but with that much in assets, you can qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Tiers (link), boosting your credit card rewards by 50% (for $50,000 to $99,999) or 75% (for $100,000+). This would bring your total cash back to:

  • Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999 in assets): 3% cash back on travel and 2.25% cash back everywhere else
  • Platinum Honors ($100,000+ in assets): 3.5% cash back on travel and 2.625% cash back everywhere else

There is a no annual fee version of this card (link). The main differences are:

  • Smaller ($200) signup bonus
  • No $100 airline incidental credit
  • No bonus earnings on travel purchases (1.5% cash back everywhere, boosted to 2.25% or 2.625% with Platinum or Platinum Honors)
  • Points redeemed only as statement credit against travel expenses (not that difficult, but still an extra step)

Lots of cards have Global Entry credits and no foreign transaction fees nowadays, so I don’t care about those.

Overall, this card is worth getting for the bonus. It’s worth keeping if you have $50,000+ on deposit with Merrill Edge or Bank of America and the $100 airline incidental credit is easy for you to redeem. If you have $50,000+ on deposit but have trouble redeeming the airline incidental credit, you can consider downgrading to the no annual fee version of this card when your annual fee comes due. Anyone else should cancel.

Chase Adds New Restrictions to Sapphire Credit Card Applications

Via Doctor of Credit, Chase has added a pair of new restrictions to the Sapphire card lineup, which includes the Sapphire, the Sapphire Preferred, and the Sapphire Reserve credit cards.

  • You will no longer be approved for any Sapphire product if you currently hold another Sapphire product of any type.
  • You will no longer be eligible for the signup bonus on any Sapphire product if you have received a signup bonus on any Sapphire product within the past 24 months.

The 24-month rule is similar to their current rule, except it normally only applies for cards of the exact same type, i.e. if you received a signup bonus on the Sapphire Preferred, you were only prevented from getting the signup bonus on another Sapphire Preferred within 24 months of the date you received the bonus. Now with this updated rule, all Sapphire cards are being lumped together, such that receiving a signup bonus on one type of Sapphire card makes you ineligible for a bonus on any of the other Sapphire products as well, for a period of 24 months.

In short, if you are looking for a Sapphire card signup bonus, make sure you a) cancel or convert any existing cards you have and b) haven’t received a Sapphire card signup bonus in the past 24 months. If you satisfy both of those, you’re good to go. Obviously, the 5/24 rule still applies as well.