Chase Ink Plus Card Being Phased Out (Eventually)

In my previous post, I speculated that the Chase Ink Plus Card might be phased out due to the release of the Chase Ink Preferred.

It looks like this is true, according to The Points Guy. So if you don’t have this card already, it may be worth picking it up before it goes away.

The best available offer is in-branch only and is 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. If you don’t have time to visit a Chase branch, the next best offer is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the same spending requirement, which you can find online here.

New Credit Card from Chase: Ink Business Preferred (80,000 UR Bonus w/ $5k Spend)

Link to Bloomberg Article

Chase will be launching a new credit card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred, later this year.

The signup bonus will be 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $5,000 spend in 3 months, and it’s likely that this card will be under the 5/24 rule.

The card will earn 3x points for the first $150,000 spent on travel, telecommunications, shipping, and advertising on social-media and search engines each year. All other spend will earn 1x points.

Annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

There’s a possibility that the Chase Ink Plus or Cash cards could be phased out, but that’s entirely speculation on my part. Anyway, a very interesting new card that should be worth getting if you can get past the 5/24 rule.

American Airlines 20% Bonus Miles when Transferring from Marriott

american-marriott

Direct Link

Looks like American Airlines is getting in on this game too. This post goes along with my previous ones about using Marriott Hotel + Air packages as a means to acquire miles with Southwest and/or United Airlines. With American Airlines, you would redeem 270,000 Marriott Rewards points or 90,000 SPG Starpoints to receive 7 nights in a Category 1-5 Marriott hotel and 144,000 American AAdvantage miles (120,000 miles + 24,000 bonus miles).

Personally, I still favor Southwest Airlines because you’d be earning a Companion Pass. Anyway, if you’d like to take advantage of this promotion with American, you must complete your transfer by November 14, 2016.

Major United Devaluation + 25% Transfer Bonus

Back in August, I posted about some negative changes that United was making to stopovers on award flights, effective October 6th of this year. That date has come and gone, and in short, stopovers are no longer allowed unless they occur in the same region as your destination. This has certainly been bad news, but otherwise things have mostly been business as usual, or so we thought.

Apparently, devaluing stopovers wasn’t enough, and United has now decided that if you wish to actually pay the prices they publish on their award chart, you can only select from the flight options they display for you — no longer are you able to piece together your own itinerary using multi-city search without paying extra. This occurs because each segment in a multi-city search will now price as an individual award, which can increase the price of your ticket dramatically.

Why does this matter? Well, United’s search engine isn’t all that fantastic, and it will often leave out many valid routings, even if they still have seats available. I am also unsure how this will work for awards with their partners Shenzen and Singapore Airlines, since their flights don’t show up in United’s search results at all. All in all, this is terrible news, and unannounced changes always leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

Typically, this next part would be deserving of its own post, but given the devaluation above, I don’t really care now… United is now offering a 25% bonus when you transfer hotel points to United MileagePlus, with a limit of 20,000 bonus miles. The promotion ends on November 30, 2016, and here is the link you need to go to if you wish to register and to take advantage. The most interesting way to do this (if you have either 270,000 Marriott Rewards points or 90,000 SPG Starpoints) is to redeem for a Hotel + Air package with Marriott. Via the Hotel + Air package, your 270,000 Marriott Rewards points would become 120,000 miles * 10% (bonus for Marriott -> United transfers) + 20,000 miles (limit of this promotion) = 152,000 MileagePlus miles. On the other hand, you could also redeem your Marriott Rewards points for 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points and the Companion Pass, as detailed here. Personally, I’d go with Southwest.

Plastiq Promotion: 0.25% Discount When Paying Rent / Mortgage with MasterCard or American Express

plastiq

Direct Link

Schedule six or more recurring rent/mortgage payments, as far in the future as you like, and pay with a MasterCard for a 1.75% fee or an American Express for a 2.25% fee. Both of these fees reflect a 0.25% discount off of the regular rate. Offer ends (i.e. you must finish setting up your recurring payments by this date) October 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM PST.

Tip: You will get errors if you try to schedule payments that go beyond your credit card expiration date. Double-check this if you get a message telling you to call in.

This is potentially useful for meeting minimum spend on a MasterCard or American Express and a moneymaker if you have the Citi AT&T Access More card, which earns 3x TYP on Plastiq transactions.

Here’s a referral link for Plastiq (we both get a few bucks out of it, nothing serious).

Upgrades to American Express Platinum & Business Platinum Cards (5x Points on Airfare + 50% Back in Points)

amex-platinum

One more catch-up post from my vacation.

American Express has announced two new enhancements to their Platinum card lineup, one for their personal card and the other for their business card.

Link to Press Release

American Express Platinum Card (Personal)

Effective October 6, the Platinum Card will now earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.

This is a pretty straightforward benefit, though one key takeaway is that purchases through United’s MileagePlus X app will likely qualify for 5x points. I’ll try out a test purchase and report back later.

American Express Business Platinum Card

Also effective October 6, Business Platinum cardholders will now earn 50% points back when using Membership Rewards Pay with Points through American Express Travel to book a flight with their selected airline. They will also receive the benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline.

This benefit should be very lucrative for many people, as Membership Rewards points are now effectively worth 2 cents per point when redeemed for travel. There are, of course, the following caveats:

  • The flight must be with the same airline you choose for the annual $200 airline fee credit or in business/first class, in which case it can be with any airline.
  • If the flight is with Southwest or Spirit Airlines, you must call (800) 553-9497 to activate this benefit.
  • The flight cannot be part of a travel package or booked with the American Express U.S. Representative Travel Network.

It was also announced that Business Platinum cardholders will now earn 1.5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on any purchase of $5,000 or more, though I don’t find this new perk as exciting as the other two above.

Redeeming 90,000 SPG Starpoints for a Companion Pass, 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points, and a 7-Night Stay in a Marriott Hotel (Categories 1-5)

marriott-spg

I’ve been on vacation for the past few weeks, so this post is a little late; however, the optimal time to do all of this will be in early 2017, so no harm done.

A few weeks back, Marriott and Starwood began allowing rewards members to link their accounts together and to transfer points between the two programs at a ratio of 3 Marriott Rewards points per 1 SPG Starpoint. This opened up the opportunity to purchase a Marriott Hotel + Air Package 3 (Category 1-5) with 90,000 SPG Starpoints instead of the normal cost of 270,000 Marriott Rewards points.

The Hotel + Air packages, in exchange for 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, provide you with a 7-night stay at any Category 1-5 Marriott hotel and 120,000 airline miles of your choice. Package 3 specifically designates the selection of 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. While you could choose another of Marriott’s partner airlines, the main point of this post is to highlight that transfers from Marriott do count toward the 110,000 miles you need to earn to be awarded a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, so simply purchasing this package is enough. Do keep in mind that because the companion pass is valid through December 31st of the year after you earn it, the ideal time for this redemption is on or after January 1, 2017, which gives you an expiration date of December 31, 2018.

In any case, I merely wanted to point out that this option exists and is worth considering for folks who travel a lot domestically. If you’d like to book a Marriott Hotel + Air package, the number to call is (800) 321-7396.