$50 Ebay Gift Card for $40 (Samsung Pay)

Samsung Pay currently has a promotion for 20% off gift cards. It started a couple of days ago, but I didn’t find the gift card lineup to be too interesting. Today, they’ve added Ebay to the mix, so I thought it was worth a post.

To purchase, open the app, click Gift CardsAdd, and Buy Gift Cards.

I could not find the terms and conditions, but the typical restrictions are no more than two gift cards per 24 hours and no more than $500 in face value purchased during a promotion.

Other gift cards on sale include Applebee’s, Domino’s, Famous Footwear, Gymboree, Miguel’s Restaurants, Overstock.com, Regal Entertainment Group, rue21, and Toys R Us.

Wait 5 minutes between purchases if you’d like to earn Samsung Rewards on both orders.

Edit: Oops, title.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card (3% Cash Back First Year, 2.5% Thereafter, $59 AF Waived First Year)

There is no online application currently. Call (800) 328-1935 to apply.

Quick Summary

  • 3% cash back first year, 2.5% after that
  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Link to Terms and Conditions

Discussion

There is no signup bonus, but you can get this card without a hard pull if you are an existing cardholder of their Visa Platinum or Platinum Rewards card, as long as your credit limit is currently over $10,000.

3% cash back is great of course, but that’s only good for the first year. For year two and beyond, the break-even point compared to a 2% cash back card is $11,800 in annual spend.

Do remember that there is also the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, which gives you 2.625% back if you can quality for Platinum Honors, which requires $100,000 on deposit with Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge.

HT: FatWallet Finance

American Express Business Platinum Card New Benefits

Quick Summary

Similar to what they did with their personal Platinum Card, American Express announced some new changes to their Business Platinum Card, effective March 30, 2017:

  • 5x Membership Rewards Points for airfare and/or prepaid hotels booked through www.amextravel.com.
  • Improved Priority Pass benefit, now allowing up to two free guests.

Discussion

Unlike with the personal card, there is no increase to the annual fee.

5x points on airfare booked through amextravel.com is good, though it’s worth noting that this differs from the personal card, which also allows you to book your airfare directly with the airline. Like with the personal card, 5x points on hotels booked through amextravel.com isn’t that useful.

Extra guests with your Priority Pass benefit is always a good thing.

All in all, I’m not too excited about these changes, but at least there wasn’t anything negative.

American Express Platinum Card Adds New Benefits (Uber Credits) & Increases Annual Fee to $550

Quick Summary

Earlier today, American Express announced some new changes to their Platinum Card, effective March 30, 2017:

  • Annual fee increases to $550.
  • Uber Credits of up to $200 per year ($15 per month in January through November and $35 in December) + Uber VIP status.
  • Improved Priority Pass benefit, now allowing up to two free guests. (HT: The Points Guy)
  • 5x Membership Rewards Points for prepaid hotels booked through www.amextravel.com.
  • Complimentary Gold Authorized User Cards.

Discussion

The $550 annual fee will be charged at your first annual renewal date on or after September 1, 2017. Thus if you originally opened your card before September, you won’t be charged the higher annual fee until your renewal in 2018.

The Uber credits expire at the end of each month in which they are issued and are only valid within the US, so you need to be a regular Uber rider to be able to take full advantage of this benefit. As for Uber VIP status, I don’t believe it is really worth anything.

Two free guests for Priority Pass lounges is nice, though I already have this benefit from several other cards.

5x points on hotels booked through amextravel.com is not as great as it may seem because booking through a third party website generally means you won’t be eligible for points or stay credits in the hotel’s rewards program. This may not be an issue for smaller, boutique hotels.

Adding free authorized users can be useful for Amex Offers, but that’s about it.

Overall, these changes are good for regular Uber riders and not so much for everyone else.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Award Redemption Changes (Singapore Airlines and SilkAir Operated Flights Only)

Yesterday, Singapore Airlines announced a series of award redemption changes for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operated flights, effective March 23, 2017:

  • There will be a new award chart (link).
  • The 15% award mileage discount is being eliminated.
  • Fuel surcharges will no longer be assessed.

Note that no changes are being made to partner (i.e. Star Alliance) awards.

Quick Summary

Awards on Singapore Airlines and/or SilkAir will now cost more in miles, but less in cash due to the removal of fuel surcharges. For most cases in Business, First, or Suites Classes, the cash savings does not make up for the extra cost in miles, and this is a devaluation. On the other hand, in Economy or Premium Economy Classes, the new changes might work in your favor.

Some routes will cost fewer miles as a partner award rather than a Singapore Airlines / SilkAir award, so if you’ve found availability on Singapore Airlines / SilkAir, you may be able to save miles by adding a flight from a partner that does not assess fuel surcharges (e.g. a domestic positioning flight with United Airlines).

More Miles vs. Less Cash

With the increase in the number of miles to book an award and the removal of fuel surcharges, you may or may not come out ahead depending on your booking class, destination, and how you value the miles. The tables below show the old and new mileage costs and well as current fuel surcharges for one-way flights from the USA to Singapore.

People flying to Singapore in Economy or Premium Economy Classes will save $220 at the cost of between 8,125 and 10,500 miles (depending on whether you fly from the East or West coast as well as class of service). I think most people would happily make this trade. On the other hand, those flying in Business, First, or Suites Classes would probably rather pay the $230 or $240 fuel surcharge to save between 19,750 and 26,625 miles.

Los Angeles / San Francisco to Singapore

Class Current Mileage New Mileage Mileage Increase Fuel Surcharge
Economy 29,750 38,000 8,250 $220
Premium Economy 55,250 65,000 9,750 $220
Business 68,000 88,000 20,000 $230
First / Suites 91,375 118,000 26,625 $240

Houston / New York to Singapore

Class Current Mileage New Mileage Mileage Increase Fuel Surcharge
Economy 31,875 40,000 8,125 $220
Premium Economy 59,500 70,000 10,500 $220
Business 72,250 92,000 19,750 $230
First / Suites 93,500 120,000 26,500 $240

There are some destinations such as Hong Kong and Tokyo that currently have very low fuel surcharges and are basically seeing a mileage increase with little to no cash savings.

Partner Awards Might Be Cheaper

One quirk of the new award chart is that select routes will now cost fewer miles when booked as a partner award rather than an award exclusively on Singapore Airlines / SilkAir. So if you are planning to book a Singapore Airlines / SilkAir flight to one of the destinations below, you could check to see if you can convert this to a partner award by tacking on a partner flight that does not incur any fuel surcharges, such as a domestic positioning flight on United Airlines.

Below I’ve listed all routes that originate from the USA that cost fewer miles when booked as a partner award, in round-trip pricing. Some of these differences are extreme. If you’re flying from the USA West Coast to the Middle East in Singapore Airlines First Class, you can save 136,000 miles (!) by adding a short partner flight. Of course, a long itinerary like this would really only make sense if you were planning to visit Singapore in addition to the Middle East; otherwise, it would make more sense to fly another airline (i.e. a route that doesn’t connect in Singapore).

Destination Class Singapore / SilkAir Cost
(E): USA East Coast & Houston
(W): USA West Coast
Partner Cost
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, & Laos First / Suites 240,000 (E) / 236,000 (W) 225,000
South China, Hong Kong, & Taiwan Economy 96,000 (E) 90,000
Business 200,000 (E) 175,000
First / Suites 270,000 (E) 200,000
North China Economy 110,000 (E) 90,000
Business 220,000 (E) 175,000
First / Suites 290,000 (E) 200,000
India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, & Bangladesh Economy 110,000 (E) 105,000
Business 220,000 (E) / 196,000 (W) 195,000
First / Suites 290,000 (E) / 276,000 (W) 265,000
Japan & South Korea Economy 116,000 (E) 90,000
Business 230,000 (E) 175,000
First / Suites 300,000 (E) 200,000
Australia (Perth & Darwin) Business 220,000 (E) / 204,000 (W) 195,000
First / Suites 290,000 (E) / 296,000 (W) 255,000
Australia (excl. Perth & Darwin) & New Zealand Economy 120,000 (E) 110,000
Business 236,000 (E) / 220,000 (W) 195,000
First / Suites 304,000 (E) / 308,000 (W) 255,000
North Africa, Middle East, & Turkey Economy 104,000 (W) 75,000
Business 204,000 (W) 115,000
First / Suites 286,000 (W) 150,000
Central & South Africa Economy 104,000 (W) 90,000
Business 204,000 (W) 145,000
First / Suites 286,000 (W) 220,000