Via Doctor of Credit, Chase has a new bonus for the Freedom Unlimited credit card offering 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases for your first year. Note that there is no other signup bonus associated with this offer and that this card is subject to the 5/24 rule.
Also note that if you have a premium Chase card (e.g. Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, etc.), you can transfer the points from your Freedom Unlimited card to your premium card, which would allow you to then transfer those points to airline and hotel programs. Also note that if you are a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you can use these points to pay for travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.
Personally, I don’t like to sign up for a new credit card unless it’s bonus is worth around $500. Let’s compare this card to an offer like that using the following assumptions:
- Comparison card offers $500 back after $5,000 spend in 3 months.
- Comparison card earns the equivalent of 1% cash back, so after completing minimum spend, you will have $550.
- You use a 2% cash back card for any other spend.
- Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each (this is fairly conservative).
With those assumptions in mind, the break-even point for this credit card is $18,000 of spend in a year ($810 rewards assuming 4.5% in value back vs. $550 from the comparison card signup + $260 from $13,000 additional spend on a 2% cash back card). Essentially, you would be coming out ahead if you spent over $1,500 per month. I don’t think that’s that difficult for most people to do, so this offer may be well worth it if you are under 5/24.
The bonus is tiered as follows:
- 50,000 Avios after $3,000 spend within first 3 months
- 25,000 Avios after $10,000 total spend within your first year
- 25,000 Avios after $20,000 total spend within your first year
The amounts are cumulative, meaning if you spend exactly $20,000 in your first year, you’ll have 100,000 Avios from the bonus + 20,000 Avios (i.e. one Avios per dollar of normal spend) for a total of 120,000 Avios. The $95 annual fee is not waived the first year.
The bonuses on the British Airways and Iberia credit cards have also been increased to match. All three cards are roughly the same, at least as far as worthwhile benefits are concerned (imo).
100,000 miles for $20,000 spend in a year is a nice bonus that we’ve seen quite a few times from Chase. It’s a good time to apply if you want more Avios right now, but you can also feel free to wait, as this offer will likely come around again in the future.
HT: Doctor of Credit
Via One Mile at a Time, the IHG anniversary free night is being devalued. Where it previously could be used at any IHG property worldwide, it will now be limited to properties that normally cost up to 40,000 points when redeeming an award. This change will go into effect for any certificates issued May 1, 2018 or later.
This drastically lowers the ongoing value of the IHG credit card. Personally, I will probably still keep mine open because there are still a few 40,000 point hotels in driving distance that could make a nice weekend getaway for me; however, it would not surprise me if many others are not in this situation and just end up canceling the card.
Direct Link to Current Offer
As reported by Doctor of Credit, the current version of the Chase IHG card is being discontinued and is expected to be replaced by two new flavors of IHG card. I won’t post much about the new cards until they are officially confirmed, but there is quite a bit of information about them already at Frequent Miler which I’ll link to here.
Regarding the current version of the IHG card, I find the annual free night to be well worth the $49 annual fee, so I recommend applying for the card while you still can if you do not have it already.
It is unknown at this point whether current cardholders will be converted to one of the new cards or if it will be possible to hold both the current card and the new version (and perhaps to even receive two annual free night certificates). We’ll just have to wait and see.
Just posting for completeness’ sake, but this has already been widely reported on other blogs. This card is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
The bonus is 50,000 Avios after $3,000 in spend within 3 months, with an additional 25,000 Avios after $10,000 total spend within the first year. The $95 annual fee is not waived. There is also a $1,000 discount voucher you receive after $30,000 spend in a calendar year, but I don’t think it is that great of a benefit, so I won’t get into any detail for now.
Iberia Avios can be converted back-and-forth to British Airways Avios, which I find useful in various situations. I recently used Avios to book intra-Australia flights for 4,500 Avios per passenger plus taxes and fees.
Overall, this is a decent card, especially since it is not subject to 5/24; however, I’m not applying right now and am waiting to see if they increase the offer later on.
Bonus has been increased to 35,000 Starpoints after $7,000 spend in 3 months. This is about as good as this bonus ever gets. I’ve provided a referral link above (you get the same bonus for a referral link vs. a direct link). Offer ends March 28, 2018.
Last month, City National Bank updated the benefits of their Crystal Visa card to include a $30 credit to GroundLink. I decided to figure out how this all worked, and in doing so, I stumbled across these links:
GroundLink Visa Signature
GroundLink Visa Infinite
Once you enter your Visa Signature/Infinite card details into the corresponding link above, you then log into your GroundLink account, and the respective credit ($20 or $30 depending on card type) will be added to your balance. What I figured out but did not expect is that you can do this for every Visa Signature/Infinite card you have and load them all into the same account. I was able to do this 25 times before I ran out of credit cards and now have over $500 of GroundLink credit. All of my personal Visa Signature and Infinite cards worked (i.e. not business). All authorized user cards worked as long as they had unique card numbers. It did not matter that their cardholder names did not match the name on my GroundLink account.
GroundLink does have a referral program by which both the referrer and referee receive a $25 credit, so you will want to do this too.
GroundLink Referral Link
You can of course choose to use someone else’s referral if you don’t want to use mine.
The terms for these credits seem to indicate various restrictions such as not being to combine credits, having to use the specific credit card that the credit came from, etc., but as far as I can tell, none of this is actually enforced, and I have a single combined GroundLink credit in my account. I tried a test booking of over $100 on the website, and it allowed me to pay for my entire reservation with my credit balance.
For completeness’ sake, here is the full list of credit cards that I was able to confirm do work, but I’d be fairly surprised if anyone finds a personal Visa Signature/Infinite card that doesn’t:
- Alliant Cashback
- Bank of America Premium Rewards
- Bank of America Travel Rewards
- CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Hyatt
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
- Citi Costco Anywhere
- City National Crystal
- Club Carlson Premier Rewards
- Fidelity Rewards
- Priceline.com Rewards
- U.S. Bank Cash+
I tried three business cards that did not work: Chase Ink Cash, Chase Ink Plus, and Club Carlson Business Rewards.
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.
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:
- Buy up to 50,000 Choice Privileges points (Direct Link).
- Register for the United promotion (Direct Link).
- 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.
What the title says. Via OMaaT.
Previously, I ignored Lifemiles because the best way to accrue their miles was to buy them, and it was never easy to align their sales with my travel planning dates. I’ll look into their program a little more now and see if they merit a write-up.