Sorry, I was on vacation for two weeks and didn’t find time to post this right away. In any case, this new card has been discussed widely on other blogs, so hopefully you’ve heard about it already.
Direct Link (must be recognized as an existing U.S. Bank customer by their system to apply, which can take up to 35 days after opening an account with them)
U.S. Bank has launched a new credit card called the Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card. Its signup bonus is 50,000 points (worth $750 in travel) after $4,500 spend in 90 days.
Major features include:
- $400 annual fee
- $325 in travel credits every cardmember year
- 3x points on mobile wallet purchases (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Microsoft Wallet)
- 3x points on travel purchases (airlines, hotels, car rentals, taxis, limousines, passenger trains, cruise lines)
- Points worth 1.5 cents each toward airfare, hotels, car rentals when booked through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center
- Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
- $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓
- No foreign transaction fees
The travel credits make the annual fee on this card effectively $75. Whether this card is worth keeping long-term will depend on how much value you can get from the bonus categories, particularly the 3x points on mobile wallet payments, which is unique.
There are some other benefits, such as a Priority Pass membership, Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes, etc., but I don’t value those much because you can get similar or better from other credit cards.
The American Express Business Platinum Card currently refunds 50% of your Membership Rewards points when you use their Pay with Points feature. This benefit gives you an effective value of 2 cents per MR point.
Starting June 1, 2017, this refund will be reduced to 35%, reducing the effective value of MR points to 1.538 cents per point. There will also be a new cap of 500,000 points rebated per year. In most cases, MR points will be best used for transfers to airline partners, which is how it was before this benefit was added.
Any flights booked prior to June 1, 2017 will continue to receive the 50% rebate, even if you are flying at a later date.
The amount of time it takes for the rebate to post is also being increased, though we currently don’t know by how much.
New cardholders (including those who have upgraded from another type of card) who applied between October 6, 2016 and May 31, 2017, will still receive the old benefits (50% rebate, no cap) for one year from the date their cards were issued.
HT: The Points Guy & Doctor of Credit
Chase has increased the signup bonus for the British Airways Visa Signature card. It is now tiered as follows:
- 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 in the first three months
- 75,000 Avios (i.e. an additional 25,000 Avios) after spending a total of $10,000 in the first year
- 100,000 Avios (i.e. another additional 25,000 Avios) after spending a total of $20,000 in the first year
I’m not terribly excited by this offer due to the very high spend requirement but thought it was worth mentioning.
There is no special link required to sign up — you can just go to the regular landing page.
There is no online application currently. Call (800) 328-1935 to apply.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Direct Link to Personal Card
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months (this is the normal offer) and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (this is the bonus offer). Offer ends 04/05/2017.
Direct Link to Business Card
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months (this is the normal offer) and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (this is the bonus offer). Offer ends 4/5/2017.
Both offers are a combination of the standard offer + 10,000 bonus points for completing additional spend within the first six months. While these are still good offers, I wouldn’t call them amazing due to the amount of spend required to earn the full 35,000 Starpoints.
Note that both the bonus and spending requirement are new.
Previous: 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months
Current: 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months
The change is well worth it, as you can now get a Southwest Companion Pass with just $5,000 of spend if you also apply for either of the personal cards that has a 50,000 mile bonus.
HT: Doctor of Credit
Title basically says it all.
Chase will be reducing the signup bonus for the Sapphire Reserve Card from 100,000 to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
The change is scheduled to take place on January 12th for the online application and March 12th for in-branch applications. Note that the 12th is the date that the offer will change, so the last day to apply for the 100,000 UR point bonus is January/March 11th for online and in-branch applications, respectively.
Via Doctor of Credit, there is a new link for the Merrill + Visa Card which offers 50,000 points after $3,000 spend in 90 days.
The points can be redeemed for $500 cash but can also be worth up to $1,000 if redeemed for flights, also known as Anytime, Anywhere Air Rewards. The flight rewards cost 25,000 points for flights up to $500, i.e. 2 cents/point. For flights over $500, you must continue redeeming your points at a value of 1 cent/point until all of your points are exhausted. You may then pay the remaining balance with your card.
So in theory, you should be able maximize your value by either finding flights very close to $500 or by purchasing flights >$500 when you have just 25,000 points in your account.
Aside from the bonus, there’s not much else exciting about this card, but it’s definitely worth picking up for the bonus alone.