Category Archives: Credit Card Deals - Page 2

I Completely Forgot about This 1 Nice Shopping Perk from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred…

I’m a big fan of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card because of the 6% cash back it offers for grocery stores (up to $6,000 spend per year), and the 3% cash back at gas stations (there’s a $75 annual fee).

I had completely forgotten that it also offers 3% cash back at department stores – both brick-and-mortar AND online, a really nice perk right before the crazy holiday spending season.

Which stores? Here ya go:

Bealls, Belk, Bloomingdale’s, Bon Ton Stores, Boscov’s, Century 21 Department Stores, Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, and Stein Mart.

If you pair that card with a cash back portal (like our sister site Classbuxx, which I will continue writing about here until some of you readers sign up your schools), you can earn a nice chunk of cash back (including the 11% we’re offering at on men’s apparel and shoes).

In any case, I thought it was helpful to point out the department store 3% back – I’ve left a few dollars on the table because I had forgotten about it.

(You can support the OTR if you apply for that card through this link and search for “blue cash preferred.” – you’ll get a $100 statement credit PLUS a free year of Amazon Prime after $1,000 spend in 3 months.)


And Now the Sapphire Preferred Is 50,000 Points (Plus 5,000 for Authorized User)

I’ve seen a number of blogs saying that the Sapphire Preferred was briefly offering a 50,000 bonus after $3,000 spend in 3 months, but it appears to be widely available now. Their new offer is:

– 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $3,000 spend in 3 months.
– 5,000 points for adding an authorized user.
– First year fee, but 2nd year is now $125, not $95, which makes me start to question whether I’ll keep the Sapphire Preferred next year.

You can add your spouse as an authorized user even if they have their own card, so each of you can get the 55k bonus.

The new offer is available here.

If you’re also starting to re-consider paying $125, here’s what I’m thinking about:

I’m going to keep the Chase Ink Bold (or Ink Plus). Yes, it’s $95/year, but I put my cellular, cable and Internet spend on it, which offers 5X points (at a minimum, that’s 5% cash back). That more than pays for the $95 annual fee. If you have one of those cards, you can earn Ultimate Rewards points if you get the regular (non-preferred) Chase Sapphire card, which has no annual fee. It’s like the Preferred in that it earns 2X points at restaurants (but it only earns 1X on travel).

Just a thought.

In any case, use the link above for up to 55k points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.


If You’ve Been Waiting for the Chase Freedom Card: Now It’s $200 Cash Back (20,000 Ultimate Rewards Points in Many Cases)

The Chase Freedom card is a solid option for many people because:

– With no annual fee you can keep it open forever, helping your credit score because of the longstanding open credit.
– They offer a rotating set of 5% cash back categories each quarter
– If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus and/or Chase Ink Bold, you can transfer your Freedom points to Ultimate Rewards

They’ve generally offered $100 cash back (10,000 points) after $500 spend in 3 months, but an offer came out today for $200 cash back (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you have the cards mentioned above) after you spend $500 in 3 months.

If you haven’t gotten a Chase card in your last churn, this is a great option. Sure, we used to see 35,000 point bonuses on occasion, but it’s been ages. I would jump on this one if you’re considering your churn.

Application here.


Barclays Lufthansa Mastercard Back to 50,000 Mile Bonus for a Limited Time

You may remember a few months back that you were hearing incessantly about the Lufthansa Mastercard offering a 50,000 mile bonus? It’s back. The highlights:

– 20,000 miles after first purchase

– 30,000 more miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months.

– $79 annual fee is not waived.

– Among the better uses of those miles are on United domestically (or to South America) or anywhere US Airways flies, as there are no fuel surcharges on those. If you redeem on United to anywhere else they’re going to kill you with fuel surcharges.

– It’s a Barclays card, so if you’ve applied for one of their other cards (hello, Barclays Arrival or US Airways card) in the past 6 months, you may be rejected initially. They look kindly on people actually using the cards they issue so I always put some spend on my US Airways card specifically for this reason.

– Although I haven’t churned this card, the Barclays US Airways card IS certainly churnable. I’d still make sure there was 6 months since a Barclays application….

– Is it a good deal? It’s basically 2 domestic round trip tickets on United or US Airways for $79. Hard to argue with that (unless, of course, you’ve recently gotten a Barclays card…


Best Western Rewards Mastercard (Barclays) – Offers 15,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points after $1,000 Spend

I hadn’t thought much about the Best Western Rewards Mastercard from Barclays, but I saw this offer on Flyertalk and it’s actually interesting:

– You’ll get 16,000 points after your first purchase.
– You’ll get 48,000 additional points after $1,000 spend in 3 months.
– No annual fee.

So after that $1,000 spend you’ll have 65,000 points – that’s meaningless to me because I’m likely not going to use that for the 4 free Best Western nights it offers.

But Best Western lets you transfer points to a number of airline partners — most offer 1,000 miles for 5,000 points (so 13,000 miles for this bonus).

But Southwest Airlines offers 1200 Rapid Rewards points for a 5,000 transfer, meaning you’ll get 15,600 Rapid Rewards points for this card. Given their new 70-points-per-dollar redemption rate on cheap fares, you’ll be getting about $222 worth of points – in many cases, that’s a round trip on Southwest (though not in as many cases as it used to be).

Having and holding no annual fee cards is a good move for your credit, and getting $200+ worth of Southwest travel for your trouble isn’t too bad either.


Virgin Atlantic Credit Card “65,000 Mile” Deal Is Back (Really 50,000 Miles)

The Virgin Atlantic American Express Mastercard is once again offering an improvement over their normal bonus miles offer:

– 20,000 miles after first purchase
– 25,000 miles after $2,500 spend in 90 days
– 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user
– 15,000 miles on your anniversary

There’s a $90 annual fee that’s not waived.

I’d get this card because miles transfer 1:2 to Hilton not because they’re of much use on Virgin Atlantic (they charge ridiculous fuel surcharges for international travel).



September 2013 Top Unadvertised Credit Card Bonuses

We generally hear about the same credit card offers over and over again, but there are a number of offers available that are better than the bonuses that are widely advertised by different travel companies and card issuers. I thought it would be useful to pull together a list of the unadvertised offers that are available (these are not the targeted offers that are only good to the individuals who receive them via email or in regular mail – people have been approved for these regardless of whether they received an invitation.

Marriott Premier Rewards Visa usually offers 50,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, but if you use this link, you can earn 70,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months. Plus you’ll get a free night stay at a category 1-4 hotel, and a free night stay at a category 1-5 hotel after you’ve had the card for 1 year. First year free, $85 after.

IHG Rewards Club Select Visa usually offers 60,000 points after $1,000 in 3 months. Using this link you’ll get 80,000 points after $1,000 in 3 months, plus a free night certificate. First year free, $49 after.

Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature advertises 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in 4 months. This link gives you 50,000 points after $1,000 spend in 4 months.


US Airways Premier World Mastercard offer 30,000 miles after first purchase, $89 fee not waived. But there are 2 other options that may be better for you. This link offers 40,000 miles after first purchase, $89 fee not waived. This link gets you 35,000 miles after first purchase, with the first year fee waived. You’re basically paying $89 for the extra 5,000 miles.

American Airlines Citi Platinum Select Mastercard usually offers 30,000 miles after $3,000 spend. Through this link you’ll get 50,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months with the $95 annual fee waived the first year.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature generally offers a 25,000 mile bonus after approval with a $75 annual fee. Through this link you’ll get 30,000 miles after approval with a $75 annual fee. This card is extremely churnable so you can basically buy 30,000 miles for $75 all day long.

Mercedes-Benz Platinum American Express. The regular Platinum Amex generally offer 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $2,000 spend, with a $475 annual fee. The Mercedes-Benz version through this link offers 50,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months with the $475 annual fee.

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. This is a great card that I use – 6% cash back on groceries and 3% cash back on gas (up to $6,000/year on groceries – so you max out at $360 in cash back from grocery stores). $75 fee is not waived.

Any others I’m forgetting?


In Which I Take a Second Look at the Underrated Barclay Arrival Card


Since everyone is talking about the last day of the SPG deal, I thought I’d use the opportunity to say that if you are, in fact, applying for the last day of the SPG that you may want to also consider the Barclay Arrival Card if you have not already gotten it.

(My 2 seconds on the SPG: It’s a solid card, and the extra 5,000 points is great and all, but I wouldn’t apply outside of my normal churn schedule to get it. If you are considering it within your churn schedule, yes – you can get both the personal and business; and yes you can get the bonus if you’ve had the cards before as long as it’s been 12 months since you canceled; and yes you should log out of your Amex account before clicking through the application. My links are over on the right-hand part of the page if you’d like to support the OTR. The links are on every bloggers page if you’d like to support someone (or no one) else.)

Back to the Barclay Arrival card. You may remember the headlines: $440 in free travel after $3,000 spend in 3 months, with the first year free – you’ll get 40,000 points, which are redeemable for $400 in travel (and only for travel), plus when you redeem you get 10% points back, which is why everyone says it’s $440 in free travel.

I know none of this is new, but I recently got the card and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it’s a great choice for an everyday card for lots of people. A little Q&A to help:

Q: What’s the main benefit of this card?
A: Aside from the signup bonus, you are essentially getting 2.2% cash back on every purchase, though you’re only really earning that if you redeem it for travel. Though most people DO spend some money on travel each year, so I think most people benefit from it.

Q: But it has an annual fee, right? Doesn’t that affect the math?
A: Yes – there’s an $89 annual fee after the first year. I’ve long pushed the value of the Amex Fidelity card because it earns 2% cash back with no annual fee. If you spend $40,000 or more each year, you’re better off getting this card rather than the Amex Fidelity card.

Q: $40,000 is a lot of money – I’ll never hit that.
A: Yes, it’s a significant amount of money. However, you can actually print money with this card.

Q: What do you mean print money?
A: I mean you can print money. If you put $5,000 worth of Vanilla Reloads on this card each month (that’s the max you can transfer into Bluebird) that will cost you $39.50 each month. You will also earn $110.86 in cash back. Do that each month and you will net $856 each year.

Q: Huh?
A: Yes. If you max out on VRs (assuming you live somewhere where you can buy them on your credit card) you will pay yourself $856 before you put any real spend on it.

Q: That’s pretty cool.
A: Yes, though you should also consider yourself lucky if you live near a CVS where you can buy that many VRs each month (though plenty of people can).

Q: But I like earning points instead of cash back.
A: Here’s something to consider: If you typically use your points for international premium class travel, then earning points is a good idea. If you have chosen to earn Starwood points either for international premium class travel or for certain hotel redemptions, that can be a good idea. But for everyone else you are probably better off taking the cash.

Q: Really?
A: Yes, really. Let’s use round numbers: If you spend $50,000 a year, you’ll earn $1100 cash back or 50,000 points. There are very few 50,000 point airline redemptions worth $1100. There are some, certainly. But in most cases you are better off with the cash. Plus, the cash can be used for car rentals (ie, there’s a lot more flexibility in how you spend that money on travel).

Q: Am I going to get approved? I’ve had a bunch of apps this year.
A: You generally should wait 6 months between Barclays apps, though I recently got approved for 2 Barclays cards 3 months apart. Absolutely call if you are denied to get them to reconsider. Also, put spend on your other Barclays card – they do seem to look at whether you’re actually using the other Barclays card to determine whether they’ll give you a card.


The Chase Reconsideration Line Phone Numbers; Or Yes, Banks Do Influence Some Travel Blogs (Including This One…But Not Anymore)

On Monday afternoon of this week I posted links to the Amex SPG 30k deal. Later that afternoon I received an email from Amex (or, more specifically, from a 3rd party that manages the affiliate relationship with Amex) saying that I was violating the terms of the affiliate agreement I have with Amex (via the 3rd party).

I wrote that I didn’t post affiliate links, I posted direct links to the signup pages. They wrote back saying that those were not official links, which I took to mean that those who signed up earlier than the Tuesday “official” release day may not receive the 30k bonus. I took down the links because I didn’t want to be responsible for people not getting the bonus they thought they would receive.

The next day I received an email from the third party saying they were dropping me from the affiliate relationship because I had posted content that was unauthorized. Specifically, they wrote I made a “non-compliant posting of this promotion.” That’s when it occurred to me that I made an error – they didn’t ask me to take down the links to protect the readers, they were just trying to control the content on the site.

I will speak only for myself here, but I have had other run-ins with the credit card issuer police in the past – they have asked to have a few things removed, primarily taking issue with posting links to landing pages that were not “official” offers (this used to drive Chase nuts), and around encouraging people to call the credit card company to match bonuses received by others. Generally I pushed back and that was the end of it; on a couple of occasions I removed the content because I felt I had made my point.

Those days are over.

I’m not suggesting that there is some vast conspiracy (as some have suggested) to get bloggers to shill for credit cards. For the most part, the bloggers you’re reading are writing about credit cards because they believe they offer a great way to earn points (myself included). But part of the arrangement of having a direct affiliate relationship with the banks is that they can tell us to take down content they don’t like. And because there are really only 3-4 issuers with credit cards of much value, it’s hard to say no to them when they ask. I’m not saying bloggers don’t say no to them (and I know several instances where bloggers have told the credit card companies that they specifically will not take down content the bank didn’t like), but I am saying that, especially with bloggers doing this full-time, it’s become more difficult to say no to those requests when the majority of your income comes from a couple of companies.

I am lucky that I can (and will continue to) make a little income off the OTR, and I’m even more lucky that I have a regular job. With that flexibility comes the ability to make my own decisions. And the decision I’ve made is that I will be upfront about what is being asked of me by banks. I’m regretful that I wasn’t clearer about the Amex SPG situation earlier this week, and I’m really pissed at myself for taking the content down. It won’t happen again.

To the end, you may have noticed that the Chase Reconsideration Line phone numbers have disappeared off a number of blogs because Chase asked them to be taken down. As my first bit of penance, I will publish them here:

Application Status: 800-432-3117 or 800-436-7927

Reconsideration (personal cards) 888-871-4649 or 888-245-0625 or 888-609-7805

Reconsideration (business cards) 800-453-9719

I feel better now.


Is the British Airways Travel Together Ticket Really a Good Value?

Gary at View from the Wing writes today about the British Airways Visa which is a great card to get for a number of reasons:

– 50,000 points after $2,500 spend; no annual fee first year

– Those 50,000 points can be used for 10 short-haul one-way tickets on American.

– They’re usable on LAN and AA to South America with no fuel surcharges.

– You can use them on Aer Lingus and Air Berlin with no fuel surcharges.

– Great redemption rates when used on AA to the Caribbean; Central America; and Hawaii (from the West Coast).

Gary also likes the Travel Together ticket you get from BA after you spend $30,000 on the card in a year. You basically get a 2-for-1 award ticket redeemable on BA metal. In short, if you and your spouse each get a card, and one of you puts $30k in spend on the card, you’ll have enough points for 2 award tickets from the East Coast to London in First Class. However, you have to pay fuel surcharges for each person on those tickets.

That is no small thing: taxes on EACH ticket on a roundtrip First Class sample booking JFK-London are $1,153. Each. Those award tickets will cost you $2,306. Oh, plus if you had put that $30,000 spend on a 2% cash back card you would’ve earned $600, so those tickets are actually costing you $2,906. It’s not just London – flights to Rome are $1,027 each.

So if you wanted 2 premium class tickets to Europe without a crazy amount of spend (or fuel surcharges), what can you do?

– You and your spouse could each get the SPG personal and business cards. When you hit the minimum spends ($5k for each card), you’ll have more than enough to transfer to ANA, which you can use to redeem for surcharge-free flights on United to Europe. Just 63k from New York to London, or 68k round trip from the East Coast to Europe.

– But that would still require $20,000 in actual spend. I would go this route: each of you get a Sapphire Preferred and an Ink Bold. You can hit the minimum spends on those buying gift cards – $3,000 spend gets you 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points for the Sapphire Preferred, and $5,000 gets you 50,000 points with the Bold. Add $2,000 additional dollars in spend and you can transfer those 100,000 points to United, where you can get a surcharge-free ticket to Europe in Business Class. Plus you can put your regular spend on whatever your preferred card is.

There are certainly lots of people who are happy to spend $2k+ for 2 First Class tickets to Europe. But for those of us who don’t want to do that it’s good to know there are other options.